Completing the process of NATO enlargement would be detrimental to the stability of the Western Balkans, and the next cycle of expansion of the Alliance should include Montenegro and Macedonia, said Niall Mulchinock the lecturer at University College Cork in Ireland.
‘’The events in the Ukraine over the last year and a half have led to some calls for a ceasing of NATO’s successful enlargement process. However, this would be detrimental to the future stability and security of the Western Balkans region,’’ Mulchinock wrote in the report ‘’ NATO Enlargement: Why a Fourth Round is Long Overdue’’, published on the site Atlantic-Community.org.
He reminded that Albania, Croatia and Slovenia are NATO members.
‘’As of 2015, Albania, Croatia and Slovenia are formal members of NATO. Why, therefore, should Montenegro and Macedonia not be the next states to join the alliance from this region? The fourth phase of NATO’s enlargement should occur for a third time in the Western Balkans.’’
He rminded that from NATO Alliance had three different enlargment phases from 1990: in March of 1999, in March of 2004 and in April of 2009.
‘’Some security experts have taken a rather cynical view of this process, arguing that NATO’s eastward expansion was a factor in causing the current instabilities in the Ukraine. In fact, this analysis has proven to be very weak as it does not consider the efforts the alliance made to build a real dialogue with Russia over the course of 20 years’’, Mulchinock siad.
These, as he siad, ‘’shaky interpretations’’ do not take into account the sovereign right of such nations in the Visegrád Group and Baltic States to choose their security partners after 1989 and 1991 respectively.
‘’The establishment of relations between the alliance and the states in these regions in the early 1990s brought about many positive developments which the critics of NATO enlargement have always chosen to ignore. The Partnership for Peace Programme, established 21 years ago, proved to be an essential component in the modernisation and interoperability of these states armies’’, he stated.
According to Mulchinock this allowed for their formal inclusion in the early years of NATO operations in Bosnia, preparing them for the commitments and obligations of NATO membership.
‘’Russia was not left on the sidelines. Instead, it was encouraged by the alliance and other institutions to play an active part in the building of this new European security order in the years after 1989. These issues cannot be disputed and the critics would need to re-engage with reliable literature assessing how this process evolved in the 1990s and in the years running up to 2014.’’
It is for these reasons that the fourth phase of NATO’s enlargement should occur for a third time in the Western Balkans.
As Mulchinock esitmated, Montenegro has made great strides in military and institutional reforms over the last number of years.
Mulchinock said that the country has also benefited ‘’from the wise leadership of Milo Ðukanović during his terms as President and Prime Minister over the course of two decades’’.
As Mulchinock said a former ally of Slobodan Milošević, Ðukanović ‘’broke’’ with the Serbian dictator in the late 1990s and played a dominant role in leading his country to eventual independence in the summer of 2006.
Izvor: RTV Montenegro