Even those who believe that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has by far outlived its usefulness would like to think that it is nonetheless guided by sound principles and serious people. Alas, today's announcement that NATO was offering membership to the inconsequential Balkan basket case of Montenegro would seem to indicate otherwise.
Montenegro has been lobbying for entry into the NATO gang since its independence in 2006, so why would their application suddenly be approved now? Here's why; at this particular moment in time, the NATO bosses see this invitation as a great way to give Bad Vlad a poke in the eye, nothing more, nothing less.
How principled and serious is that?
There are good reasons for the sluggish progress of Montenegro's NATO application. The undeniable wiff of corruption has been rising from PM Milo Djukanovic pretty much since his rise to power back in the early '90's. Do a google search of "Milo Djukanovic corruption" and you get 26,900 results. The man spent almost a decade on Italy's most wanted list while he was either president or prime minister of Montenegro!
Montenegro is a country not quite the size of Connecticut with the population of a Denver or a Memphis. The economy is in such bad shape that regular folks are known to pick up sticks and join in with the Syrian refugees trekking by on their way to Western Europe.
Milo and company are, however, doing extremely well. Their long-awaited welcome into the NATO tent should set the stage for even more lucrative days ahead.
And what a great slap at Putin for all the trouble he's made for America's Syria strategy these last couple of months.