Sunday, April 13, 2008

"Divide and Fall? Bosnia in The Annals of Partition" by Radha Kumar--Preface

Earlier this month, I approvingly considered Radha Kumar's anti-ethnic partition arguments when I reviewed her paper "Settling Partition Hostilities". I would like to continue my examination of ethnic partition as it relates to Bosnia. The logical next step is through an extended examination of his book Divide and Fall? Bosnia in the Annals of Partition. A note of apology--while this is not a long book, I am currently pretty busy in my personal and professional life; do not be surprised if there are delays of several days between each post. I will try not to drag this out too long.


Kumar puts her cards on the table in the very first sentence:

"This book is intended to counter the recently revived idea that partition can be a solution to ethnic conflict."

Kumar notes that partition was originally a colonial formula, and that after WWII two distinct forms of partition emerged:

"...ethnic partition, which was accepted as a compromise formula for decolonization, and ideological partition, which was primarily a means of distinguishing Cold War spheres of influence."

Kumar goes on to note that the reemergence of ethnic partition is oddly anachronistic, since the end of Cold War has delegitimized ideological partition (the continued division of Korea aside). She also notes that the "structures of ethnonational negotiation" were developed under colonialism; when "divide and rule" switched to "divide and quit." She goes on to point out that in Bosnia, the "divide and rulers" were not the same parties as the "divide and quitters." Milosevic, Karadzic, and Tudjman wanted to divide and rule; the West and the "international community" wanted to divide and quit.

Kumar closes by claiming that her book will demonstrate that the reversion to ethnic partition as an acceptable strategy will not last, and will ultimately be deemed a failure. It will be very interesting to see how she develops this argument over the following 168 pages.


Srebrenica Genocide said...

Alike Kumar, I also don't think that partition can be solution to any ethnic conflict.

Partition can only serve as a solution in cases where minorities were grossly mistreated by the rulling state.

What we have down in the Balkans is a phenomen of a frequent fragmentation and division, or Balkanization.

Now that Kosovo has gained independence, will the Balkans stop fragmenting or not? That's a big question.


Srebrenica Genocide said...

Kirk, here is an idea for the next post:

U.N. investigators found no substantial evidence to support claims that ethnic Albanian guerrillas killed dozens of Serbs in Kosovo and sold their organs, a court spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Investigators visited northern Albania after U.N. officials in Kosovo passed on allegations of organ trafficking to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in 2002 and 2003, said Olga Karvan, a spokeswoman for the court's prosecutors.

"We followed the allegations and ... no substantial evidence (was found) to substantiate the allegations," Karvan said, without elaborating.