Authored by Clint Ehrlich,
The President of Croatia has gone rogue! He's trying to prevent war over Ukraine. It just might work. For background, it was already clear that the alliance was divided over how involved to be in Ukraine. America, the U.K., Poland, and the Baltic states were transferring weapons. But Germany refused to let any German-made weapons enter the conflict zone.
Then President Biden put 8,500 troops on "high alert" – and warned he might deploy 50,000 to Eastern Europe. The question was... would NATO stand behind this ramping up of pressure? Or would troop deployments on the border of the conflict fracture the alliance?
The President of Croatia has gone rogue!— Clint Ehrlich (@ClintEhrlich) January 26, 2022
He's trying to prevent war over Ukraine.
It just might work. A quick thread... 🧵 pic.twitter.com/zUhH9UoxYR
We now have a preliminary answer, thanks to Croatia's President. "Croatia will not send any troops in case of an escalation," said Zoran Milanović. "On the contrary, it will recall all troops [from NATO], to the last Croatian soldier!"
This is notable, because it isn't coming from a Euroskeptic with a history of picking on NATO. Milanović is a member of Croatia's center-left Social Democrat party, which is strongly pro-European. But even many sympathetic to Europe want no part of conflict with Russia.
Mr. Milanović went further, and made two points that are almost universally banned in the West.
1. He pointed out that the Ukraine conflict is happening on Russia's door step
2. He said that NATO "must reach a deal that will take account of the security interests of Russia."
These points violate the Western orthodoxy on the Ukraine conflict. It is forbidden to recognize that Russia may have legitimate security interests. It is anathema to propose reaching a diplomatic solution instead of fighting a proxy war.
BREAKING NEWS: More details about the shocking comments from Croatia's President!— Clint Ehrlich (@ClintEhrlich) January 26, 2022
He says the crisis in Ukraine is caused by "American domestic politics, namely Joe Biden."
Claims the U.S. President is guilty of "inconsistency and essentially dangerous behavior." pic.twitter.com/NMFVT5khIz
Unsurprisingly, Milanović is now a target. His own Foreign Minister is trying to have him canceled. "The president does not speak for Croatia, but for himself," FM Grlić-Radman said. "We are and will remain a loyal member of NATO."
There is a political divide here, because Grlić-Radman is from a center-right party within Croatia. But there is a deeper divide: one about whether to mindlessly follow the Western consensus or to be "Croatia First!" Milanović is speaking like a patriot.
The question now becomes: How many other patriots are there in NATO? Will other heads of state speak out and declare that their countries have no appetite for war with Russia?
Germany's Navy chief cost himself his career with that message. Milanović just risked his reputation. Who will be next?