U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence visited Podgorica. His visit was connected with the Adriatic held the summit, and with the accession of Montenegro to NATO. At the summit, the main star of which was the American Vice President also gathered all Balkan leaders.
Recall that together with Montenegro is half of the former republics of Yugoslavia are members of NATO (Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro), and the second half (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Macedonia) or are pending membership, and has not yet determined position.
Closest to the membership — Macedonia, especially after the authorities, having overcome a very serious crisis, came Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. So far, only Serbia chooses its own path between East and West, and Bosnia and Herzegovina due to internal problems, too far from joining the Alliance.
From a strategic point of view, despite the fact that any new member is potentially important NATO still especially the “hurry” to take a Montenegro. Its membership had for NATO’s crucial, because, taking Montenegro, the Alliance shut down the Adriatic and secured the absolute dominance in the region.
Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Italy — all countries with which NATO provides full control over the Adriatic sea and the entrance to it (the only remaining “non-NATO” objects in the Adriatic is the port of Neum in Bosnia and Herzegovina).
Montenegro was the last missing link. NATO, however, it was not so easy. Despite the fact that in Montenegro only 620 thousand people and about two thousand soldiers, it is extremely important geostrategic position.
If any other power came to dominate in Montenegro and pulled her into his, but not a NATO sphere of influence, the whole plan of NATO’s control over the Adriatic sea would have failed. Of course, of course, who could be this “second” power: it’s about Russia.
Did Russia to prevent the entry of Montenegro in NATO? Apparently, Yes, and thus relied on the deep divisions that exist in Montenegro. Over the past year there have been several opinion polls aimed to find out public opinion about NATO membership. It turned out that the issue of NATO membership has split Montenegro, and some surveys showed how many of those who are against joining the Alliance.
The ethnic composition of the population, of course, also played a role. According to the latest census (2011), among the citizens of Montenegro those who consider themselves Montenegrin, not a majority (45%). About 29% call themselves Serbs, and the remaining Bosnian Muslims, Albanians, Macedonians, Croats and so on.
Polls show that it could be assumed that Montenegro has fully supported NATO membership, while Serbs were against it. This may explain the apparent fear that the Montenegrins inspires a larger Serbia.
Of course, the correct thing would be to offer the citizens of Montenegro to hold a referendum, but this has not happened, that in itself is very important. As a rule, the referendum is not held when it is unclear whether the obtained the desired result. Recall that in Croatia a referendum on NATO membership were also not conducted, although this is an extremely important issue, and ask of him the public is necessary. However, presumably, the referendum in Croatia would have ended with a positive result.
If the accession of Slovenia and then of Croatia and Albania was almost a formality, the accession of Montenegro to NATO was accompanied by a much larger tension. Why? Because the reason for the clashes between the US and Russia are increasingly becoming the Balkans. This fact can now use Macedonia for early entry into NATO.
Russia, which sees the United States increasingly justify her in the neighborhood, wants to expand its influence in other regions better where the Americans are not so strong. From this point of view, Montenegro was the perfect option, however, if you count the signing of the document on accession to the military Alliance final, victory this time was won by the USA, and Russia was defeated.
However, this is not the end of history but only the end of one Chapter on the Adriatic and the beginning of the continuation, which will be the entire Balkan Peninsula. And if Russia decides to continue to seek to expand its influence in the region, two centres, on which it will concentrate will be the Belgrade and Banja Luka.
However, not sure how active Russia will act. Some believe that she will finally try to draw Serbia into its sphere of interests, and some people in Serbia it is even hoped. Others believe that Russia will maintain good relations with Belgrade, and even if Serbia enters the European Union, it can count on friendship with Russia. But this friendship can play a big role, because in any EU member can veto the decisions of the unit. In other words, if Serbia were an EU member, then maybe she would have blocked anti-Russian sanctions which the EU imposed against Russia.
If you evaluate the situation realistically, in such an environment Russia is unlikely to take any serious action. If Serbia made a choice in favor of a path that is radically different from choosing its neighbors in the region, she would have been in a difficult position. Russia hardly could compensate her for the negative consequences of this choice, not to mention the possible threats. In recent years, Serbia had truly experienced what it means to maintain good relations with Russia.
For those political currents that want maximum confrontation with Russia, the Balkans has turned into a battlefield on which to fight the Russian influence. One of the representatives of such currents is, of course, the us Vice-President Mike Pence, who today in Podgorica said that Russia wants to “destabilize” the Western Balkans and to separate them from the West, putting them “in their place”.
It’s about the fact that the Montenegrin authorities have accused the “Russian spies” in an attempt of coup d’état the purpose of which was to prevent the accession of Montenegro to NATO. Did they really? Hard to say. Someone believes that the certain attempts were made to local forces opposed to NATO, and Moscow had no relation to them. On the other hand, her involvement still we should not dismiss, because the fact is that Russia does not like the accession of Montenegro to NATO. Or perhaps the fact that the Russians are so heavily invested in the Montenegrin real estate, and now she was on the “NATO territory”. Although, perhaps, Russian rich are not confused: just look how much they bought in London and other cities “NATO”.
Whatever Russian influence in the Balkans, for people like us Vice President, it is large and dangerous. “As you know, Russia continues to seek a violent change in international borders, and here in the Western Balkans, Russia was trying to destabilize the region, undermine your democracy, and to separate you from each other and with the rest of Europe,” said Pence in his speech that the leaders of the Balkans are listened to with attention.
“We firmly believe that the future of the Western Balkans — in the West. We assure that the US is interested in building relationships that will strengthen ties between the two countries, the European community and the United States,” said Pence, noting that the determination of Montenegro to join NATO, despite Russian pressure, “an example for the world.”
Pens arrived in Podgorica from Georgia, the state in the Caucasus, which led to Russia’s short war in 2008, and Georgia visited Estonia. There he also confirmed that the Baltic States can rely on the fact that the US will protect them from “Russian aggression”.
In other words, anti-American political elite has not received Hillary Clinton, but got Mike Pence, who will do everything for her. All this time trump is sitting in the White house and “wisely remained silent” when it comes to Russia, the Western Balkans and similar difficult issues.
Pence continues what would Hillary. The struggle for the Adriatic is completed, and now the unfolding struggle over the entire Balkan Peninsula, because some of the “undecided” territory for the United States is nonsense. But ten years ago, probably, and Russia was here almost a partner. While the US is going to expand its influence in the whole region? View, however, we already know which places in question: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Macedonia.
For Balkan leaders is the opportunity to meet with the American Vice-President who is so concerned about the fate of the Western Balkans, which ended his speeches with the words: “Thank you. Yes, God bless you. God bless your Nations and the United States of America.”
During a meeting with Penny Prime Minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabic said that the dialogue between Serbia and USA, which began the President Aleksandar Vucic, who met with Pence in the White house, continued “very good.”
Croatia you probably won’t like the fact that, according to Pence, Montenegro belongs to the “leading role in maintaining stability and security in the Western Balkans”. In other words, it seems that the Pens gave Montenegro the baton “leader in the region”, which is before US “was presented by” Croatia all the new political elites who came to power.
In the end, we’re talking about the Balkans, which are now rapidly accumulate a large force. We’re talking about the Balkans not so long ago “took away” land in different parts of the world, making them members of the non-aligned Movement. Well, now new times came, the occurrence of which largely contributed to the balkanites.