NATO expansion – Montenegro

 

Lame Duck Senate Shouldn’t Ratify NATO’s Inclusion Of Corrupt, Military Midget Montenegro

I write about international politics, economics, and development.

Historically countries made alliances to improve their defense or otherwise advance important security interests. In contrast, the U.S. uses NATO as a form of international welfare, inducting nations with little military capability or even economic strength. The latest recipient of defense charity is expected to be Montenegro, whose membership application influential Senators hope to rush through the lame duck session.

Montenegro is a postage stamp nation with the population of one congressional district. It is located in the unstable, brutal, and nationalistic Balkans, the fount of so much conflict and hardship throughout history. Montenegrins never had an easy time of it, with the Turks, Russians, Serbs, Italians, and Austro-Hungarians all fighting for regional dominance at different times.

But a fascinating if slightly off-color history is no argument for NATO membership. The finest compliment that can be paid to Montenegro today is that it doesn’t matter internationally. A notoriously corrupt enclave that split off from Serbia a decade ago, Montenegro mimics the Duchy of Grand Fenwick in The Mouse that Roared, only hoping to get rich by joining NATO rather than by fighting America.

It should not surprise anyone that officials in Podgorica want to get on the transatlantic gravy train. Last week a new government was sworn after messy elections in October. Newly installed Prime Minister Dusko Markovic said his government expected to complete the accession process this coming spring, and that membership would “provide the level of security we haven’t had in the past.” He added that he hoped to “overcome misunderstandings with our historic ally Russia,” as if the NATO was directed against some country other than Russia.

In fact, the transatlantic alliance won’t safeguard Montenegro, which is threatened by no one. But membership will offer official status and further open the financial spigots, since Washington is expected to generously assist new members. Alas, it might take some work to ensure that the money does not get siphoned off in a country some have termed a “mafia state.” In fact, the previous prime minister, who effectively served for most of a quarter century, Milo Djukanovic, had a “long history of corrupt and criminal activity,” noted analyst James Nadeau. In fact, Djukanovic was known as “Mr. Ten Percent.”

Still, might Montenegro’s inclusion provide some benefit to other alliance members? Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael R. Carpenter offered studied nonsense when he testified to Montenegro’s many virtues before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The military now is interoperable with NATO forces, he declared, as if that was a reason to protect another nation. Montenegro shared the alliance’s “values of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law,” even though they are rarely evident in Montenegrin politics.

Original source of the article:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dougbandow/2016/12/05/will-lame-duck-senate-ratify-natos-inclusion-of-corrupt-military-midget-montenegro/#1645e1d75dbc


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Why Is America In NATO? Adding Montenegro As Another Meaningless Facebook Friend

Why does NATO exist? Certainly not to defend American security. After all, the North Atlantic alliance’s latest policy move is to invite Montenegro to join.

Montenegro split off from Serbia a few years ago, after the other Yugoslav republics left Serbia. Montenegro is a country of about 650,000 people with a GDP a bit over $4.6 billion. Its military employs 2,080—1500 in the army, 350 in the navy, and 230 in the air force.

Wow!

The official invitation, long in the making, came today, after NATO’s 28 foreign ministers met in Brussels. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg opined that “Montenegro has come a long way on its path to join the Euro-Atlantic family.” Extending the invitation was “a historic decision,” signalling “our continued commitment to the Western Balkans,” he added. Completing the membership process is expected to take up to a year and a half.

Montenegro is a nice country. But what does it have to do with American security?

What was once an alliance expected to defend wrecked and impoverished Western Europeans nations from mass murderer Joseph Stalin and his Red Army has turned into the geopolitical equivalent of a Gentleman’s Club. Everyone wants to be a member simply because it’s the thing to do. No one is threatening Montenegro. And no one in Europe would notice if someone was threatening Montenegro. But the small Balkan land wants to join NATO and its people are presentable. So Podgorica is being invited to enter the “North Atlantic” Treaty Organization.

It’s hard to blame Montenegro’s government and people—though many are opposed—for wanting to join. The Montenegrin ambassador will sit in military councils in Brussels as the equal of representatives of Germany, France, Britain and America. Washington will lavish aid upon Podgorica to upgrade its armed services. Membership lets Montenegro one-up Serbia, which remains outside NATO’s charmed circle. And the country will be protected from the next Hitler, presumed to be lurking just over the horizon plotting global domination.

Source:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dougbandow/2015/12/02/why-is-america-in-nato-adding-montenegro-as-another-meaningless-facebook-friend/#739a1d582ab9

 


NATO Isn’t A Social Club: Montenegro, Georgia, And Ukraine Don’t Belong

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was a necessary part of Containment, preventing the Soviet Union, especially when ruled by Joseph Stalin, from dominating or conquering Western Europe. But the necessity for NATO, at least run as North America and The Others, ebbed once Europe recovered from World War II. Alas, later U.S. policymakers ignored President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s admonition against permanent troop deployments. Instead of taking over responsibility for their own defense, the Europeans remained dependent on America.

NATO lost its raison d’etre once the Warsaw Pact disbanded and Soviet Union collapsed. As Gertrude Stein said of Oakland, there was no there there. Alliance officials debated a host of possible new duties, such as promoting student exchanges and battling the drug trade. NATO chose to engage in “out of area” activities, that is, wars of choice irrelevant to Europe’s defense (Balkans, Libya, Mideast, Afghanistan). Such conflicts have wasted lives and resources with no benefit to Europe and America.

Still, enabling ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and spawning chaos in Libya were better than returning to a quasi-Cold War with Russia. Vladimir Putin is a nasty character, but upon taking office he appeared to bear the West little animus. However, the allies did their best to change that. Absorbing former Warsaw Pact members and Soviet republics, expanding the alliance up to Russia’s borders, lawlessly dismembering historic Russian friend Serbia, backing Georgia in 2008 after it started the shooting, and supporting a street putsch against an elected Ukrainian president friendly to Moscow suggested to Russia that the U.S. and Europe were indifferent if not hostile to Russian security interests.

None of that justified the Putin government’s response, but Moscow’s ambitions have been limited despite Putin’s ruthlessness. He shows no interest in conquering the NATO countries which so fear him; rather, he unsettled them by treating non-members Georgia and Ukraine rather like NATO treated Russia’s Belgrade friends.

Source:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dougbandow/2016/07/08/nato-isnt-a-social-club-montenegro-georgia-and-ukraine-dont-belong/#5e1c706d7bd2

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