One day after Senator John McCain’s outburst on the senate floor, where he exclaimed that Rand Paul “is now working for Vladimir Putin,” the Senator from Kentucky released a statement breaking down the reasoning behind his objection to a treaty enabling Montenegro to join NATO.
“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.”
Paul then appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning where he delivered his response to McCain’s words.
Courtesy of RealClearPolitics:
GEIST: So, Senator, a little context around that. The vote was around putting Montenegro into NATO. What’s your reaction to Senator McCain’s characterization of your objection?
PAUL: You know, I think he makes a really, really strong case for term limits. I think maybe he’s past his prime; I think maybe he’s gotten a little bit unhinged.
I do think that when we talk about NATO, there can be a rational discussion about the pros and cons of expanding it. We currently have troops, combat troops, in about six nations. We have troops actively just stationed in probably a couple dozen others. We have a $20 trillion debt. And one of my favorite articles of the last couple years is one that talked about the angry McCains, and if they — if we put active troops and got involved in combat where McCain wants us to be, they put a little angry McCain on the globe, on the map. And it’s virtually everywhere. So his foreign policy is something that would greatly endanger the United States, greatly overextend us. And there has to be the thought whether or not it’s in our national interest to pledge to get involved with a war if Montenegro has an altercation with anyone.
There’s also another argument, is that when you ask the people of Montenegro, only about 40 percent or slightly less are actually in favor of this. They are close to Russia, they’re close to being sort of, like Ukraine, in the transition from Europe to Asia. Perhaps it would be good to be like Switzerland and be more neutral and trade with both.
So, there’s a lot of considerations but to call someone somehow an enemy of the state or a traitor might be considered by most reasonable people to be a little over the top.
GEIST: But Senator, you just called John McCain unhinged. You said he was past his prime. Why do you think so many other senators have voted in favor of this measure if it’s so crazy?
PAUL: I think that there is a bipartisan consensus that’s incorrect that we should have the whole world be in NATO. For example, if we had Ukraine and Georgia in NATO — and this is something McCain and the other neocons have advocated for — we would be at war now because Russia has invaded both of them.
And so I think having former satellites or former parts of the Soviet Union is NATO is very provocative. And you have to decide in advance whether you’re ready go to war. If you guys are ready to send a million troops into Ukraine and fight World War III, you’re going to do it without my support because I think that’s a really foolish notion.
GEIST: Do you think, Senator, places like Albania and Croatia then should have been allowed into NATO in 2009?
PAUL: I think it’s a real debate how big NATO should be and whether or not it’s more provocative than good. And there’s also the debate that the president brought up throughout the campaign, and that is we seem to be paying for all of it. Whenever there’s a war fought, our soldiers fight it and our dollars pay for it. And so the 45 soldiers that Montenegro has I think are hardly an asset to our national security. And, really, our decisions need to be about our national security. And so I just don’t think it enhances our national security to have Montenegro part of NATO.
It is hard to argue that the level of “Putin derangement syndrome” which McCain suffers from does, as Paul pointed out, make a great case for term limits.