Tuesday, February 25, 2003

# Posted 8:58 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

NATION BUILDING: In the next couple of weeks, OxDem will host a panel discussion about war and democracy in the Middle East. Although charmed by our professors' valiant efforts to cure insomnia, we decided this ought to be a panel made up entirely of students. As such, both Josh and myself will be participating.

In order to put our best foot forward, we thought it might be a good idea to do some research in advance. One of the questions I'm interested in whether or not the UN/NATO nation building efforts in Bosnia and Kosovo have been successful, as well as what lessons they might hold for the occupation of Iraq.

If you happen to know much about this topic, it would be great to hear your thoughts. If not, then keep reading and finding what my first forays into the literature have turned up:

Writing in Foreign Affairs, David Rohde, a correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, observes that Kosovo
"remains widely corrupt, lawless, intolerant of both ethnic and political minorities, and a source of instability. The mission in Kosovo is proving even more daunting than the one in nearby Bosnia."
What Rohde recommends to fix the situation is
a firm [NATO/UN] commitment to a politically aggressive, properly funded, long-term mission that uses the rule of law and economic reform to affect the lives, livelihoods, safety, and, to the extent possible, views of average Albanians and Serbs. Changing the destructive aspects of ordinary people's attitudes is both the most pivotal and the most daunting task the NATO and U.N. missions face in Kosovo.
According to Rohde, one of the most dangerous legacies of Milosevic's wars is the memory of atrocities committed by rival ethnic groups. In light of the strong collectivist ethic that animates both the Albanian and Serb communities in Kosovo, both sides tend to believe that entire communities, rather than individuals, should be held responsible for atrocities.

Compared to casualty figures in Bosnia, however, the figures for Kosovo are relatively low. Estimates place the number of murdered Albanians at 7,000, with 1,000 Serbs killed as a result of revenge attacks during the NATO occuaption.

Alongside ethnic violence, crime threatens the nation building process as well. According to Rohde,
The desire for order among Albanians is growing. But donor nations have so far provided only half of a requested 4,700-member U.N. police force. And with a critical shortage of international prosecutors and judges, there is no effective court or prison system in Kosovo. According to frustrated NATO officials, suspects arrested for crimes, including the murder of Serbs, have been released after a night or less in jail. The cycle of impunity continues.
In the absence of sufficient funding, however, the prospect for improvement are not great. Thus, Rohde recommends
Last, and most important[ly], all NATO countries -- particularly in Europe -- must follow up their military effort with far larger economic commitments. As of mid-March, the U.N. mission had received only $190 million of the $415 million it requires. It has nearly run out of money twice.
So I guess the first lesson of Kosovo is obvious: Don't expect results if you don't commit resources.

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