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Download Balkan Odyssey a personal account of the international peace efforts following the breakup of the former Yugoslavia epub

by David Owen

The chief European Community negotiator provides a close-up look at events in the Balkans since the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, examining failed international peace efforts, condemning U.S. Balkan policies, and offering a personal chronicle of efforts to end the civil war. 50,000 first printing.
Download Balkan Odyssey a personal account of the international peace efforts following the breakup of the former Yugoslavia epub
ISBN: 0151002215
ISBN13: 978-0151002214
Category: Politics
Subcategory: Politics & Government
Author: David Owen
Language: English
Publisher: Harcourt; 1st U.S. ed edition (March 1, 1996)
Pages: 389 pages
ePUB size: 1886 kb
FB2 size: 1810 kb
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 792
Other Formats: azw mobi txt lit

I suppose this book is somewhat unavoidable for the serious student of the Balkan wars of the 1990s, since David Owen was deeply involved in "peace" diplomacy in the Balkans from late 1992 to mid-1995. However, after reading his memoir, one comes out with little in the way of new insights or even interesting details. Most of the time Owen simply tries to white-wash his own role in the Bosnian war; I'm not saying he should be completely blamed for certain events which occured during his tenure as international peace mediator, but he certainly bears some of the culpability. One example is the Vance-Owen Peace Plan, which, by drawing little serpentine lines over the map of Bosnia and designating ethnically-based territories, gave the Croatian militia and Croatian nationalist leaders something of an international mandate to make territorial claims and expel Bosnian Muslims and others from these territories. It's a common cop-out of Croatian nationalists to blame the Vance-Owen plan for the Muslim-Croat conflict, which is wrong, but Owen did nothing to hinder this conflict and his actions in fact fanned the fire--something he glosses over in this book. There's also the case of Owen bringing smuggler-extraordinaire Fikret Abdic into the peace talks as a counterweight to the Sarajevo-based Muslim leadership, who were too obstinate for Owen's tastes. Abdic was popular in his own little pocket of northwestern Bosnia and reviled everywhere else because he was a corrupt businessman and black-marketeer. His introduction to the peace talks by Owen only confused the diplomatic negotiations and led to one of the most bizarre episodes in the Bosnian war: the inter-Muslim confict in the Bihac pocket (Abdic's power base). Yet Owen describes his political rehabilitation of Abdic as a diplomatic triumph. I suppose it's too much to expect him to be overly self-critical, but his self-serving apologetics in this book are almost repugnant. In addition, his writing style leaves something to be desired. Despite the dramatic events which were the subject of this book, "Balkan Odyssey" is about as exciting as a lawnmower owner's manual. All in all, a disappointing book.
Tori Texer
Lord Owen's recounting of his efforts to help resolve the Bosnian war is really little more than a list of meetings and conferences. To this dry unending litany he adds a few cursory and, in some cases, inaccurate descriptions of players associated with the conflict. If you are hoping to get insight from a seemingly well placed person who spent hours and days locked in discussion with some of the 20th Century's most reviled figures you will not find it here. His descriptions are little more than ambiguous diplomatic niceties. During the course of this confusing peace process, Owen only occasionally pens restrained displeasure about the continued obstructionism of American administrations and the blatant deception of Balkan leaders. Just as the international community feared backlash against any form of decisive action, it seems Lord Owen had similar reservations about libel - neither approach is conducive to establishing lasting peace nor fruitful discourse. Owen's isolation in conference rooms and hotels quickly becomes apparent as his detached, incomplete descriptions of realities on the ground appear more like secondhand gossip than any useful form of analysis.
In this book, Lord Owen missed a glorious opportunity to expose the countess agendas and duplicities he faced from all sides. He could have spoken his mind but instead chose to remain a politician. In the end, this book is really just another apology for the shameful failure of Western collective security.
David Owen gives a very personal account of his experiences as a mediator, including his frustrations with the attitude of the international community (in particular the US). His views are very useful to understand the mechanisms of international diplomacy in a highly mediatised conflict. It is rather simplistic, in my view, to depict Owen as someone who tried to favorise one one the parties in the conflict.
Lord Owen is clearly getting brickbats for being "pro Serb" (he has said as a witness to Milosevic's "trial" that he was the only leader who consistently supported peace & that any form of racism was "anathema" to him). On the other hand nobody points out any factual errors. One reviewer refers to Fikret Abdic as a smuggler when, as a matter of fact, he was the most popular moslem politician & Bosnia who had clearly beaten Izetbegovic in a straight election.

If the facts prove that the Croatian & Moslem Nazis were genocidal nazis, as they do, it would be wrong to say otherwise. On the other hand Lord Owen would hardly have been criticised had he lied to uphold the cover story of the genocidal western leaders who supported them.
This is by far one of the worst books about war in Bosnia.
It's a complete waste of time.