Events in the Balkans

The Massacre at Srebrenica

In 1995, Bosnian Serb forces entered Srebenica. There was a small force of Dutch UN peacekeerpers stationed at Sebrenica but they had orders not to intervene. 

More than 7,000 Bosnian men and boys were massacred in one of the worst atrocitites to occur in Europe since the end of the WW2. Srebenica was not important just because it was an atrocity, as there were many atrocities in the Balkan wars, committed by all sides. 

Its importace lay in the recriminations that followed about the failre of UN peacekeeping missions. It showed the limits of EU diplomacy and UN peacekeeping. 

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Events in the Balkans 1995 to 1997

After the horrors of the seige of Sarajevo and the Srebenica massacre, Britain turned to the US and NATO.

President Clinton was persuaded to intervene, with the central command and the miliatry power of NATO were seen as essential to force the warring Balkan political leaders to negotiate. American airstrikes on Serb forces led to a peace conference at Dayton, Ohio. A peace treaty was signed in Paris in December 1995. This guaranteed Bosnian independence, protected by a UN force and with substantial economic support from the international community. 

Involving NATO in peacekeeping in the Balkans was far more effective than using the UN, becasue the UN depended on member states to provide troops, whereas NATO had a unified central command under American leadership.

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Balkans and World Role

There is no doubt that Britain's place in the world was changing after 1987. Europe's centre of gravity was shifting eastwrads as states in Eastern Europe broke free from Soviet domination and moved towards the EU. And at the same time Britain's place in the EU was increasingly bwing quesitoned. 

The end of the Cold War meant that NATO had to find a new role. Post-Soviet Russia was weak, economically and politically. The dominance of the US seemed to be unchallenged and Britain, with its speical relaitonship still strong, expected to play a role in the new world order. 

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