Why Milosevic Decided to Settle the Conflict Over Kosovo When He Did

by Stephen T. Hosmer

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Abstract

This research brief describes work documented in The Conflict Over Kosovo: Why Milosevic Decided to Settle When He Did (MR-1351-AF).

Excerpt: The Kosovo conflict was essentially settled on June 3, 1999, when Slobodan Milosevic, then-president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, decided to accept NATO's terms for ending its 78-day bombing campaign. Since U.S. leaders will undoubtedly seek to apply the lessons of Kosovo to future conflicts, it is important that the motivations and calculations underlying Milosevic's decision be understood. Two questions in particular require resolution. First, why did Milosevic refuse to settle the conflict earlier-say after a few days of bombing-as many allied leaders initially expected he would? Second, why didn't he attempt to hold out even longer, as most NATO leaders eventually feared he would?

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