Tuesday, July 20, 2010
"...Consider the following: Bosnia & Herzegovina (population approximately 4.6 million) has received more international aid per capita than any country in Europe under the Marshall Plan. Kosovo (population approximately 2 million) has exceeded even that figure; according to one estimate, by 2005 Kosovo had received 25 times more aid per capita than Afghanistan. Postwar Bosnia in 1996 and postwar Kosovo in 1999 were militarily secured through the deployment of 60,000 and 30,000 international troops, respectively.
Bosnia's ethnic groups are still debating the same issues they were 20 years ago before the war even started—how to divide power between themselves, and the degree to which Bosnia should be a unitary or a federal state. By large majorities, Bosnian Serbs continue to favor either unification with Serbia or outright independence. (...)
The nation-building record in Kosovo is no better.(...) Last year, Human Rights Watch reported that there had been no visible improvement in the treatment of ethnic minorities in Kosovo since the 2008 declaration of independence, and Minority Rights Group International (MRG) claims the situation has even gotten worse. (...)
Kosovo's frozen conflict along the Ibar River has solidified, and in neighboring Macedonia, Albanian politicians have begun openly calling for a new ethno-territorial federalization of the country (which in the Balkans is usually the first step towards secession). A recent Gallup Balkan Monitor survey found that large majorities in both Albania and Kosovo expect the two states to merge. (...)
In no small measure, our decision to go to war in Iraq was based on the widespread Washington view that our Balkan efforts had worked. In 2002, former Assistant Secretary of State James Rubin claimed that "Kosovo has been a success," despite tremendous evidence to the contrary, not the least of which was the fact that the ICTY's own chief prosecutor had said that the ethnic persecution taking place in Kosovo under NATO's watch was just as serious as the ethnic persecution taking place in Kosovo under Slobodan Milosevic. Anticipating the invasion of Iraq, Rubin called for the creation of a high-level envoy for nation building ("with a budget to match"). "