While Moscow might not be quivering with fear, NATO’s offer is a clear rebuke — proof that our decadent, disorganized, argumentative, and hesitant West can actually take a stand in defense of its values and security.
If adding Montenegro to the alliance is “taking a stand” in defense of our values and security, it is a remarkably small and unimportant one. Montenegro isn’t being threatened by anything, nor is it likely to be anytime soon, so as far as “stands” go bringing them into the alliance must be among the most low-risk and uneventful ever taken. The alliance gains nothing from this move, and none of its members is more secure because of it.
As I said yesterday, the decision to expand NATO again is a bad one. It adds one more dependent to a long list of allies that add nothing to the alliance. It’s a good example of treating a defensive military alliance as little more than a political club that new democracies join to demonstrate that they are part of the West. Adding a new member is likely to make the alliance a little more disorganized and argumentative without making it any stronger or more capable.
As for sticking it to Russia, Montenegrin membership is being greeted in Moscow with a shrug. Leonid Bershidsky explains why:
Montenegro is too small, peripheral and otherwise insignificant to distract Putin from much bigger problems elsewhere.
This is also why it doesn’t make sense for NATO to be taking Montenegro in as a new member, but now that it is happening let’s at least not pretend that the alliance has done something impressive or bold by bringing them in.