Follow the Right Words with the Right Policy

DPC is sharing threads posted on Twitter/X for readers not on that platform.

1/ The recent statement by @USEmbassySJJ Ambassador Michael Murphy is certain to be met with much agreement and head nodding by citizens in #Bosnia and Herzegovina #BiH (including in the RS) and outsiders alike.

2/ However, in the absence of a policy shift that might support a different vision for the future, such words will remain empty, and will be used selectively to enhance victimization and grievance narratives among the most nationalist of Serbs in BiH, but also throughout the region.

3/ To put meat on these bones, a 360 policy review spanning security and the political economy is needed for BiH and for the region, as it is an interconnected ecosystem. DPC has called for this for many years.

4/ In parallel, engagement should at least not make problems worse. In BiH this means halting efforts to consolidate and calcify the status quo through access to state property. Conflict entrepreneurs are eager for deals to help them finance debt and rent consent.

5/ Citizens are increasingly angry as they see the wealth and potential around them being exploited with only crumbs remaining for them; this is a constituency for a new social contract.

6/ Regionally, while there still seems to be little stomach in the West to admit that the government in Belgrade is not truly a partner, as Vučić demonstrated for the umpteenth time

7/ …this can still be done.  In addition to contributing to long-term comprehensive security, the West’s real value-based allies in Serbia and the wider region would be empowered by this.

8/ Srpski Svet, which Dodik advocates as well, can only be pursued with Western acquiescence – or, worse yet, collaboration. Time to put paid to it by ending the #DeterrenceFailure and protracted #PolicyMalpractice.