Why Add Montenegro to NATO? U.S. Should Exit the Alliance

Why does NATO exist? Certainly not to defend America. After all, the North Atlantic alliance’s latest policy move is to invite Montenegro to join.

Montenegro‘s military employs 2,080—1500 in the army, 350 in the navy, and 230 in the air force. Wow!

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg opined that “Montenegro has come a long way on its path to join the Euro-Atlantic family.” Extending the invitation was “a historic decision. It would signal our continued commitment to the Western Balkans,” he added.

Montenegro is a nice country. But what does it have to do with American security?

What was once an alliance expected to defend wrecked and impoverished Western Europeans nations from mass murderer Joseph Stalin and his Red Army has turned into the geopolitical equivalent of a Gentleman’s Club. Everyone wants to be a member simply because it’s the thing to do. So Podgorica is being invited to enter the “North Atlantic” Treaty Organization.” v:shapes=”Picture_x0020_3”>

It’s hard to blame Montenegro’s government and people for wanting to join. But what is in the deal for America? The U.S. collects allies like most people accumulate Facebook friends.

America nominally is a superpower, but Washington officials crave attention and affection from other states. So presidents and legislators continually write guarantees on the money and lives of the American people for foreign countries, even when, like Montenegro, they are utterly irrelevant to U.S. security.

At least Montenegro doesn’t matter. Expansion to the Baltic States turns out to have been a huge mistake, bringing in helpless nations which the rest of Europe has no interest in defending, countries of no geopolitical importance to America but involved in bitter disputes with Russia. If anything bad happens, America will be expected to confront, with minimal support from its European “allies,” nuclear-armed Russia over a controversy of far greater interest in Moscow than Washington.

Bringing in Georgia and Ukraine would be far worse. Both countries are unlucky and exist in bad neighborhoods viewed as critical security concerns by Moscow.

Neither matters much for American security. Moscow’s role may not be fair or just, but not everything is worth going to war over.

Particularly strange are proposals to treat Georgia and Ukraine like formal allies even if they aren’t. Commentators have advocated flying air patrols and introducing troops in Ukraine. During the short-lived Russo-Georgia war the Bush administration reportedly considered bombing the tunnels through which Russia was moving its forces. 

After getting through the entire Cold War without a shooting war with Moscow, why would Washington take action which essentially would force Russia to strike back militarily? NATO originally was created to act as a firebreak to war. Current policy threatens to turn it into a transmission belt of war.

American disengagement would not leave Europe defenseless. Withdrawing would simply change who does the defending. 

Robert Scales, retired commandant of the Army War College, complained that “At 30,000, there are fewer American soldiers protecting Western Europe” than cops in New York City. Actually, he should ask, why are there even 30,000 U.S. soldiers protecting Western Europe?

As I point out in Forbes online: “After all, 70 years have passed since World War II. The European Union has a larger GDP and population than America, and dramatically larger than Russia. Isn’t it time for Washington’s rich friends and allies to defend themselves? Or will Americans have to wait another 70 years before their government stops subsidizing Europe’s generous welfare states?”

Montenegro. A nice place to visit. It doesn’t threaten anyone. It isn’t threatened by anyone. And it doesn’t matter to America.

Why is it being brought into NATO?

It’s time for a serious debate in Washington about turning alliances into welfare for the well-to-do overseas. The Europeans. The South Koreans. The Japanese. The Saudis.

It truly is time for a change.