David Bosco

David L. Bosco is an assistant professor at American University's School of International Service and author of Five to Rule Them All: The UN Security Council and the Making of the Modern World.

Recent Articles

The Waning of the American World

America's recent assertive unilateralism may not be much of a departure from past American practice.

Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order By G. John Ikenberry Princeton University Press, 392 pages, $35.00 The current state of the world, G. John Ikenberry suggests in his new book, Liberal Leviathan, is reminiscent of a business that has for years been controlled by one shareholder and now faces a crisis over ownership. Instead of continuing to be run as "a semiprivate company," this business--the international order--has "an expanding array of shareholders and new members on the board of directors." Ikenberry argues that this situation poses a fundamental challenge to the order that emerged after World War II. His book lucidly explains how the end of the Cold War allowed the U.S.-dominated Western system to expand to the rest of the world. Most of the former Soviet bloc joined the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. China joined both and then won entry to the World Trade Organization (Russia may join the WTO soon as well)...

Let's Call It All Off

Charles Kupchan aims to give U.S. policy-makers a roadmap to a more restrained and sustainable foreign policy.

The leaders of two former rivals: Brazil's President Lula Da Silva, left, and former Argentine President Eduardo Duhalde. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace , by Charles A. Kapuchan, Princeton University Press, 442 pages, $29.95 For most of the 20th century, the border between Brazil and Argentina was a tense place. The two South American behemoths were on the opposite sides in regional conflicts and during World War II. They occasionally massed troops on the border to fend off real and perceived threats, and diplomatic contacts were limited. By the late 1970s, however, the decades-long animosity was melting fast. The countries exchanged heads-of-state visits and cooperated on economic-development projects. Fast forward to the early 1990s, and the former adversaries were jointly championing a regional trade organization. Troops marched back from the border, and a "zone of peace" emerged. Charles Kupchan, a Georgetown University professor and former Clinton administration official, wants to understand how this happens. His study of the subject in How Enemies Become Friends is...

Dictators in the Dock

W hen General Augusto Pinochet stepped off a Chilean Air Force jet last March and into the welcoming embrace of the Chilean military, it seemed the ex-dictator's saga had finally come to an end. Wearing a pastel tie and pressed suit, Pinochet looked surprisingly fit as he walked past an honor guard and a military band before being whisked away by motorcade to a heavily guarded compound. After holding the former dictator for more than a year, the British government had finally sprung the general from his gilded cage when a government medical team ruled him unfit to stand trial. Pinochet's arrest in October 1998--at the request of a crusading Spanish prosecutor--had sent shock waves through a world unaccustomed to the sight of world leaders called to account for their crimes; his subsequent return to Chile seemed to signal a return to the old, familiar world of sovereignty, immunity, and--to many eyes--impunity. But appearances were deceiving. Pinochet's arrest was an important moment...

The Next Big Test in Kosovo

The big idea of the post-WWII era was collective security by the great powers. Now, in the post-Cold War era, can the international community make it a reality?

The two United Nations officials peer intently at the Albanian woman, who shifts uncomfortably in her seat. Then come the questions. "What," asks one official, "are human rights?" The woman responds quickly: the right to work, freedom of religion, the right to be with your family. Pausing briefly, the examiner circles a number on the sheet in front of him. The questions become more specific. "Do you feel the common citizen can contribute toward the efficient working of the Kosovo police force?" The list of questions on the table helpfully instructs the examiner to look for "the candidate's knowledge regarding democratic policing." Just weeks after the NATO air campaign successfully forced the Serb regime out of the province, the UN is hard at work on the new Kosovo. In a province suffering from a distinct absence of law and order, the effort to recruit and train a local police force has the highest priority. But it will be policing under the watchful gaze of foreigners. Looming...

After Genocide

The fate of one town, Brcko, almost derailed the Dayton Accords. Now Brcko's reconstruction has become one of the most daunting ventures in peacekeeping ever attempted by the United States.

O n a quiet Sunday last March, the Bosnian town of Brcko prepared to meet its fate. Its politicians and leading citizens gathered with international diplomats to await a lawyer's word from Washington. American troops stationed in Brcko stood ready to quell any violence. And the town held its breath. Two years earlier, because of its strategic significance in the Bosnian war, Brcko had almost derailed the Dayton Accords . Since then, the town has become the focus of an intense international effort to ensure that it will not threaten Bosnia's fragile peace again. On a March visit to Washington designed expressly to lobby the United States government about the town, Ejup Ganic, the president of Bosnia's Muslim-Croat Federation, called Brcko "an American experiment." At issue is whether a town torn apart by atrocity and segregated into virtual ethnic apartheid can be peacefully reunited. Carl Bildt, the former Swedish prime minister and the international community's first high...