Senate hawks aren’t happy with Rand Paul:

He’s also driving his Senate colleagues crazy by holding up the one thing the Senate could do to quickly rebuke Russian President Vladimir Putin: pass a popular treaty ratifying Montenegro’s membership in NATO.

Sen. Paul should be commended for forcing the Senate to consider the merits (or lack thereof) of further NATO expansion, and he deserves credit for taking this stand when it would be very easy to avoid a fight over something that the rest of his colleagues are sure to support. The case for bringing Montenegro into NATO is weak even by the usual standards of these arguments, and the U.S. shouldn’t be extending security guarantees to states that don’t need them. The debate over this is frequently framed in terms of antagonizing Russia, but that isn’t a good reason to add a new member to the alliance, and the reasons not to add Montenegro have nothing to do with Russia.

Montenegro doesn’t need the protection the alliance provides, and its contribution to the alliance will be minuscule. It makes no sense to add a new member to the alliance when most of the people there are opposed or indifferent to joining, especially when that new member won’t add anything significant to the alliance. Adding Montenegro won’t make any of the current allies more secure, and it will reward a corrupt government with authoritarian tendencies with integration into a major Western institution. Paul’s Senate colleagues shouldn’t be wondering why he doesn’t want to expand the alliance. They should be asking themselves why they support such a bad candidate for NATO membership.