The Man Who Saved the Day--Sort of . .Issue: Fall 1998
The Dayton Agreement that ended the war in Bosnia--or, more precisely, that produced a ceasefire which has so far lasted almost three years--is a flawed agreement, and its flaws are the product of a flawed policy. Those policy failures are the responsibility of two American administrations and, even more, of the European countries who claimed that they were ready to lead, but who in fact allowed tens of thousands of innocent people to perish in the "ethnic cleansing" and war crimes that marked the conflict in Bosnia.
With all its flaws, the Dayton Agreement provided much-needed relief from the horrible war that preceded it, and it is largely to the credit of Richard Holbrooke that there is any agreement at all. He has now given us, in To End a War, his memoir of this crucially important negotiation, the crowning achievement (so far) of an impressive diplomatic career. The book makes compelling reading, even as it raises questions that have yet to be answered satisfactorily.