Tucker Carlson created quite a stir on show on his Wednesday night show last week. He criticized the North Atlantic Treaty Organization welcoming Montenegro into the fold, and criticized the mutual defense pledge that would have America defend Montenegro in the event they are invaded by Russia.
American President Donald Trump in an interview with Carlson talked about potentially-aggressive Montenegrans creating World War III. Tucker asked “Why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?”
Now, at least Carlson knows that Article V (the mutual defense provision of NATO) has only been invoked once, and that was after the United States was attacked. I am not sure Trump knows that.
Why does that matter? Because the notion that the tiny nation of Montenegro is going to trigger Article V (and a potentially world-destroying war) is ludicrous. But the threat that we might respond to such aggression against them is what has kept the peace in Europe since the end of World War II.
The Soviet Union never invaded a NATO country during the Cold War, because they knew the probability was high that the United States would respond. Of course the Soviet Union is no more, but Russia’s territorial ambitions have not changed. Those Eastern-European countries that were Soviet satellites in the Cold War are countries that Russia still sees as their territory. Russia has menaced or threatened economically into subservience many of the former Soviet republics.
And if you don’t think NATO can still deter Russia, consider the case of Ukraine and of pre-NATO Montenegro. In Ukraine in the previous decade, agents connected to Russia’s spy services poisoned a presidential candidate that was viewed as anti-Russia. In this decade, encouraged by the fecklessness of the President Obama’s administration, Russia annexed Crimea and fomented a pro-Russian revolution in eastern Ukraine. When Montenegro started to take steps towards joining NATO and possibly the European Union, Russian agents tried to assassinate the country’s prime minister.
Now, would any of that occur if Ukraine or Montenegro were members of NATO? Has anything like that happened in Poland, for instance? Or Bulgaria? Or Romania? Or any former Warsaw Pact member that’s now in NATO? No.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sees a greater Russia, one more conforming with the country’s peak in the days of the czars. So forget Montenegro; if Latvia, Lithuania, or Estonia get attacked, all of us had better hope the USA and the other members of NATO are ready to defend them. If you don’t stop Russia in those countries, or in Ukraine, then you won’t be able to stop them in Belarus, Moldova, or Poland. It is staggering to imagine the blood and treasure the USA would have to invest to stop Russia from taking over Eastern Europe.
So, yes Tucker Carlson, if Montenegro is attacked, we had better stand ready to defend them, even if it means sending your son over there. If you don’t do it, then he will end up in Europe defending our allies anyway, along with hundreds of thousands of American troops in a war. And that war will probably see the use of nuclear weapons. I’d rather not find out. Would you?