President Trump, who rattled U.S. allies at a NATO meeting last week, voiced concern in a television interview broadcast Tuesday night that sending troops from the alliance to defend an “aggressive” Montenegro could result in World War III.
Trump was asked about Montenegro, which joined NATO last year and has a population smaller than the District of Columbia, during a Fox News interview with host Tucker Carlson.
Carlson pressed Trump on the purpose of the alliance, which was created in 1949 to protect the United States, Canada and a host of Western European nations from Soviet incursion. The organization calls for member nations to come to the aid of any ally that is attacked.
“Why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?” Carlson asked in the interview, which was recorded Monday following Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
“I understand what you’re saying, I’ve asked the same question,” Trump responded. “You know, Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people. … They are very aggressive people, they may get aggressive, and congratulations, you’re in World War III. But that’s the way it was set up. Don’t forget, I just got here a little more than a year and a half ago.”
Understand that this is Trump, a day after coming back from a two-hour closed door meeting with Russia's president, now saying that he doesn't believe America should answer its Article V NATO responsibilities in case a NATO country is say, I don't know, annexed by Moscow or something. You know, no big deal, right?
Also, this is the same day Trump came back from Finland after meeting Putin and said that he looks forward to working with Russia militarily.
Russia announced it was ready to pursue agreements reached by Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump "in the sphere of international security," though the White House and Pentagon would not confirm any agreements had been made or offer any details.
Trump and Putin met for about two hours during their summit in Helsinki with only translators present. It is still not clear what the two men discussed or agreed to during their meeting.
"The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation is ready for practical implementation of the agreements reached between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump in the sphere of international security achieved at the Helsinki summit," Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, a Russian military spokesman, said in a statement Tuesday.
The Russian military "is ready to intensify contacts with the US colleagues in the General Staff and other available channels to discuss the extension of the START treaty, cooperation in Syria, as well as other issues of ensuring military security," Konashenkov said.
The National Security Council would not confirm what Trump had agreed to in the one-on-one with Putin. A spokesman for the NSC told CNN on Tuesday that they were still "reviewing the discussion."
Russians are all ready to jump into this agreement with Trump, but we don't know what's in it. The NSC doesn't even know, because nobody told them. Trump didn't tell anybody, it seems.
So once again, we have Trump saying "screw NATO" and "Here's our new military agreement with Russia". You don't have to be a think tank fellow to see the implications here, especially when you factor in Russia's little adventure in taking Crimea from Ukraine, which everyone seems to have accepted as geopolitical fact now.
So yeah, if you're wondering what Putin is getting out of this? A whole row of green lights from America. And our response? Well, the Washington Post is certainly outraged, but as long as Trump's approval ratings among Republicans remains at the 85-90% level it is now, nothing will change. maybe that means Mueller drops a nuke, maybe that means the GOP gets clobbered in the midterms so badly that they turn on him, but most likely this leads to Mueller being fired and the fight that follows.