Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Martin and Lewis. Bonnie and Clyde. Affleck and J-Lo. Peaches and Herb. All famous couplings eventually come to an end. The pressures of maintaining a relationship of any kind--working, romantic, killing spree companion--under the glare of the media spotlight can be daunting to the point of impossibility. I think it's telling that of the four couples cited, three of the four ended in gunplay. Miss you, Peaches.
In my estimation, then, it's something of a minor miracle that no shots have thus far been fired in the messy public divorce of Serbia and Montenegro, especially considering their history. It's an open secret that Serbia has been known to smack a bitch-province down.
Considering Montenegro was the last province left, I would have expected more of an invasion-y type scenario. There was plenty to fight about after Crazy Ole Grampa Joe died. Slovenia started staying out all hours, Macedonia's grades went right in the toilet, Bosnia started dating a Muslim and Croatia smuggled in weapons from Hungary and launched a war of independence that turned into an ethno-nationalist bloodbath resulting in hundreds of thousands of people dead and displaced. Kids.
With Montenegro at the end, as is so often the case when all the kids have finished their last ethnic-cleansing reprisals and moved out, the fighting stops and the two left in that cold, empty, regional-political marriage of convenience just kind of drift apart.
What shocks me is the speed with which Montenegro has started seeing other people. Almost immediately they were seen sniffing around the international swinger's club that is NATO and were receiving shady visitors at all hours, including just today US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
Rumsfeld was there to goose along Montenegro's commitment to the Global War on Terr [sic] as part of NATO. I can't help but feel as though Montenegro just fell in love with the shiny NATO model on the showroom floor with all its fancy gadgets--contractual mutual protection against invasion, guarantees of independence and border integrity, joint military operations that include the projection of power and military supremacy the world over, cup holders--and leapt into a purchase agreement. What they're finding out now that we have them in the windowless back-room "finance office" with the uncomfortable chairs and the guy who talks too fast to be understood is that when they initialled for what they thought was the extended warranty and roadside assistance, they also kind of agreed to send troops and provide material assistance to blowing up places of the United States' choosing.
Worse, they even bought the undercoating. What a bunch of saps.
If I were a Montenegroan... Montenegran... Montenegrino... whatever, I guess I'd feel OK. I mean, if you only really have a standing army of 2,500 people, what can they really ask you to do? I mean besides send every single one of them to Afghanistan because, well, we're kind of all occupied (hey-o!) with this Iraq thing.
Worst case scenario, they lose every single soldier. So? That would be barely 3% of their total national population. Demographically, a people should be able to absorb that level of loss, no problem.
What do they get in return? The eternal gratitude and friendship of the United States cemented by a visit and a handshake from Donald H. Rumsfeld.
And maybe more. The last people who did that only got a shiny new democracy out of it, that's all!
I applaud the US diplomatic initiative here. It's time for these Balkan nations to start arming up again and pulling their weight, getting involved militarily as much as possible in the international community. Frankly, we could use the help. Small nations doing their small part. What could possibly go wrong?
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.8