British Perspectives

  • James Gow
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series


Britain played a central role in the international handling of the war of dissolution in Yugoslavia. That role was harshly criticised at different times, from different quarters. Allegations were levelled that British policy was pro-Serbian, that it was a policy of appeasement and a policy of indifference. And yet, whilst British policy was less than glorious, and in the end, a failure, it shared those qualities with other major actors in the international community, as is clearly indicated by other chapters in the present volume. The UK may have stood accused because it played a more significant role in the diplomatic treatment of the crisis than most other states — a role which included the supply of a small secretariat to the European Community (EC) for the duration of the conferences on Yugoslavia, active diplomacy in the United Nations (UN), and the sending of the second largest contingent of troops to operate with UNPROFOR, the UN peace-keeping force in the former Yugoslavia. This reflected its strong commitment to ending the war and its engagement as a major actor on the international stage, as well as its analysis of the various aspects of the situation, within and without the former Yugoslavia.


United Nations Security Council Security Council Resolution British Policy Ground Troop 
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  1. 4.
    Quoted in Jane M. O. Sharp, Bankrupt in the Balkans: British Policy in Bosnia (London: Institute for Public Policy Research, 1992), p. 1.Google Scholar
  2. 11.
    Evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee, Central and Eastern Europe: Problems of the Post-Communist Era, First Report, Vol. II (London: HMSO, 1992), p. 58.Google Scholar
  3. 14.
    Col. Bob Stewart, Commanding Officer of the first UK contingent to be sent to Bosnia was told that ‘the absolute ceiling on our total personnel was to be 1822’. See Bob Stewart, Broken Lives: A Personal View of the Bosnian Conflict (London: Harper Collins, 1994), p. 15.Google Scholar
  4. 18.
    House of Commons Defence Committee, United Kingdom Peacekeeping and Intervention Forces, Session 1992–93 HC 188, 369 (London: HMSO, 1993).Google Scholar
  5. 20.
    For a vivid and credible account see Roy Gutman, Witness to Genocide (Shaftesbury, Dorset: Element, 1993).Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1996

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  • James Gow

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