Yes, and your joining us has certainly added to the efforts in promoting that awareness.
Thank you again for your time, we will all be paying more attention to the state of politics in Montenegro in the coming months.
Here's the thing: the more I get asked that particular question, the more it seems like a comparison between apples and oranges.
I'm what you might call a right-of-center liberal: I believe that limited Government and market solutions, complemented by a responsible welfare safety net, bring about a prosperous and free society. My Party's strong support for upholding the principles of individual rights and liberty puts us firmly within the tenets of modern liberalism. And, though we sympathize with those grievances against an unaccountable Brussels bureaucracy that came to the fore with Brexit, we believe that membership in the EU remains in Montenegro's best interest. We also hold the view that our country's security interests would be best served by joining NATO. Our brand of pro-EU (or, you might say, 'pro-Western') Atlanticism isn't some blindly accepted creed: it's a reflection of our principled stance about what Montenegro's long-term geo-strategic and civilizational orientation should be. Our friends and allies in the Democratic Front, on the other hand, disagree with us on various matters, including the issue of NATO membership. However, what makes our coalition work despite our respective differences is the fact that we're all politicians of convictions. For this reason, it was possible for us to find common ground and agree that, geopolitics aside, for Montenegro to have the minimal conditions for democratizing and stabilizing, a comprehensive set of domestic reforms - concerning, among other things, the rule of law, corruption and organized crime - must be implemented urgently and uncompromisingly.
Mr. Djukanovic, on the other hand, has always been a cynical, self-serving opportunist, to whom the very notion of 'political convictions' likely sounds redundant. A former protege of the late Slobodan Milosevic (against whose policies I've actively campaigned in my student days), Djukanovic has been the chief warmonger within the Serbian ultra-nationalist elite; nowadays, his favorite tactics against his critics is to invoke anti-Serbian chauvinism. Once a vicious opponent of Montenegro's independence, ruthlessly persecuting then-proponents of the independist cause, today Djukanovic portrays himself as the father of the nation, branding all his opponents as secret foes of the country's sovereignty. Whereas, in the early 1990's, Djukanovic advocated a vision of Montenegro as the 'island of communism in Europe', a decade later he will conduct what is perhaps the most criminal and kleptocratic privatization of state-owned assets in recent memory. At present, Djukanovic's foreign policy is carefully aligned with the EU's and NATO's geopolitical priorities - but, as everyone is well aware, Djukanovic's demonstrated opportunism makes any political position he might presently hold towards Europe and the West utterly unreliable and unstable.
Jake - I've enjoyed the exchange. So, one last thought before I sign off:
I think the reaction among political parties inside Europe to Trump's victory is one that could have a big effect on how transatlantic relations develop. Will center-left parties in Europe campaign, essentially, against Trump? You could see that happening in some countries. If so, will that shore up their support, and will it weaken center-right parties, or sap support from the more extreme parties on the right (and in some places on the far left)? There has been a lot of focus on ascendant far-right parties, but not a lot of thought yet about how the left will respond.
On that note -- wishing you and all the readers the very best --
Well, as we can see now, it's going to be close. I always thought it was going to be a close election no matter what. I have no idea what the difference will be, but I think it will be close. No matter who wins!