In attending the Southeastern Europe Stability Pact Summit in Sarajevo this weekend, President Clinton highlights the importance for the United States as well as Europe of the future of this troubled region.
What is at stake is more than the reconstruction of Kosovo. It is the effort to build relations of cooperation and exchange to replace a centuries-old legacy of conflict; it is the economic growth and political development of an entire region whose potential has been blocked by the last remaining vestiges in Europe of National Communism.
As important as all this is, rebuilding Kosovo alone will not suffice.
On strictly economic grounds, Kosovo itself is not viable other than as an integrated part of a prospering region. The rebuilding of Bosnia-Hercegovina stands as a vivid example of a flawed reconstruction. Roads and public buildings have been completed, but there are no jobs. Roughly half of the urban labor force in Bosnia is on the payroll of international organizations and NGOs, and the other half is unemployed. Limited on all sides by embargoes and conflict, the country's few private businesses do not have sufficient markets to survive.