U.S. Policy in the Balkans: A Hobson's Choice

  • August 01, 1995
  • Dr Stephen J Blank, Dr William T Johnsen, Dr Earl H Tilford Jr

At this writing, the strategic balance may have shifted in the ongoing war in the former Yugoslavia, and the region could be on the verge of a settlement. But, the "window of opportunity" may be fleeting, and the failures and frustrations of the past four years temper any optimism that conflict in the former Yugoslavia will end quickly or completely. If this opening passes without an end to the fighting, the United States may have to reassess its fundamental policy objectives and the ways and means to achieve them if peace is to be effected in the Balkans. The intent of this report, therefore, is to analyze and assess existing policies, to identify any conflicts or contradictions that may stymie U.S. efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution of the crisis, and to offer potential solutions. The report does not offer an ambitious criticism of policy or an "expert's" solution to an intractable problem. Its more modest goal is to examine current policy within a context that fits Bosnia into the larger pattern of U.S. interests and policy. In this manner, the report offers a broader framework for the strategic decisions that may face the United States in the not so distant future.