restricted access 21. Impact

From: Peacemakers

The University Press of Kentucky colophon
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21 Impact As Yugoslavia fractured, the Serbs tried and failed to kill, drive away, or subjugate millions of largely secular Muslims in Bosnia and later in Kosovo . In confronting Serbian war crimes, the United States and its allies had two choices in dealing with the Muslim victims in the Balkans. They could engage them, recognize their interests, and encourage them to adopt democratic values as fully accepted citizens of European nations, or they could isolate or ignore them, with a virtual guarantee that extremist leaders elsewhere would exploit such isolation to oppose Western democratic interests. The choice for me was easy, but this argument won few converts for the T&E Program. Despite the dire warnings about its consequences and the obstacles to implementation, the T&E Program fulfilled the US commitment made in 1995 to assist the Bosnian government with its future military capability. Through the T&E Program, an effective military balance was achieved in Bosnia, and a Muslim war of revenge against Serbs and Croats, which some had predicted, never took place. The T&E Program also exposed the Bosnians to high-quality military training, NATO standard equipment, modern defense structures, and practices appropriate to national security organizations in a democracy. Sufficient military stabilization was achieved in Bosnia to allow NATO to reduce the number of its troops in Bosnia from 60,000 soldiers in 1996 to 7,000 and then to shut down SFOR in 2004, leaving the security mission to the EU. Nine years from NATO’s deployment to its withdrawal is an extremely brief period for the presence of an international security force. Bosnia did not become a haven for Muslim extremists. None of the attacks on the United States or in Europe in subsequent years originated in Bosnia, and none of the attackers were recruited from there. They instead came through central Europe. By 1999, the separate armies in the Republika Srpska and the Muslim- Impact 191 Croat Federation began to deteriorate. After Tudjman and Milosevic lost power in Croatia and Serbia, the external influence on Croats and Serbs in Bosnia began to decline, and the military assistance from Zagreb and Belgrade to clients in Bosnia dwindled. With the decline in tensions, a sense of military urgency and confrontation inside Bosnia withered as well. Local corruption in defense expenditures outside the T&E Program also began to drain resources for military readiness as maintenance and training standards slipped.1 Raffi Gregorian, an alumnus of the T&E Program, and James Locher, who worked on the original Federation defense law, took the unification of the militaries in Bosnia to the next logical steps in 2004–2005. Gregorian left the T&E Program to become the political adviser to SFOR in 2004–2006. Jeremy J. D. “Paddy” Ashdown from the United Kingdom, who was then the high representative in Bosnia, later appointed Gregorian to cochair the Defense Reform Commission in Bosnia. The commission negotiated a law to consolidate and elevate the separate defense ministries and military commands of the Republika Srpska and the Federation into one national-level structure. In 2003, the Bosnia defense law integrated the Defense Ministry at the national level and created one command above the two entity armies. That law was replaced in 2005 with a new defense law that took the integration of the armies to the ultimate level. On January 1, 2006, the two armies of the Federation and the Republika Srpska ceased to exist, and a new integrated armed force for Bosnia was created. The president of Bosnia , in coordination with the two deputies, became supreme commander of the unified armed forces. A single multiethnic Bosnian army subordinate to a single military chain of command, reporting through the national Ministry of Defense to the president of the republic, became the national security force for Bosnia. Its active-duty strength by law is 10,000 personnel, with a reserve component of 5,000.2 In 2006, Bosnia became a member of NATO ’s Partnership for Peace Program, the first step toward eventual NATO membership. This level of integration might have taken place without the T&E Program , but the latter effort gave the bitter and battered Muslim population in Bosnia confidence that their security would be in their hands. It also strengthened their negotiating position with Serbs and Croats in Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia. “The US T&E Program was messy at times, often difficult, but it 192 Bosnia: Military Stability achieved its strategic objectives in Bosnia, including regional stability,” Gregorian said.3 In 2013, the government of Bosnia dispatched a contingent of Bosnian army troops to...


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