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McCain’s Obnoxious Montenegro Outburst

John McCain puts on another display [1] to remind us why he should never be taken seriously on foreign policy:

Sen. John McCain accused fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul of “working for Vladimir Putin” on Wednesday.

The fireworks came as McCain spoke in support of a Senate unanimous consent request in support of Montenegro’s bid to join NATO. The libertarian-leaning Paul, who has often advocated for a less interventionist foreign policy, opposes the resolution.

McCain’s accusation is obnoxious, but it also shows how weak the case for bringing Montenegro into NATO is. If there were a strong argument in favor of adding a new member, McCain wouldn’t have to stoop to attacking Paul as a Russian pawn, but there isn’t and even he knows that. There are many good reasons [2] why [3] NATO [4] shouldn’t [5] let [6] Montenegro [7] join [8], not least of which is that it won’t make America or NATO more secure, but it is much easier for McCain to impugn the motives of his opponents than it is to answer their objections. Sen. Paul deserves credit for opposing the unthinking endorsement of continued NATO expansion. If bringing Montenegro into the alliance is worth doing, it should be properly debated and members should vote on the record. McCain wants to avoid that debate, because there is very little for his side of the debate to say other than to engage in fear-mongering and baseless accusations.

McCain has shown time and again that his judgment on foreign policy is not to be trusted, and he has confirmed that once again with his latest outburst.

Update: Paul later issued a statement [9] to explain his opposition to taking on a new ally:

Currently, the United States has troops in dozens of countries and is actively fighting in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen (with the occasional drone strike in Pakistan). In addition, the United States is pledged to defend 28 countries in NATO. It is unwise to expand the monetary and military obligations of the United States given the burden of our $20 trillion debt.

Second Update: Matt Welch doesn’t think much [10] of McCain’s outburst:

Despite writing a book critical of his views, I have happily defended John McCain against scurrilous charges about his patriotism and heroism. To see him go rhetorically McCarthyite against a fellow American for having the temerity to disagree with his often questionable foreign policy judgment is one of the most disgraceful moments of his long career.

13 Comments (Open | Close)

13 Comments To "McCain’s Obnoxious Montenegro Outburst"

#1 Comment By david painter On March 15, 2017 @ 7:31 pm

John McCain – the man who graduated at the bottom of his class at the US Naval Academy. Who wrecked so many US Navy planes, some showboating, that any other Naval Airman would have been grounded. Yet he went on to fly in Vietnam. Got shot down and squealed his guts to the Viet Cong giving not only ingress and egress information for more Navy fliers to be shot down then went on to make propaganda broadcasts for the Viet Cong.

Yes, that John McCain. And let us not forget his daddy. Admiral John McCain who had support recalled when Israel attacked the unarmed intelligence ship the USS Liberty. Letting it go through nearly a days worth of repeated attacks without any support from the US Fleet in the region. With many sailors dead. Only through the heroic efforts of the Liberty crew were they able to save the ship. A cover-up of a scale unheard of in our nation going all the way up to POTUS Johnson. We know now the truth from JAG Capt Ward Boston signed affidavit on the affair.

#2 Comment By VikingLS On March 15, 2017 @ 8:38 pm

Does anybody care anymore what this jerk thinks?

#3 Comment By blimbax On March 15, 2017 @ 9:43 pm

@Viking: “Does anybody care anymore what this jerk thinks?”

Well, Lindsay Graham probably does, but then he’s playing boy Robin to McCain’s Batman. Or BattyMan.

#4 Comment By Kent On March 15, 2017 @ 9:49 pm

I am continually saddened by the fact that Rand Paul’s message did not resonate with more voters last year.

#5 Comment By VikingLS On March 15, 2017 @ 10:36 pm


I think of them more as Grover Dill and Scut Farcus.

#6 Comment By CharleyCarp On March 15, 2017 @ 11:26 pm

Good thing Sen. McCain didn’t quote Coretta Scott King. That would’ve been a Rule 19 violation.

#7 Comment By Viriato On March 16, 2017 @ 12:28 am


Please don’t demean two legendary (albeit fictional) crimefighters by comparing them to the cretin described in this article.


What message did Rand Paul offer last year? All I ever heard from him was, “Trump is soooo awful. A speck of dirt is more qualified to be President. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Rand’s father had a compelling message in 2008 and 2012, as did Rand himself when he was elected to the US Senate in 2010. Rand in 2016? Not so much, IMHO.

#8 Comment By easy does it On March 16, 2017 @ 1:46 am

Both McCain and Paul are reverting to form. McCain as an obnoxious interventionist, Paul as a voice of reason and balance.

McCain changes faces every six years as he approaches the AZ primaries, and Paul lost his voice when he campaigned for the presidency. I hope McCain loses his next election, and I hope Paul gains the strength, confidence, and national support he needs for another run for the White House. In the meantime I’m enjoying his return to form in the Senate.

#9 Comment By Howard On March 16, 2017 @ 7:26 am

As much as I hated the Obama presidency, I am at least glad this joker did not get in. During the 1996 presidential election, Bob Dole gave the appearance of a bitter old man who wished World War II had never stopped, but, over a much longer period, McCain seems to be a bitter old man who can’t wait for World War III to start.

#10 Comment By Uncle Billy On March 16, 2017 @ 8:29 am

I thank John McCain for his service to our country. That being said, it is time for McCain to retire. He is 80 years old, has been in Congress for decades, and frankly, he may be in the early stages of dementia. Rand Paul working for Putin? These are the words of a man who needs to retire.

#11 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On March 16, 2017 @ 2:03 pm

I have a very dim view of NATO to begin with, but even most Montonegrins don’t believe in NATO. 29% of them view NATO as a threat, and only 21% believe in it as a potential ‘protection’. What possible merit could there be to expanding NATO, other than to assuage Americans’ fears that we are no longer the biggest, baddest dog on the planet?


There are many words for this kind of reflexive, hypertrophied militarism and expansionism that does no one any concrete good, but ‘mindless’ would be a good start.

#12 Comment By long march On March 16, 2017 @ 5:39 pm

McCain’s vicious attacks on Rand Paul aren’t very surprising. After all, the interventionist GOP Establishment’s hatred of Paul is one of the reasons we have President Trump.

It should go without saying that as strategists the neocons and other Establishment interventionists are proven incompetents. They’re good at getting people to vote their fears, but they can’t execute. They reliably screw things up with their characteristic blend of bumbling, treachery, and corruption, and because at base their goals and interests are not ours.

They made us poorer, less safe, and less free with the Middle East strategy that got us attacked on 9/11. They they made us even poorer, less safe, and less free with the imaginary WMDs in Iraq, and did it again by turning Libya and Syria into failed states, unleashing the continuing flood of refugees destabilizing Europe. In their latest failure, the 2016 presidential election, with nearly comical incompetence they helped elect Trump by strategizing first and foremost against Rand Paul.

For McCain et al, marginalizing and suppressing voices like Paul’s is important as tactical politics, but also as a way to avoid exposure and to vent their fear and hatred of someone who is trying to expose them. Paul is an intolerable reminder of their own failure, of the terrible damage they inflicted on the country, and like mediocre, corrupt little creeps in all ages and places, they will never forgive him for it.

You can expect a lot more of it, and not just against Paul.

#13 Comment By Viriato On March 16, 2017 @ 10:05 pm

I have to say that Rand Paul’s response to this was pure gold. When asked about McCain’s remark on some news show, Paul said, “Well, I think he makes a really, really, really strong case… for term limits. I think he’s past his prime, and maybe getting a little unhinged.”