The Death of Yugoslavia
It’s difficult to point to the exact cause of the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s, even for those of us who were alive to see them unfold. It’s easy to recall that a country called Yugoslavia existed, and that it was communist but not closely aligned with the Soviet Union. It’s easy to recall that a lot of people died, and that war crimes were rampant, and that Yugoslavia devolved into a bunch of independent countries.
For those of us who live outside of the Balkans, the inability to comprehend the goals and fears of each warring party is understandable. Ethnic and national identities are multitudinous: Serbian Serbs, Bosnian Serbs, Bosnian Croats, Bosniaks, Croatian Croats, Croatian Serbs, Albanian Kosovars, Serbian Kosovars, Montenegrins, Slovenes. (This is to say nothing of the religious differences among the ethnic groups.) Even more confusing, allegiances changed early and often – Bosnian Serbs working with Bosnian Muslims to defend