Bombs and Diplomacy: NATO’s Campaign Ends, the Western Offensive Continues

  • Derek Chollet


As the shuttle team regrouped in Washington, the UN’s military leaders on the ground in Bosnia worried about how to end NATO’s air campaign. Lt. General Bernard Janvier, who had reluctantly agreed to resume the airstrikes, remained skeptical about their effectiveness. The French UNPROFOR commander had never liked the airstrikes—when the bombing had begun he had written a memorandum revealing his worries about NATO making UN troops “a party to the conflict”—and now he believed that the bombing produced little of value tactically or psychologically, especially under the limited “Option Two” targets. Making matters worse, NATO was running out of things to hit. The top UN military official in Sarajevo, British Lt. General Rupert Smith, was concerned about the diminishing political advantages of bombing, arguing that if the Bosnian Serbs perceived that “Holbrooke doesn’t have his hand on the [bombing] lever, they will refuse to talk.” Smith recommended a second bombing pause to organize the political-military strategy.1


Foreign Minister Contact Group Defense Minister American Official Joint Presidency 
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© Derek Chollet 2005

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  • Derek Chollet

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