Saturday, 19 May 2012

Why Not Let Macedonia into NATO?

General James Jones has argued that the Chicago Summit should allow Macedonia into the Alliance, even while he acknowledged that it will not. He has written a piece for the New Atlanticist blog and Roll Call explaining why Macedonia has done all it should do to be allowed to join, and argues that continued exclusion risks renewed instability in the Balkans.

NATO Monitor basically agrees, although it does seem that fears of instability in Macedonia because of continued absence from NATO fora is a little overblown. That said, one of NATO's more valuable roles in the post-World War II world was to integrate national defence forces into a multilateral structure and make war much harder. It can perform much the same role in the Balkans.

However, the only real block on Macedonia joining NATO is a political objection from Greece. So, when Macedonia erects a giant gold statue of Alexander the Great in Skopje, and names its international airport after him, how can they be surprised that Greece continues to block entry into NATO - however daft those objections are. Political symbolism runs deep here, and it seems that Macedonian politicians prefer playing games to being part of NATO.

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