from Center for Preventive Action

Balkans 2010

December 9, 2002



Despite years of involvement by the United States and its allies, the Balkans region is suffering from economic stagnation and high unemployment; hundreds of thousands of refugees still await resettlement; prominent war criminals remain at large; and political and legal reform is impeded by endemic corruption, organized crime, and in some cases, a lack of political will. Yet after a decade of extensive involvement and peacemaking in the Balkans, the United States and its allies are winding down their commitment to the region. At this critical juncture, warns this independent Task Force report, if the problems besieging the Balkan states are left unresolved, they will lead to serious social and economic instability for southeastern Europe.

Neglecting these problems will lead to growing poverty, an increase in illegal economic activity, further human displacement, and a greater likelihood of political extremism, all in the heart of Europe. Furthermore, the report asserts, abandoning the Muslim populations of Bosnia and Kosovo will further reduce U.S. standing in the Muslim world and may encourage Balkan Muslims to turn to religious militants, rather than to Europe, for protection. It is therefore essential that the stakeholders in the Balkans, particularly the United States and the European Union (EU), make clear the economic, political, and security benefits of reform and cooperation with European standards and institutions and be equally explicit about the penalties--including the withholding of financial aid and international isolation--for regression, obstructionism, or the use of violence.

More on:

Bosnia and Herzegovina


Conflict Prevention

To help the Balkans achieve stability and integration in Europe, the Task Force makes the following key recommendations: reorganize the international community’s involvement in the Balkans around the EU’s Stabilization and Association Process and NATO’s Membership Action Plan and Partnership for Peace program, with the goal of an orderly reduction of the overall international presence in the region by 2010; use “carrots” (such as access to privileged political and economic relations and favorable trade terms with Europe) and “sticks” (such as linking financial assistance to specific performance goals) to reward or compel political, economic, social, and security reform; implement internationally led law enforcement campaigns, initially in Bosnia and Kosovo, to cripple the politico-criminal syndicates that threaten internal and regional security; and establish the rule of law and develop transparent and accountable systems of criminal and civil justice that are fair to all citizens.

More on:

Bosnia and Herzegovina


Conflict Prevention

Task Force Members

EDWARD C. MEYER, chairman of the Balkans 2010 independent Task Force, served as chief of staff of the United States Army from 1979 to 1983. He is chairman emeritus of Mitretek Systems, president of Army Emergency Relief, and chairman of the George Marshall Foundation. He is also a partner of Cilluffo Associates, a member of the board of trustees of the Smith Richardson Foundation, and a member of the board of overseers of the Hoover Institution.

KENNETH H. BACON is the president of Refugees International. Between 1994 and 2001, he served as the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs and Pentagon spokesman.

GEORGE C. BIDDLE is the senior vice president of the International Rescue Committee. Previously, he was vice president of the International Crisis Group and president of the Institute for Central American Studies.

ALEXANDER BORAINE is the founding president of the International Center for Transitional Justice, an adjunct professor at New York University, and the author, most recently, of A Country Unmasked (2000). From 1995 to 1998, he was the deputy chair of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, serving under chairman Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

HANI K. FINDAKLY is chief executive officer of Potomac Capital Inc. From 1986 to 2000, he held a number of senior investment banking and investment management positions on Wall Street. From 1975 to 1986 he served at the World Bank, where he was director of investments and chief investment officer. Before joining the bank, he served on the faculty of MIT.

JOHN G. HEIMANN is senior adviser to both Merrill Lynch and Co., Inc., and the Financial Stability Institute of the Bank for International Settlements. He also acts as senior adviser to the board of directors of Allied Irish Bank. He served as New York State’s superintendent of banks, U.S. Comptroller of the Currency, and a member of the board of both the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal National Mortgage Association.

JONATHAN E. LEVITSKY is an attorney with the law firm of Debevoise and Plimpton in New York. He previously served as counselor to Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke at the U.S. Mission to the U.N., as a member of the State Department’s policy planning staff, and as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

THOMAS LIPPMAN is a former diplomatic correspondent of The Washington Post and was the Post’s principal reporter during the NATO bombing campaign against Serbia in 1999. He is the author of Understanding Islam and of Madeleine Albright and the New American Diplomacy.

ROBERT L. MCCLURE is a colonel in the U.S. Army and was the 2001–2002 U.S. Army military fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

MARGARET F. MUDD is senior adviser at the Financial Services Volunteer Corps, a nongovernmental organization. Formerly, she was a banker with long experience providing financial services to banks in the Balkans and in Eastern Europe.

WILLIAM L. NASH is a senior fellow and director of the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations.

JAMES C. O’BRIEN is a principal of the Albright Group,LLC, and served as special presidential envoy for the Balkans and senior adviser to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during the Clinton administration. He participated in numerous high-profile international negotiations, including a leading role in the Dayton Peace Agreement in Bosnia.

SADAKO OGATA, former United Nations high commissioner for refugees, serves as co-chair of the Commission on Human Security and as Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s special representative for Afghanistan, and is scholar-in-residence at the Ford Foundation.

DAVID L. PHILLIPS is a senior fellow and deputy director of the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations and has served as a senior adviser to the U.S. Department of State and the United Nations.

COLETTE RAUSCH specializes in rule of law issues in peace operations at the United States Institute of Peace. Before joining the institute, she was with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Kosovo, serving as the director of the Department of Human Rights and Rule of Law.

STEPHEN SAIDEMAN is an associate professor of political science at McGill University. His research largely focuses on the international and domestic politics of ethnic conflict, as does his recent book, The Ties That Divide: Ethnic Politics, Foreign Policy, and International Conflict.

MARK SCHNEIDER is the senior vice president of the International Crisis Group. Previously, he served as director of the Peace Corps. He has held senior positions at the U.S. Agency for International Development and at the Pan American Health Organization, a regional office of the World Health Organization.

DOUGLAS E. SCHOEN is a founding partner and a principal strategist at the market research firm Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates. He has provided strategic advice to political candidates in the United States and to leaders around the world, including heads of state of Greece, Turkey, Israel, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, Bermuda, and Yugoslavia.

DANIEL SERWER is the director of the Balkans Initiative at the United States Institute of Peace, where he has worked extensively on democratization in Serbia and has been deeply engaged in facilitating dialogue between Serbs and Albanians. He served from 1994 to 1996 as U.S. Special Envoy and Coordinator for the Bosnian Federation, mediating between Croats and Bosnians, and negotiating the first agreement reached at the Dayton peace talks.

LAURA SILBER, senior policy adviser at the Open Society Institute, plays a leading role in the institute’s policy advocacy, part of which includes supervising efforts to promote the Open Society’s policies and issues internationally through the media. From 1990 to 1997 she was the Financial Times’ Balkans correspondent, and she is the co-author of the critically acclaimed Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation.

PAUL WILLIAMS is the Rebecca Grazier professor of law and international relations at American University and directs the Public International Law and Policy Group, which provides pro bono legal assistance to states in transition. He has previously served in the Department of State’s Office of the Legal Adviser, as a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and as legal counsel to various parties during the Dayton, Rambouillet, Lake Ohrid, Key West, and Belgrade/Podgorica negotiations.

Top Stories on CFR

Genocide and Mass Atrocities

Thirty years ago, Rwanda’s government began a campaign to eradicate the country’s largest minority group. In just one hundred days in 1994, roving militias killed around eight hundred thousand people. Would-be killers were incited to violence by the radio, which encouraged extremists to take to the streets with machetes. The United Nations stood by amid the bloodshed, and many foreign governments, including the United States, declined to intervene before it was too late. What got in the way of humanitarian intervention? And as violent conflict now rages at a clip unseen since then, can the international community learn from the mistakes of its past?


The IMF and World Bank’s spring meetings will focus on the prospects for a soft landing after years of global economic turbulence. But major challenges remain, including growing climate finance needs and persistently high global debt levels.

South Korea

The center-left Democratic Party added to its legislative majority after the recent parliamentary election, which would deal a blow to President Yoon Suk Yeol’s domestic reform agenda and possibly his efforts to improve ties with Japan.