Kosovo, after its incorporation into the Serbian Republic of Yugoslavia, became increasingly restive during the 1990s as Yugoslavia plunged into internal war and Kosovo's ethnic Albanian residents (Kosovars) sought automy. In March 1999, NATO forces began airstrikes against targets in Kosovo and Serbia in an effort to protect Kosovars against persecution. The bombing campaign ended in June 1999, and Kosovo was placed under transitional UN administration while negotiations on its status ensued. Kosovo eventually declared independence in 2008. Despite internal political tension and ecomic problems, the new nation has been recognized by many other countries and most of its inhabitants welcome its separation from Serbia. In Liberating Kosovo, David Phillips offers a compelling account of the negotiations and military actions that culminated in Kosovo's independence. Drawing on his own participation in the diplomatic process and interviews with leading participants, Phillips chronicles Slobodan Milosevic's rise to power, the sufferings of the Kosovars, and the events that led to the disintegration of Yugoslavia. He analyzes how NATO, the United Nations, and the United States employed diplomacy, aerial bombing, and peacekeeping forces to set in motion the process that led to independence for Kosovo. He also offers important insights into a critical issue in contemporary international politics: how and when the United States, other nations, and NGOs should act to prevent ethnic cleansing and severe human-rights abuses.
David L. Phillips is Director of the Program on Peace-Building and Rights at Columbia University's Institute for the Study of Human Rights and a Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Project on the Future of Diplomacy.