2012-01-14 13:36:07 UTC
admission to NATO
Washington, 10 January 2012 (MIA)
The US administration has a real opportunity to advance American
leadership at the NATO summit in Chicago, ensuring that Macedonia
joins NATO this year would be a sign that President Obama genuinely
understands America’s primary role in creating and maintaining a
democratic global order, assessed Sally McNamara, Senior Policy
Analyst in European Affairs at The Heritage Foundation in opinion
article for Fox News.
She reminded that in 2008, the Greek government unilaterally vetoed
Macedonia’s accession to NATO. That action broke with an age-old
principle that NATO members do not play out bilateral disputes within
- Last month, the International Court of Justice ruled that Greece had
violated international law with its veto, since Athens had explicitly
promised to not prevent Macedonia’s integration into Europe in an
interim accord they signed with Skopje 13 years earlier. But Athens
vetoed Macedonia’s membership of the alliance regardless, and the
Greek government has continued its vendetta against Skopje ever since.
Worse, it has done so without a squeak of protest from the White
House. NATO’s cynical acquiescence to this type of bullying must end.
Although it is a small country many miles from Washington, Macedonia
still matters to the U.S.—and more importantly, to America’s
commitment to the freedom, democracy and national sovereignty of
fledging states, McNamara said.
By all objective standards—and by NATO’s own admission—Macedonia has
fulfilled the alliance’s membership criteria. But Greek obstructionism
means that NATO’s door remains closed. Ultimately, however, it is the
willingness of NATO leaders to play along that has allowed Greece’s
unconscionable stance to prevail. It is time for President Obama to
exert leadership on this issue.
- Enlargement of the NATO alliance has been a sorely neglected topic
in the past two years. President Obama must seize the moment and
recommit the alliance to keeping its doors open to would-be members
who have earned their place in the Euro-Atlantic family, McNamara
International observers did not give Macedonia much of a chance when
it emerged from the breakup of the Yugoslav Federation in the 1990s,
but its progress has been incredible. In 20 years, Macedonia has
evolved from a Balkan powder keg into a net exporter of security,
providing the fourth-largest per capita contribution to NATO’s mission
in Afghanistan (even though it is not even a member of NATO).
Macedonia even contributed to the war in Iraq, where their combat
troops fought side by side with American troops on the ground. And
British Prime Minister Tony Blair publicly thanked Macedonia for
providing a safe refuge for hundreds of thousands of Kosovar refugees
during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, she said.
In May, President Obama will have a chance to stand not just for what
amounts only to fair treatment of Macedonia, but for something far
more important: the vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace.
- In the last few years, no country has benefited from the hand of
international friendship more than Greece. Without global financial
support—including tens of millions of dollars from the U.S. via the
International Monetary Fund—Athens would not even be able to pay its
bills. The days when NATO nations should feel constrained to let
Greece indulge in regional obstructionism are long gone, said Sally
McNamara in opinion article for Fox News.