Patrick J. Buchanan

Is Iran in Our Gun Sights Now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bolton calls Iran “a nuclear weapons threat.”

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

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

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

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

And who created this Shiite Crescent?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Americans Deserve to Know Who Is Leaking to the Press

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consider the original Russiagate offense.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And thus does democracy die in darkness.

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

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

Bottom line: Trump is facing a stacked deck.

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

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

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

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Russia Baiters and Putin Haters

Photo by Russian Presidential Press and Information Office

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hopefully Trump Will Ignore Bad Advice on Putin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We have other fish to fry.

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile, the dispute with North Korea is going critical.

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

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

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

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Is America Still a Nation?

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

And who were these “people”?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With its silence, the congregation seemed to assent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does this sound at all like us today?

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

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

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

Happy Fourth. And God bless the USA.

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

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An America First Korea Policy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seoul has a metro-area population of 25 million.

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

What about sanctions?

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

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

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

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

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

Where does this leave us?

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

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

What would be an America First Korean policy?

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

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

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

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

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

The question answers itself.

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

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Are Illinois and Puerto Rico Our Future?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Has democratic socialism passed its apogee?

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

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

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

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

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Passing of the Pelosi Era

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

And what was Karen Handel’s cutting issue?

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

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

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

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

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

So where is the party going?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Democrats’ economic agenda?

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

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

And where are the Democratic successes since Obamacare?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dream on. That is not the history of Europe.

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

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After the ISIS War, a US-Russia Collision?

Photo: the Russian Presidential Press and Information Office

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

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

Vladimir Putin’s defense ministry was direct and blunt:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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