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  • Enlargement: No Longer a NATO Priority?

    Next month NATO leaders will meet in Chicago for the heads of state and government summit.  The agenda will primarily focus on Afghanistan but also include discussions on smart defense, Deterrence and Defence Posture Review as well as missile defense.  Noticeably absent is enlargement.

    Since President Obama took office, Albania and Croatia are the only aspiring countries to have joined the alliance. However, this hardly counts as their membership had already been determined under the Bush administration. Despite being a pillar of the North Atlantic Treaty (Article 10), enlargement has largely been ignored.   This should change, starting with Macedonia.

    Macedonia is a proven ally through its continued support to NATO missions. During the 1990s, Macedonia acted as an important staging area for NATO’s intervention in Kosovo and opened its border to 360,000 Kosovar refugees. After 9/11, Macedonia deployed troops to the NATO mission in Afghanistan and was once the highest contributor per capita.  Macedonian troops also participate in Operational Mentor and Liaison Teams that train Afghan security forces. Outside of the alliance, Macedonia supported the U.S. in Operation Iraqi Freedom, conducting both independent and join combat missions.

    In 2008, Macedonia successfully completed its Membership Action Plan (MAP) and anticipated joining the alliance at the Bucharest Summit.  However, its membership was vetoed by Greece owing to a bilateral dispute over Macedonia’s constitutional name.  Athens claims that Macedonia is violating its territorial integrity by naming itself after a northern Greek province.  In response, Macedonia sued Greece at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) charging that it violated the 1995 U.N. Interim Accord.  Last December, the ICJ ruled in Macedonia’s favor.

    The momentum for NATO expansion is growing in Washington.  Last month, fifty-four members of Congress signed a letter to President Obama in support of Macedonia’s membership.  Congressman Michael Turner (R-OH), a member of the Congressional Caucus on Macedonia and Macedonian-Americans and Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) have also sponsored legislation (here and here) in favor of NATO enlargement.   And, last week, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke at the Heritage Foundation and supported Macedonia’s NATO membership.  The Obama administration, however, has failed to be a leader on this issue.  Rather, Mr. Obama has stipulated that Macedonia will become a member when it resolves the name dispute with Greece.

    Macedonia is a consistent supporter of democracy and freedom throughout the world and has proven itself a worthy ally.  Macedonian soldiers have fought shoulder to shoulder with the U.S. and its government has lost blood in treasure in NATO missions.  It’s time for NATO to get serious about enlargement.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Enlargement: No Longer a NATO Priority?

    1. Wake Up says:

      Hey I dont usually comment on this stuff because articles like this really have no basis. Do me a favor instead of trying to give a couintry like the Former YUGOSLAVIC Republic of Macedonia credit for being allies to the US and being these nice people , try remembering that they are the same ones that are trying to take a whole identity that has been proven to be GREEK and make it their own. Macedonia , Athens, Sparta etc. have been GREEK forever . So why dont you dig up some facts and try to figure out why a country made up of Slavs and Albanians is mot just changing their names or finding one that fits them like Slavic or SlavoAlbanian. Go back to TITO days to see when he started instilling to threse poor people that they were Macedonians . Get FACTS then report then maybe you will be taken more seriously and people will read your articles.

      • Anthony says:

        Its called Macedonia because the country of macedonia ALONG WITH the Greek province of macedonia were both historically part of the kingdom of macedonia. Its just that what would become the country of macedonia was invaded/colonized by slavs/albanians after Rome fell. Oh, and no one is talking about Sparta or Athens. Oh, and one more thing, no one cares about the opinion of someone from a country thats in 200 percent debt, commited genocide against the Turks back in the twenties, and hasn't been important to world politics for 1500 years.

    2. Frank says:

      Albanians have nothing in common with "Macedonians" (i.e. Western Bulgarians) or modern Greeks for that matter. All those tragic battle defeats at Thermopylae etc allowed vast Persian armies who stationed in central Greece for years. As a result, today's Greeks have little in common genetically with ancient Greeks; rather, today's Greeks look more Persian than Iranians do.

    3. Today says:

      It seems that the person making the previous comment is still sleeping. Well done Morgan for writting about todays facts not yesterdays myths.

    4. Get real says:

      Macedonia is a consistent supporter of democracy and freedom throughout the world?? What a load of bull! The killing of Albanians in its own state and lack of respect for them shows how democratic they really are. FYROM is an artificial state that will not survive for long.

    5. Kiril says:

      Thank you Morgan, hopefully there will be some reason prevailing from all sides on this issue. As for the previous comment, consider the following;

      Seems that a certain gentleman called John Adams advocated an independent republic called Macedonia, yes John Adams the U.S. president of AD1700 vintage. According to your rant, only FYROMIANS of post 1945 TITO vintage seem to distinguish between Greece and Macedonia, but here we have a highly respected and intelligent individual, some 267 years before our modern birth as a nation, also of the same opinion.

      To quote;
      “The project of setting at liberty the whole country of ancient Greece, Macedonia, and Illyricum, and erecting independent Republics in those famous seats, however splendid it may appear in speculation, is not likely to be seriously entertained by the two Empires (meaning Austria and Russia), because it is impracticable."

      Ouch!

    6. Kiril says:

      And to add insult to injury, to quote John Adams. again;
      "The Greeks of this day (1778), although they are said to have imagination and ingenuity, are corrupted in their morals to such a degree, as to be a faithless, perfidious race, destitute of courage, as well as of those principles of honor and virtue, without which nations can have no confidence in one another, nor be trusted by others.”

      The mother of all Ouches!

      Truth is Greece is only playing a dangerous waiting game with Macedonia's delicate internal/external ethnic tensions. The Greek motto, keep them out of NATO (unstable) and the EU (poor) and the Albanians will take care of the rest.

      I think John Adams summed it up beautifully "Greeks destitute of HONOR". Greece have been ripping off their friends in the EU for years, so it's not surprising they dishonered an agreement signed at the highest levels of international governance "the 1995 UN Interim Accord".

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