Thursday, 05 April 2012
MINA Breaking News
The central pillar of NATO – the enlargement and strengthening of the alliance – has fallen off the Chicago summit agenda. This must be remedied. When countries such as Macedonia, which have met all necessary requirements and continually contribute to the alliance’s collective defense, are denied access, it weakens the core regional goals of security, stability, and prosperity, says Sally Painter, CEO at Blue Star Strategies, in an article published in U.S. congressional paper "The Hill".
"With the ICJ ruling, the legal and political path is clear to complete Macedonia’s accession, and that would in itself place pressure on Greece to accept a compromise solution and put to rest a poisonous ethnic dispute. Such a step would reaffirm NATO’s commitment to strengthening the alliance – which, as the secretary general himself writes, must be “an alliance that is constantly changing to meet the security challenges of today and tomorrow.” The Summit in Chicago is the time and place for the NATO allies to show leadership and readiness for enlargement and an “open door” policy for all qualifying members", says Painter.
She recalls that the North Atlantic Treaty provides that any European state that qualifies for membership and that can contribute to the alliance’s security is eligible for membership, whereas Macedonia is highly qualified on both of these fronts.
"It has long contributed to NATO’s joint security, participating in the regional peace missions in 1999 as well as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It completed its Membership Action Plan in 2008 – normally the final step before admission – before it was blocked by a Greek veto", says Painter.
According to her, the International Court of Justice has flatly and in an overwhelming fashion (15-1) stated that the naming issue cannot be used as a pretext to deny Macedonia membership – and yet Secretary General Rasmussen has maintained that the decision changes nothing, and that Macedonia’s accession can come only after the resolution of that dispute. Which, practically speaking, puts the accession process on hold for the foreseeable future.
"So why the foot dragging? Delay in enlargement could have negative impact on regional stability and raise troubling questions about the institutional health of the alliance. Denying Macedonia sets a dangerous precedent for other regional rivalries that one country can indefinitely filibuster the entrance of another. This could prove to be an incentive for holding the NATO accession process hostage to bilateral grievances. NATO should be a force for binding European nations ever closer together through mutual sacrifice and mutual interests, this position has the opposite effect", underlines analyst Sally Painter in article.