Clinton Administration’s failed foreign policy legacy in places like Bosnia :Holbrooke says that the biggest positive outcome of the Dayton Peace Accords was that it ended the war in Bosnia. Well, one cannot argue with this because it’s true that every peace ends military conflict and therefore saves people’s lives. To paraphrase Obama’s famous speech against war in Iraq, when he said that he doesn’t oppose all wars, but he only opposes dumb wars. It's pretty much the same towards the peace from Dayton, which seems to be dumb peace built on numerous misjudgments.
One of the reasons the Dayton was a misconception is because those 150,000 Muslim victims, whom Holbrooke mentions in his op-ed, could never have died in the first place, should the Western countries changed their policy toward imposing the arms embargo on Bosnia, 3 years prior to said peace negotiations. From retrospect, it was a policy which hugely contributed to the murderous genocide, producing stunning number of deaths (that’s actually not only my opinion, as it has been also publicly claimed by many independent experts, diplomats and academics).
Bill Clinton’s foreign policy in Bosnia has been flawed since the beginning of his first term and resulted in dramatic consequences. In August 1992, when he was campaigning against George H. W. Bush for the presidency, he publicly promised to put an end to Serb concentration camps in Bosnia; he said he “would begin with air power against the Serbs to try to restore the basic conditions of humanity”. Clinton claimed that "the United Nations' demands should be backed up by collective action, including the use of force, if necessary", and that "the United States should be prepared to lend appropriate support, including military, to such an operation."
U.S. did not suddenly step in to bring the end to the genocide in Bosnia. This issue has been on the table for years and the U.S. has been called upon for help since 1992 , and not necessarily understood in terms of sending money or troops, but merely as a request for a change of flawed policies in the region, which the Clinton’s team never seriously contemplated, when the time was right.
It seems that those, who were Bosnia’s best friends were not the Clintons, the Holbrookes or the Lakes. The accurate analysts of the Bosnian tragedy were people like Sen. Bob Dole, who made numerous public appeals to immediately lift the arms embargo allowing Bosniaks to defend themselves.
OSAMA BIN LADEN PLANTS A TREE AND BUILDS A HOUSE IN SARAJEVO
It is said that all people around the world immigrate to the U.S. in pursuit of the American dream. Well, Hillary’s people claimed that Osama bin Laden wanted to immigrate to Bosnia instead and pursue his own dream over there.
Firstly it was Richard A. Clarke (Clinton’s chief anti-terrorism adviser), who testified that back in 1994, the U.S. government knew that Bin Laden was organizing a terrorist network in Bosnia and intended to play an important role in the new Bosnian government. According to Clarke: “U.S. and Allied actions halted the war in Bosnia and caused most of the al-Qaeda related jihadists to leave”. Holbrooke repeats those allegations in his op-ed and explains that the U.S. government was “concerned with the presence in Bosnia of a little-known group of Islamist extremists who would later become infamous as al-Qaeda.” According to Holbrooke: “in the Dayton Agreement, we required their removal and gave NATO the right to attack them; without Dayton, al-Qaeda would probably have planned the Sept. 11 attacks from Bosnia, not Afghanistan.”
The first most obvious implication of Clarke/Holbrooke “al-Qaeda remarks” is that if the U.S. government knew that Bin Laden and his group was infiltrating Bosnia, so must have known Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. Therefore perhaps they did some good to Bosnia!
According to Clarke/Holbrooke, the U.S. government knew about Bin Laden’s terrorist operations in Bosnia back in the 90's, was subsequently able to track and destroy his network, to get his supporters out of the country, to infiltrate them to the extent to be able to figure out they wanted to participate in the Bosnian government, however at the same time the U.S./NATO intelligence somehow didn’t notice massive infantry movements approaching Srebrenica, the U.N. safe area, in July 1995. Coincidence or simply a lie, that the Clinton Administration was able to track down in Bosnia a "little known group of Islamist extremists" (using Holbrooke’s own words), but they weren’t able to track down "well-known war criminals" like Karadzic and Mladic. Dayton Peace Accords do not contain even one word like “Al-Qaeda”, “terrorists” or “Islamist extremists”. The first time Bosnia emerged as a serious issue was when CNN and FOX broadcasted a material informing that the Bosnians (coincidentally they keep applying for the membership in the EU) put the future female Commander-in-Chief and her daughter Chelsea (a presumptive Democratic nominee in a decade or so) under sniper fire in Tuzla. Then, when America was getting ready to go angry at them, they suddenly called it off and sent instead a young child to greet Mrs. Clinton with flowers. Subsequently they were blamed for posting a misleading video at YouTube ambiguously depicting Hillary’s Bosnian visit. Bosnia is a country with no history of hatred towards the U.S. and Western Europe. To the contrary, Bosnians have always regarded themselves as Europeans and as a part of the West, even though they have been practicing different religion than the rest of Europe. The creation of Bosnia by a referendum in 1992, left Bosnian Serbs outside of the territory of Serbia, which they regarded as their homeland. It was a similar situation to the one produced by the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which left number of native Russians living not in Russia, but in neighboring states.
NEGOTIATING WITH TERRORISTS
One more observation. Hillary Clinton and her team are poorly positioned to solve the Iraqi crisis. Obama came out with this proposition that as a president he would meet with leaders of hostile countries without preconditions. Clinton/McCain rejected such an idea and called Obama extremely naive.
It is worth noting, though, that Hillary had some different opinion about it during her husband’s presidential terms. Bill Clinton sent out Holbrooke to meet and negotiate with a notorious KLA/UCK. He also sent out Madeleine Albright to meet privately with a well known terrorism sponsor Kim Jong-il of North Korea, and was himself ready to meet with Kim afterwards. Hillary Clinton did not protest those steps back then, although she is presently eloquent to protest Obama’s plans to duplicate her husband’s ideas.
Actually, Obama may be very realistic, and not naive, in this respect, because solving the difficult situation in the Middle East may require "shaking hands with the devil". He pledges to be ready to do it. From the Washington Post’s op-ed, we already know that Richard Holbrooke would be ready to shake those hands as well...