Yugoslavia has offered the international community with all potential types of armed conflict and commitment. Civil wars, wars of secession, inter-state wars and wars of territorial conquest have coalesce on the ground to justify the successive or simultaneous recourse to traditional peacekeeping operations in Croatia and humanitarian intervention Bosnia, mixed with a dash of peace enforcement Serbia, an effort at prevention Macedonia and a systematic pretence of neutrality.
If, however, neutrality was a rational policy for small states in the former East-West order where it was exercised in a trivial way in the shadow of two absolutely antagonistic nuclear super-blocs it would stand much more of a problem if it were to become the leading strategy of the great powers in a largely anarchic European system.
Over a decade of war and atrocities in the former Yugoslavia, involving nearly twenty million Europeans within a piece of territory only two hours by air from Brussels, disclose first and foremost two obvious facts: for Europe, the end of the Cold War indicate the beginning of real wars; and collective security in Europe purely does not exist.
It is now impending a century since an assassination in Sarajevo precipitated a world war; today, the destruction of Sarajevo connotes merely the destruction of Sarajevo. For forty years, communist aggression against any European country could have oblique nuclear escalation on a world scale; today, a communist leader think he can swallow up whole regions of states which have been duly recognized by the international community with impunity, or roughly so. These two historical references have nothing in general and do not imply any reminiscence for the old order whether pre-democratic or post-Yalta. Yet they do on the other hand exemplify the major strategic discontinuity that subsist today in Europe, and the world where war zones can be found side by side with areas of peace in comparatively watertight compartments.
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