A NATO official challenged the president's apparent faltering resolve on the alliance's collective defense obligations, saying that Trump made his views on the matter clear during last week's NATO summit in Brussels.
"NATO's collective defense clause, Article 5, is unconditional and iron-clad. It means that an attack on one is an attack on all," an official, asking to remain anonymous, told AFP. "President Trump has made clear that the US is fully committed to NATO and our alliance is strong."
"Article 5 has only been invoked once, in support of the US after the 9/11 attacks. This led to NATO's largest-ever operation, in Afghanistan, where hundreds of thousands of soldiers from Europe, including Montenegro, as well as Canadians, stood shoulder to shoulder with US troops and more than a thousand paid the ultimate price," the official added.
Speaking to Fox News' host Tucker Carlson this week following his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump said that he's given considerable thought to why American military personnel should go to Montenegro in the event of a war in the Balkan country. "Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people…By the way, they're very strong people. They're very aggressive people. They may get aggressive and congratulations, you're in World War III," he said.
Trump's Montenegro remarks prompted Montenegrin politicians to call Trump's words "stupid," and to charge him with being the "strangest president in the history of the United States." Podgorica issued a formal response Thursday, saying it "contributes to peace and stability not only on the European continent but worldwide, along with US soldiers in Afghanistan."