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But Holbrooke’s account leaves unclear what, in addition to his own brokering role, accounts for the turnaround in U. S. policy, including the critical decision to take a leadership role in trying to end the war. It was on the basis of that decision that Holbrooke subsequently undertook his negotiating effort.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

A consensus soon emerged on three key aspects of a workable strategy. First, UNPROFOR would have to go. In its stead would come either a new NATO force deployed to enforce the terms of a peace agreement or the kind of concerted military action by the United States and NATO that the U. ’s presence had so far prevented.

Bosnia and Herzegovina - United States Department of State

Each time, the new policy was rejected or shelved, and an incremental, crisis management approach was once again substituted for a viable approach to end the war. Why was the summer of 1995 any different? Why the emergence of a firm consensus on a concerted strategy now when it had eluded the Clinton administration for over two years? The answer, in part, lies in the horrors witnessed by Srebrenica—a sense that this time the Bosnian Serbs had gone too far.

UNPROFOR as Obstacle The NSC’s conclusion that the U. force was part of the problem in Bosnia rather than part of the solution was shared by Madeleine Albright, long the Clinton administration’s chief hawk on Bosnia. In June 1995, she once again made her case, presenting Clinton with a passionately argued memorandum urging a new push for air strikes in order to get the Bosnian Serbs to the table. Albright’s memo noted that if air strikes required the withdrawal of UNPROFOR, then so be it.

The strategy of muddling through that had characterized U. policy since the beginning of the conflict clearly was no longer viable. The president made clear to his senior advisers that he wanted to get out of the box in which U. policy found itself. This box had been created by an unworkable diplomatic strategy of offering ever greater concessions to Serb President Slobodan Milosevic just to get the Bosnian Serbs to the table; by the long-standing refusal to put U. troops on the ground; by allied resistance to using force as long as their troops could be taken hostage; by a U.

Bosnia and Herzegovina - Human Rights Watch

Decision to Intervene: How the War in Bosnia Ended | BrookingsFor over four years following the breakup of Yugoslavia and the onset of war, first in Croatia and then in Bosnia, the United States refused to take the lead in trying to end the violence and conflict. While many have written eloquently and passionately to explain Washington’s—and the West’s—failure to stop the ethnic cleansing, the concentration camps, and the massacres of hundreds of thousands of civilians, few have examined why, in the summer of 1995, the United States finally did take on a leadership role to end the war in Bosnia. One notable exception is Richard Holbrooke, who recounts his own crucial contribution to the negotiation of the Dayton Peace Accords in his book To End a War.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Endgame StrategyGiven the State and Defense Departments’ position on this issue, Anthony Lake faced a critical choice. He could accept that there was no consensus for anything beyond continuing a policy of muddling through, or he could forge a new strategy and get the president to support a concerted effort seriously to tackle the Bosnia issue once and for all. Having for over two years accepted the need for consensus as the basis of policy and, as a consequence, failed to move the ball forward, Lake now decided that the time had come to forge his own policy initiative. He was strengthened in this determination by the president’s evident desire for a new direction. On a Saturday morning in late June, Lake and his chief NSC aides gathered in his West Wing office for an intensive, four-hour long discussion on what to do in Bosnia.

Bosnia and Herzegovina - The World Factbook


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