Patrick J. Buchanan

What Truly Imperils a Free Society?

Memorial for shooting victim David McReynolds, 58, in Grant Park, Ga., in July 2012. Credit:/CreativeCommons/Jeff*

“The Barbarian cannot make … he can befog and destroy but … he cannot sustain; and of every Barbarian in the decline or peril of every civilization exactly that has been true.”

Hilaire Belloc’s depiction of the barbarian is recalled to mind as the statues honoring the history and heroes of the Republic and of the West continue to be vandalized and smashed.

A week ago, the statue of missionary and Catholic Saint Fr. Junipero Serra was beheaded at the Santa Barbara Mission he founded. A century-old Columbus statue in Central Park was defaced and spray-painted with: “Hate will not be tolerated.”

Baltimore’s monument to Francis Scott Key, who observed the bombardment of Fort McHenry on a British warship late in the War of 1812 and was inspired to write “The Star-Spangled Banner,” was covered in red paint. “Racist anthem” was written across it.

In Berkeley, home of the Free Speech Movement, the university last week had to spend $600,000 to protect an invited speaker of the college Republicans from being assaulted.

But St. Louis was where the real action was. Friday, a mob hurled rocks and bottles injuring 11 cops, leaving one with a broken jaw. They smashed windows at the mayor’s residence and marched miles to the Central West End to berate diners on patios of restaurants with the menacing chant: “Off the sidewalk. Into the street.”

Saturday, the mob invaded and shut down a suburban mall, and then smashed windows across a nightlife district.

The protesters rationale: rage at a not-guilty verdict in the murder trial of ex-cop Jason Stockley in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith — in 2011.

Stockley’s police van had been struck by Smith’s car, who had been nabbed in an alleged drug deal and led police on an 80-mile-an-hour chase, at the end of which Stockley emptied his gun in Smith.

Yet even Attorney General Eric Holder declined to investigate.

On Sunday, Black Lives Matter showed up at the St. Louis’ police headquarters chanting, “Stop killing us!” But if the killing of black folks is a legitimate grievance, we need to ask: Who is killing them?

Last year, there were 4,300 victims of shootings in Chicago and 762 deaths. How many of those shootings were by cops?

How many of those shootings, mostly of blacks, were acts of “terrorism by White supremacists, White nationalists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan,” all of whom our ever-heroic Congress demanded that President Trump, in a joint resolution after Charlottesville, denounce.

Nowhere in the resolution was there any mention of Antifa, the “anti-fascist” fighters on the other side of the Charlottesville brawl, where a protester was run down and killed by a Nazi sympathizer.

What is it in their DNA that causes Republicans reflexively to sign on to a one-sided Democratic denunciation of President Trump for the sin of suggesting there were two parties to the Charlottesville brawl?

And are neo-Nazis really a threat to the republic?

In 1963, this writer was at Dr. King’s March on Washington, which began on the Monument grounds where George Lincoln Rockwell’s Nazis were yelling slurs. On the site where Rockwell’s Nazis stood, there stands today the African-American Museum.

When my father was a 21-year-old Al Smith Democrat in D.C. in the Calvin Coolidge era, scores of thousands of anti-Catholic Klansmen strode up Pennsylvania Avenue, and the national Klan numbered in the millions.

But is the KKK of today a serious threat to civil rights?

Lately, St. Louis and East St. Louis have boasted the highest murder rates in America. Is that the doing of white supremacists?

This morning we read there have been so many smashed and stolen bicycles that Baltimore is canceling its Bike Share program.

Did David Duke and his Klan friends steal all those bikes?

Who are the ones shouting down speakers? Who violently disrupts political rallies, on campuses and off? Who engages in mob violence after almost every police shooting of a black suspect? As for interracial assaults, rapes and murders, according to FBI crime statistics, these are primarily the work of black criminals against white victims.

The Justice Department should report on hate crimes by white racists. But from the stats, anti-white racism is far more common and far more manifest in crimes of violence. Who reports that truth?

Are Christian supremacists murdering Muslims in Europe, or are Muslim supremacists committing acts of terrorism in Europe and conducting genocide against Christians in the Middle East?

The left has been marinated in an ideology where the enemy is always to the right. People blinded by ideology, unable to see the true enemies of their civilization, end up losing it, and their lives as well.

“We sit by and watch the Barbarian,” wrote Belloc, “We tolerate him … We are tickled by his irreverence; his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creed refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond; and on those faces there are no smiles.”

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

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Trump Loves Cheers, But Will Regret Cozying up to Dems

“Having cut a deal with Democrats for help with the debt ceiling, will Trump seek a deal with Democrats on amnesty for the ‘Dreamers’ in return for funding for border security?”

The answer to that question, raised in my column a week ago, is in. Last night, President Donald Trump cut a deal with “Chuck and Nancy” for amnesty for 800,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program who came here illegally as youngsters, in return for Democratic votes for more money for border security.

According to preening Minority Leader Pelosi, the agreement contains not a dime for Trump’s Wall, and the “Dreamers” are to be put on a long glide “path to U.S. citizenship.”

Trump denies this is amnesty, and says the Wall comes later.

Fallout? Among the most enthusiastic of Trump backers, disbelief, disillusionment and wonderment at where we go from here.

Trump’s debt-ceiling deal cut the legs out from under the GOP budget hawks. But amnesty would pull the rug out from under all the folks at those rallies who cheered Trump’s promise to preserve the country they grew up in from this endless Third World invasion.

For make no mistake. If amnesty is granted for the 800,000, that will be but the first wave. “There are reasons no country has a rule that if you sneak in as a minor you’re a citizen,” writes Mickey Kaus, author of “The End of Equality,” in The Washington Post.

“We’d be inviting the world. … (An amnesty) would have a knock-on effect. Under ‘chain migration’ rules established in 1965 … new citizens can bring in their siblings and adult children, who can bring in their siblings and in-laws until whole villages have moved to the United States.

“(T)oday’s 690,000 dreamers would quickly become millions of newcomers who may well be low-skilled and who would almost certainly include the parents who brought them — the ones who in theory are at fault.”

Trump is risking a breach in the dam. If the populists who provided him with decisive margins in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania feel betrayed, it’s hard to blame them.

Why did Trump do it? Clearly, he relished the cheers he got for the debt ceiling deal and wanted another such victory. And with the rampant accusations of a lack of “compassion” for his cancellation of the temporary Obama administration amnesty, he decided he had had enough heat.

It is not easy to stand up for long to the gale force winds of hostile commentary that blow constantly through this city.

Trump’s capitulation, if that is what turns out to be, calls to mind George H. W. Bush’s decision in 1990 to raise the Reagan tax rates in a deal engineered for him by a White House-Hill coalition, that made a mockery of his “Read my lips! No new taxes!” pledge of 1988.

For agreeing to feed the beast of Big Government, rather than cut its rations as Reagan sought to do, Bush was called a statesman.

By the fall of ’92, the cheering had stopped.

Can Trump not know that those congratulating him for his newfound flexibility will be rejoicing, should Bob Mueller indict his family and his friends, and recommend his impeachment down the road?

What makes pre-emptive amnesty particularly disheartening is that the Trump policy of securing the border and returning illegal immigrants to their home countries appears, from a Census Bureau report this week, to be precisely the prescription America needs.

In 2016, paychecks for U.S. households reached an average of $59,039, up 3.2 percent from 2015, a year when they had surged.

U.S. median household income is now at its highest ever.

Yet there are inequalities. Where the median family income of Asian-Americans is above $81,400, and more than $65,000 for white Americans, the median family income of Hispanic families is $47,675, and that of African-American households far less, $39,490.

Consider. Though black Americans are predominantly native-born, while high percentages of Hispanics and Asians are immigrants, from the Census numbers, Hispanics earn more and Asians enjoy twice the median family income of blacks, which is below where it was in 2000.

Still, black America remains steadfastly loyal to a party that supports the endless importation of workers who compete directly for jobs with them and their families. Writes Kaus, “The median hourly wage (of DACA recipients) is only $15.34, meaning that many are competing with hard-pressed, lower-skilled Americans.”

Looking closer at the Census Bureau figures, Trumpian economic nationalism would appear to have its greatest appeal to the American working class, a huge slice of which is native-born, black and Hispanic.

The elements of that policy?

Secure the border. Halt the invasion of low-wage workers, here legally and illegally, from the Third World. Tighten the labor market to force employers to raise wages in our full-employment economy. Provide tax incentives to companies who site factories in the USA. Impose border taxes on the products of companies who move plants abroad.

Put America and American workers first.

Will any amnesty of undocumented workers do that?

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

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Tribalism in Europe Marches on—But to What End?

Recently, a columnist-friend, Matt Kenney, sent me a 25-year-old newspaper with his chiding that my column had been given better play.

Both had run in The Orange County Register on June 30, 1991.

“Is there no room for new nations in the New World Order?” was my title, and the column began:

“In turning a stone face toward embattled Slovenia and Croatia, President Bush and Secretary of State James Baker have not only put America’s chips on the wrong horse. They have bet on a losing horse.

“Can the U.S. Government seriously believe that a Yugoslavia of such disparate peoples, all of whom wish greater freedom, most of whose republics wish to be free of Belgrade, is a viable nation?”

The State Department had denounced “these unilateral steps by Croatia and Slovenia” to break free: “As Secretary Baker made clear last Friday, we will neither encourage nor reward secession.”

Croatia and Slovenia are today free and members of NATO.

A month later in 1991, George H. W. Bush, in what Bill Safire dubbed his “Chicken Kiev” speech, warned that Ukraine’s desire to break free of Moscow manifested a “suicidal nationalism.”

Today, Ukraine is independent and the Bush-GOP establishment wants to send weapons to Kiev to fight pro-Russia secessionists.

As nationalism tore apart Yugoslavia and the USSR in the 1990s, and surged to propel British secession from the EU and Donald Trump’s triumph in 2016, that primal force appears on the march again.

Wrote the Wall Street Journal Monday:

“Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban barely mentions his political rivals as he campaigns for a fourth term. Instead, he is targeting the European Union and its biggest members. ‘Our fiercest opponents are not in Hungarian opposition parties,’ Mr. Orban said in a speech last week, ‘They are abroad … Berlin, Brussels.’

“In neighboring Poland,” the Journal goes on, “government rhetoric is even harsher. Politicians have one-upped each other in attacking France and Germany, arguing they are forcing multicultural liberal democracy on more traditional Poles.”

Not only in the east of Europe but also in the west, nationalism is surging. Wrote the New York Times Friday:

“The accelerating battle over Catalonia’s status hit warp speed this week. Catalan lawmakers voted to go ahead with an Oct. 1 referendum on separating from Spain. Spain’s constitutional court declared the vote suspended. And Catalan politicians said they would proceed anyway.”

Yesterday, thousands of Catalans paraded through Barcelona under a banner proclaiming “Goodbye, Spain!” It was the Catalan National Day, which commemorates the 1714 capture of Barcelona by Philip V, the first Bourbon monarch of Spain.

Spain’s wealthiest region, Catalonia believes it is being milked by Madrid for the benefit of regions that contribute far less.

The question being raised by Catalonia is one America has faced before. Do peoples in a democratic republic have a right to declare their independence, secede, and establish a new nation, as the 13 colonies did in 1776 and the Confederate States of America sought to do in 1861?

Though America was born of secession, the U.S. establishment since the Cold War has been far more trans-nationalist and globalist than a great champion of new nations. Perhaps that is because the New World Order proclaimed by Bush I in 1991 envisioned the U.S. as the benevolent global hegemon.

Another ethno-national secession may be declared even before the Catalans go to the polls Oct. 1.

The Kurdistan Regional Government has scheduled a referendum for Sept. 25—on independence from Iraq. Should it go forward, a massive vote to secede seems certain. And Kurds are relying on U.S. support. For they have sustained many casualties and shed much blood backing us in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State.

Yet while our sentiments may cheer the cause of an independent Kurdistan, our national interests may call for caution.

For though the Kurds, 30 million in number, are probably the largest ethnic group on earth without a nation-state of their own, creating a Kurdish homeland could ignite a Middle East war the Kurds could lose as badly as did the Confederate States.

Why? Because, the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919-1920 not only left millions of Kurds in Iraq, it left most of them in Turkey, Iran and Syria.

A free and independent Kurdistan carved out of Iraq could prove a magnet for the 25 million Kurds in Iran, Turkey and Syria, and a sanctuary for Kurd rebels, causing those nations to join together to annihilate the new country.

Then, there is Kirkuk, seized by the Kurds after the Iraqi army fled from an invading ISIS. The city sits on some of the richest oil deposits in Iraq.

Yesterday, Massoud Barzani, president of Iraqi Kurdistan, told the BBC that if the Kurds vote for independence and Baghdad refuses to accept it, they will forcibly resist any Iraqi attempt to retake the city.

Tribalism appears to be doing to the Bush New World Order what it did to Mikhail Gorbachev’s Soviet Union.

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

 

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Trump Dumps the Do-Nothing Congress

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Shutterstock)

Donald Trump is president today because he was seen as a doer not a talker. Among the most common compliments paid him in 2016 was, “At least he gets things done!”

And it was exasperation with a dithering GOP Congress, which had failed to enact his or its own agenda, that caused Trump to pull the job of raising the debt ceiling away from Republican contractors Ryan & McConnell, and give it to Pelosi & Schumer.

Hard to fault Trump. Over seven months, Congress showed itself incapable of repealing Obamacare, though the GOP promised this as its first priority in three successive elections.

Returning to D.C. after five weeks vacation, with zero legislation enacted, Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were facing a deadline to raise the debt ceiling and fund the government.

Failure to do so would crash the markets, imperil the U.S. bond rating, and make America look like a deadbeat republic.

Families and businesses do this annually. Yet, every year, it seems, Congress goes up to the precipice of national default before authorizing the borrowing to pay the bills Congress itself has run up.

To be sure, Trump only kicked this year’s debt crisis to mid-December.

Before year’s end, he and Congress will also have to deal with an immigration crisis brought on by his cancellation of the Obama administration’s amnesty for the “Dreamers” now vulnerable to deportation.

He will have to get Congress to fund his Wall, enact tax reform and finance the repair and renewal of our infrastructure, or have his first year declared a failure.

We are likely looking at a Congressional pileup, pre-Christmas, from which Trump will have to call on Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, again, to extricate him and his party.

The question that now arises: Has the president concluded that working with the GOP majorities alone cannot get him where he needs to go to make his a successful presidency?

Having cut a deal with Democrats for help with the debt ceiling, will Trump seek a deal with Democrats on amnesty for the “Dreamers,” in return for funding for border security? Trump seemed to be signaling receptivity to the idea this week.

Will he give up on free-trade Republicans to work with Democrats to protect U.S. jobs and businesses from predator traders like China?

Will he cut a deal with Hill Democrats on which infrastructure projects should be funded first? Will he seek out compromise with Democrats on whose taxes should be cut and whose retained?

We could be looking at a seismic shift in national politics, with Trump looking to centrist and bipartisan coalitions to achieve as much of his agenda as he can. He could collaborate with Federalist Society Republicans on justices and with economic-nationalist Democrats on tariffs.

But the Congressional gridlock that exhausted the president’s patience may prove more serious than a passing phase. The Congress of the United States, whose powers were delineated in the late 18th century, may simply not be an institution suited to the 21st.

A century ago, Congress ceded to the Federal Reserve its right “to coin money (and) regulate the value thereof.” It has yielded to the third branch, the Supreme Court, the power to invent new rights, as in Roe v. Wade. Its power to “regulate commerce with foreign nations” has been assumed by an executive branch that negotiates the trade treaties, leaving Congress to say yea or nay.

Congress alone has the power to declare war. But recent wars have been launched by presidents over Congressional objection, some without consultation. We are close to a second major war in Korea, the first of which, begun in 1950, was never declared by the Congress, but declared by Harry Truman to be a “police action.”

In the age of the internet and cable TV, the White House is seen as a locus of decision and action, while Capitol Hill takes months to move. Watching Congress, the word torpor invariably comes to mind, which one Webster’s Dictionary defines as “a state of mental and motor inactivity with partial or total insensibility.”

Result: In a recent survey, 72 percent of Americans expressed high confidence in the military; 12 percent said the same of Congress.

The members of Congress the TV cameras reward with air time are most often mavericks like John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Jeff Flake, who will defy a president the media largely detest.

At the onset of the post-Cold War era, some contended that democracy was the inevitable future of mankind. But autocracy is holding its own. Russia, China, India, Turkey, Egypt come to mind.

If democracy, as Freedom House contends, is in global retreat, one reason may be that, in our new age, legislatures, split into hostile blocs checkmating one another, cannot act with the dispatch impatient peoples now demand of their rulers.

In the days of Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, Congress was a rival to even strong presidents. Those days are long gone.

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

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Should Japan and South Korea Go Nuclear?

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

By setting off a 100-kiloton bomb, after firing a missile over Japan, Kim Jong Un has gotten the world’s attention.

What else does he want?

Almost surely not war with America. For no matter what damage Kim could visit on U.S. troops and bases in South Korea, Okinawa and Guam, his country would be destroyed and the regime his grandfather built annihilated.

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting,” wrote Sun Tzu. Kim likely has something like this in mind.

His nuclear and missile tests have already called the bluff of George W. Bush who, in his “axis of evil” speech, declared that the world’s worst regimes would not be allowed to acquire the world’s worst weapons.

Arguably the world’s worst regime now has the world’s worst weapon, an H-bomb, with ICBMs to follow.

What else does Kim want? He wants the U.S. to halt joint military maneuvers with the South, recognize his regime, tear up the security pact with Seoul, and get our forces off the peninsula.

No way, says President Trump. Emerging from church, Trump added, “South Korea’s … talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!”

On Monday, South Korea was accelerating the activation of the high-altitude missile defense implanted by the United States. Russia and China were talking of moving missile forces into the area. And Mattis had warned Kim he was toying with the fate of his country:

“Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam or our allies, will be met with a massive military response.”

As the United States can only lose from a new Korean war in which thousands of Americans and millions of Koreans could perish, the first imperative is to dispense with the war talk, and to prevent the war Mattis rightly says would be “catastrophic.”

China has declared that it will enter a new Korean conflict on the side of the North, but only if the North does not attack first.

For this and other reasons, the U.S. should let the North strike the first blow, unless we have hard evidence Kim is preparing a pre-emptive nuclear strike.

But if and when we manage to tamp down this crisis, we should ask ourselves why we are in this crisis. Why are we a party to this frozen conflict from 1953 that is 8,000 miles away?

The first Korean War ended months into Ike’s first term. Our security treaty with Seoul was signed in October 1953.

That year, Stalin’s successors had taken over a USSR that was busy testing missiles and hydrogen bombs. China was ruled by Chairman Mao, who had sent a million “volunteers’ to fight in Korea. Japan, still recovering from World War II, was disarmed and entirely dependent upon the United States for its defense.

What has changed in six and a half decades?

That USSR no longer exists. It split, three decades ago, into 15 nations. Japan has risen to boast an economy 100 times as large as North Korea’s. South Korea is among the most advanced nations in Asia with a population twice that of the North and an economy 40 times as large.

Since the KORUS free trade deal took effect under President Obama, Seoul has been running surging trade surpluses in goods at our expense every year.

The world has changed dramatically since the 1950s. But U.S. policy failed to change commensurately.

The basic question that needs addressing:

Why do we still keep 28,000 troops in South Korea as a trip wire to bring us into a second Korean war from its first hours, a war that could bring nuclear strikes on our troops, bases, and, soon, our nation?

We cannot walk away from our Korean allies in this crisis. But we should look upon the North’s drive to marry nuclear warheads to ICBMs as a wake-up call to review a policy rooted in Cold War realities that ceased to exist when Ronald Reagan went home.

Consider: North Korea devotes 25 percent of GDP to defense. South Korea spends 2.6 percent, Japan one percent. Yet these mighty Asian allies, who run annual trade surpluses at our expense, require us to defend them from a maniacal little country right next door.

After this crisis, South Korea and Japan should begin to make the kind of defense effort the U.S. does, and create their own nuclear deterrents. This might get Beijing’s attention, as our pleas for its assistance with North Korea apparently have not.

Already involved in land disputes with a nuclear-armed Russia and India, China’s dominance of Asia—should Japan and South Korea acquire nuclear weapons—begins to diminish.

“As our case is new,” said Abraham Lincoln, “we must think anew and act anew.”

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

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On Display This Week Was America at Her Best

Texas National Guard soldiers conduct rescue operations in flooded areas around Houston, Texas, August, 27, 2017. (Photo by 1Lt. Zachary West, 100th MPAD)

Like 9/11, Hurricane Harvey brought us together.

In awe at the destruction 50 inches of rain did to East Texas and our fourth-largest city and in admiration as cable television showed countless hours of Texans humanely and heroically rescuing and aiding fellow Texans in the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.

On display this week was America at her best.

Yet the destruction will not soon be repaired. Nearly a third of Harris County, home to 4.5 million people, was flooded. Beaumont and Port Arthur were swamped with two feet of rain and put underwater.

Estimates of the initial cost to the Treasury are north of $100 billion, with some saying the down payment alone will be closer to $200 billion. In inflation-adjusted dollars, the cost of Harvey will exceed that of the Marshall Plan, which rebuilt Europe after World War II.

Though the country has appeared united since the storm hit, it is not likely to remain so. Soon, the cameras and correspondents will go home, while the shelters remain full, as tens of thousands of people in those shelters have only destroyed homes to return to.

When the waters recede, the misery of the evacuees left behind will become less tolerable. Then will come the looters and gougers and angry arguments over who’s to blame and who should pay.

They have already begun. Republicans who balked at voting for the bailout billions for Chris Christie’s New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the coast in 2012 are being called hypocrites for asking for swift and massive federal assistance to repair red state Texas.

And whereas George W. Bush soared to 90 percent approval after 9/11, no such surge in support for Donald Trump appears at hand.

Indeed, the sneering and sniping began on his first visit to Texas.

He failed to celebrate the first responders, they said. He failed to hug any of the victims. He failed to show empathy. First lady Melania Trump wore spiked heels boarding Marine One for Texas.

A prediction: The damage done by Harvey—as well as the physical, psychic and political costs—will cause many to echo the slogan of George McGovern in 1972, when he exhorted the country to “come home, America.”

The nation seems more receptive now, for even before Harvey, the media seemed consumed with what ails America.

The New York and D.C. subway systems are crumbling. Puerto Rico is bankrupt. Some states, such as Illinois, cannot balance their budgets. The murder rates are soaring in Baltimore and Chicago. Congress this month will have to raise the debt ceiling by hundreds of billions and pass a budget with a deficit bloated by the cost of Harvey.

And the foreign crises seem to be coming at us, one after another.

Russia is beginning military maneuvers in the Baltic and Belarus, bordering Poland, with a force estimated by some at 100,000 troops — Vladimir Putin’s response to NATO’s deployment of 4,000 troops to the Baltic States and Poland.

The U.S. is considering sending anti-tank missiles to Kiev. This could reignite the Donbass war and bring Russian intervention, the defeat of the Ukrainian army and calls for U.S. intervention.

In the teeth of Trump’s threat to pour “fire and fury” on North Korea, Kim Jong Un just launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan. Trump’s answer: U.S. B-1Bs make practice bombing runs near the demilitarized zone. Reports from South Korea indicate that Kim may soon conduct a sixth underground test of an atomic bomb.

War in Korea has never seemed so close since Dwight Eisenhower ended the Korean War with an armistice more than 60 years ago.

Despite the opposition of his national security team, Trump is said to be ready to repudiate the Iranian nuclear deal in October, freeing Congress to reimpose the sanctions lifted by the deal.

This would split us from our NATO allies and, if Iran ignored the new U.S. sanctions or began anew to enrich uranium, force Trump’s hand. Is he, are we as a country, ready for another trillion-dollar war, with Iran, which so many inside the Beltway seem so eager to fight?

The U.S. and Turkey have urged Iraq’s Kurds to put off their nonbinding referendum on independence Sept. 25. The vote seems certain to endorse a separate state. A Kurdistan, seceded from Baghdad, would be a magnet for secession-minded Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iran, 30 million in all, and present a strategic crisis for the United States.

Along with the steady growth of entitlement spending, the new dollars demanded for defense, the prospect of new wars and the tax cuts the White House supports, Hurricane Harvey should concentrate the mind.

Great as America is, there are limits to our wealth and power, to how many global problems we can solve, to how many wars we can fight and to how many hostile powers we can confront.

The “indispensable nation” is going to have to begin making choices. Indeed, that is among the reasons Trump was elected.

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

 

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GOP Coalition Has Gone to Battle Stations—Against Itself

Gage Skidmore / Flickr; Tony Alter / Flickr

Wednesday morning, Nov. 9, 2016, Republicans awoke to learn they had won the lottery. Donald Trump had won the presidency by carrying Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. All three states had gone Democratic in the last six presidential elections.

The GOP had won both houses of Congress. Party control of governorships and state legislatures rivaled the halcyon years of the 1920s.

But not everyone was jubilant. Neocons and Never-Trumpers were appalled, and as morose as they had been since the primaries produced a populist slaughter of what GOP elites had boasted was the finest class of presidential candidates in memory.

And there was this sobering fact: Hillary Clinton had won the popular vote. Her margin would rise to near three million, making this the sixth in seven presidential elections that the GOP lost the popular vote. Trump had cracked the Democrats’ “blue wall,” but a shift of 70,000 votes would have meant a third straight GOP defeat.

Seven months into the Trump presidency, the promise of a new Republican era has receded.It is not because Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have proven to be such formidable adversaries, but because the GOP coalition has gone to battle stations—against itself.

Trump has taken to disparaging Senate Leader Mitch McConnell for failing to pass health care reform, though the decisive vote to kill the bill came from John McCain, who, for his own motives and to media cheers, torpedoed McConnell’s effort and humiliated his party.

And as Allan Ryskind writes in The Washington Times, McConnell is responsible for Neil Gorsuch being on the Supreme Court. Had Mitch not kept his troops in line to block a Senate vote on President Obama’s election-year nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, there would have been no vacancy for Trump to fill with Gorsuch.

McConnell is also indispensable to the Trump-GOP effort to repopulate federal appellate courts with disciples of Antonin Scalia.

What purpose is served by the coach trashing his quarterback—in midseason?

Undeniably, Congress, which the voters empowered to repeal Obamacare, reduce tax rates and rebuild America’s infrastructure, has thus far failed. And if Congress fails to produce on tax reform, the GOP will have some serious explaining to do in 2018.

As for Trump, while public approval of his performance is at record lows for a president in his first year, he has fulfilled some major commitments and has had some major achievements.

He put Gorsuch on the court. He pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Climate Accord. He persuaded NATO allies to put up more for defense. He approved the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

Border security is markedly better. The economic news has been excellent: Record run-ups in the stock market, near full employment, growth approaching the 3 percent he promised. The coal industry has been liberated, and the Trump folks are renegotiating NAFTA.

Yet the divisions over policy and the persona of the president are widening. Trump is disliked and disrespected by many in his own party on Capitol Hill, and much of the Republican media proudly despise him.

And that form of bribery so familiar to D.C. trashing one’s president at the coaxing of the press, in return for plaudits to one’s “courage” and “independence”— is openly practiced.

More critically, there are disputes over policy that again seem irreconcilable.

Free-trade Republicans remain irredeemably hostile to economic nationalism, though countries like China continue to eat our lunch. In July, the U.S. trade deficit in goods was $65 billion, an annual rate of more than $780 billion.

Interventionists continue to push for confrontation with Russia in the Baltic States and Ukraine, for more U.S. troops in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, for scrapping the nuclear deal with Iran.

On social issues, the GOP seems split, with many willing to soft-peddle opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion and wait on a Supreme Court that ignited the culture wars to reverse course with new Trump appointees.

Even Cabinet members and Trump aides have let the media know they sharply dissent from Trump’s stand in the Charlottesville brawl. And the coming clash over statues of Confederate soldiers and statesmen is likely to split Northern and Southern Republicans.

The white working class that provided Trump’s his margins in the Middle West wonders why affirmative action, reverse discrimination at their expense, has not been abolished.

As for Speaker Paul Ryan and others committed to entitlement reform—paring back Social Security and Medicare benefits, while raising the contributions of the well-to-do to ensure the long-term solvency of the programs—they have not been heard from lately.

What seems apparent is that the historic opportunity the party had in January, to forge a coalition of conservatives and populists who might find common ground on immigration, trade, border security, spending, culture and foreign policy, is slipping away.

And the battle for the soul and future of the GOP, thought to have been suspended until 2020, is on once again.

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

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What Still Unites Us?

Decades ago, a debate over what kind of nation America is roiled the conservative movement.

Neocons claimed America was an “ideological nation” a “creedal nation,” dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal.”

Expropriating the biblical mandate, “Go forth and teach all nations!” they divinized democracy and made the conversion of mankind to the democratic faith their mission here on earth.

With his global crusade for democracy, George W. Bush bought into all this. Result: Ashes in our mouths and a series of foreign policy disasters, beginning with Afghanistan and Iraq.

Behind the Trumpian slogan “America First” lay a conviction that, with the Cold War over and the real ideological nation, the USSR, shattered into pieces along ethnic lines, it was time for America to come home.

Contra the neocons, traditionalists argued that, while America was uniquely great, the nation was united by faith, culture, language, history, heroes, holidays, mores, manners, customs and traditions. A common feature of Americans, black and white, was pride in belonging to a people that had achieved so much.

The insight attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville—”America is great because she is good, and if America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great”—was a belief shared by almost all.

What makes our future appear problematic is that what once united us now divides us. While Presidents Wilson and Truman declared us to be a “Christian nation,” Christianity has been purged from our public life and sheds believers every decade. Atheism and agnosticism are growing rapidly, especially among the young.

Traditional morality, grounded in Christianity, is being discarded. Half of all marriages end in divorce. Four-in-10 children are born out of wedlock. Unrestricted abortion and same-sex marriage — once regarded as marks of decadence and decline — are now seen as human rights and the hallmarks of social progress.

Tens of millions of us do not speak English. Where most of our music used to be classic, popular, country and western, and jazz, much of it now contains rutting lyrics that used to be unprintable.

Where we used to have three national networks, we have three 24-hour cable news channels and a thousand websites that reinforce our clashing beliefs on morality, culture, politics and race.

Consider but a few events post-Charlottesville.

“Murderer” was painted on the San Fernando statue of Fr. Junipero Serra, the Franciscan who founded the missions that became San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan Capistrano and Santa Clara.

America’s oldest monument honoring Columbus, in Baltimore, was vandalized. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia called for Robert E. Lee’s statue to be removed from Capitol and replaced by—Pocahontas.

According to legend, this daughter of Chief Powhatan saved Captain John Smith from being beheaded by throwing herself across his neck. The Chief was a “person of interest” in the disappearance of the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke Island, among whose missing was Virginia Dare, the first European baby born in British America.

Why did Kaine not call for John Smith himself, leader of the Jamestown Colony that fought off Indian attacks, to be so honored?

In New Orleans, “Tear It Down” was spray-painted on a statue of Joan of Arc, a gift from France in 1972. Besides being a canonized saint in the Catholic Church and a legendary heroine of France, what did the Maid of Orleans do to deserve this?

Taken together, we are seeing the discoverers, explorers and missionaries of North America demonized as genocidal racists all. The Founding Fathers are either slave owners or sanctioners of slavery.

Our nation-builders either collaborated in or condoned the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans. Almost to the present, ours was a land where segregationists were honored leaders.

Bottom line for the left: Americans should be sickened and ashamed of the history that made us the world’s greatest nation. And we should acknowledge our ancestors’ guilt by tearing down any and all monuments and statues that memorialize them.

This rising segment of America, full of self-righteous rage, is determined to blacken the memory of those who have gone before us.

To another slice of America, much of the celebrated social and moral “progress” of recent decades induces a sense of nausea, summarized in the lament, “This isn’t the country we grew up in.”

Hillary Clinton famously described this segment of America as a “basket of deplorables… racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic…bigots,” and altogether “irredeemable.”

So, what still unites us? What holds us together into the indefinite future? What makes us one nation and one people? What do we offer mankind, as nations seem to recoil from what we are becoming, and are instead eager to build their futures on the basis of ethnonationalism and fundamentalist faith?

If advanced democracy has produced the disintegration of a nation that we see around us, what is the compelling case for it?

A sixth of the way through the 21st century, what is there to make us believe this will be the Second American Century?

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

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Is Trump’s Agenda Being Eclipsed?

“I have not become the King’s First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire,” said Winston Churchill to cheers at the Lord Mayor’s luncheon in London in November 1942.True to his word, the great man did not begin the liquidation.

When his countrymen threw him out in July 1945, that role fell to Clement Attlee, who began the liquidation. Churchill, during his second premiership from 1951-1955, would continue the process, as would his successor, Harold Macmillan, until the greatest empire the world had ever seen had vanished.

While its demise was inevitable, the death of the empire was hastened and made more humiliating by the wars into which Churchill had helped to plunge Britain, wars that bled and bankrupted his nation.

At Yalta in 1945, Stalin and FDR treated the old imperialist with something approaching bemused contempt.

War is the health of the state, but the death of empires.

The German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman empires all fell in World War I. World War II ended the Japanese and Italian empires — with the British and French following soon after. The Soviet Empire collapsed in 1989. Afghanistan delivered the coup de grace.

Is it now the turn of the Americans?

Persuaded by his generals — Mattis at Defense, McMasters on the National Security Council, Kelly as chief of staff — President Trump is sending some 4,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan to augment the 8,500 already there.

Like Presidents Obama and Bush, he does not intend to preside over a U.S. defeat in its longest war. Nor do his generals. Yet how can we defeat the Taliban with 13,000 troops when we failed to do so with the 100,000 Obama sent?

The new troops are to train the Afghan army to take over the war, to continue eradicating the terrorist elements like ISIS, and to prevent Kabul and other cities from falling to a Taliban now dominant in 40 percent of the country.

Yet what did the great general, whom Trump so admires, Douglas MacArthur, say of such a strategy?

“War’s very object is victory, not prolonged indecision.”

Is not “prolonged indecision” what the Trump strategy promises? Is not “prolonged indecision” what the war policies of Obama and Bush produced in the last 17 years?

Understandably, Americans feel they cannot walk away from this war. For there is the certainty as to what will follow when we leave.

When the British left Delhi in 1947, millions of former subjects died during the partition of the territory into Pakistan and India and the mutual slaughter of Muslims and Hindus.

When the French departed Algeria in 1962, the “Harkis” they left behind paid the price of being loyal to the Mother Country.

When we abandoned our allies in South Vietnam, the result was mass murder in the streets, concentration camps and hundreds of thousands of boat people in the South China Sea, a final resting place for many. In Cambodia, it was a holocaust.

Trump, however, was elected to end America’s involvement in Middle East wars. And if he has been persuaded that he simply cannot liquidate these wars — Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan — he will likely end up sacrificing his presidency, trying to rescue the failures of those who worked hardest to keep him out of the White House.

Consider the wars, active and potential, Trump faces.

Writes Bob Merry in the fall issue of The National interest:

“War between Russia and the West seems nearly inevitable. No self-respecting nation facing inexorable encirclement by an alliance of hostile neighbors can allow such pressures and forces to continue indefinitely. Eventually (Russia) must protect its interests through military action.”

If Pyongyang tests another atom bomb or ICBM, some national security aides to Trump are not ruling out preventive war.

Trump himself seems hell-bent on tearing up the nuclear deal with Iran. This would lead inexorably to a U.S. ultimatum, where Iran would be expected to back down or face a war that would set the Persian Gulf ablaze.

Yet the country did not vote for confrontation or war.

America voted for Trump’s promise to improve ties with Russia, to make Europe shoulder more of the cost of its defense, to annihilate ISIS and extricate us from Mideast wars, to stay out of future wars.

America voted for economic nationalism and an end to the mammoth trade deficits with the NAFTA nations, EU, Japan and China.

America voted to halt the invasion across our Southern border and to reduce legal immigration to ease the downward pressure on American wages and the competition for working-class jobs.

Yet today we hear talk of upping and extending the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, of confronting Iran, of sending anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine to battle pro-Russia rebels in the east.

Can the new custodians of Trump’s populist-nationalist and America First agenda, the generals and the Goldman Sachs alumni association, be entrusted to carry it out?

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

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America’s Second Civil War

Civil War statue toppled by protesters in Durham N.C. this week. (You Tube)

“They had found a leader, Robert E. Lee — and what a leader! … No military leader since Napoleon has aroused such enthusiastic devotion among troops as did Lee when he reviewed them on his horse Traveller.”

So wrote Samuel Eliot Morison in his magisterial “The Oxford History of the American People” in 1965.

First in his class at West Point, hero of the Mexican War, Lee was the man to whom President Lincoln turned to lead his army. But when Virginia seceded, Lee would not lift up his sword against his own people, and chose to defend his home state rather than wage war upon her.

This veneration of Lee, wrote Richard Weaver, “appears in the saying attributed to a Confederate soldier, ‘The rest of us may have … descended from monkeys, but it took a God to make Marse Robert.'”

Growing up after World War II, this was accepted history.

Yet, on the militant left today, the name Lee evokes raw hatred and howls of “racist and traitor.” A clamor has arisen to have all statues of him and all Confederate soldiers and statesmen pulled down from their pedestals and put in museums or tossed onto trash piles.

What has changed since 1965?

It is not history. There have been no great new discoveries about Lee.

What has changed is America herself. She is not the same country. We have passed through a great social, cultural and moral revolution that has left us irretrievably divided on separate shores.

And the politicians are in panic.

Two years ago, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe called the giant statues of Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson on Richmond’s Monument Avenue “parts of our heritage.” After Charlottesville, New York-born-and-bred McAuliffe, entertaining higher ambitions, went full scalawag, demanding the statues be pulled down as “flashpoints for hatred, division, and violence.”

Who hates the statues, Terry? Who’s going to cause the violence? Answer: The Democratic left whom Terry must now appease.

McAuliffe is echoed by Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate in November to succeed McAuliffe. GOP nominee Ed Gillespie wants Monument Avenue left alone.

The election is the place to decide this, but the left will not wait.

In Durham, North Carolina, our Taliban smashed the statue of a Confederate soldier. Near the entrance of Duke University Chapel, a statue of Lee has been defaced, the nose broken off.

Wednesday at dawn, Baltimore carried out a cultural cleansing by taking down statues of Lee and Maryland Chief Justice Roger Taney who wrote the Dred Scott decision and opposed Lincoln’s suspension of the right of habeas corpus.

Like ISIS, which smashed the storied ruins of Palmyra, and the al-Qaida rebels who ravaged the fabled Saharan city of Timbuktu, the new barbarism has come to America. This is going to become a blazing issue, not only between but within the parties.

For there are 10 Confederates in Statuary Hall in the Capitol, among them Lee, Georgia’s Alexander Stephens, vice president to Jefferson Davis, and Davis himself. The Black Caucus wants them gone.

Mount Rushmore-sized carvings of Lee, Jackson and Davis are on Stone Mountain, Georgia. Are they to be blasted off?

There are countless universities, colleges and high schools like Washington & Lee named for Confederate statesmen and soldiers. Across the Potomac from D.C. are Jefferson Davis Highway and Leesburg Pike to Leesburg itself, 25 miles north. Are all highways, streets, towns and counties named for Confederates to be renamed? What about Fort Bragg?

On every Civil War battlefield, there are monuments to the Southern fallen. Gettysburg has hundreds of memorials, statues and markers. But if, as the left insists we accept, the Confederates were traitors trying to tear America apart to preserve an evil system, upon what ground do Democrats stand to resist the radical left’s demands?

What do we do with those battlefields where Confederates were victorious: Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville?

“Where does this all end?” President Trump asked.

It doesn’t. Not until America’s histories and biographies are burned and new texts written to Nazify Lee, Jackson, Davis and all the rest, will a newly indoctrinated generation of Americans accede to this demand to tear down and destroy what their fathers cherished.

And once all the Confederates are gone, one must begin with the explorers, and then the slave owners like Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Madison, who seceded from slave-free Britain. White supremacists all.

Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay of Kentucky and John Calhoun must swiftly follow.

Then there are all those segregationists. From 1865 to 1965, virtually all of the great Southern senators were white supremacists.

In the first half of the 20th century, Woodrow Wilson and FDR carried all 11 states of a rigidly segregationist South all six times they ran, and FDR rewarded Dixie by putting a Klansman on the Supreme Court.

While easy for Republicans to wash their hands of such odious elements as Nazis in Charlottesville, will they take up the defense of the monuments and statues that have defined our history, or capitulate to the icon-smashers?

In this Second American Civil War, whose side are you on?

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

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