The most crucial of all ”Murphy’s laws” has been confirmed: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Or: a piece of toast always falls butter-side down. The British have decided, by a narrow margin, to question the last 70 years of European history. Whether in doing so they have also switched off the light in a former empire on which the sun never sets is less important to us. We should now focus on ourselves and our own problems. Once we get over the shock caused by this unexpected decision from the Isles, European officials will have to look for and find some answers as soon as possible. That is, provided there are any answers to begin with. Let me clarify: provided there are European answers to the European issues. There will be lots of repugnance and antipathy. A state of shock is the dominant feeling this morning. The concept and rationale behind the whole European structure have been disturbed. No one is indifferent, nor can anyone feel indifferent. The heatwave, not only political, whose epicentre is located in the City of London, one of the global financial hubs, will soon reach even the most remote parts of ”unified” Europe and the consequences will be felt throughout the world. The present tide will be followed by an ebb, and many European values, relations and standards will be left stranded, some even in the mud. A European ”Ice Age” is approaching. The pendulum of history in our continent has swung the wrong way. How much time it will need to regain balance remains to be seen. We will ignore the influence it might have on the American race for the White House. It is a different topic in its own right, although Donald Trump has already celebrated the result in Britain as his team’s victory. For us, ”natives” from the Balkans, this new cold era will be unpleasant. Our region has always been the place where two ends of the European civilization meet and conflict, but that is a well-known fact. A weakened Europe, having lost this Battle for Britain, will have a daunting task to tie the loose ends of common policy, which were not really tight even before the British Thursday. This challenge is even bigger today, yet enthusiasm has never been lower. A gloomy situation, indeed. The fatigue that ensued following the enlargement of the EU had long ago been replaced by a temporary rejection of even considering the notion of any further enlargement. Things have got serious. There will be at least a year or two before the stirred policy from Brussels settles. The priority over all others is that no one follows in the footsteps of the United Kingdom. The issue of enlargement can wait. ”We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” as they say. Let the dust caused by this demolition settle first. The future of Montenegro now has another potential scenario in this cracked mosaic. Our historical crossroad now offers a new/old direction. It is a blind alley, but there are many examples where blind alleys look tempting. That road leads to Moscow, i.e. that route provides Moscow with access to our region, just like in the bad old days. The euphoria among Brexit-supporters will encourage local fans of Trump and Vladimir Vladimirovich. That is also nothing new. Some will have their pictures taken with Trump, hoping that he and Putin will now lead politics in the Balkans, as they would elsewhere. Do those people know how naïve they are? How successfully those gentlemen and comrades will use the momentum in our game of politics in Montenegro remains to be seen. Uncertainty and confusion are excellent allies to our own ”party breakers”. Sure enough, the agitprop forces in cassocks will join the show, this is their first victory after so many bitter losses. ”A cup of gall for honey equally doth call,” even when that group is in question. Brexit and its direct repercussions and indirect consequences are, obviously, a complex and delicate matter. We should now act wisely, with the right balance between caution and determination. This recipe has been followed to the letter by Montenegro over the past 20 years [We are talking about the division in the ruling party, including the hara-kiri committed by the Liberal Alliance]. The Montenegrin authorities have managed to make all the right moves ever since, sometimes supported by prompters from abroad and some local incurable optimists. Now the position on the chessboard is quite clear: let us join NATO now and consider the implications later, if they ask us about what, when and how we are going to go about our role in European policy and European perspectives. What the meaning and scope of this syntagm (”European policy”) is in this newly created situation, we will learn in the months and years ahead.
* The author is the president of the Montenegrin Democratic Union and former Foreign Minister of Montenegro