Monday, July 16, 2012

"The Fall of Yugoslavia" by Misha Glenny [26]

Epilogue 1996 [continued]

The next six pages, in which Glenny meets Richard Holbrooke and Robert Frasure, doesn't quite pass the smell test for me, even though I've never seen anything in this book or elsewhere to suggest that Glenny isn't an honest and reliable reporter (it's his analysis I take exception to). I don't necessarily mean to suggest that he is making these scenes up; only that his presentation suggests, or implies, that Holbrooke was sincerely seeking not just insight or clarification from Glenny but specific advice about actions. Perhaps Glenny is just playing along when he responds to Holbrooke's query about whether or not NATO should bomb the Serbs around Bihac, but if so his sense of humor is dry even by British standards.

The real point of this section is for Glenny to point out that the Americans ultimately pushed for a settlement not much different from the Vance-Owen plan that the Clinton Administration had rejected previously. And this is true; but while Glenny rushes through some of the contingent events in the interim--marketplace massacres, and the fall of two of the three eastern enclaves (he acknowledges that Srebrenica was a massive atrocity even though he states that the full truth is yet to be known)--he does so so quickly that it would be easy for the casual reader to conclude that this means that the partition of Bosnia was the only sensible solution all along.

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