Prologue: America and the Bosnia Nightmare

  • Derek Chollet


From 1991 to 1995, the crisis in Bosnia cast a dark shadow over American foreign policy. All other accomplishments abroad during those years were diminished by Bosnia’s bleeding. This shattered the world’s confidence in American leadership and power. It also spoiled the hopes of many for a new Europe and a transformed U.S.-European relationship. When the war erupted in 1992, the European powers saw an opportunity to test their mettle, and to increase the influence of their fledgling political bloc then known as the European Community (EC). As Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister and EC President Jacques Poos famously said at the time, “the hour of Europe has dawned.” Yet as time went on, Europe’s response proved feckless, and the introduction of European troops under a United Nations mandate did little to stop the horrendous bloodshed. By the spring of 1995, as the crisis threatened to spin out of control, nearly 300,000 people had been killed, and 1.2 million were refugees.


Security Council Contact Group American Foreign Policy Humanitarian Relief American Leadership 
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© Derek Chollet 2005

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  • Derek Chollet

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