Monday, September 21, 2009

If Bosnia is headed back toward chaos...

...then what are our hopes to create a long-term democracy in Afghanistan? Such is the question George Will is asking in his newest column. Bosnia was the unique challenge of the Clinton years, and an unprecedented commitment of resources by Western nations funneled over $14 billion into the small country. But already, we are seeing the fragile peace beginning to fray.

Today, the centrifugal forces of the rival ethnic nationalisms of Bosnia's Muslims, Croats and Serbs have, McMahon and Western say, stalled reform and the economy -- unemployment is 27 percent, 25 percent of Bosnians live in poverty, and the public sector, with a ludicrous 160 ministers, swallows almost half the GDP. International organizations, suffering Balkan fatigue and eager to declare "mission accomplished,'' are withdrawing, leaving Muslims isolated and vulnerable, and, as Bosnia is, McMahon and Western say, "drifting toward chaos."
This humbling news is a good reminder to us that the creation of a new form of government is NOT a matter of money. Or even of military power. It is a matter of changing minds and hearts. And this seems to be something we have done in Iraq, but are failing to do in most of the other hot spots around the world.

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