Worlds Apart

Bosnian Lessons for Global Security

Worlds Apart

Book Pages: 296 Illustrations: 65 photographs (incl. 62 in color), 1 map Published: September 2011

Author: Swanee Hunt

European Studies, Politics > International Relations

Worlds Apart tells of a well-meaning foreign policy establishment often deaf to the voices of everyday people. Its focus is the Bosnian War, but its implications extend to any situation that prompts the consideration of military intervention on humanitarian grounds. Ambassador Swanee Hunt served in Vienna during the Bosnian War and was intimately involved in American policy toward the Balkans. During her tenure as ambassador and after, she made scores of trips throughout Bosnia and the rest of the former Yugoslavia, attempting to understand the costly delays in foreign military intervention. To that end, she had hundreds of conversations with a wide range of politicians, refugees, journalists, farmers, clergy, aid workers, diplomats, soldiers, and others. In Worlds Apart, Hunt’s eighty vignettes alternate between the people living out the war and “the internationals” deciding whether or how to intervene. From these stories, most of which she witnessed firsthand, she draws six lessons applicable to current conflicts throughout the world. These lessons cannot be learned from afar, Hunt says, with insiders and outsiders working apart. Only by bridging those worlds can we build a stronger paradigm of inclusive international security.


“[A] strong argument for greater participation of women’s groups in peacemaking and reconstruction afer mass violence occurs. The book includes many personal anecdotes and Hunt’s thoughtful observations. For readers unfamiliar with the war and its aftermath, this personal yet analytic account provides a useful primer. Recommended. General readers and undergraduate students all levels.” — G. Conway, Choice

“[Hunt] contributes a conceptual link between national security and engagement with people affected by our policies that is missing from the tool kit of US foreign policy, arguing for the necessity to overcome the ‘gulf between distant policy makers and the people on the scene’ and to not neglect the role that women should play in preventing conflict. . . . She offers fascinating insights into the policy dilemma facing the White House in how to handle a new post – Cold War Russia and Congress.” — Lawrence Butler, Mediterranean Quarterly

“Amusing anecdotes litter the book. . . . [Hunt] attempts to form a coherent response to this tissue of half-truths and myths about the Balkans that she believes lay behind many of the fatal mistakes America and her allies made during the Bosnian wars.” — Ky Krauthamer, Transitions Online

“Hunt has done a nice job of presenting her experiences in a clear fashion. . . . She ventured into Bosnia with little in the way of academic prejudice and saw things as a concerned human being. With that in mind, I was encouraged by her evenhanded view of Balkan topics, especially regarding sticking points like responsibility.” — Robert Niebuhr, Canadian Slavonic Papers

“This book is anything but dry. It's sort of a behind the scenes look at why what happened happened and also why we (the Americans) and the rest of the world acted in the way that we did. I think Hunt did a great job at making this event and the facets of international relations that could be found within accessible to everyone. Bottom line: This is a great book that covers some important lessons!” — A Bookish Affair

“This is a remarkable collection of insights... What is appealing about Hunt’s book is how she uses her view of the Balkans to promote a positive agenda both in Bosnia and elsewhere.” — Erik Jones, Survival

Worlds Apart reminds the reader how difficult and yet imperative is individual and collective action in the face of moral collapse. . . . . It took over a decade for Swanee Hunt to distill and to write the experiences from Bosnia. That history and its lessons remain eerily relevant today.”

— Joanne Leedom-Ackerman, Christian Science Monitor

“[T]he book is an absorbing read. . . . [G]eneral readers, students and activists will find much of value in a book that is more accessible than most academic works on the conflict. Academics and regional experts may not find much new material, but there are enough details and conversations with senior politicians to warrant reading it purely for the insight it offers into diplomatic and political life of the 1990s. . . .” — Jelena Obradovic-Wochnik, Times Higher Education

“Ambassador Hunt has long championed a greater and more substantive role for women in political and civil life and this book is rich with illustrations why that cause is both worthy today and should have been employed much earlier in the Balkan unraveling that led to the wars over Bosnia and Kosovo. . . . Whether the reader may agree with Swanee Hunt’s opinions on Bosnia or not, one can come away from this book with some useful lessons to apply to areas of conflict generally.” — William P. Kiehl, American Diplomacy

“Ambassador Hunt has given us a bold, firsthand, outspoken book. It comes as close as we’ve gotten to answering the wherefores of Bosnia’s stark violence. Her juxtaposition of inside realities and outside misconceptions is convincing support for the broader lessons she offers us.” — General John Galvin, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, and former Dean, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

“Good research. Brilliant analysis. Important book. These lessons about global security are especially urgent in light of today’s headlines.” — Dan Rather, internationally acclaimed veteran newscaster

“Swanee Hunt has written an intelligent, insightful, and highly readable account of the Bosnia conflict and America’s response to it. She brings to her analysis the passion appropriate to a firsthand account, together with a critical and sophisticated appreciation for the larger political context. Those interested in lessons important to future policy will not be disappointed. The book is an important addition to the literature on Bosnia, and on the continuing debate over appropriate circumstances for military intervention for humanitarian purposes.” — Ambassador Robert Gallucci, former Dean, Georgetown School of Foreign Service

“The slaughter in Bosnia in the 1990s still haunts policymakers everywhere. With Worlds Apart, Swanee Hunt brings us all into the room alongside the decision makers at the center of an international crisis, and she simultaneously draws important lessons from those events for the resolution of future conflicts. It’s a compelling read for anyone motivated to learn those larger lessons from a tragedy that tested the will of the free world.” — Senator John Kerry, Chair, Senate Foreign Relations Committee


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Swanee Hunt chairs the Washington-based Institute for Inclusive Security. During her tenure as US ambassador to Austria (1993–97), she hosted negotiations and symposia focused on securing the peace in the neighboring Balkan states. She is a member of the US Council on Foreign Relations, the Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the president of Hunt Alternatives Fund. She has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and NPR, and she has written for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the International Herald Tribune, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, and the Huffington Post, among other publications. She is the author of Half-Life of a Zealot and This Was Not Our War: Bosnian Women Reclaiming the Peace, both also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Author's Note xi

Map of Yugoslavia xiii

Prologue xv

Acknowledgments xxii

Context xxiii

Part 1: War

Section 1: Officialdom 3

1. Inside: "Esteemed Mr. Carrington" 3

2. Outside: A Convenient Euphemism 6

3. Inside: Angels and Animals 8

4. Outside: Carter and Conscience 11

5. Inside: "if I Left, Everyone Would Flee" 13

6. Outside: None of Our Business 16

7. Inside: Silajdžić 17

8. Outside: Unintended Consequences 19

9. Inside: The Bread Factory 20

10. Outside: Elegant Tables 23

Section 2: Victims or Agents? 25

11. Inside: The Unspeakable 25

12. Outside: The Politics of Rape 27

13. Inside: An Unlikely Soldier 30

14. Outside: Happy Fourth of July 31

15. Inside: Women on the Side 35

16. Outside: Contact Sport 36

Section 3: Deadly Stereotypes 38

17. Inside: An Artificial War 38

18. Outside: Clashes 40

19. Inside: Crossing the Fault Line 41

20. Outside: "The Truth of Garažde" 42

21. Inside: Loyal 44

22. Outside: Pentagon Sympathies 47

23. Inside: Family Friends 49

24. Outside: Extremists 52

Section 4: Fissures and Connections 62

25. Inside: Family Ties 62

26. Outside: Federation 63

27. Inside: School Days 66

28. Outside: Forces and Counterforces 70

29. Inside: Blood 73

30. Outside: Trade-offs 75

31. Inside: Grim Lullaby 78

Section 5: The End Approaches 80

32. Outside: Security and Cooperation 80

33. Inside: Sarajevo Cinderalla 84

34. Outside: failure at Srenbrenica 85

35. Inside: Magbula's Parrot 89

36. Outside: The Accident 93

37. Inside: Boys Pretending 95

38. Outside: Bombs and Bluffs 96

39. Inside: Side by Side 99

40. Outside: Decisions at Dayton 101

Part II: Peace

Section 6: After Dayton 111

41. Inside: Morning Has Broken 111

42. Outside: Waiting for Christmas 112

43. Inside: Serb Exodus 115

44. Outside: Refugees in Austria 117

45. Inside: Refugees at the Residence 119

46. Outside: Diplobabble 121

47. Inside: Displaced 122

48. Outside: Sowing and Reaping 123

49. Inside: Banja Luka Bitterness 126

Section 7: Imperfect Justice 129

50. Outside: War Criminals 129

51. Inside: Uncatchable 134

52. Outside: Evenhanded 136

53. Inside: No Justice in Srebrenica 138

54. Outside: The Tribunal 140

55. Inside: Waiting for the Truth 142

56. Intelligence and Political Will 146

57. Inside: Professor, Perpetrator, President 148

Section 8: International Inadequecies 157

58. Outside: The Fourth Warring Party 157

59. City Signs 159

60. Outside: Out of Step 161

61. Inside: By a Thread 163

62. Outside: Missing 164

63. Inside: Surviving the Peace 166

64. Outside: Press Tour 168

Section 9: Women's Initiative 171

65. Inside: Organized for Action 171

66. Outside: Lyons 174

67. Inside: "What's an NGO?" 178

68. Outside: Skewed 180

69. Inside: A League of Their Own 183

70. Outside: "With All Due Respect" 184

Section 10: Recreating Community 192

71. Inside: Beethoven's Fifth 192

72. Outside: "Neither Free Nor Fair" 195

73. Inside: Sarajevo Red 197

74. Outside: Re-Leaf 199

75. Inside: Watermelons 200

76. Outside: Arizona 202

77. Inside: Three Hundred Gold Coins 204

78. Outside: Mistrust in Mostar 208

79. Inside: New Bridges 210

80. Outside: Air Force One 211

Bridging: Six Lessons 225

1. Test Truisms 226

2. Question Stereotypes 231

3. Find Out-of-Power Allies 236

4. Appreciate Domestic Dynamics 241

5. Find Fault 246

6. Embrace Responsibility 250

Epilogue 259

Notes 263

Index 277

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Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4975-4
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