Prediction: If Hillary Clinton wins, within a year of her inauguration, she will be under investigation by a special prosecutor on charges of political corruption, thereby continuing a family tradition.
For consider what the Associated Press reported this week:
The surest way for a person with private interests to get a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton, or a phone call returned by her, it seems, was to dump a bundle of cash into the Clinton Foundation.
Of 154 outsiders whom Clinton phoned or met with in her first two years at State, 85 had made contributions to the Clinton Foundation, and their contributions, taken together, totaled $156 million.
Conclusion: access to Secretary of State Clinton could be bought, but it was not cheap. Forty of the 85 donors gave $100,000 or more. Twenty of those whom Clinton met with or phoned dumped in $1 million or more.
To get to the seventh floor of the Clinton State Department for a hearing for one’s plea, the cover charge was high.
Among those who got face time with Hillary Clinton were a Ukrainian oligarch and steel magnate who shipped oil pipe to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions and a Bangladeshi economist who was under investigation by his government and was eventually pressured to leave his own bank.
The stench is familiar, and all too Clintonian in character.
Recall. On his last day in office, January 20, 2001, Bill Clinton issued a presidential pardon to financier-crook and fugitive from justice Marc Rich, whose wife, Denise, had contributed $450,000 to the Clinton Library.
The Clintons appear belatedly to have recognized their political peril.
Bill has promised that, if Hillary is elected, he will end his big-dog days at the foundation and stop taking checks from foreign regimes and entities, and corporate donors. Cash contributions from wealthy Americans will still be gratefully accepted.
One wonders: will Bill be writing thank-you notes for the millions that will roll in to the family foundation—on White House stationery?
By his actions, Bill is all but conceding that there is a serious conflict of interest between his foundation raking in millions that enhance the family’s prestige and sustain its travel and lifestyle, and providing its big donors with privileged access to the secretary of state.
Yet if Hillary Clinton becomes president, the scheme is unsustainable. Even the Obama-Clinton media might not be able to stomach this.
And even Clinton seems to be conceding the game is up. “I know there’s a lot of smoke, and there’s no fire,” she said in self-defense this week.
She is certainly right about the smoke.
And if, as Democratic apparatchik Steve McMahon assures us, there is “no smoking gun,” no quid pro quo, no open-and-shut case of Secretary Clinton taking official action in gratitude to a donor of the family foundation, how can we predict a special prosecutor?
Answer: we are not at the end of this scandal. We are at what Churchill called the “end of the beginning.”
Missing emails are being unearthed at State, through Freedom of Information Act requests, that are filling out the picture Clinton thought had been blotted out when her 33,000 “private” emails were erased by her lawyers.
Someone out there, Julian Assange, Russia, or the rogue websites doing all this hacking, is believed to have many more explosive emails they are preparing to drop before Election Day.
And why is Clinton is keeping her State Department calendar secret from the AP, if it does not contain meetings or calls she does not want to defend? She has defied requests, and the AP had to sue to get the schedule of her first two years at State.
Moreover, the AP story on the State Department-Clinton Foundation links was so stunning it is sure to trigger follow-up by investigative journalists who can smell a Pulitzer.
Then there are the contacts between Huma Abedin, her closest aide at State, and Doug Band at the Clinton Foundation, the go-betweens for the donor-Clinton meetings, which has opened a new avenue for investigators.
These were unearthed by Judicial Watch, which is not going away.
The number of persons of interest involved in this suppurating scandal, which has gone from an illicit server, to a panoply of Clinton lies to the public that disgusted the FBI director, to erased emails, to “pay for play,” and now deep into the Clinton Foundation continues to grow.
All that is needed now, to bring us to an independent counsel, is calls for the FBI to reopen and broaden its investigation in light of all that has been revealed since Director Comey said there was not evidence enough to recommend an indictment.
If Clinton controls the Justice Department, calls for a special prosecutor will be resisted, but only until public demand becomes too great.
For there were independent counsels called in Watergate, Iran-Contra, and the scandals that led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton.
Hillary Clinton says there is no fire. But something is causing all that smoke.
Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.
To understand John McLaughlin, it was helpful to have been a 13-year-old entering an all-boys Jesuit school in the 1950s.
For when John yelled “Wronnng” at me from his center chair of The McLaughlin Group, it hit with the same familiar finality I had heard, many times, from Jesuits at the front of the class at Gonzaga.
In that era, John was himself a Jesuit teacher at Fairfield Prep, where the black cape he wore and his authoritarian aspect had earned him from his students the nickname—Father God.
In 1970, Father John heard another calling, and, declaring himself a liberal Republican, challenged Sen. John Pastore in his home state of Rhode Island. An unamused Senator Pastore obliterated John by two-to-one.
It was right after this election, while I was vacationing in the Bahamas, that, one morning, I encountered Father John in his Bermuda shorts at a hotel newsstand on Paradise Island.
John was soon, at poolside, explaining to me why I, as a Catholic and a beneficiary of eight years of Jesuit education, had a moral obligation, a moral duty, to get him a job as a speechwriter in the Nixon White House.
Over some resistance, we succeeded, and John was soon the oracle of the shop, known to younger speechwriters as “The Rev.”
When Watergate broke, Nixon’s aide Dick Moore urged John to get out and use his speaking talents to defend the president. John was soon out on the front lawn of the White House preaching to large assemblies of writing press and TV cameras.
Dick Moore told me, “Pat, I think we’ve created a monster.”
But John was a portrait in loyalty to the embattled president.
When transcripts of the Oval Office tapes were released, containing the phrase “expletive deleted” hundreds of times, and Dr. Billy Graham was publicly scandalized, John was unfazed.
He stepped out on the White House lawn and immortalized himself by calling Richard Nixon, and I quote, “the greatest moral leader in the last third of this century.” Now that is loyalty.
When President Ford came in, John, despite his resistance, was the first man out of the White House. To raise his profile, he asked me to contact William F. Buckley Jr. and get him on as a guest on Firing Line.
I wrote Buckley, and got back a letter that read in its entirety, “Dear Patrick: Intending no disrespect, who is the Rev. John J. McLaughlin, S. J.? Cordially, Bill.”
As it would have crushed John, I did not show him the letter, until he became famous. As he soon did.
John achieved a niche in the pantheon of television journalism when, in 1982, he launched The McLaughlin Group. As one of the initial panelists, I was joined by Bob Novak of the perpetual scowl, known to colleagues as “The Prince of Darkness,” Jack Germond, and Mort Kondracke.
Soon Eleanor Clift was aboard, and far from being discriminated against as a woman, she was treated every bit as badly as the rest of us.
The McLaughlin Group was a media controversy and a sensation from the first of its 34 years. President Reagan was a regular viewer.
It was balanced between left and right. Panelists were told to bring opinions as well as facts. John welcomed disagreement. And rather than confine the issues to the political, he introduced ideological, cultural, social, and even moral issues.
John selected the topics and the tape to be used, edited his own copy, and ran the show like a ringmaster at a circus—to which the Group was sometimes compared.
And he introduced new features. Predictions at the end of each show. Annual awards shows. I loved it. It was great, great fun.
Some journalists sniffed in disparagement, but others, like Fred Barnes, Clarence Page, Michael Barone, Tony Blankley, Mort Zuckerman, and Tom Rogan became regulars.
And John was loyal. When I took a leave of absence to go into the Reagan White House, then requested three more leaves to pursue private endeavors in the 1990s, which did not pan out, John, after leaving me in the penalty box for a while, always brought me back to the beadle’s chair.
At the end, we could see how badly John was failing. But, unlike Maritza, who took wonderful care of him, we did not know how much he was suffering, or the nature of the illness that was taking his life. That he soldiered on in the job he loved for so long is a testament to the courage and character of the man. He persevered.
John and I loved to banter about our favorites poets like T.S. Eliot and recite to each other Latin passages we had learned in school and the Old Church. And in writing this eulogy the words of the poet Catullus, to his brother, came to mind:
Atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale.
And forever, brother, hail and farewell.
This eulogy was delivered Saturday, August 20, in the Basilica at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.
“I did it my way,” crooned Sinatra.
Donald Trump is echoing Ol’ Blue Eyes with the latest additions to his staff. Should he lose, he prefers to go down to defeat as Donald Trump, and not as some synthetic creation of campaign consultants.
“I am who I am,” Trump told a Wisconsin TV station, “It’s me. I don’t want to change. … I don’t want to pivot. … If you start pivoting, you are not being honest with people.”
The remarks recall the San Francisco Cow Palace where an astonished Republican, on hearing the candidate speak out in favor of “extremism in the defense of liberty,” blurted out, “My God, he’s going to run as Barry Goldwater!”
And so he did. And Goldwater is remembered and revered by many who have long forgotten all the trimmers of both parties who tailored their convictions to suit the times, and lost.
Trump believes populism and nationalism are the future of America, and wants to keep saying so. Nor is this stance inconsistent with recapturing the ground lost in the weeks since he was running even with Hillary Clinton.
The twin imperatives for the Trump campaign are simple ones.
They must recreate in the public mind that Hillary Clinton who 56 percent of the nation thought should have been indicted for lying in the server scandal, and who two-thirds of the nation said was dishonest or untrustworthy.
Second, Trump must convince the country, as he had almost done by Cleveland, that he is an acceptable, indeed a preferable, alternative.
While the assignment is simple, as Ronald Reagan reminded us, there may be simple answers, but there are no easy ones.
What is the case against Clinton his campaign must make?
She is a political opportunist who voted for a war in Iraq, in which she did not believe, that proved ruinous for her country. As secretary of state, she pushed for the overthrow and celebrated the assassination of a Libyan dictator, resulting in a North African haven for al-Qaida and ISIS.
Her reset with Russia was a diplomatic joke.
Her incompetence led to the death of a U.S. ambassador and three brave Americans in Benghazi, and she subsequently lied to the families of the dead heroes about why they had died.
Her statements about her server and emails were so perjurious they almost caused FBI Director James Comey to throw up in public.
She speaks of Bill, Chelsea, and herself as leaving the White House in 2001 in roughly the same conditions of immiseration that the Joads left Dust Bowl Oklahoma in The Grapes of Wrath.
But on leaving State, Hillary Clinton was pulling down $225,000 a pop for 20-minute speeches to Goldman Sachs. It’s a long way, baby, from her Children’s Defense Fund days, the recalling of which almost caused Bill Clinton to lose it and break down sobbing at the Philly convention.
What America has in Hillary Clinton is a potential president with the charisma but not the competence of Angela Merkel, and the ethics of Dilma Rousseff.
However, here is the problem for the Trump campaign.
While exposing the Clinton character and record is essential, among the primary rules of presidential politics is that you do not use your candidate to do the wet work.
Eisenhower had Vice President Nixon do it for him. President Nixon had Vice President Agnew, who was good at it, and enjoyed it.
Yet, still, on the mega-issue, America’s desire for change, and on specific issues, Trump holds something close to a full house.
The country wants the border secured and immigration vetting toughened to keep out the kind of terrorists who committed the atrocity in San Bernardino.
The country wants an end to the trade deficits with China and the endless export of U.S. factories and manufacturing jobs.
On Americanism versus globalism, the country is with Trump. On an America First foreign policy that keeps us out of trillion-dollar, no-win Middle East wars, the country is with Trump.
On Teddy Roosevelt’s “Speak softly, and carry a big stick,” Ike’s “Peace through strength,” and JFK’s “Let us never fear to negotiate,” the country is with Trump.
Americans may not love Vladimir Putin, but they do not wish to go to war with Russia, which we avoided in half a century of Cold War.
Americans do not want to go nation-building abroad, but to start the nation-building at home. On coming down with both feet on rioters, looters, arsonists, and Black Lives Matter haters who call cops “pigs,” America is all in with Donald Trump.
As for going after Clinton, the media hysteria surrounding the Donald’s new hire, Steve Bannon of Breitbart News, suggests that this may be a fellow who is not without redeeming social value.
Moreover, outside events could conspire against Clinton.
The coming economic news—we had 1 percent growth in the first half of 2016—could cause a second look at Trumponomics. And whoever is out there strategically dropping Democratic emails may be readying an October surprise for Hillary Clinton, a massive document dump that buries her.
As Yogi Berra reminded us, the game “ain’t over, till it’s over.”
Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.
On September 30, the end of fiscal year 2016, the national debt is projected to reach $19.3 trillion.
With spending on the four biggest budget items—Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, defense—rising, and GDP growing at 1 percent, future deficits will exceed this year’s projected $600 billion.
National bankruptcy, then, is among the existential threats to the republic, the prospect that we will find ourselves in the not-too-distant future in the same boat with Greece, Puerto Rico, and Illinois.
Yet, we drift toward the falls, with the issue not debated.
Ernest Hemingway reminded us of how nations escape quagmires of debt: “The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.”
“Debauching the currency,” Lenin’s depiction, is the way we will probably destroy the debt monster.
Hemingway’s second option, war, appears to be the preferred option of the war chiefs of the Beltway’s think-tank archipelago, who see in any Putin move in the Baltic or Black Sea casus belli.
What our Cold War leaders kept ever in mind, and our War Party scribblers never learned, is the lesson British historian A.J.P. Taylor discovered from studying the Thirty Years War of 1914–1945:
“Though the object of being a Great Power is to be able to fight a Great War, the only way of remaining a Great Power is not to fight one.”
Another existential threat, if Western man still sees himself as the custodian of the world’s greatest civilization, and one yet worth preserving, is the Third-Worldization of the West.
The threat emanates from two factors: The demographic death of the native-born of all Western nations by century’s end, given their fertility rates, and the seemingly endless invasion of the West from Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
Concerning the demographic decline and displacement of Western man by peoples of other creeds, cultures, countries, continents, and civilizations, there is an ideological clash within the West.
Some among our elites are rhapsodic at the change. Worshiping at the altars of diversity and equality, they see acquiescing in the invasion of their own countries as a mark of moral superiority.
Angela Merkel speaks for them, or did, up to a while ago.
To those who believe diversity—racial, ethnic, religious, cultural—is to be cherished and embraced, resistance to demographic change in the West is seen as a mark of moral retardation.
Opponents of immigration are hence subjects of abuse—labeled “racists,” “xenophobes,” “fascists,” “Nazis,” and other terms of odium in the rich vocabulary of Progressive hatred.
Yet, opposition to the invasion from across the Med and the Rio Grande is not only propelling the Trump movement but generating rightist parties and movements across the Old Continent.
It is hard to see how this crisis resolves itself peacefully.
For the hundreds of millions living in Third World tyranny and misery are growing, as is their willingness to risk their lives to reach Europe. And national resistance is not going to dissipate as the illegal immigrants and refugees come in growing numbers.
What the resisters see as imperiled is what they treasure most, their countries, cultures, way of life and the future they wish to leave their children. These are things for which men have always fought.
And, in America, is diversity leading to greater unity, or to greater rancor, separatism, and disintegration? Did anyone imagine that, 50 years after the civil-rights laws, we would still be having long hot summers in Ferguson, Baltimore, and Milwaukee?
The crisis that South Carolina statesman John C. Calhoun had posthumously predicted in his “Disquisition on Government” has also come to pass.
The country would divide into two parties, Calhoun said. One would be the party of those who pay the taxes to government, the other the party of those who consume the benefits of government.
The taxpayers’ party would engage in constant clashes with the party of the tax-consumers.
In 2013, the top 1 percent of Americans in income paid 38 percent of all income taxes. The bottom 50 percent of income-earners, half the nation, paid only 3 percent of all income taxes.
A question logically follows: If one belongs to that third of the nation that pays no income taxes but receives copious benefits, why would you vote for a party that will cut taxes you don’t pay, but take away benefits you do receive?
Traditional Republican platforms ask half the country to vote against its economic interests. As a long-term political strategy, that is not too promising.
During the New Deal, FDR’s aide Harold Ickes declared in what became party dogma, “We shall tax and tax, spend and spend, and elect and elect.”
And so they did, and so they do. But this is a game that cannot go on forever.
For, as John Adams reminded us, “There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
“I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged,” Donald Trump told voters in Ohio and Sean Hannity on Fox News. And that hit a nerve.
“Dangerous,” “toxic,” came the recoil from the media.
Trump is threatening to “delegitimize” the election results of 2016.
Well, if that is what Trump is trying to do, he has no small point. For consider what 2016 promised and what it appears about to deliver.
This longest of election cycles has rightly been called the Year of the Outsider. It was a year that saw a mighty surge of economic populism and patriotism, a year when a 74-year-old Socialist senator set primaries ablaze with mammoth crowds that dwarfed those of Hillary Clinton.
It was the year that a non-politician, Donald Trump, swept Republican primaries in an historic turnout, with his nearest rival an ostracized maverick in his own Republican caucus, Senator Ted Cruz.
More than a dozen Republican rivals, described as the strongest GOP field since 1980, were sent packing. This was the year Americans rose up to pull down the establishment in a peaceful storming of the American Bastille.
But if it ends with a Clintonite restoration and a ratification of the same old Beltway policies, would that not suggest there is something fraudulent about American democracy, something rotten in the state?
If 2016 taught us anything, it is that if the establishment’s hegemony is imperiled, it will come together in ferocious solidarity — for the preservation of their perks, privileges and power.
All the elements of that establishment — corporate, cultural, political, media — are today issuing an ultimatum to Middle America:
Trump is unacceptable.
Instructions are going out to Republican leaders that either they dump Trump, or they will cease to be seen as morally fit partners in power.
It testifies to the character of Republican elites that some are seeking ways to carry out these instructions, though this would mean invalidating and aborting the democratic process that produced Trump.
But what is a repudiated establishment doing issuing orders to anyone?
Why is it not Middle America issuing the demands, rather than the other way around?
Specifically, the Republican electorate should tell its discredited and rejected ruling class: If we cannot get rid of you at the ballot box, then tell us how, peacefully and democratically, we can be rid of you?
You want Trump out? How do we get you out?
The Czechs had their Prague Spring. The Tunisians and Egyptians their Arab Spring. When do we have our American Spring?
The Brits had their “Brexit,” and declared independence of an arrogant superstate in Brussels. How do we liberate ourselves from a Beltway superstate that is more powerful and resistant to democratic change?
Our CIA, NGOs and National Endowment for Democracy all beaver away for “regime change” in faraway lands whose rulers displease us.
How do we effect “regime change” here at home?
Donald Trump’s success, despite the near-universal hostility of the media, even much of the conservative media, was due in large part to the public’s response to the issues he raised.
He called for sending illegal immigrants back home, for securing America’s borders, for no amnesty. He called for an America First foreign policy to keep us out of wars that have done little but bleed and bankrupt us.
He called for an economic policy where the Americanism of the people replaces the globalism of the transnational elites and their K Street lobbyists and congressional water carriers.
He denounced NAFTA, and the trade deals and trade deficits with China, and called for rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
By campaign’s end, he had won the argument on trade, as Hillary Clinton was agreeing on TPP and confessing to second thoughts on NAFTA.
But if TPP is revived at the insistence of the oligarchs of Wall Street, the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — backed by conscript editorial writers for newspapers that rely on ad dollars — what do elections really mean anymore?
And if, as the polls show we might, we get Clinton — and TPP, and amnesty, and endless migrations of Third World peoples who consume more tax dollars than they generate, and who will soon swamp the Republicans’ coalition — what was 2016 all about?
Would this really be what a majority of Americans voted for in this most exciting of presidential races?
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable,” said John F. Kennedy.
The 1960s and early 1970s were a time of social revolution in America, and President Nixon, by ending the draft and ending the Vietnam war, presided over what one columnist called the “cooling of America.”
But if Hillary Clinton takes power, and continues America on her present course, which a majority of Americans rejected in the primaries, there is going to be a bad moon rising.
And the new protesters in the streets will not be overprivileged children from Ivy League campuses.
“Isolationists must not prevail in this new debate over foreign policy,” warns Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. “The consequences of a lasting American retreat from the world would be dire.”
To make his case against the “Isolationist Temptation,” Haass creates a caricature, a cartoon, of America First patriots, then thunders that we cannot become “a giant gated community.”
Understandably, Haass is upset. For the CFR has lost the country.
Why? It colluded in the blunders that have bled and near bankrupted America and that cost this country its unrivaled global preeminence at the end of the Cold War.
No, it was not “isolationists” who failed America. None came near to power. The guilty parties are the CFR crowd and their neocon collaborators, and liberal interventionists who set off to play empire after the Cold War and create a New World Order with themselves as Masters of the Universe.
Consider just a few of the decisions taken in those years that most Americans wish we could take back.
After the Soviet Union withdrew the Red Army from Europe and split into 15 nations, and Russia held out its hand to us, we slapped it away and rolled NATO right up onto her front porch.
Enraged Russians turned to a man who would restore respect for their country. Did we think they would just sit there and take it?
How did bringing Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia into NATO make America stronger, safer and more secure? For it has surely moved us closer to a military clash with a nuclear power.
In 2014, with John McCain and U.S. diplomats cheering them on, mobs in Independence Square overthrew a pro-Russian government in Kiev that had been democratically elected and installed a pro-NATO regime.
Putin’s response: Secure Russia’s naval base at Sevastopol by retaking Crimea, and support pro-Russian Ukrainians in Luhansk and Donetsk who preferred secession to submission to U.S. puppets.
Fortunately, our interventionists failed to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. Had they succeeded, we almost surely would have been in a shooting war with Russia by now.
Would that have made us stronger, safer, more secure?
After the attack on 9/11, George W. Bush, with the nation and world behind him, took us into Afghanistan to eradicate the nest of al-Qaida killers.
After having annihilated some and scattered the rest, however, Bush decided to stick around and convert this wild land of Pashtuns, Hazaras, Tajiks and Uzbeks into another Iowa.
Fifteen years later, we are still there.
And the day we leave, the Taliban will return, undo all we have done, and butcher those who cooperated with the Americans.
If we had to do it over, would we have sent a U.S. army and civilian corps to make Afghanistan look more like us?
Bush then invaded Iraq, overthrew Saddam, purged the Baath Party, and disbanded the Iraqi army. Result: A ruined, sundered nation with a pro-Iranian regime in Baghdad, ISIS occupying Mosul, Kurds seceding, and endless U.S. involvement in this second-longest of American wars.
Most Americans now believe Iraq was a bloody trillion-dollar mistake, the consequences of which will be with us for decades.
With a rebel uprising against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, the U.S. aided the rebels. Now, 400,000 Syrians are dead, half the country is uprooted, millions are in exile, and the Damascus regime, backed by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, is holding on after five years.
Meanwhile, we cannot even decide whether we want Assad to survive or fall, since we do not know who rises when he falls.
Anyone still think it was a good idea to plunge into Syria in support of the rebels? Anyone still think it was a good idea to back Saudi Arabia in its war against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, which has decimated that country and threatens the survival of millions?
Anyone still think it was a good idea to attack Libya and take down Moammar Gadhafi, now that ISIS and other Islamists and rival regimes are fighting over the carcass of that tormented land?
“The Middle East is arguably the most salient example of what happens when the U.S. pulls back,” writes Haass.
To the CFR, the problem is not that we plunged headlong into this maelstrom of tyranny, tribalism and terrorism, but that we have tried to extricate ourselves.
Hints that America might leave the Middle East, says Haass, have “contributed greatly to instability in the region.”
So, must we stay indefinitely?
To the CFR, America’s role in the world is to corral Russia, defend Europe, contain China, isolate Iran, deter North Korea, and battle al-Qaida and ISIS wherever they may be, bleeding our country’s military.
Nor is that all. We are also to convert Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan into pro-Western preferably democratic countries, and embrace “free trade,” accepting the imported merchandise of all mankind, even if that means endless $800 billion trade deficits, bleeding our country’s economy.
Otherwise, you are just an isolationist.
At stake in 2016 is the White House, the Supreme Court, the Senate, and, possibly, control of the House of Representatives.
Hence, Republicans have a decision to make.
Will they set aside political and personal feuds and come together to win in November, after which they can fight over the future of the party, and the country?
Or will they split apart, settling scores now, lose it all, and, then, after November, begin a battle to allocate blame for a historic defeat that will leave wounds that will never heal?
Republicans have been here before.
After the crushing defeat of 1964, Govs. Nelson Rockefeller, George Romney, and William Scranton, whose principles required them to abandon Barry Goldwater, discovered that, when the cheering of the press stopped, they carried the mark of Cain.
As national leaders, they were finished.
Richard Nixon, who had lost to JFK, lost to Gov. Pat Brown, quit politics, and moved to New York to practice law, took off two months in 1964 to campaign for Barry Goldwater.
Four years later, with Barry’s backing, Nixon was rewarded with the party’s nomination, and the presidency.
Now, between Goldwater and Trump there are great differences. A relevant one is this: Trump still has a chance of becoming president.
In August 1964, Barry was 36 points behind LBJ. As of today, Trump is 10 points behind Clinton. From Harry Truman to George H.W. Bush, many presidential candidates have been able to close a 10-point gap and win.
What does Trump need to do? In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “Keep your eyes on the prize”—the presidency. And between Trump and the presidency today stands not Paul Ryan, but Hillary Clinton.
The Donald, his campaign, and the party need to cease attacking one another to the elation of a hostile media, and redirect all their fire on the sole obstacle between them and a Republican sweep.
Nor is it all that complex or difficult a task.
For, as secretary of state, Clinton made a compelling case for her being ranked as about the worst in American history.
She began her tenure by breaking State Department rules and setting up a private email server in her home. She compromised U.S. national security, setting off a criminal investigation that ended with the director of the FBI virtually accusing her of lying about everything she told the country about her misconduct.
As of mid-July, 56 percent of Americans thought the Democratic nominee should have been indicted.
She is a compulsive fabricator, telling a harrowing story about running under sniper fire across the tarmac of some Balkan airfield until TV footage showed her accepting a bouquet from a little girl.
Her “reset” with Russia was brushed aside by Vladimir Putin. Spurned, she now compares him to Hitler. Is this the temperament America wants in the First Diplomat, in dealing with nuclear powers?
She was a cheerleader for a war in Libya that left that nation a hellhole of terrorism, requiring another war to clean up.
“Benghazi” has today become a synonym both for the selfless heroism of American warriors, and for the squalid mendacity of politicians desperate to cover their fannies. Clinton is in there with the latter, accused of misleading families of the fallen about why their sons died.
Twenty years ago, the New York Times‘ William Safire called Clinton a “congenital liar.” Has her subsequent career disproven or validated that judgment?
Trump, though, needs to make the case not only against her, but for himself, and for the ideas that vaulted him to victory in the primaries that brought out millions of new voters.
What are they?
Trump will secure the southern border and halt the invasion of illegal immigrants.
He will throw out the Obama tax and trade policies that have betrayed American workers and bled us of our manufacturing power. In all future trade deals, Americanism will replace globalism as our guiding light.
Where Clinton regards Ruth Bader Ginsburg as her model Supreme Court justice, Trump’s nominees will be in the tradition of Justice Antonin Scalia.
“America First” will be the polestar in foreign policy. Cold War commitments dating to the 1950s, to fight wars for freeloader nations, will all be reviewed. Allies will start standing on their own feet and paying their fair share of the cost of their own defense.
As for the defense of the United States, Peace Through Strength, the Eisenhower policy, will be the Trump policy. And as our strength is restored, Trump will, like Ike, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I, negotiate with enemies and adversaries from a position of strength. But we will negotiate.
America’s era of endless wars—is coming to an end.
Where Clinton will continue all of the policies that produced the unacceptable present, we will change Washington as it has not been changed since Ronald Reagan rode in from the West.
As for the renegade and cut-and-run Republicans who just won’t come home, as they say at Motel 6, “We’ll leave the light on for you.”
With Democrats howling that Vladimir Putin hacked into and leaked those 19,000 DNC emails to help Trump, the Donald had a brainstorm: Maybe the Russians can retrieve Hillary Clinton’s lost emails.
Not funny, and close to “treasonous,” came the shocked cry.
Trump then told the New York Times that a Russian incursion into Estonia need not trigger a U.S. military response.
Even more shocking. By suggesting the U.S. might not honor its NATO commitment, under Article 5, to fight Russia for Estonia, our foreign policy elites declaimed, Trump has undermined the security architecture that has kept the peace for 65 years.
More interesting, however, was the reaction of Middle America. Or, to be more exact, the nonreaction. Americans seem neither shocked nor horrified. What does this suggest?
Behind the war guarantees America has issued to scores of nations in Europe, the Mideast and Asia since 1949, the bedrock of public support that existed during the Cold War has crumbled.
We got a hint of this in 2013. Barack Obama, claiming his “red line” against any use of poison gas in Syria had been crossed, found he had no public backing for air and missile strikes on the Assad regime.
The country rose up as one and told him to forget it. He did.
We have been at war since 2001. And as one looks on the ruins of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, and adds up the thousands dead and wounded and trillions sunk and lost, can anyone say our War Party has served us well?
On bringing Estonia into NATO, no Cold War president would have dreamed of issuing so insane a war guarantee.
Eisenhower refused to intervene to save the Hungarian rebels. JFK refused to halt the building of the Berlin Wall. LBJ did nothing to impede the Warsaw Pact’s crushing of the Prague Spring. Reagan never considered moving militarily to halt the smashing of Solidarity.
Were all these presidents cringing isolationists?
Rather, they were realists who recognized that, though we prayed the captive nations would one day be free, we were not going to risk a world war, or a nuclear war, to achieve it. Period.
In 1991, President Bush told Ukrainians that any declaration of independence from Moscow would be an act of “suicidal nationalism.”
Today, Beltway hawks want to bring Ukraine into NATO. This would mean that America would go to war with Russia, if necessary, to preserve an independence Bush I regarded as “suicidal.”
Have we lost our minds?
The first NATO supreme commander, General Eisenhower, said that if U.S. troops were still in Europe in 10 years, NATO would be a failure. In 1961, he urged JFK to start pulling U.S. troops out, lest Europeans become military dependencies of the United States.
Was Ike not right? Even Barack Obama today riffs about the “free riders” on America’s defense.
Is it really so outrageous for Trump to ask how long the U.S. is to be responsible for defending rich Europeans who refuse to conscript the soldiers or pay the cost of their own defense, when Eisenhower was asking that same question 55 years ago?
In 1997, geostrategist George Kennan warned that moving NATO into Eastern Europe “would be the most fateful error of American policy in the post-Cold War era.” He predicted a fierce nationalistic Russian response.
Was Kennan not right? NATO and Russia are today building up forces in the eastern Baltic where no vital U.S. interests exist, and where we have never fought before — for that very reason.
There is no evidence Russia intends to march into Estonia, and no reason for her to do so. But if she did, how would NATO expel Russian troops without air and missile strikes that would devastate that tiny country?
And if we killed Russians inside Russia, are we confident Moscow would not resort to tactical atomic weapons to prevail? After all, Russia cannot back up any further. We are right in her face.
On this issue Trump seems to be speaking for the silent majority and certainly raising issues that need to be debated.
How long are we to be committed to go to war to defend the tiny Baltic republics against a Russia that could overrun them in 72 hours?
When, if ever, does our obligation end? If it is eternal, is not a clash with a revanchist and anti-American Russia inevitable?
Are U.S. war guarantees in the Baltic republics even credible?
If the Cold War generations of Americans were unwilling to go to war with a nuclear-armed Soviet Union over Hungary and Czechoslovakia, are the millennials ready to fight a war with Russia over Estonia?
Needed now is diplomacy.
The trade-off: Russia ensures the independence of the Baltic republics that she let go. And NATO gets out of Russia’s face.
Should Russia dishonor its commitment, economic sanctions are the answer, not another European war.
Wednesday was the best night of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Joe Biden, Tim Kaine, and Barack Obama testified to her greatness and goodness and readiness to be president. And all saw in the Republican convention in Cleveland a festival of darkness and dystopia.
Nor is this unusual. For, as the saying goes, the ins “point with pride,” while the outs “view with alarm.”
Yet the clash of visions between Cleveland and Philadelphia is stark. We appear to be two separate and hostile peoples, living apart in two separate Americas.
Obama’s America is a country of all races, creeds, colors, lifestyles, a kumbayah country to be made more wonderful still when Clinton takes the helm.
The message from Cleveland: Cry the beloved country. America has lost her way. She is in peril. A new captain is needed. A new course must be set if America is to find her way home again.
Which portrayal is the more true? Which vision of America do her people believe corresponds more closely to the reality of their daily lives?
Do Americans share Philadelphia’s belief in Clinton’s greatness and in the magisterial achievements of the Obama presidency?
Let us see. Fifty-six percent of Americans believe Clinton should have been indicted; 67 percent believe she is neither trustworthy nor honest. And 75 percent of Americans think that, under Obama, the nation is headed in the wrong direction.
After Cleveland, Trump took a 62-23 lead among white high-school graduates, those who constitute a disproportionate share of our cops, firemen, soldiers, and Marines—and those interred in Arlington National Cemetery.
Given that the media are mostly “progressives,” why do Americans who rely on that media hold so negative an opinion of Clinton, and reject the direction in which Obama is taking their country?
Does the reality they perceive help to explain it?
Consider. Obama did inherit a disastrous economy and growth has been at or near 2 percent a year since then. But this is not the growth we knew in the Reagan era.
And what, other than the trade policies we pursued, explains the deindustrialization of America, the loss of manufacturing plants and jobs, and China’s shouldering us aside to become the world’s No. 1 industrial power?
What produced Detroit and Baltimore and all those dead and dying towns in the Rust Belt?
Even Hillary Clinton, who has called TPP the “gold standard,” now rejects her husband’s NAFTA. Is this not an admission that the elites got it wrong for a quarter century?
Obama in Philadelphia celebrated our diversity.
Yet, we have seen Old Glory burned and Mexican flags flaunted this year. We have seen Black Lives Matter chant, “What do we want? Dead cops!”—then watched black racists deliver dead cops in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Is Ferguson America’s future?
From the podium in Philadelphia, we hear the word “love.” But in interviews, Democratic activists invoke terms of hate, such as racist, fascist, homophobe, misogynist, and sexist to describe the Cleveland Republicans.
Would the party of Philadelphia accept a President Trump?
Would the party of Cleveland accept President Clinton?
Hard to believe. Divided we stand. So, where do we go?
Given the distance between the two halves of America, given the contempt in which each seems to hold the other, we can probably drop from the Pledge of Allegiance the word “indivisible,” right after the Philadelphia Democrats succeed in cutting out the words, “under God.”
We are told our allies are nervous. They should be.
Even FDR could not lead a divided nation into war. When America divided over Vietnam, Richard Nixon had to lead us out. Our division led to America’s first defeat.
In the absence of a Pearl Harbor or 9/11 attack that brings us together in patriotic rage, Americans are not going to salute the next commander-in-chief and then go fight Russia in the eastern Baltic or China over some reefs or rocks in the South China Sea.
Even when we were more united during the Cold War, Ike and LBJ never considered using force to roll back Soviet invasions in Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
Our strongest ally in the Arab world, Egypt, and our NATO ally in the region, Turkey, are both descending into dictatorship. Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen are bleeding profusely in sectarian and civil wars, breaking apart along tribal and religious lines.
Could a President Trump, or Clinton, rally us to stand together and send another Army of Desert Storm over there? Not likely.
Barack Obama believes the more diverse a country we become—religiously, racially, ethnically, culturally, linguistically—the greater, better, and stronger a nation we become. And with his immigration policies, he has put us, perhaps irretrievably, on that road.
Yet, outside that Wells Fargo Center, where such sentiments seem to enrapture Democratic delegates, Europe, Africa, the Mideast, and South Asia are all being pulled apart, right along those same fault lines.
And measured by the rhetoric of Philadelphia and Cleveland, so are we.
Waving off the clerics who had come to administer last rites, Voltaire said: “All my life I have ever made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord, make my enemies look ridiculous.’ And God granted it.”
The tale of the thieved emails at the Democratic National Committee is just too good to be true.
For a year, 74-year-old socialist Bernie Sanders has been saying that, under DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the party has been undercutting his campaign and hauling water for Hillary Clinton.
From the 19,200 emails dumped the weekend before Clinton’s coronation, it appears the old boy is not barking mad. The deck was stacked; the referees were in the tank; the game was rigged.
For four decades, some of us have wondered what Jim McCord, security man at CREEP, and his four Cubans were looking for in DNC chair Larry O’Brien’s office at the Watergate. Now it makes sense.
Among the lovely schemes the DNC leaders worked up to gut Sanders in Christian communities of West Virginia and Kentucky, was to tell these good folks that Sanders doesn’t even believe that there is a God. He’s not even an agnostic; he’s an atheist.
The idea was broached by DNC chief financial officer Brad Marshall in an email to DNC chief executive officer Amy Dacey:
“Does [Bernie] believe in a God. He has skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and atheist.”
Dacey emailed back, “Amen.”
In 1960, John F. Kennedy went before the Houston ministers to assert the right of a Catholic to be president of the United States. Is the “Marshall Plan,” to quietly spread word Bernie Sanders is a godless atheist, now acceptable politics in the party of Barack Obama?
If Marshall and Dacey are still around at week’s end, we will know.
The WikiLeaks dump came Friday night. By Sunday, Clinton’s crowd had unleashed the mechanical rabbit, and the press hounds were dutifully chasing it. The new party line: the Russians did it!
Clinton campaign chief Robert Mook told ABC, “experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke in to the DNC, took all these emails, and now they are leaking them out through the Web sites. … some experts are now telling us that this was done by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump.”
Monday, Clinton chairman John Podesta said there is a “kind of bromance going on” between Trump and Vladimir Putin. Campaign flack Brian Fallon told CNN, “There is a consensus among experts that it is indeed Russia that is behind this hack of the DNC.”
Purpose: change the subject. Redirect the media away from the DNC conspiracy to sabotage Sanders’ campaign.
Will the press cooperate?
In 1971, the New York Times published secret documents from the Kennedy-Johnson administration on how America got involved in Vietnam. Goal: discredit the war the Times had once supported, and undercut the war effort, now that Richard Nixon was president.
The documents, many marked secret, had been illicitly taken from Defense Department files, copied, and published by the Times.
America’s newspaper of record defended its actions by invoking “the people’s right to know” the secrets of their government.
Well, do not the people have “a right to know” of sordid schemes of DNC operatives to sink a presidential campaign?
Do the people not have a right to know that, in denying Sanders’ charges, the leadership of the DNC was lying to him, lying to the party, and lying to the country?
What did Clinton know of Wasserman Schultz’s complicity in DNC cheating in the presidential campaign, and when did she know it?
For publishing stolen Defense Department secrets, the Pentagon Papers, the Times got a Pulitzer Prize.
If the Russians were helpful in bringing to the attention of the American people the anti-democratic business being done at the DNC, perhaps the Russians deserve similar recognition.
By the Times‘ standard of 1971, maybe Putin deserves a Pulitzer.
Undeniably, if the Russians or any foreign actors are interfering in U.S. presidential elections, we ought to know it, and stop it.
But who started all this?
Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has used cyberwarfare to sabotage centrifuges in the Iranian nuclear plant in Natanz. We have backed “color-coded” revolutions in half a dozen countries from Serbia to Ukraine to Georgia—to dump rulers and regimes we do not like, all in the name of democracy.
Unsurprisingly, today, Russia, China, Egypt, and even Israel are shutting down or booting out NGOs associated with the United States, and hacking into websites of U.S. institutions.
We were the first “experts” to play this game. Now others know how to play it. We reap what we sow.
The self-righteousness and smugness of Ted Cruz in refusing to endorse Donald Trump, then walking off stage in Cleveland, smirking amidst the boos, takes the mind back in time.
At the Cow Palace in San Francisco in July of 1964, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, having been defeated by Barry Goldwater, took the podium to introduce a platform plank denouncing “extremism.”
Implication: Goldwater’s campaign is saturated with extremists.
Purpose: Advertise Rocky’s superior morality.
Smug and self-righteous, Rocky brayed at the curses and insults, “It’s a free country, ladies and gentlemen.”
Rocky was finished. He would never win the nomination.
Richard Nixon took another road, endorsed Goldwater, spoke for him in San Francisco, campaigned for him across America. And in 1968, with Goldwater’s backing, Nixon would rout Govs. George Romney and Rockefeller, and win the presidency, twice.
Sometimes, loyalty pays off.
About Cruz, a prediction: he will not be the nominee in 2020. He will never be the nominee. If Trump wins, Cruz is cooked. If Trump loses, his people will not forget the Brutus who stuck the knife in his back.
To any who read Allen Drury’s Advise and Consent or saw the movie, Ted Cruz is the Sen. Fred Van Ackerman of his generation.
Yet, beyond the denunciations of Trump and disavowals of his candidacy, something larger is going on here.
The Goldwaterites were not only dethroning the East Coast liberal establishment of Rockefeller, but saying goodbye to the Republicanism of President Eisenhower and Vice President Nixon.
Something new was being born, and births are not a pretty sight.
What was being born was a new Republican Party. It would be dominated, after Nixon, by conservatives, who would seek to dump the Accidental President, Gerald R. Ford, in 1976. They would recapture the party in 1980, and help elect and reelect Ronald Reagan.
Vice President George H.W. Bush won in 1988 through the exploitation of cultural and social issues. His Democratic rival, Gov. Michael Dukakis, opposed the death penalty, opposed public school kids taking the Pledge of Allegiance, and had a progressive program to give weekend passes to convicted killers and rapists like Willie Horton.
Once this became known, thanks to Bush campaign manager Lee Atwater, the Little Duke was done. The Dukakis tank ride in that helmet, to show his aptitude to be commander-in-chief, probably did not help.
The crisis of today’s Republican Party stems from a failure to recognize, after Reagan went home, and during the presidency of George H.W. Bush, that America now faced a new set of challenges.
By 1991, America’s border was bleeding. Thousands were walking in from Mexico every weekend. The hundreds of thousands arriving legally, the vast majority of them Third World poor, began putting downward pressure on working-class wages. Soon, these immigrants would begin voting for the welfare state on which their families depended, and support the Party of Government.
By 1991, free trade had begun to send our factories and jobs overseas and de-industrialize America.
By 1991, an epoch in world history had ended. With the collapse of the Soviet Empire, the Cold War was suddenly over. America had prevailed.
“As our case is new,” said Lincoln, “so we must think anew and act anew.” Bush Republicans did not think anew or act anew.
They were like football coaches who still swore by the single-wing offense after George Halas’ Chicago Bears, the “Monsters of the Midway,” used the T-formation to score 11 touchdowns and beat the Washington Redskins in the 1940 NFL championship game, 73-0.
What paralyzed the Republicans of a generation ago? What blinded them from seeing and blocked them from acting on the new realities?
Ideology, political correctness, a reflexive recoil against new thinking, and an innate inability to adapt.
The ideology was a belief in free trade that borders on the cultic, though free trade had been rejected by America’s greatest leaders: Washington, Madison, Hamilton, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.
The political correctness stemmed from a fear of being called racist and xenophobic so paralyzing, so overpowering, that some Republicans would ship the entire Third World over here, rather than have it thought they would ever consider the race, ethnicity, or religion of those repopulating America.
The inability to adapt was seen when our Cold War adversary extended a hand in friendship, and the War Party slapped it away. Rather than shed Cold War alliances and rebuild our country, we looked around for new commitments, new allies, new wars to fight to “end tyranny in our world.”
These wars had less to do with threats to vital interests than with providing now-obsolete Cold Warriors with arguments to maintain their claims on national resources and attention, not to mention their lifestyles and jobs.
With Trump’s triumph, the day of reckoning has arrived.
The new GOP is not going to be party of open borders, free-trade globalism, or reflexive interventionism.
The weeping and gnashing of teeth are justified.
For these self-righteous folks are all getting eviction notices. They are being dispossessed of their home.
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.
Neither George W. Bush, the Republican Party nominee in 2000 and 2004, nor Jeb, the dethroned Prince of Wales, will be in Cleveland. Nor will John McCain or Mitt Romney, the last two nominees.
These former leaders would like it thought that high principle keeps them away from a GOP convention that would nominate Donald Trump. Petulance, however, must surely play a part. Bush Republicans feel unappreciated, and understandably so.
For Trump’s nomination represents not only a rejection of their legacy but a repudiation of much of post-Cold War party dogma.
America crossed an historic divide and entered a new era. Even should Trump lose, there is likely no going back.
Trump has attacked NAFTA, MFN for China, and the South Korea trade deal as badly negotiated. But the problem lies not just in the treaties but in the economic philosophy upon which they were based.
Free-trade globalism was a crucial component of the New World Order, whose creation George H.W. Bush called the new great goal of U.S. foreign policy at the United Nations in October of 1991.
Bush II and Jeb are also free-trade zealots.
But when the American people discovered that the export of their factories and jobs to low-wage countries, and sinking salaries, were the going price of globalism, they rebelled, turned to Trump, and voted for him to put America first again.
Does anyone think that if Trump loses, we are going back to Davos-Dubai ideology, and Barack Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership is our future? Even Hillary Clinton has gotten the message and dumped TPP.
Economic nationalism is the future.
The only remaining question is how many trade deficits shall America endure, and how many defeats shall the Republican Party suffer, before it formally renounces the free-trade fanaticism that has held it in thrall.
The Bush idea of remaking America into a more ethnically and culturally diverse nation through mass immigration, rooted in an egalitarian ideology, also appears to be yesterday’s enthusiasm.
With Republicans backing Trump’s call, after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, for a moratorium on Muslim immigration, and the massacres in Paris, Nice, and the Pulse Club in Orlando, Fla., diversity seems to be less celebrated.
Here, the Europeans are ahead of us. Border posts are being reestablished across the continent. Behind the British decision to quit the EU was resistance to more immigration from the Islamic world and Eastern Europe.
On Sunday, French President Francois Hollande was booed at memorial services in Nice for the hundreds massacred and maimed by a madman whose family roots were in the old French colony of Tunisia.
Marine Le Pen of the National Front, who wants to halt immigration and quit the EU, is running far ahead of Hollande in the polls for next year’s elections.
As for the foreign policies associated with the Bushes, the New World Order of Bush I and the crusade for global democracy of Bush II “to end tyranny in our world” are seen as utopian.
Most Republicans ask: how have all these interventions and wars improved our lives or our world?
With 6,000 U.S. dead, 40,000 wounded, and trillions of dollars sunk, the Taliban is not defeated in Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda and ISIS have outposts in a dozen countries. Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen are bleeding and disintegrating. Turkey appears headed for an Islamist and dictatorial future. The Middle East appears consumed in flames.
Yet despite Trump’s renunciation of Bush war policies, and broad support for talking to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, the neocons, who engineered many of the disasters in the Middle East, and their hawkish allies seem to be getting their way for a new Cold War.
They are cheering the deployment of four battalions of NATO troops to the Baltic states and Poland, calling for bringing Sweden and Finland into NATO, pushing for sending weapons to Ukraine, and urging a buildup on the Black Sea as well as the Baltic Sea.
They want to scuttle the Iranian nuclear deal and have the U.S. Navy confront China to support the rival claims of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia to rocks and reefs in the South China Sea, some of which are under water at high tide.
Who represents the future of the GOP?
On trade and immigration, the returns are in. Should the GOP go back to globalism, amnesty, or open borders, it will sunder itself and have no future.
And if the party is perceived as offering America endless wars in the Middle East and constant confrontations with the great nuclear powers, Russia and China, over specks of land or islets having nothing to do with the vital interests of the United States, then it will see its anti-interventionist wing sheared off.
At issue in the battle between the Party of Bush and Party of Trump: will we make America safe again, and great again? Or are globalism, amnesty, and endless interventions our future?
Do we put the world first, or America First?
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.
“Her mind is shot.”
That was the crisp diagnosis of Donald Trump on hearing the opinion of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the possibility he might become president.
It all began with an interview last week when the justice was asked for her thoughts on a Trump presidency. Ginsburg went on a tear.
“I can’t imagine what this place [the Supreme Court] would be—I can’t imagine what the country would be—with Donald Trump as our president. For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be—I don’t even want to contemplate that.”
Yet she had contemplated the horror of it all, as she quoted her late husband as saying of such a catastrophe, “It’s time for us to move to New Zealand.”
This week, Ginsburg doubled down.
“Trump is a faker,” she vented in chambers on Monday, “He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head. … He really has an ego. … How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that.”
Sounding like Democratic Party Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ginsburg attacked the Senate for not voting on Judge Merrick Garland to fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
“That’s their job. There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being president in his last year.”
True, your honor, but there is also nothing in the Constitution that says the Senate must vote expeditiously, or at all.
Ginsburg hailed Justice Anthony Kennedy as “the great hero of this term” for his votes upholding abortion rights and affirmative action.
“Think what would have happened had Justice Scalia remained with us,” she added, which comes close to saying the death of the great jurist was not entirely unwelcome to the leading liberal on the court.
“I’d love to see Citizens United overruled,” Ginsburg volunteered, which gives us a pretty good idea how she will vote when that question comes before the court again.
As the Wall Street Journal notes, under Section 28 US Code 455, “Any justice, judge or magistrate judge of the United States must disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” Since “himself” and “his” refer to men, perhaps Ginsburg does not think the rules apply to her.
The federal code of judicial conduct for U.S. judges, says the Chicago Tribune, states that a “judge should not … publicly endorse a candidate for public office.”
But does not Ginsburg’s relentless trashing of Trump constitute a political attack on him, to help his opponent Hillary Clinton?
Ginsburg “should resign from the Court before she does the reputation of the judiciary more harm,” says the Journal.
There is a precedent. Justice Abe Fortas resigned in 1969 in a scandal when his ties to a convicted swindler became known.
But a dissent here. Why should Ginsburg resign? Did anyone doubt she held these views? Did she hide her radical liberalism from the Senate that confirmed her 96-3 in 1993, with only three Republicans dissenting, led by the venerable Jesse Helms?
Ginsburg was an ACLU lawyer and feminist-activist when she was named to the appellate court by Jimmy Carter. Her views were no secret to anyone when the Senate confirmed her.
Let us not pretend we did not know. Thus, why should she step down for airing political and ideological views everyone knew she held?
Liberal angst is understandable. Ginsburg is giving away the game.
How can liberals credibly uphold the pretense that Supreme Court decisions, where the left is the majority, represent judgments based on the Constitution, when Ginsburg, the leading leftist, has revealed herself to be a rabid partisan who can’t wait to use her judicial power to impose her ideology upon the United States?
Ginsburg detests Trump. She wants to kill super PACs. She thinks discrimination against white males is fine if it advances diversity. She thinks Republican senators are blockheads who do not know their duties.
She thinks the death penalty is barbaric, and that abortion on demand and same-sex marriage are progressive. She is waiting for a case to come before her so she can restrict gun rights.
In a democratic republic, she has a right to hold and air these views.
But a democratic republic no longer exists when justices of the mindset of Ginsburg, who have never been elected, but serve for life, can impose these views, anti-democratically, upon the country.
Since the Earl Warren era, the Supreme Court has usurped the legislative power and imposed social policies, and Congress, which has the power under Article III to shackle the Ruth Bader Ginsburgs and restrict the court’s jurisdiction, has lacked the courage to do so.
This is the problem, not Ginsburg. She does what leftist ideologues do. The problem is elsewhere.
Pogo said it best, “We have met the enemy—and he is us.”
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.
After the massacre of five Dallas cops, during a protest of police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, President Obama said, “America is not as divided as some have suggested.”
Former D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey, an African-American, says we are “sitting on a powder keg.”
Put me down as agreeing with the president. For when a real powder keg blew in the ’60s, I was there. And this is not it.
In 1965, the Watts area of Los Angeles exploded in the worst racial violence since the New York draft riot of 1863 when Lincoln had to send in veterans of Gettysburg. After six days of looting, shooting, and arson in LA, there were 34 dead, 1,000 injured, 4,000 arrested.
In 1967, Newark, New Jersey, and Detroit exploded, bringing out not only the Guard but the 82nd Airborne. After Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, a hundred American cities burst into flame.
Troops defended the White House. Marines mounted machine guns on the Capitol steps. Thousands of soldiers patrolled the city. The 7th and 14th street corridors of my hometown, D.C., were gutted and would not be rebuilt for years. That was a powder keg—that went off.
But only crazed cop-haters applaud that Dallas atrocity by the delusional anti-white racist Micah X. Johnson. As for the shootings of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, almost all agree they must be investigated, and justice done.
Chief Ramsey says he expects trouble at the conventions. But if Black Lives Matter shows up to raise hell in Cleveland, then that is going to be a problem for Hillary Clinton.
This writer was on the 19th floor of the “Comrade Hilton” in August 1968, looking down as Mayor Daley’s finest marched up Balbo to Michigan Avenue, then stormed into Grant Park to deliver street justice to the radicals calling them “pigs.”
“A police riot” liberals raged. The cops beat “our children” up.
Richard Nixon came down on the side of the cops, carried Illinois and won the election. Liberals were still calling “law and order” code words for racism. Most Americans had come to recognize they were the indispensable elements of a decent and civilized society.
“Richard Nixon,” lamented Hunter S. Thompson, “is living in the White House today because of what happened that night in Chicago.”
This weekend, Rudy Giuliani called Black Lives Matter “inherently racist.” Does he not have a point?
After the death of Eric Garner in a police takedown, Black Lives Matter led mobs onto the streets and highways of Manhattan chanting, “What do we Want? Dead Cops! When do we want them? Now!”
In anti-police demonstrations since, another chant has been, “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon.”
This is pure hatred, and as it is directed against white cops, racist.
Obama should tell Black Lives Matter to stop the hate. But though he has shown no reluctance to lecture white America, he has rarely shown the same stern judgment with black America.
Now there is no denying that urban black communities are among the most heavily policed. Why? As Heather Mac Donald, author of The War on Cops, writes of a city she knows well:
Black people make up 23 percent of New York’s population, but they commit 75 percent of all shootings. … Whites are 33 percent of the city’s population, but they commit fewer than 2 percent of all shootings. …
These disparities mean that virtually every time that police in New York are called out after a shooting, they are being summoned into minority neighborhoods looking for minority suspects.
As these percentages are unlikely to change, we are going to have more collisions between black males and white cops. Some will end in the shooting of black criminals and suspects and, on occasion, innocent black men. Some are going to result in the death of cops.
Mistakes are going to be made, and tragedies occur, as with the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, killed in Cleveland while waving a toy pistol.
But if there is to be a social explosion every time an incident occurs, like the deaths of Trayvon Martin, shot while beating a neighborhood watch coordinator, and Michael Brown, shot in Ferguson after trying to grab a cop’s gun, America is going to be permanently polarized.
And there is no doubt where the majority will come down, and who will be the near-term beneficiary.
Monday, Donald Trump declared himself “the law and order candidate,” and added: “America’s police … are what separates civilization from total chaos and destruction of our country as we know it.”
And Clinton? On Friday, she said, “I’m going to be talking to white people. I think we’re the ones who have to start listening.”
Prediction: If Black Lives Matter does not clean up its act, Obama and Clinton will have to throw this crowd over the side, or the BLM will take her down.
Does Hillary Clinton possess the integrity and honesty to be president of the United States? Or are those quaint and irrelevant considerations in electing a head of state in 21st-century America?
These are the questions put on the table by the report from FBI Director James Comey on what his agents unearthed in their criminal investigation of the Clinton email scandal.
Clinton dodged an FBI recommendation that she be indicted for gross negligence in handling U.S. security secrets, a recommendation that would have aborted her campaign. But Director Comey dynamited the defense she has been offering the country.
Comey all but declared that Clinton lied when she said she had State Department approval for the email server in her home.
He all but declared that she lied when she said she had only one server, and that no classified or secret material was transmitted. He also implied that she lied when she said she had used only one device and had turned over all of her work-related emails to State. The FBI found “several thousand” more.
Clinton said her emails were stored in a secure area. This, too, was false. Hostile actors and hostile regimes, said Comey, had access to email systems of those with whom she communicated.
Comey said he found no criminal “intent” in what Clinton did.
Yet, he charged her with having been “extremely careless” with U.S. national security secrets, a phrase that seems synonymous with the gross negligence needed to indict and convict.
While recommending against prosecution, Comey added, “This is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequence. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions.”
Translation: Were Clinton still the secretary of state and were such recklessness with secrets to be discovered, she could have been forced to resign and stripped of her security clearance forever.
Yet if Clinton is elected president, our commander in chief for the next four years, and her confidantes Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, will all be individuals the FBI has found to be reckless and unreliable in the handling of national security secrets.
We will have security risks running the armed forces of the USA.
Nor is this the first time Clinton’s truthfulness has been called into question. Twenty years ago, she fabricated a tale about crossing a tarmac in Bosnia “under sniper fire,” and running with “our heads down.” Photos showed a peaceful arrival featuring a smiling little girl.
Family members of the dead heroes of Benghazi’s “13 Hours” say Clinton told them she would see to it that the creator of the anti-Islamic video that incited the mob that killed their sons would be run down, all the while knowing it had been a planned terrorist attack.
In 1996, the New York Times‘ William Safire went over all of the statements Clinton had made in Whitewater and related scandals of Bill Clinton’s first term, compared them with subsequently revealed truth, and pronounced Hillary Clinton a “congenital liar.”
She has claimed she tried to join the Marines in 1975, and long contended she was named for famed mountaineer Edmund Hillary, who conquered Mount Everest. Only Sir Edmund climbed Everest when Hillary was 6 years old. The perfect running mate for this serial fabricator would be the Cherokee lass Elizabeth Warren.
Still, a question arises as to Comey’s motives in airing the findings of an FBI investigation. Normally, the bureau passes on the evidence it has found, along with its recommendation, to the Justice Department. And Justice decides whether to prosecute.
Instead, Comey called a press conference, documented the charge that Clinton was “extremely careless,” contradicted, point by point, the story she has told the public, then announced he was recommending against prosecution.
What was behind this extraordinary performance?
By urging no prosecution, but providing evidence for a verdict of criminal negligence in handing classified material, Comey was saying:
I am not recommending prosecution, because, to do that, would be to force Hillary Clinton out of the race, and virtually decide the election of 2016. And that is my not decision. That is your decision.
You, the American people, should decide, given all this evidence, if Clinton should be commander in chief. You decide if a public figure with a record of such recklessness and duplicity belongs in the Oval Office.
Comey was making the case against Clinton as the custodian of national security secrets with a credibility the GOP cannot match, while refusing to determine her fate by urging an indictment, and instead leaving her future in our hands.
And, ultimately, should not this decision rest with the people, and not the FBI?
If, knowing what we know of the congenital mendacity of Hillary Clinton, the nation chooses her as head of state and commander in chief, then that will tell us something about the America of 2016.
And it will tell us something about the supposed superiority of democracy over other forms of government.
In Tuesday’s indictment of free trade as virtual economic treason, The Donald has really set the cat down among the pigeons.
For, in denouncing NAFTA, the WTO, MFN for China and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, all backed by Bush I and II, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, Trump is all but calling his own party leaders dunderheads and losers.
And he seems to be winning the argument.
As he calls for the repudiation of “globalism” and a return to “Americanism,” a Republican Congress renders itself mute on whether it will even vote on the TPP this year.
On trade, Bernie Sanders is closer to Trump. Even Hillary Clinton has begun to renounce a TPP she once called the “gold standard” of trade deals.
Where have all the troubadours of free trade gone? Why do economic patriots seem ascendant? Is this like the Cold War, where the other side gets up and goes home?
Answer. As Trump pointed out in Monessen in the Mon Valley of Pennsylvania, the returns from free trade are in, and the results are rotten.
Since Bush I, we have run $12 trillion in trade deficits, $4 trillion with China. Once a Maoist dump, China has become the greatest manufacturing power on earth. Meanwhile, the U.S. has lost 50,000 factories and a third of its manufacturing jobs.
Trump is going to start a “trade war,” wail the critics.
But the damage wreaked upon U.S. industry by free traders already rivals what Arthur “Bomber” Harris did for German industry in the Ruhr.
In recent decades, every major U.S. trade partner — China, Japan, Canada, Mexico, EU — has run annual trade surpluses at our expense. How do 40 years of trade deficits in goods, run by a nation that rarely ran one for a century before, make us stronger or wealthier?
Or is what is best for the world now more important than what is best for America?
And here we come to the heart of the argument.
Washington, Hamilton, and Henry Clay, father of the “American System,” and Lincoln and every Republican president up to Eisenhower, crafted trade policies to promote manufacturing to grow the wealth of the USA.
They were patriots not globalists.
They knew that America’s political independence required economic independence of all other nations. They wanted to build an economy where Americans would cut their bonds to foreign lands and come to rely upon one another for the needs and necessities of their national life. They sought to make us independent, so that we could not be dragged by economic ties into the inevitable wars of the Old World.
And they succeeded magnificently.
Britain, which embraced free trade in the 1840s, became so reliant on imports that a few dozen German submarines almost knocked her out of World War I. Protectionist America had to come pull her chestnuts out of the fire.
Free trade ideology is not America-made. It is an alien faith, a cargo cult, smuggled in from the old continent, the work of men Edmund Burke called “sophisters, economists, and calculators.”
David Ricardo, James and John Stuart Mill, Richard Cobden, all chatterers and scribblers, none of whom ever built a great nation, declared free trade to be the new New Testament, the salvation of mankind.
These men in whose souls the old faith was dying seized on a utopian belief that world government and free trade would be the salvation of mankind. The Economist magazine was founded to preach the heresy.
Before the modern era, Americans never bought into it. But now, our elites have. And, undeniably, there are beneficiaries to free trade.
There are first the owners, operators and shareholders of companies who, to be rid of high-wage American labor, moved production to China or Mexico or where the costs are lower and regulations near nonexistent.
Transnational companies, their K Street lobbyists, and media that survive on their advertising dollars, are the biggest boosters of free trade, as they are the biggest beneficiaries.
Consumers, too, at least initially, see more products down at the mall, selling at lower prices. Cheap consumer goods are the bribes free traders proffer to patriots to sell out their country and countrymen to capitalists who have no country.
But we are not simply consumers. We are Americans. We are fellow citizens. We are neighbors. We have duties to one another.
When a factory shuts down and a town begins to die, workers are laid off. The local tax base shrinks, education and social services are cut. Folks go on unemployment and food stamps. We all pay for that.
Wives go to work and kids come home from school to empty houses, and families break up, and move away. Social disintegration follows.
“Creative destruction” is the antiseptic term free traders use to describe what they have done and are doing to the America we grew up in.
Southeast of the old Steel City, in the Mon Valley of Pennsylvania, where my mother and her six brothers and her sister grew up, folks describe what happened more poignantly and graphically.
Some of us have long predicted the breakup of the European Union. The Cousins appear to have just delivered the coup de grace.
While Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU, England voted for independence. These people, with their unique history, language, and culture, want to write their own laws and rule themselves.
The English wish to remain who they are, and they do not want their country to become, in Theodore Roosevelt’s phrase, “a polyglot boarding house” for the world.
From patriots of all nations, congratulations are in order.
It will all begin to unravel now, over there, and soon over here.
Across Europe, tribalism, of all strains, is resurgent. Not only does the EU appear to be breaking up, countries appear about to break up.
Scotland will seek a second referendum to leave the UK. The French National Front of Marine Le Pen and the Dutch Party for Freedom both want out of the EU. As Scots seek to secede from the UK, Catalonia seeks to secede from Spain, Veneto from Italy, and Flemish nationalists from Belgium.
Ethnonationalism seems everywhere ascendant. Yet, looking back in history, is this not the way the world has been going for some centuries now?
The disintegration of the EU into its component nations would follow, as Vladimir Putin helpfully points out, the dissolution of the USSR into 15 nations, and the breakup of Yugoslavia into seven.
Czechoslovakia lately split in two. The Donbass seeks to secede from Ukraine. Is that so different from Transnistria splitting off from Romania, Abkhazia and South Ossetia seceding from Georgia, and Chechnya seeking separation from Russia?
After World War II came the disintegration of the French and British empires and birth of dozens of new nations in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. America returned the Philippine islands to their people.
The previous century saw the collapse of the Spanish Empire and birth of a score of new nations in our own hemisphere.
In Xi Jinping’s China and Putin’s Russia, nationalism is rising, even as China seeks to repress Uighur and Tibetan separatists.
People want to rule themselves, and be themselves, separate from all others. Palestinians want their own nation. Israelis want “a Jewish state.”
On Cyprus, Turks and Greeks seem happier apart.
Kurds are fighting to secede from Turkey and Iraq, and perhaps soon from Syria and Iran. Afghanistan appears to be splintering into regions dominated by Pashtuns, Hazaras, Uzbeks, and Tajiks.
Eritrea has left Ethiopia. South Sudan has seceded from Khartoum.
Nor is America immune to the populist sentiments surging in Europe.
In Bernie Sanders’s fulminations against corporate and financial elites one hears echoes of the radical-leftist rhetoric in Greece and Italy against EU banking elites.
And as “Brexit” swept the native-born English outside of multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual London, populist-nationalist Donald Trump and antiestablishment Ted Cruz swept the native-born white working and middle classes in the primaries.
In Britain, all the mainstream parties—Labor, Tory, Liberal Democrat, Scottish National—supported “Remain.” All lost.
Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party alone won.
In the past six months, millions of Democrats voted for a 74-year-old socialist against the establishment choice, Hillary Clinton, as Bush-Romney-Ryan Republicanism was massively repudiated in the Republican primaries.
As Trump said last week, “We got here because we switched from a policy of Americanism—focusing on what’s good for America’s middle class—to a policy of globalism, focusing on how to make money for large corporations who can move their wealth and workers to foreign countries all to the detriment of the American worker and the American economy.”
Yesterday, news arrived that in May alone, the U.S. had run a trade deficit in goods of $60 billion. This translates into an annual deficit of $720 billion in goods, or near 4 percent of our GDP wiped out by purchases of foreign-made rather than U.S.-made goods.
In 40 years, we have not run a trade surplus. The most self-sufficient republic in all of history now relies for its necessities upon other nations.
What might a Trumpian policy of Americanism over globalism entail?
A 10 to 20 percent tariff on manufactured goods to wipe out the trade deficit in goods, with the hundreds of billions in revenue used to slash or eliminate corporate taxes in the USA.
Every U.S. business would benefit. Every global company would have an incentive not only to move production here, but its headquarters here.
An “America first” immigration policy would secure the border, cut legal immigration to tighten U.S. labor markets, strictly enforce U.S. laws against those breaking into our country, and get tough with businesses that make a practice of hiring people here illegally.
In Europe and America, corporate, financial, and political elites are increasingly disrespected and transnationalism is receding. An anti-establishment, nationalist, populist wave is surging across Europe and the USA.
It is an anti-insider, anti-Clinton wave, and Trump could ride it to victory.
Stripped of its excesses, Donald Trump’s Wednesday speech contains all the ingredients of a campaign that can defeat Hillary Clinton this fall.
Indeed, after the speech ended Clinton was suddenly defending the Clinton Foundation against the charge that it is a front for a racket for her family’s enrichment.
The specific charges in Trump’s indictment of Clinton: She is mendacious, corrupt, incompetent and a hypocrite.
“Hillary Clinton … is a world-class liar,” said Trump. She faked a story about being under fire at a Bosnia airport, the kind of claim for which TV anchors get fired. She has lied repeatedly about her email server.
She lied to the families of victims of the Benghazi massacre by implying the atrocity was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islamic video, not the premeditated act of Islamist terror she knew it to be.
Drop “world-class” and Trump’s case is open and shut.
His second charge: “Hillary has perfected the politics of personal profit and theft” and “may be the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency.”
Bill Clinton got $750,000 for a speech from a telecom company facing State Department sanctions for providing technology to Iran. The Clintons got the cash; the telecom company got no sanctions.
“Hillary Clinton’s State Department approved the transfer of 20 percent of America’s uranium holdings to Russia, while 9 investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.”
Trump added, “She ran the State Department like her own personal hedge fund — doing favors for oppressive regimes … for cash.”
Together, she and Bill have raked in $153 million since 2001 in speaking fees from “lobbyists, CEOs and foreign governments.”
These figures are almost beyond belief.
Sherman Adams had to resign as Ike’s chief of staff for accepting a vicuna coat from Bernard Goldfine, who had problems with federal regulators.
When ex-President Reagan, after brain surgery, visited Japan to receive that nation’s highest honor, The Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, and got a $2 million fee from the media company that hosted his nine-day visit, our liberal editorial pages vomited out their revulsion and disgust.
Where are those media watchdogs today?
Rather than condemning the Clintons’ greed, their conflicts of interest and their egregious exploitation of their offices, the media are covering for Hillary and digging for dirt on Trump.
To substantiate his charge of incompetence, Trump notes that Clinton as Senator voted for arguably the greatest strategic blunder in U.S. history, the invasion of Iraq.
She pushed the attack that ousted Col. Gadhafi and unleashed terrorists who took over much of Libya and murdered our ambassador.
She played a leading role in launching the insurrection against Bashar Assad that has left hundreds of thousands dead, uprooted half of Syria and sent millions of refugees to seek asylum in Europe.
Primary beneficiary: ISIS, with its capital in Raqqa.
And the hypocrisy charge?
Though Hillary and Bill Clinton profess to be the fighting champions of women’s equality and gay rights, they have banked millions in speaking feels and tens of millions in contributions to the Clinton Foundation from Islamic regimes under whose rule women are treated as chattel and homosexuals are flogged, beheaded and stoned to death.
Why do major media let them get away with such hypocrisy?
Because, ideologically, politically, socially, morally and culturally, the major media are with them.
While making the case for the indictment of Hillary Clinton, Trump also outlined an agenda with appeal not only to nationalists, populists and conservatives but working-class and minority Democrats.
If Trump is elected, an economic system “rigged” to enable big corporations to leave and take factories and jobs abroad, and bring their goods back free of charge to kill companies that stay in America, will end.
“Globalism” will be replaced by “Americanism.”
Trade and tax policies will be rewritten to provide incentives for companies to bring jobs and factories here. Was this not also Bernie Sanders’ message? He stood against NAFTA in the 1990s when the Clintons colluded with Bush Republicans to impose it.
In his peroration, Trump spoke of what we Americans had done, how we had lost our way, but how we could, together, make her great again. His finale was surprisingly aspirational, hopeful, inclusive.
In the political year just ended, several unmistakable messages have been delivered.
First, the record turnout for Trump and remarkable turnout for Ted Cruz represented a repudiation of Beltway Republicanism.
Second, the amazing success of 74-year-old Socialist Bernie Sanders in keeping Clinton embattled until California, showed that the Democratic young have had enough of Clintonism.
A majority of the nation said loud and clear: We want change.
Hillary Clinton’s vulnerability is that Americans distrust her; no one believes she represents change; and she has no agenda and no vision.
Her campaign for president is all about her.
As Trump noted, even her slogan is, “I’m with her.”
Rough and raw as it was in parts, Donald Trump’s speech on Wednesday contains the elements of a campaign that can win.
Some 50 State Department officials have signed a memo calling on President Obama to launch air and missile strikes on the Damascus regime of Bashar Assad.
A “judicious use of stand-off and air weapons,” they claim, “would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process.”
In brief, to strengthen the hand of our diplomats and show we mean business, we should start bombing and killing Syrian soldiers.
Yet Syria has not attacked us. And Congress has not declared war on Syria, or authorized an attack. Where do these State hawks think President Obama gets the authority to launch a war on Syria?
Does State consider the Constitution to be purely advisory when it grants Congress the sole power to declare war? Was not waging aggressive war the principal charge against the Nazis at Nuremberg?
If U.S. bombs and missiles rain down on Damascus, to the cheers of the C-Street Pattons, what do we do if Bashar Assad’s allies Iran and Hezbollah retaliate with Benghazi-type attacks on U.S. diplomats across the Middle East? What do we do if Syrian missiles and Russian planes starting shooting down U.S. planes?
Go to war with Hezbollah, Iran, and Russia?
Assume U.S. strikes break Syria’s regime and Assad falls and flees. Who fills the power vacuum in Damascus, if not the most ruthless of the terrorist forces in that country, al-Nusra and ISIS?
Should ISIS reach Damascus first, and a slaughter of Alawites and Christians ensue, would we send an American army to save them?
According to CIA Director John Brennan, ISIS is spreading and coming to Europe and America. Does it make sense then that we would launch air and missile strikes against a Syrian regime and army that is today the last line of defense between ISIS and Damascus?
Does anyone think these things through?
Wherever, across the Middle East, we have plunged in to wage war—Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria—people continue to suffer and die, and we are ensnared.
Have we not fought enough wars in this Godforsaken region?
Last week, Russian planes launched air strikes on the rebels in Syria whom we have been arming and training to overthrow Assad.
Said John Kerry, “Russia needs to understand that our patience is not infinite.” But why are we arming rebels to overthrow Assad?
Who rises if he falls? Moscow’s alliance with Damascus goes back decades. Syria provides Russia with a naval base in the Mediterranean. Vladimir Putin’s support for the embattled Syrian regime in the civil war being waged against it is legal under international law.
It is our policy that appears questionable.
Where did Obama get the right to arm and train rebels to dump over the Damascus regime? Did Congress authorize this insurrection? Or is this just another CIA-National Endowment for Democracy project?
Why are we trying to bring down Assad, anyhow?
U.S. foreign policy today seems unthinking, reactive, impulsive.
Last week, 31,000 NATO troops conducted exercises in Poland and the Baltic republics, right alongside the border with Russia.
For the first time since 1945, German tanks appeared in Poland.
Now we are planning to base four NATO battalions—one U.S.-led, one British, one German, and perhaps one Canadian, as the French and Italians are balking at being part of a tripwire for war.
How would we react if 31,000 Russian, Chinese, Cuban, Iranian and North Korean troops conducted military exercises across from El Paso and Brownsville, Texas?
How would we react if each of those countries left behind a battalion of troops to prevent a repeat of General “Black Jack” Pershing’s intervention in Mexico in 1916?
Americans would be apoplectic.
Nor are some Europeans enthusiastic about confronting Moscow.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the NATO exercises “warmongering” and “saber-rattling.” He adds, “Anyone who believes that symbolic tank parades on the alliance’s eastern border will increase security is wrong. We would be well-advised not to deliver any excuses for a new, old confrontation.”
Not only is Steinmeier’s Social Democratic Party leery of any new Cold War with Russia, so, too, is the German Left Party, and the anti-EU populist party Alternative for Germany, which wants closer ties to Russia and looser ties to the United States.
This month, we sent the USS Porter into the Black Sea. Why? Says Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, “to deter potential aggression.”
While there is talk of a NATO Black Sea fleet, Bulgaria, one of the three NATO Black Sea nations, appears to want no part of it.
The European Union also just voted to extend sanctions on Russia for annexing Crimea and supporting separatists in Ukraine.
Donald Trump calls the NATO alliance a rip-off, a tripwire for World War III and “obsolete.” Hillary Clinton compares Putin’s actions in Ukraine to Hitler’s actions in Germany in the early 1930s.
Looking for a four-year faceoff with a nuclear-armed Russia?
Hillary’s the one!
If the cliches hold—nothing succeeds like success, the past is prologue—this generation will not likely see an end to the jihadist terror that was on display at Pulse in Orlando on Sunday.
For terrorism has proven to be among the most cost-effective and successful strategies of war that the world has ever seen.
Consider. The 9/11 attacks involved 19 hijackers willing to crash airliners into four buildings: the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and the Capitol.
So doing, those 19 altered the foreign policy of the United States.
They drew the world’s last superpower into wars that have bled and almost bankrupted us, broken a president, and left us mired in half a dozen civil and sectarian conflicts with no exit or end in sight.
As a political terrorist, Osama bin Laden rivals Gavrilo Princip, whose assassination of the Austrian archduke set in train the events that led to the Great War that brought on the downfall of the West.
Consider the success of Islamist terror since 9/11.
As Gerry Seib of the Wall Street Journal notes, in the 15 years since then, just 95 Americans have died in jihadist attacks in the U.S.
Yet, one atrocity in Orlando, where 49 were slaughtered, polarized the nation, brought the presidential candidates to savaging one another, and held a national TV audience spellbound for a week.
The whole world is talking about Orlando.
And what did this victory cost the Islamic State?
Zero. What Omar Mateen did suicide bombers do every day in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, kill dozens of innocent people while shouting “Allahu Akbar!”
Yet compare the returns from this act of Islamist terror in Orlando, to those from similar attacks in Kabul, Baghdad or Damascus.
Any wonder ISIS would implore its followers to strike where they are, inside the U.S., inside Europe, and not come to Syria to die anonymously?
Under siege in Raqqa, Mosul and Fallujah, being bombed and bled as it surrenders the conquered lands of its caliphate, ISIS’ shift in strategy and targeting makes perfect sense.
Consider, now, the triumphs of Islamist terrorism in Europe.
The 2004 Madrid train bombings led to the defeat of a centrist government and rise of a socialist regime that pulled Spanish troops out of Iraq.
The Paris attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Bataclan theater strengthened the National Front of Marine Le Pen.
The Beslan massacre of school children in North Ossetia in 2004 led to a consolidation of power by Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.
Across Europe, the political impact of Islamist terrorism, though the numbers of dead and wounded have been, measured against the casualties of conventional war, relatively few, has been extraordinary.
Islamist terrorism has helped spawn anti-immigrant parties and “illiberal” regimes. The association of Islamic terror with Muslim immigration and refugees from Syria’s war has helped to drive “Brexit,” the British campaign to secede from the EU.
Islamist attacks have helped propel anti-EU movements and to incite nationalist demands for a recapture of state control of borders and security policy from Brussels.
Obama explains his reluctance to use the term “radical Islamic terror” on his not wishing to validate ISIS’ claim to be the spear point, the fighting arm of the world’s largest religion in fulfilling the mission given to it by Allah—to make the whole world Islamic.
And this is exactly what ISIS has in mind.
By the frequency and ferocity of its attacks, it seeks to displace al-Qaeda and other Islamic resistance movements in the eyes of the 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, and to be seen by the young as the great liberator of the Islamic world and future conqueror of the West.
The crushing of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is a necessary but not a sufficient condition of victory in this war, for ISIS is not just an organization but a cause, a movement, an idea.
ISIS believes that by repeatedly wounding and provoking the West, it can reignite a war of civilizations. And though the West is vastly superior in nuclear weapons and conventional arms, economic power and technology, ISIS believes it can gradually drive the West out of the Middle East, as it has already helped to drive the Christians out.
Then, ISIS believes, through mass Muslim migration into a West whose native-born are dying out, Muslims can reoccupy these lands they had almost wholly conquered, until stopped by Charles Martel 14 centuries ago.
For some few Muslims, as we saw at Fort Hood, San Bernardino and Orlando, ISIS offers a dream worth dying for. And as they kill and die for ISIS, they will push America where they are pushing Europe—to the right.