Having failed to get a unanimous consent resolution pushed through, the Senate today voted 97-2 to end all debate on the question of Montenegro joining NATO, setting the stage for an accession vote that will likely be held later this week.
The two votes against ending the debate came from Sens. Rand Paul (R – KY) and Mike Lee (R – UT), with Paul arguing that letting tiny Montenegro into NATO just adds “another country to the welfare wagon of NATO,” and obliges the US to support them in future wars, despite having no real interest in doing so.
There was never any serious doubt that the Senate would vote in favor of expanding NATO, as that’s been general US policy for years, mostly with an eye toward spiting Russia. Montenegro and it’s 2,000 troops, however, aren’t necessarily a big change to the situation in Europe.
The US is the last NATO member nation to have to vote on accession for Montenegro, and while polls show Montenegrins very divided on the question of joining NATO, the current government is largely in favor of doing so, seeing it as a ticket to more international support.