By Jan Oberg
On November 9, it is 25 years the Berlin Wall came down. Seventeen months later, Yugoslavia’s dissolution began and various concepts and policies were introduced that fundamentally changed international politics ever since – more so than the fall of the Wall.
These features can be seen in the conflict (mis)management in later conflicts.
By now we should have accumulated enough evidence of how effective the various ”teatments” of the ”patient” called Yugoslavia were. To put it crudely: A unique country was destroyed – yes from the inside too, but that doesn’t reduce the responsibility of the West/NATO in its role as ”peacemaker”.
Today, Croatia is ethnically much more clean; Kosovo remains a failed state; the constituencies of the Dayton Accords for Bosnia (1995) still won’t live together as one state, as elections have just shown us. Macedonia’s problems have only deepened. The split between Serbia and Montenegro was enigmatic. Today’s Slovenia is the only unit that can be said to be in a better situation now than when part of Yugoslavia.
It is high time we get a critical discussion going of what the international so-called community chose to actually do – no matter the stated intentions – to help bring about peace in former Yugoslavia.
All of it must be re-assessed and lessons must be learned for governments to introduce a little modesty and recognise that they are not born peacemakers but rather war makers. And we need such a debate to go down another road than the one we took since 1999.
TFF maintains that the crisis in and around Yugoslavia is much more significant for international affairs than hitherto assumed because e.g.:
• The international so-called community’s attempt at being self-appointed conflict analysers and peacemakers with no prior education or training right after being Cold War warriors led to miserable results on the ground.
• Closely related: the amateurish idea that conflicts could be understood and treated as two parties, one good and one bad. The bad guys were the Serbs, of course, and Slobodan Milosevic became the new ”Hitler of Europe” after the West had used him as an ally.
• During this crisis Russia was sidetracked and humiliated. But in the Soviet Union era no one would have dared touch the Yugoslav space. Now the West could do what it wanted and Russia could do nothing to oppose it.
• Violent humanitarian intervention was introduced and persuaded many,Read More »