Amid the tumultuous political landscape in the West, historic alliances are being formed in Europe. Montenegro, an ex-Soviet state has finally joined NATO. In a political and geographic landscape surrounded by other NATO countries in Europe, one more member to the organization has shook the Russian establishment. Here’s what it means for the global political scenario.
Montenegro declared independence on 3 June 2006 and soon after opened a Permanent Mission to NATO in Brussels. In June 2006, Montenegro joined the Partnership for Peace (PfP) in December 2006. The country was invited to join the Membership Action Plan in December 2009. Since then the country remained split on the issue, with protests against NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) across the country only intensifying as the republic drew closer to becoming a member of the bloc.
At a meeting of NATO foreign ministers on 2 December 2015, the Allies invited the country to start accession talks to join the Alliance. Allied ministers signed the Accession Protocol on 19 May 2016, following which Montenegro has ‘Invitee’ status and starts attending North Atlantic Council and other NATO meetings. Montenegro actively supported the NATO-led operation in Afghanistan from 2010 to end 2014 and supported the follow-on mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces.
The membership of Montenegro to NATO will be completed at the end of 2017. Montenegro signed an agreement with the United States, in which Montenegro would destroy its outdated weaponry as a precondition for NATO membership.
The U.S.’s decision to green-light Montenegro’s application to join NATO was criticized by Russia.
We consider the course towards including Montenegro in NATO is deeply erroneous, goes fundamentally against the interests of people in this country and harms stability in the Balkans and in Europe as a whole
-it said in a statement
Russia warns that Montenegro’s accession would result in unspecified “retaliatory actions.”
On the other hand, Russia was accused of being behind an attempted coup in Montenegro during an election in October last year.
Montenegro’s prime minister (and former president) Milo Dukanović claims that NATO membership is “one more important step towards Montenegro’s full membership in the European Union.” Moreover, he also believes that NATO membership is a guarantee of long-term stability.
NATO and Russia know the limits of each other’s courage. Russia won’t launch an operation in Montenegro, since it wouldn’t gain anything politically or militarily. NATO won’t ignore the frozen conflicts Russia has organized in Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine; the mini-wars.
According to U.S, adding a country like Montenegro to NATO is a negative prospect. The decision was negative at first. Montenegro doesn’t add any real capability- economic or military to the alliance. According to the rules of NATO United States is obligated to defend a country that is irrelevant to U.S. national security.
Here, a question arises-
Why would the United States risk war with a foreign power including Russia over a country that doesn’t matter to U.S. security?