With Mladic’s arrest last month, Bosnia and the rest of the Balkans are getting some much needed international attention. The New York Times has a nice run-down of some of the debates about the situation in Bosnia — especially the debate between Kurt Bassuener from the Democratization Policy Council and Gerald Knaus from the European Stabilization Initiative. The piece is a spin-off from a conference that Daniel Serwer from SAIS helped put together in Sarajevo earlier this month. Dan also has some excellent posts about the situation in both Bosnia and Kosovo on his great new blog peacefare.net.
Patrice McMahon and I also have a short piece on the Balkans after Mladic that is now on Foreign Affairs website. We argue that the arrest of Mladic is a notable bright spot in the region and for all the faults of the ICTY, it is striking that Mladic, Karadzic, and Milosevic all ended up in the Hague. But, more than that, the arrest demonstrates the continued ability and importance of international pressure and influence to alter the incentive structures of local elites — especially with the leverage of EU conditionality. I’m sympathetic to the calls of Gerald Knaus and others who argue that the international community has to turn governing to the Bosnians. Yet, as Patrice and I argued two years ago, the institutions created at Dayton continue to privilege ethnically-based politics and nationalist demagogues and it has been international indifference and fatigue over the past five years that has allowed, and in fact, exacerbated the resurgence of nationalist discourse and politics in the country. Mladic’s arrest demonstrates that the international community still has a role to play in the region — it just needs to play it.