NATO, NATO, my dear?

Zdravko Saveski

And so it happened. They signed the Protocol for NATO membership. Our rulers were happy! And why would they not be, right? The country has been waiting for this moment for more than a quarter of a century!

But do we, the people, need to share the joy with the authorities for the (recent) NATO membership? Like many other goals that they had set out to accomplish, they sold it to the people as justified benefit, as something that you have to be blind if you don’t see it as a positive thing. So that later, when they got what they wanted, for it to turn out that there were never any kind of benefits! The only thing left is the question – How did we allow them to deceive us again?

So it was with privatization. The government has to privatize what is socially owned, to “liberalize” the economy. If we do so, we will magically get a living standard as Western countries. Whoever is opposed to this – must be a sappy communist! And they privatized the entire economy. The result? Some, a few, the newborn oligarchy, gained great wealth, and the people – remained with their empty pockets. Not even a trace of the promised standard such as in Germany and Sweden. What happened was even worse – sinking into poverty, patched-up life for the majority of citizens…

Let’s give a more recent example. Nikola Gruevski’s regime must fall in order for ‘life to come to us’. Whoever says that the party, which is just as clientele-friendly as the one of Gruevski, does not deserve confidence – must be a servant of the regime! And so, SDSM came to power. They continued with the same practices of governance as VMRO-DPMNE, they get all the privileges that power brings, and all the people get are leftover crumbs, enough to keep them quiet. But even this is not quite enough. And not a trace of the life they promised…

And now NATO membership. Allegedly it will attract foreign investments, the standard of living will skyrocket! Whoever says that there is no connection between NATO membership and improving the standard of living – must be Russophile, Putin’s agent! We will soon become members of NATO, we will soon see the alleged benefits of joining NATO. And what will happen when it becomes clear that they have once again cheated us? Don’t worry, as soon as we join the EU, only then we will become a country where milk and honey flows!
I envy the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the peoples of the Balkans, who are already members of NATO and the EU! But I do not envy their standard of living, which in most cases is similar to ours. I do not envy either their “democracy”, which in some cases (especially in Hungary and Poland) is at a lower level even compared to us. I envy them because their ruling class has long since been unable to deceive them with the benefits of joining NATO and the EU. And they lied to them just our government lies to us, but they already joined and … they saw that it did not influence on improving the standard of living. And see how close Albania and Bulgaria are! We just need to cross the border to see what kind of “blossoming” Albania is experiencing after ten years of NATO membership, what unprecedented “economic boom” there is in Bulgaria since it has been a member of NATO and the EU for more than ten years! It is so wonderful there that, as with us, people there are also looking for a way out of the country. And, in fact, the benefits of EU membership (not NATO membership!) Are down to that: because of your country’s EU membership, you can move to the West with your passport and look for a better life there.

Zaev, with his seat that we will receive by joining NATO, is tragicomic to me. Just like with the pen that “destroyed the regime”. Such nonsense! What brought his to power is his ability to deceive the people, his imperial master sat him in the prime ministerial post in order to fulfill his geostrategic plans for NATO enlargement through him. Now we will receive a seat at NATO’s table, we will equally decide with the United States, Great Britain, and Germany for world peace. It is true that we will get a seat, but saying that we will be equally deciding with the United States, Great Britain, Germany – these are stories for children. They will sit them in their seat and tell them what to do, as little kids at school, and they will only have the right to nod their heads.

We already see the mutual relation between the chief and his subordinate. Last year, they made hasty decisions and took part in the British government’s cheap show in the Skripal case, expelling a Russian diplomat from our country. Because the British “ally” asked that from them. Now, our MFA has announced that it supports the coup attempt in Venezuela, against the “dictator” Maduro. What business do we have with Venezuela so that we need to take a stand regarding their internal affairs? But the American “ally” asked for it, and our vassals, of course, reacted accordingly. At the same time, there are protests in Sudan against dictator Omar al-Bashir, against whom even a criminal proceeding is being conducted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and crimes against humanity. And there have been people murdered in the protests. But in connection with those protests, even the American ally is silent, therefore his Macedonian vassals are silent as well. But, they shared their stand on Venezuela. It is that “democratic” hypocrisy that is continually practiced by the United States and that is the “democratic” hypocrisy they seek from its vassal countries.

Ultimately, it is not too important what position our rulers will take over Venezuela or Sudan. With their Vassal foreign policy they are embarrassing themselves (and embarrassing us) in the eyes of the progressive world public, but that does not change things for us that are here now. What is far more important for us is a small episode that took place on the sidelines of the celebratory press in Brussels, which announced that NATO accepted Macedonia as well. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was asked by reporters how is it possible to accept Macedonia as a member state of NATO when it does not fulfill the obligation to spend at least two percent of its gross domestic product on defense. The General Secretary calmed down their fears, saying that Macedonia promised to double defense funding by 2024.

Before SDSM came to power, the country spent 0.98 percent of its defense economy. This year, this expenditure is planned to increase to 1.19 percent. For this increase, the defense ministry budget (from 2017 to 2019) grew by 33.7 million euros in just two years. See how big this amount of money is (33.7m euros), see how small the percentage increase caused that amount (from 0.98 to 1.19 per cent) and ask yourself how much money will need to be spent additionally for the percentage of defense to grow from 1.17 this year to 2 percent in 2024. And in the end, remember that money does not grow on trees.

In the budget for this year, in order to increase the budget of the Ministry of Defense, the budgets of the Ministry of Healthcare and the Ministry of Culture were reduced. Ask yourself: what kind of a government that, in such a bad public healthcare state, reduces the budget of the Ministry of Healthcare, and drastically increases the budget of the Ministry of Defense?

Unfortunately, we are yet to see things such as this. Because NATO standards will have to be met, and money, it simply does not grow on trees. Like privatization, membership in NATO will not be just a phenomenon that won’t bring us anything good. It will be a problem that will further lead to the impoverishment of the people. But, as in the time of privatization, many will support the post-conflict process, and just when the damage has been already done, they will wake up and realize they have supported a process that was to their detriment.

Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik