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International Intervention and the Problem of LegitimacyEncounters in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina$
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Andrew C. Gilbert

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501750267

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501750267.001.0001

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Interlude

Interlude

International Authority and Bosnia after Dayton

Chapter:
(p.20) Interlude
Source:
International Intervention and the Problem of Legitimacy
Author(s):

Andrew C. Gilbert

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501750267.003.0002

This interlude outlines the contours of international authority created in the response to the Bosnian war of the 1990s. The remaking of international institutions in response to Bosnia's war and its postwar peace heralded the coming-into-being of the “international community” as the dominant protagonist of a post-Cold War order structured around the values of peace, democracy, the rule of law, humanitarian solidarity, and the inviolability of human rights. This order was presented as more or less universally valid. The universal validity of this post-Cold War model bestowed two main roles and sets of hierarchical relations on the agents of intervention: that of mediator above and between conflicting parties, and that of civilizing missionary or educator of not fully modern people(s). Successfully occupying either role required a constant demonstration of neutrality. However, working out what it meant to be “neutral” in the everyday encounters of international intervention across relations of difference was often a vexing and unpredictable endeavor. The interlude then looks at postwar Bosnia's political settlement and explains why refugee return became such an important site of intervention encounters. It also considers the Dayton Peace Agreement.

Keywords:   international authority, Bosnian war, international institutions, international community, international intervention, neutrality, postwar Bosnia, refugee return, intervention encounters, Dayton Peace Agreement

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