Not long after President Donald Trump commented that the “tiny” country of Montenegro could trigger World War III, the nation’s former president of the parliament, Ranko Krivokapic, fired back, offering a rather colorful assessment of Trump’s presidency and his knowledge of foreign policy in an interview with BBC News.
As detailed by the New York Post, Trump’s comments about Montenegro and its people were recorded on Monday, following his controversial meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, and aired on Fox News the following night. When asked by host Tucker Carlson about why the United States should defend Montenegro despite its relatively small size and population in the event of an attack, the president called it a “tiny country with very strong people” and suggested that its people might have the capacity to start another world war.
“They are very aggressive people, they may get aggressive, and congratulations, you’re in World War III. But that’s the way [NATO] was set up.”
According to BBC News, Donald Trump’s “World War III” remarks referred to NATO’s Article 5, the mutual defense treaty where an attack against one member nation is considered an attack against all.
Reacting to Trump’s statement about Montenegro, Ranko Krivokapic, who currently heads the country’s opposition Social Democratic Party, called Trump the “strangest president” in U.S. history and added some choice words about how he interacts with world leaders.
“With this kind of president, with his knowledge of foreign policy, who knows what is going on? Foreign policy is not his big thing,” Krivokapic told BBC News.
Likewise, Boris Raonic, program director of Montenegro’s Civic Alliance human rights organization, also reacted strongly toward Trump’s comments, saying that while most U.S. presidents “unite and promote” Western values, Trump is different, as he acts more like a “showman” than a leader.
“He is obviously not reading what the state department prepares for him, so we get these stupid statements, which clearly show a lack of knowledge and respect for [the] role that the U.S. had until now.”
Both Krivokapic and Raonic debunked any conception of their country being an aggressive one, with the former stressing that there’s no need for NATO forces to keep things under control in Montenegro, and the latter explaining that the country had ceased its “militaristic tradition” over 50 years ago.
Interestingly, Ranko Krivokapic told BBC News that he has some concerns that Montenegro might have been used by Donald Trump as a “bargaining chip” at Helsinki, adding that he hopes the U.S. president was merely reacting to Fox News‘ question with no hidden messages. As for Trump’s positive comments about Russia’s involvement in World War II, Raonic stressed that Montenegro, despite its small size, “led the struggle” in both world wars, as it had the highest proportion of casualties to inhabitants.