The world has changed with the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. Nowhere is this more obvious than in Europe and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Business as usual is clearly over. That is a good thing.
Trump said during the campaign, to much derision, that the relationship between the United States and its NATO partners needs to be re-examined. Countries that are not paying their fair share should be made to feel uncomfortable. They have been existing under the nuclear security umbrella of the United States for too long, all the while taking our companies to court for antitrust issues. No longer should the national security or economic situation of the United States be put on the back burner to the globalist agenda. The needs of a progressive Europe will come second. Many NATO governments need to do some soul-searching about the role they are playing in collective defense.
The United States can no longer afford to defend the world, at least not until we get our own fiscal house in order. This means we should stay out of conflicts where our national security is not directly threatened. The world is no longer black and white; it is much more gray than it used to be.
Amid this change in circumstance, we are enlarging NATO, but why? Does this process make us more safe? Of course, the newly minted members of the alliance will sleep better at night; but do we really want to be putting the lives of American men and women on the line for some of these countries? Do we really want to be spending more money on the defense of Europe when our debt is on its way to $30 trillion?
Let’s talk about the accession of Montenegro, a tiny country of just 650,000 people, located in the Balkans, in the former Yugoslavia. Milo Djukanovic, Montenegro’s leader for 25 years, just stepped down, most likely under Western pressure after October parliamentary elections, due to allegations of corruption. He has been accused of being involved in gun-running, cigarette smuggling, bank fraud, and fraud involving the privatization of state owned utilities.
The recent parliamentary election was marred by voting irregularities and alleged criminal behavior. Many analysts believe he will continue to pull the strings behind the scenes, as Vladimir Putin did in Russia during the Dmitry Medvedev presidency, until he returns at a later date to lead the country once again.
We also have the announced “coup,” which many analysts believe was staged to make citizens think twice about voting for the opposition during October elections. Twenty Serbian nationals were arrested for a supposed assassination plot to kill Djukanovic. Serbia is a long-time ally of Russia and has no plans to request NATO membership. However, 17 out of 20 of the suspects have been released, weapons were never found, and Djukanovic made the same type of allegations during the 2006 elections, at that time accusing “Albanian terrorists” who were released without charges as well. The alleged Russian ties have not been proven, again similar to the previous accusations of Albanian terrorism. One of the alleged leaders of the current so-called coup has ties to Djukanovic and worked for Montenegro’s National Security Agency. Local media named the real organizer of the alleged coup -- Radoitza Rajo Bozovic. He is a good friend of Djukanovic and former commander the Red Berets special forces of the Ministry of Security of Yugoslavia.
Bottom line, there is a long history of corruption in Montenegro. Why does NATO feel the desperate need to offer it protection? The alliance is needlessly providing the Kremlin ammunition to promote its false narrative that NATO is an aggressor -- a narrative meant for domestic consumption. It also gives Moscow more freedom to build up its own force structure along its European borders. Putin has continued to increase military spending as he modernizes Russia’s armed forces while slashing domestic outlays for things like medical care and education.
The election of Donald Trump gives America and the alliance a chance to pause further enlargement and take stock of the situation. It gives Europe and America the chance to reset this critical relationship. America can no longer fight battles that are not vital to the freedom of its people and their way of life. It’s unclear if offering Montenegro U.S. protection meets that criteria.