After conversations with both Bosnians and ex-pats with significant experience and knowledge regarding Bosnia, I have come to the realization that Bosnia is really at a tipping point. Despite all of the progress made in Bosnian society since the end of the war, there are still significant problems facing the country. Almost twenty years after the war the government remains ineffective and the country is still deeply divided upon ethnic lines. Bosnia is a decentralized state and due to the government organized by the Dayton Agreement one ethnic group will always be able to block any governmental decision that they disagree with. As a result very little is accomplished. The Bosnian economy continues to struggle and the politicians only seem interested in stuffing their own pockets, not improving the lives of their citizens. As a result, most of the Bosnians I have spoken to seem very uninterested in politics because they know very little will change as long as the current system in place. In reality, the best they can hope for is the status quo. When you combine all of the problems of the Bosnian government, such as the corruption, the politicization of the courts, and the recent rise in inflammatory rhetoric by politicians of all ethnic groups, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to worry about the future stability of the country. Unfortunately, one little spark, such as a referendum on independence for the Republic of Sprska that has been discussed in the past, has the potential to plunge the country back into war. Until the government can be reorganized and work for the benefit of its citizens, Bosnia will remain an unstable state that is rife with ethnic tension.
The Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina