|Enormous cruise ship arrives off the Montenegrin town of Kotor|
Kevin Drum at Mother Jones is equally dismissive.
As a rare U.S. citizens who has recently traveled within the new NATO member state, all this strikes me as off base. My trip was completely apolitical, mostly hiking in remote mountain areas, but that doesn't mean that I didn't look around.
My sample (tourism workers and cabdrivers) is certainly small and biased, but I think I can say that Montenegrins want to be included in Europe. They want the life they see Europeans living, comfortable and modern compared to their past as hardscrabble peasants trapped in a backwater. Whether that means they want a military alliance may be another matter. I did not inquire, naturally.
|Icon over the ancient town gate at Budva|
|Budva yacht harbor|
Will accession to the Western military alliance change this? Most likely economic sanctions will bite. Will Montenegrins be happy with this? I talked to at least one articulate English speaker who hated how his government was selling off the national coast to Central Asian oil barons. On the other hand, there are a lot of Montenegrins whose well being has depended on the country's offering to well-heeled Russians a bit of almost-Europe. There were protests arising from these tensions in October.
|Old Budva town is a maze of tourist shops.|