What lessons does the European Union success in guiding Serbia hold for the failed U.S. efforts to transform Pakistan's nationalist political culture?
A protester in Belgrade holds a wanted poster for indicted war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic/Reuters
Serbian war criminal Ratko Mladic's 15 years "on the run" from European investigators, who sought his capture for the murder of 8,000 civilians at Srebrenica in 1995, don't inspire a great deal of confidence in the Serbian government's efforts to find him. Soccer matches, weddings, and a few years spent living in towering high-rise apartments in downtown Belgrade all underscored the conclusion that Mladic "received vital, little known, assistance from Serbian military forces and several of the country's past governments," as the New York Times concluded last year. For a decade and a half, the Serbian government -- which was at times sanctioned by the outside world, and at times engaged, in the international effort to find Mladic -- claimed it had no idea where the former general, a hero of nationalist Serbia in the 1990s, could possibly be hiding. Today, the Serbian government announced it has finally captured the one-time leader of that country's genocidal armies.
Mladic's case is in many ways similar to that of another internationally wanted war criminal who spent years hiding peacefully under the noses, and possibly the stewardship, of a sympathetic government: Osama bin Laden. The al-Qaeda leader's own years "on the run" turned out, like Mladic's, to not involve very much running. He lived safely, if awkwardly, in a sprawling Pakistani compound amid the mansions of retired military officers and a mere jog from the country's version of West Point. But there's one important difference. Pakistan's government, despite years of U.S. cajoling and begging, despite an endless stream of carrots and sticks, never managed to pluck bin Laden out of the compound and hand him over.