November 26, 2007

The U.S. and prospect of another war in the Balkans

We know how the European Union has glorified its 'soft power’ in the past; we do not want an additional demonstration of just how soft it can be.

Remember Richard Holbrooke, he was the chief architect of the Dayton peace agreement, which ended the war in Bosnia and formerly America’s UN Ambassador under Bill Clinton. In an interesting op-ed piece in the Washington Post on Sunday, he argues that the United States should consider sending more troops to the Balkans to address possible repercussions in light of Kosovan declaration of independence due next month.

As Holbrooke notes, if Kosovo declares independence then the Serb portion of Bosnia will likely follow suit. On top of this, the Russians will try to link the issue to that of breakaway republics in the former Soviet Union.

According to Holbrooke, Vladimir Putin is the concern arguing that the Russian leader would view forcing the West to back down as another measure designed to restore “Russia’s dignity” on the world stage. The U.S. has no interests in appeasing the Russians…

This could potentially present another explosive situation in Europe and we know how ineffectual the Europeans were in dealing with the Balkans in the nineties. They may well be almost as bad in 2008. Even though Holbrooke says, “It is not too late to prevent violence, but it will take American-led action and time is running out”, President Bush should make use of the newfound warmth with Europe to engage some local resolve and possible action.

"Exactly 12 years after the Dayton peace agreement ended the war in Bosnia, Serb politicians, egged on by Moscow and Belgrade, are threatening that if Kosovo declares its independence from Serbia, then the Serb portion of Bosnia will declare its independence. Such unilateral secession, strictly forbidden under Dayton, would endanger the more than 150,000 Muslims who have returned there. Recent American diplomacy led by Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns and special envoy Frank Wisner, working closely with E.U. negotiator Wolfgang Ischinger, has largely succeeded in persuading most of our European allies to recognize Kosovo rapidly. But NATO has not yet faced the need to reinforce its presence in Kosovo".

Read the whole piece here

Interestingly, Holbrooke warned of flaws in the Dayton Accord as early as 2000.

The disarray was fashioned eight (8) years ago and the prospect of more ethnic cleansing and another war is hardly appealing. We know how the European Union has glorified its 'soft power’ in the past; we do not want an additional demonstration of just how soft it can be.

Personally I am looking for some evidence of hard power from within the continent for a change.

Comments welcome


WomanHonorThyself said...

I am looking for some evidence of hard power from within the continent for a change...You & me both my friend!

Flag Gazer said...

We've known troops who have served in Kosovo - one leaving just last week. It is no cake walk there and most of the work is done by the US forces - surprise, surprise.

This could get ugly and I do not expect the UN to stand up.

heidianne jackson said...

"...we do not want an additional demonstration of just how soft it can be..."

exactly. but either way it will be our fault.

Tapline said...

I'm with you....Let the continent handle it. I don't think we have a dog in this fight,,,do we?? Wasn't it turned over to the continent.Rumfield wanted to bring all of our troops home. If I remember correctly or use them in Iraq,,,Something like that.....stay well.....

courtneyme109 said...

Ideally, NATO should handle this. After all it's only an 8 hour tank from the EU.

In Wes Clark's book "Waging Modern War" the General was kinda surprised that NATO allies would not use the indirect approach to start off with Milosevic's precious assests ala Sherman and Patton. Instead, NATO wanted to fiddle about on the periphories of Milosevic.

The fact that strife is born again in the Balkans makes a strong case that France and Germany may have to use their militaries in the same way as their spiritual grandfathers like Foch and von Manstein. To wage war deceisively, without modesty and at will.

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

War is never pretty yet in the Balkins it has been treated as if it can be won piece mill and with limited action. The only way to wage war is to use forces necessary to get the job done and end the conflict as quickly as possible.

Peace keeping forces are a joke and anyone who expects the UN to solve a problem especially if it requires military action is a lunatic.

My sincere condolences for the los by Howard. While the news covers the aspect of its effect on the US, little is said about the effect on your home. I am sure it is similar to Hillary winning here.

I'm sorry to see Howard go. A true ally and a great leader for Aussies!

Paul Champagne said...

The only hard power you will see eminating from the European continent will be from NATO ... and of course the US will be the brundt of that.

American Interests said...

womanhthyself: Don't hold your breath Angel!

American Interests said...

flag gazer: Thanks, the U.N. will not stand up, I expect others *(as opposed to Americans) to put there foot forward and lead this time...

heidianne: It's always America's fault, but one reason for this site!

Tap: Unfortunatley due to the Dayton agreement you do have a dog but I will still stand by my reply to flag gazer.

courtneyme: you have a handle on it, well said and thank you.

lib lie conserve truth: let's hope if forces are used its done decisively without u.N. mush. Thanks for your words about Howard. Conservatism took a huge hit on Saturday over here. The fight will be stepped up.

paul: You may indeed be right about NATO and thank you for commenting.

Aurora said...

America is already stretched so thinly and it is costing blood and fortune. The situation in the Middle East is a sticky one as it is. I'm with Tapline as well, Time for Europe to show some backbone.

ArtfulSub said...

I was just contemplating these events. GMTA.

Those of us who thought it unwise to slaughter innocent Christian Serbians to benefit illegal-alien muslim Al-Quyada aligned KLA Albanians predicted this.

None of the Euro-Trash "allies" have stuck to their part of the post-war bargain. Just as they haven't kept their promises in Afghanistan.

I'd also point out that Russia (The Serbs traditional ally) was at a tipping point when Clinton ignored their advice and bombed civilians.

It encouraged Putin to align himself more directly with the Reactionaries back home. And completely crippled the nascent Pro-American forces in Russia.

Ultimately, that WILL be important.

Incognito said...

Yes we are stretched thin... and will become more so as Europe, Australia and the rest of the world pull out of the middle east and elsewhere to leave us the sole warriors. Frankly, it's not fair.

And indeed we are to blame for everything.. and always damned if we do and damned if we don't.

American Interests said...

incog: Bear with us, Many meetings ahead between Gov't and U.S. ambassador, a trip to Washington soon as well... What's it all mean? Possibly some re-alignment, yes troop numbers to be decreased in Iraq but naval operations and other ground suport remains. Also, it's my understanding that Afghanistan support will actually increase although not sure how yet. Point being, no pulling out per-se'.

Incognito said...

I certainly hope you're right Otto.

gg said...