The collapse of Yugoslavia. Ethnic cleansing on the doorstep of Europe. Richard Holbrooke is the man that the US government under President Clinton, drafted in to deal with the Bosnia crisis. From the bomb-wrecked ruins of Sarajevo to the high diplomacy of Dayton, this is a clearly written account of the efforts that the international community underwent in order to bring peace to tha Balkans region. The list of characters brings in all the major players of the region and Holbrooke gets close to Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic, Croat President Franjo Tudjman and leader of the Bosnians, Alija Izetbegovic. There is an ongoing hunt for war criminals such as Karadzic and Mladic which undermines a lot of the peace process once it is implemented. For a student of the Bosnian conflict and the Balkans region, this book is an unparalleled insight into the whole conflict and its resolution. The details are factual, well-presented and one gains an insight into the high level shuttle diplomacy and its overbearing physically draining efforts as one of the most serious armed conflicts of the twentieth century is resolved. A five star read.
The author has had a political career which has reached the highest levels of the Pentagon. He is obviously a very driven and intelligent man and his analysis of the new phenomenon that is Cyber War is second to none. The globality of the threat is given a context that is very revealing of the geopolitics which drive the internet. How do nation states handle the use of cyberspace within their own borders and indeed outside their territories? As countries become more and more dependent upon computer technology, the risks faced by cyber attacks become exponentially more severe and critical to the economy and security of a nation. America is perhaps the nation that is most vulnerable, most dependent and most at risk, and Clarke’s high position within the US government system means that he has been placed in the very real environment of deciding upon global cyber was strategy. Some of the facts and figures revealed by the book are truly revelationary. Clarke rates North Korea as being the nation with the most capacity for cyberwar as it focuses on attack strategies and its near negligibilty of dependance at home on computer networks makes it absolutely resistant to any cyber warfare attacks it may experience itself. I was surprised at the levels of internet usage in countries like Estonia and also South Korea, and the stories of actual cyber attacks that were known to have happened and documented made fascinating reading. I didn’t think that the author ever really stretched the technicalities of what is indeed a very technical subject. He kept most of the book within the grasp of any tech novice reader, with a clear focus throughout on geopolitics. It’s a good book and I feel will be interesting to look back upon in 10 or 20 years time, to see if any of his prophecies have proved correct and also to gauge how different future cyberspace is. I’d recommend this book to any end user of the internet as your own reliance and dependance on the worldwide web is at risk from the cyber war phenomenon that is discussed..