Arizona Republican Senator John McCain on Wednesday accused his colleague Senator Rand Paul of working for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
McCain’s remarks came after the Kentucky Senator objected to a treaty in relation to Montenegro. “He has not justification for his objectino to having a small nation be part of NATO that is under assault from the Russians,” the Arizona Republican said from the Senate floor.
“The Senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin,” he added.
The dispute arose after McCain asked for unanimous consent in order to set up a vote on a treaty on Montenegro joining NATO. However, Paul objected to the inclusion.
To be fair, McCain gave forewarning to all of his colleagues. Before he asked for the consent he told fellow Senators that anyone who objected was “carrying out the desires and ambitions” of Vladimir Putin.
Senator Paul seems to be basing his objection on the U.S.’s budget deficit and a military that is already stretched thin.
“Currently, the United States has troops in dozens of countries and is actively fighting in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen (with the occasional drone strike in Pakistan). In addition, the United States is pledged to defend 28 countries in NATO,” Rand Paul said in a statement, adding that “it is unwise to expand the monetary and military obligations of the United States given the burden of our $20 trillion debt.”
Paul’s budget argument is relevant to his objection because under NATO’s Article 5 — its ‘all-for-one’ pledge, perhaps the most important provision of the treaty — member states agree to defend any NATO country that is threatened by force.