Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

February Books 2) Da Nije Bilo Oluje / Who Saved Bosnia, by Vitomir Miles Raguž

I got to know the author ten years ago while he was the Bosnian ambassador to the EU and NATO, and he did one thing for me for which I will forever remain grateful: he introduced me to sushi. In 2000 he resigned his diplomatic position and returned to his career in banking, and most of the essays collected here were written after that, as opinion pieces for the WSJ Europe, European Voice, etc, drawing on Miles' experience as an adviser to the wartime Croatian, Bosnian and Bosnian Croat leadership.

The two best sections were at the beginning and the end. The first couple of essays are the two title pieces - "If There Had Been No 'Storm' [Da Nije Bilo Oluje]" and "Who Saved Bosnia?" which make the case that, whatever Croatia's previous or subsequent errors, the 'Storm' offensive by the Croatian army of August 1995 effectively ended the war on terms that Bosnia could live with.

I was less grabbed by the middle sections, a large number of pieces attacking the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague and also arguing that Croatia ought to be given a free pass to EU and NATO integration. These issues will be of historical interest only very soon (as ICTY closes and as EU accession talks near completion), but the pieces rather demonstrate how little even the best-informed observers from the region grasped what was really going on with the international community's strategy. There are also a couple of pieces about that perennial chestnut, Bosnian constitutional reform.

But the final essays are back on form, looking at trade integration for the Balkan states, both with each other and with the EU, and also proposing rather cheekily that the Kosovo diaspora should simply purchase their homeland from Serbia. The book won't be on any best-seller lists but I'm glad to have it on my shelves.
Tags: bookblog 2010, world: bosnia, world: croatia
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 0 comments