Christopher Hill, Negotiator Of The Dayton Peace Accords, Warns Of The Iranian Bomb

I … Project Syndicate, an international not-for-profit newspaper syndicate, in its January 2011 issue presents its newest global thought leader Christopher Hill, who served as former US Assistant Secretary of State, Ambassador to Iraq and South Korea, Macedonia, and Poland, US special envoy for Kosovo, a negotiator of the Dayton Peace Accords, and chief US negotiator with North Korea from 2005-2009. He is now Dean of the Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver. 

Mr. Hill warns of  The Iranian Bomb: Just as the US adopted a “bomb and talk” approach with the Serbs during the dénouement of the Bosnian war, America must be willing to “sanction and talk” when it comes to Iran, thereby creating greater space for an eventual diplomatic strategy. Iran, after all, is not building an Islamic bomb. It is building an Iranian bomb, or, worse yet, a Shia bomb that Arab leaders must be more resolute in trying to stop. Private expressions of deep concern do not compensate for public nonchalance (or changing the topic to Israel), and are hardly a basis for a successful policy toward a country whose nuclear ambitions could have a catastrophic impact on the region.

II … In related article VOX article Dayton’s  Unfinished Business by Thorvaldur Gylfason and  Per Magnus Wijkman, the authors relate: Fifteen years after the Dayton Peace Accords, unresolved conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina have deadlocked its political system and crippled economic growth the authors argue that to prevent the country from falling apart, with dire consequences for the region, increased engagement by both the EU and the US is needed.

Since Bosnia and Herzegovina politicians lack a shared vision for the country, these different levels of government have resulted in political deadlocks that prevent enactment of necessary legislation. For instance, the SAA calls for setting up a national state aid agency, but politicians cannot agree on which level to set it up. A study by the World Bank in 1997 predicted that fiscal federalism of Dayton would render decision-making inefficient if the ethnic groups lacked sufficiently common interests (Fox and Wallich 1997). This has now proved to be the case. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s public sector has Europe’s third largest share of employment (after France and Belgium), and dictates wages that have eroded competitiveness of the private sector (IMF 2010).

Other Balkan countries continue to show modest growth, especially Serbia and Montenegro where the Kosovo war had long-lasting consequences. Only Croatia, which opened EU membership negotiations in 2005, recovered quickly and continues to grow rapidly. Slovenia, an EU member from 2004, recovered quickly

If the vicious circle of economic stagnation and political deadlock continues, it is likely to lead to a breakup of Bosnia and Herzegovina

To remain a viable state, a process of reconciliation between Croats, Serbs, and Bosnians is essential. But only in the last year or so have political leaders made statements signalling the possible initiation of such a process. Representatives of Republika Srpska continue to express a wish to break out of Bosnia and Herzegovina

 Dayton was intended to prevent a breakup of Bosnia and Herzegovina into ethnically homogenous states involving massive population exchanges. But it may lead to precisely that outcome through the current constitution if Bosnia and Herzegovina is unable to eliminate the elements of ethnic discrimination which it contains.

III … Diana Johnstone wrting in reflects on the death of a courtier and asks Who Wrecked the Balkans, Holbrooke or Milosevic?: The Dayton Peace Accords were presented as a heroic victory for peace extracted by the brilliant Holbrooke from a reluctant Milosevic, who had to be “bombed to the negotiating table” by the United States. In reality, the U.S. government was fully aware that Milosevic was eager for peace in Bosnia to free Serbia from crippling economic sanctions. It was the Bosnian Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic who wanted to keep the war going, with U.S. military help. 

In reality, the U.S. bombed the Serbs in order to get Izetbegovic to the negotiating table. And the agreement reached in the autumn of 1995 was not very different from the agreement reached in March 1992 by the three ethnic groups under European Community auspices, which could have prevented the entire civil war, if it had not been sabotaged by Izetbegovic, who withdrew his agreement with the encouragement of the then U.S. ambassador Warren Zimmermann. In short, far from being the great peacemaker in the Balkans, the United States first encouraged the Muslim side to fight for its goal of a centralized Bosnia, and then sponsored a weakened federated Bosnia – after nearly four years of bloodshed which left the populations bereft and embittered … Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions

IV … Stephen Zunes writes in OpEdNews article Richard Holbrooke Represented the Worst Side of the Foreign Policy Establishment: Holbrooke is perhaps best known for his leadership in putting together the 1995 Dayton Accords, which formally ended the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Though widely praised in some circles for his efforts, Holbrooke remains quite controversial for his role. For instance, the agreement allowed Bosnian Serbs to hold on to virtually all of the land they had seized and ethnically cleansed in the course of that bloody conflict. Indeed, rather than accept the secular concept of national citizenship that has held sway in Europe for generations, Holbrooke helped impose sectarian divisions that have made the country – unlike most of its gradually liberalizing Balkan neighbors – unstable, fractious and dominated by illiberal ultra-nationalists.

As with previous US officials regarding their relations with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Panama’s Manuel Noriega, Holbrooke epitomizes the failed US policy toward autocratic rulers that swings between the extremes of appeasement and war. For example, during the 1996 pro-democracy uprising in Serbia, Holbrooke successfully argued that the Clinton administration should back Milosevic, in recognition of his role in the successful peace deal over Bosnia, and not risk the instability that might result from a victory by Serb democrats. Milosevic initially crushed the movement. Holbrooke also failed to back the nonviolent resistance campaign for independence in Kosovo, then led by the moderate Ibrahim Rugova.

In response to increased Serbian oppression in Kosovo just a couple years later, however, Holbrooke became a vociferous advocate of the 1999 US-led bombing campaign, leading to victory of the hard-line KLA in Kosovo. Meanwhile, in Serbia, the bombing creating a nationalist reaction that set back the reconstituted pro-democracy in Serbia movement once again. The pro-democracy movement finally succeeded in the nonviolent overthrow of the regime, following Milosevic’s attempt to steal the parliamentary elections in October 2000, but the young leaders of that movement remain bitterly angry at Holbrooke to this day.

Scott Ritter, the former chief UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) inspector, who correctly assessed the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and predicted a disastrous outcome for the US invasion, observed, “not only has he demonstrated a lack of comprehension when it comes to the complex reality of Afghanistan (not to mention Pakistan), Holbrooke has a history of choosing the military solution over the finesse of diplomacy.” Noting how the Dayton Accords were built on the assumption of a major and indefinite NATO military presence, which would obviously be far more problematic in Afghanistan and Pakistan than in Europe, Ritter added: “This does not bode well for the Obama administration.”

Ironically, back in 2002-2003, when the United States had temporarily succeeded in marginalizing Taliban and al-Qaeda forces, Holbrooke was a strong supporter of redirecting American military and intelligence assets away from the region in order to invade and occupy Iraq. Obama and many other Democrats presciently criticized this reallocation of resources at that time as likely to lead to the deterioration of the security situation in the country and the resurgence of these extremist groups, but Holbrooke instead sided with the Bush administration in supporting the disastrous invasion and occupation.

It was unclear, then, why Obama chose someone like Holbrooke for such a sensitive post. Indeed, as the past two years have shown, Holbrooke’s efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan appear to have little show for them. Perhaps more than any other appointment, Holbrooke epitomized the tragedy of Obama’s foreign policy: instead of bringing hope and change, he brought in some of the most notorious figures of the foreign policy establishment to continue to pursue failed and immoral policies.

V … Stephen Lendman relates The True Richard Holbrooke Legacy: In his role as Dayton Accords architect, Holbrooke, in fact, helped establish colonial rule and end Yugoslavia’s market socialism experiment, imposing Western-style “free market” harshness, the same type IMF measures spreading mass impoverishment in Europe and America. At the time, Newsweek called the agreement “less (for) peace….than a declaration of surrender,” giving America and NATO full colonial control. Yet Holbrooke was hailed as a peace architect – ending Yugoslav sovereignty at the point of a gun.

Diana Johnstone wrote the definitive account of the Balkan wars. Her book, “Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions,” is essential reading to understand its causes and long-lasting effects. For the West, it was about deterring Milosevic’s “Greater Serbia” quest, a gross mischaracterization of truth about a war Western powers wanted and initiated, notably Washington and Germany. They encouraged cessation, provoking conflict, then taking credit for ending it. In 1995, Holbrooke served as point man for round one, followed by his role again leading up to NATO’s 1999 war of aggression, concluding its unfinished business.

Milosevic, an opportunistic politician, in fact, wanted Yugoslavia’s disintegration prevented. When it happened, he wanted minority Serbs protected, allowed either to stay in Yugoslavia or get autonomy in the newly created rump states. Besides occupation and colonization, Johnstone believes Washington’s aims included:

– preventing a European-backed settlement;

– “assert(ing) its dominance over European allies in the arbitration of European conflicts;” Holbrooke admitted it in his memoirs and played a key role;

– expanding NATO through a new “out of area” humanitarian mission, aka US dominated colonization and military occupation; and

– “gain(ing) influence in the Muslim world by championing the Bosnian Muslims.”

She also called “government by international bureaucracy (a) new trend in the New World Order.” Since Holbrooke’s negotiated Dayton Accords “Bosnia-Herzegovina has been ruled by a similar combination: a complicated set of local authorities under the strict supervision of a ‘High Representative’ (a contemporary Proconsul or Viceroy) who can, and does, annul laws adopted by the local democratic institutions or dismiss democratically chosen officials” not in tow with America’s imperial aims.

In other words, it’s a dictatorship portrayed as democracy, the kind Washington disdains and won’t tolerate abroad or at home, never in one of its colonies.

In his role as Dayton Accords architect, Holbrooke, in fact, helped establish colonial rule and end Yugoslavia’s market socialism experiment, imposing Western-style “free market” harshness, the same type IMF measures spreading mass impoverishment in Europe and America. At the time, Newsweek called the agreement “less (for) peace….than a declaration of surrender,” giving America and NATO full colonial control. Yet Holbrooke was hailed as a peace architect – ending Yugoslav sovereignty at the point of a gun.

VI. Bosnia Herzegovina is comprised of a large community of Croats and also the Republika Srpska, comprised largely of Serbs led by Dodik.

One Response to “Christopher Hill, Negotiator Of The Dayton Peace Accords, Warns Of The Iranian Bomb”

  1. Rob Prince Says:

    useful summary of these articles and their significance…rjp

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