The U.S. Senate voted 97-2 Monday to approve admitting the state of Montenegro into NATO, adding another country to the list of nations the United States is sworn to protect.
The two senators who voted no were Republicans Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky. In a blistering 16-minute speech on the Senate floor before the vote, Paul reiterated his stance that the U.S. should not be adding Montenegro to NATO.
Paul first voiced his opposition earlier this month, saying that the United States does not need to add another country to protect on top of the other 27 it already does in NATO. Furthermore, Paul said, the U.S. does not need to spend more money on foreign entanglements that will unnecessarily add to the country's $20 trillion debt. It was a controversial stance that led fellow Sen. John McCain to refer to Paul as an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Paul responded to McCain's accusation by calling the Arizona Republican "unhinged."
[graphiq id="gB0iLFD4iwJ" title="North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)" width="650" height="770" url="https://w.graphiq.com/w/gB0iLFD4iwJ" ]
To further underscore his point, Paul pointed out during his Monday speech that NATO is an organization that is primarily upheld by U.S. money and U.S. blood:
Today the question is will we add another commitment to defend yet another foreign country? For decades NATO has been an organization where the U.S. disproportionately spends our blood and our treasure. The other NATO countries have largely hitched a ride on a U.S. train that subsidizes their defenses and allows them to direct their revenues to their own domestic concerns.
“In short,” he added, “Uncle Sam is the ‘Uncle Patsy’ for the rest of the world.”
Paul went on to question Montenegro's value when it came to the U.S. interests in the region. Noting Moscow's penchant for entanglements with bordering countries, Paul stated that this agreement will inevitably lead to the U.S. having to involve itself militarily against Russia. He also said that this would assuredly not be the last country invited in, because the same senators who pushed to bring in Montenegro also want to include Georgia and Ukraine. If those two nations, which are seemingly forever engaged in border disputes with Russia, were already in NATO today, Paul noted, "we would already be involved in a world war with Russia."
The senator then angrily observed that, despite this, the Senate was set to approve Montenegro's admission without allowing debate, thereby sending our "sons and daughters to fight border disputes" we shouldn't be involved in.
"You know they're going to forbid amendments," Paul began. "I forced this debate. Nobody wanted to have this debate. They want to rubber stamp, they want no debates, and they want to send your kids to war with no debate. Today, they will pass this on my objection, and they will allow no amendments. When I finish this speech, I will ask for an amendment, and it will be denied because they do not want to debate whether your sons and daughters go to war."
"I find that appalling," Paul continued. "I am ashamed of a Senate that will not have a debate and will not have a vote [on the amendment]."