Global Independent Analytics
Radostina Schivatcheva
Radostina Schivatcheva

Location: Bulgaria

Specialization: Sustainable development, International relations, Comparative European politics, European integration, Eastern European politics and EU-Russia relations

Eulogies without apologies as NATO advances in Montenegro

Now the Alliance will reign triumphant in one more Balkan state, amidst the widespread economic destruction, pauperization, and deindustrialization of the whole Balkan region.

In 1999 NATO bombed Montenegro. Today, on the 19th of May, Montenegro’s accession protocol was signed in NATO’s headquarters in Brussels. NATO offered no apologies for the past bombings; the victims, some of whom were children, did not even receive an honorable mention. The unflinchingly pompous-celebratory mood of the proceedings mocked the history of Montenegro’s troubled relationship with the Alliance. Rather than NATO’s representatives expressing regret about the tragic events of 1999, it was the Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic expressing remorse for the country’s many ‘sins’ and promising that they will be atoned for in order for Montenegro to become a ‘proper’ NATO member.

The ‘historic act’ took place in NATO’s main Council Room,amidst a sea of black and dark-grey expensive suits, rarely interrupted by a female presence. On the bland wall, behind the chairman’s seat were hung the letters of NATO’s official motto: `Animus in consulendo liber` or ‘A mind unfettered in deliberation’. There were no military uniforms in sight. The Council Room looked like a business meetings of  industrialists, rather than the setting for the interactions of a military alliance.The business-like public face of hard power is not surprising, considering that even in  post-industrial ‘modernity’ war continues to be a big and profitable business.

The eulogies of Stoltenberg and Djukanovic

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s Secretary General, was clearly pleased with the event and in a self-congratulatory mood stated that NATO is the most successful alliance in history. “Becoming a member will help Montenegro ensure its long-term stability, sovereignty and security”, promised Stoltenberg, while confidently addressing the audience. Most importantly, he emphasized that “the accession of Montenegro means that NATO’s door remains open”. While delivering his speech Stoltenberg kept on rolling and flicking a long yellow-and-black pencil through his fingers. The pencil and the gestures reminded of the movements of an orchestra conductor, directing the playing of the musicians with his baton. Clearly, Stoltenberg presided over the sea of expensive suits.

During NATO Secretary General’s speech Djukanovic kept on adjusting his audio translating device, hair, mouth, eyebrows and neck tie, clearly waiting for his moment in the spotlight. Still, the face that Djukanovic so desperately struggled to put on – that of a confident statesman – instantaneously slipped away as soon as it was his turn to speak. Instead of projecting confidence, the Montenegrin’s face was stilled in the expression of a scared junior: Djukanovic mostly looked down, reading his notes, or his gaze was fixed on Stoltenberg, as if for approval.

The Montenegrin began his speech by reminding that “the [accession] event coincides with the 10th anniversary of the restoration of   [Montenegrin] independence”. “Today we are proud of the results that we have achieved”, emphasized Djukanovic. Yet, there is not much to be proud of. First of all: the victims of the 1999 bombings are still waiting for justice. In 2013 the supreme court of Montenegro cynically rejected claims for compensation raised by the victims’ families, because “the statute of limitations has run out on the claims”. “In the case of the civilian victims of NATO, justice in Montenegro is degraded and devastated”, Velija Muric,  lawyer representing the families, said in response to the decision.

Economically, the rush to join a military alliance also does not make sense. Montenegro is deeply mired in a regional trading pattern (making it dependent on the  troubled economies of its neighbours); the country also has to cope with a very large and chronic trade deficit. Thus,  membership in a military alliance is not what Montenegro desperately needs, but economic aid and investments – the interventions associated with  membership in the European Union (EU).

Not surprisingly, considering the economic realities of Montenegro, in his short speech Djukanovic mentioned the EU almost as frequently as NATO. In a sequence of events, typical for Eastern Europe, it is expected that EU membership will follow on the heels of NATO membership. Eventually Djukanovic conflated the two organizations stating, that “We desire a stable Montenegro ... within the Euro-Atlantic community of peoples and nations”.

Montenegro’s NATO membership is unstoppable

Djukanovic was forthright about Montenegro’s NATO membership: “The integration processes of our country are unstoppable and there is no alternative. They are a part of our everyday life; it is the future”. Of course, there is an alternative: neutrality, but apparently, the wishes of the multitudes of Montenegrins, protesting and petitioning for neutrality, have not been seriously considered by their own Prime Minister. Their calls have not been heard and there is little they can do.

The Prime Minister then proceeded to scandalously state that: “We shall ensure a majority of popular support for Montenegro’s membership in NATO”. Since, according to the polls, such majority is clearly lacking the promise carries sinister undertones. But Djukanovic will be taking no risks in trying to persuade his stubborn pro-neutrality compatriots. Rather than holding a referendum on the NATO membership, the Prime Minister stated that the document will be submitted to a parliamentary ratification.

Throughout the speeches of Stoltenberg and Djukanovic NATO’s moto: ‘A mind unfettered in deliberation’ hung above their heads. The moto was selected by the then-Secretary General of NATO Paul-Henri Spaak (a former socialist and left-wing politician) to invoke the ‘spirit of consultation’. Yet the efforts of Djukanovic to avoid public referendum on  NATO membership are as far from the spirit of consultation as they could be.

Significant parts of Djukanovic’sspeech consisted of ‘confessions of Montenegro’s many sins’ and promises of reforms by the ‘sinner’. Thus, Djukanovic promised to reform Montenegro’s defense forces, judiciary system, fight corruption...He then expressed his faith that Montenegro’s NATO accession “will bring security and stability in the region” and some mythical “beyond”.

Now the Alliance will reign triumphant in one more Balkan state, amidst the wide-spread economic destruction, pauperization and deindustrialization of the whole Balkan region. Since the general experience of the Eastern European states has demonstrated that without NATO membership there will be no EU membership, the incentive to join the Alliance is very significant. Paradoxically, an Eastern European country has to join a military alliance in order to become part of the space of Pax Europea, the war-free zone of economic and political integration and supposed prosperity (but in fact austerity). In 2012, while accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the EU, Herman Van Rompuy, then-President of the European Council stated that the European tale has been one of transition from war to peace. Today, while Montenegro is being pushed further on along the road towards full NATO membership, Van Rompuy’s words seem decidedly premature.

HASHTAGS

POPULAR ARTICLES

Not Found

OPINION

Vladimir Golstein

Vladimir Golstein

The Danderous Acceptance of Donald Trump

James N. Green

James N. Green

Politics in Brazil: Fasten Your Seat Belts!

Barbara H. Peterson

Barbara H. Peterson

Health officials confirm spread of Zika virus through sexual contact in Texas, first in US

Danny Haiphong

Danny Haiphong

WHY IS OTTO(SUPER)MAN ERDOGAN LOSING HIS CHARISMA?

Miray Aslan

Miray Aslan

How relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran reached a breaking point

Navid Nasr

Navid Nasr

How relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran reached a breaking point

Writers

chief editor

Joshua Tartakovsky

Analysis should serve as a method to better understand our world, not to obscure it.

Materials: 42

Specialization: Israel and the Middle East, US politics

Materials: 7

Specialization: Balkans, NATO and EU policies, Strategic communications

Materials: 3

Specialization: Foreign politics, Immigration, Human rights.

Materials: 2

Specialization: Political Science, Social Anthropology

Materials: 3

Specialization: Eastern Europe

Materials: 14

Specialization: Industrial Safety, Corporations

Materials: 12

Specialization: Eastern Europe, Labor movement

Materials: 3

Specialization: American history, way of life, and principles

Danielle Ryan

Ireland

Materials: 10

Specialization: US foreign policy, US-Russia relations and media bias

Materials: 20

Specialization: War, Racism, Capitalist exploitation, Civil rights

Materials: 8

Specialization: Modern Japanese History, Modern Chinese History, Military History, History of Counterinsurgency, History of Disobedience, Dynamics of Atrocities in Wartime

Dovid Katz

Lithuania

Materials: 3

Specialization: Holocaust Revisionism and Geopolitics; East European Far Right & Human Rights; Yiddish Studies & Litvak Culture

Materials: 20

Specialization: History, Catalunya, Spain, Geopolitics, Nationalism in Europe, Islamization, Immigration

Materials: 5

Materials: 3

Specialization: migration, international relations

Materials: 1

Specialization: Syria, US Foreign policy and strategies, BRICS/SCO

Materials: 19

Specialization: Balkans, Yugoslavia

Materials: 10

Specialization: Jihadist Groups, Islamic Terrorism, Global Security

Materials: 4

Specialization: Geopolitics

Materials: 4

Specialization: Media and government relations

Materials: 2

Specialization: Latin America, Brazil

Jay Watts

Canada

Materials: 2

Specialization: History, Marxism-Leninism, Imperialism, Anti-imperialism.

Materials: 2

Specialization: International Relations, Sociology, Geostrategy

Materials: 1

Specialization: civil rights

Lionel Baland

Belgium

Materials: 22

Specialization: Euroscepticism, Patriotic parties of Europe

Maram Susli

Australia

Materials: 3

Specialization: Geopolitics

Materials: 2

Specialization: Civil rights, Racism, US politics

Materials: 1

Specialization: geopolitics, economics

Max J. Schindler

Palestine-Israel

Materials: 9

Specialization: Politics

Miray Aslan

Turkey

Materials: 12

Specialization: Media, Politics

Materials: 5

Specialization: Politics, International relations

Navid Nasr

Croatia

Materials: 13

Specialization: Global security, Politics

Materials: 9

Specialization: Development of European Union, Non-governmental organizations, Politics and economics in Baltic States

Materials: 9

Specialization: Greece, Crisis of the US hegemony; Israel / Occupied Palestine, Oppression of Black people in the US

Materials: 4

Specialization: geopolitics, Russia, USSR

Pedro Marin

Brazil

Materials: 17

Specialization: Latin America, Ukraine, North Korea

Materials: 13

Specialization: Sustainable development, International relations, Comparative European politics, European integration, Eastern European politics and EU-Russia relations

Materials: 8

Specialization: Politics

Materials: 16

Specialization: Counterterrorist Finance

Seyit Aldogan

Greece

Materials: 3

Specialization: ISIS, Middle East, Globalization, Migrant crisis

Materials: 1

Specialization: Head of "Srebrenica Historical Project"

Materials: 3

Specialization: Economy, Social politics

Stevan Gajic

Serbia

Materials: 1

Specialization: Full time researcher at the Institute for European Studies

Materials: 5

Specialization: Geopolitics, Geoeconomics

Materials: 2

Specialization: Civil rights

Tobias Nase

Germany

Materials: 8

Specialization: Syria, US Foreign policy, Ukraine

Valerijus Simulik

Lithuania

Materials: 2

Specialization: Politics and economics in Baltic States, education and science, non - governmental organizations, globalization and EU

Van Gelis

Greece

Materials: 17

Specialization: Middle East

Materials: 1

Specialization: Kosovo, Serbia, Belgrad bombing

Materials: 5

Specialization: international relations, Russia

toTop