On Monday, the Senate approved in a near unanimous vote to clear the way for Montenegro to be the latest entry into NATO. The vote does not officially add the Balkan country, but it does approve a final vote later this week.
In case you are not sure where Montenegro is, here is a map:
Supporters believe the move will send a strong message to Russia, a country that has been at the forefront of American political discourse as the FBI and Congress investigate Russia's alleged involvement in the 2016 presidential election and ties to President Donald Trump.
This is part of the reason Sen. Paul believes now is not the time to add a former Russian ally that just elected a pro-EU government in a volatile geopolitical region to NATO.
"Montenegro in NATO will antagonize Russia while doing nothing to advance US national security," he said.
While adding Montenegro to NATO has various implications, one of the most significant is that the U.S. would be partly responsible for the nation's defense should it come under attack.
Rand Paul echoed President Trump's concerns that the U.S. spends a disproportionate amount of money, resources, and in Paul's words, "blood," on NATO.
Paul proposed an amendment that required the Senate to debate and vote on a formal declaration of war before sending troops to Montenegro should the country be attacked, even if it officially becomes a member of NATO.
“The people here who are these mouthpieces for war,” Paul remarked, “who think every soldier wants to go to war, go out and meet the soldiers and ask them whether they want the civilian senators to debate and have a formal declaration of war.”
Is Rand Paul right about this issue? Do Republicans and Democrats commit our troops to war too lightly? Do we need more debate in our foreign policy, and more diverse debate? What do you think?