Published: Thu, July 19, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation hits back at President Trump's Montenegro World War III remarks

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation hits back at President Trump's Montenegro World War III remarks

Although Montenegro was added to the alliance a year ago, the US president suggested that the USA will not feel obligated to step in and protect the small nation if it went to war with, say, Russia.

Nato has said its mutual defence pact was "unconditional and iron-clad" after U.S. president Donald Trump questioned "why" a United States soldier should fight for Montenegro, Nato's newest member.

"Why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?"

He said Trump found those questions thought-provoking as well. Or, as Trump calls it, "the tiny country with very strong people".

Describing NATO countries as "aggressive" for engaging in legitimate defense of their homeland is a hallmark of Russian messaging in its opposition against the alliance. The senator said it will play right into Putin's hands. Fourteen people are now on trial in Montenegro accused of plotting to kill the prime minister and stage a coup to bring a pro-Russian party to power.

Serbia and Montenegro were once part of the same country, Yugoslavia, and later in a union with Serbia until Montenegro's vote for independence in 2006.

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WASHINGTON: Days after a widely slammed summit with his Russian counterpart, President Donald Trump drew fresh scorn Wednesday for calling NATO´s undergirding principle into question and for attacking "tiny" Montenegro, whose accession to the alliance enraged Moscow.

In the months preceding NATO's invitation to Montenegro to begin the accession process in December 2015, my Russian counterparts in Vienna at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, where I was the US ambassador, grew increasingly vocal.

"Interpreting Trump's comments is a treacherous business, he says one thing at noon and another at 1 p.m." said Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who served in the Obama Administration.

The two particularly honed in on NATO Article 5, the alliance provision that asks all member nations to provide mutual defense if any one of them, even a new member like Montenegro, comes under attack. They have very aggressive people. During his presidential campaign he told the New York Times that his willingness protect smaller states from Russian Federation was conditional on their defense spending. "Add that to your little equation on Montenegro", Trump told Carlson. A non-legally-binding guideline states that members should reach 2% by 2024.

It now contributes 20 troops to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation operation in Afghanistan, which, with Montenegro's population of around 620,000, is more per capita than the US official contribution of 8,475 (although Pentagon officials say the true number is higher). The president also criticized Germany for a natural gas pipeline deal with Russian Federation, saying it made the country "captive" to Russian Federation.

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