Saturday, January 15, 2011

"Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation" by Silber and Little [19]

Chapter 30: Conclusion

Because this book was published in 1996, this final chapter is obviously somewhat dated, but unfortunately not nearly enough--the pessimistic tone of this closing chapter remains largely justified. War did not return to Bosnia or Croatia, and both Milosevic and Tudjman have done the world the favor of dying, but on the other hand this book was written before the Kosova war so the author's concerns about possible future conflict was not unmerited, even if the worst-case scenarios or renewed conflict in Bosnia and a possible wider Balkan war was mercifully avoided.

The Dayton agreement achieved peace by institutionalizing ethnic separation, and the biggest winners were Tudjman and Milosevic, even if both Croatia and the rump Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro were still maintaining the fiction of Federal Yugoslavia) were suffering the effects of economic hardship and autocratic rule.

And so this excellent book--probably the best one book to read on the Yugoslav wars (except Kosova, obviously)--comes to a close. The authors make no projections for the future, nor do they suggest a road map. They are too aware of how flawed and compromised Bosnia's chances were, and how limited the international community was to anything other than a simplistic "stability" which could keep the region out of the news.

If you haven't read this book, it is an essential account of the war. If you are looking for suggestions on where Bosnia and its allies need to go from here, you will need to look otherwise--but the next time you are arguing with someone who has been fooled into thinking that the "standard narrative" of the Bosnian war is an emotionally-charged and ideologically-slanted justification for Western intervention, you can rest assured that they have never read this sober, methodical account.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kirk. I trust that Silber and Little have given you the satisfaction of reading something worthwhile to make up for some of the dross you've ploughed your way through. I've not come across Laura Silber in person but Allan Little commands trust and I'm not surprised that he came up with something this solid. Sadly there are some people who will never let go of the dross.

Anonymous said...

Indeed this is a very good book, together with Noel Malcolm's "History of Bosia" and "How Bosnia armed" by Dr. Marko Attila Hoare.Also very good is the BBC documentary on which it is based (unfortunately it was not published as DVD; I'm lucky to have recorded it myself). I do beleive teh Dayton Armistice has outlived its usefulness. It's time this genocidal perversion called "repluka srpska" was abolished; I'd hate it to have to see it until my last day.