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NATO Welcomes Another Military Midget

October 5, 2018 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

During the Cold War, NATO actually meant something. The Soviet
Union was a totalitarian predator, the Western Europeans were
exhausted, and Washington did not want to face a Soviet-dominated
Eurasia.

Today the transatlantic alliance has descended into farce.
Earlier this year, NATO invited the small Balkans country of
Macedonia to join its ranks. In what now passes for the historic
“Great Game” in Europe, officials anxiously awaited the
results of Macedonia’s referendum on a national name change.
Approval would allow the Western alliance to augment its collective
forces by an astounding 8,000 men and 31 tanks.

For a quarter century, the countries of Greece and Macedonia, a
small piece of what had been Yugoslavia, were deadlocked over the
latter’s use of what Greeks considered to be their birthrate
name. Officials in Athens insinuated that their small neighbor
harbored aggressive designs and hoped to revive the historic
Macedonian empire of Alexander the Great. With its vast legions,
the newly independent nation might go on a militarist rampage and
occupy Salonika, perhaps even Athens.

It’s the sort of nationalist nonsense that should cause
any normal human being to laugh himself silly.

Alliances should be based
on circumstances and treated as a means rather than an end, which
means they should be temporary, ending along with the exigencies
that led to their creation.

Instead the dispute quickly took on crisis proportions. As the
diplomatic conflict was joined, Greeks referred to their northern
neighbor as Skopje and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
or FYROM. More important, Athens blocked The Country With the
Disputed Name from joining both the European Union and NATO. In
doing so, it inadvertently did America a favor, by preventing
another needless alliance expansion. Still, year after year
American and European diplomats busied themselves attempting to
resolve the dispute.

And then Athens and Skopje finally came to an agreement. After
years of angry argument and Western mediation, Macedonia is to be
called the Republic of Northern Macedonia. Apparently, the
ghosts of Alexander dissipate when you move further north. If
approved, the pact would lead to Skopje’s entry into NATO and
possible accession to the EU. However, any compromise was too much
for some nationalists, and the proposal has incited anger in both
nations.

On Sunday, Macedonians cast ballots, and things didn’t
work out as expected. Almost 92 percent voted yes, but turnout was
only 37 percent, well below the normal 50 percent threshold. Prime
Minister Zoran Zaev remained confident: “I am determined to
take Macedonia into the European Union and NATO.” However,
though the poll was not binding, some legislators may reject the
change, given its ambivalent public backing. Nationalists already
held enough seats …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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