Back to the contents
Before the NATO Summit
read in Macedonian


So here we are just days away from the NATO Summit in Chicago.  One thing lacking, as has been noted many times leading up to this summit, is that enlargement will not be on the agenda.  Which means that Macedonia, once again, will not be accepted as a member.  But Macedonia will be asked to continue contributing to NATO, guarding the camp without being able to sit inside the tent.

Last week the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on NATO titled “NATO: Chicago and Beyond.”  In the testimony given by several diplomats, think-tank associates and professors, Macedonia was mentioned precious few times and almost always in respect to the same old tripe we’ve heard before: the name issue must be solved first.  Even Ian Brzezinski, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, stated that “the Chicago Summit should be used to reanimate the vision of a Europe whole, free and secure as a guiding priority for the transatlantic relationship.  This vision has been largely sidelined since the 2008 summit in Bucharest.  While it may be too late to generate the consensus necessary for new invitations at Chicago, the summit should nonetheless leverage the process of enlargement forward, particularly concerning the candidacies of Macedonia, Montenegro and Georgia.” Unfortunately he also stated that the summit must be used to “underscore the urgency of resolving Macedonia dispute with Greece over the former’s name” without saying much else.  And James J. Townsend, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy at the Department of Defense in Washington, DC didn’t mention Macedonia or even enlargement!

In another development, US Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder, at a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC, stated, according to the United Macedonian Diaspora, “that ‘the issue is very simple’ and that Macedonia would not be invited to NATO unless a ‘mutually satisfactory’ resolution of the name dispute is found with Greece.  He also stated: ‘Since Greece has insisted that it needs to resolve the name issue prior to being willing to say yes to an invitation ... an invitation will not be forthcoming.’  He added: ‘That is how this organization works.  We are not going to have the ICJ or anybody else telling NATO when and how it should take in new members.’” It is unfortunate that the US Ambassador to NATO is perfectly willing to acknowledge the International Court of Justice’s authority when it comes to Kosovo leaving Serbia, but is not willing to do so in this case.  I call that “selective morality.”

Back in Macedonia we saw more protests from the Macedonian Albanians.  But if it is the intent of the organizers of the protestors to cast a dark shadow over Macedonia’s NATO ambitions before the Summit, they have failed for NATO has long since grown accustomed to these farces and knows that such violent and ultimately useless protests are part and parcel of an open society.  And yet once again, the protestors (the vast majority of who are “useful fools” in the words of Lenin) showed the world that they have no arguments or merit to their cause, whatever it may be.

According to Reuters, the protestors claimed that the arrests were “an insult made by the Macedonian government against the Muslim Albanian people, an insult against their religious feelings.” My friend Mark Branov from the United Macedonian Diaspora, in a post on my Facebook page to this article, made an excellent point.  He said “So, maybe this is one of the key issues in the Balkans really, the problem of what can be reasonably referred to as an ‘insult,’ and how easily one can be insulted. In any case, freedom from insult is not a human right... a democratic society needs to include freedom of protest and freedom of speech, but with that comes the ‘freedom’ to peacefully be insulted, too.”

Finally, it is worth mentioning again that property was damaged and people were hurt and yet there were no arrests - that is remarkable restraint on behalf of the authorities - and of course wrong of the protestors.  While they would have every right to make arrests, that would inflame the situation further, creating more damage and hurting more people.   I have the highest respect for the police of the Ministry of Interior for their professionalism, courage and restraint in dealing with the protestors.

Copyright ©
Jason Miko
Designed & hosted by
Jurak OT Petrof Studio