07:45 GMT05 June 2020
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    On Wednesday, NATO officially invited Montenegro to start accession talks to join the military alliance, despite the fact that this move could further deteriorate relations between Russia and the West.

    NATO is putting its bilateral relations with Russia at risk by inviting Montenegro to become a member of the alliance. This step would directly affect Russia’s interests and further alienate the county, political expert Brad Stapleton argued.

    “NATO expansion should be based upon careful examination of both costs and benefits,” political expert Brad Stapleton wrote for the National Interest.

    According to him, NATO will not receive any significant benefits from Montenegro’s membership, because Montenegro’s troops are small in size and are primarily trained for domestic operations.

    At the same time, Russia would consider this step a blatant violation of the promise made by Western leaders at the end of the Cold War. The move would infuriate Russia and deepen the conflict between the East and the West, Stapleton argued.

    Supporters of the expansion regularly emphasize the fact that the Alliance has the right to accept all countries that wish to become members. However, to take such a step only in order to challenge Russia is extremely stupid, the author wrote.

    The political expert stressed that NATO’s further expansion to the East is a “huge mistake”, taking into account the tensions between the United States and Russia amid the Syrian and Ukrainian conflicts. 

    “Ultimately, Montenegro’s accession to NATO will pose little threat to Russia.  Nevertheless, NATO’s invitation will likely confirm the Kremlin’s fears that the West is intent upon besieging Russia, Stapleton wrote.

    Russian authorities have repeatedly stated that they consider further NATO expansion to the East as an attempt to encircle Russia and infringement of Russia’s interests. According to the author, it is not surprising that NATO’s move urged Moscow to warn of a possible response.

    If Montenegro were to become a member of the alliance, it would make cooperation between Russia and the West even more difficult. This cooperation is, however, essential as the current international crises can’t be resolved without Russia’s participation, the author stated.


    NATO's Political Games Drag Montenegro Into Alliance Despite Popular Will
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    NATO, expansion, United States, Russia, Montenegro
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