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To End A War by Richard Holbrooke Research Papers

Research papers on international politics can use books such as Richard Holbrooke's To End A War to write an excellent project on diplomacy and international relations. Have Paper Masters custom write a research paper using To End A War today.

In To End A War, Richard Holbrooke provides an unusual opportunity to observe a diplomatic mission from start to finish.  Today, news headlines show us that the Dayton process as described by Holbrooke was unsuccessful as a whole.  However, studying the individual successes and failures of this effort allow us to piece together a more complete picture of crisis intervention diplomacy. 

To End War

Democracy is a particularly relevant concept regarding these negotiations. 

  • The United States, mediator of the peace talks, is a democracy presumably interested in promoting democracy internationally. 
  • The United Nations, the most widely accepted decision-making body for international affairs, is a democratic institution. 
  • NATO, directly involved in pressuring the Bosnian Serbs to negotiate and represented through chairs at the peace conference, is also organized democratically. 

Each of these organizations agreed that the most certain path toward peace was democracy in former Yugoslavia.  Because so many parties had direct interest in the outcome of the negotiations, adherence to democratic representative principles was extremely necessary. 

The central theme of democracy is cooperation.  While having a democracy does not imply widespread agreement to each decision, each party has to agree to respect the process and results of democratic decision-making.  Democracy must entail some form of representation of the parties affected by the decision.  This does not have to mean direct democracy.  Referendums for each group on each issue would surely defeat any peace conference.  However, the interest of affected parties should be represented by a person or group agreed upon by the larger group.  In the case of peace negotiations, those representatives would be government leaders or subordinates approved to speak for their leaders. To End A War shows that while the process was in keeping with the technicalities of democracy, impartiality and representation did not comply with democratic ideals.

Holbrooke, the de-facto leader in these negotiations, reveals his distaste for the Bosnian Serb faction early in the book.  At his first meeting with the Pale leaders, Holbrooke refused to shake hands with the leaders, “although Karadzic and Mladic tried to”. Although Holbrooke’s distaste for the two indicted war criminals was warranted by their ethnic cleansing campaigns, the impartiality implied by democratic process was somewhat subverted by his partiality to the Croats. 

America’s international position on the Bosnian conflict also implied a certain amount of impartiality. The United States was instrumental in pressuring NATO to initiate airstrikes against the Bosnian Serbs until they agreed to stop fighting and participate in peace talks. While the bombing was excused as humanitarian intervention against ethnic cleansing, the Bosnian Serbs were forced to participate in negotiations where they had the lower hand.

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