What Happened in Yugoslavia?

By Metta Spencer. Opening chapter of The Lessons of Yugoslavia: Research on Russia and Eastern Europe, Vol. 3, Metta Spencer, ed. (Amsterdam, London: JAI, Elsevier, 2000.)

What killed Yugoslavia? Since this entire book will offer numerous responses to that question, the present introduction will not seriously attempt to anticipate those insights or to propose any analysis. Instead, it is simply meant as a bare-bones chronological sketch of the most significant historical events in that downhill progression. The other contributors will elaborate and analyze specific aspects of the saga in their own chapters. Some readers will not need to refresh their memory with this chronology but will go directly into the main body of the book, referring only when necessary to an even more concise display of the sequence of significant events. Those of you who do skip this chapter will be able to refer to the ‘time line’ synopsis presented in the appendix of the book.


The Roman province of Illyricum occupied a territory corresponding, more or less, to the short-lived twentieth century country, Yugoslavia. But if that land was politically unified during the Roman period and again recently, it was divided throughout the intervening time. The boundary between Western Christendom and Byzantium ran through the region and became the boundary between the Ottoman and Habsburg (later the Austro-Hungarian) Empires. These divisions long ago became significant in cultural terms for, although the people were almost all Slavs who spoke dialects of the same language, about half were Catholic who wrote in the Latin script and were ruled by Austrian or Hungarian monarchs, while the rest (mainly Serbs and Montenegrins) were Orthodox Christians who used Cyrillic and were ruled for centuries by the Ottomans until the disintegration of that empire was far advanced.

Before the Ottomans came, however, the Serbian Empire had covered in the 14th century most of today’s Greece, Albania, and Macedonia, as well as Serbia, the Sandzak, and Montenegro, with Kosovo at its heart. It was in 1389 that Turkish Ottomans defeated the Serbs’ army at the battle of Kosovo Polje — a historic turning point of lasting symbolic significance to the vanquished people. By the mid-fifteenth century, the Turks had conquered Serbia proper and a large part of the region, which they then ruled for 500 years. There was no forcible conversion to Islam, but most people in Bosnia and the Sandzak area did adopt that faith. By the time Yugoslavia dissolved in the 1990s, Muslims comprised around one-fifth of the country’s total population of 23 million. The regions that we know as Slovenia and Croatia remained predominantly Catholic; Serbia remained Orthodox Christian; and Bosnia and Hercegovina was a patchwork of all three major faiths.

Most Yugoslav inhabitants identified themselves as belonging to one of the five ‘constituent nations’ that supposedly voluntarily created the ‘South Slavic’ state: Slovenes, Croats, Serbs, Montenegrins, and Macedonians. There were also more than twenty ‘nationalities’ that were regarded as minority groups with certain ‘guaranteed rights, but (unlike the constituent nations) no right to secede. These include the Albanians, Hungarians, Roma (Gypsies), and Turks. Two of these nationalities — the Albanians of Kosovo (‘Kosovars’), and the Muslims of Bosnia (whom I shall call Bosniaks) demanded recognition as ‘constituent nations’ and the latter group would achieve that status in 1963 by constitutional change.

The Hungarians of Vojvodina and the Albanians of Kosovo, on the other hand, were not given such recognition, since they are not Slavic peoples. The latter group are Muslims who belong to a community that predominates in the adjacent state, Albania, and are numerous in Macedonia. The Albanian language, though Indo-European, is entirely distinct from the tongues spoken elsewhere in the region, and is the only surviving representative of the so-called Thraco-Illyrian group of languages, which was spoken by the inhabitants of the Balkan Peninsula before the Roman period1 (So say the Albanians. However, Serb historians commonly dispute this account.) Serbs had constituted about half of the two million inhabitants of Kosovo at the end of World War II, but he government encouraged them to move to prosperous cities in Serbia and, after 1974, the Albanian majority also successfully pressured Serbs to leave. This migration, combined with the high birth rate of the Kosovars, meant that by the 1990s, the latter group constituted about 90% of Kosovo’s population.2

Yugoslavia’s other ethnic communities, such as Jews, were considered minority groups. Finally, some 5% of the population called themselves only ‘Yugoslavs,’ either as an expression of their political commitment to unity or because they belonged to families of mixed ancestry.3 In Bosnia-Herzegovina fully 16% of the children were from mixed marriages, though in the other republics intermarriage was less common.4

The idea of Yugoslavia was first suggested in Croatia in the 1830s by a movement called the Illyrianists, who wanted all south Slavs to unify culturally and politically to defend themselves against aggressive Ottoman, German, Italian, and Hungarian nationalisms. It was then assumed that the culturally advanced Croatian city Zagreb would be the centre of this proposed state. The idea remained only a dream for almost a century, for there was no opportunity to form a new Yugoslav state until the end of World War I, when the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires were both defeated and dismembered by the allied victors.

By then, the Ottoman Empire had long been in decline. Serbia had been an independent country since 1878, and in 1912 it had joined a coalition with Bulgaria, Greece, and Montenegro to attack Ottoman Turkey. This, the First Balkan War, ended by Turkey’s ceding almost all its European possessions. A new state, Albania, was created, but it was too weak to control all the regions where Albanians lived. Serbia annexed the Albanian regions of Macedonia and Kosovo, which, five centuries after the Ottomans had captured it, remained symbolically the ‘cradle of the Serb nation.’ The next year, in the Second Balkan War, Serbia and Greece seized most of the spoils of war from Bulgaria. Serbia doubled its size and territory, incorporating more non-Serbs than it could either assimilate or eliminate. The Muslim populations particularly suffered from the brutality of these wars.5

It was the Western allies who created Yugoslavia from the fragments of the two empires they had vanquished. At its founding in 1918 Yugoslavia was known as the ‘Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes’. The Serbian Prince Alexander, who had sided with the war’s victors, agreed to unite his territory with the former Habsburg lands with Belgrade as its capital.6 It had a territory of about 248,000 square km and a population of about 12 million.7

The Croats were immediately disappointed, for the new state gained control of their funds and replaced their old Habsburg institutions with Serbian ones.8 No efforts to integrate the old states through compromise were successful. No parliamentary coalitions could be created that transcended the concerns of nationality groups. The former Habsburg subjects resisted the dominant Serbs, sometimes violently, and there were already conflicts between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo.9 In 1928 King Alexander became dictator of the country, giving it the new name ‘Yugoslavia’.

Some Croatians wanted full independence and were prepared to use violent means of breaking up the country. In particular, the fascist Ustasha-Croat Revolutionary Organization, led by Ante Pavelic, received support from Mussolini. However, their assassination of King Alexander in 1934 proved to be counterproductive, for it unified public opinion against their cause. Prince Paul, who succeeded Alexander as regent, tried to placate the Croat nationalists by offering considerable autonomy to Croatia. This would have done nothing to satisfy Yugoslavia’s Hungarians, Albanians, Macedonians, and Bosniaks, who had grievances of their own.10 In the 1920s the Albanians of Kosovo had carried out an unsuccessful guerrilla war against the federal Yugoslav state.

As World War II approached, Prince Paul found it necessary to enter into agreements with Hitler, but his negotiations succeeded in keeping the German troops out of Yugoslavia — at least until certain of his military officers seized power with the intention of extracting more concessions from Germany. Their actions failed, for Hitler simply invaded Yugoslavia and kept the route open for his army to wage their campaign in Greece. He gave portions of Yugoslavia to Germany, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Albania. Then he established a fascist rule by Ante Pavelic and his Ustashas over the rest of the country, which included some of Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Ustashas planned to kill a third of the Serbs, expel another third, and convert the others to Catholicism.11 They came close, killing 85,000 people in one death camp, Jasenovac.12

Around 6.4% of Yugoslavia’s population died during or just after World War II, which was fought mainly in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro, with heaviest loss of life in those areas.13 About 600,000 people were also killed in Croatia in that war.14

Of approximately one million Yugoslavs killed during World War II, probably more than half died at the hands of other Yugoslavs.15 For Yugoslavia, World War II actually consisted of several civil wars that had little to do with the larger war being fought elsewhere.16 These civil wars were three-way fights between the Ustashas and the competing resistance movements of two military leaders, Josip Broz Tito and Draza Mihailović. Tito and Mihailović alike opposed the German rulers of Serbia from 1941 onward, though during most years there were not many Germans in Yugoslavia.

Tito, the communist who led the Partisans, recruited fighters from all Yugoslav peoples, whereas Mihailović claimed to lead a group of strictly Serbian guerrilla fighters called Chetniks. In fact, he had little control over tlre Chetniks, who perpetrated atrocities of their own. However, because the Ustashas were in charge of a state organization, the extent of their murders and ethnic cleansing outstripped the Chetniks.17 As a royalist, Mihailović had expected aid from Britain. However, Winston Churchill opted in Tito’s favor instead. Faced with a choice between fighting against Tito’s Partisans or the Germans, Mihailović eventually decided to fight the former, and in fact there was no significant battle between Chetniks and Germans or Italians. Tito won; after the war he put Mihailović on trial and executed him.


Tito’s long and impressive career as dictator of Yugoslavia was just beginning. King Peter II was deposed and a republic was proclaimed. Tito suppressed internal opposition, nationalized Yugoslav industry, and launched a planned economy. He was a deeply committed Communist who was especially talented at reconciling and balancing nationalist conflicts. His top priority was to keep ethnic rivalry from tearing apart the new state. For example, he reduced Serbian influence in the federal institutions of Belgrade, while promoting Serbs to positions of power in Croatia, where they were a minority.18 Unlike Germany, where the guilty past was discussed in public almost constantly, in Yugoslavia the discussion of World War II conflicts and injustices was forbidden.19 Tito insisted that the past was past and that it was time to get on with the present and future. ‘Brotherhood and unity’ was a slogan that guided his every action and he tried to build that principle into a new constitution, which the communist victors adopted in 1946.

According to that constitution Yugoslavia was a highly decentralized country comprising six republics, plus two relatively autonomous provinces within Serbia — Vojvodina and Kosovo. Borders between republics could be changed only on the basis of consensus. Each republic (but not Vojvodina or Kosovo) supposedly had the right of self-determination, though this was a matter of dispute. Secession certainly was not expected and no procedures were provided by which it could occur.20 On the other hand, Yugoslavia was — at least in theory — the most decentralized country in Europe, a condition that Tito fostered for the sake of limiting inter-ethnic fights.21 He gambled on his own skill at power-brokering among the communist elites of the republics and in general he succeeded;22 one could almost get the impression that Yugoslavia was a society without conflict.23 However, his less talented successors would be seriously handicapped by the decentralized structures he left behind.

Yugoslavia was originally a leading member of the Cominform, but Tito showed considerable independence from the beginning. In 1948 he displeased Stalin, mainly on the basis of regional issues. Yugoslavia supported the partisans in the Greek civil war and Tito wanted to create a Balkan confederation, which would have included Albania. Stalin forced Yugoslavia’s expulsion from the Cominform on the charge of deviating from the correct Communist line.

There was every basis for expecting a Soviet invasion, and Tito prepared for the worst. Yet no such thing happened, and Tito found himself in a position to play East against West, to the advantage of his own country. He accepted billions of dollars of loans and non-repayable aid from the West without changing his own program to suit the donors. The United States did not, however, provide Marshall Plan funding for Yugoslavia, nor did the Soviet Union admit that country to its own economic bloc, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (‘COMECON’). However, during the 1970s the economy suffered from foreign debt, inefficiency, and inflation.

Over time, Tito made Yugoslavia into the most open Communist country, though he kept considerable control over intellectual life, mainly so as to prevent any re-emergence of nationalism.

Tito was a major political figure on the world stage because he worked closely with President Nasser of Egypt and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India in trying to create a neutral bloc. He helped found the Nonaligned Movement and the Group of 77, which stood apart from either superpower bloc.24 His personal leadership gave Yugoslavia a much more prominent place in the international arena than it would otherwise have occupied. Much of this influence was leveraged, however, and did not persist long after the cold war ended, much to the dismay and shock of some Yugoslav politicians, who believed that their influence on world affairs was secure.

Tito was able to restrain ethnic conflict for decades, not by challenging the power of nations, but rather by artfully balancing each one against the others. His approach rested on a conception of ethnic equality that is quite unlike the liberal Western notion, which protects the rights of individuals, not of groups.

Each major Yugoslav ethnic community was a ‘constituent nation’ entitled to its own republic. This was the basis for a decentralized federal system of governance that limited the power of the federal government. Although each nationality was allowed to express its culture (indeed, all nationalities were supposed to be represented at every major public occasion),25 nationalism was prohibited and even punished.

The Yugoslav constitution was re-written time after time — the earliest one (1946) was replaced in 1953, and again in 1964 and 1974,26 which was the last version prepared under Tito’s leadership. It greatly decentralized the already decentralized system and would later become a factor in the collapse of the country., Republics were suddenly declared to be nation-states, each with complete autonomy, except that its constitution must not contradict the federal one.27 Many of the functions carried out by parliaments in other countries were to be carried out in Yugoslavia by self-managing organizations that were supposed to create ‘compacts’ instead of laws.

According to the 1974 constitution, citizens were not to elect parliamentary deputies directly. Instead, they were to elect ‘delegations’ that would then elect the parliamentarians. And after electing the deputies, the delegations continued to control them, and could replace them if they did not follow their orders.28 Thus federal parliamentarians did not have the autonomy required for effective legislative work, but had to spend much of their time waiting in the corridor for their instructions to arrive from delegations back at home.29

The 1974 constitution allowed any decision to be blocked by the veto of a single federal entity, including Kosovo or Vojvodina, the autonomous provinces of Serbia. The constitution did provide a means of breaking an impasse among the republics, but only for urgent measures, and only for the period of one year.30

Tito had understandable reasons for dividing power in this way. There was a real danger that one of the constituent nations — most likely Serbia — would get too much power and use it to dominate the others. Tito went to great lengths in order to guarantee the equality of these ‘titular nations’ and their respective sovereign republics. For example, the 1974 constitution specified that the presidency would consist of a group, not an individual. Each republic and each autonomous province (Kosovo and Vojvodina) would be represented, and the role of presiding over this eight-man presidency would rotate among the republics for a one-year term.31

If democracy was violated by the arrangement allowing each republic or autonomous province to veto the decisions of the whole, the rationale for the system would have been apparent to Alexis de Tocqueville, whose book Democracy in America constituted a cogent warning against the danger that rule by the majority would tend to become tyranny by the majority. Tito understood only too well the importance of institutionalizing protections for ethnic minorities; the consensual model was his method.32 He sought to prevent any nationalist group from acquiring enough power to over-ride the concerns of minorities. His personal way of reaching decisions was by negotiating compromises to harmonize conflicting interests. But, though he usually succeeded with this approach himself, he worried about the prospect of nationalism after his own death, and introduced the constitutional provisions of 1974 with future dangers in mind. Unfortunately, his new safeguards would prove in the end to block the effectiveness of his successors altogether.

In fact, conflicts had been postponed and papered-over but not eliminated. As Tito’s long life came to an end in 1980, there were very apparent conflicts everywhere and he left behind no democratic institutions to manage those antagonisms or to generate peaceful solutions.33 There were calls for democracy, but a decade would pass before the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (LCY) would become the first ruling communist party in the world to ‘commit suicide’ by dissolving itself.34

Throughout that initial post-Tito decade it was obvious that the federal constitution would have to be amended, but this could be accomplished only with the consensus of all components of the federal state. Instead of consensus, the positions of the various republics were becoming more contradictory, particularly when the topic of centralization was at stake. There was no agreement among them on any possible amendments. The more democratic citizens were especially favorable toward greater decentralization, on the theory that centralization equals totalitarianism. If that held true in other socialist countries, it was not true in Yugoslavia, where the main problem that destroyed the economy was the excessive decentralization created in the 1974 constitution. The weak central government no longer had sufficient power to make decisions that were required. The party tried twice in the early 1980s to develop a program of economic reform, but the parliament and cabinet were hamstrung by the constitutional requirement for a consensus among all the republics. Serbia wanted more central control, whereas Croatia and Slovenia insisted on further decentralization as a loose confederation of sovereign states. The Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) had a vote in the presidency along with the republics and it sided with Serbia. The great majority of its officers were Serbian.35

One reason for the dispute was the widening economic gap between the have-and have-not republics. Slovenia and Croatia were much more affluent than the other parts of Yugoslavia, partly because of their industrial base and partly because the spectacular scenery along the Adriatic attracted many tourists. Kosovo found itself at the opposite extreme as probably the poorest region in all of Europe. The resentment caused by the necessary transfer payments between republics worsened the conflict over the country’s mounting foreign debt.


Along with many other countries, Yugoslavia experienced a painful recession that began at about the same time as Tito’s death in 1980. Everywhere the crisis was caused by the increasing oil prices of the 1970s. Because so many Yugoslavs were guest workers in Europe, sending remittances home periodically, the loss of much of this income due to recession, plus the world-wide rise in interest rates, added to Yugoslavia’s already excessive foreign debt.36 These loans had been incurred mostly by the republics, often without even informing the federal government about taking on these financial commitments.37 By the mid-1980s most republics had already stopped paying their share of the federal budget, insisting instead that the federal government get by with only revenues from its own sources. Though Serbia favored a stronger central government, Kosovo and Vojvodina had enough autonomy to block economic reforms even in that republic. The central government was caught up in the irreconcilable conflict, with the decentralizing republican pressures on one side, and on the other the international financial institutions, which wanted centralization and majority rule. The smaller republics had a sound basis for fearing that majority rule would put them under the domination of the Serbs, who constituted the most numerous nation in the country.38

Ante Marković became the new prime minister in March 1989. Economic reforms were initiated at the insistence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which demanded implementation of an austerity program to stop the inflation, which was running at 25,000% per year, the 14th highest rate of inflation in the history of the world.39 The IMF demanded more accountability so that the federal government could enforce its economic decisions on the republics. This would have introduced majority rule instead of continuing to allow the bank governors of all republics to veto decisions that did not satisfy them. Slovenia and Croatia especially rejected these reforms, but all the republics resisted and continued to protect their own fiscal sovereignty.

Marković accepted the painful requirements imposed by the IMF. He believed that the intense conflict over centralization would become manageable if the economic crisis could be resolved. Within a year he had succeeded in bringing inflation down to zero. He became extremely popular, yet he did not reap the political rewards that might have been accorded him for such an accomplishment. Some analysts maintain that it was the severity of the measures demanded by the West — especially the IMF’s austerity program which Marković adopted — that actually caused the ensuing collapse of the federal Yugoslav government. (See Michel Chossudovsky’s article in this volume as an instance of this analysis.) On the other hand, the U.S. Ambassador to Yugoslavia, Warren Zimmermann, admired Marković’s reforms and pointed out that they became the model that was adopted by Poland and Czechoslovakia. Yet where reform in those countries succeeded, it failed in Yugoslavia because Marković could not get a proper hearing in the media. The press was controlled by his political enemies, the leaders of the republics.40 Zimmermann believed that Washington should have helped the prime minister, but no financial support came from that quarter. Marković did, however, obtain some IMF support on the basis of beating back inflation and increasing his country’s currency reserves.

To turn this economic triumph into a political breakthrough, Marković knew he would have to hold federal elections immediately and win a restoration of legitimacy for the federal government. However, the Slovenian government had scheduled its own elections for April 1990— well before elections could be held at the federal level. Since republican elections would probably capture the new legitimacy that he sought for the federal system, Marković asked the Slovenians to delay their election. Slovenia’s Prime Minister Kucan refused his request. Quitting the party, the communist politicians of both Slovenia and Croatia went to the voters before Marković could do so. In this action they made it virtually certain that Yugoslavia would be dissolved. The republican elections were widely interpreted as a plebiscite on separatism, and the separatists won.41

By breaking with Stalin, Tito had become able to secure advantages for Yugoslavia by playing off the communist and capitalist blocs against each other. Both sides had courted him to maximize the advantages of his independence from the other bloc, In this way the Yugoslavs had received financial aid, military support, and cheap Soviet oil for about three decades.

With the ending of the Cold War, however, the Yugoslavs lost their position of power between the superpower blocs. Many politicians did not understand the changes in their situation and refused to adapt to it. They simply ignored the demands of the international financial institutions, assuming that the world would continue to coddle them as before.

At the same time it was becoming apparent that communism was either dead or likely to remain comatose for a long time. The political elite reacted to this situation, not by becoming democrats as one might expect, but by adopting the other ideology that socialism had forbidden: nationalism. This widespread response must be explained in terms of the similarity between communism and nationalism. Every communist had been taught a collectivist philosophy that constantly harped on struggles between enemies. Originally the struggle was to take place between various social classes, but almost any enemy was better than none at all.42 Zarko Puhovski asserts that these people hardly knew how to act when they were deprived of an enemy to struggle against. After the Cold War the class struggle became politically unpopular, but the former communists needed a substitute enemy whose members could be identified almost at sight. As Puhovski explains, “Such group identification was most readily found in ethnicity, which can be demonstrated simply through language (or dialect) or even by name (or family name) in such a way that it cannot be easily stopped or controlled.”43

Yugoslavs were not the only ex-communists who adopted nationalism as a substitute ideology; the same pattern can be seen throughout the former Soviet bloc. In Yugoslavia, there were plenty of ancient ethnic antagonisms that had been suppressed by the enforced outward display of ‘brotherhood and unity’, but which were suitable grounds for renewed struggle as soon as that suppression ceased. Chief among these rivalries was the antipathy between Serbs and Kosovars in the ancient ‘cradle of the Serbian nation’, Kosovo — or, to use the preferred Albanian spelling, Kosova.

In the interest of protecting and placating a minority of less than two million souls (who, in Kosovo itself, constituted a majority estimated at nearly 90%), Tito had taken the unusual step of granting an extraordinarily degree of autonomy to Kosovo in the 1974 constitution. The Serbs, however, never accepted his decision.44 From a practical political point of view, that constitution actually may have conferred too much autonomy on both Kosovo and Vojvodina;45 there are few other countries in the world in which the third tier of government is so powerful. By the late 1980s, Tito’s influence was finally waning, after having survived his person by almost a decade. It became possible to take overt political measures to reverse the hated constitutional changes and give control back to Serbia proper. Slobodan Milošević developed a scheme to induce Vojvodina to abandon its autonomy under rather minimal pressure, and this in turn would make the Kosovars more vulnerable. He organized mass rallies which proved successful, for the political leaders of Vojvodina did capitulate and allow themselves to be replaced by pro-Serbian nationalists. As predicted, this did leave the Kosovars in a more precarious position than before.46

At that time Milošević was president of Serbia’s League of Communists and a close friend of the President of Serbia, Ivan Stambolić, who sent him to Kosovo to cool the tensions there between Serbs and Kosovars. Milošević, however, no longer considered himself a protégé of Stambolić. He had used his party position to gain control over the press and was prepared to grab power by challenging his former mentor.

Though they dominated Kosovo numerically, the Albanians of that republic were extremely disadvantaged in socio-economic terms. The Serbs, on the other hand, felt that the republic should belong to them because it had been the centre of their large medieval kingdom. Insofar as they could do so, the federal government had taken the Serbian side in this dispute and had jailed about 1600 Kosovar protesters as early as 1981, when martial law was declared and Prishtina University was closed. When Milošević arrived on his assigned mission of conflict resolution, the Serbs claimed that they were being oppressed by the Albanians.47 There were grounds for complaining; in 1986, some 60,000 Serbs in Kosovo petitioned for protection from the predominantly Albanian administration.48

Milošević addressed a mass meeting of Serbians and Montenegrins at the legendary ‘field of blackbirds’ where the Turks had defeated the Serbian Prince Lazar 600 years before. A provocation was organized, which prompted the police (who were mostly Kosovars) to use force. Thereupon, Milošević proclaimed that in the future, “nobody is going to beat these people.” The crowd went wild with appreciation and at that moment he became the populist leader of Serb nationalism.

This was only the opening sortie in his new campaign. Thereafter, Milošević kept up a steady mobilization in Serbia by holding mass rallies to whip up public emotions about the supposedly widespread abuse of Serbs in Kosovo. The ancient remains of Prince Lazar were placed in a coffin, which traveled from one Serbian village to another for a whole year. At each stop, the people reacted as if Lazar had been killed only the day before. They held a funeral ceremony that built up their anxieties and enabled them to consider themselves entitled to revenge against all Muslims in Yugoslavia, whom they portrayed as the same people as the Ottoman Muslims of 1389.49

This extremism gave Kosovar separatists an impetus to stage non-violent demonstrations. The majority of Albanians in Kosovo want their province to become an independent country. Every rally of theirs fueled Milošević’s own assertion that he was protecting Yugoslavia from a real threat of secession.
Probably the most serious limitation of democracy throughout Yugoslavia stemmed from the virtual lack of a free press. Urban residents had some access to unapproved information, but rural people had almost none. Governments controlled journalism to an extraordinary degree, not only limiting the flow of crucial information, but also whipping up chauvinistic emotions more than would have been possible, even in other Central or Eastern European countries. The impact of this can hardly be exaggerated when explaining the crude sentiments that rapidly supplanted civility in public discourse.50 As George Urban has suggested, one special circumstance set Yugoslavia apart from the other socialist countries save Albania: its lack of access to broadcasts from Radio Free Europe. During the cold war, none of the Soviet bloc countries enjoyed freedom of the press, but millions of alert citizens managed to obtain information through ‘surrogate broadcasting’. That is, dissidents presented their ideas to Western radio journalists, who beamed in this forbidden news via Voice of America. Radio Liberty, and other powerful foreign stations, stimulating discussions among the citizens and generally improving the popular level of knowledge concerning political affairs. Because Yugoslavia was courted as a potential ally. Western countries chose not to risk offending Tito and his successors by transmitting information to YugoSlavs that challenged the government’s official statements. Indeed, it was only after the breakup of Yugoslavia that the first Radio Free Europe South Slavic Service was launched. As a result of this delay, the development of political discourse in that country had fallen behind, sorely hindering the spread of a democratic culture.51


Early in 1989 Serbia established a new constitution that revoked the autonomy of Kosovo and Vojvodina. This change not only gave Serbia political control over those two provinces, but it allowed Milošević to pack the presidency with two additional of his political followers into the provincial seats, as well as control three delegations to the parliament. Since Montenegro was already in his pocket, Milošević now controlled four of the eight positions in each federal institution. Multiparty elections were about to be held for the first time in Serbia, and by this political sleight-of-hand, Milošević gained an advantage in the December 1989 Serbian presidential elections. He resorted openly to hate propaganda, which he disseminated through the press that he controlled, stimulating Serbs to demand the right to live in one state. Of course, those living in Yugoslavia already did live in one state, but what Milošević wanted was to acquire for Serbia those regions of other republics, including Croatia, where Serbs were numerous. The popularity of this expansionist image of a ‘Greater Serbia’ enabled him to sweep to victory unopposed as president of Serbia. In other republics, however, most people felt entirely otherwise.

In 1990 there were multi-party elections in the republics for the first time. As noted above, the inability to hold the first democratic elections over the entire country as federal state sounded the death knell for Yugoslavia.52 And although there were indeed many new parties, each republican election generally was an occasion for nationalists to beat their drums. In only one republic was a moderate elected: Kiro Gligorov became president of Macedonia. Warren Zimmermann had asked Milošević what his strategy was for winning Albanian support in Kosovo, but discovered that the idea had never crossed his mind.53

Yet the outcome was not just of Milošević’s doing. The political leader of the Kosovars, a pacifist named Ibrahim Rugova, might very well have gained considerable power through those free elections, had he been willing to campaign against Milošević. His Albanians vastly outnumbered the Serb voters in Kosovo. In the federal parliament, his delegation would have been a minority, to be sure, but he would have been able to hamstring the majority and win some of his objectives in that way. Yet Rugova refused to participate. His uncompromising demand was for independence and he had gained widespread support for that position. He insisted that the Kosovars would never again recognize Serbian authority and that he would not last a single day as their leader if he brought them into the electoral process.54 Rugova’s decision represented yet another failure of the democratic process.

In December 1990, Slovenia held a plebiscite asking whether voters wanted their republic to become an autonomous, independent state. It passed with 88.5%. This obliged the parliament to adopt within six months measures confirming this independence and enabling the republic to join a confederation of other Yugoslav peoples. No real negotiations took place; it was understood that a declaration of independence would simply be issued six months later, in June.55 The JNA did not wait that long, but immediately went on combat readiness.

The federal presidency was headed by a president appointed in rotation by the various republics. In May 1991 the Croatian member Stipe Mesić was supposed to assume that role. However, he had earned the enmity of Slobodan Milošević by openly supporting the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Since Milošević now had control over the votes of Kosovo, Vojvodina, Montenegro, and his own republic, Serbia, he was in a position to prevent Mesić from taking office. This was so clearly a violation of democratic principles that within a few weeks the European Community’s ‘troika’ of foreign ministers visited Belgrade and prevailed upon Milošević to let Mesić be appointed to the presidency. By that time, insiders knew that it was impossible to keep Yugoslavia from breaking up. War was inevitable. By agreeing to seat Mesić, Milošević was simply stalling in the knowledge that his Serbia, as well as Slovenia and Croatia, were rushing their preparations for the violent breakup that was imminent.56 The Slovenian and Croatian national guards were beginning to be transformed from police forces into armies. Slovene and Croat soldiers deserted from the JNA to join the them, leaving the JNA high command increasingly Serb, though it already had been disproportionately so since the 1980s.

Milošević may actually have wanted the Slovenes to leave so that Croatia would lack allies to help fight against him in the upcoming war.57 President Kucan said that Milošević offered him a deal: He would accept secession on condition that Kucan agree to re-write the constitution of Yugoslavia and extend the right to secede not just to all republics but also to all ethnic groups.58 For their part, the Slovenes simply wanted independence and were unconcerned about the consequences of their secession for the rest of.Yugoslavia.

Only in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia did politicians cherish any hope that Yugoslavia would hold together. Presidents Gligorov of Macedonia and Izetbegović of Bosnia-Herzegovina believed that their republics could not survive without the entirety of Yugoslavia remaining intact. They tried to promote a new structure for Yugoslavia as a loose confederation, but Presidents Milošević of Serbia, Tudjman of Croatia, and Kucan of Slovenia dismissed the idea as contrary to the interests of their republics.59 The breakup was now inevitable.

Sporadic ethnic confrontations had turned violent beginning in March 1991 in western Slavonia, where the JNA intervened. The same month, Croatian policemen and Serb paramilitary forces engaged in a battle in a national park near Knin, where two were killed and 20 injured. Again, the JNA intervened.60


Only when Croatia and Slovenia were on the verge of declaring their independence did the international community become seriously engaged in trying to prevent the looming disaster. The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (later the OSCE) opposed the breakup of Yugoslavia and in this position were supported by the European Community’s foreign ministers (including Germany), who warned that they would not recognize Slovenia and Croatia if they seceded unilaterally.

U.S. Secretary of State James Baker made a quick trip to Belgrade on June 21, 1991 and took the same position as the European organizations, adding that the United States also objected to any use of force to prevent the breakup. His visit seems to have left everyone confused, believing that Baker had supported their own position. Serbians believed that his message was: Stay united. The Slovenians and Croatians understood him to emphasize only that, if they decided to secede, no one should forcibly prevent that.61 When Baker flatly told Tudjman and Kucan that the U.S. would not recognize any unilateral secession on their part, Tudjman replied by simply expressing certainty that the JNA would not fight to stop a Croatian declaration of independence.62

Four days after Baker’s visit, Slovenia and Croatia declared independence. Two days later war started between Slovenia and the JNA. Croatia would not get off so lightly, but Slovenia’s war of independence was extremely brief and cost the lives of only nine of its soldiers. The Slovenes shot down a helicopter that was carrying bread; its pilot was a Slovene soldier in the JNA, which lost 37 men in all.

On June 30 the EC sent the troika of foreign ministers to halt the bloodshed. EC representatives attended a presidency meeting the next week and persuaded Slovenia and Croatia to delay independence for three months. This, the Brioni Accord, did bring the war in Slovenia to a close, but it did not prevent the Croatian war. Though negotiations were supposedly going on during this period, everyone knew that these were not serious, and it came as no surprise that Serb irregulars and the JNA were engaged in heavy fighting against Croats by the end of June.63 Milošević told the Italian Foreign Minister Gianni De Michelis that Croatia would not be allowed to leave Yugoslavia because 600,000 Serbs lived there.64


The real war began in August 1991 in Eastern Croatia around Vukovar, where Serb nationalists had seized power and were trying to expel their Croat neighbors and bring the region into a ‘greater Serbia’. EC observers were reporting ethnic cleansing and atrocities on the part of the JNA.65 Extremist allies of President Milošević were inciting conflict between the Serbs and Croats.

Between September 7, and December 15, 1991 the EC convened a Peace Conference on Yugoslavia in The Hague, with Lord Carrington as its chairman.

It did not, however, find any basis for compromise.66 Carrington asked Milošević whether he would accept the independence of Croatia if protection could be assured to the Serbs living there. Milošević agreed, and Carrington tried to turn this agreement into a sul3stantial plan to end the conflict throughout Yugoslavia. It would give all the republics sovereignty and independence. In fact, Milošević had accepted Carrington’s plan only because he assumed he would get what he wanted — that the rest of the republics besides Croatia and Slovenia would reject independence and stay in Yugoslavia. In order to defeat the Carrington plan, at least one president of a republic would have to agree to stay in Yugoslavia. Milošević expected Montenegro’s Momir Bulatović to do so, but in fact Bulatović announced the intention of seceding as well, noting that the Carrington plan was an excellent means of stopping the war. It would have dissolved Yugoslavia. Shocked, Milošević walked out of the meeting and summoned his supporters to confer about the new situation. These people took Bulatović to task for his ‘treachery’, accusing him of accepting money in exchange for his vote. In fact, Bulatović could not deny that the Italian foreign minister De Michelis had held out a powerful incentive for Montenegrins: aid from, and speedy entry into, Europe. The intense pressure from Milošević’s team convinced Bulatović to sign a retraction of his vote. The Carrington plan was dead.67

With the way cleared for further fighting, the Serbs went about completing their battle against Vukovar, now using heavy artillery instead of fighting from house to house. Although Tudjman realized that Vukovar could not be saved, he chose to use the defeat of the city as a means of winning sympathy from the West. He promised the supplies and artillery pieces that his Croat general requested, but these never arrived. The commander openly accused Tudjman of sacrificing the city to gain international sympathy. If that was the leader’s plan, it succeeded. Vukovar fell, but Hans Dietrich Genscher, the experienced but sympathetic foreign minister of Germany, argued in favor of recognizing Croatia and Slovenia. He tried hard to persuade other countries to do so.

However, most other countries, including the United States, regarded recognition as a serious mistake. Both Cyrus Vance and Lord Carrington opposed recognizing any Yugoslav republic until they had all agreed on their relationships. Vance, the former U.S. Secretary of State, now the personal envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, was making some progress in negotiating a truce between Croatia and the Yugoslav army. He told U.S. Ambassador Warren Zimmermann, “My friend Genscher is out of control on this. What he’s doing is madness.”

Just then, in late November, Bosnian President Alija Izetbegović went to visit Genscher in Bonn, hoping to convince him that EC recognition of Croatia and Slovenia would bring war to Bosnia. When they met, however, Izetbegović evidently forgot to bring the subject up, perhaps allowing Genscher to suppose that he had no objections.68


The EC had decided on August 27 against recognizing any Yugoslav republic until its claim had been investigated by a commission which it established under the judicial supervision of Robert Badinter. It had also proposed a peace conference — the one over which Lord Carrington unsuccessfully presided. However, during that same period other diplomats were also at work on the Balkan problems. Cyrus Vance, who was working separately for the United Nations, succeeded in brokering a cease-fire between Croatia and the JNA on November 23, 1991. It was not finalized until January 2, 1992, but it proved to be lasting. The UN Security Council also sent 14,000 peacekeeping troops to Croatia in early 1992. The cease-fire also called for UN peacekeepers to be based at Sarajevo, and to patrol it in an attempt to prevent war in Bosnia.

Meanwhile, the EC-sponsored Badinter Commission was investigating the applications for sovereignty of all the republics, including Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo, which had followed the separatist example of Slovenia and Croatia. Badinter gave favorable recommendations with respect to sovereignty to them all except Bosnia-Herzegovina. It did not issue any ruling on Kosovo. Despite its favorable recommendation, Macedonia was not immediately recognized as an independent state, mainly because Greece objected. Badinter demanded that Croatia improve guarantees for human rights and protection for minorities and that Bosnia-Herzegovina hold a referendum before attempting to secede.

Before an official referendum could be held, the Bosnian Serbs held a referendum of their own in which 99% took the position that if the republic tried to secede from Yugoslavia, they would demand the right to create a Serb republic within Bosnia-Herzegovina. Since the Serbs constituted only one-third of the Bosnian population, they were outnumbered by Muslims and Croats and would surely be outvoted by people who did want secession from Yugoslavia. Therefore the Bosnian Serb leaders proclaimed their own new republic, Republika Srpska, with its own government and currency. The EC ignored their referendum, as they had also ignored a referendum that the Serbs in Croatia had held, showing their desire to stay in Yugoslavia.

In retaliation, the Serbs boycotted the referendum which the Badinter Commission had requested, which occurred at the end of February, 1992. In an extraordinary polarization of opinion, some 99% of those voting in that official referendum supported independence. Accordingly, Bosnia did obtain speedy diplomatic recognition and a seat at the United Nations.

Whereas the United States (in contrast to its earlier position vis-à-vis Slovenia’s and Croatia’s status) promoted the recognition of Bosnia-Herzegovina. and Macedonia as sovereign states, the European Community remained hesitant, on the grounds that Bosnia had become so weakened politically that it could not function as a sovereign country. The EC negotiators, now led by the Portuguese mediator Jose Cutileiro, convened meetings with a view to keeping all three of the Bosnian party leaders committed to existing Bosnian borders and thereby (they hoped) preventing war, without recognizing Bosnian sovereignty. In Lisbon in March 18, 1992 the three parties did meet and signed an agreement to form a confederation of three constituent nations, each of which would form an ethnic canton. However, this agreement did not hold up. Both Izetbegović and Bosnia’s Croatian leader, Mate Boban, reversed themselves within days and withdrew their consent from the Lisbon Accord.

Now there was certain to be a war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. President Izetbegović, who foresaw this outcome, had been open to almost anything that would have held Yugoslavia together. He knew, nevertheless, that if Slovenia and Croatia were to secede, Bosnia would not accept its new position as a minority within a Serbian-dominated Yugoslavia. His government would have to secede too, though that would mean war.

The logic of the Bosnian Serb position was similar to Izetbegović’s. They too wanted to hold Yugoslavia together at all costs. If, nevertheless, Bosnia were to secede, they were unwilling to accept a new position as a minority within a Bosnia dominated by Muslims and Croats. They would have to secede too.

Moreover, both of these positions were logically identical to the recent position of the Serbs in Croatia. They too had refused to be forced against their will to separate from Yugoslavia. And, had Tito’s practices been followed, none of these groups could have been forced to accept the majority’s decision in their republics. Tito had treated each constituent nationality as if it had veto power, whether or not this was absolutely guaranteed constitutionally. His system of consensus would have required a majority of voters of each nation and each significant national minority to accept the proposal before it could be adopted. Had this practice been maintained during the early 1990s, a stalemate might have occurred, but not the wars that actually took place.

The liberal democracies of Europe and North America were not in the habit of using consensual (consociational) forms of democracy, but believed that decisions should be made on the basis of the majority of voters in the whole state. Their procedures were imposed. The referendum was decisively won by the separatists, which legitimized Bosnia’s right to secede.

There were, of course, cogent reasons for some groups in Yugoslavia to fear for their safety under a simple system of majority rule. Minorities recalled their experiences during World War II but these fears were not taken particularly seriously. Warren Zimmermann reports that he kept trying to convince the Bosnian Serbs to take part in the Bosnian referendum and accept its outcome. Had they done so, they would have become a minority within an independent Bosnia.69 As Susan Woodward notes,

it was a matter of unresolved constitutional interpretation whether republics had the right to secede and, if so, whether individuals who identified with another constituent nation within these republics had to give their consent. In choosing to define sovereignty in terms of the republican borders and the claims of the majority nation for an independent state, the EC politicians made no accommodation to this second, constitutionally equal category of rights to self-determination …

Yet the EC had no leverage with which to persuade the Serbs in Croatia and Albanians in Serbia to be satisfied with minority rights when their rebellions were motivated, in part, by real discrimination by the governments that would be expected to guarantee them protections.70


In April 1992 Sarajevo, the famously tolerant multi-ethnic capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was about to become a besieged city. On March 3, Bosnia had declared itself an independent nation. The Bosnian Serbs, rejecting this declaration, had begun to fight. Across Bosnia there were local hostilities in February and March 1992.

Soon the Muslims would be engaged in two wars: against both the Serbians and, sporadically, the Bosnian Croats. Despite their own fight over the Serb areas of Croatia, Tudjman and Milošević had a common vision of the future: partition Bosnia so that each of its three constituent peoples would have a country of its own. (Presumably, the Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Serbs would link their own territories to Croatia and Serbia respectively.) To this end, Tudjman initiated secret meetings between the Bosnian Serbs and his clients, the Bosnian Croats, after the cease-fire of January 1992 in Croatia. According to Stipe Mesić, they reached an agreement to divide Bosnia along the Neretva River between Croatia and Serbia.71 The plan would have left the third constituent people, the Muslims, essentially stateless. In February and March, Croatians — who had been allied with the Muslims against the Serbs — started their own ‘ethnic cleansing’ program against the Muslims to create an ethnically ‘pure’ region. There were reports of concentration camps. More serious, however, were the Bosniaks’ fights against Serbs.

There were some 100,000 JNA troops in Bosnia. As soon as Bosnia was recognized as an independent state in April, their presence would mean that Serbia would be seen as an aggressor state. To prevent this, Milošević transferred every Bosnian Serb in the JNA to a unit in Bosnia, along with abundant JNA weaponry. The Bosnian Serb leader Dr. Radovan Karadzić thereby acquired a well-trained and equipped army of 80,000 men, still on Belgrade’s payroll. Milošević also sent Serb paramilitaries who were nationalists and specialists in terror, led by the self-proclaimed Chetnik Vojislav Šešelj.72 These fighters quickly captured the city of Bijeljina in northwest Bosnia, then rounded up activist Bosniak civilians and killed them.

Izetbegović called upon the police and militia to defend his new state. Instead, thousands of Sarajevo’s citizens marched to the parliament chamber, shouting their opposition to the nationalism of both the Bosniak government and the Serb rebels. Then they attempted to march on the Serb headquarters in the downtown Holiday Inn, but Karadzić told his guards to fire on the crowd. Six demonstrators were killed. Karadzić and his men took to the hills above the city and began mortaring and sniping at the downtown area. Izetbegović had the option of partitioning the city and thereby stopping the fighting but he refused. The Serbs would hold the city under siege for 40 months, and some 10,000 of its inhabitants would be killed.

The Serbs’ main goal was not to seize Sarajevo but to take control of Serb areas in the region adjoining Serbia itself. However, there were some towns there whose, inhabitants were mostly Muslim. Most of them were expelled as displaced persons.73

In an effort to forestall the fighting, the French government had proposed to President George Bush that preventive peacekeepers be sent to help the Bosnian government. Still smarting from the defeat in Vietnam, the U.S. administration declined, saying that the proposal did not provide for any ‘exit strategy’.74 Indeed, the State Department officials [notably Lawrence Eagleburger] made sure not to threaten any use of force. As Wayne Bert notes,

Eagleburger seemingly had no misgivings about the value of American credibility unless some overt threat was made for which there was no follow-through. Complete inaction, in his view, did not compromise U.S. credibility.75

President Clinton would change this policy only after three years had elapsed and thousands of uprooted persons had been massacred while under the protection of peacekeepers.76 However, the international community was not entirely passive during this time. In June and July 1992, peacekeepers took charge of the Sarajevo airport and maintained it for an international airlift. In August there was a major international conference on Yugoslavia in London. The agreements reached there dealt with aid and a cease-fire, but were never implemented. In September, the UN Security Council suspended Yugoslavia from its membership in the General Assembly. In November, the Security Council authorized a naval blockade of the new, smaller Yugoslavia — now consisting only of Serbia and Montenegro.

None of these measures had much effect. Throughout the winter and spring of 1992-93, the beseiged Sarajevans lost most access to gas, water, electricity, food, fuel, and medicine. The humanitarian air-lift met only a small fraction of the needs. However, the United Nations defined enclaves — so-called ‘safe areas’ — where displaced persons could expect some measure of security during that terrible winter. The first declaration of such a safe area came about unexpectedly. General Morillon, the French peacekeeping commander, went to Srebrenica with a convoy of food which the surrounding Serbs would not allow through. Morillon himself proceeded to the town through a minefield and saw there the ghastly human consequences of ethnic cleansing. When he prepared to leave, the angry people would not permit him to go. Immediately he decided to stay there and proclaimed that his U.N. peacekeepers would protect the enclave. Morilion had no authority to promise to protect the Muslim side in the war. The astonished Security Council had to react. One resolution called for Srebrenica to become a safe haven, which would have required the United Nations to defend it. Eventually, however, the European view prevailed. The final resolution, adopted on April 16, 1993, did not call Srebrenica a ‘safe haven,’ but merely a ‘safe area’ — a term that lacked any official meaning. The United Nations sent peacekeepers — the United Nations Protection Force, or UNPROFOR — but they were not supposed to protect anyone. The belligerents of all sides resented or even hated them for their impotence. A few weeks later the Security Council set up five other safe areas for Sarajevo and the Muslim towns of Tuzla, Bihac, Zepa, and Goražde.77 According to Mark Danner, the Bosniak government sought to “make use of the misery of the enclaves to force action by the United Nations and Western countries. .. [They] were simply trying to make use of the only weapon the peculiar and hypocritical international involvement in their country seemed to offer them.”78

Most Western reporters allege,79 on the other hand, that the Serbs were disproportionately responsible for war crimes in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and later in Kosovo. Ironically, the Serbs’ initial arguments against the breakup of Yugoslavia were as logical as the demands of the Slovenians, Croats, Bosniaks, and Kosovars, but their claims were rejected in the public mind abroad because of their military excesses. Reading the numerous reports of Serb atrocities, Westerners necessarily placed most of the blame on the Serbs and criticized UNPROFOR for doing too little to protect their victims.80

The Geneva conference — International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia (ICFY) — was a joint project of the EC and the United Nations. It was headed by Cyrus Vance and Lord David Owen, who carried on negotiations during the winter of 1992. On January 2, 1993 they unveiled their proposed solution. The Vance-Owen plan would have divided Bosnia into ten cantons on ethnic lines and would have limited the Serb portion to 43% of the territory but — at least nominally — Bosnia would have remained a single sovereign country. The Croats welcomed the plan, while the Bosniaks were slower to accept it.81 Under considerable pressure, Karadzić signed the document, knowing that it would have to be ratified by the Bosnian Serb assembly. After the assembly in Pale had listened to all the arguments, they went into a closed session, excluding Milošević and Montenegro’s President Bulatovic from the room. Milošević left. The Assembly did not directly reject the plan, but called for a referendum, which was held in mid-May 1993; the Bosnian Serbs decisively rejected Vance-Owen plan.

Still, the mediators continued. Cyrus Vance was replaced by Norwegian foreign minister Thorwald Stoltenberg, who with Lord Owen worked out a new peace plan, sometimes referred to as the ‘Invincible’ plan after the British battleship on which some of the negotiations were held. In June Milošević, Izetbegović, Tudjman, and other leaders met in Geneva. However, seeing a plan emerge to split Bosnia into three parts, Izetbegović walked out of the talks. On August 30, 1993 the Bosnian government rejected the Owen-Stoltenberg plan, as it had rejected earlier proposals.

Now the Croats and Muslims were seriously fighting. The Bosnian government sought to captare Croat areas of Bosnia. Tudjman’s army fought aggressively to keep that from happening, but his army contained thousands of Muslims, so the officers set up camps and imprisoned the Muslim soldiers who had been their comrades only days before. The appalling conditions of these camps resembled those of the concentration camps of World War II; many died. The responsibility for these conditions went right to the top of the Croat government. Stipe Mesić said that Tudjman himself had said of these camps, “We shouldn’t be ashamed of ourselves.”82 However, throughout the fall of 1993 the Bosnian army and Muslim militia were winning battles against the Bosnian Croat Army, which had the active support of the Croatian Army. Yet the Bosniaks’ war against the Serbs was not going well; Bosnian Serbs (sometimes with the support of Yugoslav regulars) continued to prevail in most of their fights against the Bosnian Army in Sarajevo, the enclaves, and Mostar, and they were mobilizing an even stronger army from the Serb refugees.

The Serbs were still in the hills around Sarajevo and the war continued. On February 4, 1994, the Marketa Marketplace in Sarajevo was shelled, killing 68 people and wounding over 200. This event induced Bill Clinton to issued an ultimatum to the Serbs. NATO was preparing to bomb them unless they handed over their heavy weapons. Karadzić agreed, on condition that the Russians join the peacekeeping forces; that demand was met.

American diplomats decided to pursue the solution to one of the two wars which the Bosnians were then fighting. They would propose a Muslim-Croat Federation supported by Croatia. There was one incentive for Tudjman to accept this: He needed American support for his plan to recapture those parts of Croatia that had been taken by Serbia. Seeing certain possibilities in this deal, Tudjman agreed. On March 18, 1994 he and President Izetbegović met in Washington and signed an alliance to end their war.

But the other war continued. NATO threatened to strike the Serbs if they did not stop firing and pull back from Sarajevo. By April 27, they had essentially complied. In May the major powers formed the ‘Contact Group’ — representatives from Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States — offered yet another peace plan, starting with a four-month cease-fire and moving eventually toward the partition of Bosnia. The Croats accepted the plan willingly, whereas the Bosniaks were more reluctant. The Bosnian Serbs rejected the proposal, against the wishes of Milošević, who refused to give them any further help.

During the summer and fall of 1994 the Bosnian Army became more successful in the campaigns against the Serb separatists. The cease-fire around Sarajevo held, and the Bosnian troops won a major victory at Bihac. A week later, however, the Serbs retaliated against NATO, whose planes had begun bombing Serbian forces, by taking peacekeepers and holding them hostage. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter undertook to mediate a solution to the conflict and on December 20 announced a Bosnian cease-fire, which (except in Bihac) lasted four months, ending in May 1, 1995.

Now the war in Croatia flared up again. The Croatian government undertook a new offensive against the Croatian Serbs, seeking to recapture land. In retaliation, the Serbs shelled Zagreb. By May 24, 1995 the United Nations ordered Serbs to remove heavy weapons from the Sarajevo area. When this order was not obeyed, NATO attacked. In response, the Bosnian Serbs shelled safe areas, including Tuzla, and used some 370 U.N. peacekeepers as human shields against NATO airstrikes. By mid-June, however, almost all the peacekeepers had been released. The Bosnian government launched an offensive to break the siege of Sarajevo, which ended in May 1995.

Still, the Muslim enclaves in eastern Bosnia were extremely vulnerable. For three years, tens of thousands of displaced Muslims had been in Srebrenica. After Bosniak fighters in their midst launched an attack against the Serbs, the Serbs retaliated on July 6, 1995 by shelling Srebrenica and clearing its inhabitants. People were herded into a soccer field and killed in large numbers.83 The United Nations tried to evacuate some of them but General Mladic, the Serb commander, shoved them aside and put the people onto waiting buses. When the buses reached Muslim-controlled territory the only passengers were women and children; all the men had been taken off, shot, and buried. The death toll of Muslims there between July 12-16 was 7,079.84

It was the massacres at Srebrenica and later at other ‘safe areas’ such as Zepa, that finally forced the Western states to consider stronger responses. President Chirac of France called for the United Nations to retake Srebrenica, but the United States did not accept that idea. Instead, they agreed to shift populations around inside Bosnia so as to create a stable balance of power. Earlier such a proposal would have been considered ethnic cleansing, but now it seemed necessary.

Another aspect of the new plan was to give Croatia a green light to retake the one-fourth of its territory that the Serbs had previously captured — Krajina. Now holding a clear military advantage, Tudjman’s troops began shelling the rebel capital Knin. The Serb soldiers had fled and now also fleeing were 100,000 Serbs who had long lived in Croatia. Tudjman’s army burned their villages and murdered hundreds of old people. This offensive, ‘Operation Storm,’ resembled the U.S. military doctrine called ‘AirLand Battle 2000’ because the Croats were being trained by American officers based in Germany.85 Though some of the American negotiators wanted Tudjman to call off the offensive, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and others were pleased to see the Serb wave reversed.86 However, they were instructed not to say publicly that they encouraged more bloodshed and fighting.87

While this military campaign was going on, another shell fell in Sarajevo near the marketplace, dismembering 37 people. This finally pushed the United States to undertake serious bombing of the Serbs. Milošević summoned the Bosnian Serb leaders to Belgrade and demanded that they give him full authority to negotiate a peace on their behalf. Their acceptance, it seemed, would amount to political suicide, for the Serb Bosnian population would not have approved. However, there was one person who could provide an alibi that would be accepted by the Bosnian Serb population — the patriarch of the Orthodox Church. Following his ‘suggestion,’ Karadzić capitulated, and serious negotiations would begin, with Milošević representing his side.

This time, however, the prospect of a political agreement did not suffice to halt the military actions. Within a fortnight NATO pilots flew 3400 sorties, pounding especially hard the Bosnian Serbs’ communications network. Within a month the Serbs had lost much of the territory they had won in previous battles, so that they held approximately half of Bosnia’s land.88 At the same time, Holbrooke was carrying on negotiations in Belgrade, insisting that the Serbs must stop bombing Sarajevo and withdraw their weapons from its hills. Only pressure from Milošević and Bulatovic forced Karadzić and Mladic to agree. They withdrew their heavy weapons and, in response, the Americans called off their air strikes.

Seeing that the war would soon be over, the Muslims and Croats, who were already winning their battles, pushed through to seize as much territory as possible while the opportunity still existed. Holbrooke realized that the more land they grabbed, the more they might be able to keep in a peace agreement. However, Holbrooke worried that the offensive might not succeed much longer, so he warned Izetbegović that his lines were so thin that the Serbs might be able to punch holes in them. He proposed a cease-fire.

Izetbegović agreed, but only on condition that the water, gas, and electricity be turned on in Sarajevo now and that the road to Goražde be opened before the start of a peace conference. He was buying time, but he accepted the ceasefire after five days.89 Holbrooke told Tudjman that he had five days left to take Prijedor and Sanski Most, two towns in northwestern Bosnia: “What you don’t win on the battlefield will be hard to gain at the peace talks. Don’t waste these last days.”90

Holbrooke was working hard at establishing the terms of the peace. He knew that the peacekeepers, IFOR, had to be headquartered in Sarajevo and would also have to be deployed in the Serb portion of Bosnia, which would be called Republika Srpska. There was some debate about the duties of the military. They did not want to take on many responsibilities and, although Holbrooke believed they should have the duty to arrest war criminals, they accepted the authority but not the obligation to undertake such tasks.91


The leaders of all the belligerents came to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio in November 1995 with a team of negotiators that included Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Richard Holbrooke. Christopher laid down four conditions for a settlement: (1) Bosnia must remain a single state; (2) the settlement must take into account the special history and significance of multiethnic Sarajevo; (3) human rights must be respected and those responsible for atrocities must be brought to account; and (4) the status of eastern Slavonia must be resolved.92

The process was scheduled to last 17 days. They first addressed the reaffirmation of the Federation of Muslims and Croats, which had been established in September 1993 by the Washington Agreement. Then there was a solution to the timing of a reversion of eastern Slavonia to Croatia.93 It was decided that each entity within Bosnia might have its own military force; this was recognized as a flaw, but an inevitable one.94

Next Holbrooke brought together Milošević and Hark Silajdzic, the prime minister of Bosnia. One issue confronting them was the security of Goražde, a Muslimenclave in eastern Bosnia that had to be connected to the Muslim-Croat Federation. NATO would build the road, but Milošević had to give up a corridor through which it would pass. Any corridor that was sufficiently wide to be secure would significantly reduce the Serbs’ proportion of Bosnian territory. There was a complicated process of shaving the lines on the map to make each side’s territory conform to the agreed proportions.

Also, the displaced persons voting issue was resolved. The compromise allowed people to vote in the area where they had lived in 1991, but apply to an electoral commission for the right to vote elsewhere.95 One important issue was left unresolved: the fate of Brčko, a town in vulnerable corridor of Republika Srpska, was to be decided by arbitration at a later time. (Not until March 6, 1999 did the arbitrators decide to leave the city permanently under international control rather than return it to the Serbs.)

These, then, were the terms of the ‘Dayton Accords,’ which were signed a month later in Europe, where it is called the ‘Paris Peace Plan’. It stopped the war without bringing peace. The document called for the presence in Bosnia-Herzegovina of an international group of peacekeepers under NATO command, to be called SFOR (Stabilization Force), plus a High Representative named by Europe to command the civilian operations. This post was initially held by Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, followed by Carlos Westendorp of Spain, and then by Wolfgang Petritsch of Austria.

Bosnia’s infrastructure and economy remained terribly damaged for years before significant reconstruction began, nor was much progress made in creating joint Bosnian institutions. Everywhere the police were mainly strongly partisan and could not be counted on to impose justice. Refugees were supposedly free to go back to their former homes but usually they were justifiably afraid to return. Rebuilding was slow because foreign sources of capital were dubious, for good reasons, about the prospects of an enduring peace, especially one that would require the cooperation of all the nationalities of Bosnia.

In September 1996, probably too quickly after the war, a national government was elected, thoUgh many Serbs boycotted the collective presidency election. The winners were mainly the same people whose hateful decisions had led the country into war. The OSCE certified the elections as ‘free and fair’ over numerous objections, and local elections were held a year later. The High Representative accused officials of the Muslim-Croat Federation of diverting some $30 million in aid. In Republika Srpska, there was a bitter conflict between the hard-line Serb nationalists based in Pale, followers of the indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzić, and a group located in Banja Luka headed by the president of Republika Srpska, Mrs. Biljana Plavsic, who agreed to honor the Dayton agreement. A struggle developed over control of the media.96

President Plavsic won the first rounds of this dispute, but in September 1998 elections she was defeated by an ultra-nationalist supporter of Karadzić, Nikola Poplasen, who was later dismissed by the High Representative for consistent obstruction of Dayton implementation. On the other hand, moderates generally fared well in the parliamentary races in an election that was declared even more ‘free and fair’ than the previous one. The new three-member presidency now consisted of Alija Izetbegović (overwhelmingly re-elected by the Bosniak community), the moderate Serb Zivko Radisic (who narrowly defeated a hard-liner) and Ante Jelavic, a hard-line Croat.97

Although in February 1993 an international war crimes tribunal had been established in The Hague and 21 Bosnian Serb commanders had been charged with genocide and crimes against humanity, few of those who were indicted were actually captured and brought to trial. Neither Mladic nor Karadzić had been allowed to run for office, but they remained free and were supported by the dominant political factions among the Serbs. The SFOR officers refused to assume the risks connected with any initiative to capture them until 1999 and 2000, when the previously reluctant French peacekeepers arrested several high-ranking indicted persons, but not yet either Karadzić or Mladic, who were believed to be in their sector in eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina.98

Still, Freedom House ranked Bosnia as ‘partly free’ in 1997-98, and in spring elections of 2000, the voters did make some important changes in the Federation by supporting candidates of the Social Democratic Party — formerly the Communists — the least nationalistic of all the parties in Bosnia and Hercegovina.

In the aftermath of the Dayton settlement, the various states had quite different experiences. Of the former Yugoslav Republics in the first few years of the post-Dayton period, Slovenia came closest to meeting its goals, both economically and politically. It is the only one of the states that had been part of Yugoslavia rated as fully free (i.e. democratic) by Freedom House.99

Croatia — or at least Franjo Tudjman — was the main winner from the Dayton settlement. The Croatian entity within Bosnia was merged into the Muslim-Croat Federation, but nevertheless it continued to function almost as an integral part of Croatia.100 According to Freedom House, Croatia soon achieved a rating of ‘partly free’. In December 1999 Tudjman, who was being investigated for war crimes by the tribunal,101 died of cancer. A national election was held soon and he was succeeded by the same Stipe Mesić whose election to the presidency of the former Yugoslavia had been blocked by Milošević in the final months before the country broke up. Mesić immediately displayed a new commitment to democratization and to reforming the conspicuous corruption which had characterized Tudjman’s government.

Macedonia, with its two million inhabitants, was the only republic that managed to secede peacefully from Yugoslavia, almost by default. There had been no strong nationalistic movement there until 1992. When the new nation adopted the Macedonian name and symbols, Greece objected strongly, claiming the right to reserve these symbols for use by the region of its own country that is also called Macedonia. This Greek response largely created Macedonian nationalism. Besides these symbolic conflicts, the new state confronted some realistic threats. It was subjected to a double blockade for two years: Greece embargoed trade on the one hand and there were international sanctions against Serbia, on which it was dependent for trade routes as well as goods. Nevertheless, Macedonia came through that period with considerable stability, primarily thanks to the U.N. preventive force (UNPREDEP) sent by the Security Council. Indeed, in 1999 it found ways to accept an enormous influx of Kosovar refugees and continued to avoid the strife typical of the other former republics of Yugoslavia.102 It was rated as ‘partly free’ by Freedom House in 1997-98.103

Serbia remained under the control of Milošević, who continued to function as a dictator, occasionally curtailing the freedom of the few radio stations and newspapers that dared criticize his regime. In the winter of 1996-97 there arose a popular opposition movement called Zajedno (‘Together’) in Belgrade and a few other cities.104 This occurred because Milošević openly prevented elected candidates from taking their seats if they were critical of him. A coalition of independent political factions came together and marched daily in the streets for three months, banging on pots and pans to make noise, especially when the state-run newscasts portrayed events through its own self-serving lens. Eventually Milošević relented somewhat, but the movement did not hold together long enough to reach its objectives. It was composed of three very dissimilar factions that could not cooperate long. At one side there was a genuinely democratic movement led by sociologist Vesna Pesic; in the centre there was a movement of mixed policies led by Zoran Djindjic, and on the other side was a Serb nationalist movement led by Vuk Draskovic, who had called for the expulsion of Kosovars from Kosovo. Later Milošević coopted Draskovic to serve in his government, but this connection did not survive NATO’s military intervention over the human rights violations in Kosovo in 1998-99.

Montenegro, the only republic to remain part of Yugoslavia with Serbia, soon became less satisfied with its status. By early 2000, democratically oriented President Milo Djukanovic was engaging in a sustained conflict with his counterpart, President Milošević and had proposed a referendum on the independence question. Belgrade then countered with a media campaign and threats of military intervention to prevent secession. Djukanovic’s Democratic Party of Socialists then accused Yugoslav generals of forming a paramilitary unit in Montenegro with loyalties to Milošević. Many informed political observers were predicting war.105 The leader of the Social Democratic Party, along with some officials of the OSCE, urged that international observers be deployed in Montenegro early, to prevent the fighting.106 This may not happen, since previous bad experiences have led the international community to try to prevent secession in any of the countries in the region, even including Serbia. There are certain examples of such missions that have worked — notably the presence of observers along Macedonia’s border with Kosovo and Serbia, which is one reason why Macedonia avoided war. On the other hand, UN peacekeepers have sometimes been in place without being able to prevent violence — as for example in Croatia in 1991 and most conspicuously in Srebrenica in 1995.

According to Freedom House, the rump Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) ranked as ‘not free’ in 1997-98. And, not surprisingly, Kosovo, which was rated separately, was also designated as ‘not free’.107 This reflected the plight of the Albanians in that province during the period preceding NATO’s decision to resort to bombing to prevent the ongoing violations of their human rights.


Oddly, it was probably Kosovo that suffered most (albeit indirectly) from the Dayton Accords. It was in Kosovo in 1987 that Slobodan Milošević had launched the nationalistic chauvinism that led to secession and wars throughout Yugoslavia, yet for several years the outside world hardly heard of Kosovo, while the news was full of stories about the troubles in Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia. This quiet was misleading, for human rights violations were continuing in Kosovo throughout that period, and the Albanian population was intensely engaged in a plan to rescue its culture. Had the international community paid more attention to the Kosovars and their non-violent campaign for independence, the transition to democracy there might have been uneventful. This did not happen.

When President Clinton summoned the belligerents of the former Yugoslavia to Dayton, he did not include any representatives from Kosovo. Milošević would not have come to Dayton had Kosovo been on the agenda and had Kosovars been invited. The United States’ priority was stopping the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Nevertheless, the omission proved to many Kosovar activists that their non-violent campaign was completely failing, and that they would have to take up arms in pursuit of their goals. That realization became the impetus that led to the rise of the Kosova Liberation Army (KLA) and its armed struggle against the Serbian army and government. The conflict would lead the NATO countries to bomb throughout Serbia on behalf of the Kosovars.

According to Human Rights Watch, during the decade after Milošević removed the autonomy of Kosovo, the province underwent the worst record of human rights violations in Europe. There had been ‘creeping ethnic cleansing’,108 as every possible incentive was created to induce the Albanian population to emigrate and Serbs to settle in the region.

From 1974 to 1987, when Kosovo enjoyed considerable provincial autonomy, the mainly Albanian leadership of the local League of Communists reversed much of the official discrimination against Albanians. This change led to allegations that the Serbs had become a disadvantaged group. In the intense period of the mid-1980s, this reverse discrimination was escalated into a charge of ‘cultural genocide’ of Kosovo’s Serbs. In fact, radical Albanians also opposed the ethnic Albanian provincial leadership, which they identified with the ‘repressive’ bureaucratic federal system and Party.

The Albanians of Kosovo had been in control of their own administration since 1974, when they began introducing bilingualism into the government (instead of using only Serbo-Croatian) and equalizing opportunity for employment. (Though outnumbered, the Serbs had previously dominated in language, status, and occupational ranks.) The miners and other Kosovar workers went on strike after Milošević stripped their province of its autonomy in 1989-90. In retaliation, at least 70% of all employed Albanians were dismissed from their jobs. The schools were forbidden to instruct in Albanian, but the teachers defied this order and were in turn dismissed too. Albanians were evicted from the University and from all except two high school buildings.109 At that time, though Kosovo had the highest birthrate in Yugoslavia and the highest illiteracy rate, it also had the highest proportion of youths in higher education,110 and was fully committed to their training.

The League for a Democratic Kosova (LDK), was led by Ibrahim Rugova, who was chosen in clandestine elections as president of a separatist republic in 1992. Rugova adopted methods that he had learned from reading Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. — especially non-cooperation tactics and the maintenance of parallel institutions.

Therefore, though most Albanian physicians had been fired from the state hospitals and Serbian was the only language allowed, the movement set up private clinics to provide free treatment. Wherever workers were fired, the movement encouraged them to set up small businesses. Belgrade fired 70% of all employed Albanians and imposed a Serbian curriculum of education. The teachers had insisting on teaching the Albanian curriculum, so the government stopped paying them, yet they carried on anyway for nine months — until they were bodily kept out of the schools. At that point, the teachers set up a parallel school system in private places such as empty houses and garages, serving their children of all ages, including university students. The people began a system of voluntary taxation that raised about 70% of the money required for their schools. The rest was, raised by their government-in-exile in Germany. The Kosovars living in exile — who numbered some 300,000 — also sent remittances home.111

Rugova and his party had concluded that the Serbian reprisals were so harsh that public demonstrations were not worth the penalties they incurred. Instead, they began to emphasize lobbying foreign governments, but they received little overt international support. Popular support for the non-violent campaign waned, but the mounting dissatisfaction did not immediately translate into a desire to take up arms, but rather into a sense of urgency about finding other, more effective, non-violent methods of struggle. University students took to the streets, ignoring the warnings of Rugova. Police used tear gas to disperse their march. At about that time the first public actions were undertaken by the Kosova Liberation Army (KLA, or, to use the Albanian acronym, UÇK), a guerrilla army that had begun forming in the spring of 1996, shortly after the Dayton agreement. Its political base was a political party that had existed since 1982: the Lëvizja Popullore e Kosovës (LPK), or Popular Movement for Kosovo.112 According to Adem Demaçi, the KLA’s political representative, the disaffected Albanians had drawn two lessons from Dayton. Lesson one: non-violence does not work. Though they had pursued a five-year strategy of exemplary nonviolence, the United States had ignored their concems and had made a deal with the warrior Milošević. Hence lesson two: violence pays.

In early 1997 the state collapsed in Albania and widespread looting of military bases took place. One could buy a Kalashnikov for $15, and soon these weapons were being put to use across the border in Kosovo. The non-violent Kosovar activists were turning to violence. The KLA ranks swelled, predominantly by rural people who had been political prisoners in the former Yugoslavia and who were ,dissatisfied with Rugova’s moderate methods. That summer the KLA took over large towns, which they could not defend. They fled when the Serbs came back and wreaked vengeance on the civilian inhabitants, yet those same civilians considered them as heroes.113

By the spring of 1998, Rugova was still the elected president of the Kosovars, yet the KLA had stolen his initiative. Fighting was increasingly widespread, but outside observers still believed that compromise was possible. Rugova had never wavered from his commitment to independence for Kosovo, but there was some basis for hoping that he might accept virtual statehood within a new Yugoslavia comprising three republics: Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo. This was the solution with the widest appeal, since the rest of the world was coming to oppose secession, which seemed to be a formula for additional trouble everywhere it was tried. Yet this three-state solution did not prevail because the KLA offensive, having seized control of 40% of the province, was on a roll and the Kosovars were euphoric about their prospects .114

They should not have been so optimistic. The Serbian army had recovered some of its strength after the cease-fires preceding Dayton. Yugoslavia’s replenished military forces now included about 15,000 members of the air force; 85,000 army troops (mostly poorly trained conscripts) plus possibly 200,000 reservists; and 15,000 personnel in the navy. They possessed 15 of the best MiGs and about 50 obsolete MiG interceptors, plus about 90 light ground-attack jets, in addition to various missiles. The army had about 1,270 battle tanks, mostly obsolete, plus 300 modern Soviet ones (which had fared poorly against the Western tanks in the Gulf War); and numerous armored fighting vehicles and guns. However, morale was low, and in some areas only one in ten reservists who were called up actually reported for duty. The country was drifting toward civil war, although no commanding officer had yet emerged to give the KLA a clear direction.

In September 1998 Serb forces attacked central Kosovo. Now the international community became more seriously involved. The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire. Some diplomatic monitors had been accepted in Kosovo, beginning in July. Holbrooke met with Milošević in Belgrade in October and threatened that NATO would bomb if the Serbian army’s offensive did not cease. A cease-fire was agreed and Milošević agreed to withdraw troops. The deal also permitted some 2,000 unarmed verifiers to be ‘sent by OSCE to join the other monitors and try to verify compliance with the cease-fire. However, Holbrooke agreed that Milošević might retain nearly 20,000 armed personnel in Kosovo, and in fact Milošević did not keep his commitment to reduce Serbian forces. The failure of this deal set the stage for a renewal of fighting in December and January.115

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill, though based in Macedonia, undertook shuttle diplomacy, negotiating with the KLA and Milošević.116 Yet the responses in Serbia were not encouraging. Most Belgrade politicians — including those who opposed Milošević and wanted democracy — promised to fight to keep Kosovo. Even if an opposition politician could oust Milošević, the fact remains that he had systematically closed down freedom of press, so the public knew little about the Serb atrocities in Kosovo. Therefore, Milošević’s successor — had he been chosen in a free election at that time — might have been a nationalist of truculent disposition, such as Vojislav Šešelj.117 Between October and December 1998, there was scattered violence in Kosovo every day.

In early February 1999 a first round of peace talks began in Rambouillet, France between Kosovo Albanian rebels and Serbs, even as intense fighting occurred on the ground. The Contact Group (France, Germany, Italy, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, and the United States) had issued ultimatums to Serbs to get the process underway: Come to Rambouillet and sign the documents there, or face air strikes.

The Serb delegation consisted of lawyers and party members from Belgrade, as well as unknown representatives from minorities throughout the region. The delegation excluded academics and Serbian Orthodox priests.

The Albanian delegation was headed by the KLA, though that army had no legitimate legal status in Kosovo and was never endorsed by President Rugova, the elected leader of the republic.

The delegations arrived in Rambouillet to find a document already on the table. It had been prepared in advance by Ambassador Hill. There were two co-chairs, France and England, with a Russian mediator. During the three weeks of meetings at Rambouillet, there were no meetings between the two delegations. The draft text indicated that Kosovo would be supervised by a peacekeeping force, but would have a fully-functioning indigenous government after 18 months. The terms that were most problematic to Serbia were those suggesting that the Kosovars might be permitted to secede three years in the future.118 This condition was demanded by the KLA and adopted only reluctantly by NATO when it became clear that the Kosovars would not otherwise sign the Rambouillet document. According to some observers, the Americans had seriously bungled the negotiations, first by weakening the status of the nonviolent elected Kosovar government, then by taking for granted the KLA’s acceptance of the text without bothering to address their security concerns by including NATO officials in the negotiations.119

Though ultimately the Kosovars proved to be conditionally willing to sign it, Milošević was not. The clause promising a future meeting to reach the final settlement three years later implied to him that the Kosovars would be permitted to secede at that point. This was the main issue of contention between his government and the Kosovars; to accept that would be tantamount to capitulation. For their own internal political reasons, the Russians did not put pressure on Milošević to sign the text and only later, during the bombing, began to seriously work on brokering an agreement.


The issue was not brought before the U.N. Security Council, since the Russians would certainly have vetoed any resolution calling for military action to enforce adoption of the Rambouillet text or any other similar document. President Clinton and the other NATO leaders therefore took the initiative without authorization and launched bombing attacks on March 24, 1999 against military targets throughout Serbia and Kosovo.

It was a draconian action ostensibly intended to save Albanians from atrocities, but it caused more immediate tragedies than it prevented. The Serbian forces had been assembling in preparation for a major assault against Kosovo, and when the bombing began, Milošević ordered that invasion. Hordes of refugees fled or were expelled forcibly from the country, and mass killings were carried out on the ground in Kosovo. According to estimates by a Swedish peace group, the Transnational Foundation (TFF) on April 16, 1999, there had been 13 months of warfare in Kosovo before the NATO bombings began, with an average of about five persons being killed per day and perhaps 632 persons fleeing from their homes. After the NATO bombing began, TFF asserts that the international community estimates that 15 persons were day were being killed and as many as 20,833 refugees per day running or being expelled from their homes. “Even if the figures above are estimates, there must be something fundamentally wrong with a peace policy that seems to kill 3 times more civilian people and produce 33 times more refugees per day than did the war it aims to stop,” said TFF director Jan Oberg.120

The Russian prime minister met with Milošević in March, but failed to reach a breakthrough that would halt the bombing, which included strikes in the heart of Belgrade, where the headquarters of the Yugoslav First Army was destroyed, along with civilian infrastructure such as bridges, and even (by accident) the Chinese Embassy. In fact, the attacks consolidated the morale of the Serbian population, including persons who had long been strong opponents of the regime. It was not that they liked Milošević any better, but that they were angry toward NATO about the casualties and destruction of the infrastructure.

Milošević may have actually wanted the bombing because it gave a cover for the ethnic cleansing that he had planned in advance.121 Refugees who succeeded in escaping from Serbia reported that the ‘cleaners’ had told them they had orders to ‘clean’ Kosovo within a week. By May, NATO claimed to have destroyed about one-quarter of the Serbian military capacity, but instead of halting the ethnic cleansing, it had intensified it. Some 1.2 million Kosovars had fled, leaving only about half a million persons of their community in Kosovo, mostly hiding in woods or being moved from place to place. About 100,000 men were then missing, thousands others had been executed; women had been raped, and large sums of money had been exacted before refugees were permitted to go to the border.122 Milošević was indicted for war crimes by the international tribunal.

The bombing continued until June 22 — much longer than the NATO leaders had expected would be necessary. In May, after a series of mistakes, including the bombing of a refugee convoy and a strike against a Serbian old people’s home, the NATO leaders were feeling desperate, as opinion polls showed support for the bombing was dropping sharply. The commander, General Wesley Clark, succeeded in obtaining permission to hit the Yugoslav power grid. This was the most effective military strike of the campaign, knocking out computers and civilian amenities throughout the country. Although this move had been avoided until that time, some analysts argue that it was more merciful than other targets, causing few casualties but immediately making it clear to the population that the regime’s days were numbered.123 Shortly thereafter, the Serbs began to negotiate seriously.

The Russian envoy, Victor Chernomyrdin, was representing the Serbian government in negotiations with the American Deputy Secretary of State, Strobe Talbott, and Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari. When they reached an agreement on June 4, Milošević accepted it and agreed to withdraw all Yugoslav military and police forces from Kosovo within seven days and allow more than 50,000 foreign troops under a United Nations flag — many of them from NATO and under NATO command — to police the province.124 Even so, the insistence by Milošević and the Russians that the UN. and not NATO should govern Kosovo meant that the United Nations was forced to undertake an operation for which it was not prepared and had no funds.

By June 13, about 200 Russian troops entered the Kosovo capital and took up positions at the military airport, much to the consternation of NATO. A few hours later, the first NATO troops arrived. An agreement was established for joint peacekeeping operations between the Russians and Westerners, though the relations between these two sides had become more acrimonious during the war than at any other time since the ending of the Cold War.

The terms of the peace agreement were basically the same as those that the G8 industrial nations had laid down a month before. They permitted a few hundred uniformed Serbs to return to Kosovo and guard border posts and Serbian holy sites as a symbol of Yugoslav sovereignty over the province, but there was little sovereignty left otherwise for Belgrade. Kosovo was to have ‘substantial autonomy’ and was to be under the supervision of an international authority that would establish new democratic institutions and elections, as well as seeing to the return of refugees.

Nevertheless, it can be argued that Belgrade made major gains from the conflict with NATO, for the terms of the peace agreement are more to its liking than the one produced at Rambouillet. Nothing was said in the new text about any referendum or re-examination of Kosovo’s sovereignty after three years, as Rambouillet did. Indeed, the final peace agreement does not differ greatly from the one that the Serbs would have accepted before the bombing began.

However, they had refused to allow armed foreign peacekeeping forces into the country, even though the Russians had tried to persuade them to do so. A primary goal of the bombing was to force Serbia to admit a peacekeeping force, and it achieved this objective — although at an extraordinary cost and within the context of no clear overall plan for the region.

The war also produced an unexpected result: It strengthened the KLA and made peacekeeping in autonomous Kosovo much more difficult than SFOR’ s operation in Bosnia. Since the KLA served essentially as NATO’s ground force during the war in Kosovo, it was able to wrest concessions that delayed its dissolution after the war. Its continued armed presence encouraged Albanian atrocities against Serbs and contributed to a massive flight of this minority from Kosovo. Thus, critics of the war have argued that the bombing had been unnecessary and, apart from forcing Serbia to admit the peacekeeping forces (KFOR) to Kosovo, did not accomplish what had been intended.

KFOR’ s mission — to ensure that a multi-ethnic, autonomous Kosovo operates within an impartial rule of law — could not be accomplished. Instead, the recriminations of those Albanians returning to Kosovo meant that it was the turn of the Serbs to flee in terror — most of them into Serbia. Two-thirds of the pre-war Serb population (200,000 people) fled, along with more than 50,000 Romas, Slav Muslims, and Croat Catholics. Though officially disbanded, the KLA was actually still active, their secret police carrying out executions and intimidations. More than 80 Orthodox churches were severely damaged after the war, often in the presence of KFOR troops. Almost all Serb shops were acquired by Albanians.125 In March US troops had to rush into Mitrovica in the northeast part of Kosovo to reinforce French troops that were trying to collect arms and separate the Kosovars and Serbs. Mitrovica was almost the only place in Kosovo where significant numbers of Serbs remained. After the peacekeepers intervened to keep the battling groups apart, the townspeople attacked them and the NATO troops were sustaining casualties from both sides. General Clark told the Senate Armed Services Committee that “the hardest part of securing peace in Kosovo lies ahead.”

Elsewhere, the supposedly demobilized KLA leaders were involved in several new political parties, especially the Party of Democratic Prosperity of Kosovo, led by Hashim Thaci. Nevertheless, polls in early 2000 indicated overwhelming popular support for Rugov a and his LDK party, as they had done before the war. Had the NATO countries supported Rugova or any other non-violent leader, the war might have been avoided.

But there are countless additional ways in which, in retrospect, one can see that Kosovo’s tragedy might have been avoided. Yugoslavia could have prevented the violence, had Milošević wanted to do so, by accepting international peacekeeping forces early on, thereby making the Rambouillet meeting and the subsequent NATO bombings unnecessary. Before Rambouillet, both sides could have reached the same agreement (apart from the presence of peacekeepers) as the one they eventually adopted on June 4. Great suffering might have been prevented and the final peace agreement would have been acceptable to the liberal elements of Serbia’s democratic opposition and to the Orthodox Church.


In July 1999 some forty heads of state attended a summit in Sarajevo to inaugurate a new institution, the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe. This ambitious plan is designed to foster democracy, human rights, and market-oriented economic reforms throughout the Balkan peninsula, and to offer financial assistance and, eventually, membership in Western Europe’s political and economic institutions. All the Balkan states will be brought into the scheme — from Albania to Slovenia, and from Croatia to Bulgaria.126 Its premise is that the region’s problems are inter-dependent and can be handled only by viewing the Balkans as a single political and economic zone. For example, the high levels of organized crime and corruption in the area transcend borders and must be addressed comprehensively. Similarly, there are displaced persons throughout the region who cannot return to their homes unless there is a new level of protection offered to minority persons. The new organization is promoting cross-border cooperation and infra structure development.

Among the many initiatives taking shape within the Stability Pact framework are a scheme to reduce the flow of small arms; a pledge by Bosnia to reduce its military budget; and a regional task force on gender issues, already operating in Bucharest. Unfortunately, the Stability Pact has no resources of its own. It depends largely on the EU, which is negotiating agreements with almost all the states in the region, applying ‘conditionality’ to the process. If the politicians fail to deliver on their promises, the promised integration will halt from the Western side in response.127


I have offered almost no theoretical framework here for addressing the big question about the collapse of Yugoslavia. However, it may be useful to name the three most common frameworks that underpin most discussions of the former Yugoslavia’s demise. There may be some validity in all three models, though perhaps more in one than another.

First, one explanation for the tragic and violent breakup of the country can be called the theory of a ‘democratic deficit’. This model focuses attention on Yugoslavia’s political history before the end of the Cold War. It portrays YugoSlavs as inexperienced with democratic institutions, unfamiliar with the democratic habits of civil society, and as having inherited an unworkable constitution that could not yield solutions to the challenges of the 1990s.128 Had democracy been institutionalized earlier, this theory suggests that the collapse might have been avoided. The model criticizes the Serbian leader Slobodan Milošević as particularly anti-democratic and suggests that a different leader with a proper grasp of pluralism might have facilitated a smooth transition to democracy. Second, there is the ‘nationalist theory’ — an explanation for Yugoslavia’s troubles that refers to the long history of ethnic hatred in the Balkans. According to this model, democracy could not have prevented the crisis. Instead, the coming of greater freedom of expression actually allowed the Yugoslav citizens to demonstrate overtly their centuries-old hatred of other nationalities, in contrast to the communist period when animosities had been repressed. This model, which takes nationalistic hatred as immutable, tends to assume that the solution to the crisis must involve a partition of the state to separate populations who will never learn to live together peaceably because of their long history of violence. Finally, the ‘economic model’ is the third explanation for the collapse of Yugoslavia. It points, to economic factors, especially the foreign debt that had accumulated during the Cold War and the stringent measures imposed by the International Monetary Fund to curtail inflation. Yugoslavia was never a rich country, and it is true that it underwent a painful belt-tightening shortly before the country broke apart. Some observers blame the crisis on the poverty that accompanied the Western-imposed economic austerity program of the late 1980s and early 1990s.129 One the other hand, many other analysts, particularly those of Yugoslav background, believe that the harsh economic measures were necessary, successful, and even accepted by the citizenry. It is unlikely that the readers will adopt all the same conclusions about these interpretations. However, it may be useful to read the pages ahead with these three explanatory models in mind. I shall not argue in favor of any of them, though I may say that the economic explanation seems least likely to be sustained except perhaps in combination with one of the other factors. The nationalist model was rejected by almost all the contributors to the conference and is equally unpopular among the other contributors to this volume, who, I think, predominantly hold to the democratic deficit model. I shaft not pursue this question further here, for the authors of the papers that constitute this book have interesting analyses to offer the reader, and it will be more valuable to move directly into an exploration of their ideas.


1 Constantine A. Chekrezi, Albania: Past and Present (New York: Macmillan 1919).

2 This is a common estimate but it may be wide of the mark. It is not based on any census, for the Albanians, of Kosovo boycotted the 1991 census, as well as the elections, as a means of political protest.

3 Mihailo Crnobrnja, The Yugoslav Drama (2nd ed.) (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1996) pp. 16-20.

4 Crnobrnja, p. 23.

5 Christopher Bennett, Yugoslavia’s Bloody Collapse: Causes, Course and Consequences (New York: New York University Press, 1995) pp. 22-23.

6 Bennett, p.29.

7 Crnobrnja, p. 51.

8 Bennett, p. 35.

9 Dušan Necak, ‘Historical Elements for Understanding the “Yugoslav Question” in Payam Akhavan and Robert Howse, eds. Yugoslavia: The Former and Future (Washington: The Brookings Institute, 1995) p. 23.

10 Bennett, p. 40.

11 Crnobrnja, p. 65.

12 Bennett, pp. 43-44. See also Michael Ignatieff, Blood and Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism (New York and Toronto: Viking, 1993) pp. 22-24.

13 For an evaluation of the various estimates, see Bennett, pp. 45-56.fn14^. Crnobrnja p. 66.

15 Warren Zimmermann, Origins of a Catastrophe (New York: Random, 1996) P. 39.

16 Bennett, p. 47.

17 Crnobrnja, p. 66.

18 Ignatieff, p. 16.

19 Crnobrnja, p. 69

20 Susan L. Woodward, Balkan Tragedy: Chaos and Dissolution After the Cold War (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1995) p. 31.

21 As Warren Zimmermann, who was U.S. Ambassador to Yugoslavia at the time of its breakup, wrote, “The government of Yugoslavia was constitutionally the weakest in Europe — a condition that contributed critically to the rise of the republican nationalism that killed it. I cautioned Washington not to equate decentralization with democracy or centralism with authoritarianism. Those equations might have described the Soviet Union, a ruthless dictatorship from the center, but they didn’t describe Yugoslavia.” Origins of a Catastrophe, p. 17.

22 Robert Howse, ‘A Horizon Beyond Hatred?’ in Akhavan and Howse, p 4.

23 Zoran Pajic’, ‘Bosnia-Herzegovina: From Multi-ethnic Coexistence to “Apartheid” and Back,’ in Akhavan and Howse, p. 154.

24 Woodward, pp. 25-26.

25 Woodward, p. 37.

26 Vojin Dimitrijevic’, ‘The 1974 Constitution and Constitutional Process as a Factor in the Collapse of Yugoslavia,’ in Akhavan and Howse, P. 45.

27 Mitja Zagar, ‘Yugoslavia: What Went Wrong? Constitutional Aspects of the Yugoslav Crisis from the Perspective of Ethnic Conflict’, in this volume.

28 Dimitrijevic’, p. 55.

29 Dimitrijevic’, p. 60-61.

30 Zagar, ibid. and Dimitrijevic’, p. 61.

31 Zimmermann, p. -9.

32 Compare this to the ‘consociational model of democracy’ frequently analyzed by Arend Lijphart as mechanisms for balancing interests in multi-ethnic states. See Arend Lijphart, Bernard Grofman, Choosing an Electoral System : Issues and Alternatives (New York : Praeger, 1984)

33 Pajic’, p. 154.

34 Zimmermann, p. 54.

35 Zimmermann, p. 86. Also, see Savka Dabcevic’-Kucar: ’71, Croatian Dreams and Reality (1997) (in Croatian) for the ethnic composition of the fifth (Zagreb) Army in 1969. Yugoslavia was militarily divided in seven army areas: Ljubljana, Zagreb, Split (the navy), Sarajevo, Belgrade, Nis, and Skopje.

36 Woodward, pp. 49, 51.

37 Bennett, pp. 69-70.

38 Woodward, pp. 74, 78, 80.

39 Zimmermann, pp 42, 46. Crnobrnja’s account of the inflation rate is lower, but he agrees that Markovic’ brought it down in a surprisingly short time to a level of 60% annually and, by the spring and summer of 1990, to zero. See Crnobrnja, p. 90.

40 Zimmermann, pp. 48-49.

41 Bennett, pp. 117-19.

42 See Vamik D. Volkan, The Need to Have Enemies and Allies: From Clinical Practice to International Relationships. (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1988).

43 Zarko Puhovski, ‘The Bleak Prospects for Civil Society,’ in Akhavan and Howse, eds. p. 122.

44 Bennett, pp. 86-87.

45 Crnobrnja, p. 95.

46 Crnobrnja, p. 103.

47 Bennett, pp. 86-91.

48 Bob Allen, ‘Why Kosovo: Anatomy of a Needless War’, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, July 1999, p. 10. See also reports of persecutions by ethnic Albanians in the New York Times, Nov. 1, 1987, Sunday, Late City edition, Section 1, Part 1, p. 14, Col. 1.

49 Vamik D. Volkan, ‘Post-Traumatic States: Beyond Individual PTSD in Societies Ravaged by Ethnic Conflict’, a lecture presented at the United Nations in 1998.

50 Mark Thompson, A Paper House: The Ending of Yugoslavia (London: Hutchinson/Radius, 1992).

51 George R. Urban, Radio Free Europe and the Pursuit of Democracy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997).

52 International Commission on the Balkans, Unfinished Peace (Berlin: Aspen Institute and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1996), p. 27.

53 Zimmermann, p. 57.

54 Zimmermann, pp. 80-81.

55 Woodward, p. 138.

56 Darko Silovic’, ‘The International Response to the Crisis in Yugoslavia,’ in this volume.

57 This was the opinion of Warren Zimmermann as expressed in Origins of a Catastrophe, p.125.

58 The BBC Documentary, The Death of Yugoslavia shows portions of interviews with both Kucan and Miloševic’, who acknowledge having discussed the possibility of Slovenian secession.

59 Dušan Janjic’, ‘Resurgence of Ethnic Conflict in Yugoslavia: the Demise of Communism and the Rise of the “New Elites” of Nationalism,’ in Akhavan and Howse, pp. 31-32.

60 Crnobrnja, p. 157.

61 Silovic’, ibid.

62 Zimmermann, pp. 132-37 describes Baker’s visit, portraying it as an admirable performance.

63 Zimmermann, pp. 148-49; Bennett, p. 159.

64 The Death of Yugoslavia. BBC Documentary. First episode, ‘War of Independence’.

65 Bennett, pp. 160-66.

66 Crnobrnja, p. 194.

67 BBC Documentary, The Death of Yugoslavia, ‘Independence’.

68 Zimmermann, p. 176-77.

69 Zimmermann, p. 187.

70 Woodward, p. 210.

71 BBC Documentary, The Death of Yugoslavia, ‘The Gates of Hell’. See also Laura Silber, and Allan Little, The Death of Yugoslavia. (London: Penguin, 1995) p. 213.

72 In ‘The Gates of Hell’ Šešelj explicitly states that Miloševic’ personally asked him to send his fighters to Bosnia.

73 In ‘The Gates of Hell’ this official, a Mr. Mendiluce, recounts his experience.

74 Mark Danner, ‘America and the Bosnia Genocide’, in The New York Review of Books, Dec. 4, 1997, pp. 60-61.

75 Wayne Bert, as quoted by Danner, ‘America and the Bosnia Genocide’, p. 63.

76 Danner, ‘America and the Bosnia Genocide’, p. 57.

77 Woodward, p. 307.

78 Mark Danner, ‘Clinton, the U.N. and the Bosnian Disaster,’ New York Review of Books, Dec. 18.1997, p. 74.

79 Jan Willem Honig and Norbert Both, Srebrenica: Record of a War Crime (New York: Penguin, 1996).

80 James Gow, Triumph of the Lack of Will: International Diplomacy and the Yugoslav War (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996).

81 Zimmermann, p. 222, says that he knew that the Bosnian government was actually enthusiastic about the plan but that their seeming reluctance was only a tactical move. Other observers, on the other hand, believe that Izetbegovic’ held serious objections. For example, Paul Szasz recounts being present when a crucial ultimatum from the Croatian nationalist leader Mate Boban was delivered to Izetbegovic’ demanding that it be accepted.

82 ‘Gates of Hell’

83 Richard Holbrooke, To End a War (New York: Random, 1998).pp. 69-70.

84 According to Mark Danner, Bosnian Foreign Minister Sacirbey had telephoned Madeline Albright to discuss the massacre in Srebrenica on July 13. She asked the intelligence officers for corroborating evidence, but they ignored her request. See Mark Danner, ‘The Killing Fields of Bosnia’, New York Review of Books, Sept. 24, 1998, pp. 63-77.

85 Mark Danner, ‘Operation Storm’ in New York Review of Books, Oct. 22, 1998, pp. 74.

86 Holbrooke, pp 73, 160.

87 Holbrooke, p. 172.

88 Mark Danner, ‘Operation Storm’, pp. 73-79.

89 Much of this account comes from ‘Gates of Hell’ by BBC.

90 Holbrooke, p. 199.

91 Holbrooke, pp 221-22.

92 Holbrooke, p. 237.

93 Holbrooke, p. 264.

94 Holbrooke, p. 277.

95 Holbrooke, p. 309.

96 Freedom in the World, 1997-98, p. 156.

97 RFE/RE Balkan Report, 7 October 1998.

98 Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Balkan Crisis Reports, Feb 29, 2000.

99 Freedom House, Freedom in the World-The Annual Survey of Political Rights & Civil Liberties 1997-98 (New York, NY: Freedom House.) This organization is devoted to measuring democracy by a single standard on an annual basis. Its summary ratings (Free’, ‘partly free’, and ‘not free’) are based on the manifestations of civil liberties and political rights. See its web site for further methodological details:

100 Zimmermann, p. 233.

101 The files which might have incriminated him went missing after his death, allegedly because they were controlled by his son, then the head of Croatia’s intelligence service. See Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Balkan Crisis Report, Feb. 26, 2000.

102 See Alice Ackermann, ‘Conflict Prevention in Macedonia’, Peace Magazine May, 1998, p. 26.

103 Freedom in the World, 1997-98, p. 340.

104 Ken Simons, ‘Islands of Civility and Resistance’, Peace Magazine, May/June 1997, pp. 16-19.

105 Gordana Igric’ in Balkan Crisis Report, Feb. 29, 2000.

106 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Balkan Report, Vol. 4, No. 18, March 3, 2000.

107 Freedom in the World, 1997-98, pp. 546-61.

108 Mient Jan Faber and Mary Kaldor, ‘What is Humanitarian Intervention?’ a paper distributed through the network of Helsinki Citizens Assembly, May 1999.

109 Howard Clark, ‘Prospects for Peace in Kosova’, Nonviolent Action, a publication of War Resisters League, also available on the Nonviolence Web.

110 Howard Clark, ‘Kosova’s Nonviolent Struggle’, Peace Magazine, January 1998, p. 10.

111 Clark, ‘Kosova’s Nonviolent Struggle’

112 Tim Judah, ‘Impasse in Kosovo,’ New York Review of Books, Oct. 8, 1998, pp. 4-6.

113 Timothy Garton Ash, ‘Cry, the Dismembered Country’, New York Review of Books, Jan. 14, 1999, pp. 29-33.

114 Judah, ‘Impasse in Kosovo.’

115 James Hooper, ‘Kosovo: America’s Balkan Problem’, Current History April 1999, p. 180

116 Ash, pp. 30.

117 Ash, p. 32.

118 The clause read: “Three years after the entry into force of this Agreement, an international meeting shall be convened to determine a mechanism for a final settlement for Kosovo, on the basis of the will of the people, opinions of relevant authorities, each Party’s efforts regarding the implementation of this Agreement, and the Helsinki Final Act, and to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of this Agreement and to consider proposals by any Party for additional measures.” Apparently the ‘will of the people’ referred to Kosovars. It should be mentioned that there were other clauses in the document (especially Chapter 4, Art. 1) to which a number of Western critics took exception. These clauses seem to have stipulated that the peacekeeping force would have the right to occupy the entire Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, not just Kosovo, and that the economy of Kosovo must function in ‘accordance with free market principles’. That final clause is indeed strange, but the one about occupying the entire country is evidently a standard clause in such documents, basically intended to guarantee free passage through the country, and did not meet with objections from the Serbian delegation.

119 Hooper, p. 163.

120 TFF Press information #63. ‘NATO Mistakes Take More Lives Than The Serb-Albanian War Did’, April 16, 1999.

121 Faber and Kaldor, ‘What is Humanitarian Intervention?’

122 Faber and Kaldor, op cit.

123 Michael Ignatieff, Virtual War: Kosovo and Beyond (Toronto: Viking, 2000), p. 107.

124 ‘Miloševic’ Yields on NATO’s Key Terms’, New York Times, June 4, 1999.

125 Bishop Artemije, in a speech to the Helsinki Commission Hearing of the U.S. Congress, Feb. 28, 2000.

126 Tim Donais, ‘Steering a New Course in the Balkans’, Peace Magazine Vol XVI, Issue 1, Jan 2000, pp 26-28.

127 Fabian Schmidt, ‘Is Southeastern Europe on its Way Towards European Integration?’ Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Balkan Report, Vol. 4, No. 28, 18 April, 2000.

128 Although they do not discuss Yugoslavia much, the democratic deficit model is especially well explained by Robert Putnam and Robert Leonardi in Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993).

129 Allen, pp. 8-13.

The Russian Quest for Peace and Democracy, by Metta Spencer, published by Lexington Books