There will be no war. This is the message that the high United States (U.S.) envoy for the Western Balkans sent before his arrival in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), and it is the backbone of his yesterday’s messages from Sarajevo. So, who and how will solve the destruction of Milorad Dodik, who is not giving up on withdrawing from the Armed Forces of BiH (AFBiH), as well as other institutions.
“There will be no conflicts in BiH” is the sentence that is the essence of Escobar’s talks with members of the BiH Presidency. That sentence is necessary because of a specific political moment, but that sentence is not and must not be enough as a sedative against Milorad Dodik’s devastating policy. The citizens of this country deserve to see the destruction be stopped more decisively.
The message that there will be no war is positive and reassuring. After all, who threatened war at all?
Dodik, the majority of Serbian politicians, and unfortunately a good part of analysts, are substituting a thesis: Are those who attack the territorial integrity of an internationally recognized state threatening war, or those who say that they will defend that integrity?
How Dodik understands this message
Will Dodik understand the mentioned message “that there will be no war” as a green light that he can continue his unilateral actions in peace? If everything goes without specific action against him and his surroundings, it is possible that he will even, tactically, calm down for a few weeks or months, but he managed to move the boundaries far behind the red line.
In those few months of Dodik’s tactics, pressure “to reach a compromise through dialogue” is likely to follow. About what? To give in to Dodik? To give him “something” to calm down?
What is the goal of the West
However, even now, after the meeting of the U.S. diplomat Escobar, who tried to emphasize the importance of cross-border cooperation, economic development, and investments at meetings with members of the Presidency of BiH, we hear Dodik’s messages that he is not giving up on his goals.
The president of the SNSD did not question his moves so far for a moment and announced the continuation of the procedure for withdrawal from the AFBiH, the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), the Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA), and other state institutions. Despite Escobar’s words that this cannot be done unilaterally, Dodik does not change his cold political manner.
The leader of the SNSD has sufficiently examined the field and the forgiveness of the political games he is playing now would not solve the problem in the long run. Therefore, if the international community wishes this country well and wants to continue talking about investment and economic development, they must not encourage destructive people like Dodik by substantially withdrawing what he started.
Before visiting Sarajevo, Escobar spoke about possible sanctions. During yesterday’s conversations, from what could be heard from the actors, there was no talk about that. If Dodik “gets away with it”, his next action will be much more radical, since he is told that he can. And who still believes that Dodik can be appeased by some encounter with world political factors like Erdogan? Perhaps in this way, political inflammation can be solved, but not the cause of political illness.