McCain is a relic of the past. His views on NATO, like his views on the use of force and when to leverage American military power around the world, resemble a Cold War mentality that is ill-suited for the 21st entury. To be fair, McCain isn’t the only lawmaker to hold these views; the foreign policy establishment has become so reflexively anti-Russia over the last several years that any policy that second-guesses how NATO operates is labeled as dangerous and naive.
Paul may be a minority in the Senate, but his view is much more practical and in line with the American people. For what, exactly, does Montenegro — a tiny country of less than 630,000 people, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of only $3.9 billion and an active military of approximately 2,000 troops — offer NATO that it doesn’t already have?
It’s difficult to see what the positives would be for Montenegro’s inclusion. The Montenegrin government spends 1.6 percent of its GDP on defense, short of the 2 percent threshold that NATO now uses as a guideline. As my colleague Charles Pena wrote last November, it would be unwise policy for the United States and the NATO alliance to take in yet another member that won’t contribute their fair share of the defense burden.
Currently, 23 of NATO’s 28 members contribute less than the 2 percent benchmark. Montenegro would add yet another dependent country to America’s coattails, while hardly making Americans safer.