Although the focus of this paper is Skopje’s political efficiency, in order for the untrained reader to comprehend the issue, one must have a general idea about the formation of a nation’s national security policy. Below, I am attempting to offer in very general and rudimental terms enough information regarding a country’s national security, as I have deemed necessary to establish a reasonable background. Oftentimes this paper refers implicitly or explicitly to war. Such references are intentional, because politics and war, although they differ in means of delivery, they aim at identical objectives, i.e.the imposition of one’s will over another. Thus, when one reads a text that in one’s mind it is associated with war, one should convert one’s thoughts as if the subject refers to politics.
With the formation of the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in 1991, there has been a systematic effort to undermine the legitimate rights of the Greek state, particularly of Hellenes in the Greek Province of Macedonia. Selectivity, omission, and distortions of the past by FYROM have become routine. This extensive campaign of disinformation is aimed at undermining the legitimacy of the present borders. Motivating the arguments about history, language, culture, religion,identity and heritage is a struggle for control of the strip of territory between the Aemos (Balkan) Mountain range and the Aegean Sea, the land of Macedonia.
Skopje's NATO adventures: A Conversation on Insanity and Megalomania. The FYROM: The Groupie that Bribes NATO for its Membership
The “principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law” are man’s natural and inalienable rights upon which healthy societies are built. An Alliance such as NATO, being a voluntary organization, requires from its candidates and its active members that they guarantee the protection of values of human decency in individuals. NATO is, in other words, a society of free-states consisting of tolerant citizens, who live in harmony with their neighbors with whom they wish to ally.
Whether one regards NATO as North America’s and Europe’s encroaching hand or whether one conceptualizes the Alliance as the ready policeman of the world, NATO considers itself as the instrument of stability and well-being of the North Atlantic area “founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law.”
Upon the fall of the Wall in 1989, NATO hastily employed an open door policy, inviting and admitting former Warsaw Pact country members that militarily qualified to join, but lacked democratic values and principles, the absence of which contravene NATO’s own values. In other occasions, the Alliance invited quasi-qualified countries with their sole criterion being their strategic geopolitical location vis-à-vis Russia.
The FYROM’s candidacy to NATO is not only problematic, but also pointless. The FYROM does not meet any of the Preconditions set by NATO and save the exception of some troops that the FYROM sent to ISAF, it does not meet any other NATO requirements including a less than medium rated strategic location.
The Greek Army entered Thessaloniki in the early hours of Saturday, October 27, 1912 (Old Style). In a moving editorial, the newspaper Makedonia of Thessaloniki in its Sunday, October28, 1912 edition expressed the feelings of the Macedonian Greek as follows:
With warm tears, tears of joy that floods the chest of the slave who recovers his freedom, tears of gratitude that fulfills his existence for his liberator, we salute the Greek army that entered the resplendent city of the Thessalonians.
This brilliant trophy of the heroic and victorious Greek Army demolishes the cornerstone of the Turkish state from the Greek Macedonia. Of the state, which, as the kingdoms of ancient monsters were established on layers of bones. Of the state, which has been synonymous to barbarism and horribleness. Of the state, which holding in one hand the torch of arson and in the other the dagger of the murderer, burned and slaughtered our life and our honor, our faith and our ethnicity, and anything holy and sacred that we have.
And now the pulverized homeland of Aristotle and Alexander [the Great], whose every hill and every valley, every corner and every span, are soaked in innocent Greek blood and former and recent lamentations of the martyrs of the Faith and Fatherland, throws itself free into the warm and loving arms of Mother Greece.
Thus, the great epic of 1821 continues.
In my essay “Skopje Contributes to its Own Instability” I had argued that the problem in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (the FYROM) is the Slavic majority of the country that monopolizes the government and all institutions, disregarding its 35% minority of Albanians, let alone all others. Instead of acting on facts, they have chosen fiction. The latest chosen drama is FYROM’s alleged victimization by Greece according to which Greece invoked its veto power to preclude Skopje NATO membership.
NATO’s principle for enlargement has created misunderstandings and illusions for some countries that consider NATO the place that either offers security or prestige or even both. It has created misunderstandings because the FYROM Slavs feel that their membership was guaranteed “as is” without changing their modus operandi; it has generated illusions because the FYROM believes that NATO membership is going to boost their national pride. The statement of theGreek Prime Minister that “all Balkan countries would join the EU in 2014,” the so-called Balkans 2014 project, also created great misunderstandings and illusions. Immediately after the announcement, the FYROM Prime Minister declared the Project Skopje 2014, assuming that Skopje’s EU membership was also guaranteed.
While the strategic goal of all Balkan countries is NATO membership, it does require a series of achievements of certain political and military preconditions, as well as military, economic,and security criteria. On the other hand, one could pose the question, “what could FYROM have to offer to the Alliance, considering their Defense budget is insignificant?”
Before any country is considered a NATO member, it has to fulfill certain political criteria over and above those that NATO requires; the political preparation of the candidate country has to abide by NATO Enlargement Study and Accession Process, Ch. 5, para. 72, which expects the prospective members to have met OSCE requirements before NATO even considers preconditions and criteria for membership.
In his interview on www.Balkanalysis.com (12/14/2008) , Linguistics professor and Balkan Studies scholar Victor Friedman portrays Greeks as a most undemocratic and oppressive nation, from ancient to present time, and places the role of Greece in the Balkans in a most negative light. The core of his arguments seems to lie in what he considers suppression of multilingualism and minorities in Greece, which he associates with the current dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on the name of the latter country. As scholars and academics, some of us students of Macedonian history and culture, we wish to offer an alternative perspective and rebut Friedman’s views and assertions in regard to the identity of the modern Greek nation and the true nature of the current dispute between Greece and FYROM. It should be noted that, prior to our decision to write this letter, we invited Dr. Friedman to debate his views in the Hellenic Electronic Center/Professors’ Forum*, but he declined our invitation.
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I opened the January/February issue of Archaeology today and eagerly turned to "A Letter from Macedonia" only to discover that it was actually a letter from ancient Paionia – the land north of Mt. Barmous and Mt. Orbelos. Livy’s account of the creation of the Roman province of Macedonia (45.29.7 and 12) makes clear that the Paionians lived north of those mountains (which form today the geographically natural northern limits of Greece) and south of the Dardanians who were in today’s Kosovo. Strabo (7. frag 4) is even more succinct in saying that Paionia was north of Macedonia and the only connection from one to the other was (and is today) through the narrow gorge of the Axios (or Vardar) River. In other words, the land which is described by Matthew Brunwasser in his "Owning Alexander" was Paionia in antiquity.
The entanglement between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), over the issue of the recognition of the latter and the name under which this recognition would take place, has served as a potent reminder of the considerable influence that nationalistic divides have always exerted in the Balkan region. For Greece, this dispute animated passions and stimulated a nationalist fervor that had been unseen for decades and, remaining a not fully resolved issue, it may contain a number of elements that could serve as a focus of regional conflict in the future. For the fledgling FYROM, the entanglement constituted a matter of paramount importance not merely in defining its external policy but it was also perceived as a matter influencing both its existence as a nation and its future status in Southeastern Europe.
Several reports by various International Organisations describing the situation of human rights in the Balkans have been publicised recently. Such reports on minorities and human rights hardly constitute a novelty nor are they the exclusive ideological by-product of post-cold-war diplomacy. They have been in circulation in the past, especially after the Final Act of Helsinki in 1975, mostly in the form of International Amnesty reports focusing on the situation of human rights within the domains of the former Eastern Block countries. The fall of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s led to a readjustment of the world order. The protection of minority rights all over the world became one of the top priorities in this "New Era" probably less for humanitarian reasons than for diplomatic exigencies. In any case, in this context N.G.O. (Minority Rights Group, Helsinki Watch etc.) or even the U.S. State Department reports grew of paramount importance. It has become clear by now that in a rapidly changing and unstable world reports on minorities strongly influence public opinion and are often used internationally as the most effective mechanisms to exercise diplomatic pressure.
In the case of the Balkans this interest is obviously related to the ongoing diplomatic crisis which followed the break-up of Yugoslavia. The dispute between Athens and Skopje over the name "Macedonia" made Greece part of the Yugoslav crisis and attracted the attention of various organisations. Thus, a considerable part of their reports on the Balkans deals with the Slav-speaking population of Greece and its course through history. Reports like these would be indifferent to a historian, had they not directly referred to the demographic picture of Macedonia in the past as back as far the eve of the Treaty of Bucharest; a Treaty which ended the Balkan Wars (1912-1913) and interrupted a lengthy diplomatic game, played since 1878 by Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, and the Great Powers, concerning the demise of the Ottoman Empire and the future of Macedonia. The researcher is amazed at the realisation that estimates of the number of Slav-speakers in Greece today are not based on modern, official statistics but constitute a mere revival -a rather clumsy one though- of statistical "games" which were played long ago.
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