Plavsic says she supports a unified Bosnia. Karadzic, who has been indicted for war crimes, supports separatism. Last month, Clinton initiated an $88 million loan package aimed at strengthening Plavsic’s support. “It is crucial that the people who support Plavsic see there are benefits from doing so. This money is very carefully targeted; these are her towns,” explained one senior administration official.
Clinton has also gotten behind Plavsic via NATO. Last week, the faction loyal to her needed one more vote to elect her choice for prime minister. After Karadzic’s supporters adjourned for the night, NATO troops intercepted an absent pro‐Plavsic delegate en route to Zagreb and returned him to the capital. Plavsic’s supporters reconvened the parliament and elected a new prime minister while Karadzic’s allies slept.
And that is not the first time Plavsic has benefited from NATO’s actions. Last summer, armed NATO forces helped her purge policemen loyal to Karadzic from stations in Banja Luka and nearby towns. NATO troops also seized television transmitters that were broadcasting anti‐Plavsic propaganda.
But what does Clinton risk by taking sides in the power struggle and backing Plavsic? Quite a bit, as it turns out.
First, openly backing Plavsic could eventually delegitimize her political authority. Pointing to the U.S. role in her rise to power, many Serbs feel that their government is being manipulated by external forces, that their right to self‐determination is being trampled. Indeed, Serb hard‐liners say that the Serb half of Bosnia is on “the verge of chaos” because of the United State’s “transparent attempt” to manipulate their politics.