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Book Review

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International Third World Studies Journal and Review



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If asked to name career diplomats who have tackled some very difficult international crises, many foreign policy makers would put Richard Holbrooke near the top of the list. Not many negotiators have wielded moral principle, power, and reason as well as Holbrooke. His book on the Bosnia negotiations leading up to the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement is timely, given the ethnic cleansing that is being carried out in Kosovo, a southern province of Yugoslavia's Serb Republic. Once again we are faced with unrest in the Balkans. We have seen the daily newspaper headlines change from "24 Albanian Men Killed in Kosovo" and "Hopes Fade for New Kosovo Talks" to "NATO Air Campaign Expanded" and "Chinese Embassy Bombed in Belgrade." Although talk of "Bosnian Muslims," "the Bosnian Army" and "Srebrenica' has been replaced with "Kosovars," "the Kosovo Liberation Army," and "Rogovo," two of the main actors in the Bosnia negotiations have returned to put their stamp on the Kosovo negotiations: President Slobodan Milosevic and U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke. Unfortunately, Holbrooke's words that begin the last paragraph of his book seem to have come true: "There will be other Bosnias in our lives." With that in mind, Holbrooke's book will best he appreciated as a harbinger of things to come in Kosovo and elsewhere.