One day after voting in favor of ending all debate on Montenegro’s bid to join NATO, and with the same 97-2 outcome, the Senate today voted in favor of granting the tiny nation accession into the military alliance, sending the measure to President Trump to formally deposit the results at NATO.
This is effectively the end of the US government’s involvement in Montenegro’s membership bid, and with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pushing hard for membership, it’s a foregone conclusion that the White House will follow through on the matter quickly.
The US is the last NATO member to grant accession to Montenegro, a move which needs to be unanimous alliance-wide, after over a year of trying to get a unanimous consent vote in the Senate forced the Senate leadership to agree to a voice vote on the question.
Sens. Rand Paul (R – KY) and Mike Lee (R – UT) opposed the resolution, with Paul complaining that Montenegro’s tiny army offers no benefit to NATO, and its accession amounts to a new liability for the US military, committing America to the nation’s defense in any future wars its finds itself in.
Montenegro itself is the most divided on the question of joining NATO, with polls showing them split roughly down the middle on the matter. The current government, however, generally supports accession.