The EU and Karadzic

I’m not going to wade too deep into the arrest of Bosnian Serb war criminal Radovan Karadzic, because there’s not a whole lot of nuance here. The short version is that this is very good news.

More broadly, it vindicates in many ways the sheer weight of the EU’s soft power, as the new Serbian government’s desire to join is by all accounts what played the decisive role in the long-delayed effort to bring Karadzic to justice. Notwithstanding all of the Union’s institutional drawbacks and dysfunction, membership has its privileges. In that, the EU reminds me of a Dallas movie theater in the month of August: once you’re inside, you might complain that it’s too cold, but it sure beats the weather outside.

It also strikes me as remarkable that this took place so soon after Kosovo’s declaration of independence. Remember that the American embassy in Belgrade was assaulted in the week following that announcement. Last night, by contrast, the Serbian police were dispatched to make sure there were no incidents. Part of this has to do with internal Serbian politics, which I don’t follow closely enough to comment on. But it’s noteworthy that the gravitational pull of regional integration, at least in this instance, outweighed that of die-hard nationalism.

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