Montenegro more puzzled than affronted by Trump's attention

After Helsinki, Trump boasts of reinforcing NATO

America's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have been shaken by Trump's harangue against them in Brussels over their under-spending on defense, and his unrestrained effort to curry favor with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in Helsinki. Trump can correctly say that he needs to shore up the security of NATO's East European allies because of the German government's sign-off on the pipeline.

The statement was issued after Trump said in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday, "Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people.They're very aggressive people".

Earlier this week, Trump told television host Tucker Carlson he fretted about Montenegro starting World War III because of NATO's pledge to defend any nation that is attacked.

But asked for the German government's thoughts on Mr Trump's election meddling comments and subsequent correction, he refused to answer, simply stating: "I do not want to further comment on this".

"I don't quite understand the notion that the Montenegrins are so aggressive and with their two thousand men military that are likely to start World War III". Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people. They are very aggressive people.

"I understand, but that's the way it was set up", he continued. This is also the year in which NATO's European allies and Canada's defense budget have increased the most in the past 25 years.

"Alliance trust is gained in drops and lost in buckets", tweeted Mark Hertling, a former U.S. Army commander in Europe.

A number of former NATO officials criticized Trump for appearing to undercut NATO Article V, which commits members to defending other members when they are attack. Montenegro has only 2,000 troops.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: That's right.

Earlier Thursday, Trump called out US allies on Twitter as he attended a second day of meetings with leaders of the military alliance. Hacking and the other digital dark arts are playing a much bigger role, and it is proving hard to get them under control.

He also had to backtrack on his claim that the United States was to blame for the heightened tension with Russian Federation, tweeting that "We're all to blame" and that he held "both countries responsible".

Speaking to the BBC, Ranko Krivokapic, who is president of Montenegro's opposition Social Democratic Party, called Trump "the strangest president in the history of the United States".

If fact, one of the last Cold War confrontations occurred in Montenegro and was handled peacefully by government interlocutors despite two very hopped-up parties. Their defense spending kept at 1.45% in 2017, which is below 2% of NATO's standard.

In theory, Montenegro and Russian Federation could snipe and trade threats all they wanted, and the U.S. could keep right out of it.

However, Trump was so fixated during the press conference on domestic U.S. politics and his own personal obsession with his election win that there was no mention either of Putin's points or of any of the more significant security issues that could have been on the table. Our recent - in our recent history, we proved to be peaceful in our region.

"It's an open invitation to Putin and the United States must act to reassure this ally and our other allies that we really mean it with Article 5", Clark told CNN.

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