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Playing the patron: Croatian-American relations and the development of American policy in Yugoslavia: from the collapse of Yugoslavia to Tudjman’s Storm, 1989-1995

Berman, Daniel Walter (2019) Playing the patron: Croatian-American relations and the development of American policy in Yugoslavia: from the collapse of Yugoslavia to Tudjman’s Storm, 1989-1995. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

Between 1989 and 1995 American policymakers struggled with breakup of Yugoslavia. The greatest challenge facing American officials was not ancient hatreds or the complexities of diplomacy but their own inability to define objectives which could be reconciled with the region’s importance or lack thereof to the United States. The United States wanted to preserve Yugoslavia, but not enough to pay the costs needed for success. Later, the United States wanted to secure an independent Bosnia, but not enough to jeopardized interests elsewhere in the world or to risk American lives. Virtually every major Yugoslav player in 1989 was convinced that securing American support was vital to their own success. That American officials failed to reconcile themselves to their actual leverage prevented the United States from taking advantage of this belief. Instead, it was Croatia led by Franjo Tudjman who filled the vacuum. Ultimately, the United States settled for an end to the fighting in the region on whatever terms could be sold domestically and international as a victory. Tudjman delivered that victory on the ground in exchange for American legitimization of his objectives, and then used the prospect that America would only legitimize a peace on his terms to secure the agreement of the other Yugoslav parties. America secured a peace agreement, but one that was less favorable to all parties except for the Croats than could have been achieved earlier. Utilizing newly declassified documents and multiarchival research, this Thesis will demonstrate how a failure to reconcile means with objectives defined American policy towards Yugoslavia, and how Franjo Tudjman’s grasp of this dynamic enabled him to emerge as America’s partner in the region.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2019 Daniel Walter Berman
Library of Congress subject classification: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
D History General and Old World > DR Balkan Peninsula
E History America > E151 United States (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International History
Supervisor: Rajak, Rajak
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/4161

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