The infighting in the Republican Party has just reached scandalous new heights. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) just accused fellow Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) of directly working for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin on the Senate floor.
During a debate over a bill which would support the induction of Montenegro into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Rand Paul voiced his objection to the bill and left the room, prompting this tirade from McCain:
You are achieving the objectives of Vladimir Putin… trying to dismember this small country which has already been the subject an attempted coup. If they object, they are now carrying out the desires and ambitions of Vladimir Putin and I do not say that lightly.
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.”
— Andrew Kirell (@AndrewKirell) March 15, 2017
Rand Paul, for his part, offered this weak excuse for his actions.
“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.”
The American commitment to NATO is the bedrock of the modern geopolitical status quo and there is little reason to deny the tiny Balkan nation of Montenegro their application to NATO, as they are a former Soviet block nation that is still fighting hard to resist the pernicious tendrils of Moscow.
Russia is believed to have recently attempted to assassinate Montenegro Prime Minister Milo Ðukanović and formented a coup against the government in order to prevent the nation from joining the ranks of NATO.
Given the lengths that Russia went to prevent this from occurring, there’s no reason to not welcome Montenegro into the NATO alliance and defend their nascent democracy from the machinations of the Kremlin.
Rand Paul’s faux-libertarianism – which he shamelessly abandoned during his failed run for the presidency – and his hyperausterity policies are nothing but empty grandstanding designed to build his credibility with the far-right libertarian conservatives who despise the government like a child despises their parents for not letting them jam a fork into an electric socket.
While it’s very unlikely Paul is actually a Russian agent, McCain does have a point in his explosive remarks. Russia’s plots to destabilize governments around Europe are a clear and present danger to global peace and stability, and it is our duty to oppose them at every turn – if the turncoats in the White House will allow it.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.