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Old 07-18-2018, 09:43 AM
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Cool Donald Trump gives NATO new reason to be nervous: defending Montenegro

Donald Trump gives NATO new reason to be nervous: defending Montenegro
David Jackson, USA TODAY Published 10:52 a.m. ET July 18, 2018

WASHINGTON NATO members already worried about President Donald Trump's commitment to the European defense alliance have a new reason to be nervous.

Montenegro, or at least Trump's latest comments about it.

In an interview with Tucker Carlson of Fox News, Trump again seemed to question the NATO commitment to mutual defense, and cited the alliance's newest member Montenegro as an example.

When Carlson asked, "why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack," Trump responded: "I understand what you're saying. I've asked the same question."

Trump went on to say that Montenegro, a small Balkan country on the Adriatic Sea, could somehow be the instigator of conflict, as opposed to, say, a country like Russia.

Montenegro has "very aggressive people," Trump said. "They may get aggressive and congratulations, you're in World War III. Now I understand that ... but that's the way it was set up."

More: Trump blasts US ally Germany as 'captive to Russia' in tense opening of NATO summit

More: What is NATO and why is President Trump slamming it?

More: President Trump blasts NATO allies ahead of trip, says contribution on defense not acceptable

Supporters of NATO many of whom are also concerned about Trump's relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out that NATO's mutual defense commitment is a deterrent, and has largely kept the peace in Europe since World War II.

"Alliance trust is gained in drops and lost in buckets," tweeted Mark Hertling, a former U.S. Army commander in Europe.

Article 5 of the NATO charter says "the Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all," and that they agree to "assist the Party or Parties so attacked."

During his recent trip to Europe, Trump criticized NATO members by saying they were not contributing enough to the alliance, and he has frequently questioned NATO's relevance in the modern world.

Trump mentioned NATO costs in his interview with Carson, telling him: "Add that to your little equation on Montenegro."

The president taped the interview after his much-criticized news conference with Putin, another NATO critic.

Many NATO members regard Putin as a threat, citing his seizure of the Crimea region of Ukraine and his cyberattacks on a variety of countries including the United States during Trump's presidential election in 2016.

Putin has angrily criticized NATO expansion. In 2016, he and Russia were accused of fomenting a coup in a country as it applied to join NATO: Montenegro.

Trump also has previous history of sorts with the small Balkan nation: During the NATO summit last year, Trump pushed aside Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic to get to the front row for a photo op.

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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