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Is McCain Hijacking Trump’s Foreign Policy?

“The senator from Kentucky,” said John McCain, speaking of his colleague Rand Paul, “is working for Vladimir Putin … and I do not say that lightly.”

What did Sen. Paul do to deserve being called a hireling of Vladimir Putin?

He declined to support McCain’s call for a unanimous Senate vote to bring Montenegro into NATO as the 29th member of a Cold War alliance President Trump has called “obsolete.”

Bordered by Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania, tiny Montenegro has a population roughly that of DC, and sits on the western coast of the most volatile peninsula in Europe.

What strategic benefit would accrue from having Montenegro as an ally that would justify the risk of our having to go to war should some neighbor breach Montenegro’s borders?

Historically, the Balkans have been an incubator of war. In the 19th century, Otto van Bismarck predicted that when the Great War came, it would come out of “some damn fool thing in the Balkans.” And so it did when the Austrian archduke was assassinated in Sarajevo June 28, 1914 by Serbian ethnonationalist Gavrilo Princip.

Aflame with ethnic, civil and sectarian war in the 1990s, the western Balkans are again in political turmoil. Milo Djukanovic, the longtime Montenegrin prime minister who resigned on election day in October, claims that he was targeted for assassination by Russia to prevent Montenegro’s accession to NATO.

Russia denies it. But on the Senate floor, McCain raged at Rand Paul: “You are achieving the objectives of Vladimir Putin … trying to dismember this small country which has already been the subject of an attempted coup.”

But if Montenegro, awash in corruption and crime, is on the verge of an uprising or coup, why would the U.S. issue a war guarantee that could vault us into a confrontation with Russia—without a full Senate debate?

The vote that needs explaining here is not Rand Paul’s.

It is the votes of those senators who are handing out U.S.-NATO war guarantees to countries most Americans could not find on a map.

Is no one besides Sen. Paul asking the relevant questions here?

What vital U.S. interest is imperiled in who comes to power in Podgorica, Montenegro? Why cannot Europe handle this problem in its own back yard?

Has President Trump given McCain, who wanted President Bush to intervene in a Russia-Georgia war—over South Ossetia!—carte blanche to hand out war guarantees to unstable Balkan states?

Did Trump approve the expansion of NATO into all the successor states born of the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia?

Or is McCain hijacking U.S. foreign policy on NATO and Russia?

President Trump should tell the Senate: No more admissions to NATO, no more U.S. war guarantees, unless I have recommended or approved them. Foreign policy is made in the White House, not on the Senate floor.

Indeed, what happened to the foreign policy America voted for—rapprochement with Russia, an end to U.S. wars in the Middle East, and having rich allies share more of the cost of their own defense?

It is U.S., not NATO defense spending that is rising to more than $50 billion this year. And today we learn the Pentagon has drawn up plans for the insertion of 1,000 more U.S. troops into Syria. While the ISIS caliphate seems doomed, this six-year Syrian war is far from over.

An al-Qaida subsidiary, the Nusra Front, has become the most formidable rebel fighting group. Syria’s army, with the backing of Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Shiite militias from across the Middle East, has carved out most of the territory it needs.

The Turkish army is now in Syria, beside its rebel allies. Their main enemy: Syria’s Kurds, who are America’s allies.

From our longest war, Afghanistan, comes word from U.S. Gen. John Nicholson that we and our Afghan allies are in a “stalemate” with the Taliban, and he will need a “few thousand” more U.S. troops—to augment the 8,500 President Obama left behind when he left office.

Some 5,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq, helping to liberate Mosul from ISIS. In Kabul, Baghdad and Damascus, terrorist bombings are a weekly, if not a daily, occurrence.

Then there is the U.S. troop buildup in Poland and the Baltic, the U.S. deployment of a missile defense to South Korea after multiple missile tests in the North, and Russia and China talking of upgrading their nuclear arsenals to counter U.S. missile defenses in Poland, Romania and South Korea.

In and around the waters of the Persian Gulf, United States warships are harassed by Iranian patrol boats, as Tehran test-fires anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles to send the Americans a message: Attack us and it will not be a cakewalk war.

With the death of Communism, the end of the Cold War, and the collapse of the Bushite New World Order, America needs a new grand strategy, built upon the solid foundation of America First.

Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of the book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority [1].

25 Comments (Open | Close)

25 Comments To "Is McCain Hijacking Trump’s Foreign Policy?"

#1 Comment By Paul On March 17, 2017 @ 5:52 am

Achilles was a hero, too.

#2 Comment By John S On March 17, 2017 @ 7:21 am

The Senate was doing its job, ratifying the Accession Protocol that was approved in July in Warsaw. To me it looks more to me like Senator Paul is the one doing the hijacking.

Montenegro is not “on Russia’s doorstep,” to borrow a phrase from the Russophiles. It is in the heart of Europe, and it has a strategic port at Kotor. What possible reason could there be for us to give that away to the Russians? Sad!

#3 Comment By Kurt Gayle On March 17, 2017 @ 8:55 am

“The senator from Kentucky,” said John McCain, speaking of his colleague Rand Paul, “is working for Vladimir Putin … and I do not say that lightly.”

John McCain, 80, the ever-reliable poodle of the neocons and The Deep State must is hoping that he will be long-gone and not have to answer questions about the declassification of certain documents and the torrent of McCain biographies examining his behaviors from the Hanoi Hilton to the present.

#4 Comment By Kurt Gayle On March 17, 2017 @ 8:56 am

March 17, 2017 at 8:55 am
“The senator from Kentucky,” said John McCain, speaking of his colleague Rand Paul, “is working for Vladimir Putin … and I do not say that lightly.”

John McCain, 80, the ever-reliable poodle of the neocons and The Deep State is hoping that he will be long-gone and not have to answer questions about the declassification of certain documents and the torrent of McCain biographies examining his behaviors from the Hanoi Hilton to the present.

#5 Comment By collin On March 17, 2017 @ 9:07 am

President Trump should tell the Senate: No more admissions to NATO, no more U.S. war guarantees

1) Trump needs to define a Grand Strategy and then have policies that somewhat fit that strategy. (Due to events all policies don’t fit the strategy.)
2) Trump needs to decide who in the administration is best to implement that strategy as we have no idea Trump’s ‘leader’ of foreign policy. Traditionally the position belongs to SOS but it is Mattis, Bannon, or Kushner(!)? It sure in the hell ain’t Tillerson.
3) I wish the Trump Administration learned the lesson Daniel Drezner detailed that 80 – 90% of what the last administration did was correct.
4) And explain to me why Trump was the dove in the election. He is adding everywhere and now it appears directly assisting Saudia Arabia.

To be honest on Montenegro inclusion with NATO, I am not sure he has thought more than 5 minutes on the issue and his opinion is based on the last expert Trump talked to.

#6 Comment By SDS On March 17, 2017 @ 9:25 am

“Indeed, what happened to the foreign policy America voted for—rapprochement with Russia, an end to U.S. wars in the Middle East, and having rich allies share more of the cost of their own defense?”

Indeed…..

#7 Comment By Kurt Gayle On March 17, 2017 @ 9:59 am

@ SDS who said at 9:25:

“’Indeed, what happened to the foreign policy America voted for—rapprochement with Russia, an end to U.S. wars in the Middle East, and having rich allies share more of the cost of their own defense?’

Indeed….”

50 days into the Trump presidency is too early to ask “what happened.” Your concerns, SDS, are also my concerns, but we need to give the President and his administration some time.

#8 Comment By Will Harrington On March 17, 2017 @ 11:00 am

Jon S

Since when is it the senates job to ratify whatever is put before it without debate?

Since when is a port in Montenegro, a sovereign country, ours to give away?

Will you be willing to personally die to defend Montenegro against, say Albania?

#9 Comment By ChrisM On March 17, 2017 @ 12:17 pm

Trump has put McCain in his place once before and McCain is slowly usurping the role of President Trump. McCain is not an ally of Trump unless its increased defense spending.

Trump has gone off the rails ditching a peaceful reproach with Russia so he could focus on North Korea and China. Trump has gone off the rails holding allies to their 2% commitment. Is NATO precious enough to spend our money and our lives while Europe ignores shared responsibility (the US will do it anyway). If Germany does increase to 2% then it will create German military superiority not seen since Hitler and the NAZI’s which means everyone in NATO must spend 2% or fall even deeper in the Tuetonic leadership. Dare anyone mention where Tuetonic leadership has taken Greece or Brussels.

A détente with Russia could have opened negotiations to reunify Korea and provide a peaceful path to avoid war in Northeast Asia.

Trump is rebuffed in NATO and Europe.
Trump is rebuffed in China
Trump is rebussed Russia.
Trump is rebuffed on stopping Islamic immigration (If I were Trump, I would shut down all H1BVisa’s, all VISAs, all naturalizations, all citizenship until he got is muslim ban).

I’m a Trump fan but it doesn’t sound like winning. Instead it sounds like the Russophobes are succeeding in making Trump play a defensive with respects to new initiatives with Russia. This will have costly and deadly repercussions.

#10 Comment By TJ Martin On March 17, 2017 @ 12:46 pm

I find it interesting that Mr Buchanan would claim Senator McCain is ‘ hijacking ‘ Trump’s ‘ so called ‘ foreign policy when in fact Trump has no foreign policy to be hijacked . So far all Trump has managed to accomplish is to create chaos and instability ,garnering the disdain and distrust of nations both friendly and otherwise [ including after his most recent TwitterFit the UK ] to the point of embassies across the globe now recommending their citizens not travel to the US for any reason as well as advising their LPR’s to either not go beyond the US border or to simply return home

And then there’s the blatant hypocrisy Mr Buchanan expresses with his ‘ so called ‘ concerns over Montenegro all while Trump ‘courts ‘ Saudi Arabia continuing granting them carte blanche Visa Waiver status despite all their human rights abuses , the Saud royal family’s funding terrorism across the globe as well as the fact that the 9/11 terrorists were Saudis

So perhaps rather than attacking perhaps one of the last Patriots [ versus Trump addled Republican sycophants ] left in the RNC Mr Buchanan’s time might be put to better use investigating the Breitbart Bannon & Trump trains real motives , agendas as well as who’s behind it all ?

[ hint ; look no further than Alexander Dugin to start and then move forward from there ]

In as far as the Deep State myth Mr Buchanan seems insistent on perpetuating . Perhaps he’d do well to 1) Look up the actual [ rather than the Alt Right Alt fact ] definition of the phrase ‘ Deep State ‘ and then 2) Realize despite all the trump(ed) up Alt Right and Breitbart influenced propaganda that the only genuine Deep States in place globally are the Deep State of Putin’s Russia , Xi Jinping’s China and Kim Jung -un’s North Korea

Seriously Mr Buchanan . I know it is the current the and desperate tactic of the Alt Right to spread malicious propaganda in the pursuit of their agenda to the point of creating and linking counterfeited websites [ as they’ve been doing with the IPCC … substituting NIPCC information on a ‘ spoofed ‘ IPCC lookalike link/site ] in their desperation to further their lies . But as a ‘ so called ‘ Journalist and a founding editor of TAC ; Don’t you think it is your responsibility as a journalist as well as your duty as a Patriot to place yourself above all that … rather than being a part of it ?

#11 Comment By VikingLS On March 17, 2017 @ 3:18 pm

@John S

Yeah if only we had any NATO members on the Adriatic. Oh well, maybe someday.

This is not a game of Risk.

#12 Comment By VikingLS On March 17, 2017 @ 3:31 pm

” And explain to me why Trump was the dove in the election. He is adding everywhere and now it appears directly assisting Saudia Arabia.”

You’ve had it explained a dozen times. Nobody called Trump a dove. That’s a flat out lie.

What was said is that we didn’t want to go to war with Russia to defend Al Queda linked groups in Syria and NeoNazis in Ukraine.

Now would you please tell us why you keep pretending you can’t understand this?

#13 Comment By hamburgertoday On March 17, 2017 @ 3:58 pm

As usual, Mr. Buchanan is asking the right questions and directing attention to the right problem.

#14 Comment By Chris D. On March 17, 2017 @ 5:55 pm

Breaking with the neocons will be greatest and most symbolic test of the so-called populism of Trump. We’ll see…

#15 Comment By Bob On March 17, 2017 @ 6:27 pm

As always Pat has hit the nail on the head. McCain has gone from being a genuine conservative in the early 1980’s into the Elitist Insider that he is today. He abandoned his conservative roots when he realized the media would never support his presidential aspirations as long as he held firm to his beliefs. For some great articles visit this great site at [2]

#16 Comment By John S On March 17, 2017 @ 7:02 pm

@Will Harrington

“Since when is it the senates job to ratify whatever is put before it without debate?”
It was not done without debate. Only Rand Paul pointedly refused to debate.

“Since when is a port in Montenegro, a sovereign country, ours to give away?”
Montenegro is asking for membership, and for good reasons. We are not forcing it on them.

“Will you be willing to personally die to defend Montenegro against, say Albania?”
Yes, actually, just as Montenegrans would be willing to die to defend us. That’s what allies do.

FYI, the USA is the only country to have invoked Article 5, so in fact, our NATO allies have already proven their willingness to fight for us. While not a NATO ally at the time, the Montenegrans volunteered to participate. If I were a soldier from Estonia who fought in Afghanistan after 9/11 to save our sorry bottoms, I would be pretty pissed off to hear now that Americans are not interested in fighting for them in return.

#17 Comment By Ken Hoop On March 17, 2017 @ 7:24 pm

John S says re Montenegro

“in the heart of Europe…” “not on Russia’s doorstep”….
“What possible reason could there be for us to give that away to the Russians? Sad!”

Sad that you believe it should be the US’s, on the other side of the globe, to give away or not.

#18 Comment By VikingLS On March 17, 2017 @ 8:57 pm

“In as far as the Deep State myth Mr Buchanan seems insistent on perpetuating . Perhaps he’d do well to 1) Look up the actual [ rather than the Alt Right Alt fact ] definition of the phrase ‘ Deep State ‘ and then 2) Realize despite all the trump(ed) up Alt Right and Breitbart influenced propaganda that the only genuine Deep States in place globally are the Deep State of Putin’s Russia , Xi Jinping’s China and Kim Jung -un’s North Korea”

This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever read.

#19 Comment By VikingLS On March 17, 2017 @ 9:04 pm

@Kurt Gayle

This is fun isn’t itZ? We’ve go Neocons on one side and liberals on the other not only singing in harmony, but acting again as if it is Buchanan who is the interloper here.

#20 Comment By Hexexis On March 17, 2017 @ 10:37 pm

Maybe one day, in the not-too-distant future, Mr. Buchanan or one of his mutant right ilk will rail about U.S. troops waging proxy wars in Iranian client states like Iraq, Syria to … ensure Iranian troops come no closer to … Israel?

Not forn. policy; but forn. panoply: one grand burlesque of preceding 4 prezzie admins.

#21 Comment By Aleks On March 18, 2017 @ 2:20 pm

John S. seems to follow the popular trend now of arbitrarily using the label of “Russophile” on

1. anyone who happens to question the continued expansion of NATO and its overall mission and institutional integrity.

2. anyone who would like to see cooperation between the U.S. and Russia on the geo-political stage.

#22 Comment By Brendan Sexton On March 18, 2017 @ 2:34 pm

collin posted here, “1) Trump needs to define a Grand Strategy and then have policies that somewhat fit that strategy.” But I have to believe that was a joke. Have Donald Trump define our “Grand Strategy”????? The mind reels. Let us pray.

#23 Comment By Brendan Sexton On March 18, 2017 @ 2:38 pm

Donald Trump is marching us straight toward war. Bigly.
And it will be us and our children who fight it for him.
What a dreadful mistake he is proving to be.

#24 Comment By Fred Bowman On March 19, 2017 @ 10:25 am

Wishful thinking Pat that Trump is going to do anything to stand-up to the Republican Congress and America’s War Machine. Truth be told, Trump is doing everything he can to fuel it. And for what purpose? To make “America Great” again? Fat chance of that happening. One wonders how long is going to take before you realize that Trump is not going to be the President that you thought he was going to be.

#25 Comment By delia ruhe On March 20, 2017 @ 6:41 pm

Does Montenegro have the space for a few US nuclear-tipped missiles that can be pointed at some Russian city? The answer must be Yes; otherwise the War Party wouldn’t be so keen to gobble it up.