On Montenegro’s March to NATO

With Zeljko Bogetic, I wrote a book, Cronogroska Marka (1999). It laid out the modalities for Montenegro to dump the Yugoslav dinar, which would be the first step in the march. As soon as this book hit the streets and I was appointed as State Counselor and Djukanovic’s advisor, I became one of Milosevic’s marked men. The official accusations that swirled in Belgrade claimed that I was, among other things, the head of a group that was trying to destabilize Serbia by unloading counterfeit dinars into the economy.

The German mark was the unofficial coin of the realm throughout the rump Yugoslavia. We knew that the German mark was Djukanovic’s trump card. If Montenegro officially adopted the mark, it would not only stabilize the economy, but also pave the way for reestablishing Montenegro’s sovereignty. On November 2, 1999, Djukanovic boldly announced that Montenegro was officially adopting the German mark as its national currency. This was Montenegro’s first secession step — a step that was eventually supported by the United States and its allies. On November 4th, I, with the help of Senators Steve Symms and Trent Lott, arranged a meeting at the U.S. Capitol in which Djukanovic and I made a case for Montenegro’s currency reform and the start of the march. The members of congress in attendance – Trent Lott, Steve Symms, Richard Lugar, John Warner, Harry Reid, Larry Craig, Kay Bailey Hutchison, among others – warmly received our message.

It was the German mark then. Today, it’s NATO. No surprise. That’s where Djukanovic told the assembled, on November 4, 1999, he was headed.