The Dayton Accords reshape Europe


The Dayton Accords reshape Europe (excerpt)

Gary Wilson

U.S. troops in Bosnia have not brought peace to the peoples of the Balkans. There is at most a suppression of hostilities. The Muslims, Croats, Serbs, and all the other peoples of the region have suffered greatly. But to find a solution that can really end the conflict in the Balkans, it is necessary to understand the problem.

The U.S.-NATO military occupation of Bosnia was forced on that country by the Clinton administration during talks in Dayton, Ohio, in the autumn of 1995. At that meeting, a gun was put to the heads of the Bosnian peoples as Washington threatened a bombing campaign like the one the Pentagon waged against Baghdad, Iraq, during the Gulf War. They were given no choice in the matter. Newsweek magazine saw great glory in the U.S.-imposed agreement. Its report declared: “Hail Pax Americana! Salute the return of the superpower!(1)”

The dividing up of the former Yugoslavia dictated by the Dayton agreement was in some ways reminiscent of the first division of the Balkan peninsula at the Congress of Berlin in 1878. It was not done by the people of the Balkans. It was not decided on the basis of self-determination for each nationality—Serb, Croat, Slovene, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Albanian, Romani. Nor was it based on religion—Muslim, Serbian Orthodox, Jewish, Roman Catholic.

The Congress of Berlin was one of the first great meetings of the emerging imperialist powers to divide up the world among the robber-baron capitalists for their own profit. History books refer to this as the classic period of imperialism. The CD-ROM version of Grolier’s Encyclopedia, which is used in schools across the country, says, “The term imperialism is most commonly identified with 19th-century colonialism and the carving of the globe into ‘spheres of influence’ by the European powers.” The Congress of Berlin divided the collapsing Ottoman Empire, with the bulk of the spoils going to the British and Austro-Hungarian imperialists. The Balkans were divided into petty states that had no independent economic viability.

note to this excerpt

(1) David H. Hackworth, “Learning about war the hard way,” Newsweek, 4 December 1995, p. 30.

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