National Security

Trump Has No Idea Why NATO Exists

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been around since 1949 and, in that time, there have been no major wars on the European continent.

There have been no major wars in Europe because attacking a member of NATO is the same as attacking every member of NATO. Invading a member of NATO would trigger a military response from every other member of NATO so an invasion is out of the question. Collective defense and solidarity doesn't leave any room for an aggressor pick off a vulnerable country like Poland before moving on to bigger targets like France.

You might say the entire point of NATO is to avoid fighting wars in the first place, but speaking to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Trump floated the possibility that NATO could start a war.

“Membership in NATO obligates the members to defend any other member who has been attacked,” Carlson said to him. “Let’s say Montenegro — which joined last year — is attacked. Why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?” [...]

“I understand what you’re saying. I’ve asked the same question,” Trump said. “You know, Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people… they might get aggressive, and congratulations, you’re in World War 3.”

Using Montenegro as an example here is interesting, but we'll get to that.

The only country that has ever invoked NATO's Article 5 right to collective defense is the United States. In fact, members of NATO are still in Afghanistan 17-fucking-years after we first invoked it. We're about to enter an era in which kids who weren't even born yet on September 11th, 2001 will be fighting the same war. How can we lecture anyone about collective defense?

Now, Montenegro's military is smaller than the average police force of an American city. They're not attacking anyone. They joined NATO so they don't have to attack anyone and so no one can attack them. At least not anymore.

In 2016 before Montenegro formally became a member of NATO, two Russian nationals and a handful of political oppositions leaders were arrested before they could launch a coup. An American witness just recently testified against the organizers of the coup last month.

  • swift_4

    That picture is everything. The whole world looking at something. Trump staring off in a completely different direction.

  • Nefercat

    I’m pretty sure that trump’s jackassy attitude toward Montenegro has nothing to do with Montenegro, the country (because he knows nothing about the country) and everything to do with their name, which unfortunately for the Montenegrins, features the word “negro” right there for everyone to see.

  • Nefercat

    Wasn’t it the representative of Montenegro that trump shoved aside last year to get his bloated blobbity self in front of everyone else for the photo op?

    • muselet

      Yes, their then-Prime Minister, Duško Marković, at a NATO summit.

      –alopecia

  • Nefercat

    It is not and never will be possible for a stupid, narcissistic sociopath like trump to grasp anything at all about the concept of countries (or people) sticking together to protect and help each other. Other beings (or countries) are there to serve him. They don’t exist apart from being an extension of his needs and wants. Period.

    He could not grasp the concept of mutual assistance any better than string theory or multiverses or 2+2=4.

  • Georgie

    I was wondering about the Montenegro comment, well yes, that make perfect (in putinland) sense. Thank you.

  • Aynwrong

    Does anyone really believe that Putin didn’t whisper “Montenegro” in Trump’s ear who in turn mumbled it to recovering bow tie addict Tucker Carlson who of course then blurts it back to Trump’s face live on Fake News TV?

    • JMAshby

      That’s exactly what I think.

      Putin wanted a coup in Montenegro so they wouldn’t join NATO. He knows he can’t directly attack a NATO country. Ukraine isn’t a member of NATO and that’s why they were vulnerable to Putin’s invasion.

      Ukraine is currently on a path to joining NATO after Putin’s stooge Viktor Yanukovych (Paul Manafort worked for him) fled the country in 2014, but the process of joining takes years.

      I think the possibility of Putin invading the rest of Ukraine before they can ultimately join remains pretty high, but what do I know?

    • Georgie

      Funny they got this particular telephone game right, I’m surprised it wasn’t turned into Madagascar or Monaco.

  • muselet

    “Membership in NATO obligates the members to defend any other member who has been attacked,” Carlson said to him. “Let’s say Montenegro — which joined last year — is attacked. Why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?”

    For the same reason Montenegrins’ sons would go to the United States to defend it from attack, you supercilious waste of carbon.

    “I understand what you’re saying. I’ve asked the same question,” Trump said. “You know, Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people… they might get aggressive, and congratulations, you’re in World War 3.”

    Translation: I don’t know where Montenegro is and I know nothing about the place except I don’t own or license any businesses there. Nothing to do with me.

    I swear, Righties think Hobbes’s phrase bellum omnium contra omnes (the war of all against all) sounds like a pretty neat idea. “‘World war’? Why, that’s just another way of saying ‘profit-making opportunity.'”

    *facepalm*

    –alopecia

    • Georgie

      When I looked up this small country I found this: According to NBC News, citing official figures, Montenegro contributes
      more troops per capita to the war in Afghanistan than the United States.
      Overall, Montenegro maintains a standing military of less than 2,000.

      • muselet

        Montenegrins are not pleased:

        “He’s the strangest president in the history of the United States,” Ranko Krivokapic told the BBC.

        Mr Krivokapic knows a thing or two about being a president. He served as President of the Parliament of Montenegro from its independence in 2006 until 2016 – and remains president of the opposition Social Democratic Party.

        It is fair to say he is unimpressed with the current US president’s approach to diplomacy and world affairs.

        “With this kind of president, with his knowledge of foreign policy, who knows what is going on? Foreign policy is not his big thing.”

        A mark, as Charlie Pierce often says, that will surely leave.

        –alopecia

  • katanahamon

    Rump not only doesn’t understand NATO, he doesn’t understand anything else about anything. He only understands how to invoke racial and xenophobic fear. And bankruptcy. And paying for illicit sex while married. And throwing anyone and America under a bus if it helps him personally.

    • Badgerite

      Tucker Carlson cannot claim ignorance as an excuse. He literally will say anything in support of trump no matter how stupid, indecent or nonsensical. He is trying to whip up hatred against NATO members because that is what trump needs him to do to try to justify trump’s God awful, outrageous, downright treasonous behavior toward them . Of course, trump is doing that because Putin requires him to do that. It has nothing to do with any genuine interest of the United States. FFFFFFFF them both.