War and Social Upheaval: Disolution of Yugoslavia--Bosnia

Figure 1.--.

Bosnia as Yugoslavia implded proved to be a killingfield without prcedent in Europe since the end of World War II. None of the contending ethnic groups are without blame, but the Serbs were at the heart of the crisis. The Bosnian Serbs backed by Milosivich and the Serb-dominated Yugoslav Army were especially vicious. the Croat forces also carried out attrocities against Serbs and Muslims in Bosnia. There were also Bosnian Muslim atrocities, but on a much smaller scale. The Western countries for several years were unwilling to intervene to deter Milosovich's efforts to create a Greater Serbia. The world watched the Serb asault on Sarajevo in horror. Sarajevo had hosted the 1984 Olympic Winte Games only a few years earlier. The Serbs besieged Sarajevo during 1992-95. The people of Sarajevo were predominately Muslim, although there were also non-Muslims clinging to the dream of a multi-ethnic Bosnia. About 10,000 people including many children were killed in Sarajevo before the West intervened. About 0.2 million people are believed to have died in Bosnia as a result of the fighting and wide range of attrocities. Only the reluctant and tardy threat of Amercan force stoped Milosivich in Bosnia. The actual use of force was needed in Kosovo. In both cases the United Nations was unable to act. Even in Serbinica where the U.N. guaranted the saftey of Bosnians, in the end Dutch U.N. peace keepers were ordered to abandon the Muslims to the Serbs. Finally when the U.N. failed to act, the United States acted through NATO. Milosovich finally yielded to NATO pressure in Bosnia. America and other NATO countries have been criticized with considerble validity for reacting to attrocities of unbelievable barabrity. Attrocities that fell within the scope of genocide. America and NATO acted belatedly, but they did act, in large measure to save Muslims in Bosnia. While the major criticism was how long it took America o act, one writer has pointed out that American action in Bosnia was the most robust action against genocide in American history. One study of American historical responses to genocide writes, "It did not take long to discover that the American response to the Bosnian genocide was in fact the most robust of the century. The United Srates has never in iys historyintervenbed to stop genocide and had in factrarely even made a point of condeming it as it occurred." [Power]


Power, Samantha. A problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (HarperPerennial). Power addresses how domestic policies have impaired America's ability to react to genocide.


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Created: June 19, 2003
Last updated: 3:45 AM 5/16/2019