Argument: Dayton/Bosnia failures give cause to Republika Srpska secession


Radha Kumar. “The Troubled History of Partition”. Foreign Affairs. January/February 1997 – Summary: The Dayton accord reached in November 1995 was something historically familiar: a partition agreement. As in Bosnia today, partition has usually arisen not as a means of national self-determination but as a way for great powers to “divide and quit.” Often described as the only workable solution to ethnic feuding, partitions have in fact generally fomented violence and required further international intervention. Similar conditions ensure that Bosnia will turn into a policy of divide and be forced to stay. Had outside powers worked from the beginning to reintegrate the fractured country, Bosnia, the Balkans, and Europe might have had a more durable resolution. The Dayton agreement should evoke memories not of Munich but of Cyprus.

Charles G. Boyd. “Making Bosnia Work: A Report From the Field.” Foreign Affairs. January/February 1998 – It is often stated, incorrectly, that the Dayton Accord stopped the fighting in Bosnia. What it did, with the aid of 60,000 U.S. and coalition troops, was freeze in place an uneasy cease-fire and prevent a resumption of hostilities. With 34,000 troops on the ground, still well armed and possessed of robust rules of engagement, the peace is holding. Yet virtually no one familiar with Bosnia believes that peace will endure after June if the coalition force is withdrawn. People who participated in crafting the accord, as well as many who almost certainly have not read the document, assert with equal conviction that failure to implement it will surely result in a resumption of war. That assertion has a ring of truth, since not only is Dayton the centerpiece of U.S. policy but no alternatives seem to be under consideration. Yet during my recent Bosnia visit it became clear to me that continuing to implement the agreement in the current manner also may lead to a resumption of war or, at the very least, a protracted mission for the coalition troops who will have to hold this unhappy land …

Anna Jarsted. “Power Sharing for Peace and Democracy?”. Paper prepared for presentation at the 47th annual meeting of the International Studies Association, San Diego. 22 March 2006 – Introduction: Ten years after the peace accords for Bosnia and Herzegovina were signed in Dayton, Ohio,
the country remains divided. The peace accords served their main aim – to end the 1992-1995
conflict – but their power sharing provisions are now seen as an obstacle to peacebuilding and
democratization. The political representatives of the three main ethnic groups have not
managed to govern jointly. Instead, the international community’s High Representative has
imposed laws and removed several politicians from office. For the sake of efficacy, these
measures have substituted normal procedures for accountability and democratic legitimacy.
The extensive external control has undermined local ownership. Furthermore, the political
system provides no incentives to form cross-ethnic and moderate political parties. Under
international auspices, the parties have agreed to make constitutional changes. The issues on
the table include the tripartite presidency and decentralization to the two entities, the Bosniak-
Croat Federation and Republika Srpska. Revisions towards an integrated, centralized nonethnic
parliamentary democracy with a single president have been proposed. However, these
changes upset the power balance that has regulated the conflict. Removing guaranteed
governmental position threatens the power of the present elite. Hence, Serbian leaders want to
maintain Republika Srpska, and many Croats believe that they should also get their own
entity. The case raises pertinent questions about governance in post-war societies. In what ways does power sharing facilitate, or obstruct, the transition of divided societies towards a
secure democracy?