State of the Union

Are America’s Wars Just and Moral?

“One knowledgeable official estimates that the CIA-backed fighters may have killed or wounded 100,000 Syrian soldiers and their allies,” writes columnist David Ignatius.

Given that Syria’s prewar population was not 10 percent of ours, this is the equivalent of a million dead and wounded Americans. What justifies America’s participation in this slaughter?

Columnist Eric Margolis summarizes the successes of the six-year civil war to overthrow President Bashar Assad.

“The result of the western-engendered carnage in Syria was horrendous: at least 475,000 dead, 5 million Syrian refugees driven into exile in neighboring states (Turkey alone hosts three million), and another 6 million internally displaced. … 11 million Syrians … driven from their homes into wretched living conditions and near famine.

“Two of Syria’s greatest and oldest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, have been pounded into ruins. Jihadist massacres and Russian and American air strikes have ravaged once beautiful, relatively prosperous Syria. Its ancient Christian peoples are fleeing for their lives before US and Saudi takfiri religious fanatics.”

Realizing the futility of U.S. policy, President Trump is cutting aid to the rebels. And the War Party is beside itself. Says The Wall Street Journal:

“The only way to reach an acceptable diplomatic solution is if Iran and Russia feel they are paying too high a price for their Syria sojourn. This means more support for Mr. Assad’s enemies, not cutting them off without notice. And it means building up a Middle East coalition willing to fight Islamic State and resist Iran. The U.S. should also consider enforcing ‘safe zones’ in Syria for anti-Assad forces.”

Yet, fighting ISIS and al-Qaida in Syria, while bleeding the Assad-Iran-Russia-Hezbollah victors, is a formula for endless war and unending terrors visited upon the Syrian people.

What injury did the Assad regime, in power for half a century and having never attacked us, inflict to justify what we have helped to do to that country?

Is this war moral by our own standards?

We overthrew Saddam Hussein in 2003 and Moammar Gadhafi in 2012. Yet, the fighting, killing and dying in both countries have not ceased. Estimates of the Iraq civilian and military dead run into the hundreds of thousands.

Still, the worst humanitarian disaster may be unfolding in Yemen.

After the Houthis overthrew the Saudi-backed regime and took over the country, the Saudis in 2015 persuaded the United States to support its air strikes, invasion and blockade.

By January 2016, the U.N. estimated a Yemeni civilian death toll of 10,000, with 40,000 wounded. However, the blockade of Yemen, which imports 90 percent of its food, has caused a crisis of malnutrition and impending famine that threatens millions of the poorest people in the Arab world with starvation.

No matter how objectionable we found these dictators, what vital interests of ours were so imperiled by the continued rule of Saddam, Assad, Gadhafi and the Houthis that they would justify what we have done to the peoples of those countries?

“They make a desert and call it peace,” Calgacus said of the Romans he fought in the first century. Will that be our epitaph?

Among the principles for a just war, it must be waged as a last resort, to address a wrong suffered, and by a legitimate authority. Deaths of civilians are justified only if they are unavoidable victims of a deliberate attack on a military target.

The wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen were never authorized by Congress. The civilian dead, wounded and uprooted in Syria, and the malnourished millions in Yemen, represent a moral cost that seems far beyond any proportional moral gain from those conflicts.

In which of the countries we have attacked or invaded in this century — Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen — are the people better off than they were before we came?

And we wonder why they hate us.

“Those to whom evil is done/Do evil in return,” wrote W. H. Auden in “September 1, 1939.” As the peoples of Syria and the other broken and bleeding countries of the Middle East flee to Europe and America, will not some come with revenge on their minds and hatred in their hearts?

Meanwhile, as the Americans bomb across the Middle East, China rises. She began the century with a GDP smaller than Italy’s and now has an economy that rivals our own.

She has become the world’s first manufacturing power, laid claim to the islands of the East and South China seas, and told America to keep her warships out of the Taiwan Strait.

Xi Jinping has launched a “One Belt, One Road” policy to finance trade ports and depots alongside the military and naval bases being established in Central and South Asia.

Meanwhile, the Americans, $20 trillion in debt, running $800 billion trade deficits, unable to fix their health care system, reform their tax code, or fund an infrastructure program, prepare to fight new Middle East war.

Whom the Gods would destroy…

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

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Is Iran in Our Gun Sights Now?

“Iran must be free. The dictatorship must be destroyed. Containment is appeasement and appeasement is surrender.”

Thus does our Churchill, Newt Gingrich, dismiss, in dealing with Iran, the policy of containment crafted by George Kennan and pursued by nine U.S. presidents to bloodless victory in the Cold War.

Why is containment surrender? “Because freedom is threatened everywhere so long as this dictatorship stays in power,” says Gingrich.

But how is our freedom threatened by a regime with 3 percent of our GDP that has been around since Jimmy Carter was president?

Fortunately, Gingrich has found a leader to bring down the Iranian regime and ensure the freedom of mankind. “In our country that was George Washington and … the Marquis de Lafayette. In Italy it was Garibaldi,” says Gingrich.

Whom has he found to rival Washington and Garibaldi? Says Gingrich, “Maryam Rajavi.”

Who is she? The leader of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, or Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, which opposed the Shah, broke with the old Ayatollah, collaborated with Saddam Hussein, and, until 2012, was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State.

At the NCRI conference in Paris in July where Gingrich spoke, and the speaking fees were reportedly excellent, John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani were also on hand.

Calling Iran’s twice-elected President Hassan Rouhani, “a violent, vicious murderer,” Giuliani said, “the time has come for regime change.”

Bolton followed suit. “Tehran is not merely a nuclear weapons threat, it is not merely a terrorist threat, it is a conventional threat to everybody in the region,” he said. Hence, “the declared policy of the United States of America should be the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran.”

We will all celebrate in Tehran in 2019, Bolton assured the NCRI faithful.

Good luck. Yet, as The New York Times said yesterday, all this talk, echoed all over this capital, is driving us straight toward war. “A drumbeat of provocative words, outright threats and actions — from President Trump and some of his top aides as well as Sunni Arab leaders and American activists — is raising tensions that could lead to armed conflict with Iran.”

Is this what America wants or needs — a new Mideast war against a country three times the size of Iraq?

After Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, would America and the world be well-served by a war with Iran that could explode into a Sunni-Shiite religious war across the Middle East?

Bolton calls Iran “a nuclear weapons threat.”

But in 2007, all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies declared with high confidence Iran had no nuclear weapons program. They stated this again in 2011. Under the nuclear deal, Iran exported almost all of its uranium, stopped enriching to 20 percent, shut down thousands of centrifuges, poured concrete into the core of its heavy water reactor, and allows U.N. inspectors to crawl all over every facility.

Is Iran, despite all this, operating a secret nuclear weapons program? Or is this War Party propaganda meant to drag us into another Mideast war?

To ascertain the truth, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should call the heads of the CIA and DIA, and the Director of National Intelligence, to testify in open session.

We are told we are menaced also by a Shiite Crescent rising and stretching from Beirut to Damascus, Baghdad and Tehran.

And who created this Shiite Crescent?

It was George W. Bush who ordered the Sunni regime of Saddam overthrown, delivering Iraq to its Shiite majority. It was Israel whose invasion and occupation of Lebanon from 1982 to 2000 gave birth to the Shiite resistance now known as Hezbollah.

As for Bashar Assad in Syria, his father sent troops to fight alongside Americans in the Gulf War.

The Ayatollah’s regime, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Basij militia are deeply hostile to this country. But Iran does not want war with the United States — for the best of reasons. Iran would be smashed like Iraq, and its inevitable rise, as the largest and most advanced country on the Persian Gulf, would be aborted.

Moreover, we have interests in common: Peace in the Gulf, from which Iran’s oil flows and without which Iran cannot grow, as Rouhani intends, by deepening Iran’s ties to Europe and the advanced world.

And we have enemies in common: ISIS, al-Qaida and all the Sunni terrorists whose wildest dream is to see their American enemies fight their Shiite enemies.

Who else wants a U.S. war with Iran, besides ISIS?

Unfortunately, their number is legion: Saudis, Israelis, neocons and their think tanks, websites and magazines, hawks in both parties on Capitol Hill, democracy crusaders, and many in the Pentagon who want to deliver payback for what the Iranian-backed Shiite militias did to us in Iraq.

President Trump is key. If he does the War Party’s bidding, that will be his legacy, as the Iraq War is the legacy of George W. Bush.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

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Americans Deserve to Know Who Is Leaking to the Press

For a year, the big question of Russiagate has boiled down to this: Did Donald Trump’s campaign collude with the Russians in hacking the DNC?

And until last week, the answer was “no.”

As ex-CIA director Mike Morell said in March, “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians … there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all. … There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark.”

Well, last week, it appeared there had been a fire in Trump Tower. On June 9, 2016, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort met with Russians — in anticipation of promised dirt on Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

While not a crime, this was a blunder. For Donald Jr. had long insisted there had been no collusion with the Russians. Caught in flagrante, he went full Pinocchio for four days.

And as the details of that June 9 meeting spilled out, Trump defenders were left with egg on their faces, while anti-Trump media were able to keep the spotlight laser-focused on where they want it — Russiagate.

This reality underscores a truth of our time. In the 19th century, power meant control of the means of production; today, power lies in control of the means of communication.

Who controls the media spotlight controls what people talk about and think about. And mainstream media are determined to keep that spotlight on Trump-Russia, and as far away as possible from their agenda — breaking the Trump presidency and bringing him down.

Almost daily, there are leaks from the investigative and security arms of the U.S. government designed to damage this president.

Just days into Trump’s presidency, a rifle-shot intel community leak of a December meeting between Trump national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn and Russia’s ambassador forced the firing of Flynn.

An Oval Office meeting with the Russian foreign minister in which Trump disclosed that Israeli intelligence had ferreted out evidence that ISIS was developing computer bombs to explode on airliners was leaked. This alerted ISIS, damaged the president, and imperiled Israeli intelligence sources and methods.

Some of the leaks from national security and investigative agencies are felonies, not only violations of the leaker’s solemn oath to protect secrets, but of federal law.

Yet the press is happy to collude with these leakers and to pay them in the coin they seek. First, by publishing the secrets the leakers want revealed. Second, by protecting them from exposure to arrest and prosecution for the crimes they are committing.

The mutual agendas of the deep-state leakers and the mainstream media mesh perfectly.

Consider the original Russiagate offense.

Confidential emails of the DNC and John Podesta were hacked, i.e., stolen by Russian intelligence and given to WikiLeaks. And who was the third and indispensable party in this “Tinker to Evers to Chance” double-play combination?

The media itself. While deploring Russian hacking as an “act of war” against “our democracy,” the media published the fruits of the hacking. It was the media that revealed what Podesta wrote and how the DNC tilted the tables against Bernie Sanders.

If the media believed Russian hacking was a crime against our democracy, why did they publish the fruits of that crime?

Is it not monumental hypocrisy to denounce Russia’s hacking of the computers of Democratic political leaders and institutions, while splashing the contents of the theft all over Page 1?

Not only do our Beltway media traffic in stolen secrets and stolen goods, but the knowledge that they will publish secrets and protect those who leak them is an incentive for bureaucratic disloyalty and criminality.

Our mainstream media are like the fellow who avoids the risk of stealing cars, but wants to fence them once stolen and repainted.

Some journalists know exactly who is leaking against Trump, but they are as protective of their colleagues’ “sources” as of their own. Thus, the public is left in the dark as to what the real agenda is here, and who is sabotaging a president in whom they placed so much hope.

And thus does democracy die in darkness.

Do the American people not have a “right to know” who are the leakers within the government who are daily spilling secrets to destroy their president? Are the identities of the saboteurs not a legitimate subject of investigation? Ought they not be exposed and rooted out?

Where is the special prosecutor to investigate the collusion between bureaucrats and members of the press who traffic in the stolen secrets of the republic?

Bottom line: Trump is facing a stacked deck.

People inside the executive branch are daily providing fresh meat to feed the scandal. Anti-Trump media are transfixed by it. It is the Watergate of their generation. They can smell the blood in the water. The Pulitzers are calling. And they love it, for they loathe Donald Trump both for who he is and what he stands for.

It is hard to see when this ends, or how it ends well for the country.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

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Russia Baiters and Putin Haters

Photo by Russian Presidential Press and Information Office

“Is Russia an enemy of the United States?” NBC’s Kasie Hunt demanded of Ted Cruz. Replied the runner-up for the GOP nomination, “Russia is a significant adversary. Putin is a KGB thug.”

To Hillary Clinton running mate Tim Kaine, the revelation that Donald Trump Jr., entertained an offer from the Russians for dirt on Clinton could be considered “treason.”
Treason is giving aid and comfort to an enemy in a time of war.

Are we really at war with Russia? Is Russia really our enemy?

“Why Russia is a Hostile Power” is the title of today’s editorial in The Washington Post that seeks to explain why Middle America should embrace the Russophobia of our capital city:

“Vladimir Putin adheres to a set of values that are antithetical to bedrock American values. He favors spheres of influence over self-determination; corruption over transparency; and repression over democracy.”

Yet, accommodating a sphere of influence for a great power is exactly what FDR and Churchill did with Stalin, and every president from Truman to George H. W. Bush did with the Soviet Union.

When East Germans, Hungarians, Czechs, Poles rose up against Communist regimes, no U.S. president intervened. For those nations were on the other side of the Yalta line agreed to in 1945.

Bush I and James Baker even accused Ukrainians of “suicidal nationalism” for contemplating independence from Russia.

When did support for spheres of influence become un-American?

As for supporting “corruption over transparency,” ex-Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili resigned in disgust as governor of Odessa in November, accusing Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, our man in Kiev, of supporting corruption.

As for favoring “repression over democracy,” would that not apply to our NATO ally President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, our Arab ally Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, and our Philippine ally Rodrigo Duterte? Were U.S. Cold War allies like the Shah of Iran and Gen. Augusto Pinochet of Chile all Jeffersonian Democrats? Have we forgotten our recent history?

The Post brought up the death in prison of lawyer-activist Sergei Magnitsky in 2009. Under the Magnitsky Act of 2012, Congress voted sanctions on Russia’s elites.

Yet China’s lone Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo, sentenced to 11 years in prison for championing democracy, died Thursday of liver cancer, with police in his hospital room. Communist dictator Xi Jinping, who makes Putin look like Justin Trudeau, would not let the dying man go.

Will Magnitsky Act sanctions be slammed on China? Don’t bet on it. Too much trade. Congress will do what comes naturally — kowtow. Yet our heroic Senate voted 98-2 to slam new sanctions on Russia.

What are the roots of this hostility to Russia and hatred of Putin, whom a Fox analyst called “as bad as Hitler”?

During the Cold War, every president sought detente with a USSR that was arguably the most blood-soaked regime of the century.

When the Cold War ended in December 1991, the Soviet Union had dissolved into 15 nations. Moscow had given up her empire, a third of her territory, and half the population of the USSR. Marxist-Leninist ideology was dead. An epochal change had taken place.
Yet hostility to Russia and hatred of Putin seem to exceed anything some of us remember from the worst days of the Cold War.

Putin’s Russia is called imperialist, though Estonia, next door, which Russia could swallow in one gulp, has been free for 25 years.

Russia invaded Georgia. Well, yes, after Georgia invaded the seceded province of South Ossetia and killed Russian peacekeepers.

Russia has taken back Crimea from Ukraine. True, but only after a U.S.-backed coup in Kiev replaced the elected pro-Russian regime.

Russia has intervened to back Bashar Assad in Syria. Yes, but only after our insurgent allies collaborated with al-Qaida and ISIS to bring him down. Is Russia not allowed to support an ally, recognized by the U.N., which provides its only naval base on the Med?
Russia has meddled in our election. And we have meddled in the affairs of half a dozen nations with “color-coded revolutions.” The cry of “regime change!” may daily be heard in the U.S. Capitol.

Putin is not Pope Francis. But he is not Stalin; he is not Hitler; he is not Mao; and Russia today is not the USSR. Putin is an autocrat cut from the same bolt of cloth as the Romanov czars.

His cooperation is crucial to the peace of the world, the freedom of the Baltic States, an end to the Syrian civil war, tranquility in the Persian Gulf, and solving the North Korean crisis.

While our tectonic plates may rub against one another, we are natural allies. The Russia of Tolstoy, Pushkin, Solzhenitsyn and the Orthodox Church belongs with the West.

If America stumbles into a war with Russia that all our Cold War presidents avoided, the Russia baiters and Putin haters will be put in same circle of hell by history as the idiot war hawks of 1914 and the three blind men of Versailles in 1919.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book
, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

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Alone at the G-20, but Is Trump Right?

A demonstration organised by the Committee for the Defence of Democracy (KOD) in front of the Sejm in Warsaw. Adrian Grycuk / WIkimedia Commons

At the G-20 in Hamburg, it is said, President Trump was isolated, without support from the other G-20 members, especially on climate change and trade.

Perhaps so. But the crucial question is not whether Trump is alone, but whether he is right. Has Trump read the crisis of the West correctly? Are his warnings valid? Is not the Obama-Merkel vision of a New World Order a utopian fantasy?

At the monument to the patriots of the Warsaw Uprising, Trump cited Poland as exemplar of how a great people behaves in a true national crisis.

Calling the Polish people “the soul of Europe,” he related how, in the Miracle of the Vistula in 1920, Poland, reborn after 12 decades of subjugation, drove back the invading Red Army of Leon Trotsky.

He described the gang rape of Poland by Nazis and Soviets after the Hitler-Stalin pact. He cited the Katyn Forest massacre of the Polish officer corps by Stalin, and the rising of the Polish people against their Nazi occupiers in 1944, as the vulturous legions of Stalin watched from the safe side of the river.

When the Polish Pope, John Paul II, celebrated his first Mass in Victory Square in 1979, said Trump, “a million Polish men, women and children raised their voices in a single prayer. … ‘We want God.’ … Every Communist in Warsaw must have known that their oppressive system would soon come crashing down.” And so it did.

The crisis of the West today, said Trump, is akin to what Poland faced. For it is about the survival of a civilization, rooted in Christianity, that has made the greatest of all contributions to the ascent of man.

What enabled the Poles to endure was an unshakable belief in and a willingness to fight for who they were — a people of God and country, faith, families, and freedom — with the courage and will to preserve a nation built on the truths of their ancient tribe and Catholic traditions.

Given the threats to the West, from within and without, said Trump, we need such a spirit now. What are those threats?

“The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?

“We can have the largest economies and the most lethal weapons anywhere on Earth, but if we do not have strong families and strong values, then we will be weak and we will not survive.”

Trump professed confidence in the West’s will to survive. But whether the West still has the character seems an open question.

Across the West, the traditional family has been collapsing for decades. Not one European nation has a birth rate that will enable its people to survive many more generations. Uninvited migrants in the millions have poured in — are pouring in — from Africa and the Middle East. The elite of Europe have been gladly surrendering their national sovereignties to transnational institutions like the EU.

Christianity is more of a dying than a thriving faith on the Old Continent. And as the churches empty out, the mosques are going up. Before our eyes, the West is being remade.

In June, gays and lesbians celebrated in Berlin as the German Parliament voted to approve same-sex marriage.

In Moscow, from May to July, a million Russians stood in lines a mile long to view and venerate a relic of the 4th-century bishop, St. Nicholas, on display in a glass case in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, rebuilt under President Putin.

Liberated from Leninism, Russia returns to the old faith, as Germany returns to Weimar.

At that G-20 gathering in Hamburg, hundreds of criminal thugs went on a three-day rampage — rioting, burning, looting and battling police, some 300 of whom were injured.

Were the autocrats of the G-20 — Xi Jinping of China, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Narendra Modi of India — impressed with the resolute response of Angela Merkel — the media-designated new “Leader of the West” — to mobs rioting in Germany’s second city?

At Harvard, Alexander Solzhenitsyn described what was on display in Hamburg: “A decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. … Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite.”

Secularist and hedonist, New Europe worships at the altars of mammon. Handel’s “Messiah” cannot compete with moonwalking Michael Jackson’s “We Are the World.”

Once Europe went out to convert, colonize and Christianize the world. Now the grandchildren of the colonized peoples come to Europe to demand their share of their inheritance from a West besotted with guilt over its past sins that cannot say “No!”

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

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Hopefully Trump Will Ignore Bad Advice on Putin

President Donald Trump flew off for his first meeting with Vladimir Putin — with instructions from our foreign policy elite that he get into the Russian president’s face over his hacking in the election of 2016.

Hopefully, Trump will ignore these people. For their record of failure is among the reasons Americans elected him to office.

What president, seeking to repair damaged relations with a rival superpower, would begin by reading from an indictment?

President Eisenhower did not begin his summit with Nikita Khrushchev by berating him for crushing the Hungarian freedom fighters in 1956 — a more grievous crime then hacking the emails of John Podesta.

President Kennedy did not let Russia’s emplacement of missiles in Cuba in 1962 prevent him from offering an olive branch to Moscow in his widely praised American University address of June 1963.

President Nixon, in first meeting Leonid Brezhnev, did not denounce him for extinguishing the Prague Spring. Were Trump to start his first summit with Putin by dressing him down, why meet with him at all?

Trump would do better to explore where we can work together, as in ending Syria’s civil war and averting a new war in Korea.

Moreover, when it comes to interference in the internal politics of other nations to bring about “regime change,” understandably, Putin might see himself as more sinned against than sinning.

Should Trump bring up the email hacking in 2016, Putin could ask him to explain U.S. support for the violent coup d’etat that overthrew a democratically elected pro-Russian government in Ukraine, a land with which Russia has been intimately associated for 1,000 years.

Consider the behavior of post-Cold War America, after Moscow gave up its empire, pulled all its troops out of Europe, let the USSR dissolve into 15 nations and held out a hand in friendship.

We gathered all the Warsaw Pact nations and three former Russian Federation republics into a NATO alliance targeted at Russia. We put troops, ships and bases into the Baltic on the doorstep of St. Petersburg. We bombed Russia’s old ally Serbia for 78 days, forcing it to surrender its birth province of Kosovo.

Among the failings of America’s post-Cold War foreign policy elites are hubris, arrogance and an utter absence of that greatest of gifts that the gods can give us — “to see ourselves as others see us.”

Can we not see why the Russian people, who saw us as friends in the 1990s, no longer do so, and why Putin, a Russia-First nationalist, has an 80 percent approval rating on the issue of standing up for his country?

Looking about the world today, do we really need any more crises or quarrels? Do we not have enough on our plate? As the Buddhist saying goes, “Do not dwell in the past … concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

Americans are rightly angry that Russia hacked the presidential election of 2016. But what was done cannot be undone. And Putin is not going to return Crimea to Kiev, the annexation of which was the most popular action of his long tenure as Russian president.

As D.C.’s immortal Mayor Marion Barry once said to constituents appalled by his latest episode of social misconduct: “Get over it!”

We have other fish to fry.

In Syria and Iraq, where the ISIS caliphate is in its death rattle, Russia and the U.S. both have a vital interest in avoiding any military collision, and in ending the war. This probably means the U.S. demand that Syrian President Assad be removed will have to be shelved.

Consider China. Asked by Trump to squeeze Pyongyang on its nuclear missile program, China increased trade with North Korea 37 percent in the first quarter. The Chinese are now telling us to stop sailing warships within 13 miles of its militarized islets and reefs in a South China Sea that they claim belongs to them, and demanding that we cancel our $1.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan.

Hong Kong’s 7 million people have been told their democratic rights, secured in Great Britain’s transfer of the island to China, are no longer guaranteed.

Now China is telling us to capitulate to North Korea’s demand for an end to U.S. military maneuvers with South Korea and to remove the THAAD missile system the U.S. has emplaced. And Beijing is imposing sanctions on South Korea for accepting the U.S. missile system.

Meanwhile, the dispute with North Korea is going critical.

If Kim Jong Un is as determined as he appears to be to build an ICBM with a nuclear warhead that can hit Seattle or San Francisco, we will soon be down to either accepting this or exercising a military option that could bring nuclear war.

Trump cannot allow this Beltway obsession with Putin to prevent us from closing, if we can, this breach. If we do not bring Russia back into the West, where do we think she will go?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

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Is America Still a Nation?

In the first line of the Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776, Thomas Jefferson speaks of “one people.” The Constitution, agreed upon by the Founding Fathers in Philadelphia in 1789, begins, “We the people…”

And who were these “people”?

In Federalist No. 2, John Jay writes of them as “one united people … descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs…”

If such are the elements of nationhood and peoplehood, can we still speak of Americans as one nation and one people?

We no longer have the same ancestors. They are of every color and from every country. We do not speak one language, but rather English, Spanish and a host of others. We long ago ceased to profess the same religion. We are Evangelical Christians, mainstream Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, agnostics and atheists.

Federalist No. 2 celebrated our unity. Today’s elites proclaim that our diversity is our strength. But is this true or a tenet of trendy ideology?

After the attempted massacre of Republican Congressmen at that ball field in Alexandria, Fareed Zakaria wrote: “The political polarization that is ripping this country apart” is about “identity … gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation (and) social class.” He might have added — religion, morality, culture and history.

Zakaria seems to be tracing the disintegration of our society to that very diversity that its elites proclaim to be its greatest attribute: “If the core issues are about identity, culture and religion … then compromise seems immoral. American politics is becoming more like Middle Eastern politics, where there is no middle ground between being Sunni or Shiite.”

Among the issues on which we Americans are at war with one another — abortion, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, white cops, black crime, Confederate monuments, LGBT rights, affirmative action.

Was the discovery of America and conquest of this continent from 1492 to the 20th century among the most glorious chapters in the history of man? Or was it a half-millennium marked by mankind’s most scarlet of sins: the genocide of native peoples, the enslavement of Africans, the annihilation of indigenous cultures, the spoliation of a virgin land?

Is America really “God’s Country”? Or was Barack Obama’s pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, justified when, after 9/11, he denounced calls of “God Bless America!” with the curse “God Damn America!”?

With its silence, the congregation seemed to assent.

In 1954, the Pledge of Allegiance many of us recited daily at the end of noon recess in the schoolyard was amended to read, “one nation, under God, indivisible.”

Are we still one nation under God? At the Democratic Convention in Charlotte to renominate Barack Obama, a motion to put “God” back into the platform was hooted and booed by half the assembly.

With this July 4 long weekend, many writers have bewailed the animus Americans exhibit toward one another and urged new efforts to reunite us. Yet, recall again those first words of Jefferson in 1776:

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them…”

Are we approaching such a point? Could the Constitution, as currently interpreted, win the approval of two-thirds of our citizens and three-fourth of our states, if it were not already the supreme law of the land? How would a national referendum on the Constitution turn out, when many Americans are already seeking a new constitutional convention?

All of which invites the question: Are we still a nation? And what is a nation? French writer Ernest Renan gave us the answer in the 19th century:

“A nation is a soul, a spiritual principle. Two things … constitute this soul, this spiritual principle. One is the past, the other is the present. One is the possession in common of a rich legacy of memories; the other is present consent, the desire to live together, the desire to continue to invest in the heritage that we have jointly received.

“Of all cults, that of the ancestors is the most legitimate: our ancestors have made us what we are. A heroic past with great men and glory … is the social capital upon which the national idea rests. These are the essential conditions of being a people: having common glories in the past and a will to continue them in the present; having made great things together and wishing to make them again.”

Does this sound at all like us today?

Watching our Lilliputians tearing down statues and monuments, renaming buildings and streets, rewriting history books to replace heroes and historical truths with the doings of ciphers, are we disassembling the nation we once were?

“One loves in proportion to the sacrifices that one has committed and the troubles that one has suffered,” writes Renan, “One loves the house that one has built and that one passes on.”

Are we passing on the house we inherited — or observing its demolition?

Happy Fourth. And God bless the USA.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

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An America First Korea Policy

Moon Jae-in, the new president of South Korea. (Sagase48 / Shutterstock.com)

“The North Korean regime is causing tremendous problems and is something that has to be dealt with, and probably dealt with rapidly.”

So President Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden this week.

But how this is to be done “rapidly” is not so easy to see.

North Korea has just returned to us Otto Warmbier, a student sentenced to 15 years hard labor for stealing a propaganda poster. Otto came home comatose, and died within days.

Trump’s conundrum: How to keep such a regime from acquiring an ICBM with a nuclear warhead, which Kim Jong Un is determined to do.

Having seen us attack Iraq and Libya, which had no nukes, Kim believes that only nuclear weapons that can hit America can deter America. He appears willing to risk war to achieve his goal.

Trump’s options as he meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in?

First, the decapitation of the Kim dynasty. But the U.S. has been unable to accomplish regime change for the 64 years following the Korean War. And killing Kim could ignite a war.

Then there is a U.S. pre-emptive strike on North Korea’s nuclear sites and missile arsenals. But this would surely mean a war in which Americans on the DMZ would be among the first to die, as thousands of North Korean artillery and mortar tubes fired into the suburbs and city of Seoul, which is as close as Dulles Airport is to the White House.

Asked by Congressman Tim Ryan why we don’t launch a war to end this threat, Defense Secretary James Mattis replied that, while we might “win … at great cost,” such a war would “involve the massive shelling of an ally’s capital … one of the most densely packed cities on earth.”

Seoul has a metro-area population of 25 million.

We are thus approaching a point where we accept North Korea having a nuclear weapon that can reach Seattle, or we attack its strategic arsenal and bring on a war in which millions could die.

What about sanctions?

The only nation that could impose sufficient hardships on North Korea to imperil the regime is China. But China refuses to impose the Draconian sanctions that might destabilize the regime, and might bring Korean refugees flooding into China. And Beijing has no desire to see Kim fall and Korea united under a regime aligned with the United States.

What FDR said of one Caribbean dictator, the Chinese are probably saying of Kim Jong Un, “He may be an SOB, but he’s our SOB.”

Early in his presidency, Trump gave the franchise for dealing with the North Korean threat to Beijing. But his friend Xi Jinping has either failed Trump or declined to deliver.

As for President Moon, he wants to negotiate, to engage the North economically, to invite its athletes to join South Koreans on joint teams for the Winter Olympics in 2018. Moreover, Moon is said to be willing to cut back on joint military exercises with the U.S. and regards the THAAD missile defense we introduced into South Korea as a negotiable item.

China, whose missile launches can be detected by THAAD radar, wants it removed and has so informed South Korea.

Where does this leave us?

We are committed to go to war to defend the South and have 28,000 troops there. But South Korea wants to negotiate with North Korea and is prepared to make concessions to buy peace.

As the nation that would suffer most in any second Korean War, South Korea has the sovereign right to play the hand. But what Seoul considers best for South Korea is not necessarily best for us.

What would be an America First Korean policy?

The U.S. would give Seoul notice that we will, by a date certain, be dissolving our mutual security treaty and restoring our full freedom to decide whether or not to fight in a new Korean War. Given the present risk of war, possibly involving nuclear weapons, it is absurd that we should be obligated to fight what Mattis says would be a “catastrophic” war, because of a treaty negotiated six decades ago by Eisenhower and Dulles.

“The commonest error in politics,” Lord Salisbury reminded us, “is sticking to the carcass of dead policies.”

But we should also tell South Korea that if she desires a nuclear deterrent against an attack by the North, she should build it. Americans should not risk a nuclear war, 8,000 miles away, to defend a South Korea that has 40 times the economy of the North and twice the population.

No vital U.S. interest requires us, in perpetuity, to be willing to go to war to defend South Korea, especially if that war entails the risk of a nuclear attack on U.S. troops or the American homeland.

If the United States did not have a mutual security pact that obligates us to defend South Korea against a nuclear-armed North, would President Trump be seeking to negotiate such a treaty?

The question answers itself.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

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Are Illinois and Puerto Rico Our Future?

If Gov. Bruce Rauner and his legislature in Springfield do not put a budget together by Friday, the Land of Lincoln will be the first state in the Union to see its debt plunge into junk-bond status.

Illinois has $14.5 billion in overdue bills, $130 billion in unfunded pension obligations, and no budget. “We can’t manage our money,” says Rauner. “We’re like a banana republic.”

Speaking of banana republics, Puerto Rico, which owes $74 billion to creditors who hold its tax-exempt bonds, and $40 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, has already entered bankruptcy proceedings.

The island’s imaginative 38-year-old governor, Ricardo Rossello, however, has a solution. Call Uncle Sam. On June 11, Rossello held a plebiscite, with a 23 percent turnout, that voted 97 percent to make Puerto Rico our 51st state.

“(T)he federal government will no longer be able to ignore the voice of the majority of the American citizens in Puerto Rico,” said Rossello. Washington cannot “demand democracy in other parts of the world, and not respond to the legitimate right to self-determination that was exercised today in the American territory of Puerto Rico.”

Had the governor been talking about the island’s right to become free and independent, he would have had a point. But statehood inside the USA is something Uncle Sam decides.

Rossello calls to mind Count Mountjoy of Grand Fenwick, who, in “The Mouse that Roared,” plotted to rescue his bankrupt duchy by declaring war on the U.S., sailing to America to surrender, and then demanding the foreign aid America bestows on defeated enemies.

Yet Puerto Rico’s defaults on its debts may soon be our problem. Many bond funds in which Americans have invested their savings and retirement money are full of Puerto Rican bonds.

According to The New York Times, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Marianas and Guam are in the same boat. With 100,000 people, the Virgin Islands owe $6.5 billion to pensioners and creditors.

Then there is Connecticut, a state that has long ranked in the top tier in per capita income and wealth.

Connecticut, too, appears wobbly. Rising pension benefits, the cost of servicing the state debt and falling tax revenue due to fleeing residents and companies like Aetna and General Electric, have dropped Connecticut to near the national bottom in growth prospects.

“The state’s population is falling: Its net domestic out-migration was nearly 30,000 from 2015 to 2016. In 2016, it lost slightly more than 8,000 people, leaving its population at 3.6 million,” reports Fox News: “(R)ecent national moving company surveys (show) more people leaving Connecticut than moving in. In 2016, the state also saw a population decline for the third consecutive year.”

As its example of a welfare state going belly up, the EU offers us Greece. And questions arise from all of these examples. Is this an inexorable trend? Has the old New Deal formula of “tax and tax, spend and spend, and elect and elect” finally run its course?

Across the West, social welfare states are threatened by falling revenues, taxpayer flight, rising debt as a share of GDP, sinking bond ratings and proliferating defaults.

Record high social welfare spending is among the reasons that Western nations skimp on defense. Even the Americans, who spent 9 percent of GDP on defense under President Kennedy and 6 percent under President Reagan, are now well below that, though U.S. security commitments are as great as they were in the Cold War.

Among NATO nations, the U.S. is among the least socialist, with less than 40 percent of GDP consumed by government at all levels. France, with 57 percent of GDP siphoned off, is at the opposite pole.

Yet even here in America we no longer grow at 4 percent a year, or even 3 percent. We seem to be nearing a point of government consumption beyond the capacity of the private sector to provide the necessary funds.

Some Democrats are discovering there are limits to how much the government can consume of the nation’s wealth without adversely affecting their own fortunes. And in the Obamacare debate this week, Republicans are running head-on into the reality that clawing back social welfare benefits already voted may be political suicide.

Has democratic socialism passed its apogee?

Native-born populations in the West are aging, shrinking and dying, not reproducing themselves. The cost of pensions and health care for the elderly is inexorably going up. Immigration into the West, almost entirely from the Third World, is bringing in peoples who, on balance, take more in social welfare than they pay in taxes.

Deficits and national debts as a share of GDP are rising. Almost nowhere does one see the old robust growth rates returning. And the infrastructure of the West — roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, airports, subways, train tracks — continues to crumble for lack of investment.

The days of interstate highway systems and moon shots seem to be behind us. Are Puerto Rico and Illinois the harbingers of what is to come?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

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Passing of the Pelosi Era

But in Tuesday’s final round, Ossoff, after the most costly House race in history, got 48 percent again, and lost. If Democratic donors are grabbing pitchforks, who can blame them?

And what was Karen Handel’s cutting issue?

Ossoff lived two miles outside the district and represented the values of the Democratic minority leader, whom he would vote to make the speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco.

The Pelosi factor has been a drag on Democrats in all four of the special elections the party has lost since Trump’s November triumph.

Prediction: Democrats will not go into the 2018 Congressional elections with San Fran Nan as the party’s face and future. No way. As President Kennedy said, “Sometimes party loyalty asks too much.”

Post-Trump, it is hard to see Republicans returning to NAFTA-GATT free-trade globalism, open borders, mass immigration or Bushite crusades for democracy. A cold realism about America’s limited power and potential to change the world has settled in.

And just as Trump put Bush-Romney Republicanism into the dumpster in the 2016 primaries, Hillary Clinton’s defeat, followed by losses in four straight special elections, portend a passing of the guard in the Democratic Party.

So where is the party going?

Clearly, the energy and fire are on the Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren left. Moreover, the crudity of party chair Tom Perez’s attacks on Trump and the GOP, being echoed now by Democratic members of Congress, suggests that the new stridency to rally the angry left is gaining converts.

Trump’s rough rhetoric, which brought out the alienated working class in the ten of thousands to his rallies, is being emulated by “progressives” — imitation being the sincerest form of flattery.

Nor is this unusual. After narrow presidential defeats, major parties have often taken a hard turn back toward their base.

After Richard Nixon lost narrowly to JFK in 1960, the Republican right blamed his “me-too” campaign, rose up and nominated Barry Goldwater in 1964. A choice, not an echo.

After Hubert Humphrey lost narrowly to Nixon in 1968, the Democratic Party took a sharp turn to the left in 1972 and nominated George McGovern.

A 21st-century variant of McGovernism seems be in the cards for Democrats today. The salient positions of the party have less to do with bread-and-butter issues than identity politics, issues of race, gender, morality, culture, ethnicity and class.

Same-sex marriage, abortion rights, sanctuary cities, Black Lives Matter, racist cops, La Raza, bathroom rights, tearing down Confederate statues, renaming streets, buildings and bridges to remove any association with slave-owners or segregationists, putting sacred tribal lands ahead of pipelines, and erasing the name of the Washington Redskins.

The Democrats’ economic agenda?

Free tuition for college kids, forgiveness of student loan debt, sticking it to Wall Street and the 1 percent, and bailing out Puerto Rico.

And impeachment — though a yearlong FBI investigation has failed to find any Trump-Kremlin collusion to dethrone Debbie Wasserman Schultz or expose the debate-question shenanigans of Donna Brazile.

And where are the Democratic successes since Obamacare?

The cities where crime is surging, Baltimore and Chicago, have been run for decades by Democrats. The worst-run state in the nation, Illinois, has long been dominated by Democratic legislators.

The crisis of the old order is apparent as well across the pond.

Jeremy Corbyn, a Bernie Sanders radical socialist, led his party to major gains in the recent parliamentary elections, as Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May saw her majority wiped out and faces the same seditionist grumbling as Nancy Pelosi.

Western elites are celebrating the victory of Emmanuel Macron, the “youngest French President since Napoleon,” who defeated Marine Le Pen by a ratio of almost 2-to-1 and whose new party, En Marche! (In Motion!), captured the Assembly. But the celebrating seems premature.

And while the first round of that election saw the ruling Socialist Party’s candidate run fifth, with 6 percent, the votes of the rightist Le Pen and far left-Communist Jean-Luc Melenchon together topped 40 percent. It is the flanks of European politics that seem still to be hard and growing, and the center that seems shaky and imperiled.

Moreover, Macron faces daunting problems. Unemployment is nearly 10 percent, with youth unemployment twice that. Terrorist attacks from within Muslim communities continue to rise, as do the number of boats of Third Worlders migrating from across the Med.

Can anyone believe that, as these trends continue, Europeans will continue to back centrist policies and moderate politicians to deal with them?

Dream on. That is not the history of Europe.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority. Copyright 2015 Creators.com.

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After the ISIS War, a US-Russia Collision?

Photo: the Russian Presidential Press and Information Office

Sunday, a Navy F-18 Hornet shot down a Syrian air force jet, an act of war against a nation with which Congress has never declared or authorized a war.

Washington says the Syrian plane was bombing U.S.-backed rebels. Damascus says its plane was attacking ISIS.

Vladimir Putin’s defense ministry was direct and blunt:

“Repeated combat actions by U.S. aviation under the cover of counterterrorism against lawful armed forces of a country that is a member of the U.N. are a massive violation of international law and de facto a military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic.”

An ABC report appears to back up Moscow’s claims:

“Over the last four weeks, the U.S. has conducted three air strikes on pro-regime forces backed by Iran that have moved into a deconfliction zone around the town of Tanf in southwestern Syria, where there is a coalition training base for local forces fighting ISIS.”

Russia has now declared an end to cooperation to prevent air clashes over Syria and asserted an intent to track and target aerial intruders in its area of operations west of the Euphrates.

Such targets would be U.S. planes and surveillance drones.

If Moscow is not bluffing, we could be headed for U.S.-Russian collision in Syria.

Sunday’s shoot-down of a hostile aircraft was the first by U.S. planes in this conflict. It follows President Trump’s launch of scores of cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield in April. The U.S. said the airfield was the base of Syrian planes that used chemical weapons on civilians.

We are getting ever deeper into this six-year sectarian and civil war. And what we may be witnessing now are the opening shots of its next phase — the battle for control of the territory and population liberated by the fall of Raqqa and the death of the ISIS “caliphate.”

The army of President Bashar Assad seeks to recapture as much lost territory as possible and they have the backing of Russia, Iranian troops, Shiite militia from Iraq and Afghanistan, and Hezbollah.

Assad’s and his allied forces opposing ISIS are now colliding with the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces opposing ISIS, which consist of Arab rebels and the Syrian Kurds of the PYD.

But if America has decided to use its air power to shoot down Syrian planes attacking rebels we support, this could lead to a confrontation with Russia and a broader, more dangerous, and deadly war for the United States.

How would we win such a war, without massive intervention?

Is this where we are headed? Is this where we want to go?

For, again, Congress has never authorized such a war, and there seems to be no vital U.S. interest involved in who controls Raqqa and neighboring lands, as long as ISIS is expelled. During the campaign, Trump even spoke of U.S.-Russian cooperation to kill ISIS.

While in Saudi Arabia, however, he seemed to sign on to what is being hyped as an “Arab NATO,” where the U.S. accepts Riyadh as the principal ally and leader of the Gulf Arabs in the regional struggle for hegemony with Shiite Iran.

Following that Trump trip, the Saudis — backed by Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain — sealed their border with Qatar, which maintains ties to Iran. And though Qatar is also host to the largest U.S. air base in the region, al-Udeid, Trump gave the impression its isolation was his idea.

President Trump and his country seem to be at a decision point.

If, after the fall of ISIS in Raqqa, we are going to use U.S. power and leverage to solidify the position of Syrian rebels and Kurds, at the expense of Damascus, we could find ourselves in a collision with Syria, Russia, Hezbollah, Iran and even Turkey.

For Turkish President Erdogan looks on our Kurdish allies in Syria as Kurdish allies of the terrorist PKK inside his own country.

During the campaign, candidate Trump won support by pledging to work with Russia to defeat our common enemy. But if, after ISIS is gone from Syria, we decide it is in our interests to confront Assad, we are going to find ourselves in a regional confrontation.

In Iraq, the U.S. and Iran have a common foe, ISIS, and a common ally, the government in Baghdad. In Syria, we have a common foe, ISIS. But our allies are opposed by Assad, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.

The question before us: After Raqqa and Mosul fall and the caliphate disappears, who inherits the ISIS estate?

The U.S. needs now to delineate the lines of advance for Syria’s Kurds, and to talk to the Russians, Syrians and Iranians.

We cannot allow our friends in the Middle East and Persian Gulf to play our hand for us, for it is all too often in their interests to have us come fight their wars, which are not necessarily our wars.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

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A Long History of Leftist Hatred

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James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, who aspired to end his life as a mass murderer of Republican Congressmen, was a Donald Trump hater and a Bernie Sanders backer.

Like many before him, Hodgkinson was a malevolent man of the hating and hard left.

His planned atrocity failed because two Capitol Hill cops were at that Alexandria baseball field, providing security for House Whip Steve Scalise. Had those cops not been there, a massacre would have ensued with many more dead than the gunman.

Recall. There were no armed citizens at that Tucson grocery in 2011, when six were murdered and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was gravely wounded along with a dozen others. The nutcase doing the shooting was only wrestled to the ground when he dropped a clip trying to reload.

The Alexandria attack brings back memories of long ago.

A day before my 12th birthday, when I was in Children’s Hospital with a broken leg, my parents brought me the news that Puerto Rican terrorists had just attempted to assassinate Harry Truman at Blair House. A heroic cop, Leslie Coffelt, died stopping them.

In my second year in high school, blocks from the Capitol, Puerto Rican nationalists entered the visitor’s gallery of the House and began firing semiautomatic pistols. Five Congressmen were wounded.

Democratic politics has often proven a dangerous calling.

Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley and JFK — one in every 10 of all our presidents — were assassinated.

Attending a service for a South Carolina Congressman in the Capitol in 1835, President Jackson survived twin misfires of two pistols. Old Hickory used his cane to attack his assailant, who was collared by Congressman Davy Crockett of Tennessee.

As a third-party candidate for president in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt was shot in the chest. “It takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose,” Teddy scoffed, and finished his speech.

In February 1933, President-elect FDR, in Miami, was the target of would-be assassin Giuseppe Zangara, whose arm was jostled at the moment of firing. The bullet killed Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak.

Between the assassination of JFK in 1963 and near-mortal wounding of President Reagan by John Hinckley in 1981, Martin Luther King was murdered in Memphis in April 1968, and Sen. Robert Kennedy, two months later, in Los Angeles.

Presidential candidate George Wallace, campaigning in Laurel, Maryland, was shot five times in May 1972 by Arthur Bremer, who had spent weeks stalking President Nixon. President Ford was the target of two attempts on his life in 1975, the first by a Manson Family hanger-on Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, the second by radical leftist Sara Jane Moore.

What drove the assassins?

In the early 20th century, it was anarchism. McKinley was killed by anarchist Leon Czolgosz in Buffalo, New York.

In 1919, Carlo Valdinaci tried to assassinate Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer with a bomb on his porch at 2132 R Street. Valdinoci tripped on a wicket and his dynamite bomb exploded prematurely, blasting Carlo’s body parts all over the neighborhood.

Palmer’s neighbor across the street, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Roosevelt, rushed over to help.

Palmer ordered a roundup of anarchists in what came to be known as “Palmer Raids,” and put in charge of field operations a 24-year-old lawyer and D.C. law-enforcement prodigy by the name of John Edgar Hoover.

Hoover’s career flourished. But the career of America’s most famous anarchist, Emma Goldman, faded. She and ex-lover Alexander Berkman, who had tried to kill Carnegie Steel’s Henry Clay Frick during the violent Homestead Strike of 1892, were rounded up and deported in 1920 with hundreds of anarchists to the new Russia of Lenin and Trotsky in a ship the press dubbed “the Red Ark.”

A. Mitchell Palmer did not get the 1920 presidential nomination he was seeking. But neighbor FDR did make it onto the ticket.

As radical anarchists were the principal terrorists of the first quarter of the 20th century, and Puerto Rican nationalist-terrorists dominated the 1950s, the 1960s and early 1970s were marked by the seemingly endless violence of the hard left, beginning with the Communist Oswald, who had tried to shoot Gen. Edwin Walker in Dallas before killing JFK.

The campus violence and urban riots of the decade, from Harlem to Watts to Newark and Detroit, to Washington, D.C., and 100 cities after Dr. King’s death, were not the work of the Goldwater right.

Those were the days of the Black Panthers, Students for a Democratic Society, Weatherman and the Symbionese Liberation Army. It was America’s radical left shooting cops and burning down ROTC buildings. Leftist violence propelled the political careers of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

As for James Hodgkinson, he was a Trump-hating left-wing terrorist.

And those who incite sick minds with images of a bloodstained decapitated head of the president, and cheer Central Park productions of “Julius Caesar” with the assassinated Roman Consul made up to look like the president, cannot evade moral culpability.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

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Are We Nearing Civil War?

President Trump may be chief of state, head of government and commander in chief, but his administration is shot through with disloyalists plotting to bring him down.

We are approaching something of a civil war where the capital city seeks the overthrow of the sovereign and its own restoration.

Thus far, it is a nonviolent struggle, though street clashes between pro- and anti-Trump forces are increasingly marked by fistfights and brawls. Police are having difficulty keeping people apart. A few have been arrested carrying concealed weapons.

That the objective of this city is to bring Trump down via a deep state-media coup is no secret. Few deny it.

Last week, fired Director of the FBI James Comey, a successor to J. Edgar Hoover, admitted under oath that he used a cutout to leak to The New York Times an Oval Office conversation with the president.

Goal: have the Times story trigger the appointment of a special prosecutor to bring down the president.

Comey wanted a special prosecutor to target Trump, despite his knowledge, from his own FBI investigation, that Trump was innocent of the pervasive charge that he colluded with the Kremlin in the hacking of the DNC.

Comey’s deceit was designed to enlist the police powers of the state to bring down his president. And it worked. For the special counsel named, with broad powers to pursue Trump, is Comey’s friend and predecessor at the FBI, Robert Mueller.

As Newt Gingrich said Sunday: “Look at who Mueller’s starting to hire. … (T)hese are people that … look to me like they’re … setting up to go after Trump … including people, by the way, who have been reprimanded for hiding from the defense information into major cases. …

“This is going to be a witch hunt.”

Another example. According to Daily Kos, Trump planned a swift lifting of sanctions on Russia after inauguration and a summit meeting with Vladimir Putin to prevent a second Cold War.

The State Department was tasked with working out the details.

Instead, says Daniel Fried, the coordinator for sanctions policy, he received “panicky” calls of “Please, my God, can you stop this?”

Operatives at State, disloyal to the president and hostile to the Russia policy on which he had been elected, collaborated with elements in Congress to sabotage any detente. They succeeded.

“It would have been a win-win for Moscow,” said Tom Malinowski of State, who boasted last week of his role in blocking a rapprochement with Russia. State employees sabotaged one of the principal policies for which Americans had voted, and they substituted their own.

Not in memory have there been so many leaks to injure a president from within his own government, and not just political leaks, but leaks of confidential, classified and secret documents. The leaks are coming out of the supposedly secure investigative and intelligence agencies of the U.S. government.

The media, the beneficiaries of these leaks, are giving cover to those breaking the law. The real criminal “collusion” in Washington is between Big Media and the deep state, colluding to destroy a president they detest and to sink the policies they oppose.

Yet another example is the unfolding “unmasking” scandal.

While all the evidence is not yet in, it appears an abnormal number of conversations between Trump associates and Russians were intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies.

On orders higher up, the conversations were transcribed, and, contrary to law, the names of Trump associates unmasked.

Then those transcripts, with names revealed, were spread to all 16 agencies of the intel community at the direction of Susan Rice, and with the possible knowledge of Barack Obama, assuring some would be leaked after Trump became president.

The leak of Gen. Michael Flynn’s conversation with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, after Obama imposed sanctions on Russia for the hacking of the DNC, may have been a product of the unmasking operation. The media hit on Flynn cost him the National Security Council post.

Trump has had many accomplishments since his election. Yet his enemies in the media and their deep state allies have often made a purgatory of his presidency.

What he and his White House need to understand is that this is not going to end, that this is a fight to the finish, that his enemies will not relent until they see him impeached or resigning in disgrace.

To prevail, Trump will have to campaign across this country and wage guerrilla war in this capital, using the legal and political weapons at his disposal to ferret out the enemies within his own government.

Not only is this battle essential, if Trump hopes to realize his agenda, it is winnable. For the people sense that the Beltway elites are cynically engaged in preserving their own privileges, positions and power.

If the president cannot rewrite Obamacare or achieve tax reform, he should not go around the country in 2018 wailing about Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer. They are not the real adversaries. They are but interchangeable parts.

He should campaign against the real enemies of America First by promising to purge the deep state and flog its media collaborators.

Time to burn down the Bastille.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

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The Impeach-Trump Conspiracy

Pressed by Megyn Kelly on his ties to President Trump, an exasperated Vladimir Putin blurted out, “We had no relationship at all. … I never met him. … Have you all lost your senses over there?”

Yes, Vlad, we have.

Consider the questions that have convulsed this city since the Trump triumph, and raised talk of impeachment.

Did Trump collude with Russians to hack the DNC emails and move the goods to WikiLeaks, thus revealing the state secret that DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was putting the screws to poor Bernie Sanders?

If not Trump himself, did campaign aides collude with the KGB?

Now, given that our NSA and CIA seemingly intercept everything Russians say to Americans, why is our fabled FBI, having investigated for a year, unable to give us a definitive yes or no?

The snail’s pace of the FBI investigation explains Trump’s frustration. What explains the FBI’s torpor? If J. Edgar Hoover had moved at this pace, John Dillinger would have died of old age.

We hear daily on cable TV of the “Trump-Russia” scandal. Yet, no one has been charged with collusion, and every intelligence official, past or prevent, who has spoken out has echoed ex-acting CIA Director Mike Morrell:

“On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all. … There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark.”

Where are the criminals? Where is the crime?

As for the meetings between Gen. Mike Flynn, Jared Kushner, Sen. Jeff Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, it appears that Trump wanted a “back channel” to Putin so he could honor his commitment to seek better relations with Russia.

Given the Russophobia rampant here, that makes sense. And while it appears amateurish that Flynn would use Russian channels of communication, what is criminal about this?

Putin is not Stalin. Soviet divisions are not sitting on the Elbe. The Cold War is over. And many presidents have used back channels. Woodrow Wilson sent Col. Edward House to talk to the Kaiser and the Brits. FDR ran messages to Churchill through Harry Hopkins.

As for Trump asking Director James Comey to cut some slack for Flynn, it is understandable in human terms. Flynn had been a loyal aide and friend and Trump had to feel rotten about having to fire the man.

So, what is really going on here?

All the synthetic shock over what Kushner or Sessions said to Kislyak aside, this city’s hatred for President Trump, and its fanatic determination to bring him down in disgrace, predates his presidency.

For Trump ran in 2016 not simply as the Republican alternative. He presented his candidacy as a rejection, a repudiation of the failed elites, political and media, of both parties. Americans voted in 2016 not just for a change in leaders but for a revolution to overthrow a ruling regime.

Thus this city has never reconciled itself to Trump’s victory, and the president daily rubs their noses in their defeat with his tweets.

Seeking a rationale for its rejection, this city has seized upon that old standby. We didn’t lose! The election was stolen in a vast conspiracy, an “act of war” against America, an assault upon “our democracy,” criminal collusion between the Kremlin and the Trumpites.

Hence, Trump is an illegitimate president, and it is the duty of brave citizens of both parties to work to remove the usurper.

The city seized upon a similar argument in 1968, when Richard Nixon won, because it was said he had colluded to have South Vietnam’s president abort Lyndon Johnson’s new plan to bring peace to Southeast Asia in the final hours of that election.

Then, as now, the “t” word, treason, was trotted out.

Attempts to overturn elections where elites are repudiated are not uncommon in U.S. history. Both Nixon and Reagan, after 49-state landslides, were faced with attempts to overturn the election results.

With Nixon in Watergate, the elites succeeded. With Reagan in Iran-Contra, they almost succeeded in destroying that great president as he was ending the Cold War in a bloodless victory for the West.

After Lincoln’s assassination, President Andrew Johnson sought to prevent Radical Republicans from imposing a ruthless Reconstruction on a defeated and devastated South.

The Radicals enacted the Tenure of Office Act, stripping Johnson of his authority to remove any member of the Cabinet without Senate permission. Johnson defied the Radicals and fired their agent in the Cabinet, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.

“Tennessee” Johnson was impeached, and missed conviction by one vote. John F. Kennedy, in his 1956 book, called the senator who had voted to save Johnson a “Profile in Courage.”

If Trump is brought down on the basis of what Putin correctly labels “nonsense,” this city will have executed a nonviolent coup against a constitutionally elected president. Such an act would drop us into the company of those Third World nations where such means are the customary ways that corrupt elites retain their hold on power.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

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The Forever War?

On May 22, Salman Abedi, 22, waiting at the entrance of the Arianna Grande pop concert in Manchester, blew himself up, killing almost two dozen people, among them parents waiting to pick up their children.

Saturday, three Islamic terrorists committed “suicide-by-cop,” using a van to run down pedestrians on London Bridge, and then slashing and stabbing patrons of pubs and diners in the nearby Borough Market.

By all accounts, the killers bore no special grudge against those they murdered. They appear not even to have known their victims.

Why, then, did they kill these strangers, and themselves?

A BBC eyewitness suggests a motive: “They shouted, ‘This is for Allah’, as they stabbed indiscriminately.”

The murderers were Muslims. The rationale for their crimes lies in the belief that their bloody deeds would inscribe them in a book of martyrs, and Allah would reward them with instant ascension into the paradise that awaits all good Muslims.

Ideas have consequences. And where might these crazed killers have gotten an idea like that?

Is there a strain of Islam, the basis of which can be found in the Quran, that would justify what the murderers did at London Bridge?

On Palm Sunday, an explosion in Tanta, 56 miles north of Cairo, killed 29 and injured 71 Copts as they prayed at the Mar Girgis church. A second blast at a church in Alexandria killed 18 and wounded 35.

On May 26, masked gunmen stopped two buses carrying Coptic Christians to Saint Samuel the Confessor Monastery in Egypt, and opened fire, killing 26 and wounding 25.

“I call on Egyptians to unite in the face of this brutal terrorism,” said Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of al-Azhar, Egypt’s 1,000-year-old center of Islamic learning.

Yet, years of such atrocities have effected a near-complete cleansing of Christianity from its cradle provinces in the Holy Land.

If these persecutors and killers of Christians are apostates to Islam, headed to hell for their savageries, why have not all the imams of the world, Shiite and Sunni, risen together to condemn them as heretics?

Clearly, from the suicide bombings and shootings of civilians in the Middle East, now across the West, there is a belief among some Muslims that what the killers are doing is moral and meritorious—taking the martyr’s path to salvation.

When have the imams of Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, and West ever stood as one to condemn all such acts as against the tenets of Islam?

In condemning the London Bridge attack, Prime Minister Theresa May said that recent atrocities across England were “bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism.”

Correct. There is an extremist school of Islam that needs to be purged from the West, even as this school of fanatics is seeking to purge Christianity from the East.

We are at war. And the imams of Islam need to answer the question: “Whose side are you on?”

Are honor killings of girls and women caught in adultery justified? Are lashings and executions of Christian converts justified?

Do people who hold such beliefs really belong in the United States or in the West during this long war with Islamist extremism?

Other questions need answering as well.

Is our commitment to diversity broad enough to embrace people with Islamist beliefs? Is our First Amendment freedom of speech and of religion extensive enough to cover the sermons of imams who use mosques to preach in favor of expelling Christians from the Middle East and an eventual takeover of the West for an Islam where Sharia replaces constitutional law?

Are such Islamist beliefs not intolerable and perilous for our republic?

Clearly, the West is in a civilizational struggle, with the outcome in some doubt.

Four years after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese empire had ceased to exist. Japan was smoldering ruins, its navy at the bottom of the Pacific. An American proconsul, Douglas MacArthur, was dictating to the Japanese from the Dai-Ichi building.

Today we are in the 16th year of a war begun on 9/11. We are mired down in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Our victory in Afghanistan is being reversed by the Taliban.

While the ISIS caliphate is being eradicated in Raqqa and Mosul, its elements are in two dozen countries of the Mideast. Muslim migrants and refugees, ISIS and al-Qaida among them, are moving into Europe.

Terrorist attacks in the West grow in number and lethality every year. The new normal. Now, second-generation Muslims within Europe seem to be converting to a violent version of Islam.

To fight them, we are being forced to circumscribe our sovereignty and empower police and intelligence agencies of which free men were once taught to be wary.

Wars, it is said, are the death of republics. And we now seem to be caught up in an endless war.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

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Is Afghanistan a Lost Cause?

U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Richard W. Jones Jr.

“We are there and we are committed” was the regular retort of Secretary of State Dean Rusk during the war in Vietnam.

Whatever you may think of our decision to go in, Rusk was saying, if we walk away, the United States loses the first war in its history, with all that means for Southeast Asia and America’s position in the world.

We face a similar moment of decision.

Wednesday, a truck bomb exploded near the diplomatic quarter of Kabul, killing 90 and wounding 460. So terrible was the atrocity that the Taliban denied complicity. It is believed to have been the work of the Haqqani network.

This “horrific and shameful attack demonstrates these terrorists’ compete disregard for human life and their nihilistic opposition to the dream of a peaceful future for Afghanistan,” said Hugo Llordens, a U.S. diplomat in Kabul.

The message the truck bombers sent to the Afghan people? Not even in the heart of this capital can your government keep civilian workers and its own employees safe.

Message to America: After investing hundreds of billions and 2,000 U.S. lives in the 15 years since 9/11, we are further from victory than we have ever been.

President Obama, believing Afghanistan was the right war, and Iraq the wrong war, ramped up the U.S. presence in 2011 to 100,000 troops. His plan: Cripple the Taliban, train the Afghan army and security forces, stabilize the government, and withdraw American forces by the end of his second term.

Obama fell short, leaving President Trump with 8,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and Kabul’s control more tenuous than ever. The Taliban hold more territory and are active in more provinces than they have been since being driven from power in 2001. And Afghan forces are suffering casualties at the highest rate of the war.

Stated starkly, the war in Afghanistan is slowly being lost.

Indeed, Trump has inherited what seems to be an unwinnable war, if he is not prepared to send a new U.S. army to block the Taliban from taking power. And it is hard to believe that the American people would approve of any large reintroduction of U.S. forces.

The U.S. commander there, Gen. John Nicholson, has requested at least 3,000 more U.S. troops to train the Afghan army and stabilize the country while seeking a negotiated end to the war.

Trump’s conundrum: 3,000 or 5,000 more U.S. troops can at best help the Afghan security forces sustain the present stalemate.

But if we could not defeat the Taliban with 100,000 U.S. troops in country in 2011, we are not going to defeat a stronger Taliban with a U.S. force one-seventh of that size. And if a guerrilla army does not lose, it wins.

Yet it is hard to see how Trump can refuse to send more troops. If he says we have invested enough blood and treasure, the handwriting will be on the wall. Reports that both Russia and Iran are already talking to the Taliban suggest that they see a Taliban takeover as inevitable.

Should Trump announce any timetable for withdrawal, it would send shock waves through the Afghan government, army and society.

Any awareness that their great superpower ally was departing, now or soon, or refusing to invest more after 15 years, would be a psychological blow from which President Ashraf Ghani’s government might not recover.

What would a Taliban victory mean?

The Afghan people, especially those who cast their lot with us, could undergo something like what befell the South Vietnamese and Cambodians in 1975. It would be a defeat for us almost as far-reaching as was the defeat for the Soviet Union, when the Red Army was forced to pull out after a decade of war in the 1980s.

For the USSR, that Afghan defeat proved a near-fatal blow.

And if we pulled up stakes and departed, the exodus from Afghanistan would be huge and we would face a moral crisis of how many refugees we would accept, and how many we would leave behind to their fate.

Fifteen years ago, some of us argued that an attempt to remake Afghanistan and Iraq in our image was utopian folly, almost certain, given the history and culture of the entire region, to fail.

Yet we plunged in.

In 2001, it was Afghanistan. In 2003, we invaded and occupied Iraq. Then we attacked Libya and ousted Gadhafi. Then we intervened in Syria. Then we backed the Saudi war to crush the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Given the trillions sunk and lost, and the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, dead, how have we benefited ourselves, or these peoples?

As Rusk said, “We are there and we are committed.”

And the inevitable departure of the United States from the Middle East, which is coming, just as the British, French and Soviet empires had to depart, will likely do lasting damage to the American soul.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

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Breakup of the West?

By the time Air Force One started down the runaway at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, to bring President Trump home, the Atlantic had grown markedly wider than it was when he flew to Riyadh.

In a Munich beer hall Sunday, Angela Merkel confirmed it.

Europe must begin to look out for itself, she said, “take our fate into our own hands. … The times in which we could rely fully on others, they are somewhat over.”

Merkel’s apprehensions are understandable. A divorce could be in the cards. During his visit to NATO in Brussels and the G-7 in Sicily, Trump, with both his words and body language, revealed his thinking on who are friends and who are freeloaders.

Long before arriving, Trump had cheered Brexit, the British decision to quit the EU, and shown a preference for nationalist Marine Le Pen in the French election won handily by Emmanuel Macron.

But when it comes to leaders, Trump seems to prefer Deke House to student council types. He has hailed Vladimir Putin as a “strong ruler” and “very smart.” In Riyadh, Trump declared King Salman a “wise man.” He calls China’s Xi Jinping “a great guy,” and welcomed Turkish autocrat Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the Oval Office: “It is a great honor to have you with us.”

When Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who has imprisoned and killed thousands of the Muslim Brotherhood, came to visit, Trump said, “He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation.”

In a phone call, Trump also praised Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who has had narcotics dealers gunned down in the streets, for doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem.”

Trump has even found merit in Kim Jong Un, the 33-year-old dictator of North Korea, describing him as a “a pretty smart cookie.”

And where Trump was photographed by the Russians grinning broadly with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, his confab with Merkel was marked by a seeming reluctance to shake hands.

But the disagreements with Europe are deeper than matters of style. Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have indicated that in dealing with foreign nations, U.S. support for democratic norms and human rights will now take a back seat to strategic interests.

In Riyadh, Trump signaled the Sunni King of Bahrain we will no longer be giving him instructions on how to treat his Shiite majority. We’re not “here to lecture,” Trump assured the Arab royals.

After the conclave, the king’s police killed five and wounded dozens of demonstrators outside the home of a Shiite cleric, and arrested 286 of his supporters.

Of greater concern to Trump and Tillerson is the retention of the Persian Gulf naval base of the U.S. 5th Fleet in Bahrain.

Trump also tilts toward GOP skepticism of the threat of global warming and is considering pulling out of the Paris climate accord that is the altarpiece of the environmentalist international.

In Brussels, Trump praised NATO’s decision to back the U.S. war in Afghanistan after 9/11, but did not specifically recommit to Article 5, requiring all NATO nations to treat an attack on one as an attack on all, which our nervous NATO allies had wanted to hear.

Instead, they got an earful of pure Trump about how they owed back pay for NATO and that only five NATO nations were meeting their obligation to allocate 2 percent of GDP to defense.

Merkel seemed to take this as an implied threat that the U.S commitment to defend Europe from a Russia with one-tenth of NATO-Europe’s GDP may be contingent, and may have a time limit on it.

Moreover, France, Britain and Germany appear far more solidly committed to the Iran nuclear deal than are Trump and Congress.

A U.S.-NATO collision could come here, and soon.

The Iranians have signed on to purchase 100 Airbus aircraft and 80 commercial airliners from Boeing. If the Republicans impose new sanctions on Iran, or scupper the Boeing deal, Europe would have to decide whether to abandon the Airbus sales, or deliver the planes and perhaps take over the Boeing contract. That could bring a crisis.

And any U.S. confrontation with Iran, pressed upon us by Saudis, Israelis and Sunni Arabs could find Europeans bailing out wholesale on the next U.S. war in the Middle East.

Trump also seems less committed to the sanctions on Russia for its reannexation of Ukraine and support of pro-Russian rebels in the Donbass than does NATO Europe or Congress.

From his rough remarks, Trump sees the Europeans as freeloaders on U.S. defense, laggards on their NATO contributions, and mercantilists who craft policies to run endless trade surpluses at our expense, especially the Germans who are “bad, very bad.”

The European half of Trump’s trip should be taken as a fire-bell-in-the-night warning: Shape up, Europe, or you may find yourselves on your own when it comes to the defense of your continent.

For we Americans have had about enough.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

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After the Confederates, Who’s Next?

On Sept. 1, 1864, Union forces under Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, victorious at Jonesborough, burned Atlanta and began the March to the Sea where Sherman’s troops looted and pillaged farms and towns all along the 300-mile road to Savannah.

Captured in the Confederate defeat at Jonesborough was William Martin Buchanan of Okolona, Mississippi, who was transferred by rail to the Union POW stockade at Camp Douglas, Illinois.

By the standards of modernity, my great-grandfather, fighting to prevent the torching of Georgia’s capital, was engaged in a criminal and immoral cause. And “Uncle Billy” Sherman was a liberator.

Under President Grant, Sherman took command of the Union army and ordered Gen. Philip Sheridan, who had burned the Shenandoah Valley to starve Virginia into submission, to corral the Plains Indians on reservations.

It is in dispute as to whether Sheridan said, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” There is no dispute as to the contempt Sheridan had for the Indians, killing their buffalo to deprive them of food.

Today, great statues stand in the nation’s capital, along with a Sherman and a Sheridan circle, to honor these most ruthless of generals in that bloodiest of wars that cost 620,000 American lives.

Yet, across the South and even in border states like Kentucky, Maryland and Missouri, one may find statues of Confederate soldiers in town squares to honor the valor and sacrifices of the Southern men and boys who fought and fell in the Lost Cause.

When the Spanish-American War broke out, President McKinley, who as a teenage soldier had fought against “Stonewall” Jackson in the Shenandoah and been at Antietam, bloodiest single-day battle of the Civil War, removed his hat and stood for the singing of “Dixie,” as Southern volunteers and former Confederate soldiers paraded through Atlanta to fight for their united country. My grandfather was in that army.

For a century, Americans lived comfortably with the honoring, North and South, of the men who fought on both sides.

But today’s America is not the magnanimous country we grew up in.

Since the ’60s, there has arisen an ideology that holds that the Confederacy was the moral equivalent of Nazi Germany and those who fought under its battle flag should be regarded as traitors or worse.

Thus, in New Orleans, statues of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, and General Robert E. Lee were just pulled down. And a drive is underway to take down the statue of Andrew Jackson, hero of the Battle of New Orleans and president of the United States, which stands in Jackson Square.

Why? Old Hickory was a slave owner and Indian fighter who used his presidential power to transfer the Indians of Georgia out to the Oklahoma Territory in a tragedy known as the Trail of Tears.

But if Jackson, and James K. Polk, who added the Southwest and California to the United States after the Mexican-American War, were slave owners, so, too, were four of our first five presidents.

The list includes the father of our country, George Washington, the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, and the author of our Constitution, James Madison.

Not only are the likenesses of Washington and Jefferson carved on Mount Rushmore, the two Virginians are honored with two of the most magnificent monuments and memorials in Washington, D.C.

Behind this remorseless drive to blast the greatest names from America’s past off public buildings, and to tear down their statues and monuments, is an egalitarian extremism rooted in envy and hate.

Among its core convictions is that spreading Christianity was a cover story for rapacious Europeans who, after discovering America, came in masses to dispossess and exterminate native peoples. “The white race,” wrote Susan Sontag, “is the cancer of human history.”

Today, the men we were taught to revere as the great captains, explorers, missionaries and nation-builders are seen by many as part of a racist, imperialist, genocidal enterprise, wicked men who betrayed and eradicated the peace-loving natives who had welcomed them.

What they blindly refuse to see is that while its sins are scarlet, as are those of all civilizations, it is the achievements of the West that are unrivaled. The West ended slavery. Christianity and the West gave birth to the idea of inalienable human rights.

As scholar Charles Murray has written, 97 percent of the world’s most significant figures and 97 percent of the world’s greatest achievements in the arts, architecture, literature, astronomy, biology, earth sciences, physics, medicine, mathematics and technology came from the West.

What is disheartening is not that there are haters of our civilization out there, but that there seem to be fewer defenders.

Of these icon-smashers it may be said: Like ISIS and Boko Haram, they can tear down statues, but these people could never build a country.

What happens, one wonders, when these Philistines discover that the seated figure in the statue, right in front of D.C.’s Union Station, is the High Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Christopher Columbus?

Happy Memorial Day!

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

87 comments

A Special Prosecutor for Criminal Leaks

Who is the real threat to the national security?

Is it President Trump who shared with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov the intelligence that ISIS was developing laptop bombs to put aboard airliners?

Or is it The Washington Post that ferreted out and published this code-word intelligence, and splashed the details on its front page, alerting the world, and ISIS, to what we knew.

President Trump has the authority to declassify security secrets. And in sharing that intel with the Russians, who have had airliners taken down by bombs, he was trying to restore a relationship.

On fighting Islamist terror, we and the Russians agree.

Five years ago, Russia alerted us that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had become a violent radical Islamist. That was a year and a half before Tsarnaev carried out the Boston Marathon bombing.

But upon what authority did The Washington Post reveal code-word intelligence secrets? Where in the Constitution or U.S. law did the Post get the right to reveal state secrets every U.S. citizen is duty bound to protect?

The source of this top secret laptop-bomb leak that the Post published had to be someone in the intel community who was violating an oath that he had sworn to protect U.S. secrets, and committing a felony by leaking that secret.

Those who leaked this to hurt Trump, and those who published this in the belief it would hurt Trump, sees themselves as the “Resistance”—like the French Resistance to Vichy in World War II.

And they seemingly see themselves as above the laws that bind the rest of us.

“Can Donald Trump Be Trusted With State Secrets?” asked the headline on the editorial in The New York Times.

One wonders: Are these people oblivious to their own past?

In 1971, The New York Times published a hoard of secret documents from the Kennedy-Johnson years on Vietnam. Editors spent months arranging them to convince the public it had been lied into a war that the Times itself had supported, but had turned against.

Purpose of publication: Damage and discredit the war effort, now that Richard Nixon was commander in chief. This was tantamount to treason in wartime.

When Nixon went to the Supreme Court to halt publication of the Pentagon Papers until we could review them to ensure that sources and methods were not being compromised, the White House was castigated for failing to understand the First Amendment.

And for colluding with the thieves that stole them, and for publishing the secret documents, the Times won a Pulitzer.

Forty years ago, the Post also won a Pulitzer — for Watergate.

The indispensable source of its stories was FBI Deputy Director Mark Felt, who repeatedly violated his oath and broke the law by leaking the contents of confidential FBI interviews and grand jury testimony.

Felt, “Deep Throat,” was a serial felon. He could have spent 10 years in a federal penitentiary had his identity been revealed. But to protect him from being prosecuted and sent to prison, and to protect themselves from the public knowing their scoops were handed to them by a corrupt FBI agent, the Post kept Felt’s identity secret for 30 years. Yet, their motto is “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

Which brings us to the point.

The adversary press asserts in its actions a right to collude with and shelter disloyal and dishonorable officials who violate our laws by leaking secrets that they are sworn to protect.

Why do these officials become criminals, and why do the mainstream media protect them?

Because this seedy bargain is the best way to advance their common interests.

The media get the stolen goods to damage Trump. Anti-Trump officials get their egos massaged, their agendas advanced and their identities protected.

This is the corrupt bargain the Beltway press has on offer.

For the media, bringing down Trump is also good for business. TV ratings of anti-Trump media are soaring. The “failing New York Times” has seen a surge in circulation. The Pulitzers are beckoning.

And bringing down a president is exhilarating. As Ben Bradlee reportedly said during the Iran-Contra scandal that was wounding President Reagan, “We haven’t had this much fun since Watergate.”

When Nixon was brought down, North Vietnam launched a spring offensive that overran the South, and led to concentration camps and mass executions of our allies, South Vietnamese boat people perishing by the thousands in the South China Sea, and a holocaust in Cambodia.

When Trump gets home from his trip, he should direct Justice to establish an office inside the FBI to investigate all illegal leaks since his election and all security leaks that are de facto felonies, and name a special prosecutor to head up the investigation.

Then he should order that prosecutor to determine if any Trump associates, picked up by normal security surveillance, were unmasked, and had their names and conversations spread through the intel community, on the orders of Susan Rice and Barack Obama, to seed the bureaucracy to sabotage the Trump presidency before it began.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

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Rosenstein Joins the Posse

“With the stroke of a pen, Rod Rosenstein redeemed his reputation,” writes Dana Milbank of The Washington Post.

What had Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein done to be welcomed home by the Post like the prodigal son?

Without consulting the White House, he sandbagged President Trump, naming a special counsel to take over the investigation of the Russia connection that could prove ruinous to this presidency.

Rod has reinvigorated a tired 10-month investigation that failed to find any collusion between Trump and Russian hacking of the DNC. Not a single indictment had come out of the FBI investigation.

Yet, now a new special counsel, Robert Mueller, former director of the FBI, will slow-walk his way through this same terrain again, searching for clues leading to potentially impeachable offenses. What seemed to be winding down for Trump is now only just beginning to gear up.

Also to be investigated is whether the president tried to curtail the FBI investigation with his phone calls and Oval Office meetings with FBI Director James Comey, before abruptly firing Comey last week.

Regarded as able and honest, Mueller will be under media pressure to come up with charges. Great and famous prosecutors are measured by whom they convict and how many scalps they take.

Moreover, a burgeoning special counsel’s office dredging up dirt on Trump and associates will find itself the beneficiary of an indulgent press.

Why did Rosenstein capitulate to a Democrat-media clamor for a special counsel that could prove disastrous for the president who elevated and honored him?

Surely in part, as Milbank writes, to salvage his damaged reputation.

After being approved 94-6 by a Senate that hailed him as a principled and independent U.S. attorney for both George Bush and Barack Obama, Rosenstein found himself being pilloried for preparing the document White House aides called crucial to Trump’s decision to fire Comey.

Rosenstein had gone over to the dark side. He had, it was said, on Trump’s orders, put the hit on Comey. Now, by siccing a special counsel on the president himself, Rosenstein is restored to the good graces of this city. Rosenstein just turned in his black hat for a white hat.

Democrats are hailing both his decision to name a special counsel and the man he chose. Yet it is difficult to exaggerate the damage he has done.

As did almost all of its predecessors, including those which led to the resignation of President Nixon and impeachment of Bill Clinton, Mueller’s investigation seems certain to drag on for years.

All that time, there will be a cloud over Trump’s presidency that will drain his political authority. Trump’s enemies will become less fearful and more vocal. Republican Congressmen and Senators in swing states and marginal districts, looking to 2018, will have less incentive to follow Trump’s lead, rather than their own instincts and interests. Party unity will fade away.

And without a united and energized Republican Party on the Hill, how do you get repeal and replacement of Obamacare, tax reform or a border wall? Trump’s agenda suddenly seems comatose. And was it a coincidence that the day Mueller was appointed, the markets tanked, with the Dow falling 372 points?

Markets had soared with Trump’s election on the expectation that his pro-business agenda would be enacted. If those expectations suddenly seem illusory, will the boom born of hope become a bust?

A White House staff, said to be in disarray, and a president reportedly enraged over endless press reports of his problems and falling polls, are not going to become one big happy family again with a growing office of prosecutors and FBI agents poking into issues in which they were involved.

Nor is the jurisdiction of the special counsel restricted to alleged Russia interference in the campaign. Allegations about Trump’s taxes, investments, and associates, and those of his family, could be drawn into the maw of the special counsel’s office by political and business enemies enthusiastic about seeing him brought down.

More folks in Trump’s entourage will soon be lawyering up.

While it’s absurd today to talk of impeachment, that will not deter Democrats and the media from speculating, given what happened to Nixon and Clinton when special prosecutors were put on their trail.

Another consequence of the naming of a special counsel, given what such investigations have produced, will be that Vice President Pence will soon find himself with new friends and admirers, and will begin to attract more press as the man of the future in the GOP.

A rising profile for Pence is unlikely to strengthen his relationship with a besieged president.

In the United Kingdom, the odds are growing that Trump may not finish his term.

So how does he regain the enthusiasm and energy he exhibited in previous crises, with such talk in the air?

A debilitating and potentially dangerous time for President Trump has now begun, courtesy of his deputy attorney general.

Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

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