Yugoslavia: The Avoidable War (2013) - Rotten Tomatoes

Yugoslavia: The Avoidable War (2013)

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The documentary which took four years to produce, and which was updated following NATO intervention in Kosovo, investigates how serious errors and misjudgments made by Western powers, particularly Germany and the United States helped spark the violent break-up of the former Yugoslavia in 1991 and continue to destabilize the region in the new millennium. Produced by Frontier Theatre and Film Inc., Yugoslavia the Avoidable War documents the role of Western intelligence agencies in providing aid to armed separatists and reveals how Western governments supported different sides in an ethnic conflict while portraying themselves as peacemakers. Most compelling are the candid statements of the decision-makers themselves, including former EC Mediator Lord Peter Carrington, former US Secretaries of State James Baker and Lawrence Eagleburger, as well as Germany's former foreign minister, Hans Dietrich Genscher. "What the international community -- the Europeans, the Americans the UN -- did, made it sure there was going to be conflict," states Lord Peter Carrington, the EC mediator, who along with UN envoy Cyrus Vance warned against diplomatic recognition of separatists states such as Croatia and Bosnia, before a political settlement could be achieved. "US intelligence agencies were unanimous in saying that if we recognize Bosnia it will blow up," says former State Department official George Kenney. Yet, according to former acting US Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, domestic political considerations -- the 1992 election campaign between William Clinton and George Bush ? led to the tragic decision to recognize Bosnia without a political settlement between the Muslims, Serbs and Croats. The film makes a powerful argument that the US drew the wrong lesson of from the Bosnian conflict to justify intervention in the civil war that simmered in Kosovo. The manipulation of news coverage by the warring sides is explored in compelling footage and in interviews with veteran journalists such as David Binder of the New York Times and John MacArthur, columnist and publisher of Harper's Magazine, as well as authors Susan Woodward and Ted Galen Carpenter. The documentary offers powerful evidence of US involvement in "Operation Storm" the Croatian army's violent expulsion of the ethnic Serbian minority in 1995, an action which offered an eerie parallel with the expulsion of Albanian refugees in Kosovo by Serbian forces following NATO intervention on the side of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). Compelling, candid interviews from military officers including UN Commanders Sir Michael Rose, Lewis MacKenzie and former Pentagon Chief of Staff General Colin Powell elucidate how Western policymakers blundered by taking sides and by relying on military means to settle political problems. Co-producers of "Yugoslavia: The Avoidable War" are New York based documentary film maker George Bogdanich and Martin Lettmayer a German television producer based in Munich, who is currently working on a documentary in Central America. -- (C) 2001 Frontier Theatre and Film Inc.

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Critic Reviews for Yugoslavia: The Avoidable War

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (3)

Claims to sort the bad guys from the good, which is its essential problem.

April 15, 2002 | Full Review…

Does an impressive job of relating the complicated history of the war and of filling in the background.

April 15, 2002 | Rating: 4/5

Bogdanich is unashamedly pro-Serbian and makes little attempt to give voice to the other side.

April 15, 2002 | Rating: 2/4

Horrid little propaganda film with fascinating connections not only to the Serbs themselves but also to a network of American right-wing extremists.

March 10, 2003 | Rating: 0/4 | Full Review…

Veers uncomfortably close to pro-Serb propaganda.

April 15, 2002 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

A masterfully researched and overwhelmingly persuasive documentary.

February 28, 2002

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