Liberating Kosovo: Coercive Diplomacy and U.S. Intervention

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    Kosovo, after its incorporation into the Serbian Republic of Yugoslavia, became increasingly restive during the 1990s as Yugoslavia plunged into internal war and Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian residents (Kosovars) sought autonomy. In March 1999, NATO forces began airstrikes against targets in Kosovo and Serbia in an effort to protect Kosovars against persecution. The bombing campaign ended in June 1999, and Kosovo was placed under transitional UN administration while negotiations on its status ensued. Kosovo eventually declared independence in 2008. Despite internal political tension and economic problems, the new nation has been recognized by many other countries and most of its inhabitants welcome its separation from Serbia.

    In Liberating Kosovo, David Phillips offers a compelling account of the negotiations and military actions that culminated in Kosovo’s independence. Drawing on his own participation in the diplomatic process and interviews with leading participants, Phillips chronicles Slobodan Milosevic’s rise to power, the sufferings of the Kosovars, and the events that led to the disintegration of Yugoslavia. He analyzes how NATO, the United Nations, and the United States employed diplomacy, aerial bombing, and peacekeeping forces to set in motion the process that led to independence for Kosovo. He also offers important insights into a critical issue in contemporary international politics: how and when the United States, other nations, and nongovernmental organizations should act to prevent ethnic cleansing and severe human-rights abuses.

    About David L. Phillips

    David L. Phillips is Director of the Program on Peace-Building and Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights and a Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Future of Diplomacy Project. Phillips has worked as a Senior Adviser to the United Nations Secretariat and as Senior Adviser to the U.S. Department of State. He has held positions at academic institutions as Executive Director of Columbia University’s International Conflict Resolution Program, Director of American University’s Program on Conflict Prevention and Peace-Building, Visiting Scholar at Harvard University’s Center for Middle East Studies, Professor at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, and Adjunct Associate Professor at New York University’s Department of Politics. He has worked at think tanks as Deputy Director of the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations, Senior Fellow at the Preventive Diplomacy Program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States, and Project Director at the International Peace Research Institute of Oslo. Phillips has also been a foundation executive serving as President of the Congressional Human Rights Foundation, Executive Director of the Elie Wiesel Foundation and the Nobel Laureates Initiative, and Director of the European Centre for Common Ground. He is author of From Bullets to Ballots: Violent Muslim Movements in Transition (Transaction Press, 2008), Losing Iraq: Inside the Postwar Reconstruction Fiasco (Perseus Books, 2005), and Unsilencing the Past: Track Two Diplomacy and Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation (Berghahn Books, 2005). He has also authored many policy reports, as well as more than one hundred articles in leading publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, and Foreign Affairs.

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