Donald Trump has just approved Montenegro as NATO’s newest member state. The move is contentious as Montenegro was bombed in the illegal 1999 NATO war of aggression against Yugoslavia of which it was then a part.
Montenegro peacefully split from Serbia in 2006 to become a small independent state.
While the Montenegrin government has supported moves to join the US led alliance, socialist and pro-Serbia opposition parties have been dramatically opposed to such moves. The moves also roused public opinion during a series of anti-NATO protests in the small west Balkan state.
Serbia now finds itself totally encircled by NATO countries, except for its comparatively small southern border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia where NATO powers are also making moves to radicalise and militarise the mostly Sunni Albanian minority in a majority Orthodox Christian nation.
The issue of Montenegro membership became a point of contention in the US Senate when Join McCain famously said that Rand Paul was ‘working for President Putin’ because Paul opposed Montenegro’s membership in NATO.
Russia does not officially take positions on which countries should or should not be in NATO, but Russia is an historic and current ally of Serbia where the move has been looked upon as a further attempt to isolate Serbia from a fraternal former Yugoslav nation. In spite of historic ties, the government of Montenegro is moving further from Serbia. Serbia was angered when in 2008, Montenegro recognised the Serbian province of Kosovo as a state.
Donald Trump who campaigned as someone sceptical of NATO has seemingly changed his tune on yet another foreign policy matter. The White House released a statement saying
“President Trump congratulates the Montenegrin people for their resilience and their demonstrated commitment to NATO’s democratic values”.
21st Century Wire says…
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tells us that the war on Syria can only be solved through a ‘political process’. Wait, didn’t Nikki Haley just say “…getting Assad out is not the only priority, we don’t see a peaceful Syria with Assad in there”.
“Our strategy in Syria, our priority is first to defeat ISIS”, says Tillerson. Again Haley outlines ‘multiple priorities’ and “…there’s not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime”. Deliberate ‘flip flopping’ on policy or problematic internal communication at the White House, which in the last 24 hours has seen a ‘scramble’ to re-soften its approach via Rex Tillerson on Syria.
More on this report from RT…
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said the Syrian crisis can only be solved through a political process, claiming it’s not regime change but the defeat of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group that Washington is seeking in Syria.
“Our strategy in Syria, our priority is first to defeat ISIS,” the US official said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week” host, George Stephanopoulos, which was aired Sunday.
Saying that once the battle with the terrorist group is concluded, which according to the US official is “going quite well,” Washington plans to turn its attention “to achieving ceasefire agreements between the regime and opposition forces.”
Bringing the parties to the table for political discussions “clearly requires the participation of the regime and the support of their allies,” Tillerson said in another Sunday interview to the American media, speaking to John Dickerson on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Once a ceasefire becomes a reality in Syria, “we will have the conditions to begin a useful political process,” he said.
“It is through that political process that we believe the Syrian people will ultimately be able to decide the fate of Bashar Assad,” he told ABC.
Tillerson reiterated the same on CBS, saying that Washington hoped to work with its coalition members and with the UN, “in particular through the Geneva process,” to be able to “navigate a political outcome in which the Syrian people will in fact determine Bashar Assad’s fate and his legitimacy.”
The US Secretary of State underlined the Russian role in the process, saying that the US hoped it could work together with Russia “and use their influence,” and that Moscow “will choose to play a constructive role in supporting ceasefire through their own Astana talks, but also through Geneva.”
READ MORE: Russian FM & US Secretary of State discuss US strike on Syria in phone call
“I’m hopeful we can have Russia be supportive of a process that will lead to a stable Syria. Clearly they are Bashar Assad’s current ally, they should have the greatest influence on Bashar Assad,” he told Stephanopoulos, but he warned that Russia should be “thinking carefully about its continued alliance with Bashar Assad.”
“Every time one of these horrific attacks occurs, it draws Russia closer into some level of responsibility,” he said in an apparent reference to a recent alleged chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib province. Washington blamed the Syrian government for the incident, while Moscow has said there has been no evidence presented to support such claims.
‘LEARNING LIBYA LESSON’
Speaking of the US missile strike on a Syrian airbase, ordered by President Donald Trump “in response” to the alleged use of chemical weapons, Tillerson told CBS that “clearly the message is that the violation of international norms, the continuing ignoring of UN resolutions and the continuing violation of agreements… will no longer be tolerated.”
The airstrike is only related to the alleged chemical attack, the US official claimed, adding that Washington has learned its lesson of “what it looks like when you undertake a violent regime change,” referring to Libya.
“Obviously the United States’ own founding principle is self-determination, and what the US and our allies want to do is to enable the Syrian people to make that determination… We’ve seen what violent regime change looks like in Libya and the kind of chaos that can be unleashed and indeed the kind of misery that it enacts on its own people,” he said on CBS.
“I think we have to learn the lessons of the past,” he emphasized on ABC, adding, “Any time you go on and have a violent change at the top, it is very difficult to create the conditions for stability [in the] longer term...”
Continue this report at RT
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