Simulating NATO in Serbia

The inaugural Model NATO Serbia took place in Belgrade from 20th-22nd May, providing university students from throughout Serbia with an opportunity to directly experience NATO’s consensus-based decision-making structure.

Responding to a variety of fictional emergency crisis situations – including a Libya-esque humanitarian emergency, terrorist attack on a NATO partner country, a destructive earthquake in a NATO member state and the threat of secession in Bosnia and Herzegovina – the participants, who represented each of NATO’s 28 member states, simulated the workings of a Ministerial Summit; ultimately reaching consensus on NATO’s course of action through dialogue and compromise.

The proceedings were opened on May 20th by Mr. Earl Lee Litzenberger, deputy chief of mission of the American Embassy in Belgrade, and Mr. Jiří Juřík, the second secretary at the Czech Embassy. In his introductory remarks, Mr. Litzenberger greeted the participants and commended their interest in international affairs and security-related issues, emphasising that their participation in the Model NATO exercise will be an invaluable contribution to their future professional and personal development. Students were given the opportunity to ask questions and discuss a number of issues pertaining to NATO and U.S. foreign policy, addressing topics such as the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

On behalf of the Czech Embassy and the Czech Ambassador, H.E. Hana Hubačkova, Mr. Juřík congratuled the students on their participation in the Model NATO Serbia, particularly bearing in mind the contentiousness and sensitivity of NATO-related issues in Serbia. At the same time, he reminded the students that – as future political leaders and diplomats – they will have a very significant role to play in the future of their country, and that they should not lose sight of the interests and importance of their own country.

During the simulation the participants were faced with four simulated crisis situations. In the first, following a terrorist attack by Islamic militants on the fictional state of Srjedina (a former member of the Soviet Union and a current NATO partner country), the delegates proposed to dispatch a Security-Technical Mission for Srjednia (STMS), with a mandate to assist and support the local security forces in combating terrorism; to work with Srjednia’s authorities to create a detailed strategy for fight against terrorism; to support intelligence gathering on terrorist cells operating in Srejednia and, through the NATO-Russia Council, to engage Russian support to the STMS and other international community missions in Srjednia.

To read the complete communique from the first scenario, please click here

The delegates then worked to avert a humanitarian disaster arising from a devasting earthquake in Turkey that killed around 2,500 and left over 400,000 made homeless. The participants concurred that NATO that the Euro Atlantic Disaster Response Coordinating Center manages and coordinates all activities aimed at assisting affected areas in Turkey; that NATO Response Force (NRF) troops be deployed to provide technical support and humanitarian relief; that the Civil Emergency Planning Committee form a commission of experts to deal with the ecological elements of the disastor; that NATO cooperate with relevant international humanitarian organizations and member states assist Turkey on a bilateral basis in accordance with their capacities. In addition, aware of the slow progress of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan and the possibility of reducing the number of troops due to the natural disaster in Turkey, NATO member states agreed to consider abandoning the practice of using national caveats on the units stationed in Afghanistan.

To read the complete communique from the second scenario, please click here

The proceedings were interrupted by an emerging Libya-esque crisis in the fictional state of Rebu. After considering a variety of courses of action, the delegates eventually reached a consensus on range of actions motivated by a “firm commitment to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas under threat of attack”. The delegates proposed that NATO would act in accordance with the UN Security Council, particularly in establishing a no-fly zone over Rebu, whilst not ruling out the possibility of a military intervention should the crisis worsen. In addition, an arms embargo will be imposed and support to surveillance operations given, without NATO ships entering Rebu’s territorial waters. The members of the Alliance are also ready to see the Republic of Rebu as a partner country in the Mediterranean Dialogue program, in order to broaden mutual cooperation.

To read the complete communique from the third scenario, please click here

In the final session, the delegates engaged in a lively debate about how NATO would contend with an emerging situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the Republika Srpska is making moves to secede. The delegates adopted a communique upholding the terms of the Dayton Peace Agreement, calling for co-operation with the EU, the UN and the OSCE in responding to the crisis, and emphasizing that dialogue is necessary to find a mutually-acceptable solution.

To read the complete communique from the fourth scenario, please click here

The final communiqué reflected the culmination of two-days of intensive debate and dialogue, leading to the establishment of consensus positions on a range of emergency crisis situations. The delegates reiterated NATO’s determination to strengthen its ability to confront the existing and emerging security threats of the twenty-first century, whilst recognising NATO’s role as the essential forum for security consultations between Europe and North America.

To read the final communique from the Belgrade Summit, please click here

TransConflict’s Serbia’s executive director, Mirjana Kosic, emphasized how, “the simulation provides the opportunity for university students with ambitions in international affairs to gain practical insights into the art of diplomacy negotiating. NATO’s consensus-based decision-making structure means that no matter which delegation they were representing, each participant had an equal say in the ultimate positions taken”.

Model NATO Serbia was organized by TransConflict Serbia, with the support of NATO’s Public Diplomacy Department (PDD), the US Embassy in Belgrade and the Embassy of the Czech Republic. The simulation is part of TransConflict Serbia’s Model Security initiative, which provides university students with the opportunity to simulate the internal workings and decision-making processes of major security actors, including NATO, the OSCE, the EU and the UN.

For further information about Model Security – including the scenarios used during the Model NATO Serbia 2011 – please contact Mirjana Kosic.

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0 Response

  1. Karanovic

    What a disgusting indoctrination of Serbia’s youth into an organization that is an outdated and aggressive tool of American/European hegemony. I guess your strategy is to brainwash the students into thinking this organization is necessary and good for Serbia despite the fact that it is the main culprit for Serbia’s economic backwardness. I reference the 1999 bombardment and rest my case. I can only hope that the overwhelming majority of the intelligent youth in Serbia will see past the lies and keep Serbia militarily neutral when there time comes. TransConflict: just another Trojan Horse NGO bent on weakening Serbia’s sovereignty and autonomy in an increasingly globalized 21st century by filling its people with falsehoods and morally weak ideas. May God see your work against the Orthodox Serbs and ruin it before it takes root.

  2. Aleksandar

    “I guess your strategy is to brainwash the students into thinking this organization is necessary and good for Serbia despite the fact that it is the main culprit for Serbia’s economic backwardness.”
    Well said. Milosevic is long gone, and yet the Serbian people have to deal with a destroyed infrastructure more than a decade later…

  3. If Republika Srpska leaves? Where was NATO with Croatia? Bosnia?Kosovo?Slovenia? Only the Serbs would it use force against…What a fascist organistion this is.What next meetings on Scottish seccession? Of course not! Only the Serbs are treated in such a way and in Serbia!

  4. The Rupert

    Serbian youth should be well informed about all possible avenues towards their country’s future – which, in my mind, is as part of ‘Europe’ in all its institutional manifestations ie within the EU and NATO.
    I am happy to see that young people are given a chance, in Serbia, to learn about these organisations, critically assess and make up their minds based on information and open discussion. Well done.

  5. Dan

    They are trying to destroy Serbia’s traditional and national values from absolutely every perspective. It’s sick. Serbs are at the top of the list because most others have none of these values left.

    But you know what – we endured 500 years of an invasion, so let’s just place this sweet speaking, false perception generating, brainwashing non-sense into trash where it belongs.

  6. Maja

    Nice work.
    Interesting and well planed. I am happy to hear this happened in Serbia, of all the countries. It is a good example and a learning tool. Most of the people don’t know but being under “NATO umbrella” guarantees no war, so isn’t that what we all want in the end? I can not wait for the day when Bosnia joins NATO.

    Greetings from Sarajevo (and keep up the good work guys!)

  7. javolim

    Karanovic, lol!

    Come join the rest of the world in the 21st century whenever you want.

    I guess tolerance is not top of your list of priorities even though you profess to be a Christian

  8. Karanovic

    If living in the 21st century meant dismantling national sovereignty in the direct interest of a small international elite that helped destroy my Serbia, then count me out. NATO is not a panacea for the ills of the Balkans; it is part of the problem.

    Where in my comment was I intolerant? I think you are imagining things, my phallus-phile friend. And, I admit, Christianity is not tolerant; it is truth, infallible, and the only way. Therefore, I do not back down from my faith.

  9. Karanovic

    Maja, your comment, which I have pasted below, shows one of the inherent problems with NATO: be for us, or you will be against us. How is that a choice? Join us, or we may bomb or occupy you someday. It is sad people can’t see NATO for what it is, and yes, I know the effects of war in the region personally and still would refuse to support NATO membership for Serbia or any other country for that matter. I’m sorry, is the Cold Ware still going on? Unfortunately, it’s resurrection is desired by bored and lustful American war-hawks who look on Russia with contempt and greed.

    “Most of the people don’t know but being under “NATO umbrella” guarantees no war, so isn’t that what we all want in the end?”

  10. Dan

    Maja is unfortunately one of those that will change her faith with every wind that blows. Maja cannot think for herself and let’s media do her thinking. NATO is not the solution – they are the problem. They created the war while pretending saviour.

    Good commentary Karanovic. Too bad many of our brothering are falling for all the brainwashing.

  11. Stefan

    NATO is a very controversial issue, the emotional argument against it, ‘they bombed’ us is very strong among population and membership itself is not, as you say a cure for all security problems of Serbia. It

    I was myself in Belgrade during the whole bombing and have witnessed its effects. Twelve years later, simulations like this can only help Serbia’s future leaders to better understand the alliance with all it’s good and bad sides.

    Nowhere in this conference were participants guided how to think, how to act and how to behave. It was a simulation, tackling real world problems with a goal to better understand how they could be solved.

    NATO is around Serbia, it’s a fact. There are many arguments FOR it and AGAINST it and that is why there has to be a public discourse about it, an argument based one, not emotional. If we do not even allow discussion about it, how can we ever go forward in anything.

    This simulation in particular has taught the participants about the decision making structure of NATO and how it deals with world’s problems, it is not in any way designed to promote ideas for or against it.

    While there are many so called Non-Governmental Organizations who promote certain ideas, particular interests of power groups and ideologies, and I personally frown upon them, this simulation and it’s organization staff were legit, honest and trustworthy people whose goal was to first and foremost educate people, not indoctrinate.

    Thank you

    Stefan Mrvaljevic

  12. Serb

    Despite these brainwashing events Serbia will never ever become a member of NATO. There are millions of Serbs that will fight for our neutrality. NATO is neo-colonial organization that has done many war crimes.

  13. Ponderans

    The problem with such a Libya style model in a simulation is that it supposes some all bad regime. In reality people are not black or white but all shades of grey. The 1999 NATO intervention in Kosovo happened when the possibilities for a negotiated solution were far from exhausted (Rambouillet was fake) and at the moment NATO refuses negotiations in Libya.

  14. Dan

    Stefan,

    If Serbia could figure out how to use NATO to its advantage, YES your argument stands. The chances of that are low and the end result will be NATO sucks Serbia dry of all of its values and people of Serbia will just be the labor force for NATO with ZERO chance of advancement and there will be another 500 years of that. And that will be another example of how Serbia does not learn from history and past mistakes.

  15. Neutral Serbia

    NATO indoctrination at its best. Now they go after the younger ones, hoping that will change incredible bad attitude in Serbia. I’m disgust with this event and an extent to what NATO apparatchiks use young people for their agenda.

  16. Charlie

    “What a disgusting indoctrination of Serbia’s youth into an organization that is an outdated and aggressive tool of American/European hegemony. I guess your strategy is to brainwash the students into thinking this organization is necessary and good for Serbia despite the fact that it is the main culprit for Serbia’s economic backwardness. I reference the 1999 bombardment and rest my case. I can only hope that the overwhelming majority of the intelligent youth in Serbia will see past the lies and keep Serbia militarily neutral when there time comes. TransConflict: just another Trojan Horse NGO bent on weakening Serbia’s sovereignty and autonomy in an increasingly globalized 21st century by filling its people with falsehoods and morally weak ideas. May God see your work against the Orthodox Serbs and ruin it before it takes root.”

    Dude, you seem pretty brainwashed to me. Hold your ponies! It’s only a mock NATO simulation!!!You’ll have plenty of opportunities to present YOUR CASE where appropriate. Just chill and find the right tree to bark up.

    “NATO indoctrination at its best. Now they go after the younger ones, hoping that will change incredible bad attitude in Serbia. I’m disgust with this event and an extent to what NATO apparatchiks use young people for their agenda.”

    And I suppose you must be at least 80 years old and that’s why no one’s after you?!

  17. Karanovic

    “Dude, you seem pretty brainwashed to me. Hold your ponies! It’s only a mock NATO simulation!!!You’ll have plenty of opportunities to present YOUR CASE where appropriate. Just chill and find the right tree to bark up.”

    What are you talking about? What “right tree”? Can I not speak my mind in this forum which obviously allows comments? Brainwashing? I don’t even need to respond to that. Quit being a jerk and constructively contribute to the conversation instead of lamely critiquing comments as you have done.

    The thing is, NATO is a very much despised organization in Serbia; this is indisputable. Like Neutral Serbia correctly pointed out, the proponents of NATO, both foreign and domestic, are trying to get their hands on youth they feel are good targets for indoctrination. Yes, this is a simulation, but what is the point of this when the Serbian Constitution defines Serbia as a militarily neutral country that just happened to be attacked by the organization being explored through the exercise? I do know that most Serbs are not foolish people, and we have long memories of past wrongs, so I expect that all these activities will only contribute to minor disturbances to Serbian neutrality and sovereignty in the future.

    Stefan, please do not dumb yourself down, and insult others’ intelligence, by trying to sugarcoat exercises like these as information-giving sessions. The point is to get the young future leaders of the country to open up to NATO so that they can take these sympathetic views with them to elected or appointed office, academia, or other high-profile professions. We all know NATO wants to envelope Serbia, just listen to your own argument that Serbia is surrounded by NATO. Why do you think that is, and what do you think NATO thinks about that? NATO wants a fully castrated Serbia within its cage, and a Serbia that will alienate Russia. What is the plus for Serbia, an entrance into the military-industrial complex/machine? What does that do for the average person?

    Supporting Serbian accession into NATO is like spitting on the graves of all those people who were murdered by uranium-filled cluster bombs (unexploded are actual mines) and laser-guided missiles.

  18. FoxOne2010

    What disgusting swines and cowards using serbian youths into there NATO Model brainwashing propaganda system, i bet they are telling those youths who joined the serbs were guilty as charged.

    The serbs should kick this NATO Model out! NATO is a outdated military force, used by america to start proxy wars! and may i add what are those serbs who joined the NATO model?

    they are nothing more then traitors, have they forgotten the 90 days of bombing on there country?

    Serbia among other Euporean countries has the highest unemployment rate, and the only thing NATO can think about is when will serbia join the EU Union? Serbia will never join the EU.

    The euporean union is a falling empire, what would serbia benefit from it? nothing only angering her ally russia and china.

  19. Charlie

    oh, I’ll contribute to the discussion. First of all, when you refer to a significant number of Serbian youth (all of them who participate in mock simulations, which is btw very common in every country in the world) as brainwashed individuals who are working against Orthodox Serbs, that’s not conversation. That’s being rude and ignorant. You should always feel free to express your opinion but don’t you think that this is the place where you are supposed to express your support for the young people here and just say something nice for a change. This is not about the NATO, this is not about what the Serbian government should or should not do. This is about extraordinary, bright, talented young individuals who are doing something good for themselves and their respective communities. You should give them credit for that.
    NATO actually exists whether you like it or not. And in order to be adamantly for or against it, first you have to familiarize yourself with its mandate and functions to be able to weigh your options. And a true future leader is the one who knows how to keep an open mind and who is not afraid to learn.
    And this is why the entire world has a long tradition of mock simulations. Participating in one does not necessarily reflect your stance on the issue.
    No need to go all bitter and angry here. I understand your sentiments, but you know, just like you, everybody else is also entitled to their opinion and they should not be called names for having one.
    Btw, I apologize for saying you were brainwashed, it’s just that the kind of retoric you use sounds a little too familiar.

  20. Neutral Serbia

    Charlie, you must have some sort of connection with NATO. Trying to “moderate” discussion about NATO in Serbia is the lost cause. It is about NATO, not about “simulation”. Only 15% of indoctrinated citizens of Serbia actually want Serbia to join this retard organization. NATO is not welcomed in Serbia in any shape, whether you’re “simulating” or not. There’s no way in heaven that this hated organization would make any larger influence to the Serbian public. You can “simulate” all day long. Hopefully parents of these kids know who’s after their kids.

  21. Stefan

    NATO is around Serbia because every other Balkan country is in NATO, like it or not. We can declare our neutrality for now, even though no one really recognizes it except our own parliament, but that won’t do us any good in case of a serious security issue. Serbia is already in partnership for peace program while Russia maintains close ties to nato in Russia-NATO Council, so we are already cooperating with NATO, and so is Russia, so there is no need to ‘chose’ between Russia and NATO, it’s not a cold war, a new security paradigm exists today.

    Joining NATO, economically would improve investments because being a member of NATO, a part of a collective security system shows that your political system is stable and that your would be investments would not go to waste should the regime change. That’s why it is crucial that NATO ascension has the full support of the people, true legitimacy and that is why Serbia will not join NATO without referendum(despite what Mr. Sutanovac said), because NATO would not even want us without one.

    The biggest threat to Serbia’s security today is not conventional military invasion but terrorism, separatism internal conflicts. In all these three areas cooperation with NATO, Russia and other countries in the world is beneficial, joining NATO is a different story entirely. That is why Partnership for Peace(which we joined in 2006) exists so countries can chose the amount of cooperation they have with NATO

    You underestimate the intelligence of participants in this simulation Karanovic, and with those ad hominem attacks on people who do not share your opinion you prove your narrow-mindedness, many of those people who participated here are law, political science and security majors and master students who have a lot bigger fond of knowledge on these subjects than the average citizen. Educated and intelligent cannot be indoctrinated and influenced so easily, especially those who can think critically.

    While I agree there are of course many organizations who promote NATO’s values and ideas and who try to influence Serbian populace to take a positive standing towards it(which is legitimate actually), from my personal perspective, the way this project was structured was only to educate and not indoctrinate, as I said.

    My personal stance on NATO is not as positive as my writing would suggest, hence why it is crucial to approach the debate on NATO from a argument based perspective, not emotional

  22. Neutral Serbia

    Stefan, I’m glad you’re participating in this discussion. As much as you state that your “stance on nato is not as positive as your writing” it sounds very obvious that nato is in your mind. So without any emotional attachment to this discussion it is important to understand that Serbia has no interest in joining Nato since we already have relation within Partnership for Peace (Russia is the part of this one too). So having said that, again without any emotions, this partnership structure is absolutely enough for Serbia to participate, without full membership. That’s why these “simulations” raise many questions on intents from NATO propagandists. If the simulation covers Partnership for Peace then I’m all up for it. Anything else creates even deeper mistrust with real intentions of NATO sponsored groups in Serbia. So, I guess this was my non-emotional take on your writing. Best.

  23. Milan

    Democracy is supposed to represents freedom of choice.Place where are all equal and where everybody respect one another.If I now have different opinion then rest of you people am I ultra nationalist?Am I evil?
    If I don’t wanna see my Serbia in NATO,does it means that I am evil and low graded?Does it mean it?How would entering the NATO help us?We have more then enough capable army to deal with terrorists.
    More than capable police.
    We don’t wanna send our sons and daughters to fight in god knows what country for god knows whose motives and interest.
    Separatism?
    NATO is main reason that we lost KOSOVO!
    While you may argue about it.It is 100% sure.

    Joining the NATO would practically look like somebody rapes somebody’s sister and later want to be a friend with him.
    As for Economy it is our problem how we shall manage it.
    I believe It will go forth.

    Poll shows that less than 26% of Serbian population supports NATO and that more than 74 % are opposed to it.
    So rights of minority is supposed to be above rights of all?

    NATO is supposed to keep its own member’s from harm.But all I see is that NATO is attacking sovereign estates.Creating its own world politics.

    I don’t care if nobody reconizes our neutrality.
    I care only to live in peace.And I rather put trust in my own people than those whos bloody hands deastroyed everything I loved and cared for.

    My city…
    And my familie…
    Oh..Pardon..Did I said famile?I ment “Colateral damage…”
    Yeah..Mother’s sister,her husband and their two children along with entire building were burned alive.

    So,feel free to say that I am low graded..Less intaligent person…
    Feel free to say that I am ultra nationalist…
    Feel free to say that MY FREEDOM OF CHOICE IS NOT MINE!THAT BELONGS TO SOMEBODY ELSE!

    And If you chose to side with wery persons whom your father fought.I WILL NOT!

  24. Sanja

    The only advantage I can see in this is that Serbs can see how an organisation like NATO works – you have to know your enemy.

    But I agree that this is disgusting. They think that by targeting Serbia’s youth they will change the minds of millions on what this war organisation has done to their country and families?

    And they use the case study of trying to stop Republika Srpska’s seccession! The cheek! Why don’t we do a case study of Scotland seeking independence or Normandy seeking autonomy?

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