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Original Essays | September 18, 2014

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Kosovo Crossing: American Ideals Meet Reality on the Balkan Battlefields


Kosovo Crossing: American Ideals Meet Reality on the Balkan Battlefields Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The aftermath of the conflict in Kosovo poses a major challenge to the United States as the world's preeminent power. Leading NATO into the first war of its fifty-year existence, America sought to carve out a new role both for the alliance and for itself in establishing a new and more moral world order. Yet like the other crises of the 1990s — in Iraq, Bosnia, Somalia, Haiti, and Rwanda — this war has revealed the limits of America's power to shape the world and, especially, its power to impose its values on others. When NATO's eleven-week air campaign was suspended, the conflict moved into a new and dangerous phase, for these issues persist in a fast-moving context of war and peace.

In Kosovo Crossing, bestselling author David Fromkin, whose works on global history and American foreign policy have won wide acclaim, turns his attention to the sobering implications of the clash between American ideals and Balkan realities. His incisive analysis reveals the uses and the limits of military power in the world today and the new paths that American leaders must explore to advance American values. To a great extent, he argues, both sides in this Balkan conflict have been dealing with the aftermath of the First World War: Yugoslavia was carved out of the remains of the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires (with no resolution of the ethnic strife among its peoples); and America in the 1990s has adopted as its unofficial creed the ideals of Woodrow Wilson, who preached a new world order based on humanitarian principles. Fromkin traces the impact of this history on current decision making in Belgrade and Washington, and points us toward a new understanding of where we go from here.

Kosovo Crossing eloquently describes the role the Balkan war has played in the larger drama of American power abroad and the effect its emerging outcome will have on our future. In the tradition of A Peace to End All Peace, Fromkin's magisterial history of the making of the Middle East, this book offers the necessary perspective to understand the political and military quandaries facing the United States on the threshold of a new century.


Includes bibliographical references (p. 200-202) and index.

About the Author

David Fromkin is a professor of history and international relations at Boston University and is the author of numerous books on global history, including A Peace to End All Peace, In the Time of the Americans, and The Way of the World. A frequent contributor to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, and other publications, he lives in New York City.

Table of Contents



Part I
Power and Goodness
1. A View from Kosovo 2. Powerless America

Part II
America Becomes King of the Hill
3. America Survives Both Enemies and Allies
4. Measuring America's Greatness

Part III
When and Where Should America Intervene Abroad?
5. The Facts of International Life
6. The Containment of the United States
7. America Unbound

Part IV
Entering The Balkan Maze

8. East and West Shape the Balkans
9. The Middle East Shapes the Balkans
10. The Two Hundred Years' Crisis
11. The Balkan Wars Erupt

Part V
The Making of the Modern Balkans
12. Redrawing the Map and Starting Over
13. Wilson's Principles in Action
14. The Balkan Peace Settlement of 1920
15. Exchanging Populations
16. The Attack on Yugoslavia

America's Journey To The Frontiers
17. Returning to the Scene of the Crime
18. Kosovo or Kosova?
19. Making War: The Old Rules and the New
20. Imposing a New World Order
21. Preserving Credibility
22. A Humanitarian Solution
23. In Search of Justice
24. Frontiers That Cannot Be Crossed


Product Details

American Ideals Meet Reality on the Balkan Battlefields
Fromkin, David
Free Press
New York, NY :
United states
International Relations
U.S. Government
Eastern Europe - Yugoslavia
Intervention (International law)
Balkan peninsula
International Relations - General
Government - U.S. Government
Publication Date:
8.78x5.78x.89 in. .88 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Europe » Eastern Europe » Former Yugoslavia
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy
History and Social Science » World History » Eastern Europe

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