'Montenegro: NATO’s latest launchpad on European mainland'
Montenegro was not joining NATO, but NATO was going into Montenegro to move its frontline closer to Serbia, the Serbian province of Kosovo and Moscow with no benefit to the Montenegrins, explains political commentator John Bosnitch.
Montenegro officially became the 29th member of NATO at a ceremony in Washington on Monday.
It is the first NATO expansion in almost a decade after Albania and Croatia joined in 2009 which substantially completes NATO’s control of the northern Mediterranean. Apart from a strip of Bosnian coast, the entire north shore from Portugal to the Syrian border is now part of NATO.
RT: What will Montenegro gain from being in NATO? Who's threatening this tiny country?
John Bosnitch: I guess the Montenegrin government might gain the ability to stay in power a little bit longer because the majority of the population is opposed to joining NATO. I think we have to put this in the proper context: this is not an example of Montenegro joining NATO or Montenegro going into NATO, it is just NATO going into Montenegro.
RT: What does accession mean for the people of Montenegro?
JB: For the people of Montenegro, it places them on the firing line wherever NATO is attacked, wherever NATO is engaged, we are going to be hearing soon of Montenegrins fighting in NATO’s battles in Afghanistan or Iraq. There is no threat to Montenegro. I can read you the statement that has been issued by the US State Department upon the accession of Montenegro. It said: “Montenegro’s NATO membership will support greater integration, democratic reform, trade, security, and stability with all of its neighbors.” Except, they failed to note that 96 percent of the border of Montenegro does not border on a NATO country. Montenegro sits by itself.
RT: Not everyone has forgotten NATO bombing the region in 1999. Why enter an alliance that has bombed your territory?
JB: It is not that everyone has forgotten it, no one has forgotten it. If there were a referendum to be held in Montenegro, NATO would never win. There is no chance it could pass. So, the government of Montenegro, which is led by one of the longest - actually now he is not holding a political position - but the godfather of the country that is called Montenegro is a man named Milo Djukanovic who so totally controls that country that people call it ‘Milo-negro’, not Montenegro. He was first suspected of war crimes in the early 1990s. That was surprisingly dropped because he was moving toward NATO. Then he was accused by magistrates in Italy of smuggling billions of dollars of cigarettes into the EU, and those charges were dropped. Now he has found a home in NATO, where he is protected, militarily by all of the NATO members. Sounds good for him, I don’t know what NATO is getting from it.
RT: Can Montenegro afford to be a NATO member? Trump is pretty clear he wants members to pay their share.
JB: Montenegro is quite a small country. It only has about half a million people in it. It has a very low GDP. The country is poor as it starts. So, the idea of making Montenegro pay billions of dollars to arm itself just wouldn’t wash, and it can’t go anywhere. The purpose of NATO going into Montenegro is to move its frontline closer to Serbia, closer to the Serbian province of Kosovo, closer to Moscow and just to take another landing pad somewhere else on the European mainland. There is no benefit to the people of Montenegro; they were not under any threat from anybody. Nobody was going to or was capable of attacking Montenegro, nor would they have any incentive to do so. So what has happened is that the regime in power in Montenegro…is actually just getting some protection. And the whole operation of NATO moving into Montenegro is a protection racket.
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