Two decades after the Dayton Peace Agreement came into force, Bosnia is not at war. However, the absence of war is not peace. Bosnia has failed to move on from conflict. Political processes are deadlocked. The country is in a state of political, social and economic paralysis. As the international community has downgraded its presence, conditions have deteriorated, irredentist agendas have resurfaced and the outlook is increasingly negative. War remains a risk because of myriad unresolved issues, zero-sum politics and incompatible positions among rival ethno-national elites.In the face of paralysis, international officials repeat the mantra that there is no alternative to Bosnia's European path and urge the country's leaders to see reason, to temper their rhetoric and to carry out internationally approved reforms -- to no avail. Despite international reluctance to recognise failure, the day will come when it is impossible to ignore the gravity of the situation. When that day arrives, the international community will have to address the shortcomings of the peace process. This, in turn, will involve opening up the Dayton settlement. Christopher Bennett presents a cautionary political history of Bosnia's disintegration, war and peace process. And he concludes by proposing a paradigm shift aimed at building ethno-national security and making the peace settlement self-sustaining.
Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
Number of pages: 288
Dimensions: 215 x 138 x 22 mm
Edition: UK ed.
There is a real need for a balanced, well founded, deeply researched and comprehensive book which documents why Bosnia and Herzegovina's ascent towards a sustainable peace in the first ten years after Dayton, turned into a descent back into fracture, division and dysfunctionality in the second post-Dayton decade. This book fulfils that need, admirably and should be required reading for all those who know and love Bosnia - and necessary reading for all those interested in the process of building peace after conflict. It is not necessary to agree with every judgement or to support every analysis to recognise that this is an important, weighty and admirable work on the tragedy for Europe and the Balkans, that Bosnia is now, in 2016, not prospering in a sustainable peace, but mired in a paralysed one. * Paddy Ashdown, former High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina *
A desolate story of squandered peace-building opportunity, lucidly and meticulously told. Christopher Bennett makes a compelling case that renewed genocidal violence between Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats is a real risk, and that the only hope for Bosnia is for international pressure to force changes to its political system that would reward cross-group support and cooperation rather than zero sum intransigence. His argument cries out to be heard. * Gareth Evans, President Emeritus of the International Crisis Group and former Foreign Minister of Australia; author of The Responsibility to Protect: Ending Mass Atrocity Crimes Once and for All *
There have been surprisingly few accounts of the international community's engagement in Bosnia following the signing of the Dayton Agreement in 1995 written by individuals closely involved in that process. Christopher Bennett's book is a welcome, thoughtful, and trenchant contribution to our knowledge and understanding of the complex history of 'Dayton Bosnia' from a well-placed insider. * Bruce Hitchner, Director of the Peace & Justice Studies Program, Tufts University, and Chairman of the Dayton Peace Accords Project *