• Dr Watters recalls discussing strategy with then Chief of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Joe Biden

Writing about the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre on the Cranfield University blog, Dr Robby Allen and Dr Bryan Waters reflect on how the massacre came about.

Dr Bryan Watters, who served as second in command of the Cheshire regiment who were deployed to the region, recalls a discussion with one-time Chief of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and now presidential candidate, Joe Biden, about the best strategy for preventing conflict. 

In the article, Dr Allen and Dr Watters writes: "The narrative at that time was to place the Serbs in the position of the baddies and the Muslims and Croats in that of goodies – a politically expedient shortcut. Biden was offered a more balanced view with a tour of locations where each side was killing the other. 

"Afterwards, in conversation, Biden compared the situation in the Balkans to a forest fire, arguing the best way to deal with it was not to rush in but to create ‘firebreaks’ to stop it spreading to neighbouring countries, let it burn out and then go in to dampen down the embers. 

"Dr Watters recalls asking ‘Sir, how could you stand in a fire break listening to the screams of women and children burning in the fire?’ To which the answer was: ‘Son, you’ve been here too long.'"

The full piece is available at https://blogs.cranfield.ac.uk/defence-security/reflections-on-srebrenica

Dr Robby Allen is a senior lecturer in Organisational Behaviour and Dr Bryan Watters is a senior Lecturer in Leadership, both at Cranfield University.

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