A few points have been missing from the topic about the balkans war:
a) None of you seem to be aware what the nazi occupation actually meant for Yugoslavia. One of the many low points was the employment of croatian fascist forces under the name "Ustaca" to fight the largely serbian resistance. The long-time yugoslavian president/dictator "Tito" made his fame by still resisting the onslaught of the german and the collaborating fascist troops.
This history is not forgotten to this day, and it helped a great deal to alienate the yugoslavian people from each other when the nation state began to disintegrate.
Bringing in - of all nations! - the german
army to "pacify" the conflict would have lobbed a hand grenade into a powder keg!
b) Politically, there actually is
some european and specifically german responsibility for the disorderly disintegration of Yugoslavia: When the first regions quickly seceded from the nation, the german Kohl administration with our foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher eagerly declared the german recognition of the separated states and thereby declared the state of Yugoslavia deceased, automatically punching the "remaining" Serbia in the face, which just happened to control most of the Yugoslavian military. There were some who warned beforehand that this couldn´t mean a happy ending...
As far as I remember, it was the slovenian secession that set things in motion back then; A slightly less aggressive and unbalanced approach might have kept a path open to weaken the serbian militarists and to maybe prevent the open war that followed. (PHX
may be able to shed some more light on the matter without escalating the discussion all too much.
c) There is no excuse for a certain group of european military to let serbian militia slaughter the muslim population in Srebrenica. Even though they might have been unable to resist militarily on their own, merely abandoning the population was inexcusable
d) "Europe standing idly by until the USA came to save the day"?
Well, it´s not quite that simple. It turned out rather quickly that european capabilities - always being kept below a critical limit under the supremacy of the USA - were simply unable
to go in alone. I still remember the news during the time; The primary discussion was that the Clinton administration simply refused to deploy ground troops for fear of potential casualties. Which is understandable in itself, but it gave Milosevic and his minions enough time to start a large "ethnic cleansing" campaign while the strategy was still being discussed at length. (Fanatics on the other sides weren´t all that much better, just on a lesser scale.)
Later, US invasion tactics made the re-civilisation quite a bit more complicated than necessary (carelessly bombarding civilian targets, propping up local warlords etc.) and are a lingering liability in the nation-building process to this day.
I simply think it´s inevitable
to develop european troops to the point where they would be actually able to deal with such a conflict on their own, while they should still operate under UN mandate wherever possible. Absolutely needing
US reinforcements even in such a local conflict cannot be acceptable in the long run if such an outcome is to be avoided in the future. There is no place for a transatlantic rivalry in that regard, but real cooperation
becomes difficult when the partners are just too far apart in their capabilities.
MoPac: Ahhh.... I thought it was because Europe was trampling over everybody else while running away.
Cowards wouldn´t choose Afghanistan
, of all places, to run to; Don´t you think?
If we would have wanted the "easy way", we would have a) not bothered to engage in nation-building at all and b) certainly tagged along into the Iraq disaster.