Monday, February 05, 2007

The Bosnian paradox

The ever vigilant Doug Muir has a piece on Bosnia (Bosnia: Exit the Doctor) at A Fistful of Euros

I posted a comment there, which I though I should publish here. Check it out:

... thanks for a good post and for opening a good topic.

As all of us probably have noticed by now, there is a trade off in the Bosnian situation. The trade off is between a functional/stable state and a dysfunctional political culture. The international community so far has gone for a stable state, trying to achieve functionality.

The problem is that this creates a dysfunctional political culture. Local politicians evade responsibility for everything if there is a Pasha/Governon there. This then leads to corruption, and political stalemate, which in turn lead to economic stagnation and a DYSFUNCTIONAL state.

This paradox was evident in Kosovo under UNMIK, too. And, I am afraid that they are going to create another Bosnia in Kosovo after independence. Which would be a mistake. At least in Kosovo you have a 90% majority that can take responsibility for 'leading' the minorities and the country. So, given this it would be an even bigger mistake to repeat Bosnia in Kosovo.

Bosnia is especially difficult because you don't have a clear majority which can be held responsible for better or worse. IMHO I don't think that Bosnia will be stable before the Kosovo issue is solved. When Serbs (in general) have no more illusions about Kosovo, they will have to face a crucial decision: Do they want Bosnian Serbs (a) in Bosnia or (b) out of Bosnia?


They will either go for (a) which means Bosnia will be stable, and the above mentioned paradox easier to figure out. Or they will choose (b) which they might achieve in two ways, RS joins Serbia or Bosnian Serbs end up as refugees in Serbia. This decision will depend a lot on the reaction of Serbia's leadership to Kosovo's independence.

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