Partnership for what?

The wire services are reporting from the NATO summit in Riga that Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia-Herzegovina have been invited to the Partnership for Peace, a sort of ante-chamber for eventual full membership. The NATO statement pointed to the "importance of long-term stability in the Western Balkans" and acknowledged the progress made so far by Bosnia and Heregovina, Montenegro and Serbia." It called on Bosnia and Serbia to honor their commitment towards the Hague war crimes court and announced it would monitor progress on the matter.

After turning a blind eye to Karadžić and Mladić for over a decade, NATO didn't have much credibility left to lose in the Balkans -- but it has somehow, inexplicably, managed to gamble away even that little bit.


Anonymous said...

Well, K&M may be a class of their own, but this looks a lot like the deal Croatia got with regard to Gotovina.

T K Vogel said...

Perhaps, except in this case Del Ponte appears not to have been consulted at all, according to wire reports, which makes me doubt your theory.

Bg anon said...

Well I sort of welcome this.
I dont think the carrot or stick on NATO membership will impact on whether Mladic (or Karadzic potentially in the Bosnian case) will be handed over or not.

Is Del Ponte usually consulted in NATO decision making? I dont think they they have the same interests.

T K Vogel said...

@ bg anon: ICTY cooperation has always been held up as a precondition for PfP membership. In fact, both Serbia and Bosnia have had earlier membership applications rejected because of a lack of cooperation with The Hague. I simply fail to see what has changed since then. I agree, however, that PfP membership is not a strong enough incentive. NATO seems to have recognized that and is simply throwing in the towel.

igor said...

Here in the news it was already said that Carla Del Ponte wasn't pleased at all. B92 has more details in Serbian.

Katja said...

They just want more cannon fodder to die in Iraq.
I could be wrong, I'd love to be wrong, but some how I don't think so.

maybe the carrot and stick approach isn't going to work and neither are rewards but I don't think this is going to get results either. I could be wrong, I'd like to be wrong.

Bg anon said...

TK yes I suppose you're right, it has been used in the past as a precondition and yes precious little has changed re Mladic and Karadzic.

But I would add that it isnt that surprising that NATO and the tribunal have differing viewpoints. I mean one is a military institution that makes war and the other is one that is supposed to punish crimes of war.

The tribunal isnt supposed to bend over backwards to accomodate the internal political situation of a given country either whereas individual nation states which make up NATO might do so. Tony Blair, who has had a hardline stance on this issue, stated yesterday that Britain had re-evaluated the situation and agreed with the NATO decision.

If NATO membership has precious little impact as a carrot or stick on Serbia then you can imagine how little effect it has during an election campaign. To put it simply there is no chance whatever of Mladic being arrested / killed (I write this because I wont be at all surprised if he is shot resisting arrest) before elections in January.

Further, entry into P4P will likely help reformist parties (just a little bit) leading to a Democratic Party government which will resolve this issue at the beginning of their mandate.

Additionally its quite important that the Russian lobby within the armed forces are sidelined. They are increasingly so and this is another nail in the coffin for them.

I know that perhaps from where you are sitting this is just another example of international hyporcricy and inactivity but I'd ask you to bear these issues in mind too.

Anonymous said...

At BG Anon, these are good points you raise, and silencing the Russian lobby has become rather more important given what sort of a nice guy (NOT) Putin has turned into.

Shaina said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Shaina said...

Katja said: "They just want more cannon fodder to die in Iraq.
I could be wrong, I'd love to be wrong, but some how I don't think so."

Actually you may be on to something. According to a very respected Swiss newspaper:

"According to an NZZ inside source, Bush changed his mind on particaption in PfP only while already underway to Riga. The only explanation for the sudden change of course is said to be Belgrade's pledge to send troops to Afghanistan and Iraq.
All other NATO states obeyed promptly, except The Netherlands."

Bg anon said...

Naturally Shaina and believe me it didnt hurt when Serbia signed up to US demands to give US troops a free pass if they are suspected of comitting war crimes on Serbian territory.

Sadly that went past the Serbian people with no debate whatever. And it was left to the Radicals to make a little gain from it.

The games nation states play.