Trump, Russia, and NATO: Why Tiny Montenegro’s Not Tiny Now, by Ted Snider

Probably 99 percent of Americans can’t find Montenegro on a map, but America’s sons and daughters are now pledged to fight and die for it, if need be. From Ted Snider at

Donald Trump has just approved Montenegro’s accession into NATO. Montenegro is a tiny nation, and its inclusion doesn’t significantly change the abilities of NATO, but it’s inclusion is huge, and its meaning is significant and clear to Russia.

As the curtain rose on the Donald Trump presidency, the script promised an administration that would warm to Russia and cool to NATO.

The first few scenes did not consistently unfold that way, though. Despite the opening months being crammed with allegations of Russian communications, conspiracies, and cooperations, as recent American actions in Syria have highlighted, the early steps of the new government were, often, hostile to Russia and encouraging to NATO.

Immediately upon assuming the role of Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis called NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to assure him of America’s commitment to “the fundamental and enduring value of NATO for the security of both Europe and North America.” While they were talking, NATO was building up its forces along Russia’s borders as German and Belgian troops moved into Lithuania supposedly to act as a deterrent against Russian incursions. In mid-February, 500 U.S. troops deployed to Romania and another 120 were deployed to Bulgaria as part of the NATO operation known as Atlantic Resolve. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Alexi Meshkov, revealed Russia’s interpretation of the NATO buildup when he said, “This deployment is of course a threat for us.”

At the same time, 300 US marines were arriving in Norway 900 miles from the Russian border. Russia criticized the move as having no military benefit beyond antagonizing Russia. When Norway joined NATO as a founding member, they made the commitment not to host any foreign forces because of Russian concerns that Norway could serve as a launching ground for an attack on Russia.

At the end of January, US tanks and armored vehicles that were part of a 3,500 troop contingent fired salvos into the air in Poland. General Ben Hodges, the commander of the US Army in Europe, said, “this is not just a training exercise. It’s to demonstrate a strategic message that you cannot violate the sovereignty of members of NATO … Moscow will get the message — I’m confident of it.”

To continue reading: Trump, Russia, and NATO: Why Tiny Montenegro’s Not Tiny Now


One response to “Trump, Russia, and NATO: Why Tiny Montenegro’s Not Tiny Now, by Ted Snider

  1. McGovern says that when he asked Viktor Borisovich Kuvaldin, a Gorbachev adviser from 1989-1991, why there was no written agreement, Kuvaldin replied painfully, “We trusted you.”

    Apparently, Mr. Kuvaldin never saw Animal House during his training for negotiating with Americans.


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