I was recently interviewed by the Kosovo newspaper Gazeta Metro on threats to NATO and which geopolitical trends should be most important to leaders in the Balkans.
My English comments are below. It won’t surprise you that Russia features prominently.
1) There have been several articles in European press in recent weeks, outlining the danger coming from Russian hybrid warfare that seeks to bring discord among European allies, especially in European underbelly of Western Balkans. What do you think is the realistic danger from Russia? Can they damage permanently post-WW2 architecture of security in EU and NATO?
The threat of Russian hybrid warfare is the greatest danger to global security that we currently face – even more than global Islamic extremism. Since September 11, 2001, the world’s national security apparatuses have learned much about the shadowy networks that lead to sudden attacks from Islamic terrorists. Though the terrorists have occasional successes, intelligence and law enforcement have prioritized defending against them.
Russia has now demonstrated that its subversive political warfare supercedes any other threat to global security. Russia took advatage of, and even exaggerated the threat of global Islamic terrorism so it could develop its hybrid warfare while its adversaries were distracted. Now that it is attacking the West through operations like Brexit and election interference, we see that they are finally ready to deploy these new weapons. The damage is already severe.
Whether this permanently damages the EU and NATO will depend on the vigilance of European democracies, and whether the United States can recover from the grievous harm already done through the Trump Operation.
2) Do you expect for NATO to be able to keep together and not to experience the fractures that we’ve seen appear after BREXIT, among the family of Euro-Atlantic nations?
I think that now that Russia’s hybrid warfare has been exposed, NATO’s mission is now clearly more needed than ever. France has repelled Russia’s attack on its democracy, as the Netherlands did. I believe Germany will safeguard its elections later this year. All of NATO is taking an active stance against Russia’s strategic threat.
Well, all but the United States, which is still dealing with the damage of Russia’s installation of an illegitimate president through political warfare. But this is in the process of being exposed and cauterized as we speak. But I am confident that when a legitimate, non-compromised American government is re-established, it will be even more aggressive in support of its NATO allies as we face a significant threat with unified resolve.
3) Russia was accused in playing a role in potential rebellion and assassination plot in Montenegro – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/18/russias-deadly-plot-overthrow-montenegros-government-assassinating/ – as well as stoke ethnic conflict in Macedonia – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/04/russia-actively-stoking-discord-in-macedonia-since-2008-intel-files-say-leak-kremlin-balkan-nato-west-influence
Do you think European and Americans let the ball drop when it comes to the joint security and have let Russians have an initiative? What can Balkan nations do in these times of multi-polar forces?
America and its NATO allies clearly underestimated the aggression and resolve of Russia, giving them the critical advantages of time and a lack of opposition as it has moved against Balkan nations. But the threat is now evident to all but the complicit, and the ball will not be dropped moving forward. I believe that Balkan nations should gravitate strategically toward the NATO allies of the West, even though that alliance has seemed shaky in recent days. We should remember that this impression of NATO as irrelevant or impotent is both incorrect and entirely the aim of Russian political warfare. Russia could not and cannot, given their current capacity for kinetic power, fight NATO directly. Its only hope was then to use political warfare to have the alliance doubt and destroy itself. This initiative has been exposed, and when America returns at full power, Russia will have failed entirely.
This whole episode has proven that free, democratic European-North American alliances are the key to global peace and prosperity. I believe this realization will guide our leaders, present and future.