NATO Increases Tensions With Russia Through Membership Invitation to Montenegro

With Isis, Syria and the Russia/Ukraine conflict making waves throughout the international community, NATO involvement (or lack thereof)  has been in the news often. Recently, NATO has extended an offer to Montenegro to join the alliance; this will be the first invitation in six years since Albania and Croatia joined in 2009. While adding a member to NATO would normally draw significant media attention, this offer is especially important due to the timing and location of Montenegro. NATO has been attempting to gain support from Russia to fight ISIS and solve the problems in Syria, especially after the Russian plane was taken down over Egypt. However, at the same time NATO has been extending further east making Russia extremely uncomfortable and ruining any efforts to unite against the Islamic State. Russia’s discomfort is due to the West imposing their influence on the countries surrounding Russia – which can potentially have a direct impact on Russian economy and national security (NY Times).

map_of_montenegro

The tension with Russia and NATO has been building through the Ukraine conflict and annexation of Crimea has only been growing since. Just before the offer to Montenegro, Russian fighter jets had been entering NATO airspace over the Balkans and Turkey. Turkey did not respond kindly to this, shooting down a fighter jet headed to bomb Turkmen in Syria. Some believe this action was a sign the NATO no longer views Russia as a strategic partner but rather a full blown adversary. Vladimir Komoyedov, chairman of Duma’s defense committee, said “They are ready to admit even the North Pole to NATO just for the sake of encircling Russia.” John Kerry, who was present during the offer to Montenegro, denied this allegation claiming that this offer was simply another step in admitting all of Europe to NATO. It’s hard to be sure what the true motivations for inviting Montenegro into NATO is, especially since it has historically been an enemy of NATO members. In defense of John Kerry, Montenegro has recently made positive contributions to NATO, contributing 45 servicemen to a NATO coalition in Afghanistan and joining several European organizations.While the timing of the offer may support Komoyedov’s statement, the member countries of NATO claim they are unwilling to link NATO-Russian conflict, despite Putin’s attempts to, to the conflicts with ISIS. Many hope that keeping these issues separate will allow the countries to help each other where their interests overlap the most i.e. Syria and Isis. Russia’s full participation in the nuclear deal with Iran during some of the most intense times in the Ukraine conflict as an example, many are hoping that unification over the Islamic State will eventually come about (NY Times).

Sources:

Photo: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/maps/europe/montenegro/

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/03/world/europe/kerry-nato-syria-russia.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/12/02/world/europe/montenegro-nato.html

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6 thoughts on “NATO Increases Tensions With Russia Through Membership Invitation to Montenegro

  1. This new possible addition to NATO would be fairly interesting, seing as how there had been previous tensions in the past with Montenegro and other NATO nations. However these past tensions may not have any bearing on futre relations to as great an extent as many would think. There could be a pissibility of a change of heart/willingness to cooperate and accept assisstane

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  2. It is interesting that that there is a new possible addition to NATO, and the timing of this addition is questionable, because I feel like everything that is done with alliances has to have some strategy behind it. Is this a good idea though because of past tensions and the conflicts that are occurring, maybe not but this new addition might outweigh the costs of that, maybe with this new addition more cooperation can occur instead of more conflict.

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  3. Interesting post! I would posit that part of the reason why the situation in Syria and the greater region has become increasingly volatile in recent months is, explicitly, the interventionism of foreign powers on behalf of either the Assad regime or the untrustworthy rebellion. As stated, Russia supports the Assad government strategically and militarily, while the United States, Great Britain, France, and the remaining Member States of the NATO alliance are continuing to bolster the rebellion, in addition to conducting their own targeted airstrikes against the Syrian government. In this context, Turkey’s inclusion as a NATO Member State has had little bearing on the fulfillment of its own strategic interests – i.e. the elimination of the Syrian Kurds, and their social movement, as a credible threat to the security and integrity of the Turkish nation-state. As soon as Turkey agreed to allow the U.S. to use Turkish airbases in order to carryout airstrikes, Turkey began bombarding the Kurdish rebel forces in Syria – who the U.S. and NATO support in various capacities. In regard to the country of Montenegro and its inclusion as a NATO Member State, I am already of the opinion that NATO’s expansion eastward is purposefully meant to alienate Russia from the affairs of Europe, as well as the rest of the international community.

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  4. The overlying problem that makes the addition of any eastern European country to NATO a difficulty is that it seems that Russia takes offense at the idea of anyone undermining what they sense is “their” territory. Any move to have a country like Montenegro join would be seen as U.S. trying to assert more power over Russia. What then happens is that the Russian government starts to feel like the West is ignoring its foreign policy decisions and then they have no say in the globe. I think that’s one of the major reasons we would probably never see Russia, while technically eligible as a European country, join NATO. They would see themselves as weakening their own position to play as an underling in the global community.

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  5. Its interesting that NATO is still expanding considering the Warsaw pact is long gone. I like the fact that it is still expanding because I think it keeps the world a more stable and unified force. Hopefully one day Russia will join nato. Having the US and Russia on the same team would be an excellent step to ending a majority of conflicts world wide.

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  6. NATO need to prepare for Conflict with Russia. NATO warns Russia on their violations to Syria, Turkey and Ukraine, however, Russia does not seem to care warning. Escalating military operation is not only threatening but killing civilian. NATO should overcome the weaknesses of the Alliance and should not let Russia exploit it. Someday, NATO should be tested their role for keeping world peace by handling Russia.

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