Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of the new book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.
“Something startling is happening to middle-aged white Americans. Unlike every other age group, unlike every other racial and ethnic group … death rates in this group have been rising, not falling.”
The big new killers of middle-aged white folks? Alcoholic liver disease, overdoses of heroin and opioids, and suicides. So wrote Gina Kolata in the New York Times of a stunning study by the husband-wife team of Nobel laureate Angus Deaton and Anne Case.
Deaton could cite but one parallel to this social disaster: “Only H.I.V./AIDS in contemporary times has done anything like this.”
Middle-aged whites are four times as likely as middle-aged blacks to kill themselves. Their fitness levels are falling as they suffer rising levels of physical pain, emotional stress and mental depression, which helps explain the alcohol and drug addiction.
But what explains the social disaster of white Middle America?
First, an economy where, though at or near full employment, a huge slice of the labor force has dropped out. Second, the real wages of working Americans have been nearly stagnant for decades.
Two major contributors to the economic decline of the white working-class: Scores of millions of third-world immigrants, here legally and illegally, who depress U.S. wages, and tens of thousands of factories and millions of jobs shipped abroad under the label of “globalization.”
Another factor in the crisis of middle and working class white men is the plunging percentage of those who are married. Where a wife and children give meaning to a man’s life, and to his labors, single white men are not only being left behind by the new economy, they are becoming alienated from society.
“It’s not surprising,” Barack Obama volunteered to his San Francisco high-donors, that such folks, “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them…”
We all have seen the figure of 72 percent of black children being born out of wedlock. For working class whites, it is up to 40 percent.
A lost generation is growing up all around us.
In the popular culture of the ’40s and ’50s, white men were role models. They were the detectives and cops who ran down gangsters and the heroes who won World War II on the battlefields of Europe and in the islands of the Pacific.
They were doctors, journalists, lawyers, architects and clergy. White males were our skilled workers and craftsmen — carpenters, painters, plumbers, bricklayers, machinists, mechanics.
They were the Founding Fathers, Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Hamilton, and the statesmen, Webster, Clay and Calhoun.
Lincoln and every president had been a white male. Middle-class white males were the great inventors: Eli Whitney and Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and the Wright Brothers.
They were the great capitalists: Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford and J. P. Morgan. All the great captains of America’s wars were white males: Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, U.S. Grant and John J. Pershing, Douglas MacArthur and George Patton.
What has changed in our culture? Everything.
The world has been turned upside-down for white children. In our schools the history books have been rewritten and old heroes blotted out, as their statues are taken down and their flags are put away.
Children are being taught that America was “discovered” by genocidal white racists, who murdered the native peoples of color, enslaved Africans to do the labor they refused to do, then went out and brutalized and colonized indigenous peoples all over the world.
In Hollywood films and TV shows, working-class white males are regularly portrayed as what was once disparaged as “white trash.”
Republicans are instructed that demography is destiny, that white America is dying, and that they must court Hispanics, Asians and blacks, or go the way of the Whigs.
Since affirmative action for black Americans began in the 1960s, it has been broadened to encompass women, Hispanics, Native Americans the handicapped, indeed, almost 70 percent of the nation.
White males, now down to 31 percent of the population, have become the only Americans against whom it is not only permissible, but commendable, to discriminate.
When our cultural and political elites celebrate “diversity” and clamor for more, what are they demanding, if not fewer white males in the work force and in the freshman classes at Annapolis and Harvard?
What is the moral argument for an affirmative action that justifies unending race discrimination against a declining white working class, who have become the expendables of our multicultural regime?
“Angry white male” is now an acceptable slur in culture and politics. So it is that people of that derided ethnicity, race, and gender see in Donald Trump someone who unapologetically berates and mocks the elites who have dispossessed them, and who despise them.
Is it any surprise that militant anti-government groups attract white males? Is it so surprising that the Donald today, like Jess Willard a century ago, is seen by millions as “The Great White Hope”?
Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of the new book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.
If China begins to reclaim and militarize Scarborough Shoal, says Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III, America must fight. Should we back down, says Aquino, the United States will lose “its moral ascendancy, and also the confidence of one of its allies.”
And what is Scarborough Shoal? A cluster of rocks and reefs, 123 miles west of Subic Bay, that sits astride the passageway out of the South China Sea into the Pacific, and is well within Manila’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone.
Beijing and Manila both claim Scarborough Shoal. But, in June 2013, Chinese ships swarmed and chased off a fleet of Filipino fishing boats and naval vessels. The Filipinos never came back.
And now that China has converted Fiery Cross Reef and Mischief Reef into artificial islands with docks and air bases, Beijing seems about to do the same with Scarborough Shoal. “Scarborough is a red line,” says Gregory Poling of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. To allow China to occupy and militarize the reef “would clearly change the balance of power.”
Really? But before concluding that we must fight to keep China from turning Scarborough Shoal into an island base, there are other considerations.
High among them is that the incoming president of the Philippines, starting June 30, is Rodrigo Duterte, no admirer of America, and a populist authoritarian thug who, as Mayor of Davao, presided over the extrajudicial killing of some 1,000 criminals during the 1990s. Duterte, who has charged Aquino with treason for abandoning Scarborough Shoal, once offered to set aside his country’s claim in exchange for a Chinese-built railroad, then said he might take a jet ski to the reef to assert Manila’s rights, plant a flag and let himself be executed to become a national hero.
In a clash with China, this character would be our ally. Indeed, the rise of Duterte is yet another argument that, when Manila booted us out of Subic Bay at the Cold War’s end, we should have dissolved our mutual security pact.
This June, an international arbitration tribunal in The Hague will rule on Manila’s claims and China’s transgressions on reefs that may not belong to her. Beijing has indicated she will not accept any such decision.
So, the fat is in the fire. And as the Chinese are adamant about their claims to the Spratly and Paracel Islands and virtually all the atolls, rocks and reefs in the South China Sea, and are reinforcing their claims by creating artificial islands and bases, the U.S. and China are headed for a collision.
U.S. warships and reconnaissance planes passing near these islets have been repeatedly harassed by Chinese warplanes. Vietnam, too, has a quarrel with China over the Paracels, which is why President Obama is being feted in Hanoi and why he lifted the ban on arms sales. There is now talk of the Navy’s return to Cam Ranh Bay.
But before we agree to support the claims of Manila and Hanoi against China’s claims, and agree to use U.S. air and naval power if needed, we need to ask some hard questions.
What vital interest of ours is imperiled by who owns, or occupies, or militarizes Scarborough Shoal? If U.S. rights of passage in the South China Sea are not impeded by Chinese planes or ships, why make Hanoi’s quarrels and Manila’s quarrels with China our quarrels?
Vietnam and the Philippines are inviting us back to our old Cold War bases for a simple reason. If the Chinese use force to back up their claims, Hanoi and Manila want us to fight China for them.
But, other than a major war, what would be in it for us? And if, after such a war, we have driven the Chinese off these islets and destroyed those bases, how long would we be required to defend them for Hanoi and Manila? Have we not enough war guarantees outstanding?
We are moving NATO and U.S. troops into Eastern Europe and anti-missile missiles into Poland and Romania, antagonizing Russia. We are fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen, and, if the neocons get their way, we will soon be confronting Iran again. Meanwhile, North Korea is testing nuclear warheads for long-range missiles that can reach the American homeland.
And no vital U.S. interest of ours is imperiled in the South China Sea. Should Beijing insanely decide to disrupt commercial traffic in that sea, the response is not to send a U.S. carrier strike group to blast their artificial islands off the map.
Better that we impose a 10 percent tariff on Chinese-made goods, and threaten an embargo of all Chinese goods if they do not stand down. And call on our “allies” to join us in sanctions against China, rather than sit and hold our coat while we fight their wars.
This economic action would send China’s economy into a tailspin, and the cost to Americans would not be reckoned in the lives of our best and bravest.
Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of the new book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.
In his coquettish refusal to accept the Donald, Paul Ryan says he cannot betray the conservative “principles” of the party of Abraham Lincoln, high among which is a devotion to free trade. But when did free trade become dogma in the Party of Lincoln?
As early as 1832, young Abe declared, “My politics are short and sweet, like the old woman’s dance. I am in favor of a national bank … and a high protective tariff. These are my sentiments and political principles.” Campaigning in 1844, Lincoln declared, “Give us a protective tariff and we will have the greatest nation on earth.”
Abe’s openness to a protective tariff in 1860 enabled him to carry Pennsylvania and the nation. As I wrote in “The Great Betrayal: How American Sovereignty and Social Justice Are Being Sacrificed to the Gods of the Global Economy” in 1998: “The Great Emancipator was the Great Protectionist.”
During his presidency, Congress passed and Abe signed 10 tariff bills. Lincoln inaugurated the Republican Party tradition of economic nationalism. Vermont’s Justin Morrill, who shepherded GOP tariff bills through Congress from 1860 to 1898, declared, “I am for ruling America, for the benefit, first, of Americans, and for the ‘rest of mankind’ afterwards.”
In 1890, Republicans enacted the McKinley Tariff that bore the name of that chairman of ways and means and future president. “Open competition between high-paid American labor and poorly paid European labor,” warned Cong. William McKinley, “will either drive out of existence American industry or lower American wages.”
Too few Republicans of McKinley’s mindset sat in Congress when NAFTA and MFN for China were being enacted.
In the 1895 “History of the Republican Party,” the authors declare, “the Republican Party … is the party of protection … that carries the banner of protection proudly.” Under protectionist policies from 1865 to 1900, U.S. debt was cut by two-thirds. Customs duties provided 58 percent of revenue. Save for President Cleveland’s 2 percent tax, which was declared unconstitutional, there was no income tax. Commodity prices fell 58 percent. Real wages, despite a doubling of the population, rose 53 percent. Growth in GDP averaged over 4 percent a year. Industrial production rose almost 5 percent a year.
The U.S. began the era with half of Britain’s production, and ended it with twice Britain’s production. In McKinley’s first term, the economy grew 7 percent a year. After his assassination, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt took over. His reaction to Ryan’s free-trade ideology? In a word, disgust.
“Pernicious indulgence in the doctrine of free trade seems inevitably to produce fatty degeneration of the moral fibre,” wrote the Rough Rider, “I thank God I am not a free trader.”
When the GOP returned to power after President Wilson, they enacted the Fordney-McCumber Tariff of 1922. For the next five years, the economy grew 7 percent a year. While the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, signed eight months after the Crash of ’29, was blamed for the Depression, Nobel laureate Milton Friedman ferreted out the real perp, the Federal Reserve.
Every Republican platform from 1884 to 1944 professed the party’s faith in protection. Free trade was introduced by the party of Woodrow Wilson and FDR. Our modern free-trade era began with the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Among the eight no votes in the Senate were Barry Goldwater and Prescott Bush.
Even in recent crises, Republican presidents have gone back to the economic nationalism of their Grand Old Party. With the Brits coming for our gold and Japanese imports piling up, President Nixon in 1971 closed the gold window and imposed a 10 percent tariff on Japanese goods. Ronald Reagan slapped a 50 percent tariff on Japanese motorcycles being dumped here to kill Harley-Davidson, then put quotas on Japanese auto imports, and on steel and machine tools. Reagan was a conservative of the heart. Though a free trader, he always put America first.
What, then, does history teach?
The economic nationalism and protectionism of Hamilton, Madison, Jackson, and Henry Clay, and the Party of Lincoln, McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, and Coolidge, of all four presidents on Mount Rushmore, made America the greatest and most self-sufficient republic in history.
And the free-trade, one-worldism of Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama enabled Communist China to shoulder us aside us and become the world’s No. 1 manufacturing power.
Like Britain, after free-trade was adopted in the mid-19th century, when scribblers like David Ricardo, James Mill, and John Stuart Mill, and evangelists like Richard Cobden dazzled political elites with their visions of the future, America has been in a long steady decline.
If we look more and more like the British Empire in its twilight years, it is because we were converted to the same free-trade faith that was dismissed as utopian folly by the men who made America. Where in the history of great nations—Britain before 1850, the USA, Bismarck’s Germany, postwar Japan and China today—has nationalism not been the determinant factor in economic policy?
Speaker Ryan should read more history and less Ayn Rand.
“It’s a suicide mission,” said the Republican Party Chairman.
Reince Priebus was commenting on a Washington Post story about Mitt Romney and William Kristol’s plot to recruit a third-party conservative candidate to sink Donald Trump.
Several big-name Republican “consultants” and “strategists” are said to be on board. Understandably so, given the bucks involved. With the kind of cash that sloshes around in a presidential campaign, there should be no shortage of super PAC parasites at the enlistment office.
Still missing, however, is the kamikaze pilot who gets just enough fuel to make it out to the fleet. Efforts to recruit Sen. Ben Sasse, loudest of the “Never Trump” leaders, appear to have foundered. Second thoughts set in this weekend when the Nebraska State Republican Convention voted thunderously to chastise Sasse for persisting in his anti-Trump antics, now that the Republican nominee has been decided by the voters.
Among others sounded out for the mission are ex-Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, retired Marine Corps General James Mattis, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks. All have begged off.
Apparently, Romney, the Republican Party’s 2012 nominee, personally sounded out both Sasse and Gov. John Kasich, who will be hosting the Cleveland Convention where the coronation of the Donald is to be held. How Kasich could expect to beat Trump in November, when he lost every state primary to Trump, save his own, is unexplained. And, indeed, Romney’s recruitment of Kasich raises a question.
If Romney believes that Trump is an unacceptable nominee and would be an intolerable president, and that Republicans have a moral obligation to prevent this, why does Romney not man up and take on the assignment himself? Now, admittedly, Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills, where Romney attended, does not have a long tradition of producing suicide bombers. Yet, Romney is asking others to undertake a mission that will kill their careers and make them pariahs in their party, but will not do it himself.
His father shared Romney’s mindset: If the voters have made a mistake, you are not obligated to support it. Just days after Sen. Barry Goldwater locked up the Republican nomination in the California primary, Gov. George Romney was at the Cleveland governors conference plotting to stop him.
Richard Nixon arrived to encourage Romney to step out onto the tracks in front of the Goldwater express. Romney thought better of taking Nixon’s counsel. But he did join Gov. Nelson Rockefeller in denouncing his own party for coddling extremists, and refused to endorse Goldwater, as son Mitt is refusing to endorse Trump. It was after that Cleveland Convention that Nixon ruefully told me, “Buchanan, whenever you hear of a group forming up to stop X, be sure to put your money on X.”
In 1968, George Romney was so far behind Nixon in the early polls he dropped out, two weeks before New Hampshire. Though he quit the race, at the Republican Convention in Miami Beach, he allowed his name to be put in nomination for vice president, to protest Nixon’s selection of Spiro T. Agnew.
Agnew crushed him. But whatever you say about the political savvy of George Romney, he was stubborn as a bull in his convictions, and he had the courage to go down to defeat fighting for them. Son Mitt, however, is pushing others into doing what he will not do.
Why is Priebus right when he calls the entry of a third-party conservative in the presidential race a “suicide mission”? Such a candidate would siphon off votes that would otherwise go to Trump, bring down the ticket, and result in Hillary Clinton becoming the 45th president.
That would mean the next three justices on the Supreme Court would be in the tradition of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor. And that would mean Roe v. Wade would never be overturned, affirmative action would be forever, and the social revolution that declared same-sex marriage a constitutional right would roll on.
A Clinton presidency would also mean Obamacare is forever.
The Romney-Kristol collusion thus overlaps nicely with the interests of the Clinton campaign and the agenda of the Beltway media elite. By scheming to divide the Republican base, they are colluding to bring about the defeat of the Republican Party. And that means Bill and Hillary Clinton back in the White House.
In 1980, Republican Congressman John Anderson, defeated by Ronald Reagan in the primaries, refused to endorse him, and ran as a third-party candidate. As of June, Anderson had 24 percent of the vote and Reagan was losing to President Carter. Fortunately, as Anderson moved left, he began to sink and draw as much from Carter as from Reagan.
What the Never Trump folks refuse to face is this transparent reality:
Either Trump or Clinton is going to be the next president. To the degree they succeed in wounding or killing Trump’s candidacy, they advance Clinton’s chances of succeeding Obama.
The Romney-Kristol cabal is Hillary Clinton’s fifth column inside the Republican Party.
“No modern precedent exists for the revival of a party so badly defeated, so intensely discredited, and so essentially split as the Republican Party is today.”
Taken from The Party That Lost Its Head by Bruce Chapman and George Gilder, this excerpt, about Barry Goldwater’s defeat in 1964, led Thursday’s column by E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post. Dionne is warning what could happen if the GOP perpetrates the political atrocity of nominating Donald Trump.
For weeks now, the Post‘s editorial page has sermonized about the “moral” obligation of all righteous Republicans to repudiate Trump. The Post‘s solicitude for the well-being of the Republican Party is the stuff of legend. Yet it is a bit jarring to see these champions of abortion on demand, same-sex marriage, and visitation rights for cross-dressers in the girls’ room, standing in a pulpit lecturing on morality.
Yet, there was something off about that Chapman-Gilder quote.
First, both were members of the Harvard-based, Rockefeller-backed, liberal Ripon Society. Second, their prognosis of the party’s future proved to be spectacularly wrong.
The year, 1966, their book on the headless GOP appeared, to press hosannas, Richard Nixon led the party to its greatest off-year victory since 1946, adding 47 new seats in the House. Two years later, Nixon won the presidency, inaugurating an era in which Republicans won five out of six presidential contests, two by 49-state landslides.
Out of Goldwater’s defeat came the New Majority and Reagan Revolution. And Chapman and Gilder moved rightward to serve with distinction in that revolution.
The prodigal sons were welcomed home, and Gilder would recant:
The far Right — the same men I dismissed as extremists in my youth — turned out to know far more than I did. At least the ‘right-wing extremists,’ as I confidently called them, were right on almost every major policy issue from welfare to Vietnam to Keynesian economics and defense…
While the Goldwater campaign, as an insurgency of outsiders, bears comparison with Trump’s, in other ways it does not.
Goldwater never compiled anything near the vote that Trump did. At this point in 1964, Goldwater was behind Johnson 79-18 in the Gallup poll. Trump is behind Hillary Clinton by single digits. New polls have him running even in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania.
Now, consider the issues comparison with 1964.
In July 1964, Johnson signed the popular Civil Rights Act that Goldwater had opposed. The GOP Convention in San Francisco revealed a deeply divided party, subject to the charge, validated by the rule-or-ruin Rockefeller-Romney faction, that it was receptive to right-wing radicals.
Lyndon Johnson’s decision to bomb North Vietnam after the Gulf of Tonkin incident made him a war leader, and Americans rally to presidents in a time of war.
In 2016, however, Trump holds a fistful of face cards. After eight years of President Obama, he is the candidate of change in 2016, and Clinton is the candidate of same.
Trump may bring more excitement than some folks can handle. But Clinton has become a crashing bore, until she gets agitated, and then the voice rises to where she sounds like the siren on the hook-and-ladder in “Chicago Fire.”
Other than that she would be the first woman president, what is there about her or her agenda that has popular appeal? That lack of appeal explains why her crowds are a fraction of Bernie Sanders’.
The Clinton of 2016 is not the Clinton of 2008.
As for the issues dividing Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan, Trump appears to have won the argument, if the debate is decided by voter preferences rather than Beltway preferences.
Trump’s denunciation of NAFTA and other “free-trade” deals Ryan supports is echoed by Sanders, who opposed those deals when they were up for a vote. Hillary Clinton no longer rhapsodizes over husband Bill’s NAFTA, and signals she will not support Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership in a lame-duck session.
Ryan professes to be a man of principle. Why does he not then stand by his principles, as Goldwater did, and bring up TPP for a vote? Is Paul Ryan’s “immigration reform” package as popular inside his party as Trump’s tough line? It would seem not. The longer the primaries went on, the closer the other GOP candidates moved toward Trump. And if Ryan believes in it on principle, why not bring it up?
Ryan voted for the Iraq War that Trump calls a disaster. The people seem now to agree with Trump that the war was misconceived.
Thursday’s Post reported that, five years ago, Ryan stood on the House floor to declare, “This is our defining moment.” And what was Ryan’s defining moment?
“On that day in 2011,” said the Post, “the House’s new GOP majority approved Ryan’s budget plan — which …called for cuts in a government program that voters knew and loved: Medicare.
“Ryan … wanted eventually to turn the massive health-benefit program over to private insurers.”
Come to think of it, Barry Goldwater wanted to turn Social Security over to private enterprise. How did that one work out?
Forty-eight hours after Donald Trump wrapped up the Republican nomination with a smashing victory in the Indiana primary, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that he could not yet support Trump.
In millennial teen-talk, Ryan told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now.”
“[T]he bulk of the burden of unifying the party” falls on Trump, added Ryan. Trump must unify “all wings of the Republican Party, and the conservative movement.” Trump must run a campaign that we can “be proud to support and proud to be a part of.”
Then, maybe, our Hamlet of the House can be persuaded to support the elected nominee of his own party. Excuse me, but upon what meat has this our Caesar fed?
Ryan is a congressman from Wisconsin. He has never won a statewide election. As number two on Mitt Romney’s ticket, he got waxed by Joe Biden. He was compromise choice as speaker, only after John Boehner went into in his Brer Rabbit “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah” routine.
Who made Ryan the conscience of conservatism? Who made Ryan keeper of the keys of true Republicanism?
Trump “inherits something … that’s very special to a lot of us,” said Ryan, “the party of Lincoln and Reagan and Jack Kemp.” But Trump did not “inherit” anything. He won the nomination of the Republican Party in an epic battle in the most wide-open race ever, in which Trump generated the largest turnout and greatest vote totals in the history of Republican primaries.
What is Ryan up to?
He is pandering to the Trump-hating Beltway media and claiming the leadership of a Republican establishment routed and repudiated in the primaries, not only by that half of the party that voted for Trump, but also by that huge slice of the party that voted for Ted Cruz.
The hubris here astonishes. A Republican establishment that has been beaten as badly as Carthage in the Third Punic War is now making demands on Scipio Africanus and the victorious Romans.
This is difficult to absorb. Someone should instruct Paul Ryan that losers do not make demands. They make requests. They make pleas.
What makes Ryan’s demands more astonishing is that he is the designated chairman of the Republican National Convention, a majority of whose delegates and whose nomination Trump is about to win. Ryan is saying he is ambivalent over whether he will accept the verdict of the Cleveland convention—of which he is the chairman.
If Ryan holds to his refusal to accept the decision of the Republican majority in the primaries, he should be removed from that role. And if Ryan does not come out of Thursday’s meeting with the Donald, endorsing him, the presumptive nominee should turn to Paul Ryan, and, in two words, tell him, “You’re fired!”
Trump cannot allow the establishment to claw back in the cloakrooms of Capitol Hill what he won on a political battlefield. He cannot allow a discredited establishment to dictate the issues he may run on. That would be a betrayal of the troops who brought Trump victory after victory in the primaries.
To longtime students of politics, there is rarely anything new under the sun. And there is precedent for the shakedown Ryan and his Beltway collaborators are trying to do to Trump. Paul Ryan is the Nelson Rockefeller of his generation.
In 1960, Gov. Rockefeller refused to challenge Vice President Nixon in the primaries. When Nixon went to Rockefeller’s New York apartment to persuade him to join the ticket, Rocky refused, but demanded concessions in the platform, to which Nixon acceded.
The Chicago convention, a Nixon convention, believed itself betrayed by the “Pact of Fifth Avenue.” Only the appearance of Sen. Barry Goldwater at the podium to tell conservatives to “grow up. We can take this party back,” halted a suicidal drive to take the nomination away from Nixon.
After Goldwater won the nomination in the 1964 California primary by defeating Rockefeller, Rocky arrived at the San Francisco convention to demand that a plank equating the John Birch Society with the Communist Party and Ku Klux Klan be written into Goldwater’s platform. Hooted and rejected, Rocky went home and refused to endorse the nominee, who went down to a crushing defeat by LBJ.
Nixon, a party loyalist, campaigned across the country for Barry and his doomed party.
In 1968, Nixon got his reward, the nomination, with Goldwater’s support. And Govs. Rockefeller and George Romney, who had done the Paul Ryan thing, never came close. Rockefeller got what he deserved when the Reaganite heirs of Barry Goldwater, at Kansas City in 1976, demanded the dumping of Rocky from President Ford’s ticket. And they got it.
Paul Ryan, in declaring that he cannot now support Trump, and imposing conditions to earn his support, has crawled out on a long limb. Trump cannot capitulate. He has to saw it off.
This is one Private Ryan we cannot save.
“The two living Republican past presidents, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, have no plans to endorse Trump, according to their spokesmen.” So said the lead story in the Washington Post.
Graceless, yes, but not unexpected. The Bushes have many fine qualities. Losing well, however, is not one of them. And they have to know, whether they concede it or not, that Trump’s triumph is a sweeping repudiation of Bush Republicanism by the same party that nominated them four times for the presidency.
Not only was son and brother, Jeb, humiliated and chased out of the race early, but Trump won his nomination by denouncing as rotten to the core the primary fruits of signature Bush policies.
Twelve million aliens are here illegally, said Trump, because the Bushes failed to secure America’s borders. America has run up $12 trillion in trade deficits and been displaced as the world’s first manufacturing power by China, said Trump, because of the lousy trade deals backed by Bush Republicans.
The greatest strategic blunder in U.S. history, said Trump, was the Bush II decision to invade Iraq to disarm it of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. The war Bush began, says Trump, produced 5,000 American dead, scores of thousands wounded, trillions of dollars wasted, and a Middle East sunk in civil-sectarian war, chaos, and fanaticism.
That is a savage indictment of the Bush legacy. And a Republican electorate, in the largest turnout in primary history, nodded, “Amen to that, brother!” No matter who wins in November, there is no going back for the GOP.
Can anyone think the Republican Party can return to open borders or new free-trade agreements like NAFTA? Can anyone believe another U.S. Army, like the ones Bush I and Bush II sent into Afghanistan and Iraq, will be mounted up and march to remake another Middle East country in America’s image?
Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom are history.
What the Trump campaign revealed, as Republicans and even Democrats moved toward him on trade, immigration and foreign policy, is that Bush Republicanism and neoconservatism not only suffered a decisive defeat, they had a sword run right through them. They are as dead as emperor-worship in Japan.
Trump won the nomination, he won the argument, and he won the debate. The party is now with Trump—on the issues. For GOP elites, there can be no going back to what the grass roots rejected.
What does this suggest for Trump himself?
While he ought to keep an open door to those he defeated, the greatest mistake he could make would be to seek the support of the establishment he crushed by compromising on the issues that brought out his crowds and brought him his victories and nomination.
Given Trump’s negatives, the Beltway punditocracy is writing him off, warning that Trump either comes to terms with the establishment on the issues, or he is gone for good. History teaches otherwise.
Hubert Humphrey closed a 15-point gap in the Gallup poll on Oct. 1 to reach a 43-43 photo finish with Richard Nixon in 1968. President Gerald Ford was down 33 points to Jimmy Carter in mid-July 1976, but lost by only 2 points on Election Day. In February 1980, Ronald Reagan was 29 points behind Jimmy Carter, whom he would crush 51-41 in a 44-state landslide. Gov. Michael Dukakis left his Atlanta convention 17 points ahead of Vice President George H.W. Bush in 1988. Five weeks later, Labor Day, Bush had an eight-point lead he never lost, and swept 40 states.
What this suggests is extraordinary volatility of the electorate in the modern age. As this year has shown, that has not changed.
How then should Trump proceed?
Unify the party, to the degree he can, by keeping an open door to the defeated and offering a hand in friendship to all who wish to join his ranks, while refusing to compromise the issues that got him where he is. If the Bushes and neocons wish to depart, let them go.
Lest we forget, Congressman John Anderson, who lost to Reagan in the primaries, bolted the party and won 7 percent of the national vote. Ted Cruz, who won more states and votes than all other Trump rivals put together, should be offered a prime-time speaking slot at Cleveland—in return for endorsing the Trump ticket.
As the vice presidential nominee remains the only drama left, Trump should hold off announcing his choice until closer to Cleveland.
For while that decision will leave one person elated, it will leave scores despondent. And the longer Trump delays his announcement, the more that those who see themselves as a future vice president will be praising him, or at least holding off from attacking him.
Ultimately, the Great Unifier upon whom the Republican Party may reliably depend is the nominee of the Democratic Party—Director James Comey and his FBI consenting—Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Friday, a Russian SU-27 did a barrel roll over a U.S. RC-135 over the Baltic, the second time in two weeks. Also in April, the U.S. destroyer Donald Cook, off Russia’s Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, was twice buzzed by Russian planes.
Vladimir Putin’s message: Keep your spy planes and ships a respectable distance away from us. Apparently, we have not received it.
Friday, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work announced that 4,000 NATO troops, including two U.S. battalions, will be moved into Poland and the Baltic States, right on Russia’s border. “The Russians have been doing a lot of snap exercises right up against the border with a lot of troops,” says Work, who calls this “extraordinarily provocative behavior.”
But how are Russian troops deploying inside Russia “provocative,” while U.S. troops on Russia’s front porch are not? And before we ride this escalator up to a clash, we had best check our hole card.
Germany is to provide one of four battalions to be sent to the Baltic. But a Bertelsmann Foundation poll last week found that only 31 percent of Germans favor sending their troops to resist a Russian move in the Baltic States or Poland, while 57 percent oppose it, though the NATO treaty requires it.
Last year, a Pew poll found majorities in Italy and France also oppose military action against Russia if she moves into Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia or Poland. If it comes to war in the Baltic, our European allies prefer that we Americans fight it.
Asked on his retirement as Army chief of staff what was the greatest strategic threat to the United States, Gen. Ray Odierno echoed Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, “I believe that Russia is.”
He mentioned threats to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukraine. Yet, when Gen. Odierno entered the service, all four were part of the Soviet Union, and no Cold War president ever thought any was worth a war.
The independence of the Baltic States was one of the great peace dividends after the Cold War. But when did that become so vital a U.S. interest we would go to war with Russia to guarantee it?
Putin may top the enemies list of the Beltway establishment, but we should try to see the world from his point of view.
When Ronald Reagan met Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavik in 1986, Putin was in his mid-30s, and the Soviet Empire stretched from the Elbe to the Bering Strait and from the Arctic to Afghanistan. Russians were all over Africa and had penetrated the Caribbean and Central America. The Soviet Union was a global superpower that had attained strategic parity with the United States.
Now consider how the world has changed for Putin, and Russia.
By the time he turned 40, the Red Army had begun its Napoleonic retreat from Europe and his country had splintered into 15 nations. By the time he came to power, the USSR had lost one-third of its territory and half its population. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan were gone.
The Black Sea, once a Soviet lake, now had on its north shore a pro-Western Ukraine, on its eastern shore a hostile Georgia, and on its western shore two former Warsaw Pact allies, Bulgaria and Romania, being taken into NATO.
For Russian warships in Leningrad, the trip out to the Atlantic now meant cruising past the coastline of eight NATO nations: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Great Britain.
Putin has seen NATO, despite solemn U.S. assurances given to Gorbachev, incorporate all of Eastern Europe that Russia had vacated, and three former republics of the USSR itself.
He now hears a clamor from American hawks to bring three more former Soviet republics—Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine—into a NATO alliance directed against Russia.
After persuading Kiev to join a Moscow-led economic union, Putin saw Ukraine’s pro-Russian government overthrown in a U.S.-backed coup. He has seen U.S.-funded “color-coded” revolutions try to dump over friendly regimes all across his “near abroad.”
“Russia has not accepted the hand of partnership,” says NATO commander, Gen. Philip Breedlove, “but has chosen a path of belligerence.” But why should Putin see NATO’s inexorable eastward march as an extended “hand of partnership”?
Had we lost the Cold War and Russian spy planes began to patrol off Pensacola, Norfolk and San Diego, how would U.S. F-16 pilots have reacted? If we awoke to find Mexico, Canada, Cuba, and most of South America in a military alliance against us, welcoming Russian bases and troops, would we regard that as “the hand of partnership”?
We are reaping the understandable rage and resentment of the Russian people over how we exploited Moscow’s retreat from empire. Did we not ourselves slap aside the hand of Russian friendship, when proffered, when we chose to embrace our “unipolar moment,” to play the “great game” of empire and seek “benevolent global hegemony”?
If there is a second Cold War, did Russia really start it?
Whether the establishment likes it or not, and it evidently does not, there is a revolution going on in America.
The old order in this capital city is on the way out, America is crossing a great divide, and there is no going back.
Donald Trump’s triumphant march to the nomination in Cleveland, virtually assured by his five-state sweep Tuesday, confirms it, as does his foreign policy address of Wednesday.
Two minutes into his speech before the Center for the National Interest, Trump declared that the “major and overriding theme” of his administration will be — “America first.” Right down the smokestack!
Gutsy and brazen it was to use that phrase, considering the demonization of the great anti-war movement of 1940-41, which was backed by the young patriots John F. Kennedy and his brother Joe, Gerald Ford and Sargent Shriver, and President Hoover and Alice Roosevelt.
Whether the issue is trade, immigration or foreign policy, says Trump, “we are putting the American people first again.” U.S. policy will be dictated by U.S. national interests.
By what he castigated, and what he promised, Trump is repudiating both the fruits of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy, and the legacy of Bush Republicanism and neoconservatism.
When Ronald Reagan went home, says Trump, “our foreign policy began to make less and less sense. Logic was replaced with foolishness and arrogance, which ended in one foreign policy disaster after another.”
He lists the results of 15 years of Bush-Obama wars in the Middle East: civil war, religious fanaticism, thousands of Americans killed, trillions of dollars lost, a vacuum created that ISIS has filled.
Is he wrong here? How have all of these wars availed us? Where is the “New World Order” of which Bush I rhapsodized at the U.N.?
Can anyone argue that our interventions to overthrow regimes and erect democratic states in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen have succeeded and been worth the price we have paid in blood and treasure, and the devastation we have left in our wake?
George W. Bush declared that America’s goal would become “to end tyranny in our world.” An utterly utopian delusion, to which Trump retorts by recalling John Quincy Adams’ views on America: “She goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.”
To the neocons’ worldwide crusade for democracy, Trump’s retort is that it was always a “dangerous idea” to think “we could make Western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming Western democracies.”
We are “overextended,” he declared, “We must rebuild our military.” Our NATO allies have been freeloading for half a century. NAFTA was a lousy deal. In running up $4 trillion in trade surpluses since Bush I, the Chinese have been eating our lunch.
This may be rankest heresy to America’s elites, but Trump outlines a foreign policy past generations would have recognized as common sense: Look out for your own country and your own people first.
Instead of calling President Putin names, Trump says he would talk to the Russians to “end the cycle of hostility,” if he can.
“Ronald Reagan must be rolling over in his grave,” sputtered Sen. Lindsey Graham, who quit the race to avoid a thrashing by the Donald in his home state of South Carolina.
But this writer served in Reagan’s White House, and the Gipper was always seeking a way to get the Russians to negotiate. He leapt at the chance for a summit with Mikhail Gorbachev in Geneva and Reykjavik.
“Our goal is peace and prosperity, not war,” says Trump, “unlike other candidates, war and aggression will not be my first instinct.”
Is that not an old and good Republican tradition?
Dwight Eisenhower ended the war in Korea and kept us out of any other. Richard Nixon ended the war in Vietnam, negotiated arms agreements with Moscow, and made an historic journey to open up Mao’s China.
Reagan used force three times in eight years. He put Marines in Lebanon, liberated Grenada and sent FB-111s over Tripoli to pay Col. Gadhafi back for bombing a Berlin discotheque full of U.S. troops.
Reagan later believed putting those Marines in Lebanon, where 241 were massacred, to be the worst mistake of his presidency.
Military intervention for reasons of ideology or nation building is not an Eisenhower or Nixon or Reagan tradition. It is not a Republican tradition. It is a Bush II-neocon deformity, an aberration that proved disastrous for the United States and the Middle East.
The New York Times headline declared that Trump’s speech was full of “Paradoxes,” adding, “Calls to Fortify Military and to Use It Less.”
But isn’t that what Reagan did? Conduct the greatest military buildup since Ike, then, from a position of strength, negotiate with Moscow a radical reduction in nuclear arms?
“We’re getting out of the nation-building business,” says Trump.
“The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony.” No more surrenders of sovereignty on the altars of “globalism.”
Is that not a definition of a patriotism that too many among our arrogant elites believe belongs to yesterday?
In a recent column Dennis Prager made an acute observation. “The vast majority of leading conservative writers … have a secular outlook on life. … They are unaware of the disaster that godlessness in the West has led to.”
These secular conservatives may think that “America can survive the death of God and religion,” writes Prager, but they are wrong. And, indeed, the last half-century seems to bear him out.
A people’s religion, their faith, creates their culture, and their culture creates their civilization. And when faith dies, the culture dies, the civilization dies, and the people begin to die. Is this not the recent history of the West?
Today, no great Western nation has a birthrate that will prevent the extinction of its native-born. By century’s end, other peoples and other cultures will have largely repopulated the Old Continent.
European Man seems destined to end like the 10 lost tribes of Israel—overrun, assimilated, and disappeared. And while the European peoples—Russians, Germans, Brits, Balts—shrink in number, the U.N. estimates that the population of Africa will double in 34 years to well over 2 billion people.
What happened to the West? As G. K. Chesterton wrote, when men cease to believe in God, they do not then believe in nothing, they believe in anything.
As European elites ceased to believe in Christianity, they began to convert to ideologies, to what Dr. Russell Kirk called “secular religions.” For a time, these secular religions—Marxism-Leninism, fascism, Nazism—captured the hearts and minds of millions. But almost all were among the gods that failed in the 20th century.
Now Western Man embraces the newer religions: egalitarianism, democratism, capitalism, feminism, One Worldism, environmentalism. These, too, give meaning to the lives of millions, but these, too, are inadequate substitutes for the faith that created the West.
For they lack what Christianity gave man—a cause not only to live for, and die for, but a moral code to live by, with the promise that, at the end a life so lived, would come eternal life. Islam, too, holds out that promise. Secularism, however, has nothing on offer to match that hope.
Looking back over the centuries, we see what faith has meant.
When, after the fall of the Roman Empire, the West embraced Christianity as a faith superior to all others, as its founder was the Son of God, the West went on to create modern civilization, and then went out and conquered most of the known world.
The truths America has taught the world, of an inherent human dignity and worth, and inviolable human rights, are traceable to a Christianity that teaches that every person is a child of God. Today, however, with Christianity virtually dead in Europe and slowly dying in America, Western culture grows debased and decadent, and Western civilization is in visible decline.
Rudyard Kipling prophesied all this in “Recessional”: “Far-called our navies melt away; On dune and headland sinks the fire: Lo, all our pomp of yesterday/Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!”
All the Western empires are gone, and the children of once-subject peoples cross the Mediterranean to repopulate the mother countries, whose native-born have begun to age, shrink and die.
Since 1975, only two European nations, Muslim Albania and Iceland, have maintained a birthrate sufficient to keep their peoples alive. Given the shrinking populations inside Europe and the waves of immigrants rolling in from Africa and the Middle and Near East, an Islamic Europe seems to be in the cards before the end of the century.
Vladimir Putin, who witnessed the death of Marxism-Leninism up close, appears to understand the cruciality of Christianity to Mother Russia, and seeks to revive the Orthodox Church and write its moral code back into Russian law.
And what of America, “God’s country”?
With Christianity excommunicated from her schools and public life for two generations, and Old and New Testament teachings rejected as a basis of law, we have witnessed a startlingly steep social decline.
Since the 1960s, America has set new records for abortions, violent crimes, incarcerations, drug consumption. While HIV/AIDS did not appear until the 1980s, hundreds of thousands have perished from it, and millions now suffer from it and related diseases.
Forty percent of U.S. births are out of wedlock. For Hispanics, the illegitimacy rate is over 50 percent; for African-Americans, it’s over 70 percent. Test scores of U.S. high school students fall annually and approach parity with Third World countries. Suicide is a rising cause of death for middle-aged whites.
Secularism seems to have no answer to the question, “Why not?”
“How small, of all that human hearts endure, That part which laws or kings can cause or cure,” wrote Samuel Johnson. Secular conservatives may have remedies for some of America’s maladies. But, as Johnson observed, no secular politics can cure the sickness of the soul of the West—a lost faith that appears irretrievable.
In Samuel Eliot Morison’s The Oxford History of the American People, there is a single sentence about Harriet Tubman. “An illiterate field hand, (Tubman) not only escaped herself but returned repeatedly and guided more than 300 slaves to freedom.”
Morison, however, devotes most of five chapters to the greatest soldier-statesman in American history, save Washington, that pivotal figure between the Founding Fathers and the Civil War—Andrew Jackson.
Slashed by a British officer in the Revolution, and a POW at 14, the orphaned Jackson went west, rose to head up the Tennessee militia, crushed an Indian uprising at Horseshoe Bend, Alabama, in the War of 1812, then was ordered to New Orleans to defend the threatened city. In one of the greatest victories in American history, memorialized in song, Jackson routed a British army and aborted a British scheme to seize New Orleans, close the Mississippi, and split the Union.
In 1818, ordered to clean out renegade Indians rampaging in Georgia, Jackson stormed into Florida, seized and hanged two British agitators, put the Spanish governor on a boat to Cuba, and claimed Florida for the USA. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams closed the deal. Florida was ours, and Jacksonville is among its great cities.
Though he ran first in popular and electoral votes in 1824, Jackson was denied the presidency by the “corrupt bargain” of Adams and Henry Clay, who got secretary of state. Jackson came back to win the presidency in 1828, recognized the Texas republic of his old subaltern Sam Houston, who had torn it from Mexico, and saw his vice president elected after his two terms.
He ended his life at his beloved Hermitage, pushing for the annexation of Texas and nomination of “dark horse” James K. Polk, who would seize the Southwest and California from Mexico and almost double the size of the Union.
Was Jackson responsible for the Cherokees’ “Trail of Tears”? Yes. And Harry Truman did Hiroshima, and Winston Churchill did Dresden.
Great men are rarely good men, and Jackson was a Scots-Irish duelist, Indian fighter, and slave owner. But then, Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe were slave owners before him.
To remove his portrait from the front of the $20 bill, and replace it with Tubman’s, is affirmative action that approaches the absurd. Whatever one’s admiration for Tubman and her cause, she is not the figure in history Jackson was.
Indeed, if the fight against slavery is the greatest cause in our history, why not honor John Brown, hanged for his raid on Harper’s Ferry to start a revolution to free the slaves, after he butchered slave owners in “Bleeding Kansas”? John Brown was the real deal.
But replacing Jackson with Tubman is not the only change coming.
The back of the $5 bill will soon feature Martin Luther King, Eleanor Roosevelt, and opera singer Marian Anderson, who performed at the Lincoln Memorial after being kept out of segregated Constitution Hall in 1939. That act of race discrimination came during the second term of FDR, Eleanor’s husband and the liberal icon who named Klansman Hugo Black to the Supreme Court and put 110,000 Japanese into concentration camps.
And, lest we forget, while Abraham Lincoln remains on the front of the $5 bill, the war he launched cost 620,000 dead, and his beliefs in white supremacy and racial separatism were closer to those of David Duke than Dr. King.
Alexander Hamilton, the architect of the American economy, will stay on the $10 bill, due in part to the intervention of hip-hop artists from the popular musical, “Hamilton,” in New York. But Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth, who fought for women’s suffrage, will be put on the back of the $10. While Anthony and Stanton appear in Morison’s history, Sojourner Truth does not.
Added up, while dishonoring Andrew Jackson, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is putting on the U.S. currency six women—three white, three African-American—and King. No Catholics, no conservatives, no Hispanics, no white males were apparently even considered.
This is affirmative action raised to fanaticism, a celebration of President Obama’s views and values, and a recasting of our currency to make Obama’s constituents happy at the expense of America’s greatest heroes and historic truth. Leftist role models for American kids now take precedence over the history of our Republic in those we honor.
While King already has a holiday and monument in D.C., were the achievements of any of these six women remotely comparable to what the six men honored on our currency—Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Jackson, President Grant, and Ben Franklin—achieved?
Whatever may be said for Eleanor Roosevelt, compared to her husband, she is an inconsequential figure in American history.
In the dystopian novel, 1984, Winston Smith labors in the Ministry of Truth, dropping down the “memory hole” stories that must be rewritten to re-indoctrinate the party and proles in the new history, as determined by Big Brother. Jack Lew would have fit right in there.
Donald Trump has brought out the largest crowds in the history of primaries. He has won the most victories, the most delegates, the most votes. He is poised to sweep three of the five largest states in the nation—New York, Pennsylvania, and California. If he does, and the nomination is taken from him, the Republican Party will be seen by the American people as a glorified Chinese tong.
Last week, Ted Cruz swept 34 delegates at the Colorado party convention. Attendees were not allowed to vote on whom they wanted as the party’s nominee. This weekend, Cruz shut out Trump in Wyoming the same way. What does this tell us? Cruz has a better “ground game.” His operatives work the system better. Ted Cruz is the king of small ball.
But having gone head-to-head in some 30 primaries and caucuses, Cruz has fallen millions of votes behind Trump, and will fall millions further behind after New York, Pennsylvania, and California. Cruz will soon join John Kasich in being mathematically eliminated from winning the nomination on the first ballot. His fallback strategy is to keep Trump just short of the 1,237 votes needed for victory on the first ballot, and then steal the nomination on the second.
How? Poaching and pilfering. In state after state, he is getting Cruz loyalists elected as Trump delegates. After casting an obligatory vote for Trump on the first ballot, the turncoats will go over the hill and vote for Cruz on the second ballot. Faithless delegates are preparing to switch to give Ted Cruz a nomination that he could not persuade Republican voters to confer upon him.
Like the 1919 World Series, the fix is in.
The rules are the rules, says Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus in defense of what went down in Colorado and Wyoming. Priebus is correct. The rules are the rules. But what is also true is that the rules have been and are being manipulated by party elites to frustrate the expressed will of a Republican electorate, and to impose a nominee other then the clear winner of the primaries.
Republican elites are engaged in a conspiracy to frustrate and overturn the democratic decision of the Republican electorate.
Prediction: If Trump sweeps the remaining major primaries, comes to Cleveland with millions more votes than any other candidate, and then has the nomination stolen from him, the Grand Old Party will be committing hara-kiri on worldwide TV.
This political race ranks among the most exciting in American history. Seventeen Republicans entered the lists last summer in what party officials hailed as “the strongest Republican field since 1980.”
Then Trump came down the escalator, took them on, and bested them all. Can Republican Party elites think they will be celebrated if they substitute their wants for the will of the voters?
A Cruz nomination would be like taking the gold medal away from the man who won it, and handing it to a runner-up. The GOP elites would be about as popular as those Olympic boxing judges in South Korea.
The deeper problem here is the refusal of party elites to realize that the world has changed. The Bush dynasty is done. Jeb Bush, the Prince of Wales, understands this. He will not be going to Cleveland. The primaries have starkly revealed that a new era is upon us.
Even the neocons, the dominant element among the 121 foreign policy experts who declared in an open letter that they will never work for a President Trump, testify to this. They see Trump’s victories as a repudiation of their legacy, and a Trump presidency as the end of their post-Cold War ascendancy. And given the disasters they have produced for America, from Afghanistan to Iraq, Libya and Yemen, the nation would be well rid of them.
Indeed, Trump’s victories, and the energies he has unleashed, are due, not only to his outsized persona but to his issues. People believe Trump will secure the borders, halt the invasion, embrace tariff and trade policies to reduce imports, and restart the production of goods, Made in the USA, by and for Americans.
In his first inaugural, Woodrow Wilson said, “The success of a party means little except when the Nation is using that party for a large and definite purpose.” Bush Republicans saw their “large and definite purpose” as creating a “New World Order” and “ending tyranny in our world.”
Trump seems to see repairing, rebuilding and restoring America to greatness as the “large and definite purpose” of the party he would lead. And a new emerging Republican majority seems to agree. If Trump had been routed, as first expected, then his message could rightly have been regarded as outside the mainstream. But Republican voters rallied to the issues he raised.
To either ignore the clear instructions of its electorate, or renounce their chosen messenger, would be for the Republican Party to forfeit its future, and cling to a discredited and dead past.
I am “not isolationist, but I am ‘America First,’” Donald Trump told the New York Times last weekend. “I like the expression.”
Of NATO, where the U.S. underwrites three-fourths of the cost of defending Europe, Trump calls this arrangement “unfair, economically, to us,” and adds, “We will not be ripped off anymore.”
Beltway media may be transfixed with Twitter wars over wives and alleged infidelities. But the ideas Trump aired should ignite a national debate over U.S. overseas commitments—especially NATO. For the Donald’s ideas are not lacking for authoritative support.
This week, SU-24 fighter-bombers buzzed a U.S. destroyer in the Baltic Sea. The Russian planes carried no missiles or bombs. Message: What are you Americans doing here?
In the South China Sea, U.S. planes overfly, and U.S. warships sail inside, the territorial limits of islets claimed by Beijing. In South Korea, U.S. forces conduct annual military exercises as warnings to a North Korea that is testing nuclear warheads and long-range missiles that can reach the United States.
U.S. warships based in Bahrain confront Iranian subs and missile boats in the Gulf. In January, a U.S. Navy skiff ran aground on an Iranian island. Iran let the 10 U.S. sailors go within 24 hours. But bellicose demands for U.S. retaliation had already begun.
Yet, in each of these regions, it is not U.S. vital interests that are threatened, but the interests of allies who will not man up to their own defense duties, preferring to lay them off on Uncle Sam. And America is beginning to buckle under the weight of its global obligations.
And as we have no claim to rocks or reefs in the South China Sea—Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines do—why is this our quarrel? If these rocks and reefs are so vital they are worth risking a military clash with China, why not, instead, impose tariffs on Chinese goods? Let U.S. companies and consumers pay the price of battling Beijing, rather than U.S. soldiers, sailors, and airmen.
Let South Korea and Japan build up their forces to deal with the North, and put Beijing on notice: If China will not halt Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons program, South Korea and Japan will build their own nuclear deterrents. Half a century ago, Britain and France did.
Why must we forever deter and, if need be, fight North Korea?
And why is the defense of the Baltic republics and East Europe our responsibility, 5,000 miles away, not Germany’s, whose economy is far larger than that of Russia?
Even during the darkest days of the Cold War, U.S. presidents refused to take military action in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, or Poland. When Moscow intervened there, the U.S. did nothing. When did the independence of Eastern Europe become so vital an interest that we would now risk war with a nuclear-armed Russia to ensure it?
Under Article 5 of NATO, an attack upon any of 28 allied nations is to be regarded as an attack upon all. But is this the kind of blank check we should give Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who, a few months back, ordered a Russian fighter plane that crossed into Turkish territory for 15 seconds be shot down? Do we really want to leave to this erratic autocrat the ability to drag us into a war with Russia?
When Neville Chamberlain in 1939 handed a war guarantee to a junta of Polish colonels, who also had an exaggerated opinion of their own military power and prowess, how did that work out for the Brits?
America should not write off the Baltic Republics or Eastern Europe. But we should rule out any U.S.-Russian war in Eastern Europe and restrict a U.S. response to Russian actions there to the economic and diplomatic. For the one certain loser of a U.S.-Russian conflict in Eastern Europe—would be Eastern Europe.
As for Iran, the U.S. intelligence community, in 2007 and 2011, declared with high confidence that it had no nuclear weapons program. Since the Iran nuclear treaty was signed, 98 percent of Iran’s enriched uranium has been shipped out of the country; no more 20 percent enriched uranium is being produced; the Arak reactor that could have produced plutonium has been scuttled and reconfigured; and nuclear inspectors are crawling all over every facility.
Talk of Iran having a secret nuclear-bomb program and testing intercontinental missiles comes, unsurprisingly, from the same folks who assured us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The goal is the same: Stampede America into fighting another war, far away, against a nation they want to see smashed.
Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, this country has been steadily bled and slowly bankrupted. We are now as overextended as was the British Empire in the 1940s.
And like that empire, we, too, are being challenged by nations that seek to enlarge their place in the sun—a resurrected Russia, China, Iran. And we are being bedeviled by fanatics who want us out of their part of the world, which they wish to remake according to the visions of their own faiths and ideologies.
Time for a reappraisal of all of the war guarantees this nation has issued since the beginning of the Cold War, to determine which, if any, still serve U.S. national interests in 2016. Alliances, after all, are the transmission belts of war.
This is not isolationism. It is putting our country first, and staying out of other people’s wars. It used to be called patriotism.
In the race for the Republican nomination, Donald Trump would seem to be in the catbird seat. He has won the most states, the most delegates and the most votes—by nearly two million. He has brought out the largest crowds and is poised for huge wins in the largest states of the East, New York and Pennsylvania.
Yet, there is a growing probability that the backroom boys will steal the nomination from him at a brokered convention in Cleveland.
Over the weekend, Colorado awarded all 34 delegates to Ted Cruz. The fix had been in since August, when party officials, alarmed at Trump’s popularity, decided it would be best if Colorado Republicans were not allowed to vote on the party’s nominee. After all, these poor folks might get it wrong.
In South Carolina, where Trump swept the primary, a plot is afoot for a mass desertion of Trump delegates after the first ballot. The Republican Party in Georgia, another state Trump won, is also talking up delegate defections.
In state after state, when Trump wins, and moves on, the apparatchiks arrive—to thieve delegates for Cruz. “This is a crooked system, folks,” says Trump, “the system is rigged. … I go to Louisiana. I win Louisiana. … Then I find out I get less delegates than Cruz because of some nonsense. … I say this to the RNC. I say it to the Republican Party: You’re going to have a big problem, folks, because the people don’t like what’s going on.”
Something rotten is also going on in the Democratic race. Bernie Sanders is on a roll, having won seven straight primaries and caucuses. Yet, he keeps falling further behind.
“I watch Bernie, he wins. He wins. He keeps winning, winning,” said Trump in Rochester. “And then I see, he’s got no chance. They always say he’s got no chance. Why doesn’t he have a chance?
“Because the system is corrupt.”
Sanders seems to be shorted every time he wins a primary or caucus. And the insurmountable hurdle he faces was erected against folks like Sanders some time ago — the 700-plus superdelegates.
These are Democratic congressmen, senators, governors and Party officials. By more than 10-1, close to 500 of these superdelegates have lined up to back Hillary Clinton and stop Sanders. The Democratic Party believes in democracy, up to a point—that point being that Democratic voters will not be permitted to nominate a candidate to whom the party elites object.
Richard Nixon’s 49-state triumph in 1972 cured the Democrats of their naive belief in democracy. Henceforth, the George McGoverns and Bernie Sanderses can run. But they will not be allowed to win.
Yet, since it is Trump and Sanders who have stirred the greatest passion and brought out the biggest crowds, if both are seen as having been cheated by insiders, then the American political system may suffer a setback similar to that caused by the “corrupt bargain” of 1824.
Andrew Jackson ran first in the popular vote and the Electoral College, but was short of victory. John Quincy Adams, who ran second, got Speaker Henry Clay to deliver the House of Representatives, and thus make Adams president. Clay became Adam’s secretary of state.
In 1828, Jackson got his revenge, winning the presidency. Clay would never make it. On his deathbed, Jackson confided that among the great regrets of his life was that he did not shoot Henry Clay.
While the turnout in the Democratic primaries and caucuses has not matched the Obama-Clinton race of 2008, Sanders has rallied the young and working class, turned out the biggest crowds and generated the greatest enthusiasm.
But on the Republican side, the Party has had the largest turnout in American history. And the reason is Trump. And if, after having won the most votes and delegates, Trump is seen as having been swindled out of a nomination he won, by intraparty scheming in Cleveland, the GOP could suffer a self-inflicted wound from which it might not recover.
Another matter that could prevent a return to national unity? The deepening split over trade and foreign policy, both between the parties, and within the parties.
Sanders, last week, was saying that what disqualifies Clinton as president is her support for free trade deals that gutted American industry and cost millions of jobs, and her support for an Iraq War that was among the costliest, bloodiest blunders in U.S. history. On both issues, Trump agrees with Sanders. Cruz, an uber-hawk and free trader, is more aligned with Clinton.
If the “America First” stance on foreign and trade policy, close to a majority position today, is unrepresented by either party this fall, and we get a free trade, War Party president, the divisions within the country will widen and deepen.
If Sanders and his revolution are sent packing in Philadelphia, and Trump is robbed in Cleveland of a nomination Americans believe he won, political disillusionment, and political realignment, may be at hand.
After winning only six delegates in Wisconsin, and with Ted Cruz poaching delegates in states he has won, like Louisiana, Donald Trump either wins on the first ballot at Cleveland, or Trump does not win.
Yet, as that huge, roaring reception he received in his first post-Wisconsin appearance in Bethpage, N.Y., testifies, the Donald remains not only the front-runner, but the most exciting figure in the race.
Moreover, after the New York, New England, mid-Atlantic and California primaries, Trump should be within striking distance of the 1,237 delegates needed for the nomination.
He will then have to persuade uncommitted delegates to back him, and perhaps do a deal with one of the defeated candidates, Marco Rubio or John Kasich, to win the remaining few needed to go over the top.
In 1976, Ronald Reagan, shy of the delegates he needed to defeat President Ford, offered second place on his ticket to Sen. Richard Schweiker, a moderate from Pennsylvania.
This brainstorm of Reagan campaign manager John Sears did not produce the required delegates, and Reagan received an envelope from a conservative Congressman with 30 dimes in it—30 pieces of silver.
Still, Reagan was right to roll the dice.
But assume Trump reaches 1,237 on the first ballot.
Would the GOP establishment accept his leadership, back his ticket, and help to bring together all the elements—nationalist, Tea Party, conservative and moderate—of a grand coalition to defeat Hillary Clinton?
Or would the establishment refuse to endorse Trump, ensure his defeat, and hoping to pick up the pieces of a shattered party, as Govs. Nelson Rockefeller and George Romney assumed they would do after they deserted Barry Goldwater in 1964.
Prediction: If the GOP establishment does collude to steal the nomination from the candidate who has won the most states, most delegates and most votes, not only could the party be crushed in November, but that establishment could be discredited in perpetuity.
For those who have come out for Trump, and have given the GOP the largest turnouts of any party in a primary season in history, will not be give their allegiance to a Beltway elite that cheated them of the prize they had won.
Sullen and angry, they will be going home, not soon to return.
An establishment embrace of a rule-or-ruin course—Better to lose, than win with Trump!—seems irrational. But it is not irrational if one’s preeminence and position are the summum bonum of one’s political existence.
To avoid the Hobbesian choice—back Trump or abandon Trump—the establishment must block him from a first-ballot victory. And indispensable to the Anybody-But-Trump coalition is Ted Cruz, whom the establishment, if possible, detests even more than Trump.
One testament to the esteem in which Cruz is held is that only two of his 53 Senate GOP colleagues have endorsed him, and one of these, Lindsey Graham, did so as the lesser of two evils.
Here is the second peril for the GOP elites.
If Trump is stopped on the first ballot, the delegates who leave him on the second ballot may go to Cruz, and the stampede could be on.
Yet, it is hard to see how a Cruz nomination is better for the party than a Trump nomination.
For Cruz cannot win in Cleveland, unless the man with the most votes and delegates is deprived of a nomination to which he has a far stronger claim, if this country remains a democratic republic.
A Cruz victory in Cleveland would likely lead to the angry and bitter departure of the Trump delegates, and, in the fall, to a mass defection of the blue-collar, Middle-American Trump voters, especially above the Mason-Dixon line where Cruz is already weak.
The latest poll of Republicans in New York has Trump above 50 percent, with Cruz running third at 17 percent. Even in the South, which was to be Ted Cruz’s firewall, Trump beat him repeatedly.
And while Cruz can claim to be a more reliable conservative than Trump, how does that translate into electoral votes in the fall?
Is the Republican establishment, having been repudiated in the primaries in a historic turnout by the party base, now engaged in a willful act of self-deception?
Can that establishment believe it can rob Trump of a nomination he has all but won, then hold off a right-wing Cruz surge that would ensue, then trot out of the stable one of its own, Speaker Paul Ryan, crown him at the convention, and then win in November?
This is delusional. And what this tells us is, to borrow from The Gipper, that the Republican establishment is not the solution to the party’s problems; the Republican establishment is the problem.
While the GOP appears headed for a train wreck in Cleveland, the principal ingredients of a Republican victory and a Republican future will all be present there: Cruz conservatives and Tea Party types, Trumpite nationalists and populists, Rubio-Kasich-Bush centrists and moderates.
Political statesmanship could yet bring about unity, and victory.
Unfortunately, the smart money is on ego getting in the way.
As Wisconsinites head for the polls, our Beltway elites are almost giddy. For they foresee a Badger State bashing for Donald Trump, breaking his momentum toward the Republican nomination.
Should the Donald fall short of the delegates needed to win on the first ballot, 1,237, there is growing certitude that he will be stopped. First by Ted Cruz; then, perhaps, by someone acceptable to the establishment, which always likes to have two of its own in the race.
But this city of self-delusion should realize there is no going back for America. For, whatever his stumbles of the last two weeks, Trump has helped to unleash the mightiest force of the 21st century: nationalism.
Transnationalism and globalism are moribund.
First among the issues on which Trump has triumphed—”We will build the wall—and Mexico will pay for it!”—is border security. Republican candidates who failed to parrot Trump on illegal immigration were among the first casualties. For that is where America is, and that is where the West is.
Consider Europe. Four months ago, Angela Merkel was Time’s Person of the Year for throwing open the gates to the “huddled masses” of the Middle and Near East. Merkel’s Germany is now leading the EU in amassing a huge bribe to the Turks to please take them back, and keep them away from the Greek islands that are now Islam’s Ellis Island into Europe.
Africa’s population will double to 2.5 billion by 2050. With 60 percent of Africans now under 25 years of age, millions will find their way to the Med to cross to the Old Continent where Europeans are aging, shrinking and dying. Look for gunboats in the Med.
If immigration is the first issue where Trump connected with the people, the second is trade. Republicans are at last learning that trade deficits do matter, that free trade is not free. The cost comes in dead factories, lost jobs, dying towns and the rising rage of an abandoned Middle America whose country this is and whose wages have stagnated for decades.
Economists who swoon over figures on consumption forget what America’s 19th-century meteoric rise to self-sufficiency teaches, and what all four presidents on Mount Rushmore understood.
Production comes before consumption. Who owns the orchard is more essential than who eats the apples. We have exported the economic independence that Hamilton taught was indispensable to our political independence. We have forgotten what made us great.
China, Japan, Germany—the second, third, and fourth largest economies on earth—all owe their prosperity to trade surpluses run for decades at the expense of the Americans.
A third casualty of Trumpism is the post-Cold War foreign policy consensus among liberal interventionists and neoconservatives. Trump subjects U.S. commitments to a cost-benefit analysis, as seen from the standpoint of cold national interest.
What do we get from continuing to carry the largest load of the defense of a rich Europe, against a Russia with one-fourth of Europe’s population?
How does Vladimir Putin, leader of a nation that in the last century lost its European and world empires and a third of its landmass, threaten us? Why must we take the lead in confronting and containing Putin in Ukraine, Crimea and Georgia? No vital U.S. interest is imperiled there, and Russia’s ties there are older and deeper than ours to Puerto Rico.
Why is it the responsibility of the U.S. Pacific Fleet to defend the claims of Hanoi, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, and Brunei, to rocks, reefs, and islets in the South China Sea—against the claims of China?
American hawks talk of facing down Beijing in the South and East China Seas while U.S. companies import so much in Chinese-made goods they are fully subsidizing Beijing’s military budget. Does this make sense?
Patriotism, preserving and protecting the unique character of our nation and people, economic nationalism, America First, staying out of other nation’s wars—these are as much the propellants of Trumpism as is the decline of the American working and middle class.
Trump’s presence in the race has produced the largest turnout ever in the primaries of either party. He has won the most votes, most delegates, most states. Wisconsin aside, he will likely come to Cleveland in that position.
If, through rules changes, subterfuge, and faithless delegates, party elites swindle him out of the nomination, do they think that the millions who came out to vote for Trump will go home and say: We lost it fair and square?
Do they think they can then go back to open borders, amnesty, a path to citizenship, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and nation building?
Whatever happens to Trump, the country has spoken. And if the establishment refuses to heed its voice, and returns to the policies the people have repudiated, it should take heed of John F. Kennedy’s warning:
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.”
The Wisconsin primary could be an axle-breaking speed bump on Donald Trump’s road to the nomination.
Ted Cruz, now the last hope to derail Trump of a desperate Beltway elite that lately loathed him, has taken the lead in the Badger State.
Millions in attack ads are being dumped on the Donald’s head by super PACs of GOP candidates, past and present. Gov. Scott Walker has endorsed Cruz. Conservative talk radio is piling on Trump.
And the Donald just had the worst two weeks of his campaign.
There was that unseemly exchange with Cruz about their wives. Then came the pulling of the woman reporter’s arm by campaign chief Corey Lewandowski, an atrocity being likened by the media to the burning of Joan of Arc.
Then there was Trump’s suggestion, instantly withdrawn, that if abortion is outlawed, then women who undergo abortions may face some punishment.
This gaffe told us nothing we did not know. New to elective politics, Trump is less familiar with the ideological and issues terrain than those who live there. But the outrage of the elites is all fakery.
Democrats do not care a hoot about the right to life of unborn babies, even unto the ninth month of pregnancy. And the Republican establishment is grabbing any stick to beat Trump, not because he threatens the rights of women, but because he threatens them.
The establishment’s problem is that Trump refuses to take the saddle. Again and again, he has defied the dictates of political correctness that they designed to stifle debate and demonize dissent.
Trump has gotten away with his insubordination and shown, with his crowds, votes, and victories, that millions of alienated Americans detest the Washington establishment and relish his defiance.
Trump has denounced the trade treaties, from NAFTA to GATT to the WTO and MFN for China, that have de-industrialized America, imperil our sovereignty and independence, and cost millions of good jobs.
And who is responsible for the trade deals that sold out Middle America? “Free-trade” Republicans who signed on to “fast-track,” surrendered Congress’ rights to amend trade treaties, and buckle to every demand of the Business Roundtable.
The unstated premise of the Trump campaign is that some among the Fortune 500 companies are engaged in economic treason against America.
No wonder they hate him.
As for Trump’s call for an “America First” foreign policy, it threatens the rice bowls of those for whom imperial interventions are the reason for their existence.
If the primary goals of U.S. foreign policy become the avoidance of confrontations with great nuclear powers and staying out of unnecessary wars, who needs neocons?
Should Trump lose Wisconsin, he can recoup in New York on April 19, and the following week in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Maryland.
Yet, a loss in Wisconsin would make Trump’s climb to a first-ballot nomination steeper.
Still, if Trump goes to Cleveland, having won the most votes, the most states and the most delegates, stealing the nomination from him would split the party worse than in 1964.
The GOP could be looking at a 1912, when ex-President Theodore Roosevelt, who won the most contested primaries, was rejected in favor of President Taft. Teddy walked out, ran on the “Bull Moose” ticket, beat Taft in the popular vote, and Woodrow Wilson was elected.
Cruz says the nomination of Trump would mean an “absolute trainwreck” in November. But, Cruz, 45, with a future in the party, would be foolish to walk out as a sore loser, as Nelson Rockefeller and George Romney did in 1964.
A Cruz rejection of a nominee Trump would mean the end of Cruz. The elites would hypocritically applaud Ted’s heroism, publicly bewail his passing, then happily bury and be rid of him.
Cruz, no fool, has to know this.
If the nomination is taken from Trump, who will be 70 in June, he has nothing to lose. And as “Julius Caesar” reminds us, “such men are dangerous.”
Trump and Cruz, though bitter enemies, are both despised by the establishment. Yet both have a mutual interest: insuring that one of them, and only one of them, wins the nomination. No one else.
And if they set aside grievances, and act together, they can block any establishment favorite from being imposed on the party, as was one-worlder Wendell Willkie, “the barefoot boy of Wall Street,” in 1940.
All Trump and Cruz need do is instruct their delegates to vote to retain Rule 40 from the 2012 convention. Rule 40 declares that no candidate can be placed in nomination who has failed to win a majority of the delegates in eight states.
Trump has already hit that mark. Cruz almost surely will. But no establishment favorite has a chance of reaching it.
With Cruz and Trump delegates voting to retain Rule 40, they can guarantee no Beltway favorite walks out of Cleveland as the nominee—and that Ted Cruz or Donald Trump does.
No matter who wins in Cleveland, the establishment must lose.
I am “not isolationist, but I am ‘America First,'” Donald Trump told the New York Times last weekend. “I like the expression.”
Of NATO, where the U.S. underwrites three-fourths of the cost of defending Europe, Trump calls this arrangement “unfair, economically, to us,” and adds, “We will not be ripped off anymore.”
Beltway media may be transfixed with Twitter wars over wives and alleged infidelities. But the ideas Trump aired should ignite a national debate over U.S. overseas commitments—especially NATO. For the Donald’s ideas are not lacking for authoritative support.
The first NATO supreme commander, Gen. Eisenhower, said in February 1951 of the alliance: “If in 10 years, all American troops stationed in Europe for national defense purposes have not been returned to the United States, then this whole project will have failed.”
As JFK biographer Richard Reeves relates, President Eisenhower, a decade later, admonished the president-elect on NATO. “Eisenhower told his successor it was time to start bringing the troops home from Europe. ‘America is carrying far more than her share of free world defense,’ he said. It was time for other nations of NATO to take on more of the costs of their own defense.”
No Cold War president followed Ike’s counsel. But when the Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Empire, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, and the breakup of the Soviet Union into 15 nations, a new debate erupted.
The conservative coalition that had united in the Cold War fractured. Some of us argued that when the Russian troops went home from Europe, the American troops should come home from Europe.
Time for a populous prosperous Europe to start defending itself. Instead, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush began handing out NATO memberships, i.e., war guarantees, to all ex-Warsaw Pact nations and even Baltic republics that had been part of the Soviet Union.
In a historically provocative act, the U.S. moved its “red line” for war with Russia from the Elbe River in Germany to the Estonian-Russian border, a few miles from St. Petersburg. We declared to the world that should Russia seek to restore its hegemony over any part of its old empire in Europe, she would be at war with the United States.
No Cold War president ever considered issuing a war guarantee of this magnitude, putting our homeland at risk of nuclear war, to defend Latvia and Estonia.
Recall. Ike did not intervene to save the Hungarian freedom fighters in 1956. Lyndon Johnson did not lift a hand to save the Czechs, when Warsaw Pact armies crushed “Prague Spring” in 1968. Reagan refused to intervene when Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, on Moscow’s orders, smashed Solidarity in 1981.
These presidents put America first. All would have rejoiced in the liberation of Eastern Europe. But none would have committed us to war with a nuclear-armed nation like Russia to guarantee it.
Yet, here was George W. Bush declaring that any Russian move against Latvia or Estonia meant war with the United States. John McCain wanted to extend U.S. war guarantees to Georgia and Ukraine. This was madness born of hubris. And among those who warned against moving NATO onto Russia’s front porch was America’s greatest geostrategist, the author of containment, George Kennan:
Expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the post-Cold War era. Such a decision may be expected to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.
Kennan was proven right. By refusing to treat Russia as we treated other nations that repudiated Leninism, we created the Russia we feared, a rearming nation bristling with resentment.
The Russian people, having extended a hand in friendship and seen it slapped away, cheered the ouster of the accommodating Boris Yeltsin and the arrival of an autocratic strong man who would make Russia respected again. We ourselves prepared the path for Vladimir Putin.
While Trump is focusing on how America is bearing too much of the cost of defending Europe, it is the risks we are taking that are paramount, risks no Cold War president ever dared to take.
Why should America fight Russia over who rules in the Baltic States or Romania and Bulgaria? When did the sovereignty of these nations become interests so vital we would risk a military clash with Moscow that could escalate into nuclear war? Why are we still committed to fight for scores of nations on five continents?
Trump is challenging the mindset of a foreign policy elite whose thinking is frozen in a world that disappeared around 1991.
He is suggesting a new foreign policy where the United States is committed to war only when are attacked or U.S. vital interests are imperiled. And when we agree to defend other nations, they will bear a full share of the cost of their own defense. The era of the free rider is over.
Trump’s phrase, “America First!” has a nice ring to it.
“We are not at war with Islam,” said John Kasich after the Brussels massacre, “We’re at war with radical Islam.” Kasich’s point raises a question: Does the Islamic faith in any way sanction or condone what those suicide bombers did?
For surely the brothers and their accomplice who ignited the bombs in the airport and set off the explosion on the subway did not do so believing they were blasting themselves to hell for all eternity. One has to assume they hoped to be martyrs to their faith if they slaughtered infidels to terrify and expel such as these from the Islamic world and advance the coming of the caliphate of which the Prophet preached.
And where might they have gotten such ideas?
Kasich’s word, radical, comes from the Latin “radix,” or root. And if one returns to the roots of Islam, to the Quran, does one find condemnation of what the brothers did—or justification?
Andrew McCarthy was the prosecutor of the “Blind Sheikh” whose terrorist cell tried to bring down a World Trade Center tower in 1993, and plotted bombings in the Holland and Lincoln tunnels. The U.S. government depicted the sheikh as a wanton killer who distorted the teachings of his faith.
Yet, McCarthy discovered that Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman was no imposter-imam, but “a globally renowned scholar—a doctor of Islamic jurisprudence who graduated from al-Azhar University in Cairo, the seat of Sunni Islamic learning for over a millennium.” Seeking to expose the sheikh as a fraud who had led his gullible followers into terrorism, against the tenets of their faith, McCarthy discovered that “Abdel Rahman was not lying about Islam.”
When he said the scriptures command that Muslims strike terror into the hearts of Islam’s enemies, the scriptures backed him up. When he said Allah enjoined all Muslims to wage jihad until Islamic law was established throughout the world, the scriptures backed him up.
“[T]he Blind Sheikh’s summons to Islam was rooted in a coherent interpretation of Islamic doctrine. He was not perverting Islam,” writes McCarthy in the Hillsdale College letter Imprimis. McCarthy goes on:
Islam is not a religion of peace. … Verses such as ‘Fight those who believe not in Allah,’ and ‘Fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war’ are not peaceful injunctions….
In its formative first century, Islam conquered the Middle and Near East, North Africa and Spain with sword and slaughter, not persuasion and conversion.
Undeniably, there are millions of Muslims in America who love this country and have served it in every walk of life, from cops, firemen and soldiers, to doctors, scholars and clergy. Yet when “moderate, peaceful Muslims” were called to testify as defense witnesses, says McCarthy, they could not contradict the Blind Sheikh’s claim that he had correctly interpreted the Quran.
The questions that arise are crucial.
When we call Islam a “religion of peace,” are we projecting our own hopes? Are we deceiving ourselves? Are the Muslims we respect, admire and like, as friends and patriots, assimilated and “Americanized” Muslims who have drifted away from, set aside, or rejected many core beliefs of the Quran and root teachings of their own faith?
Are they simply secularized Muslims?
When the Afghan regime we installed sought to cut off the head of a Christian convert, was that un-Islamic? Or does Islam teach that this is the way to deal with apostates? Is the hate spewing forth from the Ayatollah toward Americans and Jews un-Islamic? Is the Saudis’ cutting off of heads and hands of adulterers and thieves and suppressing of women un-Islamic? Or is that what the Quran actually teaches?
Have the Islamists of al-Shabab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria and Iraq—who daily die fighting in the name of Islam—misread their sacred texts? Are they all heretics who fail to understand the peaceful and loving character of their Islamic faith?
Or is the West deluding itself? Is it possible we are the ones misreading the sacred books of Islam and what the triumph of Islam would mean for our civilization—because we lack the courage to face the truth and do what is necessary to avoid our fate?
Islam is rising again. Of its 1.6 billion adherents worldwide, many are returning to the roots of their faith, seeking to live their lives as commanded by the Prophet, the Quran, and Sharia.
Western survival would seem to dictate a halt to all immigration from lands where this deadly virus we call “radical Islam”—with which Kasich concedes we are at war—is rampant, just as we would halt immigration from lands where the bubonic plague was rampant.
That would surely contradict the cherished beliefs of Western liberals. But, then, as James Burnham reminded us, “Liberalism is the ideology of Western suicide.”