Military Endeavor in Bosnia
Calls for comprehensive reforms were growing, especially from the constituent republics Slovenia and Croatia and the central government became incapable of acting. More and more power was given up to the constituent republics. At the beginning of 1990 the Yugoslavian unity party SKJ (Savez Komunista Jugoslavije) has fallen and majority party elections were established in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Political Parties were established that functioned mainly in the interest of their ethnical background.
Hence the rivalry between the parties for more power developed into an ethno-political rivalry. On June 25 in 1991 Croatia and Slovenia declared their independence. Directly after, armed conflicts started between groups which defended their territorial and the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA), the last institution of the SFR Yugoslavia. More and more constituent republics were involved and soon a war started that we will remember as the Yugoslav war that later reached Bosnia, where most of the fighting took place.
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It was a bloody civil war between neighbors in South Eastern Europe in the late 20 century that was ended too late. Many victims would be alive if the international audience would have been more concerned about its importance of involvement. The United States, as one of the countries, acted too late at the expense of human life. The Bosnian war was a failed humanitarian intervention of the UN, a weak NATO presence and a US policy that planned […] to pursue a U. S. ommitment to Bosnia-Herzegovina that is short-sighted in vision and transparent in end state The ‘symbolic’ presence of the UNO and the early stage of the war In 1991 The United States just ended the Gulf War and hence the majority of the American population didn’t see the point in involving themselves into another war. It was an ongoing dispute of whose responsibility was to intervene in the Bosnian War. George Bush’s policy indicated to use diplomatic initiatives rather than the usage of American military force.
After being involved in World War I and II the United States saw their mission in Europe completed. There was no more a Soviet threat and the European Community (EC) should be ready to deal with its problems by themselves which was also accomplished by the Maastricht treaty in 1992. The countries in the EC should be stable enough to ensure democracy and peace in Europe. However, the actions that have been initialized by the EC failed. The countries couldn’t find a consensus of working together and using a strategy that would end the war.
The Yugoslavian conflict parties arranged, with the initiative of the EC, a plan on June 29th in 1991. The plan provided 3 points which was 1) ceasefire between Slovenia and Croatia and the withdrawal of their armies 2) Slovenia and Croatia should pause with their declaration of independence for 3 month 3) Serbia should give up his resistance towards the new elected Croatian President Mesic Beside the 3rd point all the other attempts to end this war failed. Another failure of the EC was to rush into recognizing Slovenia’s and Croatia’s independence.
Bosnia was even rushed to motion its independence between the times of December 16th until December 23rd 1991. A week that was given to consider establishing a country which history is very diverse and complicated. In the late summer of 1991 the Moslem politician Izetbegovic asked the UNO to send observers and a peacekeeping force because he knew what a war would cause in Bosnia. The attempt failed due to the UN principles to intervene when all intern actions failed to prevent a civil war. After the war broke out the UN decided to send 100 and a few month later in June 1992 1. 000 peacekeepers to Bosnia.
The modest aim was to ensure a complete defeat of the Moslem population with a minimum of UN forces. NATO In early May 1992 the UN sanctioned Yugoslavia or the parts that still remained Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) and a few days later the UN Security Council placed an economic embargo on Yugoslavia. NATO warships were sent to the Adriatic Sea to enforce the internationally established embargo. In October 1992 the UN Security Council decided to forbid any military flights of the warring parties.
However, there have been various violations against the flying ban. Therefore NATO decided to start their direct combat mission in the air in April 1994. It didn’t stop the Serbs to take UN peacekeepers and other observant as hostage. Thus the NATO’s first air attacks did not have a great effect for stopping the war. The establishment of ‘UN protected zones’ and the case of Srebrenica The UN protected zones were established mainly for the Muslim population that was surrounded by either Croatian or Serb territory.
Building protected zones was another attempt to secure civilians even though they were fairly against the UN principles of impartiality and agreement of all warring parties. The history has shown us that the UN peacekeepers were tricked by the Serbs and the ‘protected zone’ was used to facilitate covert genocide that we know today by the name of The Srebrenica Massacre in July 1995. End of the war After violating the protected zones in Srebrenica and Zepa, NATO decided for massive air attacks on military and logistical targets of the Serbs. Until this moment there have been ten NATO air attacks during the war.
It was obvious that this was not enough to end the war. Through another UN Resolution, that was formally not necessary, the UN and NATO decided to intensify their air attacks by almost 2000 attacks in a couple of days. The war ended but it was a very long way for the US to decide the various kinds of intervention. Opinions went from not getting involved at all because the EC should deal with it by themselves to deploying US troops, first for humanitarian or peacekeeping efforts then for United Nations (UN) or NATO military actions, including rescuing UN peacekeepers.
According to several polls at the beginning of the war, the Americans would support any of the humanitarian interventions and multilateral agreements. ‘Bosnia reveals that the ‘‘post-Vietnam syndrome’’ was still apparent in the preference of most Americans to stay out of foreign entanglements since the Reagan-era involvements in Central America’. Nevertheless, most Americans were sure that Bosnia won’t be the next Vietnam. Polls also show that interventions should be used if there is a case of genocide.
However, it was a long way for the US government to fulfill the peoples will. It was talked too much around and the media used terms such as ‘civil war’ or ‘ethnic war’ to undermine the need of stronger interventions at the beginning of the war. A Presidential term was coming up and the need of actions was put aside regardless of moral principles. In a democratic country that is based on a will of people with representatives elected by the people, a public opinion is a crucial right.
If a poll shows that most of the Americans agree with military humanitarian intervention before 1995 why did a hegemonic power, as the US back then, didn’t interfere earlier with more pressure on the International community to act stronger and precisely. A diplomatic intervention in 1992 had a great impact on the course of the war until 1995. The United States has supported the UN resolution of preventing genocide, as it was before declared to be a crime under international law. Sadly neither Bush senior nor Clinton have made efforts to prevent genocide in Bosnia.
Samantha Power wrote ‘it is in the realm of domestic politics that the battle to stop genocide is lost. American political leaders interpret society-wide silence as an indicator of public indifference. ’ Not until Srebrenica did the domestic and international politics pushed Clinton into action of interfering with massive military forces which at the end brought the war into an end. ‘Clinton rode into the White House rallying against Bush’s non-interventionist policy and favoring commitments to stop genocide.
Facing a re-election year, a time when an administration’s promises are measured against their actual accomplishments, Clinton was particularly sensitive to challenges to his earlier pledges. Dole’s role augmented an explosion of a united media campaign, increasing international pressure for intervention, and the embarrassing fall of a U. S. -backed ‘safe zone,’ aggravating Clinton’s original commitments to put an end to the Bosnian genocide and made the political costs of non-intervention too high for the Clinton Administration to withstand.
Because of this conglomeration of pressures, Clinton could follow his own moral convictions and stop the genocide. ’ In conclusion: The US intervention in Bosnia has three significant phases. The first phase included a diplomatic interference at the beginning of the war. It was an European problem. Thus Europeans should deal with it. The second phase was a very modest humanitarian-military intervention (UN and NATO) by the US, in an area where such ‘experiments’ are fatal in the course of the war. The UN ‘peacekeeping master plan’ failed completely for one good reason.
No one can heal a huge wound with a simple band aid. After 3 years of a bloody fight and a never ending war what could the hegemonic power US do? Either withdraw its troops and run away and be an audience of a war that might have murdered a whole ethnic group or reinforce and fight. The third phase, which finally ended the war, it was crucial that the US as well as the EC, NATO and the UN realize the importance of a strong military interference which is based on a common consensus. The European Community failed completely to solve its Balkan problem due to self-interests, premature decisions and a lack of a consensus.
However not being involved in the war, as some US elites suggested at the beginning of the war because it is an European issue, would have been against the principles of human rights and would have created a humanitarian disaster similar.