By Susan L. Woodward

The violent disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1991-92 led to the worst refugee quandary in Europe on account that international struggle II, atrocities on great scale, and a brand new time period, "ethnic cleansing", for the strategies of nationalist civil conflict. The failure of Western motion to avoid the unfold of violence or to barter peace disheartened Europeans of their force to bigger cohesion and grew to become the euphoria in regards to the "new global order" into cynicism approximately US management. on their lonesome, and as a caution of comparable conflicts but to return, the Yugoslav wars current the 1st significant problem to US international coverage after the chilly warfare. Why did the Yugoslav country get a divorce? And why did the break-up bring about conflict? during this ebook, Susan Woodward analyzes the motives of the Yugoslav wars and argues that targeting historic ethnic hatreds and army aggression misunderstands nationalism in post-communist states.

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Countries such as Britain and France espoused this position because they foresaw a threat to stability from a snowballing of autonomist struggles, which they recognized from their own experience. But by mid-1993 Europeans also adjusted their policy to what some called a realistic (others, a cynical) approach. This was a reaction to their experience as members of UN forces in Bosnia and impatience with a war that had escalated beyond all expectations and with the repeated failures of international negotiators to achieve a political agreement.

Ignoring that interdependence in dealing with the Yugoslav crisis led to many paradoxes and had counterintuitive results. One was that the external effects of the conflict on Western powers could have been reduced substantially if there had been a greater appreciation for the influence that actions by foreign governments and international organizations were having on Yugoslav politics throughout its path of dissolution. Nor is the Yugoslav conflict unique. Because of their country's international position in the cold war, the Yugoslavs were simply early in demonstrating a broader syndrome facing the world at the end of the cold war.

Because this view was largely held by countries that had sent soldiers to the UN protection forces in Croatia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina, it was not in conflict withand usually was complementary tothe idea that an early cessation of hostilities monitored by outsiders facilitated the work of external mediators. In contrast, the first view, that the wars were caused by Serbian aggression, saw a cease-fire as consolidating, and therefore rewarding, the military gains of aggressors. A cease-fire, therefore, was only welcome if it was accompanied by a political agreement that reversed those gains and obtained Serb acceptance of the internationally recognized borders of the republics.

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