Learning From Mistakes? Bosnia and Kosovo

I. Timeline of the Bosnia WarJune 25, 1991 -- December 1995

II. Problems faced by America in the Bosnian situation

A. American intervention in a European problem

1. Blaming the victims

2. Universalizing refugees

3. Treating Muslim lives as a cheap commodity

4. Failure to recognize Serb aggression as different

B. Unclear objectives

1. We were not at war with Serbia

2. Why didn't Europeans intervene?

3. Reluctance to sacrifice American lives for rescue efforts

4. Various unsuccessful strategies proposed and failed

5. Time drags on -- 1992 - 1995

C. Result: Lives saved in the end, but Bosnia "ethnically cleansed" in the interim

1. And 3.5 million refugees who nobody wants

2. Intervention did finally occur

III. What to do when a government treats its own citizens badly? -- Kosovo

A. How do citizens press for action from their government?

B. How can national consensus develop quickly without an external threat?

C. A final word: Elie Wiesel