Accession Number:



The Wreckage Reconsidered: Five Oxymorons from Balkan Deconstruction.

Descriptive Note:

Final rept. Mar-Jun 97,

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



This report examines Yugoslav disintegration in order to suggest, through the Yugoslav example, that a re-examination of national security strategy and foreign policy concerns for the United States in a new century is not only a wise choice but an imperative one. The method by which this examination occurs is through the oxymoron, which I define through its specific Balkan application a force or issue so contrary in nature it may remain problematic no matter what approach or resolution might be offered. The five oxymorons I consider are U.S. strategic perspectives as they have applied to the Balkan example the rise of the parastate as a result of recent Balkan history a strategy of chaos, as it may have applied in the last Balkan war and as it may target American strategic culture in the future religion, a cultural and political force in the Balkans and as it may have provided the occasion, though not the cause, for the outbreak of conflict and, finally, the recognition that NATO enlargement may bring both unintended and unwelcome consequences. This work challenges numerous assumptions made and conclusions drawn about the death of Yugoslavia. My intent is to provide academics, statesmen, policy makers, and military officers an alternate perspective from which to reconsider the Balkan wreckage. In war, as Clausewitz reminds us, the end result is never final. Similarly, in peace the dialectic of unresolved tensions may lead back again to war. That truth alone demonstrates why we need to learn, or at least attempt to learn, the lessons of the last Balkan conflict in order to perhaps prevent the next.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law

Distribution Statement: