Muftic: Trump dances to the Russian tune on Montenegro
President Trump dances to the Russian foreign policy tune one again, this time immediately after the Helsinki one-on-one meeting with Vladimir Putin.
In a July 17 interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News, Trump said that NATO member Montenegro is an “aggressive” nation and he tried to scare his listeners to believe it is a flashpoint for World War III. The implication is that the United States should not come to its defense if attacked by Russia. What a dangerous and ignorant position.
“Aggressive Montenegro” has 625,000 inhabitants, less than the size of the city and county of Denver. What they have is a fjord, the deepest and best warm water haven for submarines and military fleets in the Mediterranean area. Russians has tried throughout history to control it, including an attempted coup in October 2016 as Russia tried to thwart Montenegro’s membership application to NATO. This spooked the U.S. national defense officials so much that the Senate approved their admission to NATO in 2017 to block Russian control of it.
This is more evidence of Trump’s continued lock step support of Russia’s foreign policy goal to cripple NATO and to give the green light for Russia to march or sneak into Baltic and Balkan members of NATO as they did in Crimea, Eastern Ukraine, and Georgia. What national security interests do we have in the Baltics and Balkans? Those tiny countries, once part of the Soviet empire or sphere of influence, have warm water ports giving all weather direct access to the Atlantic and/or the Mediterranean. The Baltics with NATO troops at Russia’s border irritate Putin, too. If NATO falls apart, Russia can invade or stealthily take them over without fear that other NATO nations would defend them.
Let us hope that this was not one of the topics Trump and Putin discussed in their Helsinki closed meeting. Did Trump promise Putin he would not invoke Article Five if Russia tried to take over Montenegro? The timing is highly suspicious since Trump had never raised the specter of his objections to defending Montenegro until just after this secretive meeting with Putin. For Trump to consider modern Russia under Putin to be our friend and not our foe is outright stupid and dangerous given Russia’s attack on our 2016 elections and their stealth or outright military takeover of eastern Ukraine, Crimea and Georgia. This is why what happened in Helsinki shouldn’t stay in Helsinki.
At stake is NATO and the reason for its being is Article Five. A mutual defense treaty that declares an attack against one NATO member is considered as an attack against all allies and allies should rally in defense of their defiled member. Trump has gone out of his way to avoid pledging support of Article Five whenever he has been asked directly about it.
That is extremely troubling. He has fomented in his rhetoric and statements from campaign time until now the false notion that NATO is not important to the security of the US, and especially unworthy of our defense are the tiny countries of the Baltics and the Balkans. According to him, NATO only exists for the safety of Europe and we are doing them an expensive favor. Our defense alliance with Europe has bought us seventy years of peace. Our isolationism from Europe bought us World War II. Our national security and Europe’s are still entwined.
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