In his rich diplomatic career, Henry Kissinger in one part of his life dealt with the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)during the 90s, and one of his texts was the occasion for the reaction of the then High Representative Carl Bildt.
Namely, in 1996, Bildt reacted to Kissinger’s text entitled “In the eye of the hurricane” where he analyzed the situation in BiH.
“By the end of the year in Bosnia, we will face the moment of truth. It will no longer be possible to conceal the inconsistency of the military and political provisions of Dayton that led to the ceasefire. The political provisions of Dayton require free elections, a unified BiH, free movement within Bosnia and the right of refugees to return home. None of these goals can be achieved without the massive use of force,” Kissinger wrote in 1996.
Also, in the text, Kissinger particularly emphasized the story of self-determination.
“The current electoral travesty in Bosnia should therefore be abandoned. The only sensible electoral process, and the one most compatible with America’s historical commitment to self-determination, would be a plebiscite in each ethnic region on a simple choice between a multi-ethnic Bosnia and some form of partition. If a majority in each region were for a unified Bosnia, the current electoral process could be restarted. Pending the outcome of such a plebiscite, the United States (U.S.) and NATO forces should be limited to their current cease-fire monitoring mission,” Kissinger said.
Bildt reacted to this text and said that the policy advocated by Kissinger was leading to a new war.
“If there had been a well-coordinated international attempt to negotiate power-sharing between the three Bosnian communities in the second half of 1991 or early 1992, there would have been at least a slim chance of avoiding war. Instead, we saw how the arrangements that would have may have been successful, were rejected as not good enough. Despite the absence of an agreement within the country, the international community rushed to the recognition that launched the most brutal war in Europe since 1945,” Bildt said at the time.
He also stated that the Dayton Agreement was far from perfect, but it brought peace.
“We will have to fight for a long time to make its complicated political provisions work. It is by far the most ambitious peace agreement in modern history. With all the difficulties we will face in this process, the alternative path proposed by Kissinger would be far more dangerous and difficult,” said Bildt.
He also stressed that the result of “a plebiscite in each ethnic region on a simple choice between a multi-ethnic Bosnia and some other form of division” would be easy to predict.
“Bosnian Serbs and Croats would vote for their own states, and Bosnian Muslims would vote for a multi-ethnic country, although their true commitment to it would be questionable,” the high representative wrote.
In his text, Bildt also mentioned that the division of Bosnia cannot be viewed in isolation from the problems of the surrounding countries.
“I believe that only through the policy of integration throughout this region can we create the conditions for Bosnia to function and prevent similar tensions from exploding into open conflicts elsewhere. Integration, not separation, must be our strategy for the future,” Carl Bildt concluded, Klix.ba reports.