It has been more than two decades since I worked with Richard Holbrooke and our team to negotiate an end to the war in Bosnia. NATO deployed and then acted to halt Serb ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.
Today, three Western Balkan states (Croatia, Albania and Slovenia) have become members of NATO. Croatia and Slovenia have joined the European Union. Kosovo is now an independent nation. Most Americans and Europeans have mentally filed away that brutal conflict as a problem solved.
Sadly, this is far from true. Lingering political conflicts over the ethno-religious character of these nations consistently threaten to metastasize into national and regional crises, making the region a prime target for meddling by foreign powers.