Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Montenegro and NATO. A vote Yes.

I stayed at the old Russian hotel in Cetinje with my son at the time of Montenegro's vote to separate from Serbia.  Tensions were high. Clusters of men at the hotel, heads turned; more clusters as we looked in the nearly empty dining room, looks our way, and finally a set of nods and we were shown to a room.  We ate at what we thought was a student restaurant. What's up? Can you tell us what the people think around here about the decision to come?  No. Waiters slowly shook heads and tilted toward more groups of men.  Not comfortable.  Back at the hotel, I was tempted to look behind the big potted plants and the radiator in the room -- why bother. It's only us.  Still, there was an atmosphere of fear, no freedom to discuss.  The current trigger for this recollection is https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/montenegro-at-crossroads-toward-the-west-or-back-to-russia/2017/03/22/07b41706-0edf-11e7-aa57-2ca1b05c41b8_story.html.  No, Mr. Trump, no nation is too small to be considered fungible, not worth every effort we can extend to nurture autonomy.

The work toward incorporation has been ongoing, see  http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_49736.htm.  The Senate has advanced the idea, see http://www.voanews.com/a/us-senate-committee-advances-montenegro-nato-bid-to-vote/3673118.html.

Keep it going over the finish line.  And go there. Beautiful, excellent food, friendly people, when there are not the clusters of suits.
So, as a tourist with no family or other stake in this lovely country, I hope it will stay toward NATO and that the US will come to its senses in fostering freedom anywhere.  Thanks.