Expectations for International Mediation
By Robert Baruch Bush
This Article Summary written by: Mariya Yevsyukova, Conflict Research Consortium
Citation: Bush, Robert Baruch. "Expectations for International Mediation." Interaction: Conference Report. Summer 1996. V. 8, No. 2. Pp. 5, 18.
Baruch Bush criticizes the top-down, directive intervention exercised by international diplomats in their efforts to pressure parties to sign the Dayton Accords. The parties did not have an opportunity to make their own decisions; rather, the agreements were drafted by the mediators and the parties were pressured to accept them. The mediators were acting according to a stereotype of the Bosnian people not being willing to recognize each other. One of the mediators even said that Bosnians have been living under totalitarian regimes for centuries, and thus they expect pressure to be imposed on them. The result was the separation of three ethnic communities by the peace-keeping forces, basically a division of Bosnia.
Bush understands that an argument can be made for forcing agreement in order to stop killing. But the question remains of why peace-making was not supplemented with bottom up intervention, with the objectives of promoting empowerment and recognition among ordinary people. Instead, funding for Track II diplomacy was reduced. Bush believes that the model of intervention implemented during negotiations over the future of Bosnia represents "a wrong direction in the field" of conflict resolution (p. 18). He argues for bottom-up intervention, which is based on the assumptions of people being able to make decisions for themselves and being able to recognize each other.