Bosnia likely to fall apart at some point in the future

Comprised mainly of two parts, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska, Bosnia is an irregularity on the map of Europe.

The beautiful Balkan region has long been unstable, with Sarajevo being the flashpoint where the First World War began with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and with attempts to create multi-ethnic states consistently ending in failure there. With the massacres of the Bosnian Genocide, it is a land filled with grudges.

A history of disintegration

The "clash of civilisations" theory of Samuel P. Huntington would hold that the former Yugoslavia is always potentially conflict-ridden because it has seen the competing presence of Catholic, Islamic and Greek Orthodox civilisation. The theory may be too simplistic, but the region is indeed a hotspot of historical grievances.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire failed, Yugoslavia failed, and what exists there now has no particular guarantee against failing again. As geopolitical tensions rise, especially between NATO and Russia in Europe, lines are being drawn again in Bosnia.

Battle lines drawn

Republika Srpska is turning away from the central government in Bosnia and is seeking an imminent breakup. It is being equipped with weaponry from Russia and China, in anticipation of the breakdown of the international liberal order that is now openly challenged. Meanwhile, the Western-allied component that rules from Sarajevo seeks NATO membership. If conflicts heat up around the world once again, there may be no avoiding a war of further disintegration in Bosnia.

The position of the central government in Sarajevo is, of course, fundamentally hypocritical. Their country unilaterally seceded from Yugoslavia, and yet now they declare that there may be no secession from their authority by Serbs. There is no moral justification for supporting Bosnian separatism and rejecting Serb separatism.

In the event of a renewed conflict, there is no denying the inferior strategic position of the Serbs. They are cut off from their natural allies, the Russians, just as they were in the First World War, and enveloped by the NATO powers. However, the Serbs have been swallowed by many empires before, and have proven to be a bellyache to them. They were no gift to the Ottomans, to the Austrians or to the Nazis, and Western-allied Europe would be foolish to volunteer to go through the same symptoms.