Foreign Affairs
John McCain Accuses Rand Paul of Treason
March 17, 2017

Senator John McCain, who never saw a war he didn’t want to start, became upset with his colleague, Senator Rand Paul, for blocking his bill to allow Montenegro to become a member of NATO from coming up for a vote. In response to Paul objecting to his bill, McCain declared that Paul “is now working for Vladimir Putin.”

Now it seems odd that openly accusing one of your Senate colleagues of treason on the Senate floor wouldn’t violate some Senate rule on etiquette or decorum, especially considering how Senator Elizabeth Warren was silenced for reading a letter from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s wife about then-Senator Jeff Sessions’s troubling history on race relations, but since McCain is such a senior member of the ruling party it doesn’t seem likely he’ll get even a slap on the wrist.

Regardless, McCain’s main point seems to be that not only does Rand have no justification for blocking his bill, but that there could not possibly be a justification for not wanting Montenegro to join NATO aside from the objector being in the employ of the Russian government. McCain states at the beginning, “If there is objection you are achieving the objectives of Vladimir Putin… I have no idea why anyone would object to this except that I will say if they object they are now carrying out the desires and ambitions of Vladimir Putin and I do not say that lightly.”

I don’t intend to defend Senator Paul, but his stated reason for blocking McCain’s bill was spot on. Paul said, “[McCain’s] 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 war if Montenegro has an altercation with anyone.” This is absolutely correct. Montenegro joining NATO adds nothing whatsoever to the security of the United States while incurring the cost of defending Montenegro for every American taxpayer. The idea that Americans can afford to pay for the defense of every small country on the planet from alleged boogeymen is a utopian dream that neither John McCain nor any other neoconservative actually believes.

Despite what he says, Senator McCain has no interest in protecting Montenegro from political assassinations, coups, or in defending the people of Montenegro from alleged Russian aggression. If this were actually true McCain would be more outspoken against his friends in Egypt and Saudi Arabia for their crimes against humanity. It’s clear from his inability to go five minutes without discussing Vladimir Putin that McCain’s true goal is to provoke Putin.

When the U.S. and E.U. backed a coup in the Ukraine, another example of McCain being pro-coup, to remove a democratically elected government that was friendly with Russia and install a government more friendly toward the west, Putin responded by annexing Crimea, a largely ethnically Russian territory of the Ukraine at the time. President Obama resisted the calls from neocons like Senator McCain to arm the Ukraine or Ukrainian “rebels” in response to Crimea rejoining Russia, despite publicly condemning Putin’s actions. McCain is clearly hoping that if Montenegro were to join NATO it would be enough to provoke Putin into doing something drastic again, and that President Trump would be more open to militarily opposing whatever move Putin made than President Obama was.

Provoking foreign governments into doing something aggressive and then using their response to justify going to war with them has been a classic American policy, being used in the Civil War, World War I, and World War II just to name a few, and it’s one that McCain has tried to use against Russia and Vladimir Putin multiple times. He tried it with Georgia under President Bush, Ukraine under President Obama, and is now trying it with Montenegro under President Trump. To say that McCain’s desperate attempts to provoke a war with Russia are completely unhinged is an understatement. The man is a deranged psychopath with no business making policy or laws for the United States.