NEED TO FATHOM THE DEPTHS
If you have listened and followed the comments of Bosnian Croat leaders in recent months, you would not have come to such an uninformed conclusion that Bosnian Croat "policies may indicate movement toward integration with Croatia...." This, coupled with your citation of multiple and dubious Yugo sources, makes me doubt seriously that you fathom the depth of how the Serbs almost succeeded in carving out a Greater Serbia. [See "New Balkan Policy Needed," April 2001, "Keys to Stability in the Balkans," November 1999] Your proposal for amnesty to Milosevic in exchange for a financial bailout of Yugo is both morally and ethically repugnant. This points out the complete lack of accountability you attribute to the Serbian people for the multiple wars they began. Bury it under the rug and it will go away. Those weren't thousands of mannequins throwing roses at Serb tank columns on the way to Vukovar in November 1991. Until the Serbian people can come to grips with the facts, nothing will change. Throwing money at them and letting off the criminals in their government, both past and current, does nothing but justify their means. The following quote is an accurate description of how the Serbs view their current situation: "The main thing we are interested in," said Dejan Milojevic, a town official in Aleksinac, south of Belgrade, "is how to cash in on all the misery we've been through. We are willing to admit guilt in Kosovo if that will bring in money." [New York Times, Feb. 11, 2002 "The Trial of Milosevic Will Peel Layers of Balkan Guilt, Too."]
Kostunica and company say one thing to sound good to the West and do something completely different for domestic political consumption. The current political and cultural situation for Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BH) is as bad as it was, or even worse, than during the war. True, there is no more military activity. However, there has been practically no Croat repatriation. There were about 800,000 Croats in Bosnia before the war, most of which lived outside of Herzegovina. Now, barely 300,000 are left. With their democratically elected representatives summarily dismissed, their cultural rights repressed, and grievances ignored both by the Sarajevo government and the Office of the High Representative, what other choices are there but to try to do things on their own? Unlike the Republika Srpska, they are the first to tell you that they cannot survive on their own. They are the first to tell you that they want to be a constitutive nation, co-equal with the other two groups, just like the BH Constitutional Court ruled in the not too distant past. Talk is cheap. Unless the rights of the largest minority in BH, the Croats, are adequately addressed with the representatives who are supported by the majority of the BH Croats, not some lackeys appointed by the High Rep, there will be no resolution to the political morass that is BH.
Your recommendation that any status changes in BH (or Yugo) must be achieved through the consent of all parties within the state sounds like a prescription for disaster. This proposal is much like the way the beginnings of the war in Slovenia, Croatia, and BH was handled by the likes of Carrington, Owen, and the rest of the spineless mealy mouths who talked about peace but were satisfied with the status quo as long as it didn't spill out of ex-Yugoslavia proper. The clamoring for minority rights must include those rights of Croats in BH, the largest minority in BH. Without seriously addressing those rights, BH is doomed to either permanent protectorate status or failure.
- Tom Kuzmanovic <email@example.com>
(Editor's Note: For the most recent FPIF analysis of Bosnia-Herzegovina, see Robert Belloni, "Bosnia-Herzegovina Conflict Profile," at http://www.selfdetermine.org/conflicts/bosnia.html .)
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