When Sen. John McCain called for a unanimous vote in favor of allowing Montenegro into the NATO military alliance, Sen. Rand Paul stood up and opposed the measure. Did he kill Montenegrin NATO membership? No, but now the Senate will actually have to debate the idea of extending military guarantees to such unstable micro-states as Montenegro. Is there any benefit for America in expanding NATO to a nation with around two thousand men at arms? Pat Buchanan sides with Sen. Paul in saying no way to Montenegrin membership in NATO, despite Sen. McCain’s histrionics.
Aflame with ethnic, civil and sectarian war in the 1990s, the western Balkans are again in political turmoil. Milo Djukanovic, the longtime Montenegrin prime minister who resigned on election day in October, claims that he was targeted for assassination by Russia to prevent Montenegro’s accession to NATO.
Russia denies it. But on the Senate floor, McCain raged at Rand Paul: “You are achieving the objectives of Vladimir Putin … trying to dismember this small country which has already been the subject of an attempted coup.”
But if Montenegro, awash in corruption and crime, is on the verge of an uprising or coup, why would the U.S. issue a war guarantee that could vault us into a confrontation with Russia—without a full Senate debate?
The vote that needs explaining here is not Rand Paul’s.
It is the votes of those senators who are handing out U.S.-NATO war guarantees to countries most Americans could not find on a map.
Is no one besides Sen. Paul asking the relevant questions here?
What vital U.S. interest is imperiled in who comes to power in Podgorica, Montenegro? Why cannot Europe handle this problem in its own back yard?
Has President Trump given McCain, who wanted President Bush to intervene in a Russia-Georgia war—over South Ossetia!—carte blanche to hand out war guarantees to unstable Balkan states?
Did Trump approve the expansion of NATO into all the successor states born of the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia?
Or is McCain hijacking U.S. foreign policy on NATO and Russia?
Read more from Pat here at The American Conservative.