NATO is about to expand taking on a new member: Montenegro. Podgorica’s bid to start accession talks and become the 29th member of the alliance was accepted on 2 December1. Strategically the country is no gain, politically it is. Russia is being sent a signal that yet another state that used to be under her influence is being taken away. The alliance is taking the Balkans piece by piece. Serbia, too, is being considered as a prospective NATO member.
The move that has been spearheaded by PM Aleksandar Vučić is strongly resisted by the Montenegrin population and by Russia. Montenegrins staged protests long ago, even during the visit paid to Podgorica by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg2. People do remember NATO aerial bombings of former Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) that took place during the 78 days of the war of 1999, which left many casualties and areas radioactively polluted due to the NATO’s use of missiles with depleted uranium. The opposition Democratic People’s Party advocates a referendum as the only way of deciding whether the country should join the alliance, but the authorities refuse3. Is it because they are afraid of losing?
Montenegrins also feel strong historical and cultural ties to both Serbia and Russia. Russian ambassador to NATO Alexander Grushko said, ‘There will be no real gain from inviting Montenegro, neither to NATO nor to regional or European security.’4
When the USSR was being dismantled, it was agreed between the East and the West that NATO would not expand beyond its pre-1992 zone. With the NATO membership of the former Warsaw Pact and the Baltic countries, the alliance has also enlarged by incorporating Slovenia and Croatia.
With Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and, possibly, Montenegro as the alliance members, Serbia will be entirely encircled, facing a choice between a NATO accession or military isolation.
1 Excited About Membership? NATO Flag in Montenegro Set on Fire in Protest Source: Sputnik 07-12-2015 http://sptnkne.ws/andC
2 NATO? Montenegro is ‘Suffering From Cancer Epidemic They Triggered’ Source: Sputnik 06-11-2015 http://sptnkne.ws/aaTv
3 NATO? Montenegro is ‘Suffering From Cancer Epidemic They Triggered’ Source: Sputnik 06-11-2015 http://sptnkne.ws/aaTv
4 NATO, Europe Will Lose From Montenegro’s Accession – Envoy Source: Sputnik 07-12-2015 http://sptnkne.ws/anRT