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Peacemakers: American Leadership and the End of Genocide in the Balkans

by James W. Pardew

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Studies in Conflict, Diplomacy, and Peace
424 pages  Pubdate: 01/15/2018  6 x 9  32 b&w photos, 6 maps

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The wars that accompanied the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s were the deadliest European conflicts since World War II. The violence escalated to the point of genocide when, over the course of ten days in July 1995, Serbian troops under the command of General Ratko Mladic murdered 8,000 unarmed men and boys who had sought refuge at a UN safe-haven in Srebrenica. Shocked, the United States quickly launched a diplomatic intervention supported by military force that ultimately brought peace to the new nations created when Yugoslavia disintegrated.

Peacemakers is the first inclusive history of the successful multilateral intervention in the Balkans from 1995–2008 by an official directly involved in the diplomatic and military responses to the crises. A deadly accident near Sarajevo in 1995 thrust James Pardew into the center of efforts to stop the fighting in Bosnia. In a detailed narrative, he shows how Richard Holbrooke and the US envoys who followed him helped to stop or prevent vicious wars in Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, and Macedonia. Pardew describes the human drama of diplomacy and war, illuminating the motives, character, talents, and weaknesses of the national leaders involved.

Pardew demonstrates that the use of US power to relieve human suffering is a natural fit with American values. Peacemakers serves as a potent reminder that American leadership and multilateral cooperation are often critical to resolving international crises.

James W. Pardew was at the heart of US national policymaking throughout the humanitarian crises in the Balkans from Richard Holbrooke’s negotiations on Bosnia in 1995 until the independence of Kosovo in 2008. Ambassador Pardew was the primary US negotiator of the Ohrid Agreement in Macedonia. He also led Balkan task forces for the Secretaries of Defense and State and served as a policy advisor at NATO. Prior to his diplomatic service, he spent twenty-seven years in the US Army as an intelligence officer.

Ambassador Pardew’s memoir is a fascinating narrative and an important assessment of humanitarian intervention. Its recommendations on activist diplomacy, the relationship of force and diplomacy, and the importance of European stability for US foreign policy are a valuable guide for public officials and international citizens today. -- David L. Anderson, California State University, Monterey Bay

Soldier-diplomat James Pardew skillfully employs the tools of memoirist and historian to construct an engaging account of America's vital role in the Balkan Wars of 1995-2008. This richly detailed and highly significant book recounts in immensely readable prose a major success story in American diplomacy. -- George C. Herring, author of The American Century and Beyond: U.S. Foreign Relations, 1893-2014.

Americans can be glad Ambassador James Pardew was, as he describes it in this insightful book, ‘drawn to the Balkans.’ As readers will discover here, Jim Pardew contributed repeatedly and consequentially to the causes of peace and justice in what was once a much more violent part of Europe. This is also an important study of how and when to use all the tools of statecraft available to accomplish the mission. And the lessons Jim learned, clearly catalogued at the end, are as compelling as the story of his diplomacy. -- Marc Grossman, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs

For many years an important figure in US policy toward the Balkans, Ambassador Pardew, provides an insightful insider account of Washington’s approach toward that troubled part of the world that will be of interest to scholars and the general public alike. The shrewd and thoughtful descriptions he provides of important American and international players in the Balkans diplomatic game are particularly valuable. -- Louis Sell, author of Slobodan Milosevic and the Destruction of Yugoslavia, and From Washington to Moscow: US-Soviet Relations and the Collapse of the USSR