John McCain was advancing the cause of Montenegro joining NATO in the Senate today and Rand Paul objected. McCain wasted no time taking his long-standing adversary Rand Paul apart in a voice shaking with anger:
“You are achieving the objectives of Vladimir Putin... trying to dismember this small country which has already been the subject an attempted coup.” McCain continued: “If they object, they are now carrying out the desires and ambitions of Vladimir Putin and I do not say that lightly.”
Them's fightin' words apparently because the good senator from Kentucky put down his mic and stalked out of the room.
“I note the senator from Kentucky leaving the floor without justification or any rationale for the action he has just taken. That is really remarkable, that a senator blocking a treaty that is supported by the overwhelming number—perhaps 98, at least, of his colleagues—would come to the floor and object and walk away. “The only conclusion you can draw when he walks away is he has no justification for his objection to having a small nation be part of NATO that is under assault from the Russians. “So I repeat again, the senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin.”
C-Span was never noted for drama before, but all that has changed. Here is what McCain's office told the Daily Beast after the incident:
“Senator McCain believes that the person who benefits the most from Congress’s failure to ratify Montenegro’s ascension to NATO is Vladimir Putin, whose government has sought to destroy the NATO alliance, erode confidence in America’s commitments to its allies, overthrow the duly-elected government of Montenegro, and undermine democratic institutions throughout Europe.”
Rand Paul replied: “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),” he told The Daily Beast.“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.”
NATO is one of many complex subjects that Donald Trump does not understand and apparently neither does Rand Paul. Here's what Trump opined during the election from the Washington Post:
In a meeting with The Washington Post's editorial board, Donald Trump suggested NATO has outlived its usefulness and is a waste of money. According to the Post, the Republican frontrunner questioned the United States' involvement in the intergovernmental military alliance, charging that some U.S. allies are "not doing anything." He alleged that "we're doing all the lifting" on Ukraine while other European powers remain silent. "Why are we always the one that’s leading, potentially the third world war with Russia?" he added. Ultimately, he reportedly concluded, NATO will need to be diminished in coming years: "We certainly can’t afford to do this anymore," he said. "NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we’re protecting Europe with NATO, but we’re spending a lot of money."

And money is all the GOP cares about, basically, but at least McCain can still see the forest for the trees. McCain was contacted following Paul’s rebuttal and he offered no new insight at that time so apparently the Senator is sticking by his guns. It will be interesting to watch these two Republican titans clash. Stay tuned.