Academic event 2011

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State Security vs. Global Security: Conflict Resolution in Bosnia and Herzegovina - Lessons Learned

Miruna Troncota

‚ National School for Political and Administrative Studies, Romania


Most theoreticians consider the Balkan region as a laboratory of history where plenty of political experiments took place. Conflict resolution strategies implemented in the region make no exception to that.  Bosnia Herzegovina (BiH) is still one of the most instable actors in the region, proving that a failed state-building brings with it a failed security community building. The main focus of the paper will be put on the actions of the International Organizations such as NATO, UN, OSCE and EU taken after the Dayton Agreement aimed at peace-building. All these actions to preserve security and stability in BiH were focused on bringing ethnic conflicts to an end and build democratic institutions. That is why there should be given more attention to the connection between state building patterns and strategies of security community building as two political phenomena directly correlated. In order to make a clear argument of this idea, the theoretical framework of the analysis will be determined by the constructivist theory of security community building developed by Emanuel Adler and Michael Barnett. The present instability of the region and the weak institutions unable to bring full democratization and economic growth in the illustrative case study of BiH will be explained on the basis of poor conflict management actions of both international and local actors. The main hypothesis of the article is that this perpetual instability in the entire Western Balkans region is caused by the conflict between a state-centric strategy of security building (with 3 models coming from the three ethnic communities of BiH)  and a so-called global strategy of security building  (with 3 other models proposed by UN, NATO and EU). After the Dayton Agreement BiH was caught between these intermingled local and global visions and opposing strategies (state security vs. global security) which created a serious problem for the future development of security policy-making in the entire region: which of these strategies is the most viable in order to build a security community in the Western Balkans? The conclusions of the article will focus on these both theoretical and policy oriented challenges.