In Response to Statements Announcement by Circle 99 by U.S. Special Envoy Gabriel Escobar

by U.S. Special Envoy Gabriel Escobar


14.04.22. – 1

In Response to Statements Announcement by Circle 99

by U.S. Special Envoy Gabriel Escobar

It appears that Bosnia and Herzegovina will never be a member of the European Union, if we are to believe Gabriel Escobar!

That is the essence, the brutal content and clear message that the U.S. special envoy for the Western Balkans delivered during a recent two-day U.S.-Croatia forum.  And this was in Croatia, the country that refuses to express remorse for the destructive consequences for the state and society of Bosnia and Herzegovina through its wartime Joint Criminal Enterprise.  [“Joint Criminal Enterprise” is the term used in official determinations about Bosnia of the ICTY – International Criminal Tribune for the Former Yugoslavia – in The Hague in 2013 and confirmed by the ICTY in 2017.]  In fact, through its policies and diplomatic actions it is one of the key generators of ethno-nationalist expansionism and the blocking of the democratic reformation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Saying that the Dayton system is the “only roadmap” and is the framework for Bosnia’s European integration is like believing in the existence of the “tooth fairy.”  Thirty years of Bosnia’s wartime and post-war Golgotha is highlighted by the imposition of a dysfunctional anti-democratic and discriminatory Dayton political system, a concept which was created by the vassal relationship and hegemonic policies of Serbia and Croatia and has resulted in the blockaded political and social development of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  All this for Escobar seems to be in the spirit of the Russian school of socialist realism about the role of “subjective forces” and the absence of “good will” among political leaders, rather than the crucial consequence of an inoperative and destructive political system.  According to this thinking, even socialism itself would be today a system that from time to time only went sour because of the lack of “good will” by individuals in power.

This stance is a transparent political subterfuge and pretext of Realpolitik in which Bosnia and Herzegovina is only coinage for paying off dirty agreements and hidden pragmatic interests.  Obviously Escobar intends to head off Bosnia’s much-needed path from Dayton to Brussels and to render irrelevant the findings of international courts concerning genocide and the Joint Criminal Enterprise against Bosnia, including findings of the European Court [on Human Rights] responding to Bosnian citizens’ appeals against discrimination, and including the opinions of European institutions concerning the democratic reformation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the 14 priorities of the European Commission for Bosnia’s EU membership.  In short, he wants to redefine Bosnia’s roadmap for European integration.

It would appear that Escobar is not a supporter of EU values in Bosnia, but rather of Putin’s ethno-centralist strategy of state expansion and of militarist enlargement of territory on the basis of ethnicity and at the expense of other sovereign states.  To be against aggression in Ukraine and Putin’s model of ethno-nationalist expansionism while dismissing in Bosnia the real dangers that wartime objectives are being achieved through other methods (because “Serbia and Croatia are not interested in having a war on their borders”) is simply a policy of double standards and ill-defined policies.

Escobar’s rejection of European standards of liberal democracy and civil society for the democratic reformation of Bosna is nothing short of morbid.  It is illogical to say that this can be discussed only “after Bosnia becomes a member of the European Union.”  This is in itself contradictory:  such a Bosnia could never become a member of the European Union.  Or, maybe that is the actual meaning of Escobar’s statement.

These are conceptual acrobatics and obvious kowtowing by this American envoy toward policies and forces arrayed against the normal functioning of the state of Bosnia.  In spite of this, one must not lose hope in the moral obligation that U.S. President Joseph Biden has undertaken toward preserving the independence and sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Adil Kulenović,  President

Association of Independent Intellectuals – Circle 99 (bosn. Krug 99) a leading Bosnian think-tank was established in Sarajevo in 1993, in the midst of the Bosnian war (1992-1995), while the capital was under siege.

Circle 99 provides a platform to bring together intellectuals of various professional and ethnic identities; university professors, members of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, artists, journalists, entrepreneurs, diplomats, and other prominent figures from Bosnia and from abroad.

Multidisciplinary discussions and initiatives are held each Sunday throughout the academic year, in the form of regular sessions about politics, science, education, culture, economy, and other societal issues. The overall goal is to sensitise the public towards a democratic transformation, achieving and maintaining peace, and integration of modern Bosnia into the community of countries fostering liberal democracy.


ADDRESS Vrazova 1, 71000 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina



YT channel: Krug 99