More Mythical Bosnia

American Ambassador Robert Beecroft finished his mandate as head of the OSCE mission in Bosnia in early July. In his open farewell address, published by the Imperial propaganda outfit IWPR, and reposted by NATO propaganda outfit ISN, he offers an interesting assessment of Bosnia’s problems. While honest, his proposed solution shows a fundamental lack of understanding of Bosnia and its people.

Beecroft wants to see a Bosnia that would be “common, lawful, and functional state in which all citizens would prosper and which would one day assume its proper place in Europe.” For this to happen, he argues, Bosnians need to combat their dependency on outsiders, something that goes 500 years back (that he got right, entirely) and pull together, replacing three separate nationalisms with one common patriotism:
“[W]hat this country needs most, it seems to me, is respect for itself… Bosnia and Herzegovina urgently needs more patriotism and less nationalism.”
He seems to believe – and that belief seems to be shared by many Imperial personnel in Bosnia – that this patriotism could revolve around the idea of becoming a prosperous, post-modern post-nation in the EU Leviathan. But even if this amorphous and ambiguous idea could be strong enough to overcome mutual hostility (and it isn’t), none of the Bosnian peoples really want to become post-modern, post-nations. Croats want to become part of Croatia; Serbs want to keep their Republic and be left alone, or maybe even become part of Serbia; and Muslims still follow the vision of the late Izetbegovic, who sought to make Bosnia into a unitary, Islamic state at non-Muslims’ expense. How can these goals be reconciled? Can three peoples forced to live under one roof, guided by political platforms that are mutually opposed, actually do what Beecroft and many others simplistically believe they should?
Both logic and experience argue: no.
Beecroft says at one point that “the politics of inat (a quintessentially Balkan mixture of obstinacy and spite) leave no space for the politics of hope.” But whose inat are we really talking about? That of the locals, or that of the Empire?