NATO’s Neocolonial Discourse and Its Resisters: The Case of Montenegro1

By Filip Kovacevic

In March 1999, a very important month in the history of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as it marked the start of the first offensive war in its entire existence, the New York Times columnist and foreign affairs expert Thomas L. Friedman wrote an article entitled “A Manifesto for the Fast World” (Friedman). He openly confessed that the neoliberal world order which the US political elite was in the process of imposing on the rest of the world (the Pax Americana as it was called by other commentators) could not be constructed without the full force of the US military. In his words, “the hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist – McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell-Douglas, the designer of the F-15” (Van Der Pijl 300). This is just one of countless examples both in the corporate media and in US government publications that reveals the intentionally hidden truth about the push to expand NATO into East-Central Europe.2 These examples expose NATO expansion as the indispensable element of the project to re-colonize the ex-Socialist political space and make it safe not for democracy (as has been claimed), but for the most brutal form of capitalism, which leaves ordinary citizens stripped of the most basic forms of social well-being (healthcare, job insurance, education, retirement benefits, etc.)

Obviously, this is not how NATO expansion has been presented by the newly-established political elites across East-Central Europe dependent for their legitimacy not on the popular will of the people (the essence of a genuine democracy), but on the laudatory pronouncements of the political and economic representatives of the military-industrial complex in the colonial capitals: Washington, Brussels, London, Berlin, and Paris. These political elites have constructed a whole set of discursive structures in order to make it appear as if NATO integrations and eventual membership addressed and solved the most pressing problems that the states they control are facing.

In this paper, I will analyze in detail the presence and operation of such discursive structures in the political discourse of Montenegro. I will focus on the public statements of the key leadership figures in Montenegro: the prime minister Milo Djukanović, the president Filip Vujanović, and the speaker of the Parliament Ranko Krivokapić, in the time period between the declaration of Montenegrin independence in June 2006 and the signing of the accession protocol between Montenegro and NATO foreign ministers in May 2016.3 I will show that these discursive structures seek to obscure the reality of NATO’s neocolonialist project in the Balkans.

In the second part of the paper, I will confront the neocolonialist pro-NATO discourse with the discourse of military neutrality and show in what ways the latter is challenging and resisting the hegemonic will of the present ruling elite. This discourse contains its own alternative understanding of Montenegro’s positioning in world affairs and has been articulated by the activists and organizations of Montenegrin civil society, especially by the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro (MNMNE). It is widely supported by ordinary citizens and has received public support from noted Western public intellectuals, such as Michael Parenti and Noam Chomsky, and former US Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

Discursive Colonization 1: NATO as Perpetual Peace

In their well-known book Hegemony and Socialist Strategy influenced by the fundamental concepts of Lacanian psychoanalysis, Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe argue that discursive structures, including metaphors, do not only, or even primarily, have cognitive or reflexive value. They are first and foremost “articulatory practice[s] which constitute and organize social relations” (Laclau and Mouffe 96).4 In other words, what we say and how we say it shapes what we are and how we live. This is a crucial insight in approaching the way in which NATO membership has been presented by the political elites to the Montenegrin population.

Prototypical in this respect is the speech given by the speaker of the Montenegrin Parliament Ranko Krivokapić on February 25, 2014 at the conference devoted to the discussion of the role of the Parliament in the so-called Euro-Atlantic integrations (“Krivokapić”). It is indicative that this conference was organized by a pro-NATO non-governmental organization CDT (Center for Democratic Transition), which has, at least since the early 2000s, been a recipient of USAID funding (2002 USAID SEED Report). The conference was sponsored by the German Embassy in Montenegro, which, in addition to the US Embassy, has provided the most vocal diplomatic support for Montenegro’s NATO membership. In fact, the arrogantly pro-NATO worded statements by various German and US ambassadors in the ten-year period since Montenegrin independence have been widely interpreted as serious meddling into the internal affairs of a sovereign state prohibited by both international and consular/diplomatic law (“Milačić”; “Dajković”; “Vučurović”). They represent yet another aspect of the neocolonial practices normalized by the pro-NATO government of Montenegro.

Krivokapić’s speech contains all the main elements constantly repeated in the pro-NATO discursive interventions in Montenegro. The first is the notion of the supposedly inherent inability of the Balkan peoples, including Montenegrins, to resolve their differences peacefully. In other words, since they are not capable of making peace by themselves, they need the permanent (military) presence of an external force of restraint, that is, NATO. Krivokapić is very explicit about this. In fact, in his speech, he refers to NATO metaphorically as “the messenger of peace” in the Balkans. Apart from the fact that Krivokapic’s depiction of the Balkans as a “wild and deadly” place of instability is a commonplace in the Western European stereotyping of the Balkans since the early 19th century (as Vesna Goldsworthy has shown in her 1998 book Inventing Ruritania), it is also a sign of paternalistic contempt for the Montenegrin population. Even though Krivokapic holds the second highest political office in the state, he has identified not with the people who elected him, but with the NATO outsiders whose own geopolitical and economic interests he is advocating.

In this respect, the second important element of Krivokapić’s speech is his use of the metaphor of the “umbrella.” Having an umbrella, or being under an umbrella, signifies the necessity of being protected from the elements: rain, hail, snow, etc. In the geopolitical sense, being under the NATO umbrella, according to Krivokapić, means that Montenegro will be protected from all external threats and risks. However, as in many other pro-NATO government statements, these threats or risks are not enumerated or even named. The public is not told who intends to harm Montenegro, when, or how. This is done intentionally in order to create a general atmosphere of insecurity and fear which makes it easier to push through NATO’s militaristic geopolitical agenda.

In addition, Krivokapić is eager to convey to his audience a sense of inevitability about NATO membership in order to convince them that there is no alternative to NATO and that all resistance is futile. This is the third element present in almost all pro-NATO discourse in Montenegro. Specifically, Krivokapić claims that Montenegro is the “last piece (sic!) of the coast from Portugal to Istanbul without the NATO umbrella, there exists no piece of land on the coast of the Mediterranean, from this side (sic!), that does not have the NATO umbrella. That puzzle must be complete.”

Here once again Krivokapić approaches Montenegro not from the viewpoint of an elected Montenegrin official, but through the eyes of a NATO military strategist who is interested in securing the territories and resources of the Mediterranean for the control of the alliance and its power projection toward the East. For Krivokapić, Montenegro is no longer a homeland, having a value in and of itself, but becomes a mere pawn in the geopolitical chess game by the antagonistic colonial powers which NATO must win at any price i.e. “the puzzle must be complete.” What the urgency of completing this “puzzle” has to do with the lives of the ordinary citizens of Montenegro, apart from putting them in danger, Krivokapić does not care to explain.

So far, then, we have extracted three key elements of the pro-NATO discursive structures: the stress on internal and external political instability, the metaphor of the “umbrella” (which sometimes also appears as the metaphor of the “family”), and the sense of inevitability. In this way, pro-NATO political figures attempt to shape all aspects of mainstream political discourse in the country. When this attempt is coupled with the financial and logistical support coming into Montenegro from NATO member states in both overt and covert manner, the immensity of the challenge for resistance becomes readily apparent.

Discursive Colonization 2: NATO as Civilization

Moreover, pro-NATO discourse has been able to appropriate the so-called modernity paradigm for its purposes and present NATO membership as the ultimate proof of Montenegro’s political and economic “development” and “maturity.” This is most visible in the public statements of Milo Djukanović, the long-time Montenegrin authoritarian leader who is currently serving his 7th term as prime minister (“CG na pravilnom kolosjeku”). Since coming to power in 1989 on the wave of the nationalist revolts against the Yugoslav Communist apparatus, Djukanović has proven to be the ultimate political “chameleon” of the Balkans. While in power, he amassed an immense personal fortune by being involved in a whole series of illegal activities (Kovacevic; Nutall).  It is only his diplomatic immunity as the head of government that has blocked criminal court proceedings in Italy in which there are allegations of the existence of a secretive organized crime network under his personal control.

However, ever since the heavy involvement in the Balkans by the Clinton Administration in the mid-1990s, Djukanović has acquired many high-level political friends in Washington. They include US vice-president Joe Biden with whom Djukanović meets and consults regularly (“Readout of VP’s Meeting”). The same goes for the EU leadership, as shown by Djukanović’s April 2016 press conference with the president of the EU Council Donald Tusk in Brussels where Tusk referred to him as “dear Milo” (“President Tusk and PM of Montenegro”).5  No wonder then that Djukanovic has completely identified with the geopolitical agenda of the Western colonialist elites and their neoliberal economic vision for the Balkans. He has incorporated their most cynical, corrupt schemes in the running of the Montenegrin economy. 

At the special gathering celebrating the 10th anniversary of Montenegro’s independence referendum on May 21, 2016, Djukanović stated that in Montenegro, the divisions are not “for NATO or against NATO, but are civilizational and cultural [emphasis mine]” (“Zaustaviti podjele”). This statement encapsulates the most fundamental claim of pro-NATO discourse. It goes something like this: NATO represents the West, the West represents “civilization,” therefore NATO represents “civilization”. And, by extension, whoever advocates NATO is “civilized” and whoever is critical of NATO is “primitive” and “barbarian.”

It is worth noting that, as explained in detail by Larry Wolfe’s seminal 1994 study Inventing Eastern Europe, the representation of the West as “civilized” and the non-West as “barbarian” goes back to the 18th century and the period of the Enlightenment in Europe. It can be traced back to the writings and activities of the leading intellectual and political figures of the times. These diplomats such the Count de Ségur, the French ambassador to Russia in the 1780s, and philosophers such as Voltaire and Rousseau, saw so-called Eastern (generally Slavic) Europe as the West’s “inferior” other half, which they strategically used as the measuring stick of what they considered their own educational and cultural advancement.

These claims had severe geopolitical consequences. Just as, in his path-breaking 1978 book Orientalism, Edward Said argued was the case in the Middle East with regard to British and French scholars and politicians, the claims by the intellectuals of the Enlightenment were used to morally justify the military attack and conquest of Eastern Europe by the West. Two notable historical periods in which the discourse of Western “superiority” reached the highest pitch were those preceding Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1814 and Hitler’s invasion of Russia in 1941. It is ominous that contemporary NATO discourse uses similar discursive structures directed against the same target. That hardly bodes well for the future. In fact, Djukanović portrays himself as being in the forefront of the NATO struggle against the East (meaning Russia). He has repeatedly and directly accused Russia of meddling in the internal affairs of Montenegro with the aim of stopping NATO integration (“Djukanović optužuje”).The Russian government has denied the charges (“Moskva”).

Further evidence that Djukanović is rehashing centuries-old Western prejudices against other cultures and ways of living and thinking is his cynical claim that his opponents base their claims on “ignorance” (“Zaustaviti podjele”). With a clear intent to demean and humiliate the opposition, he says that they need to be “properly educated,” which will supposedly make them come to the realization of just how much they have been mistaken and how great NATO is in promoting democracy and the rule of law. In the same way as the leading lights of the Enlightenment, Djukanović appropriates for himself and his particular point of view the bully pulpit of apodictic knowledge and uses it to intimidate everybody else. His ultimate intention is to destroy any alternative, non-colonialist political and geopolitical vision for Montenegro by discrediting its epistemological foundations. Djukanović’s discourse is a stark example of the operation of arrogant political power as hegemonic knowledge. 

Discursive Colonization 3: NATO as Future

In addition to the pro-NATO discursive structures that perpetuate the spatial and cultural

aspects of the colonization of Montenegro, there are also those that underscore the temporal dimension. For instance, another high-level member of the NATO lobby in Montenegro, the president Filip Vujanović, frequently emphasizes that NATO stands for the “prosperous future” of Montenegro (“Vujanović”; “NATO”). NATO membership will mean that Montenegro can leave behind its “past,” which, just like Krivokapić and Djukanović, Vujanović portrays as full of conflicts, and decisively enter the age of political stability, rapid economic growth, and high standard of living. In other words, Vujanović presents NATO as the midwife of post-history. Once in NATO, the citizens of Montenegro will live happily ever after.

It is no doubt laughable to attempt to present a brutal military alliance, known to violate the basic principles of international law, as some kind of a utopian panacea. However, Vujanović’s statement closely follows the conventional conceptualization of progress founded on the notion of linear time. This notion underwrites all major political ideologies of the 19th and 20th centuries and so there is both the Marxist and NATO version of the end of history. The propagandists of the Marxist period in the recent Montenegrin past saw the end of history as the global triumph of the working class, whereas the NATO propagandists of today see it as the establishment of a global NATO. In both cases, Montenegro is seen as having a duty to contribute its territory and resources to the realization of these “messianic” projects. What is problematic, however, is that nobody is asking the ordinary Montenegrin citizens their opinion. Both the top-down Marxist and NATO projects deny them the agency of making political decisions which will greatly impact their daily lives.

The Agents and Discourse of Resistance

Even though the pro-NATO forces in Montenegro have an overwhelming presence in the governing structures, their ultimate victory is far from assured. With all their media might and discursive manipulations, they have failed to convince the majority of Montenegrin citizens to feel positive about membership in NATO. Information leaked from government sources in April 2015 shows that government officials falsified public opinion polls by underreporting the number of those opposing NATO as well as the number of those demanding a free and fair referendum (“Milacic”;”Afera”). In addition, evidence has surfaced that the public polling agencies contracted by the government manipulated the questions in order to steer respondents toward expressing pro-NATO views (Djukić).

More importantly, however, a coherent alternative geopolitical discourse with its own set of metaphors has been formulated and is now operative in Montenegrin public space. This discourse has primarily been the product of civil society organizations and can rightly be called the discourse of civil resistance. The non-governmental organization most involved in the creation and dissemination of this discourse is the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro (MNMNE).

MNMNE was conceived in December 2013 by a group of young progressive Montenegrin intellectuals and was officially founded in early February 2014.6 The anchor of its geopolitical vision is the concept of military neutrality. Its programmatic statement conceptualized military neutrality as having three defining characteristics (Kovacevic). The first characteristic was the essential humaneness of the concept interpreted as commitment to the “human dignity of each individual, his or her right to a serene and prosperous existence and the tolerant and peaceful coexistence of all the differences in the world.” The second characteristic was the common-sense rationalism articulated in the stress on “global solidarity in the distribution of material resources, disarmament, and the international mechanisms for the peaceful resolution of disputes.” Lastly, the third characteristic was the promotion of critical openness and intellectual honesty as well as deconstruction of the falsely democratic rhetoric used by the ruling elites to hide their oligarchic interests, which, in fact, are the “inconvenient truth” of all pro-NATO discourse in Montenegro.

As can be seen, in contrast to the pro-NATO emphasis on (intentionally) vague and ominous threats and the general climate of insecurity and fear, the alternative geopolitical discourse (the discourse of resistance) insists on the values of trust, cooperation, and solidarity. Whereas the pro-NATO discourse constructs a fearful world full of enemies and therefore pushes for the establishment of a permanent state of emergency with ever-increasing military budgets, countless military drills, and the suspension of civil rights and liberties, the discourse of MNMNE seeks to build social relations in which the grievances of all sides will be acknowledged and addressed and the space for dialogue and consensus will become possible. This is why, in their public statements, MNMNE members frequently use the metaphor of the bridge (“Građani zaslužuju”). A bridge links up and makes possible durable contact – between one state and another, between one religion and another, between the East and the West, the North and the South. A bridge is a symbol of togetherness and common purpose. It enables the overcoming of either natural or man-made obstacles. According to MNMNE, military neutrality can build bridges for Montenegro as opposed to the erection of walls that the exclusionary and militaristic policies of NATO demand.

In addition, if we compare the metaphor of the bridge with the metaphor of the umbrella (trademark of the pro-NATO camp), we can see to what extent, in a symbolic sense, the pro-NATO colonialist camp is insecure and closed in on itself. The umbrella can only passively protect, but does not substantially change the conditions in which a person or a state finds itself. The same cannot be said of a bridge. A bridge can positively affect the situation on the ground and genuinely improve the livelihood of all involved. It is not surprising then that bridges were among the key infrastructural objects which NATO planes destroyed during their attacks on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (which included Montenegro) from March to June 1999. It was on a bridge in the small Montenegrin town of Murino that NATO bombs killed six people, including three children (“NATO bombe”). NATO is therefore not only the symbolic, but also the very real and deadly destroyer of bridges both in Montenegro and beyond. In fact, NATO’s bombing campaign disintegrated many “bridges” in international politics painstakingly built by generations of legal scholars and diplomats because it was undertaken in clear violation of both international law (as enunciated in the Charter of the United Nations) as well as the US Constitution (Zunes). The world is still feeling its catastrophic reverberations all across post-Soviet space and the Middle East.

Another metaphor which is often used by the advocates of civic anti-NATO resistance in Montenegro is that of “irelandization” (Jovović). Irelandization means for Montenegro to follow the path of Ireland in its foreign policy. Ireland is not a member of NATO and yet it is a democratic state with a vibrant civil society. In other words, it is possible to attain high standards of democracy and rule of law while still being outside of NATO’s “umbrella.” There are therefore credible alternative paths to NATO membership which would not plunge Montenegro into chaos, extinction, or war as claimed by the pro-NATO advocates. In fact, it might do the exact opposite. Montenegro is more likely to be involved in a war if it becomes a NATO member. According to Article 5 of the NATO Charter (the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949), an attack on one member represents an attack on all members and all members are required to react accordingly. This means that Montenegro may be forced to pay for the reckless and provocative behavior of some other NATO member state. And that member state may have very different vital national and geopolitical interests from Montenegro.

As already pointed out, the pro-NATO camp in Montenegro is heavily subsidized by NATO member-state Embassies as well as by foreign pro-NATO not-for-profit organizations, such as the Atlantic Council based in Washington. The media and political space are inundated by pro-NATO programming. Still, MNMNE and other organizations sharing its geopolitical vision are far from giving up. They have organized a whole set of civic activities on a shoestring budget, essentially donated by the members themselves.

For instance, in 2015, MNMNE organized open panel-type events in almost all Montenegrin municipalities under the general heading of the “Spring of Neutrality” (“Počinje kampanja”). The events lasted for two months, from March to May, and involved open-air discussions with ordinary citizens as well as panel presentations with more than 30 well-known university professors, journalists, and civil rights activists. It was a genuine grassroots campaign which showed the resilience of anti-colonialist discourse in Montenegrin society. It has been said that the government with all its foreign funding and lobbyists was unable to match the popularity and success of this effort (“Jovović”). In addition, MNMNE published an academic study on the concept of military neutrality and its applicability to Montenegro, which has been well received throughout democratic and progressive social circles (“Studija Pokreta”).7

When the government-controlled media published unconfirmed reports that NATO plans to install radar on the mountaintop called Vrsuta near the Montenegrin city of Bar, MNMNE organized a group of civil activists from all over Montenegro who hiked to Vrsuta and placed the MNMNE flag there (“Pokret za neutralnost”). This flag symbolized the spirit of global solidarity and peace that MNMNE promotes in all its activities. The MNMNE hikers and their allies promised to come back and openly obstruct NATO forces should they really decide to install the radar. This event was one of the most uplifting grassroots political events to take place in Montenegro in the first half of 2016. In the spirit of Laclou and Mouffe’s political strategizing, it sought to establish new and different social relations based on civic resistance to the totalizing geopolitical neocolonialist discourse imposed from the outside and amplified from the inside by comprador political figures, such as the prime minister Djukanović, the speaker of the Parliament Krivokapić, and the president Vujanović.

In order to subvert the neocolonialist political message of the Montenegrin government and loosen its hold on the population, MNMNE also put into practice several methods suggested by John Holloway in his 2010 book Crack Capitalism. They not only engaged in peaceful street protests and demonstrations (and were arrested and brutally treated by the police) (“Police Provoked”), but also created and performed so-called street theater. The most memorable of these performances was the mock execution of a Montenegrin hostage by ISIS in front of the Parliament as a clear warning that the government’s whole-hearted support for NATO neocolonial projects in the Middle East and Central Asia can have tragic repercussions on the lives of ordinary people (“Performans Pokreta”).8 This performance was widely reported beyond Montenegro as well (“Egzekucija”).

In this respect, it is important to point out that MNMNE has been able to generate active international backing from progressive anti-colonial figures and organizations. It has an International Advisory Board which includes several world-renowned university professors and critical thinkers, such as Immanuel Wallerstein and Michael Parenti (“Medjunarodni”).9 When news of the unlawful arrest of MNMNE executive director Marko Milačić reached him, Noam Chomsky wrote back to protest the arrest and stated that MNMNE’s cause “merits respect and serious consideration, not government harassment (“Noam Chomsky”).”10 On the same occasion, the well-known Spanish intellectual and university professor Andres Barrera Gonzales, who is also on the MNMNE’s International Advisory Board, wrote that these “police and government actions are intended to deny basic rights to Milačić as well as to undermine the rights and dedication of MNMNE members and all other Montenegrin citizens who support the idea of a militarily neutral Montenegro in the cooperative and peaceful relations with all the countries in the world” (ibid.). After the domestic and international outcry which followed his arrest, Milačić was soon released by the police. Despite Milačić’s repeated demands directed at various government institutions, no one was held accountable for the drastic violation of his civil liberties. The usual “champions” of democracy and the rule of law in Montenegro, heavily subsidized by grants from NATO Embassies, were silent. Could one really have expected them to behave differently?

Most recently, MNMNE has been deeply involved in the grassroots campaign for the holding of a national referendum on NATO membership, which the government is doing everything in its power to avoid. This will no doubt turn into an uphill struggle against government repression, considering that, according to those public opinion polls not under direct government control, the majority of the Montenegrin citizens are against NATO membership and hence the referendum results would go against the desires of the government’s neocolonial sponsors (“Za referendum”). This is why the prime minister Milo Djukanović has stated on many occasions that there will be no referendum on NATO and that the membership decision will be made in Parliament, where the pro-NATO camp has a majority (“Neće biti referenduma”). In order to counter Djukanović’s arrogance and abuse of institutional authority as well as make the idea of the referendum more popular among the younger generations in Montenegro, MNMNE has devised a software program for an e-vote NATO referendum via Facebook account. So far, the majority of those who voted (the program can recognize authentic Facebook accounts from Montenegro), supported the option of military neutrality (“Više od 10.000 građana”).  

Conclusion

It is clear that what we have in Montenegro at this time is the intensive struggle of discourses between the Goliath of NATO neocolonial political and media machinery, heavily infiltrated into the anti-democratic ruling political elite, and the David of democratic grassroots civic organizations advocating an alternative geopolitical vision. While the former is using the whole arsenal of perennial Western colonial metaphors and stereotypes in order to pressure the population to submit to their oligarchic agenda, the latter is fighting back with creativity, courage, integrity, patience, and commitment to the public good and social justice. The outcome is not and cannot be decided in advance. The struggle will go on and, as stated in another context by former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis paraphrasing Dylan Thomas, MNMNE will “not go gently into the night, [MNMNE] will not stop raging against the dying of the light” (Squires).

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“Noam Chomsky and Numerous Other Intellectuals Protested the Arrest of MNMNE Executive Direktor Marko Milacic” 8 April 2015. http://mnmne.org/noam-chomsky-and-other-numerous-intellectuals-protested-against-the-arrest-of-the-movement-for-neutrality-of-montenegro-ceo-marko-milacic/.

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“Performans Pokreta za neutralnost ispred Skupštine Crne Gore [The MNMNE Performance in front of the Parliament of Montenegro].” 16 Sep 2015.
http://mnmne.org/performans-pokreta-za-neutralnost-ispred-skupstine-crne-gore/. See also https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdI27Rsu_Ig. 

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Notes

1. A version of this article was presented at the annual meeting of the Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition held at the University of Hawaii, Hilo in September 2016.

2. In another similar instance, Bruce P. Jackson, one of the founders of the US Committee to Expand NATO (as well as chairman of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (sic!)), who has been the most aggressive NATO lobbyist in East-Central Europe, was also vice-president at Lockheed Martin Corporation, the producer of high-tech military hardware. Not surprisingly, Jackson was a military intelligence officer while serving in the US Army. For other examples, see Seelye.

3. Ranko Krivokapić was removed as the Parliament’s speaker in May 2016 for reasons that have nothing to do with the NATO agenda. He had held this position since June 2003.

4. For this point, I am indebted to Petrović 104. See also Mussolff.

5. Curiously, the warm friendliness of Tusk’s address was not reciprocated by Djukanović, as if he was the more politically powerful of the two and hence in need of being flattered. Though this may seem paradoxical, it helps show the extent to which Djukanović has been important for NATO’s long-term geopolitical agenda in the Balkans.

6. The author of this article was one of its founders and is at this time the chair of the board.

7. In consonance with its vision of the “irelandization” of Montenegro, MNMNE proposes that security guarantees be given to Montenegro by the European Union as is the case with Ireland. Some observers may be critical of MNMNE’s reliance on the EU, but, in contrast to NATO membership, EU membership is widely supported by Montenegrin citizens. This is not to say that MNMNE members are unaware of the limitations of the existing EU institutional set-up, especially regarding its top-down neoliberal economic (austerity) agenda.

8. The performance was sharply criticized by the NATO lobby in Montenegro, especially by the Atlantic Council of Montenegro (“Treba se zapitati”).

9. In addition, former US Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio praised the MNMNE’s vision of international peace and global solidarity in direct email communication with the founders (“Bivši kongresmen”).

10. Milačić was stopped by the police and arrested near the Atlantic Council public event (in the Montenegrin capital Podgorica) which was organized on the occasion of NATO’s birthday (sic!). Milačić is well-known in Montenegro as an anti-NATO activist and the police arrested him arbitrarily in order to show its subservience to the NATO lobby.

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