Like a bolt of lightning, that call of congratulations from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to President-elect Donald Trump illuminated the Asian landscape.
We can see clearly now the profit and loss statement from more than three decades of accommodating and appeasing China, since Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger made their historic journey in 1972.
What are the gains and losses?
Soon after Nixon announced the trip in July 1971, our World War II ally, the Republic of China on Taiwan, was expelled from the UN, its permanent seat on the Security Council given to the People’s Republic of China’s Chairman Mao, a rival of Stalin’s in mass murder.
In 1979, Jimmy Carter recognized the regime in Beijing, cut ties to Taipei, and terminated the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty of 1954. All over the world countries followed our lead, shut down Taiwan’s embassies, and expelled her diplomats. Our former allies have since been treated as global pariahs.
During the 1990s and into the new century, Republicans, acting on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable, voted annually to grant Most Favored Nation trade status for China. They then voted to make it permanent and escort China into the WTO.
What did China get out of the new U.S. policy? Vast investment and $4 trillion in trade surpluses at America’s expense over 25 years.
From the backward country mired in the madness of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in 1972, China grew by double digits yearly to become the foremost manufacturing nation on earth, and has used its immense earnings from trade to make itself a military power to rival the United States.
China now claims all the islands of the South China Sea, has begun converting reefs into military bases, targeted hundreds of missiles on Taiwan, claimed the Senkakus held by Japan, ordered U.S. warships out of the Taiwan Strait, brought down a U.S. EP-3 on Hainan island in 2001, and then demanded and got from Secretary of State Colin Powell an apology for violating Chinese airspace.
Beijing has manipulated her currency, demanded transfers of U.S. technology, and stolen much of what the U.S. did not cover.
For decades, China has declared a goal of driving the United States out beyond the second chain of islands off Asia, i.e., out of the Western Pacific and back to Guam, Hawaii, and the West Coast.
During these same decades, some of us were asking insistently what we were getting in return.
Thus Trump’s phone call seemed the right signal to Beijing—while we recognize one China, we have millions of friends on Taiwan in whose future as a free people we retain an interest.
China bristled at Trump’s first communication between U.S. and Taiwanese leaders since 1979, with Beijing indicating that Trump’s failure to understand the Asian situation may explain the American’s gaffe.
Sunday, Vice President-elect Mike Pence assured us that nothing of significance should be read into the 15-minute phone call of congratulations.
Trump, however, was less polite and reassuring, giving Beijing the wet mitten across the face for its impertinence:
“Did China ask us if it was okay to devalue their currency [making it hard for our companies to compete], heavily tax our products going into their country [the U.S. doesn’t tax them], or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea?”
Trump then answered his own question, “I don’t think so.”
According to the Washington Post, the phone call from Taiwan to Trump was no chance happening. It had been planned for weeks. And people in Trump’s inner circle are looking to closer ties to Taiwan and a tougher policy toward Beijing.
This suggests that Trump was aware there might be a sharp retort from Beijing, and that his tweets dismissing Chinese protests and doubling down on the Taiwan issue were both considered and deliberate.
Well, the fat is in the fire now.
Across Asia, every capital is waiting to see how Xi Jinping responds, for a matter of face would seem to be involved.
On the trade front, China is deeply vulnerable. U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods would cause a sudden massive loss of income to factories in China and a stampede out of the country to elsewhere in Asia by companies now producing in the Middle Kingdom.
On the other hand, without China using its economic leverage over North Korea, it is unlikely any sanctions the U.S. and its allies can impose will persuade Kim Jong Un to halt his nuclear-weapons program.
China can choke North Korea to death. But China can also step back and let Pyongyang become a nuclear-weapons state, though that could mean Seoul and Tokyo following suit, which would be intolerable to Beijing.
Before we go down this road, President-elect Trump and his foreign-policy team ought to think through just where it leads—and where it might end.
Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of the book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.
“I have in my possession a secret map, made in Germany by Hitler’s government—by the planners of the New World Order,” FDR told the nation in his Navy Day radio address of October 27, 1941.
“It is a map of South America as Hitler proposes to reorganize it. The geographical experts of Berlin, however, have ruthlessly obliterated all the existing boundary lines … bringing the whole continent under their domination,” said Roosevelt. “This map makes clear the Nazi design not only against South America but against the United States as well.”
Our leader had another terrifying secret document, “made in Germany by Hitler’s government. …
“It is a plan to abolish all existing religions—Protestant, Catholic, Mohammedan, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish alike. … In the place of the churches of our civilization, there is to be set up an international Nazi Church…
“In the place of the Bible, the words of ‘Mein Kampf’ will be imposed and enforced as Holy Writ. And in place of the cross of Christ will be put two symbols—the swastika and the naked sword. … A god of blood and iron will take the place of the God of love and mercy.”
The source of these astounding secret Nazi plans?
They were forgeries by British agents in New York operating under William Stephenson, Churchill’s “Man Called Intrepid,” whose assignment was to do whatever necessary to bring the U.S. into Britain’s war.
FDR began his address by describing two German submarine attacks on U.S. destroyers Greer and Kearny, the latter of which had been torpedoed with a loss of 11 American lives.
Said FDR: “We have wished to avoid shooting. But the shooting has started. And history has recorded who fired the first shot.”
The truth: Greer and Kearny had been tracking German subs for British planes dropping depth charges.
It was FDR who desperately wanted war with Germany, while, for all his crimes, Hitler desperately wanted to avoid war with the United States.
Said Rep. Clare Boothe Luce, FDR “lied us into war because he did not have the political courage to lead us into it.”
By late 1941, most Americans still wanted to stay out of the war. They believed “lying British propaganda” about Belgian babies being tossed around on German bayonets had sucked us into World War I, from which the British Empire had benefited mightily.
What brings these episodes to mind is the wave of indignation sweeping this capital over “fake news” allegedly created by Vladimir Putin’s old KGB comrades and regurgitated by U.S. individuals, websites, and magazines that are anti-interventionist and anti-war.
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman says the “propaganda and disinformation threat” against America is real, and we must “counter and combat it.” Congress is working up a $160 million State Department program.
Now, Americans should be on guard against “fake news” and foreign meddling in U.S. elections.
Yet it is often our own allies, like the Brits, and our own leaders who mislead and lie us into unnecessary wars. And is not meddling in the internal affairs, including the elections, of regimes we do not like, pretty much the job description of the CIA and the National Endowment for Democracy?
History suggests it is our own War Party that bears watching.
Consider Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Who misled, deceived, and lied about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, the “fake news” that sucked us into one of our country’s greatest strategic blunders?
Who lied for years about an Iranian nuclear weapons program, which almost dragged us into a war, before all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies debunked that propaganda in 2007 and 2011?
Yet, there are those, here and abroad, who insist that Iran has a secret nuclear weapons program. Their goal: war with Iran.
Were we told the whole truth about the August 1964 incident involving North Vietnamese gunboats and U.S. destroyers Maddox and C. Turner Joy, which stampeded Congress into voting a near-unanimous resolution that led us into an eight-year war in Southeast Asia?
One can go back deeper into American history.
Rep. Abe Lincoln disbelieved in President Polk’s claim that the Mexican army had crossed the Rio Grande and “shed American blood upon American soil.” In his “spot” resolution, Lincoln demanded to know the exact spot where the atrocity had occurred that resulted in a U.S. army marching to Mexico City and relieving Mexico of half of her country.
Was Assistant Navy Secretary Theodore Roosevelt telling us the truth when he said of our blasted battleship in Havana harbor, “The Maine was sunk by an act of dirty treachery on the part of the Spaniards”?
No one ever proved that the Spanish caused the explosion.
Yet America got out of his war what T.R. wanted—Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines, an empire of our own.
“In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.”
So said Winston Churchill, the grandmaster of fake news.
Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of the book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.
Now that the British have voted to secede from the European Union and America has chosen a president who has never before held public office, the French appear to be following suit.
In Sunday’s runoff to choose a candidate to face Marine Le Pen of the National Front in next spring’s presidential election, the center-right Republicans chose Francois Fillon in a landslide.
While Fillon sees Margaret Thatcher as a role model in fiscal policy, he is a socially conservative Catholic who supports family values and wants to confront Islamist extremism, control immigration, restore France’s historic identity, and end sanctions on Russia.
“Russia poses no threat to the West,” says Fillon. But if not, the question arises, why NATO? Why are U.S. troops in Europe?
As Le Pen is favored to win the first round of the presidential election and Fillon the second in May, closer Paris-Putin ties seem certain. Europeans themselves are pulling Russia back into Europe, and separating from the Americans.
Next Sunday, Italy holds a referendum on constitutional reforms backed by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. If the referendum, trailing in the polls, fails, says Renzi, he will resign.
Opposing Renzi is the secessionist Northern League, the Five Star Movement of former comedian Beppe Grillo, and the Forza Italia of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a pal of Putin’s.
“Up to eight of Italy’s troubled banks risk failure” if Renzi’s government falls, says the Financial Times. One week from today, the front pages of the Western press could be splashing the newest crisis of the EU.
In Holland, the Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders, on trial for hate speech for urging fewer Moroccan immigrants, is running first or close to it in polls for the national election next March.
Meanwhile, the door to the EU appears to be closing for Muslim Turkey, as the European Parliament voted to end accession talks with Ankara and its autocratic president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In welcoming Muslim immigrants, Germany’s Angela Merkel no longer speaks for Europe, even as she is about to lose her greatest ally, Barack Obama.
Not only Europe but the whole world President-elect Trump is about to inherit seems in turmoil, with old regimes and parties losing their hold, and nationalist, populist, and rightist forces rising.
Early this year, Brazil’s senate voted to remove leftist President Dilma Rousseff. In September, her predecessor, popular ex-President Lula da Silva, was indicted in a corruption investigation. President Michel Temer, who, as vice president, succeeded Rousseff, is now under investigation for corruption. There is talk of impeaching him.
Venezuela, endowed with more oil than almost any country on earth, is now, thanks to the Castroism of Hugo Chavez and successor Nicolas Maduro, close to collapse and anarchy.
NATO’s Turkey and our Arab ally, Egypt, both ruled by repressive regimes, are less responsive to U.S. leadership.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye, her approval rating in single digits, is facing impeachment and prosecution for corruption.
Meanwhile, North Korea, under Kim Jong Un, continues to test nuclear warheads and missiles that can hit all of South Korea and Japan and reach all U.S. bases in East Asia and the Western Pacific.
The U.S. is obligated by treaty to defend South Korea, where we still have 28,500 troops, and Japan, as well as the Philippines, where new populist President Rodrigo Duterte, cursing the West, is pivoting toward Beijing. Malaysia and Australia are also moving closer to China as they become ever more dependent on the China trade.
Responding to our moving NATO troops into Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, Putin has begun a buildup of nuclear-capable offensive and defensive missiles in Kaliningrad, its enclave between Poland and Lithuania.
Should we get into a confrontation with the Russians in the Eastern Baltic, how many of our NATO allies, some now openly pro-Putin, would stand beside us?
The point: not only is the Cold War over, the post-Cold War is over. We are living in a changed and changing world. Regimes are falling. Old parties are dying, new parties rising. Old allegiances are fraying, and old allies drifting away.
The forces of nationalism and populism have been unleashed all over the West and all over the world. There is no going back.
Yet U.S. policy seems set in concrete by war guarantees and treaty commitments dating back to the time of Truman and Stalin and Ike and John Foster Dulles.
America emerged from the Cold War, a quarter century ago, as the sole superpower. Yet it seems clear that we are not today so dominant a nation as we were in 1989 and 1991.
We have great rivals and adversaries. We are deeper in debt. We are more divided. We’ve fought wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen that availed us nothing. What we had, we kicked away.
America is at a plastic moment in history.
And America needs nothing so much as reflective thought about a quarter-century of failures—and fresh thinking about her future.
Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of the book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.
Donald Trump’s election triumph is among the more astonishing in history.
Yet if he wishes to become the father of a new “America First” majority party, he must make good on his solemn promise: to end the trade deficits that have bled our country of scores of thousands of factories, and to create millions of manufacturing jobs in the USA.
Fail here, and those slim majorities in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin disappear.
The president-elect takes credit for jawboning William Clay Ford to keep his Lincoln plant in Louisville. He is now jawboning Carrier air conditioning to stay in Indiana and not move to Mexico.
Good for him. But these are baby steps toward ending the $800 billion trade deficits in goods America runs annually, or bringing back factories and creating millions of new manufacturing jobs in the USA.
The NAFTA Republicans tell us the plants and jobs are never coming back, that we live in a globalized world, that production will now be done where it can be done cheapest—in Mexico, China, Asia.
Yet, on November 8, Americans rejected this defeatism rooted in the tracts of 19th-century British scribblers and the ideology of 20th-century globalists like Woodrow Wilson and FDR.
America responded to Trump’s call for a new nationalism rooted in the economic principles and patriotism of Hamilton and the men of Mount Rushmore: Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt.
The president-elect has declared the TPP dead, and says he and his negotiators will walk away rather than accept another NAFTA.
Again, good, but again, not good enough, not nearly.
The New International Economic Order imposed upon us for decades has to be overthrown.
For the root cause of the trade deficits bleeding us lies in U.S. tax laws and trade policies that punish companies that stay in America and reward companies that move production overseas.
Executives move plants to Mexico, Asia, and China for the same reason U.S. industrialists moved plants from the Frost Belt to the Sun Belt. Given the lower wages and lighter regulations, they can produce more cheaply there.
In dealing with advanced economies like Japan, Germany, and the EU, another critical factor is at work against us.
Since the Kennedy Round of trade negotiations, 50 years ago, international trade deals have reduced tariffs to insignificance.
But our trade rivals have replaced the tariffs with value-added taxes on imports from the USA. Even to belong to the EU, a country must have a VAT of at least 15 percent.
As Kevin Kearns of the U.S. Business and Industry Council writes, Europeans have replaced tariffs on U.S. goods with a VAT on U.S. goods, while rebating the VAT on Europe’s exports to us.
Some 160 countries impose VAT taxes. Along with currency manipulation, this is how European and Asian protectionists stick it to the Americans, whose armed forces have defended them for 60 years.
We lose at trade negotiations, even before we sit down at the table, because our adversaries declare their VAT nonnegotiable. And we accept it.
Trump has to persuade Congress to deal him and our trade negotiators our own high cards, without our having to go to the WTO and asking, “Mother, may I?”
Like this writer, Kearns argues for an 18 percent VAT on all goods and services entering the United States. All tax revenue raised by the VAT—hundreds of billions—should be used to reduce U.S. taxes, beginning by ending the income tax on small business and reducing to the lowest rate in the advanced world the U.S. corporate income tax.
The price of foreign-made goods in U.S. stores would rise, giving a competitive advantage to goods made in America. And with a border VAT of 18 percent, every U.S. corporate executive would have to consider the higher cost of leaving the United States to produce abroad.
Every foreign manufacturer, to maintain free access to the U.S. market of $17 trillion, greatest on earth, would have to consider shifting production—factories, technology, jobs—to the USA.
The incentive to produce abroad would diminish and disappear. The incentive to produce here would grow correspondingly.
Inversions—U.S. companies seeking lower tax rates by moving to places like Ireland—would end. Foreign companies and banks would be clamoring to get into the United States.
With a zero corporate tax, minority businesses would spring up. Existing businesses would have more cash to hire. America would shove China aside as the Enterprise Zone of the world.
Most important, by having Americans buy more from each other, and rely more on each other for the necessities of life, U.S. trade and tax policies would work to create a greater interdependence among us, rather than pull us apart as they do today.
Why not write new tax and trade laws that bring us together, recreating the one nation and people we once were—and can be again?
After a week managing the transition, vice president-elect Mike Pence took his family out to the Broadway musical Hamilton.
As Pence entered the theater, a wave of boos swept over the audience. And at the play’s end, the Aaron Burr character, speaking for the cast and the producers, read a statement directed at Pence:
“[W]e are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values.”
In March, the casting call that went out for actors for roles in this musical celebration of “American values” read:
“Seeking NON-WHITE men and women.”
The arrogance, the assumed posture of moral superiority, the conceit of our cultural elite, on exhibit on that stage Friday night, is what Americans regurgitated when they voted for Donald Trump.
Yet the conduct of the Hamilton cast puts us on notice. The left accepts neither its defeat nor the legitimacy of Trump’s triumph.
His presidency promises to be embattled from Day One.
Already, two anti-Trump demonstrations are being ginned up in DC, the first on Inauguration Day, January 20, by ANSWER, Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. A second, scheduled for January 21, is a pro-Hillary “Million Woman March.”
While the pope this weekend deplored a “virus of polarization,” even inside the church, on issues of nationality, race, and religious beliefs, that, unfortunately, is America’s reality. In a new Gallup poll, 77 percent of Americans perceived their country as “Greatly Divided on the Most Important Values,” with seven in eight Democrats concurring.
On the campuses, anti-Trump protests have not ceased and the “crying rooms” remain open. Since November 8, mobs have blocked streets and highways across America in a way that, had the Tea Party people done it, would have brought calls for the 82nd Airborne.
In liberal Portland, rioters trashed downtown and battled cops.
Mayors Rahm Emanuel of Chicago and Bill de Blasio of New York have declared their cities to be “sanctuary cities,” pledging noncooperation with U.S. authorities seeking to deport those who broke into our country and remain here illegally.
Says DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, “I have asserted firmly that we are a sanctuary city.” According to the Washington Post, after the meeting where this declaration had been extracted from Bowser, an activist blurted, “We’re facing a fascist maniac.”
Such declarations of defiance of law have a venerable history in America. In 1956, 19 Democratic senators from the 11 states of the Old Confederacy, in a “Southern Manifesto,” rejected the Supreme Court’s Brown decision ordering desegregation of the public schools.
Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus, Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnett, and Alabama Gov. George Wallace all resisted court orders to integrate. U.S. marshals and troops, ordered in by Ike and JFK, ensured the court orders were carried out.
To see Rahm and de Blasio in effect invoking John C. Calhoun’s doctrine of interposition and nullification is a beautiful thing to behold.
Among the reasons the hysteria over the Trump election has not abated is that the media continue to stoke it, to seek out and quote the reactions they produce, and then to demand the president-elect give assurances to pacify what the Post says are “the millions of … blacks and Latinos, gays and Lesbians, Muslims and Jews—fearful of what might become of their country.”
Sunday, the New York Times ran a long op-ed by Daniel Duane who said of his fellow Californians, “nearly everyone I know would vote yes tomorrow if we could secede” from the United States.
The major op-ed in Monday’s Post, by editorial editor Fred Hiatt, was titled, “The Fight to Defend Democracy,” implying American democracy is imperiled by a Trump presidency.
The Post’s lead editorial, “An un-American Registry,” compares a suggestion of Trump aides to build a registry of Muslim immigrants to “Nazi Germany’s … singling out Jews” and FDR’s wartime internment of 110,000 Japanese, most of them U.S. citizens.
The Post did not mention that the Japanese internment was a project of the beatified FDR, pushed by that California fascist, Gov. Earl Warren, and upheld in the Supreme Court’s Korematsu decision, written by Roosevelt appointee and loyal Klansman Justice Hugo Black.
A time for truth. Despite the post-election, bring-us-together talk of unity, this country is hopelessly divided on cultural, moral, and political issues, and increasingly along racial and ethnic lines.
Many Trump voters believe Hillary Clinton belongs in a minimum-security facility, while Hillary Clinton told her LGBT supporters half of Trump’s voters were racists, sexists, homophobes, xenophobes, and bigots.
Donald Trump’s presidency will be a besieged presidency, and he would do well to enlist, politically speaking, a war cabinet and White House staff that relishes a fight and does not run.
The battle of 2016 is over.
The long war of the Trump presidency has only just begun.
Speaking in Greece on his valedictory trip to Europe as president, Barack Obama struck a familiar theme: “we are going to have to guard against a rise in a crude form of nationalism, or ethnic identity, or tribalism that is built around an ‘us’ and a ‘them’ …
“[T]he future of humanity and the future of the world is going to be defined by what we have in common, as opposed to those things that separate us and ultimately lead us into conflict.”
That the world’s great celebrant of “diversity” envisions an even more multicultural, multiethnic, multiracial America and Europe is not news. This dream has animated his presidency.
But in this day of Brexit and President-elect Donald Trump, new questions arise. Is Obama’s vision a utopian myth? Have leaders like him and Angela Merkel lost touch with reality? Are not they the ones who belong to yesterday, not tomorrow?
“Crude nationalism,” as Obama said, did mark that “bloodiest” of centuries, the 20th. But nationalism has also proven to be among mankind’s most powerful, beneficial, and enduring forces.
You cannot wish it away. To do that is to deny history, human nature, and the transparent evidence of one’s own eyes.
A sense of nationhood—“I am not a Virginian, but an American,” said Patrick Henry—ignited our revolution.
Nationalism tore apart the “evil empire” of Ronald Reagan’s depiction, liberating Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, Romanians, and Bulgarians, and breaking apart the Soviet Union into 15 nations.
Was that so terrible for mankind?
Nationalism brought down the Berlin Wall and led to reunification of the German people after 45 years of separation and Cold War.
President George H.W. Bush may have railed against “suicidal nationalism” in Kiev in 1991. But Ukrainians ignored him and voted to secede. Now the Russified minorities of the southeast and the Crimea wish to secede from Ukraine and rejoin the Mother Country.
This is the way of the world.
Out of the carcass of Yugoslavia came Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo. As nationalism called into existence Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, it impelled South Ossetians and Abkhazians to secede from Georgia.
Was it not a sense of peoplehood, of nationhood, that drove the Jews to create Israel in 1948, which today insists that it be recognized as “a Jewish State”?
All over the world, regimes are marshaling the mighty force of ethnonationalism to strengthen and sustain themselves.
With economic troubles looming, Xi Jinping is stirring up Chinese nationalism by territorial disputes with neighbors—to hold together a people who have ceased to believe in the secularist faith of Marxism-Leninism.
With communism dead, Vladimir Putin invokes the greatness and glory of the Russian past and seeks to revive the Orthodox faith.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan invokes nationalism, Attatürk, the Ottoman Empire, and the Islamic faith of his people against the Kurds, who dream of a new nation carved out of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.
“So my vision … may not always win the day in the short run,” Obama said in Greece, “but I am confident it will win the day in the long run. Because societies which are able to unify ourselves around values and ideals and character and how we treat each other, and cooperation and innovation, ultimately are going to be more successful than societies that don’t.”
What is wrong with this statement?
It is a utilitarian argument that does not touch the heart. It sounds like a commune, a cooperative, a corporation, as much as it does a country. Moreover, not only most of the world, but even the American people seem to be moving the other way.
Indeed, what values and ideals do we Americans hold in common when Obama spoke in Germany of “darker forces” opposing his trade policies, and Hillary Clinton calls Trump supporters “racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic … bigots.”
Did not the Democrats just run “an us and a them” campaign?
Less and less do we Americans seem to be one country and one people. More and more do we seem to be separating along religious, racial, cultural, political, ideological, social, and economic lines.
If a more multicultural, multiethnic America produces greater unity and comity, why have American politics become so poisonous?
Trump’s victory is due in part to his stand for securing the U.S. border against foreigners walking in. Merkel is in trouble in Germany because she brought in almost a million Muslim refugees from Syria.
The nationalist parties that have arisen across Europe are propelled by hostility to more immigration from the Third World.
Outside the cosmopolitan elites of Europe and North America, where in the West is the enthusiasm Obama detects for a greater diversity of races, tribes, religions, cultures, and beliefs?
“Who owns the future?” is ever the question.
In 2008, Obama talked of Middle Pennsylvanians as poor losers clinging to their bibles, bigotries, and guns as they passed from the scene.
Yet, now, it’s looking like it may be Obama’s world headed for the proverbial ash heap of history.
However Donald Trump came upon the foreign policy views he espoused, they were as crucial to his election as his views on trade and the border.
Yet those views are hemlock to the GOP foreign policy elite and the liberal Democratic interventionists of the Acela Corridor.
Trump promised an “America First” foreign policy rooted in the national interest, not in nostalgia. The neocons insist that every Cold War and post-Cold War commitment be maintained, in perpetuity.
On Sunday’s “60 Minutes,” Trump said: “You know, we’ve been fighting this war for 15 years. … We’ve spent $6 trillion in the Middle East, $6 trillion — we could have rebuilt our country twice. And you look at our roads and our bridges and our tunnels … and our airports are … obsolete.”
Yet the War Party has not had enough of war, not nearly.
They want to confront Vladimir Putin, somewhere, anywhere. They want to send U.S. troops to the eastern Baltic. They want to send weapons to Kiev to fight Russia in Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea.
They want to establish a no-fly zone and shoot down Syrian and Russian planes that violate it, acts of war Congress never authorized.
They want to trash the Iran nuclear deal, though all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies told us, with high confidence, in 2007 and 2011, Iran did not even have a nuclear weapons program.
Other hardliners want to face down Beijing over its claims to the reefs and rocks of the South China Sea, though our Manila ally is talking of tightening ties to China and kicking us out of Subic Bay.
In none of these places is there a U.S. vital interest so imperiled as to justify the kind of war the War Party would risk.
Trump has the opportunity to be the president who, like Harry Truman, redirected U.S. foreign policy for a generation.
After World War II, we awoke to find our wartime ally, Stalin, had emerged as a greater enemy than Germany or Japan. Stalin’s empire stretched from the Elbe to the Pacific.
In 1949, suddenly, he had the atom bomb, and China, the most populous nation on earth, had fallen to the armies of Mao Zedong.
As our situation was new, Truman acted anew. He adopted a George Kennan policy of containment of the world Communist empire, the Truman Doctrine, and sent an army to prevent South Korea from being overrun.
At the end of the Cold War, however, with the Soviet Empire history and the Soviet Union having disintegrated, George H.W. Bush launched his New World Order. His son, George W., invaded Iraq and preached a global crusade for democracy “to end tyranny in our world.”
A policy born of hubris.
Result: the Mideast disaster Trump described to Lesley Stahl, and constant confrontations with Russia caused by pushing our NATO alliance right up to and inside what had been Putin’s country.
How did we expect Russian patriots to react?
The opportunity is at hand for Trump to reconfigure U.S. foreign policy to the world we now inhabit, and to the vital interests of the United States.
What should Trump say?
As our Cold War presidents from Truman to Reagan avoided World War III, I intend to avert Cold War II. We do not regard Russia or the Russian people as enemies of the United States, and we will work with President Putin to ease the tensions that have arisen between us.
For our part, NATO expansion is over, and U.S. forces will not be deployed in any former republic of the Soviet Union.
While Article 5 of NATO imposes an obligation to regard an attack upon any one of 28 nations as an attack on us all, in our Constitution, Congress, not some treaty dating back to before most Americans were even born, decides whether we go to war.
The compulsive interventionism of recent decades is history. How nations govern themselves is their own business. While, as JFK said, we prefer democracies and republics to autocrats and dictators, we will base our attitude toward other nations upon their attitude toward us.
No other nation’s internal affairs are a vital interest of ours.
Europeans have to be awakened to reality. We are not going to be forever committed to fighting their wars. They are going to have to defend themselves, and that transition begins now.
In Syria and Iraq, our enemies are al-Qaida and ISIS. We have no intention of bringing down the Assad regime, as that would open the door to Islamic terrorists. We have learned from Iraq and Libya.
Then Trump should move expeditiously to lay out and fix the broad outlines of his foreign policy, which entails rebuilding our military while beginning the cancellation of war guarantees that have no connection to U.S. vital interests. We cannot continue to bankrupt ourselves to fight other countries’ wars or pay other countries’ bills.
The ideal time for such a declaration, a Trump Doctrine, is when the president-elect presents his secretaries of state and defense.
“In victory, magnanimity!” said Winston Churchill.
Donald Trump should be magnanimous and gracious toward those whom he defeated this week, but his first duty is to keep faith with those who put their faith in him.
The protests, riots, and violence that have attended his triumph in city after city should only serve to steel his resolve.
As for promptings that he “reach out” and “reassure” those upset by his victory, and trim or temper his agenda to pacify them, Trump should reject the poisoned chalice. This is the same old con.
Trump should take as models the Democrats FDR and LBJ.
Franklin Roosevelt, who had savaged Herbert Hoover as a big spender, launched his own New Deal in his first 100 days.
History now hails his initiative and resolve.
Lyndon Johnson exploited his landslide over Barry Goldwater in 1964 to erect his Great Society in 1965: the Voting Rights Act, Medicare, and Medicaid. He compromised on nothing, and got it all.
Even those who turned on him for Vietnam still celebrate his domestic achievements.
President Nixon’s great regret was that he did not bomb Hanoi and mine Haiphong in 1969—instead of waiting until 1972—and bring the Vietnam War to an earlier end and with fewer U.S. casualties.
Nixon’s decision not to inflame the social and political crisis of the ’60s by rolling back the Great Society bought him nothing. He was rewarded with media-backed mass demonstrations in 1969 to break his presidency and bring about an American defeat in Vietnam.
“Action this day!” was the scribbled command of Prime Minister Churchill on his notepads in World War II. This should be the motto of the first months of a Trump presidency.
For the historic opportunity he and the Republican Party have been given by his stunning and unanticipated victory of November 8 will not last long. His adversaries and enemies in politics and press are only temporarily dazed and reeling.
This great opening should be exploited now.
Few anticipated Tuesday morning what we would have today: a decapitated Democratic Party, with the Obamas and Clintons gone or going, Joe Biden with them, no national leader rising, and only the power of obstruction, of which the nation has had enough.
The GOP, however, on January 20, will control both houses of Congress and the White House, with the real possibility of remaking the Supreme Court in the image of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have indicated they are willing to work with President Trump.
There is nothing to prevent the new GOP from writing history.
In his first months, Trump could put a seal on American politics as indelible as that left by Ronald Reagan.
A partial agenda: first, he should ignore any importunings by President Obama to permit passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in a lame-duck session—and let the trade deal sink by year’s end.
On January 20, he should have vetted and ready to nominate to the high court a brilliant constitutionalist and strict constructionist.
He should act to end interference with the Dakota Access pipeline and call on Congress to reenact legislation, vetoed by Obama, to finish the Keystone XL pipeline. Then he should repeal all Obama regulations that unnecessarily restrict the production of the oil, gas, and clean coal necessary to make America energy independent again.
Folks in Pennsylvania, southeast Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia should be shown, by executive action, that Trump is a man of his word. And when the mines open again, he should be there.
He should order new actions to seal the Southern border, start the wall, and begin visible deportations of felons who are in the country illegally.
With a new education secretary, he should announce White House intent to work for repeal of Common Core and announce the introduction of legislation to put federal resources behind the charter schools that have proven to be a godsend to inner-city black children.
He should propose an immediate tax cut for U.S. corporations, with $2 to $3 trillion in unrepatriated profits abroad, who will bring the money home and invest it in America, to the benefit of our economy and our Treasury.
He should take the president’s phone and pen and begin the rewriting or repeal of every Obama executive order that does not comport with the national interest or political philosophy of the GOP.
Trump should announce a date soon for repeal and replacement of Obamacare and introduction of his new tax-and-trade legislation to bring back manufacturing and create American jobs.
Donald Trump said in his campaign that that this is America’s last chance. If we lose this one, he said, we lose the country.
The president-elect should ignore his more cautious counselors, and act with the urgency of his declared beliefs.
“If I don’t win, this will be the greatest waste of time, money and energy in my lifetime,” says Donald Trump.
Herewith, a dissent. Whatever happens Tuesday, Trump has made history and has forever changed American politics.
Though a novice in politics, he captured the Party of Lincoln with the largest turnout of primary voters ever, and he has inflicted wounds on the nation’s ruling class from which it may not soon recover.
Bush I and II, Mitt Romney, the neocons, and the GOP commentariat all denounced Trump as morally and temperamentally unfit. Yet, seven of eight Republicans are voting for Trump, and he drew the largest and most enthusiastic crowds of any GOP nominee.
Not only did he rout the Republican elites, he ash-canned their agenda and repudiated the wars into which they plunged the country.
Trump did not create the forces that propelled his candidacy. But he recognized them, tapped into them, and unleashed a gusher of nationalism and populism that will not soon dissipate.
Whatever happens Tuesday, there is no going back now.
How could the Republican establishment advance anew the trade and immigration policies that their base has so thunderously rejected?
How can the GOP establishment credibly claim to speak for a party that spent the last year cheering a candidate who repudiated the last two Republican presidents and the last two Republican nominees?
Do mainstream Republicans think that should Trump lose a Bush Restoration lies ahead? The dynasty is as dead as the Romanovs.
The media, whose reputation has sunk to Congressional depths, has also suffered a blow to its credibility.
Its hatred of Trump has been almost manic, and WikiLeaks revelations of the collusion between major media and Clintonites have convinced skeptics that the system is rigged and the referees of democracy are in the tank.
But it is the national establishment that has suffered most.
The Trump candidacy exposed what seems an unbridgeable gulf between this political class and the nation in whose name it purports to speak.
Consider the litany of horrors it has charged Trump with.
He said John McCain was no hero, that some Mexican illegals are “rapists.” He mocked a handicapped reporter. He called some women “pigs.” He wants a temporary ban to Muslim immigration. He fought with a Gold Star mother and father. He once engaged in “fat-shaming” a Miss Universe, calling her “Miss Piggy,” and telling her to stay out of Burger King. He allegedly made crude advances on a dozen women and starred in the “Access Hollywood” tape with Billy Bush.
While such “gaffes” are normally fatal for candidates, Trump’s followers stood by him through them all.
Why? asks an alarmed establishment. Why, in spite of all this, did Trump’s support endure? Why did the American people not react as they once would have? Why do these accusations not have the bite they once did?
Answer. We are another country now, an us-or-them country.
Middle America believes the establishment is not looking out for the nation but for retention of its power. And in attacking Trump it is not upholding some objective moral standard but seeking to destroy a leader who represents a grave threat to that power.
Trump’s followers see an American Spring as crucial, and they are not going to let past boorish behavior cause them to abandon the last best chance to preserve the country they grew up in.
These are the Middle American Radicals, the MARs of whom my late friend Sam Francis wrote.
They recoil from the future the elites have mapped out for them and, realizing the stakes, will overlook the faults and failings of a candidate who holds out the real promise of avoiding that future.
They believe Trump alone will secure the borders and rid us of a trade regime that has led to the loss of 70,000 factories and 5 million manufacturing jobs since NAFTA. They believe Trump is the best hope for keeping us out of the wars the Beltway think tanks are already planning for the sons of the “deplorables” to fight.
Moreover, they see the establishment as the quintessence of hypocrisy. Trump is instructed to stop using such toxic phrases as “America First” and “Make America Great Again” by elites who think 55 million abortions since Roe is a milestone of moral progress.
And what do they have in common with a woman who thinks partial-birth abortion, which her predecessor in the Senate, Pat Moynihan, called “infanticide,” is among the cherished “reproductive rights” of women?
While a Trump victory would create the possibility of a coalition of conservatives, populists, patriots and nationalists governing America, should he lose, America’s future appears disunited and grim.
But, would the followers of Donald Trump, whom Hillary Clinton has called “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic … bigots,” to the cheers of her media retainers, unite behind her should she win?
No. Win or lose, as Sen. Edward Kennedy said at the Democratic Convention of 1980, “The work goes on, the cause endures.”
If Hillary Clinton is elected president on Tuesday, and if what Bret Baier is reporting from FBI sources on Fox News is true, America is headed for a constitutional crisis.
Indeed, it would seem imperative that FBI Director James Comey, even if it violates protocol and costs him his job, state publicly whether what Baier’s FBI sources are telling him is false or true.
The people have a right to know—before Tuesday.
For, if true, Clinton could face charges in 2017 and impeachment and removal from office in 2018.
According to Baier, FBI agents have found new emails, believed to have originated on Clinton’s server, on the computer jointly used by close aide Huma Abedin and her disgraced husband, Anthony Weiner.
Abedin’s failure to turn this computer over to the State Department on leaving State appears to be a violation of U.S. law.
Moreover, the laptops of close Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, thought destroyed by the FBI, were apparently retained and are “being exploited” by the National Security division.
And here is the salient point. His FBI sources told Baier, “with 99 percent” certitude, that Clinton’s Chappaqua server “had been hacked by at least five foreign intelligence services.”
If this is so, Hillary Clinton as security risk ranks right up there with Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White, though they acted out of treasonous ideology and she out of Clintonian hubris. What do these foreign intelligence agencies know about Clinton that the voters do not?
The second revelation from Baier is that the Clinton Foundation has been under active investigation by the white-collar crime division of the FBI for a year and is a “very high priority.”
Specifically, the FBI is looking into published allegations of “pay-to-play.” This is the charge that the Clinton State Department traded access, influence, and policy decisions to foreign regimes and to big donors who gave hundreds of millions to the Clinton Foundation, along with 15 years of six-figure speaking fees for Bill and Hillary.
According to Baier’s sources, FBI agents are “actively and aggressively” pursuing this case, have interviewed and re-interviewed multiple persons, and are now being inundated in an “avalanche of new information” from WikiLeaks documents and new emails.
The FBI told Baier that they anticipate indictments.
Indeed, with the sums involved, and the intimate ties between high officials of Bill’s foundation, and Hillary and her close aides at State, it strains credulity to believe that deals were not discussed and cut.
Books have been written alleging and detailing them.
Also, not only Fox News but also the Wall Street Journal and other news sources are reporting on what appears to be a rebellion inside the FBI against strictures on their investigations imposed by higher ups in the Department of Justice of Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Director Comey has come under fire from left and right—first for refusing to recommend the prosecution of Clinton, then for last week’s statement about the discovery of new and “pertinent” emails on the Abedin-Weiner computer—but retains a reputation for integrity.
And he knows better than any other high official the answer to a critical question that needs answering before Tuesday: has Baier been fed exaggerated or false information by FBI agents hostile to Clinton?
Or has Baier been told the truth?
In the latter case, we are facing a constitutional crisis if Clinton is elected. And the American people surely have a right to know that before they go to the polls on Tuesday.
What is predictable ahead?
Attorney General Lynch, whether she stays or goes, will be hauled before Congress to explain whether she or top aides impeded the FBI investigations of the Clinton scandals. And witnesses from within her Justice department and FBI will also be called to testify.
Moreover, Senate Republicans would block confirmation of any new attorney general who did not first promise to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the email and pay-to-play scandals, and any pressure from Lynch’s Justice Department on the FBI.
Even Democrats would concede that a Department of Justice staffed by Hillary Clinton appointees could not credibly be entrusted with investigating alleged high crimes and misdemeanors by former Secretary of State Clinton and confidants like Abedin and Mills.
An independent counsel, a special prosecutor, appears inevitable.
And such individuals usually mark their success or failure by how many and how high are the indictments and convictions they rack up.
However, these processes proceed at a torpid pace.
First comes the setting up of the office and the hirings, then the investigations, then the grand-jury appearances, then the indictments, then the prosecutions, then the horse-trading for the testimony of the accused and the convicted in return for immunity or leniency.
Steadily, it moves up the food chain. And when a head of state is involved, it is a process deeply debilitating to the nation.
We have gone through this before, twice.
Do we really want to go through it again?
After posting Friday’s column, “A Presidency from Hell,” about the investigations a President Hillary Clinton would face, by afternoon it was clear I had understated the gravity of the situation.
Networks exploded with news that FBI Director James Comey had informed Congress he was reopening the investigation into Clinton’s email scandal, which he had said in July had been concluded.
“Bombshell” declared Carl Bernstein. The stock market tumbled. “October surprise!” came the cry.
The only explanation, it seemed, was that the FBI had uncovered new information that could lead to a possible indictment of the former secretary of state, who by then could be the president of the United States.
By Sunday, we knew the source of the eruption.
Huma Abedin, Clinton’s top aide, sent thousands of emails to the private laptop she shared with husband Anthony Weiner, a.k.a. Carlos Danger, who is under FBI investigation for allegedly sexting with a 15-year-old girl.
The Weiner-Abedin laptop contains 650,000 emails.
The FBI has not yet reviewed Abedin’s emails, and they could turn out to be duplicates of those the FBI has already seen, benign, or not relevant to the investigation of Clinton.
But it does appear that Abedin misled the FBI when she told them all communications devices containing State Department work product were turned over to State when she departed in 2013.
Clinton, understandably, was stunned and outraged by Comey’s letter. For it casts a cloud of suspicion over her candidacy by raising the possibility that the FBI director could reverse his decision of July, and recommend her prosecution.
By Monday, October 31, new problems had arisen, some potentially crippling or possibly lethal to a Clinton presidency.
Reporters have unearthed a near-mutiny inside the FBI over the decision to shut down the investigation of the Clinton email scandal and Comey’s recommendation of no prosecution.
Andrew McCabe, No. 2 at the FBI, has come under anonymous fire from inside the bureau as one of those most reluctant to pursue aggressively any investigations of the Clintons.
McCabe’s wife, in a 2015 state senate race in Virginia, received $475,000 in PAC contributions from Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime friend and major fundraiser for Bill and Hillary Clinton.
After the Senate race that McCabe’s wife lost, he was promoted from No. 3 at the FBI to No. 2, where he has far more influence over decisions to investigate and recommend prosecution.
Justice Department higher-ups under Attorney General Loretta Lynch apparently disagreed with Comey notifying Congress, and the nation, to new developments in the email scandal. Yet Comey had given his word to Congress that he would do so.
In the Southern District of New York, which has jurisdiction over the Weiner sexting investigation, FBI agents have reportedly been blocked from opening an investigation into charges of corruption in the Clinton Foundation.
This follows revelations that corporate chiefs and foreign rulers and regimes, hit up for contributions to the Clinton Foundation, were then urged by an ex-Clinton aide to provide six-figure speaking fees for Bill Clinton.
This follows reports the Clinton Foundation took contributions for victims of natural disasters, and awarded multimillion-dollar contracts to contributors to do the work.
Still unanswered is what Bill Clinton and Attorney General Lynch discussed during that 30-minute meeting on the Phoenix tarmac, prior to the FBI and Justice Department decision not to indict Hillary Clinton.
The stench of corruption is reaching Bhopal dimensions.
What appears about to happen seems inevitable and predictable.
If Hillary Clinton is elected, the email scandal, the pay-for-play scandal involving the Clinton Foundation, “Bill Clinton, Inc.,” the truthfulness of her testimony, and reports of Clinton-paid dirty tricksters engaging in brownshirt tactics at Trump rallies, are all going to be investigated more thoroughly by the FBI.
And if Clinton is president, there is no way her Justice Department can investigate the Clinton scandals, any more than this city in the early 1970s would entrust an investigation into Watergate to the Nixon Justice Department.
If Clinton wins this election, and Republicans hold onto one or both houses of Congress, investigations of the Clinton scandals will start soon after her inaugural and will go on for years. And the clamor for a special prosecutor, who will, as Archibald Cox did with Nixon, build a huge staff and spend years investigating, will become irresistible.
Realizing that this is the near-certain fate and future of any Hillary Clinton presidency, and would be disastrous for the country, Sunday night, Doug Schoen, who worked for President Clinton for six years, said he has changed his mind and will not be voting for Hillary.
Donald Trump says this is worse than Watergate. As of now, it is only potentially so.
But if Hillary Clinton, this distrusted and disbelieved woman, does take the oath of office on January 20, there is a real possibility that, like Nixon, down the road a year or two, she could be forced from office.
Do we really want to go through this again?
Should Donald Trump surge from behind to win, he would likely bring in with him both houses of Congress.
Much of his agenda—tax cuts, deregulation, border security, deportation of criminals here illegally, repeal of Obamacare, appointing justices like Scalia, unleashing the energy industry—could be readily enacted.
On new trade treaties with China and Mexico, Trump might need economic nationalists in Bernie Sanders’s party to stand with him, as free-trade Republicans stood by their K Street contributors.
Still, compatible agendas and GOP self-interest could transcend personal animosities and make for a successful four years.
But consider what a Hillary Clinton presidency would be like.
She would enter office as the least-admired president in history, without a vision or a mandate. She would take office with two-thirds of the nation believing she is untruthful and untrustworthy.
Reports of poor health and lack of stamina may be exaggerated. Yet she moves like a woman her age. Unlike Ronald Reagan; her husband, Bill; and President Obama, she is not a natural political athlete and lacks the personal and rhetorical skills to move people to action.
She makes few mistakes as a debater, but she is often shrill—when she is not boring. Trump is right: Hillary Clinton is tough as a $2 steak. But save for those close to her, she appears not to be a terribly likable person.
Still, such attributes, or the lack of them, do not assure a failed presidency. James Polk, no charmer, was a one-term president, but a great one, victorious in the Mexican War, annexing California and the Southwest, negotiating a fair division of the Oregon territory with the British.
Yet the hostility Clinton would face the day she takes office would almost seem to ensure four years of pure hell.
The reason: her credibility, or rather her transparent lack of it.
Consider. Because the tapes revealed he did not tell the full truth about when he learned about Watergate, Richard Nixon was forced to resign.
In the Iran-Contra affair, Reagan faced potential impeachment charges, until ex-security adviser John Poindexter testified that Reagan told the truth when he said he had not known of the secret transfer of funds to the Nicaraguan Contras.
Bill Clinton was impeached—for lying.
White House scandals, as Nixon said in Watergate, are almost always rooted in mendacity—not the misdeed, but the cover-up, the lies, the perjury, the obstruction of justice that follow.
And here Hillary Clinton seems to have an almost insoluble problem.
She has testified for hours to FBI agents investigating why and how her server was set up and whether secret information passed through it.
Forty times during her FBI interrogation, Clinton said she could not or did not recall. This writer has friends who went to prison for telling a grand jury, “I can’t recall.”
After studying her testimony and the contents of her emails, FBI Director James Comey virtually accused Clinton of lying.
Moreover, thousands of emails were erased from her server, even after she had reportedly been sent a subpoena from Congress to retain them.
During her first two years as secretary of state, half of her outside visitors were contributors to the Clinton Foundation.
Yet there was not a single quid pro quo, Clinton tells us.
Yesterday’s newspapers exploded with reports of how Bill Clinton aide Doug Band raised money for the Clinton Foundation, and then hit up the same corporate contributors to pay huge fees for Bill’s speeches.
What were the corporations buying if not influence? What were the foreign contributors buying, if not influence with an ex-president, and a secretary of state and possible future president?
Did none of the big donors receive any official favors?
“There’s a lot of smoke and there’s no fire,” says Hillary Clinton.
Perhaps, but there seems to be more smoke every day.
If once or twice in her hours of testimony to the FBI, to a grand jury, or before Congress, Clinton were proven to have lied, her Justice Department would be obligated to name a special prosecutor, as was Nixon’s.
And, with the election over, the investigative reporters of the adversary press, Pulitzers beckoning, would be cut loose to go after her.
The Republican House is already gearing up for investigations that could last deep into Clinton’s first term.
There is a vast trove of public and sworn testimony from Hillary, about the server, the emails, the erasures, the Clinton Foundation. Now, thanks to WikiLeaks, there are tens of thousands of emails to sift through, and perhaps tens of thousands more to come.
What are the odds that not one contains information that contradicts her sworn testimony? Rep. Jim Jordan contends that Clinton may already have perjured herself.
And as the full-court press would begin with her inauguration, Clinton would have to deal with the Syrians, the Russians, the Taliban, the North Koreans, and Xi Jinping in the South China Sea—and with Bill Clinton wandering around the White House with nothing to do.
This election is not over. But if Hillary Clinton wins, a truly hellish presidency could await her, and us.
Alliances are transmission belts of war.
So our Founding Fathers taught and the 20th century proved.
When Britain, allied to France, declared war on Germany in 1914, America sat out, until our own ships were being sunk in 1917.
When Britain, allied to France, declared war on Germany, September 3, 1939, we stayed out until Hitler declared war on us, December 11, 1941.
As the other Western powers bled and bankrupted themselves, we emerged relatively unscathed as the world’s number-one power. The Brits and French lost their empires, and much else, and ceased to be great powers.
Stalin’s annexation of Central Europe and acquisition of an atom bomb, and Mao’s triumph in China in 1949, caused us to form alliances from Europe to Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Australia.
Yet with the end of the Cold War, we did not dissolve a single alliance. NATO was expanded to embrace all the nations of the former Warsaw Pact and three former republics of the USSR.
This hubristic folly is at the heart of present tensions with Russia.
Now Beltway hawks have begun to push the envelope to bring former Soviet republics Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia into NATO, with some urging us to bring in the Cold War neutrals Sweden and Finland.
Given the resentment of the Russian people toward America, for exploiting their time of weakness after the breakup of the Soviet Union, to drive our alliance onto their front porch, such moves could trigger a conflict that could escalate to nuclear weapons.
Moscow has warned us pointedly and repeatedly about this.
Yet now that the election is almost over, neocons burrowed in their think tanks are emerging to talk up U.S. confrontations with Syria, Russia, Iran, and China. Restraining America’s War Party may be the first order of business of the next president.
Fortunately, after the Libyan debacle, President Obama has lost any enthusiasm for new wars.
Indeed, he has a narrow window of opportunity to begin to bring our alliances into conformity with our interests—by serving notice that the United States is terminating its 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty with Manila.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is proving himself to be an unstable anti-American autocrat, who should not be entrusted with the power to drag us into war over some rocks or reefs in the South China Sea.
Earlier this year, we got an idea of what a commitment to go to war for a NATO ally might mean when President Tayyip Recep Erdogan, another mercurial autocrat, shot down a Russian plane that strayed over Turkish territory for 17 seconds.
Had Vladimir Putin retaliated in kind, Erdogan could have invoked Article 5 of NATO, requiring us come to Turkey’s defense against Russia.
Given how Erdogan has acted since this summer’s attempted coup, purging Turkish democratic institutions and imprisoning tens of thousands, do the benefits of our NATO alliance with Ankara still outweigh the risks?
Duterte harbors a lifelong grudge against America for our war of 1899–1902 to crush the Philippine independence movement, after Admiral Dewey sank the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay. We liberated the Philippines, only to annex them.
A longtime mayor on Mindanao before being elected president, Duterte is reputedly the godfather of death squads that executed drug dealers and users. Now the practice has apparently been introduced nationwide.
While campaigning, Duterte said he would Jet Ski 120 miles to Scarborough Shoal, which is occupied by China though it is in Manila’s territorial waters. Since then, he has flipped and become outspokenly pro-China.
Before attending a summit in Laos, Duterte called President Obama “the son of a whore.” He has insulted America and canceled joint military exercises. In Beijing he announced a “separation from the United States. … No more American influence. No more American [military] exercises. It’s time to say goodbye.”
“I would rather go to Russia and to China,” he added.
President Obama should email President Duterte: “Message received. Accept your decision. Good luck with the Russians and Chinese.”
Would termination of our Mutual Defense Treaty mean severing ties with the Filipino people? By no means.
What it would do, though, is this: restore America’s absolute freedom to act or not act militarily in the South China Sea, according to our interests, and not Duterte’s whims.
Whether we intervene on Manila’s behalf or not, the decision would be ours alone. Terminating the treaty would absolve us of any legal or moral obligation to fight for Scarborough Shoal, Mischief Reef, or any of the other rocks in the South China Sea that are now in dispute between Beijing and half a dozen nations.
A U.S. decision to terminate the treaty would also send a wake-up call to every ally:
America’s Cold War commitments are not forever. Your security is not more important to us than it is to you. As Donald Trump has been saying, we are starting to put America first again.
On this, maybe even President Obama could find common ground.
Pressed by moderator Chris Wallace as to whether he would accept defeat should Hillary Clinton win the election, Donald Trump replied, “I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.”
“That’s horrifying,” said Clinton, setting off a chain reaction on the post-debate panels with talking heads falling all over one another in purple-faced anger, outrage, and disbelief.
“Disqualifying!” was the cry on Clinton cable.
“Trump Won’t Say If He Will Accept Election Results,” wailed the New York Times. “Trump Won’t Vow to Honor Results,” ran the banner in the Washington Post.
But what do these chattering classes and establishment bulletin boards think the Donald is going to do if he falls short of 270 electoral votes?
Lead a Coxey’s Army on Washington and burn it down as British Gen. Robert Ross did in August 1814, while “Little Jemmy” Madison fled on horseback out the Brookeville Road?
What explains the hysteria of the establishment?
In a word, fear.
The establishment is horrified at the Donald’s defiance because, deep within its soul, it fears that the people for whom Trump speaks no longer accept its political legitimacy or moral authority.
It may rule and run the country, and may rig the system through mass immigration and a mammoth welfare state so that Middle America is never again able to elect one of its own. But that establishment, disconnected from the people it rules, senses, rightly, that it is unloved and even detested.
Having fixed the future, the establishment finds half of the country looking upon it with the same sullen contempt that our Founding Fathers came to look upon the overlords Parliament sent to rule them.
Establishment panic is traceable to another fear: its ideology, its political religion, is seen by growing millions as a golden calf, a 20th-century god that has failed.
Trump is “talking down our democracy,” said a shocked Clinton.
After having expunged Christianity from our public life and public square, our establishment installed “democracy” as the new deity, at whose altars we should all worship. And so our schools began to teach.
Half a millennia ago, missionaries and explorers set sail from Spain, England, and France to bring Christianity to the New World.
Today, Clintons, Obamas, and Bushes send soldiers and secularist tutors to “establish democracy” among the “lesser breeds without the Law.”
Unfortunately, the natives, once democratized, return to their roots and vote for Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood, using democratic processes and procedures to reestablish their true God.
And Allah is no democrat.
By suggesting he might not accept the results of a “rigged election,” Trump is committing an unpardonable sin. But this new cult, this devotion to a new holy trinity of diversity, democracy, and equality, is of recent vintage and has shallow roots.
For none of the three—diversity, equality, democracy—is to be found in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist Papers, or the Pledge of Allegiance. In the pledge, we are a republic.
When Ben Franklin, emerging from the Philadelphia convention, was asked by a woman what kind of government they had created, he answered, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
Among many in the silent majority, Clintonian democracy is not an improvement upon the old republic; it is the corruption of it.
Consider: six months ago, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the Clinton bundler, announced that by executive action he would convert 200,000 convicted felons into eligible voters by November.
If that is democracy, many will say, to hell with it.
And if felons decide the electoral votes of Virginia, and Virginia decides who is our next U.S. president, are we obligated to honor that election?
In 1824, Gen. Andrew Jackson ran first in popular and electoral votes. But, short of a majority, the matter went to the House.
There, Speaker Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams delivered the presidency to Adams—and Adams made Clay secretary of state, putting him on the path to the presidency that had been taken by Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Adams himself.
Were Jackson’s people wrong to regard as a “corrupt bargain” the deal that robbed the general of the presidency?
The establishment also recoiled in horror from Milwaukee Sheriff Dave Clarke’s declaration that it is now “torches and pitchforks time.”
Yet, some of us recall another time, when Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas wrote in “Points of Rebellion”: “We must realize that today’s Establishment is the new George III. Whether it will continue to adhere to his tactics, we do not know. If it does, the redress, honored in tradition, is also revolution.”
Baby-boomer radicals loved it, raising their fists in defiance of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.
But now that it is the populist-nationalist right that is moving beyond the niceties of liberal democracy to save the America that they love, elitist enthusiasm for “revolution” seems more constrained.
What goes around comes around.
“Remember, it’s a rigged system. It’s a rigged election,” said Donald Trump in New Hampshire on Saturday.
The stunned recoil in this city suggests this bunker buster went right down the chimney. As the French put it, “Il n’y a que la verite qui blesse.” It is only the truth that hurts.
In what sense is the system rigged?
Consider Big Media—the elite columnists and commentators, the dominant national press, and the national and cable networks, save FOX. Not in this writer’s lifetime has there been such blanket hatred and hostility of a presidential candidate of a major party.
“So what?” They reply. “We have a free press!”
But in this election, Big Media have burst out of the closet as an adjunct of the regime and the attack arm of the Clinton campaign, aiming to bring Trump down.
Half a century ago, Theodore White wrote of the power and bias of the “adversary press” that sought to bring down Richard Nixon.
“The power of the press in America,” wrote Teddy, “is a primordial one. It sets the agenda of public discussion; and this sweeping power is unrestrained by any law. It determines what people will talk about and think about—an authority that in other nations is reserved for tyrants, priests, parties and mandarins.”
On ABC’s “This Week,” Newt Gingrich volunteered on Sunday that, “without the unending one-sided assault of the news media, Trump would be beating Hillary by 15 points.”
On this one, Newt is right.
With all due respect, as adversaries, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are not terribly formidable. Big Media is the power that sustains the forces of globalism against those of Americanism.
Is the system rigged? Ask yourself.
For half a century, the U.S. Supreme Court has systematically de-Christianized and paganized American society and declared abortion and homosexual marriage constitutional rights.
Where did these unelected jurists get the right to impose their views and values upon us, and remake America in their own secularist image? Was that really the Court’s role in the Constitution?
How did we wind up with an all-powerful judicial tyranny in a nation the Founding Fathers created as a democratic republic?
There are more than 11 million illegal immigrants here, with millions more coming. Yet the government consistently refuses to enforce the immigration laws of the United States.
Why should those Americans whose ancestors created, fought, bled and died to preserve America not believe they and their children are being dispossessed of a country that was their patrimony—and without their consent?
When did the country vote to convert the America we grew up in into the Third World country our descendants will inherit in 2042?
In the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a Congressional majority voted to end discrimination against black folks.
When did we vote to institute pervasive discrimination against white folks, especially white males, with affirmative action, quotas and racial set-asides? Even in blue states like California, affirmative action is routinely rejected in statewide ballots.
Yet it remains regime policy, embedded in the bureaucracy.
In 2015, in the Democratic primaries, the big enthusiastic crowds were all for 75-year-old Socialist senator Bernie Sanders.
We now know, thanks to leaked emails, that not only the superdelegates and the Obama White House but a collaborationist press and the DNC were colluding to deny Sanders any chance at the nomination.
The fix was in. Ask Sanders if he thinks the system is rigged.
If there is an issue upon which Americans agree, it is that they want secure borders and an end to trade policies that have shipped abroad the jobs, and arrested the wages, of working Americans.
Yet in a private speech that netted her $225,000 from Brazilian bankers, Hillary Clinton confided that she dreams of a “common market, with open trade and open borders” from Nome, Alaska, to Patagonia.
That would mean the end of the USA as a unique, sovereign and independent nation. But the American press, whose survival depends upon the big ad dollars of transnational corporations, is more interested in old tapes of the Donald on The Howard Stern Show.
As present, it appears that in 2017, we may get a government headed by Hillary Clinton, and an opposition headed by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.
Is that what the people were hoping for, working for, voting for in the primaries of 2016? Or is this what they were voting against?
Big money and the media power of the establishment elites and the transnationals may well prevail.
And if they do, Middle America—those who cling to their bibles, bigotries and guns in Barack Obama’s depiction, those “deplorables” who are “racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic,” who are “not America” and are “irredeemable” in Hillary Clinton’s depiction—will have to accept the new regime.
But that does not mean they must love it, like it or respect it.
Because, in the last analysis, yes, Virginia, the system is rigged.
Will Hillary Clinton clean out the nest of anti-Catholic bigots in her inner circle? Or is anti-Catholicism acceptable in her crowd?
In a 2011 email on which Clinton campaign chief John Podesta was copied, John Halpin, a fellow at the Center for American Progress, which Podesta founded, trashed Rupert Murdoch for raising his kids in a misogynist religion.
The most “powerful elements” in the conservative movement are Catholic, railed Halpin: “It’s an amazing bastardization of the faith. They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backward gender relations.”
Clinton spokesperson Jennifer Palmieri agreed: “I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion. Their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they become evangelical.”
“Excellent point,” replied Halpin. “They can throw around ‘Thomistic’ thought and ‘subsidiarity’ and sound sophisticated because no one knows what the hell they are talking about.”
What the pair is mocking here are both the faith decisions of the Murdoch family and traditional Catholic beliefs and social teaching.
This is a pristine example of the anti-Catholicism that historian Arthur Schlesinger Sr. called “the deepest-held bias in the history of the American people.”
In another email in this latest document dump from WikiLeaks, writes Ben Wolfgang of the Washington Times, Podesta and Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress, mocked the Miss America pageant, because so many finalists are Southern girls and young women.
Said Podesta, “Do you think it’s weird that of the 15 finalists in the Miss America, 10 came from the 11 states of the CSA?”
The CSA would be the Confederate States of America.
“Not at all,” says Tanden, “I would imagine the only people who watch it are from the confederacy and by now they know that so they’ve rigged the thing in their honor.”
In another email, Podesta himself uses the sort of language liberals once said disqualified Nixon from staying on as president—regarding former Gov. Bill Richardson. Podesta refers to him and other Hispanics whom he is trying to court for Clinton as “needy Latinos.”
What these emails reveal is the sneering contempt of liberal elites for Catholics, Evangelical Christians, Southerners, and even Hispanics loyal to them. And the contents of these emails correlate with the revealed bigotries of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
In September, Clinton told a gathering of rich contributors at a gay rights fundraiser in New York City: “you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the ‘basket of deplorables.’ Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it.”
Responding to the cheers and laughter, Clinton went on, “Now, some of those folks—they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”
What Clinton said to the LGBT partisans echoed what Obama told rich contributors in San Francisco in 2008, who wondered why he was not doing better in Pennsylvania.
“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and … the jobs have been gone now for 25 years. … And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
Obama was saying that when small-town Pennsylvanians fall behind, they blame others and revert to their bibles, bigotries, and guns.
Yet Obama has never explained what caused him to sit content for 20 years—and be married and have his daughters baptized—in the church of a ranting racist like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who, at the time of 9/11, roared from his pulpit, “God damn America!”
What so attracted Barack Obama to the Reverend Wright’s bigotry?
These latest emails confirm what we already knew.
Our elites, who are forever charging others with “racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia,” are steeped in their own bigotries—toward Southerners, conservatives, Middle Americans, Evangelical Christians, and traditionalist Catholics—the “irredeemables.”
Though the election is still a month off, the campaign of 2016 has already done irreparable damage to the American establishment.
Its roots in the nation it purports to lead have been attenuated if not severed. It has shown the world a portrait of American democracy at its apex that approaches the repellent.
Through the savagery of its attacks on those who have risen up against it, the establishment has stripped itself of all claim to be the moral leader of American society. Its moral authority is gone.
Even if Clinton wins, it can no longer credibly speak for America.
As for the national press corps—the Fourth Estate—it has been compromised, its credibility crippled, as some of the greatest of the press institutions have nakedly shilled for the regime candidate, while others have been exposed as propagandists or corrupt collaborators posturing as objective reporters.
What institution in America today, besides the military, enjoys national respect? And if people do not respect the regime, if they believe it acts in its own cold interest rather than the nation’s, why should they respect or follow its leadership?
We have entered uncharted waters.
Donald Trump turned in perhaps the most effective performance in the history of presidential debates on Sunday night.
As the day began, he had been denounced by his wife, Mike Pence, and his own staff for a tape of crude and lewd remarks in a decade-old “locker room” conversation on a bus with Billy Bush of Access Hollywood.
Tasting blood, the media were in a feeding frenzy. Trump is dropping out! Pence is bolting the ticket! Republican elites are about to disown and abandon the Republican nominee!
Sometime this weekend, Trump made a decision: If he is going down to defeat, he will go out as Trump, not some sniveling penitent begging forgiveness from hypocrites who fear and loathe him.
His first move was to host a press availability, before the debate, where a small sampling of Bill Clinton’s alleged victims—Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick—made brief statements endorsing Trump and denouncing the misogyny of the Clintons.
“Mr. Trump may have said some bad words, but Bill Clinton raped me,” said Broaddrick, “and Hillary Clinton threatened me.”
The press had to cover it. Then the women marched into the auditorium at Washington University to watch Hillary Clinton defend her behavior toward them after their encounters with Bill.
As the moderators and Hillary Clinton scrambled to refocus on Trump’s comments of a decade ago, Trump brought it back to Bill’s criminal misconduct against women, his lying about it, and Hillary’s aiding and abetting of the First Predator.
It was like a tawdry courtroom drama in an X-rated movie, a new low in presidential debates. But what it revealed is that if Trump is going down, his enemies will carry away their own permanent scars.
As Caesar said of Cassius, “Such men are dangerous.”
Hillary Clinton has never been hammered as she was Sunday night, and it showed. Knocked off her game, she was no longer the prim and poised debater of Hofstra University.
There were other signs that, win or lose, Trump intends to finish the campaign as he began, as a populist-nationalist and unapologetic adversary of open borders, globalization, and neo-imperialism.
When moderators Martha Raddatz and Anderson Cooper revealed their bias by asking Trump tougher questions and more follow-ups, and interrupting him more rudely and often, he called them out.
“It’s one on three!” said Trump. And it sure looked like it.
How could the moderators have ignored that other leak of last week, of Clinton’s speech to Brazilian bankers where she confessed she “dreams” of a “hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders”?
If the quote is accurate, and Clinton has not denied it, she was saying she dreams of a future when the United States ceases to exist as a separate, sovereign, and independent nation.
She envisions not just a North American Union evolving out of NAFTA but a merger of all the nations of North, South, and Central America, with all borders erased and people moving freely from one place to another within a hemispheric super-state.
If this quote is accurate, Clinton is working toward an end to the independence for which our Founding Fathers fought the American Revolution.
After all, Thomas Jefferson did not write some declaration of diversity in 1776, but a Declaration of Independence for a new, unique, and separate people.
Clinton dreams of doing away with what American patriots cherish most.
When the issue of Syria arose, Clinton said she favors a “no-fly zone.” Unanswered, indeed unasked by the moderators, was whether she would order the shooting down of Syrian or Russian planes that violate the zone.
Yet, what she is suggesting are acts of war against Syria, and Russia if necessary, though Congress has never authorized a war on Syria, and Syria has not attacked us.
Trump did not hesitate to overrule the suggestion of Mike Pence that we follow Clinton’s formula. He believes ISIS is our enemy, and if Syria, Russia, and Iran are attacking ISIS, we ought not to be fighting them.
As of sunrise Sunday, the media were writing Trump off as dead.
By Sunday night, they were as shocked and stunned as Hillary and Bill.
What did Trump accomplish in 18 hours?
He rattled Hillary Clinton, firmed up and rallied his base, halted the stampede of the cut-and-run Republicans, and exposed the hypocrisy of liberal and secular celebrants of the ’60s “sexual revolution,” who have suddenly gotten religion where Trump is involved.
Trump exposed the fraudulence of the Clintons’ clucking concern for sexually abused women, brought Pence back into camp, turned the tables, and changed the subject from the Trump tapes to the Trump triumph at Washington University.
Upshot: the Donald is alive.
While his path to 270 electoral votes still looks more than problematic, there is a month to go before the election, and anything can happen.
Indeed, it already has—many times.
Denouncing Russian air strikes on Aleppo as “barbaric,” Mike Pence declared in Tuesday’s debate:
“The provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength. … The United States of America should be prepared to use military force, to strike military targets of Bashar Assad regime.”
John McCain went further:
“The U.S. … must issue an ultimatum to Mr. Assad — stop flying or lose your aircraft … If Russia continues its indiscriminate bombing, we should make clear that we will take steps to hold its aircraft at greater risk.”
Yet one gets the impression this is bluster and bluff.
Pence has walked his warnings back. And there are few echoes of McCain’s hawkishness. Even Hillary Clinton’s call for a “no-fly zone” has been muted.
The American people have no stomach for a new war in Syria.
Nor does it make sense to expand our enemies list in that bleeding and broken country — from ISIS and the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front — to Syria’s armed forces, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.
These last three have been battling to save Assad’s regime, because they see vital interests imperiled should it fall.
We have not plunged into Syria, because we have no vital interest at risk in Syria. We have lived with the Assads since Richard Nixon went to Damascus.
President Obama, who has four months left in office, is not going to intervene. And Congress, which has the sole power to declare war, has never authorized a war on Syria.
Obama would be committing an impeachable act if he started shooting down Russian or Syrian planes over Syrian territory. He might also be putting us on the escalator to World War III.
For Russia has moved its S-400 anti-aircraft system into Syria to its air base near Latakia, and its S-300 system to its naval base at Tartus.
As the rebels have no air force, that message is for us.
Russia is also moving its aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, into the Med. Vladimir Putin is doubling down in Syria.
Last weekend, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned that U.S. attacks in Syria “will lead to terrible tectonic consequences not only on the territory of this country but also in the region on the whole.”
Translation: Attack Syria’s air force, and the war you Americans start could encompass the entire Middle East.
Last week, too, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, warned that creating a “no-fly zone” in Syria could mean war — with Russia. Dunford’s crisp retort to Sen. Roger Wicker:
“Right now, senator, for us to control all of the airspace in Syria it would require us to go to war, against Syria and Russia. That’s a pretty fundamental decision that certainly I’m not going to make.”
And neither, thankfully, will Barack Obama.
So, where are we, and how did we get here?
Five years ago, Obama declared that Assad must step down. Ignoring him, Assad went all out to crush the rebels, both those we backed and the Islamist terrorists.
Obama then drew a “red line,” declaring that Assad’s use of chemical weapons would lead to U.S. strikes. But when Obama readied military action in 2013, Americans rose up and roared, “No!”
Reading the country right, Congress refused to authorize U.S. military action. Egg all over his face, Obama again backed down.
When Assad began losing the war, Putin stepped in to save his lone Arab ally, and swiftly reversed Assad’s fortunes.
Now, with 10,000 troops — Syrian, Iraqi Shiite militia, Hezbollah, Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Afghan mercenaries — poised to attack Aleppo, backed by Russian air power, Assad may be on the cusp of victory in the bloodiest and most decisive battle of the war.
Assad and his allies intend to end this war — by winning it.
For the U.S. to reverse his gains now, and effect his removal, would require the introduction of massive U.S. air power and U.S. troops, and congressional authorization for war in Syria.
The time has come to recognize and accept reality.
While the U.S. and its Turkish, Kurdish and Sunni allies, working with the Assad coalition of Russia, Hezbollah and the Iranians, can crush ISIS and al-Qaida in Syria, we cannot defeat the Assad coalition — not without risking a world war.
And Congress would never authorize such a war, nor would the American people sustain it.
As of today, there is no possibility that the rebels we back could defeat ISIS and the al-Nusra Front, let alone bring down Bashar Assad and run the Russians, Hezbollah, Iran and the Iraqi Shiite militias out of Syria.
Time to stop the killing, stop the carnage, stop the war and get the best terms for peace we can get. For continuing this war, when the prospects of victory are nil, raises its own question of morality.
In taking that $915 million loss in 1995, and carrying it forward to shelter future income, Donald Trump did nothing wrong. By both his family and his business, he did everything right.
In a famous 1947 dissent, Judge Learned Hand wrote:
[T]here is nothing sinister in so arranging one’s affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. … Everybody does so, rich or poor; and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands: taxes are enforced exactions, not voluntary contributions. To demand more in the name of morals is mere cant.
This writer’s father spent his career as a tax accountant who studied tax codes and utilized every permissible deduction to keep his clients’ tax bills as low as legally possible.
That was his business, as it is the business of every accountant, including those who prepare the returns of the politicians and journalists piling on Trump as some sort of scofflaw tax cheat who has evaded his moral obligations to the state.
One needs a machete to cut through this hypocrisy.
Hillary Clinton benefited from a $700,000 loss on her 2015 income taxes. In the days of poverty in Arkansas, she took a $2 deduction for a contribution to charity of Bill’s old underpants.
Five weeks before Election Day, Trump’s taxes have displaced the former Miss Universe as the critical issue, as determined by the anti-Trump media.
Their motivation is not difficult to discern. Their goals are two. First, make Trump unacceptable as an agent of change. Second, keep the people distracted from their determination to rid America of the incompetent and corrupt ruling class that controls this capital city.
Consider but a few of the disasters that the establishment does not want discussed or debated, or the American people thinking about when they head for the polls in November.
There is the great betrayal of the American working class, the deindustrialization of the country, and the loss of economic independence it took America a century to achieve.
This disaster was produced by the trade deals enacted by Beltway politicians for the corporate contributors of their campaigns whose highest loyalty is to the bottom line of a balance sheet.
On behalf of these specials interests, U.S. politicians made the People’s Republic of China the greatest manufacturing power on earth and halted the traditional annual rise in wages of our working men and women.
Beijing is now using the wealth compiled to build up their air, naval, and missile forces to push us out of Asia and back across the Pacific.
Then there is the illegal invasion of America and Europe by the impoverished masses of the south, who have never before been fully assimilated into any Western nation.
Unrivaled since the last days of the Roman Empire, this invasion has Americans pleading for a security wall on their border, has propelled Britain’s exit from the EU, and could yet cause a breakup of Europe.
What is at stake here? Ultimately, Western civilization.
We have wars going with no end in sight in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen. We have Beltway hawks howling for a “no-fly zone” and the shooting down of Syrian planes, through the chairman of the Joint Chiefs warns this could mean war with Russia.
The War Party does not want Americans heading to the polls thinking of the thousands of dead and wounded and trillions of dollars lost in their misbegotten adventures in the Middle and Near East.
Trump is new to national politics. Yet, with all the mistakes he has made, and all the savagery of the media attacks upon him, he is still, remarkably, very much in the race for president of the United States.
That his crowds remain huge and his following loyal, and that he remains competitive, testifies to the depth of the detestation of our cultural, political, and media elites out there in Middle America.
But what happens if Hillary Clinton’s media acolytes keep the country’s focus on trivial pursuits, and she prevails?
What happens to America, if the uprisings and rebellions in the two parties—Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in the GOP, the Bernie Sanders revolt in the Democratic Party—are turned back, and we get in 2017 the same old people and same old policies we repudiated in 2015 and 2016?
What happens if the election, in which America demanded change in both parties, results in change in neither party?
One wonders: do America’s reigning elites believe the Trump movement is but a passing phase? Do they believe that the rise of populist and nationalist parties across Europe is but a seasonal epidemic of the flu that will die out, after which we can all get back to building the New World Order of Bush I and Barack Obama?
Will history look back upon 2016 as a system failure?
Is America still a serious nation?
Consider. While U.S. elites were denouncing Donald Trump as unfit to serve for having compared Miss Universe 1996 to Miss Piggy of the Muppets, the World Trade Organization was validating the principal plank of his platform.
America’s allies are cheating and robbing her blind on trade.
According to the WTO, Britain, France, Spain, Germany, and the EU pumped $22 billion in illegal subsidies into Airbus to swindle Boeing out of the sale of 375 commercial jets.
Subsidies to the A320 caused lost sales of 271 Boeing 737s, writes journalist Alan Boyle. Subsidies for planes in the twin-aisle market cost the sale of 50 Boeing 767s, 777s, and 787s. And subsidies to the A380 cost Boeing the sale of 54 747s. These represent crippling losses for Boeing, a crown jewel of U.S. manufacturing and a critical component of our national defense.
Earlier, writes Boyle, the WTO ruled that “without the subsidies, Airbus would not have existed … and there would be no Airbus aircraft on the market.”
In The Great Betrayal in 1998, I noted that in its first 25 years the socialist cartel called Airbus Industrie “sold 770 planes to 102 airlines but did not make a penny of profit.”
Richard Evans of British Aerospace explained: “Airbus is going to attack the Americans, including Boeing, until they bleed and scream.” And another executive said, “If Airbus has to give away planes, we will do it.”
When Europe’s taxpayers objected to the $26 billion in subsidies Airbus had gotten by 1990, German aerospace coordinator Erich Riedl was dismissive: “We don’t care about criticism from small-minded pencil-pushers.”
This is the voice of economic nationalism. Where is ours?
After this latest WTO ruling validating Boeing’s claims against Airbus, the Financial Times is babbling of the need for “free and fair” trade, warning against a trade war.
But is “trade war” not a fair description of what our NATO allies have been doing to us by subsidizing the cartel that helped bring down Lockheed and McDonnell-Douglas and now seeks to bring down Boeing?
Our companies built the planes that saved Europe in World War II and sheltered her in the Cold War. And Europe has been trying to kill those American companies.
Yet even as Europeans collude and cheat to capture America’s markets in passenger jets, Boeing itself, wrote Eamonn Fingleton in 2014, has been “consciously cooperating in its own demise.”
By Boeing’s own figures, writes Fingleton, in the building of its 787 Dreamliner, the world’s most advanced commercial jet, the “Japanese account for a stunning 35 percent of the 787’s overall manufacture, and that may be an underestimate.”
“Much of the rest of the plane is also made abroad … in Italy, Germany, South Korea, France, and the United Kingdom.”
The Dreamliner “flies on Mitsubishi wings. These are no ordinary wings: they constitute the first extensive use of carbon fiber in the wings of a full-size passenger plane. In the view of many experts, by outsourcing the wings Boeing has crossed a red line.”
Mitsubishi, recall, built the Zero, the premier fighter plane in the Pacific in the early years of World War II.
In a related matter, the U.S. merchandise trade deficit in July and August approached $60 billion each month, heading for a trade deficit in goods in 2016 of another $700 billion.
For an advanced economy like the United States, such deficits are milestones of national decline. We have been running them now for 40 years. But in the era of U.S. economic supremacy from 1870 to 1970, we always ran an annual trade surplus, selling far more abroad than Americans bought from abroad.
In the U.S. trade picture, even in the darkest of times, the brightest of categories has been commercial aircraft.
But to watch how we allow NATO allies we defend and protect to get away with decades of colluding and cheating, and then to watch Boeing transfer technology and outsource critical manufacturing to rivals like Japan, one must conclude that not only is the industrial decline of the United States inevitable, but America’s elites do not care.
As for our corporate chieftains, they seem accepting of what is coming when they are gone, so long as the salary increases, stock prices and options, severance packages, and profits remain high.
By increasingly relying upon foreign nations for our national needs, and by outsourcing production, we are outsourcing America’s future.
After Munich in 1938, Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax visited Italy to wean Mussolini away from Hitler. The Italian dictator observed his guests closely and remarked to his foreign minister:
“These men are not made of the same stuff as the Francis Drakes and the other magnificent adventurers who created the empire. These, after all, are the tired sons of a long line of rich men, and they will lose their empire.”
If the present regime is not replaced, something like that will be said of this generation of Americans.
Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.