Wednesday on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” host Tucker Carlson pushed back against the backlash over the question of small Balkan nation Montenegro as a member of NATO.
According to Carlson, it was a relevant question given Americans could die if forced to defend Montenegro or other eastern European countries like Slovakia or Estonia if they are invaded by a foreign under the terms of the NATO alliance.
Partial transcript as follows:
TUCKER CARLSON: Yesterday we played our interview with President Trump from Helsinki. Part of that interview has made headlines today. People are upset about it. It has nothing, by the way, to do with Vladimir Putin or mother Russia, it has to do with the nation of Montenegro, which by the way is smaller than the state of Connecticut and has fewer residents than the District of Columbia. It’s a relatively poor place. It has no critical
natural resources and limited strategic significance.
Few Americans could find it on a map or name its president. That’s not a slur against Montenegro. Apparently, it’s a nice place, but those are the facts about Montenegro.
From an American perspective, Montenegro is not an important country. Yet suddenly, because of an act of our Congress, Montenegro has great significance to every American. Since last year, the country has been a member of the NATO alliance. That means that if Montenegro ever finds itself in a war, our military is pledged to defend it. That is called the defense guarantee. Defense guarantees don’t sound like a big deal until suddenly they are. That’s how the First World War started. 37 million casualties later, the world began to rethink the wisdom of treaties like that.
But the lesson seems to have been lost since. In our interview with President Trump, we thought it might be worth starting a conversation about America’ obligation to NATO. So we asked a simple question: Why is it in our interest to defend the territorial integrity of Montenegro? Should our soldiers fight and die on its behalf?
Here’s the exchange we had.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So, membership in NATO obligates the members to defend any other member who is attacked. So, let’s say Montenegro, which joined last year is attacked, why should my son go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I understand what you’re saying. I’ve asked the same question. Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people.
CARLSON: I’m not against Montenegro or Albania.
TRUMP: By the way, they’re very strong people. They’re very aggressive people. They may get aggressive. And, congratulations, you’re in World War III.
I understand that, but that’s the way it was set up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So that is not a definitive answer, but obviously, the president has been thinking about it, and that is a good thing. Presidents are supposed to wonder about things like that. Serious countries ought to have debates about that. The U.S. has to defend Montenegro? What? Why is that? Is there a good reason? Let’s hear it.
That is the conversation we should be having, but the guardians of our public conversation are not serious people. They are hacks and buffoons.
For wondering about our defense guarantee with NATO, Trump is being denounced for treason, for asking the question, we’re accused of taking orders on Vladimir Putin…
My former network devoted an entire segment today suggesting that Americans somehow have some sort of moral obligation to lay down their lives for Montenegro.
Here’s part of it:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Yet again, raising serious doubts about whether he would honor Article V of the NATO charter if it came down to it. It’s a cornerstone of the alliance. An armed attack on one nation is an attack on all.
This time, the president questioned whether the United States should honor its agreement when it comes to NATO’s newest member, Montenegro.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
So, the argument apparently is that because Montenegro has about 20 non-combatants in Afghanistan right now, we, the U.S., has an eternal obligation to spend American money and lives defending Montenegro’s borders.
That is idiotic, which is to say perfect for cable news. In real life, a defense guarantee is not something you’d enter into lightly. It’s like promising a friend to take care of his kids if he dies. It’s a solemn commitment. And you would not make it unless you planned to keep it.
So, the question is, do we plan to keep it? Do we really plan to defend Montenegro or many of the other NATO members? How about Estonia? How about Slovakia? Are you ready to have your kids die in those countries?
The U.S. government is ready to send them. We’ve promised to do that. NATO was created almost 70 years ago for a specific and noble purpose, keeping the Soviets from invading Western Europe. It worked, thank God.
But the Soviet Union no longer exists. And it hasn’t existed for almost 30 years. NATO meanwhile is still around, and it’s getting bigger. Why is that?
And more to the point, is it serving America’s interests or is it imperiling them? Those are vital questions. Official Washington does not want to answer them or talk about them. They are trying to crush anyone who asks. We are not intimidated, obviously.
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