Despite what I said yesterday about not liking change, arresting Ratko Mladic, who commanded the troops at Srebrenica (biggest case of mass murder in Europe since World War II), is change I can believe in. Indeed, as the tweets of the morning indicate, not a bad May (Bin Laden, Mladic) and not a bad 2011 with Mubarak and others losing power.
Mladic was THE most wanted war criminal from the Bosnian conflict. And his arrest, along with that of Karadzic, means that the folks in ye old Balkan Pit of Despair (the J-5's desks on the Balkans) will have to change the talking points about the "redlines" of engaging Serbia. Serbia has satisfied a crucial set of conditions--picking up the most wanted PIFWC's (Persons Indicted for War Crimes). I have not been following Serbia closely to see how it is doing otherwise, but this is a big, big step, probably more so than Karadzic since Mladic had strong ties to Serbia's military. Indeed, this is a real test/accomplishment for civilian control of the military. Being able to do this (and hopefully not getting shot for it) shows that President Tadic is in command and not the military.
I can only ponder a world in which Serbia seems far more functional than Pakistan.
Of course, Serbia has other problems than this, but it is a good day for Serbia, for Bosnia, and for the international community after way too many bad days in the first half of the 1990s. I'll leave it to the real experts on Bosnia to judge whether this matters anymore for Bosnia's present and future.
One last thought--just before the G8? Is this timing accidental? Or does Serbia want to get on major powers' agenda in a good way for a change?