As nationalism may seduce the masses, so may vanity have the same effect upon individual diplomats engaged in conflict resolution. While some may debate what strategic interests, conspiracies or prejudices are at play in motivating policy, too frequently it may be the egos of the personalities involved.
Whether there was acquiescence or complicity before or after the fact of the fall of Srebrenica, Washington pivoted its policy toward satisfying Milosevic's territorial demands. The mythology of peace in BiH continues to be dominated by tales of age-old hatreds as well as ethnic chauvinist politics.
The parallel example for Syria is not Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya -- it's Bosnia. Like the Syrian conflict today, Bosnia saw horrific atrocities, unprecedented numbers of refugees and an exorbitant death toll. Like Syria, the crisis in the Balkans was thought unsolvable and intractable. Bosnia's strongest allies worried that action to protect civilians could escalate the conflict regionally and even globally.
Every year we commemorate the genocide, we expect that those who betrayed Srebrenica might this time ask for forgiveness from the survivors. Instead, much of Europe appears inclined to forget Srebrenica and punish all Bosnian & Herzegovinians ("BiH") for reminding it of its collective failure to prevent the genocide.
The Netherlands is in a unique position to assert the rule of law in the case of the Arctic Sunrise, beyond the consideration of the ship's registration. The Netherlands is home to several major international tribunals, including the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.