chapter  6
38 Pages

Discourses of War: Security and the Case of Yugoslavia

The agonizing war in the former Yugoslavia, the interminable parlays about what to do, the innumerable threats made and peace plans offered, retracted, and made again have all served to highlight the process by which Western decision-making elites have tried to redefine their own, and their countries’, security in the post-Cold War world. To the question, “ What is to be done in Bosnia?” they have answered, “ Almost nothing.” To the question, “ Why?” they have answered, “ Because it does not threaten us.” And, so, almost nothing has happened. In this chapter, we argue that this policy response is directly related to conceptions of security and threats that have structured the debate on the causes of the war as well as its potential consequences. In turn, widespread acceptance of the dominant view of those causes has justified a policy of relative inaction, in the process virtually precluding future actions designed to prevent such carnage from becoming an accepted feature of global politics.