Montenegro is not going to start World War III

Montenegro is not going to start World War III

Robin Wright writes:

In the dozen years since it broke away from Serbia, Montenegro, a scenic little country on the Adriatic with fewer than seven hundred thousand people, has probably never had so much attention. On Tuesday, the Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson asked President Trump why, if Montenegro were attacked, his son should have to go defend it. Montenegro is the newest member of NATO; it just marked one year of membership. “I’ve asked the same question,” the President replied. “Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people. They’re very aggressive people. They may get aggressive, and, congratulations, you’re in World War Three.”

Fresh off his NATO summit, President Trump somehow still does not know the basic idea behind the world’s most powerful military alliance—or much about geography either. First of all, Montenegro is far from being aggressive, and it has deployed troops to support the NATO mission in Afghanistan since 2010—seven years before it gained membership in the Western alliance. The President also apparently does not read statements sent out in his name. In April of last year, after the U.S. ratified Montenegro’s membership, a White House release stated, “President Trump congratulates the Montenegrin people for their resilience and their demonstrated commitment to NATO’s democratic values.”

Trump’s comment sparked both bewilderment and outrage. “I have no idea where Trump gets the idea Montenegro is ‘very aggressive,’ ” Ivo Daalder, a former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and now president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, told me. “It’s been independent twelve years and never even came close to starting any war. In fact, two years ago, months before Montenegro would accede to NATO, a Moscow-backed coup attempt sought to prevent it from joining the Alliance. If there’s been aggression, it’s come from Moscow, not Montenegro.” The failed coup was a Russian effort to prevent Montenegro, once a part of communist Yugoslavia, from aligning with the West. [Continue reading…]

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