Saturday, January 20, 2007

Bosnia: 11 years of peace, but dysfunctional.

"The Dayton Agreement . . . ended Bosnia's bitter war [and] has provided an opportunity for the country's three peoples to bargain in institutions and not on the battlefield.
. . . [But] the Dayton legacy of balancing power at the central, cantonal and local levels is hopelessly dysfunctional.
. . . As with Iraq, the first step toward a solution in Bosnia is owning up to the magnitude of the problem. Bosnia, a country with a little over four million citizens, has no less than 13 different assemblies and governments. Elections were held three months ago, but not one government at any level has yet been formed. The unwieldy structures impose a severe cost on the country's struggling economy.
. . . Even with a continued, activist international presence, the truth is that Bosnia cannot become self-sustaining until all its people accept a shared vision of their country.
. . . It is imperative that the United States, which led the way to peace, confront the artificial 'consensus' that dogs Bosnia today as well as its counterpart, the obsolete Dayton structures. Only reform of the Constitution can forge a workable national compact for coexistence."

By "Don Hays . . . principal deputy high representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina, R. Bruce Hitchner . . . chairman of the Dayton Project, [and] Edward P. Joseph [who] served for over a decade in the Balkans with the U.S. Army, the UN and the International Crisis Group." [1]

Though the title of the article is "Bosnia is no model for Iraq," I hope that it is referring to Bosnia's apparent inability to form a workable government thus far and not to whatever agreement was arrived at originally that caused the Bosnian war to end. This seems to be the case since the authors speak of reforms and not of a wish to let the different parties in Bosnia return to war to fight it out among themselves.

I would think that a model that could help end the war in Iraq would be a model that people would want to emulate. Though apparently, I am in the minority in this view.

Change that title!

[1] International Herald Tribune. Bosnia is no model for Iraq. January 19, 2007.

posted: saturday, january 20, 2007, 7:28 PM ET
update: friday, january 26, 2007, 12:35 PM ET


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