• NATO’s Purpose is to Defend Peace by Deterring Aggression

    Trump believes in peace through strength. But to have peace requires not just military strength.
    Read More
  • Trump Questions Whether US Troops Should Defend NATO Ally

    President Donald Trump cast new doubt on his willingness to come to the defense of NATO allies
    Read More
  • NATO is Stronger With Montenegro

    In his interview with US President Donald J. Trump, Tucker Carlson of Fox News asked why the United States should come to the defense of Montenegro, a tiny country in the Western Balkans with a population the size of Washington, D.C., that is a NATO ally.

    It’s a perfectly reasonable question, with a good answer.

    Montenegro is a proud nation with a proud people, who have proven strong and resilient throughout their difficult history. They will defend their nation and now our alliance. And we are all stronger – including the nations of the Balkans, including Americans – for having Montenegro in NATO.

    Read More
  • Balkan Officials Have a Message for the EU and the United States: Stay Engaged

    Balkan officials on November 29 made a pitch for deeper US and European Union (EU) engagement with the region, noting that its stability is critical for a peaceful Europe.

    “Without a stable Balkans, there is no stable Europe,” said Srdjan Darmanović, Montenegro’s foreign minister.

    Albania’s foreign minister, Ditmir Bushati, highlighted US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent remark that Europe should write the next chapter of its history in its own words. He said: “I hope this is instigating more solidarity within the European Union, but what we learned from the last twenty-five years is that American presence in our neighborhood, in Europe, is indispensable.”

    Read More
  • Here’s Why US Commitment to the Western Balkans Matters

    The United States and the European Union (EU) must deepen their engagement with the Western Balkans, a region where Russia, Turkey, and wealthy Arab Gulf states have extended their influence and that is considered integral to realizing the idea of a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace, speakers and panelists said at the Atlantic Council on November 29.

    One European official described the United States as an invaluable partner in realizing the vision of a whole and free Europe, while a US official affirmed the commitment of US President Donald J. Trump’s administration to the Western Balkans.

    Read More
  • Wilson Joins POLITICO’s The Global POLITICO Podcast to Discuss Montenegro’s Accession to NATO

    Read More
  • Gedmin in The American Interest: Losing Our Grip, From Paris to Podgorica to London

    Read More
  • NATO’s Double Standards: Why Montenegro but Not Ukraine?

    On June 5, Montenegro will become the twenty-ninth member of NATO. This comes at a time when accession talks with the EU are also occurring; the EU has offered membership to Montenegro and other countries in the western Balkans.

    To any careful observer, it is obvious that the standards for Montenegro’s inclusion in the alliance have been very low. In contrast, NATO’s demands of Ukraine (as well as of Georgia) have been far more stringent, while the EU has never considered either one for membership. A resolution by attendees at NATO’s 2008 Bucharest summit spoke of Ukraine and Georgia as future members, but gave no accession date or sense of when they would be invited into the alliance’s Membership Action Plan.

    To understand the different standards the two countries are being held to, it is important to examine them systematically. Montenegro and Ukraine can be compared in seven key ways.

    Read More
  • Do Bulgaria’s Historical Russian Ties Spell Trouble for NATO and the Black Sea Region?

    The November election of Rumen Radev as president of Bulgaria has contributed to growing concerns that several former Soviet satellite states are drifting back into the orbit of Putin’s Russia.
    Read More
  • What Can Ukraine Learn from the Balkans?

    Ukraine wants to join the European Union, but the level of support among many EU member states is low or nonexistent. Many are afraid of Russia’s reaction and lack a clear understanding of both the climate in post-Euromaidan Ukraine and the country’s strong commitment to Western integration.

    The situation is challenging in all aspects. War still raging along the demarcation line in the Donbas, US policy toward the EU and Ukraine is unclear, Russia is strongly opposed to Ukraine’s entrance into the EU, and Ukraine itself faces the twin challenges of war and reform. Only EU and NATO accession can provide a lasting framework that allows Ukraine to master all of the challenges at the same time. The model has been proven through the accession of central European and southeastern European countries and will most likely be similarly successful in the third wave occurring in Eastern Europe.

    If the EU does not allow the country to have realistic European hopes, post-Maidan Ukraine could fail, just as the Orange Revolution did, with all of the related tragic consequences. But how can one ensure a credible EU perspective and increase progress toward EU accession in all sectors simultaneously? To achieve this, Ukraine requires a new strategic approach and an alliance of friends, partners, and allies composed of countries with similar interests.

    In the nearby neighborhood are eight countries—Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia, and Serbia—that had similar traumatic experiences with war and destruction in the 1990s, and that now have seventeen years of reconstruction and pre-accession behind them. They have shared a similar strategic objective of joining the EU and NATO, and some have achieved it: Croatia joined NATO in 2009 and the EU in 2013, for example. Those that are already inside can help the others that are still on their way and facing similar challenges with domestic reform and the EU’s enlargement fatigue.

    The reform and transition experience of the Balkans matters for Ukraine.

    Read More