Sunday, October 02, 2011

Misguided Op-Ed on Balkan Partitioning

My thanks to Yakima Gulag for this catch (from her Friday, Sept. 30 post).

This week, Ted Galen Carpenter of the Cato Institute published an article advocating for ethnic partitioning of Bosnia and Kosova, in the apparently not ironically titled The Dangers of Rejecting Balkan Partitions.

Yakima Gulag states the obvious first objection--that doing as Carpenter suggested would be a reward for genocide (I believe this would be less overtly true in Kosova than in Bosnia, but the point stands). But more to the point, Carpenter makes a very fundamental error when he makes a false equivelency between the breakup of the Yugoslav Federation into its constituent units--which were, as noted in this blog many times--historically legitimate and geographically defined geopolitical entities--with the artbitrary division of these polities along demographic lines. When one considers that these demographic divisions have been accomplished by violence and terror, and that this would be a "solution" which would merely atomize the same problem--since no ethnic division can be perfect or "clean"--it becomes even more clear that this is a proposal from a context-free alternative universe; one in which taking an ahistorical view of political conflict and regarding ethnic violence as somehow a static, natural order of things substitutes for nuanced analysis.

But then again--this is the Cato Institute we're talking about. Libertarian foreign policy wonks don't generally do nuance or context.


Anonymous said...

He seems to have a wealth of in-depth knowledge about Bosnia that he's anxious to display.

Daniel said...

Partition? It's already partitioned.

He does not understand that Bosniaks would get only 33% of the territory. We would be smaller than Israel. Sure, we can negotiate new borders, BUT RS would have to shrink its territory -- something that RS is not willing to reconsider.