The article tries to explain why the American mediation at Dayton resulted in agreement, whereas previous attempts to settle the Bosnian conflict had failed. After examining the evolution of American policies prior to 1995, the article discusses the US initiative of taking the lead in the negotiation, and the methods and tactics it employed. It argues that the military operations against the Serbs do not fit the description of the mediator as a manipulator inducing a mutually hurting stalemate. The military campaign having endowed Western policies with credibility, intimidated the Serbs, and redrawn the front-lines, might be called coercive mediation. It suggests that the description of the mediator as an intervenor who does not employ force needs to be revised.