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Montenegro or "Narco-negro"?

27.01.2016 13:58

Experts say

There are many questions about the feasibility of Montenegro's integration into the alliance. What can be gained, and what will be lost? This question is very relevant in view of the fact that the local community is not unanimous on this issue. However, the country's PM is not concerned about that: he says he knows better what to do... In addition, geopolitical and economic benefits for the West are far from unambiguous.

Without doubt, the prospect of this Balkan country's accession to NATO is rather complicated and requires expert analysis. In this regard, the international experts' position on this issue is quite noteworthy.

American political commentator Steven Lendman believes that the expansion of NATO poses a threat to international security. Moreover, in his opinion, the process will not stop on Montenegro.


"The Achilles heel of the European Union"

Mathias Gregor, a historical sciences PhD, researcher at the Center of Roland Mousnier of the Paris State Humanitarian University says that Montenegro is far from being stable. In addition, he is convinced that the country is in need of updating its political elite. He speaks of PM Milo Djukanovic, who has been in power for over 20 years. Protests calling for his resignation and improvement of the economic situation have been continuing for months.

According to figures cited by the expert, the unemployment rate in Montenegro is at 20%, its national debt equals 115% of GDP. He also notes the gross level of corruption in the banking sector. In his opinion Montenegrin shadow economy, which makes up for 50% of GDP, could become a real "Achilles heel" for EU. Albanian, Serbian and Montenegrin criminal groups are involved in smuggling weapons, cigarettes, trafficking drugs, humans, organizing prostitution and forgery. In 2010 Djukanovic was even accused in Italy for cigarette smuggling. Thus Mathias Gregor's estimates now speak of - "narco-Negro"...


"False alarm"

Hubert Thielicke, German journalist and political columnist for "Die Welt trends" magazine says the invitation of Montenegro into NATO is dictated by geopolitical considerations of US authorities, interested in strengthening influence in the Balkans. According to him, NATO expansion to the East is a "false alarm" and a dangerous trend, which has become one of the reasons for Ukrainian crisis.

He is convinced that Montenegrin people must decide: "Does NATO integration contribute to our interests and our historical perspective?" The expert recalled that it were NATO planes that bombed Yugoslavia in 1999. However, he notes that Montenegro is obliged to Russia with receiving independence back in the 19th century.

Vladan Glishich, leader of the Serbian movement "Narodna Mreza" also reminds of NATO aggression against Yugoslavia in 1999.

He draws attention to the fact that bombing the country with depleted uranium bombs has led to an epidemic of cancer among the local people. In his opinion, a committee of independent experts should be gathered in order to investigate the details of alliance's operation in 1999.


"Kaliningrad in the Mediterranean"

Alexander Mitic, director of the Serbian Center for Strategic Alternatives, believes that NATO has two main goals - Russia and Serbia.

He quotes Evelyn Farkas, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia. She believes that Montenegro's entry into the alliance proves that Russia has no veto on the block's extension. In her opinion, this step will prevent the emergence of a "Kaliningrad in the Mediterranean." The expert drew attention to Farkas' words that Montenegro's membership in NATO will be a factor, prompting Serbia to "normalize relations with Kosovo under EU rule", as Belgrade is interested in EU membership, but not in NATO (though Mitic stresses that this may change).

Milica Djordjevic, a representative of the public movement "Srbski Sabor Zavetnici" is convinced that Milo Djukanovic aspires to enter NATO, as in her opinion it will ensure a stable political future for himself. Though Djukanovic already has the support of the West, of the local media and the repressive apparatus to quell any dissent in the country. However, the expert notes that Montenegrins strongly oppose possible "NATO protectorate" over their country.


View from the East

Rodrigue Khoury, a political leader of the Lebanese "Party of Levant", speaking on the theme of Euro-Atlantic integration of Montenegro, expressed confidence that "the West is doing everything to isolate Russia." According to him, this Balkan country is just an episode in a great scenario. Moreover, he is convinced that NATO countries are putting Montenegro's existence into question, by pressuring the local government to take 180000 refugees from the Middle East.

Experts believe that the West is interested in Montenegro mainly because the ability to strengthen the policy of containment against Russia. However, they emphasize that the Balkan country could become the "Achilles' heel" of the EU "because of political, social and economic instability, high crime rate and shadow economy. Although it is the strengthening of NATO under circumstances of global terrorist threat and complex migration crisis, can hardly stop ISIS in Europe.