In Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia NATO is seen as a weapon of the United States and a danger to the countries own security challenges. NATO expanded in 2017 to Montenegro and the consequences have been harmful. Montenegro no longer has an army to secure the Otranto Canal or the means to fight against the urgent threat from Islamic Jihadism.
To the Western Balkans, NATO is the real danger.
After Montenegro joined NATO, the defence spending in the country has increased with the intention of investing 2% of GDP in defence by 2024.
The State Union of Serbia and Montenegro applied to NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme in June 2003. Montenegro declared independence on 3 June 2006, subsequently joined PfP and then NATO itself without Serbia.
The reaction of the Russian government to Montenegro′s bid to join NATO had been increasingly hostile culminating in an attempt to stage a coup d'état on 16 October 2016, on the day of the parliamentary election that allegedly would have included assassination of Montenegro′s prime minister. Montenegro opened an investigation and indicted Russian GRU officers, Serbian and Montenegrin nationals.