This document is an attachment of the letter Montenegrin opposition leaders sent on 24th February 2017 to the White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and several U.S. senators and congressmen
Elaborate to the Presidential Administration, Senators and Congressmen
of the United States of America
Deconstruction of false claims presented to the U. S. Senate
The hearing of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations was held on September 14, 2016. The testimonies were given by Hoyt Brian Yee, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State, and Dr. Michael Carpenter, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia at the United States Department of Defense.
On that day, at the hearing regarding NATO Expansion: Examining the Accession of Montenegro Yee and Carpenter presented their reports and were supposed to convince the senators that the admission of Montenegro in NATO was justified. For this purpose, they have both filed six-page reports. Both reports are inconclusive containing false and superficial observations, even false representations of the circumstances in Montenegro. Therefore, it is necessary to deal with these allegations and respond to their claims.
On page 3 of his report Mr. Yee notes that "Montenegro has made clear its Euro-Atlantic trajectory is unshakeable." It is a most frequently repeated saying of Montenegrin regime – which is in power although it has just a single seat more than the opposition in the Montenegrin Parliament. However, the survey done by the American research company Gallup in 2016 showed that a minority of 21% of the citizens of Montenegro saw NATO as a protection compared to the majority of 29% of Montenegrin citizens who saw NATO as a threat and even 35% of the citizens who did not see NATO either as a protection or a threat. It can be concluded that most citizens in Montenegro are neutral, followed by those who are against NATO, whereas the smallest group includes those who are for NATO. Mr. Yee did not have to know about this study because the results were published in February 2017, but Mr. Yee must have been familiar with conceivable requests of Montenegrin opposition to organize a referendum on the controversial issue of Montenegro's accession to NATO and their belief that the request for admission of Montenegro in NATO would be rejected by citizens.
Further on, Mr. Yee observes that Montenegro "has taken substantial steps to address public corruption and organized crime." However, Mr. Yee could not conclude in what way and to which extent Montenegro handled public corruption and organized crime. He only uses a vague notion that it might be in progress. There is, of course, an explanation why Yee conceals the facts about the real state of affairs in Montenegro, which is quite often, even in the Western world, called a mafia-state, because, among other things, an Italian court ordered detention of Montenegrin President Milo Djukanović (for more information on various criminal activities, see: "Measuring the Mafia-State Menace," Foreign Affairs, July / August 2012). In this sense, it would be necessary to emphasize the corruption in "Telekom affair" in 2011, which had already been discussed at the United States Department of Justice. If Yee had been sincere and told the truth, senators certainly would not find it appropriate to admit a mafia-state in NATO alliance.
On page 4 of his elaborate, Mr. Yee writes, among other things, that Montenegro "clearly and demonstrably" meets the criteria such as "contribution to security" of the Euro-Atlantic area. However, we have already seen that Montenegro lacks internal security; it is not able to deal with crime and corruption in the country. The connection between regime and mafia in Montenegro is inseparable. Furthermore, the assaults directed towards the opposition are explicit and unambiguous: detention of opposition leaders, arrests of opposition supporters and intimidation of government opponents. On October 16, 2016, during the parliamentary elections, top regime managed to stage a bizarre coup attempt for which, without any evidence, they blamed Russia and the Montenegrin opposition. A country that is in such a mess – sometimes Montenegro seems to be on the verge of collapse – can in no way contribute to the security of the Euro-Atlantic world.
When Yee on page 4 (as Carpenter on pages 2 and 3) reflects about the financial capabilities of Montenegro to become a full member of NATO, he completely overlooks or withholds, as does Carpenter, the fact that 2% of already scarce national GDP would, in Montenegrin conditions, be over 70 million euros. This means that NATO would become a fifth spending unit in the Budget of Montenegro after the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Education. This would be unsustainable because it would lead to a disruption of the fragile financial system in Montenegro. Opportunities would be even worse if the idea of the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg that Montenegro should provide the battalion of soldiers from 600 to 1,000 was accepted. Even if there were 600 soldiers for NATO missions, the financial budget for their engagement, according to the symmetry of the financial expenditure for the current engagements of the Montenegrin Armed Forces in peacekeeping missions, would be at as much as 220 million euros. This issue could lead to the collapse of financial stability in Montenegro.
In the end, Yee observes that Montenegro "will be an example not only to other countries in the Balkans, but also to other NATO partners" when it comes to the "advanced our democratic values, and respect for the rule of law." Unfortunately, Yee does not reveal that Montenegrin regime used indiscriminate and arbitrary violence to suppress protests of the opposition and non-governmental organizations on October 17 and 24, 2015. Therefore, after all the above facts, Yee’s conclusion could leave anyone speechless. The only purpose Montenegro can serve today is the shooting of a new sequel of a cult Hollywood film The Godfather, but the scene would not be in New York and Sicily but in Brussels and Montenegro. Therefore, Hoyt Brian Yee has proven himself to be quite incompetent expert in showing the true facts about Montenegro.
On pages 5 and 6 of his report, Dr. Michael Carpenter especially points to the intention of the former administration of the United States to use the accession of Montenegro to NATO as a lesson to Russia. Russia’s position against the accession of Montenegro to NATO, Carpenter does not interpret affirmatively. Carpenter does not take into account the fact that Russia was of the opinion that the citizens of Montenegro should be allowed to decide about accession to NATO on a referendum.
On page 5 Carpenter notes that "parliamentary votes in September 2015 and June 2016 overwhelmingly confirmed the consensus within the Montenegrin parliament in support of NATO membership" which is pointless, first because in Montenegro there were no parliamentary elections in September 2015, nor even in June 2016. Parliamentary elections in Montenegro were held on October 14, 2012 and then on October 16, 2016. Carpenter, who speaks of the "consensus" in the Montenegrin Parliament for NATO, fully overlooks the fact that half of the MPs of the previous Parliament of Montenegro were for holding a referendum on the issue. The seriousness of the situation is illustrated by the fact that from October 16, 2016 half of the MPs of the present Montenegrin Parliament were boycotting the meetings because the outcome of these elections was considered illegitimate due to a staged coup attempt. All this shows that Carpenter does not have necessary knowledge about the topic which means that his conclusions regarding the accession of Montenegro to NATO may as well be flawed, superficial, meaningless, and false.
When Carpenter on page 5 speaks of "Russia’s malign influence" in Montenegro, he completely overlooks the fact that Russia talked affirmatively about the Montenegrin neutrality instead of drawing the state into "Russian world". This attitude of Russia could be supported by previously mentioned Gallup poll. There is no difference between the desire of Russia to see Montenegro as a neutral country and the Gallup survey according to which the majority of Montenegrin citizens are for neutrality. The conclusion is, therefore, identical. This speaks in favor of the fact that Dr. Michael Carpenter was totally incompetent to write reports on the admission of Montenegro into NATO and that his conclusions are meaningless and false.
Therefore, Montenegrin society does not have a unique attitude regarding the admission to NATO as falsely alleged by the former administration in Washington. Montenegrin society is very much divided on this issue, which is also reflected in the fact that the smallest portion of the people is on the side of Montenegro's accession to NATO. In reality, Montenegro does not meet the criteria for admission to the Euro-Atlantic alliance because it cannot ensure its own internal stability and democratic system. In this regard, the ratification of the Protocol on the Accession of Montenegro to NATO in the United States Senate would be hasty because senators were not presented true state of facts. The rapporteurs at the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hoyt Brian Yee and Dr. Michael Carpenter, deceived the senators by submitting the reports based on half-truths and untruths.
Elaborate written by
Dr. Aleksandar Raković, historian
February 24, 2017