Patrick J. Buchanan

With Saudis, We Shouldn’t Put Our Morals on a Shelf

President Donald Trump speaks with Mohammed bin Salman in 2017 in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Editor Update: The Saudi government was reportedly preparing Monday night to acknowledge that missing reporter Jamal Khashoggi died under interrogation at the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Over the weekend Donald Trump warned of “severe punishment” if an investigation concludes that a Saudi hit team murdered Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Riyadh then counter-threatened, reminding us that, as the world’s largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia “plays an impactful and active role in the global economy.”

Message: Sanction us, and we may just sanction you.

Some of us yet recall how President Nixon’s rescue of Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War triggered a Saudi oil embargo that led to months of long gas lines in the United States, and contributed to Nixon’s fall.

Yesterday, a week after Jared Kushner had been assured by his friend Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that Khashoggi walked out of the consulate, Trump put through a call to King Salman himself.

According to a Trump tweet, the king denied “any knowledge of whatever may have happened ‘to our Saudi Arabian citizen.'”

Trump said he was “immediately” sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Riyadh to meet with the king on the crisis. The confrontation is escalating. Crown Prince Mohammed and King Salman have both now put their nation’s honor and credibility on the line.

Both are saying that what the Turks claim they can prove—Khashoggi was tortured and murdered in the consulate, cut up, and his body parts flown to Saudi Arabia—is a lie.

For Trump and the U.S., this appears a classic case of the claims of international morality clashing with the claims of national interest.

The archetype occurred in the mid-1870s when Ottoman Turks perpetrated a slaughter of Bulgarian Christians under their rule.

Former Prime Minister William Gladstone set Britain ablaze with a pamphlet titled, “The Bulgarian Horrors and the Question of the East,” calling for the expulsion of the Turks from Europe.

Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and Queen Victoria were apoplectic. For they were relying on the Turks to block the encroachment of Czarist Russia into the Eastern Balkans and down to the Turkish Straits.

Disraeli prevailed. The Brits put morality on the shelf.

For the U.S., morality and interests collided when FDR recognized the Bolshevik regime of Joseph Stalin in 1933, even as Stalin’s agents were starving to death millions of Ukrainian peasants and landowners.

Foreign policy moralists also took a holiday to cheer Nixon for flying to Peking and toasting Mao Zedong, even as Chairman Mao’s Red Guards were carrying out the national pogrom known as the Cultural Revolution.

Questions arise: If Khashoggi was assassinated and the order came from the royal family, does that make the Saudis morally unacceptable to us as allies or partners in the Middle East? And if it does, how do we justify our Cold War ties to autocrats such as Chile’s Gen. Pinochet, South Korea’s Gen. Park Chung-hee, the Philippines’ Ferdinand Marcos, or the Shah of Iran?

How did Franklin Roosevelt handle such associations? “He may be an SOB,” FDR said of one Caribbean dictator, “but he’s our SOB.”

During World War II, when the Germans uncovered in the Katyn Forest a vast gravesite containing the remains of thousands from Poland’s officer corps, dating to Stalin’s occupation, Poles in Britain came to Prime Minister Churchill to ask for an investigation.

Churchill, for whom Stalin was by now an indispensable ally, replied dismissively: “There is no use prowling round the three-year-old graves of Smolensk.”

Nor is it only during wartime that the U.S. has associated with authoritarians with repellent human rights records.

The U.S. maintains a treaty alliance with the Philippines of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has approved the extrajudicial killing of drug dealers, thousands of whom have been murdered.

Gen. el-Sissi came to power in Cairo in a military coup that ousted an elected government headed by a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who is, along with thousands of Brotherhood members, now in prison.

Since the coup attempt in NATO ally Turkey in 2017, President Recep Erdogan has imprisoned thousands, including more journalists than any country on earth.

Last week came reports that China has arrested the head of Interpol, and has indeed been operating an archipelago of re-education camps in its west to purge the ethnic and religious beliefs of the Uighur people.

As for Saudi Arabia, members of Congress are said to be readying sanctions to impose on the Saudi regime if it is proven Khashoggi was killed on royal orders.

However, which would be a greater violation of human rights: the sanctioned killing of a political enemy of the regime or 10,000 dead Yemenis, including women and children, and millions facing malnutrition and starvation in a Saudi war of aggression being fought with the complicity and cooperation of the United States?

Rather than resist Congress’ proposed sanctions, President Trump might take this opportunity to begin a long withdrawal from decades of entanglement in Mideast wars that have availed us nothing and cost us greatly.

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

 

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With Friends Like the Saudis

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis meets with Saudi Arabia’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz at the Pentagon in Washington D.C., 2018. (DoD photo by Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kathryn E. Holm)

Was Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and then his body cut up with a bone saw and flown to Riyadh in Gulfstream jets owned by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman?

So contend the Turks, who have video from the consulate, photos of 15 Saudi agents who flew into Istanbul that day, Oct. 2, and the identity numbers of the planes.

Supporting the thesis of either a murder in the consulate or a “rendition,” a kidnaping gone horribly bad, is a Post story that U.S. intel intercepted Saudi planning, ordered by the prince, to lure Khashoggi from his suburban D.C. home back to Saudi Arabia. And for what beneficent purpose?

If these charges are not refuted by Riyadh, there will likely be, and should be, as John Bolton said in another context, “hell to pay.”

And the collateral diplomatic damage looks to be massive.

Any U.S.-backed “Arab NATO” to face down Iran, with Riyadh as central pillar, would appear dead. Continued U.S. support for the Saudi war in Yemen would now be in question.

The special relationship the crown prince and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have established could be history.

Congress could cancel U.S. arms sales to the kingdom that keep thousands of U.S. defense workers employed, and impose sanctions on the prince who is heir apparent to the throne of his 82-year-old father, King Salman.

Today, the Saudi prince has become toxic, and his ascension to the Saudi throne seems less inevitable than two weeks ago. Yet, well before Khashoggi’s disappearance in the consulate, Crown Prince Mohammed’s behavior had seemed wildly erratic.

Along with the UAE, he charged Qatar with supporting terrorism, severed relations, and threatened to build a ditch to sever Qatar from the Arabian Peninsula. To protest criticism of his country’s human rights record by Canada’s foreign minister, he cut all ties to Ottawa.

Last year, he summoned Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to Riyadh, held him for a week, and forced him to resign his office and blame it on Iranian interference in Lebanon. Released, Hariri returned home to reclaim his office.

A professed reformer, Crown Prince Mohammed opened movie theaters to women and allowed them to drive, and then jailed the social activists who had called for these reforms.

Three years ago, he initiated the war on the Houthis, after the rebels ousted a pro-Saudi president and took over most of the country.

And, since 2015, the crown prince has conducted a savage air war that has brought Houthi missiles down on his own country and capital.

Yemen has become Saudi Arabia’s Vietnam.

That our principal Arab ally in our confrontation with Iran, which could lead to yet another U.S. war, is a regime headed by so unstable a character should raise serious concerns about where it is we are going in the Middle East.

Have we not wars already?

Do we not have enough enemies in the region — Taliban, al-Qaida, ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria, Iran — to be starting another war?

As for our regional allies, consider.

NATO ally Turkey, which is pressing the case against our Saudi allies, leads the world in the number of journalists jailed. Our Egyptian ally, Gen. al-Sissi, came to power in a military coup, and has imprisoned thousands of dissidents of the Muslim Brotherhood.

While we have proclaimed Iran the “world’s greatest state sponsor of terror,” it is Yemen, where Saudi Arabia intervened in 2015, that is regarded as the world’s great human rights catastrophe.

Moreover, Iran is itself suffering from terrorism.

Last month, a military parade in the city of Ahvaz in the southwest was attacked by gunmen who massacred 25 soldiers and civilians in the deadliest terror attack in Iran in a decade.

And like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, Iran suffers, too, from tribalism, with Arab secessionists in its southwest, Baloch secessionists in its southeast, and Kurd secessionists in its northwest.

The U.S. cannot look aside at a royal Saudi hand in the murder of a U.S.-based journalist in its consulate in Istanbul. But before we separate ourselves from the Riyadh regime, we should ask what is the alternative if the House of Saud should be destabilized or fall?

When Egypt’s King Farouk was overthrown in 1952, we got Nasser.

When young King Faisal was overthrown in Baghdad in 1958, we eventually got Saddam Hussein. When King Idris in Libya was ousted in 1969, we got Qaddafi. When Haile Selassie was overthrown and murdered in Ethiopia in 1974, we got Col. Mengistu and mass murder. When the Shah was overthrown in Iran in 1979, we got the Ayatollah.

As World War I, when four empires fell, testifies, wars are hell on monarchies. And if a new and larger Middle East war, with Iran, should break out in the Gulf, some of the Arab kings, emirs and sultans will likely fall.

And when they do, history shows, it is not usually democrats who rise to replace them.

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

 

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The Democrats’ Little Bighorn

Credit: YouTube Screenshot

After a 50-year siege, the great strategic fortress of liberalism has fallen. With the elevation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court seems secure for constitutionalism—perhaps for decades.

The shrieks from the gallery of the Senate chamber as the vote came in on Saturday, and the sight of that bawling mob clawing at the doors of the Supreme Court as the new justice took his oath, confirm it.

The Democratic Party has sustained a historic defeat.

And the triumph is President Trump’s.

To unite the party whose nomination he had won, Donald Trump pledged to select his high court nominees from lists prepared by such judicial conservatives as the Federalist Society. He kept his word and, in the battle for Kavanaugh, he led from the front, even mocking the credibility of the main accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.

Trump has achieved what every GOP president has hoped to do since the summer of ’68, when a small group of Republican senators, led by Bob Griffin of Michigan, frustrated and then foiled an LBJ-Earl Warren plot to elevate Johnson crony Abe Fortas to chief justice in order to keep a future president Nixon from naming Warren’s successor.

Sharing the honors with Trump is Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Throughout 2016, McConnell took heat for refusing to hold a hearing on Barack Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, to fill the chair of Justice Antonin Scalia, who had died earlier that year.

In 2017, McConnell used Harry Reid’s “nuclear option” to end filibusters for Supreme Court nominations, and then got Judge Neil Gorsuch confirmed 54-45.

Last week, in one of the closest and most brutal court battles in Senate history, McConnell kept his troops united, losing only Senator Lisa Murkowski, to put Kavanaugh on the court 50-48. McConnell will enter the history books as the Senate architect of the recapture of the Supreme Court for constitutionalism.

This was a huge victory for conservatism and for the Republican Party. And the presence on the court of octogenarian liberals Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, both appointed by Bill Clinton, suggests that McConnell may have an opportunity to ensure the endurance of his great achievement.

The ferocity and ugliness of the attacks on Kavanaugh united Republicans to stand as one against what a savage Senate minority was trying to do to kill the nomination. And at battle’s end, the GOP is more energized than it has been all year for this fall’s election.

How united are they? Conservatives are hailing the contributions of Senators Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, and Susan Collins, who delivered a masterful summation of the Kavanaugh case Saturday afternoon.

For the Democratic Party, the Kavanaugh battle was Little Bighorn, as seen from General Custer’s point of view.

Unable to derail the judge during the regular confirmation process, they lay in the weeds until it was over, and then sandbagged the judge by leaking to the Washington Post a confidential letter that Dr. Ford did not want released.

They thus forced a public hearing of charges of attempted rape against a nominee, demanded the FBI investigate all charges of sexual misconduct when Kavanaugh was a teenager, and ended up losing anyway.

Then the Dems watched protesters dishonor the Senate in which they serve by screaming from the gallery. It was among the lowest moments in the modern history of the Senate, and it was the Democratic minority that took it down to that depth.

Understandably, they are a bitter lot today.

The #MeToo movement has been set back. For many of its champions were, in Kavanaugh’s case, demanding a suspension of the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” and calling for the judge’s rejection in disgrace, based solely on their belief in a wholly uncorroborated 36-year-old story.

So where are we going now?

While Republicans are united and celebrating a great victory, the left and its media auxiliary are seething with rage and doubly determined to deliver payback in the elections four weeks away, when Democrats could pick up the two dozen seats needed to recapture the House.

Should they do so, however, they will face two years of frustration and failure. For the enactment of any major element of their liberal agenda—a $15 minimum wage, “Medicare-for-all”—would die in a Republican Senate or in the Oval Office where it would face an inevitable veto by Trump.

So what does 2019 look like if Democrats capture the House?

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. A House Judiciary Committee headed by New York’s Jerrold Nadler who is already howling for impeachment hearings against both Kavanaugh and Trump.

And by spring, a host of presidential candidates, none of whom looks terribly formidable, led by Cory (“I am Spartacus”) Booker, trooping through Iowa and New Hampshire, trashing President Trump (and each other) and offering themselves as the answer to America’s problems.

Bring it 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. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

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We Are All Deplorables Now

Woman wears “Deplorable Lives Matter” t-shirt at a Lancaster, PA., rally for Trump in October 2016. By George Sheldon/Shutterstock

Four days after he described Christine Blasey Ford, the accuser of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, as a “very credible witness,” President Donald Trump could no longer contain his feelings or constrain his instincts.

With the fate of his Supreme Court nominee in the balance, Trump let his “Make America Great Again” rally attendees in Mississippi know what he really thought of Ford’s testimony.

“‘Thirty-six years ago this happened. I had one beer.’ ‘Right?’ ‘I had one beer.’ ‘Well, you think it was (one beer)?’ ‘Nope, it was one beer.’ ‘Oh, good. How did you get home?'”

‘I don’t remember.’ ‘How did you get there?’ ‘I don’t remember.’ ‘Where is the place?’ ‘I don’t remember.’ ‘How many years ago was it?’ ‘I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.'”

By now the Mississippi MAGA crowd was cheering and laughing.

Trump went on: “‘What neighborhood was it in?’ ‘I don’t know.’ ‘Where’s the house?’ ‘I don’t know.’ ‘Upstairs, downstairs, where was it?’ ‘I don’t know. But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember.'”

Since that day three years ago when he came down the escalator at Trump Tower to talk of “rapists” crossing the U.S. border from Mexico, few Trump remarks have ignited greater outrage.

Commentators have declared themselves horrified and sickened that a president would so mock the testimony of a victim of sexual assault.

The Republican senators who will likely cast the decisive votes on Kavanaugh’s confirmation—Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski—they all decried Trump’s mimicry.

Yet, in tossing out the “Catechism of Political Correctness” and treating the character assassination of Kavanaugh as what it was, a rotten conspiracy to destroy and defeat his nominee, Trump’s instincts were correct, even if they were politically incorrect.

This was not a “job interview” for Kavanaugh.

In a job interview, half the members of the hiring committee are not so instantly hostile to an applicant that they will conspire to criminalize and crush him to the point of wounding his family and ruining his reputation.

When Sen. Lindsey Graham charged the Democratic minority with such collusion, he was dead on. This was a neo-Bolshevik show trial where the defendant was presumed guilty and due process meant digging up dirt from his school days to smear and break him.

Our cultural elites have declared Trump a poltroon for daring to mock Ford’s story of what happened 36 years ago. Yet, these same elites reacted with delight at Matt Damon’s “SNL” depiction of Kavanaugh’s angry and agonized appearance, just 48 hours before.

Is it not hypocritical to laugh uproariously at a comedic depiction of Kavanaugh’s anguish, while demanding quiet respect for the highly suspect and uncorroborated story of Ford?

Ford was handled by the judiciary committee with the delicacy of a Faberge egg, said Kellyanne Conway, while Kavanaugh was subjected to a hostile interrogation by Senate Democrats.

In our widening and deepening cultural-civil war, the Kavanaugh nomination will be seen as a landmark battle. And Trump’s instincts, to treat his Democratic assailants as ideological enemies, with whom he is in mortal struggle, will be seen as correct.

Consider. In the last half-century, which Supreme Court nominees were the most maligned and savaged?

Were they not Nixon nominee Clement Haynsworth, chief judge of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, Reagan nominee Robert Bork, Bush 1 nominee Clarence Thomas, and Trump nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the last three all judges on the nation’s second-highest court, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals?

Is it a coincidence that all four were Republican appointees, all four were judicial conservatives, and all four were gutted on the grounds of philosophy or character?

Is it a coincidence that Nixon in Watergate, Reagan in the Iran-Contra affair, and now Trump in Russiagate, were all targets of partisan campaigns to impeach and remove them from office?

Consider what happened to decent Gerald Ford who came into the oval office in 1974, preaching “the politics of compromise and consensus.”

To bring the country together after Watergate, Ford pardoned President Nixon. For that act of magnanimity, he was torn to pieces by a Beltway elite that had been denied its anticipated pleasure of seeing Nixon prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to prison.

Trump is president because he gets it. He understands what this Beltway elite are all about—the discrediting of his victory as a product of criminal collusion with Russia and his resignation or removal in disgrace. And the “base” that comes to these rallies to cheer him on, they get it, too.

Since Reagan’s time, there are few conservatives who have not been called one or more of the names in Hillary Clinton’s litany of devils, her “basket of deplorables” — racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, bigoted, irredeemable.

The battle over Kavanaugh’s nomination, and the disparagement of the Republicans who have stood strongest by the judge, seems to have awakened even the most congenial to the new political reality.

We are all deplorables now.

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

 

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Are Republicans Born Wimps?

Credit: C-Span/YouTube Screenshot

Republican leaders are “a bunch of wimps,” said Jerry Falwell Jr.

Conservatives and Christians need to stop electing “nice guys.”

“The U.S. needs street fighters like Donald Trump at every level of government because the liberal fascists Dems are playing for keeps.”

So tweeted the son and namesake of the founder of the Moral Majority, and he has here a self-evident point.

Thursday, 11 GOP senators on the Judiciary Committee freely forfeited to a female prosecutor their right to cross-examine Christine Blasey Ford, the accuser of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

The Republicans feared that televised images of 11 white men sharply questioning the credibility of Ford’s claim to be a victim of Kavanaugh’s sexual assault would be politically lethal.

So while the Republicans mutely abstained from challenging her, Ford was treated by the Democrats as the reincarnation of Joan of Arc, though not a single witness has corroborated her story.

Friday, Senator Jeff Flake caved to Democratic demands for another weeklong FBI investigation of the judge. The Republicans, egg visible on their faces, endorsed their colleague’s capitulation.

Thursday, Senator Lindsey Graham had been the Republican lion of the hearing, indicting Democrats for the moral atrocity they had deceitfully and dishonorably perpetrated against the judge.

By Friday, our Cicero was reaching out in collegiality to the same senators he was castigating 24 hours before.

Falwell’s point: Democrats fight savagely and for keeps while Republicans—street fighter Trump excepted—are wimps, bewailing any loss of camaraderie with their colleagues across the aisle.

Yet the stakes here are immense. Consider how the Supreme Court has remade the America we grew up in.

Since World War II, the court has de-Christianized all public schools and the public life of a land Woodrow Wilson and Harry Truman called a “Christian nation.” It has established secularism as our state religion.

Despite civil right laws declaring race discrimination illegal, the court has given its blessing to affirmative action, deliberate discrimination in favor of peoples of color against white men in the name of diversity and equality.

The court has declared that what were once crimes, abortion and homosexuality, are now constitutional rights all Americans must respect.

These changes were not legislated democratically but imposed dictatorially. While a Senate confirmation of Kavanaugh would not reverse these mandated changes, it might halt any further imposition of this radical social revolution by unelected judges.

But while the Democratic left, understanding the stakes, is fighting bare-fisted, Republicans are sparring with 14-ounce gloves and seeking to observe Marquess of Queensberry Rules.

In other ways as well, America has been remade.

Not only has Christianity, and all its symbols and expressions of faith and belief, been removed, but a purge is underway of monuments and statues of the explorers, colonists, and statesmen who, believing in the superiority of their religion, culture, and civilization, set out to create the country we inherited.

William Frey, resident demographer at the Brookings Institution, writes about how America is being changed—without the consent of the people:

Since 2000, the white population under the age of 18 has shrunk by seven million, and declines are projected among white 20-somethings and 30-somethings over the next two decades and beyond. This is…a trend that is not likely to change despite Mr. Trump’s wish for more immigrants from Norway.

The likely source of future gains among the nation’s population of children, teenagers and young working adults is minorities—Hispanics, Asians, blacks and others.

When we are all minorities and all behave as minorities, making our separate demands upon the country, what then holds America together?

In Federalist 2, John Jay famously wrote:

Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people—a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion…very similar in their manners and customs….

This country and this people seem to have been made for each other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence, that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren, united to each other by the strongest ties, should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties.

Yet each decade, less and less are we descended from the same ancestors. Less and less do we speak the same language, profess the same religion, share the same manners, customs, traditions, history, heroes, and holidays.

Does America look today like the “band of brethren united to each other” of which Jay wrote and we seemed to be as late as 1960?

Or does not the acrimony attendant to the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh suggest that we have already become a land “split into a number of unsocial, jealous and alien sovereignties”?

With all our new diversity, whatever became of our unity?

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. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

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A Dress Rehearsal for Impeachment

Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings (CSPAN)

Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court was approved on an 11-to-10 party line vote on Friday in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Yet his confirmation is not assured.

Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, has demanded and gotten as the price of his vote on the floor a weeklong delay. And the GOP Senate has agreed to Democratic demands for a new FBI investigation of all credible charges of sexual abuse against the judge.

Astonishing. With a quarter century in public service, Kavanaugh has undergone six FBI field investigations. They turned up nothing like the charges of sexual misconduct leveled against him these last two weeks.

In his 30 hours of public testimony before the Judiciary Committee prior to Thursday, no senator raised an issue of a sexual misconduct.

But if Brett Kavanaugh is elevated to the Supreme Court, it will be because, in his final appearance, he tore up the script assigned to him. He set aside his judicial demeanor to fight for his good name with the passion and righteous rage of the innocent and good man he believes himself to be.

He turned an inquisition into his character and conduct as a teenager into a blazing indictment of the Democratic minority for what they were doing to his reputation and his family.

Rather than play the role of penitent, Kavanaugh did what Clarence Thomas did 30 years before. He attacked the character, conduct, and motives of his Democratic accusers.

And did the judge not speak the truth? With few exceptions, all four dozen Senate Democrats are determined to defeat him, even if that means destroying him.

They rejected Brett Kavanaugh the day he was nominated.

Why? Because the judge is a conservative and a Catholic, and hence an unreliable vote to sustain Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that discovered hidden in the Constitution a woman’s right to abort her unborn child.

The verdict on the judge came down in the hearts and minds of his enemies the moment that he was named. They had him convicted before they’d met him. And once his fate was decided, the only remaining issues were where to find the dirt to bury him with and how to make it look like they’d given him a fair hearing.

Contrast how Kavanaugh, who has served his country with distinction for decades, was treated on Thursday with how Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was treated.

Ford was greeted with courtly courtesy by Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley. No Republican senator asked her a question. Rachel Mitchell, a prosecutor of sex crimes brought in from Arizona, quizzed her as though she were a 15-year-old girl who had just been attacked, not a 51-year-old woman whose uncorroborated accusations were set to not only to defeat a Supreme Court nomination but to destroy the career, family, and future of a federal judge.

After each five-minute session of polite questioning by Mitchell, Democratic senators took turns lauding Ford’s courage, bravery, and heroism in agreeing to appear.

Ford’s testimony as to what she says happened in 1982 did seem credible and compelling. Yet allowing her accusation of attempted rape to stand without tough and thorough cross-examination, given the stakes involved, was a dereliction of Senate duty.

Consider. Ford does not recall how she got to the party where the alleged assault took place. She does not know where the party was held. She does now recall how she got home.

None of the other four she said were at the party recall being there. Her best friend, whom she apparently left behind as the lone woman in a house with a pair of drunken rapists, does not recall any such party. Nor does she recall ever having met Kavanaugh.

Consider the other charges leveled against Kavanaugh over the last two weeks: exposing himself in the face of a freshman girl while at Yale. Participating in a series of at least 10 parties in high school where planned gang rapes of drunken and drugged women were a regular feature, with the boys lining up outside bedrooms.

In six FBI background investigations of Kavanaugh that interviewed countless friends and contemporaries from his high school days, none of this wild and criminal misconduct of the early ’80s was mentioned.

“This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics,” said Senator Lindsey Graham. “I hope that the American people will see through this charade.”

They had best do so. For what is being done to Kavanaugh is, if Democrats take control of Congress in November, a harbinger of what is to come. The assault on Kavanaugh, turning a man known for his integrity into a youthful Jack the Ripper in 10 days, is the playbook for what is planned for Trump.

The Kavanaugh lynching is a dress rehearsal for the impeachment of Donald Trump. And the best way to fight impeachment is the way the judge fought on Thursday.

In defending yourself, go after your malevolent accusers as well.

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. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

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Was There a Cabal Plotting Against the President?

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein giving keynote at the State of the Net Conference, 2018. Internet Education Foundation/Flickr

Thursday is shaping up to be the Trump presidency’s “Gunfight at O.K. Corral.”

That day, the fates of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and much else, may be decided.

The New York Times report that Rosenstein, sarcastically or seriously in May 2017, talked of wearing a wire into the Oval Office to entrap the president, suggests that his survival into the new year is improbable.

Trump, who was at the UN in New York Monday, said he will meet Rosenstein on Thursday at the White House to discuss the issues at hand. Whether that is the day the president drops the hammer is unknown.

But if he does, the recapture by Trump of a Justice Department he believes he lost as his term began may be at hand. Comparisons to President Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre may not be overdone.

The Times report that Rosenstein also talked of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump suggests that Sen. Lindsey Graham had more than a small point on “Fox News Sunday”: “There’s a bureaucratic coup going on at the Department of Justice and the FBI, and somebody needs to look at it.”

Indeed, they do. And it is inexplicable that a special prosecutor has not been named. For while the matter assigned to special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate any Trump collusion with Russia in hacking the emails of the Clinton campaign and DNC is serious, a far graver matter has gotten far less attention.

To wit, did an anti-Trump cabal inside the Department of Justice and the FBI conspire to block Trump’s election, and having failed, plot to bring down his presidency in a “deep state” coup d’etat?

Rosenstein’s discussion of wearing a wire into the Oval Office lends credence to that charge, but there is much more to it.

The story begins with the hiring by the Clinton campaign, though its law firm cutout, in June 2016, of the dirt-divers of Fusion GPS.

Fusion swiftly hired retired British spy and Trump-hater Christopher Steele, who contacted his old sources in the Russian intel community for dirt to help sink a U.S. presidential candidate.

What his Russian friends provided was passed on by Steele to his paymaster at GPS, his contact in the Justice Department, No. 3 man Bruce Ohr, and to the FBI, which was also paying the British spy.

The FBI then used the dirt Steele unearthed, much of it false, to persuade a FISA court to issue a warrant to wiretap Trump aide Carter Page. The warrant was renewed three times, the last with the approval of Trump’s own deputy attorney general, Rosenstein.

Regrettably, Trump, at the request of two allies—the Brits almost surely one of them —has put a hold on his recent decision to declassify all relevant documents inside the Justice Department and FBI.

Yet, as The Wall Street Journal wrote Monday, “As for the allies, sometimes U.S. democratic accountability has to take precedence over the potential embarrassment of British intelligence.”

Thursday’s meeting between Trump and Rosenstein will coincide with the Judiciary Committee’s hearing into the charge by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that, as a 15-year-old, she was sexually assaulted by 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court.

This weekend brought fresh charges, from a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh, Deborah Ramirez, that at a drunken party in their freshman year, Kavanaugh exposed himself.

Kavanaugh has fired off a letter to Sens. Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein, chairman and ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, calling the accusations “smears, pure and simple.”

Kavanaugh continued: “I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. The last-minute character assassination will not succeed.”

What is at stake in Thursday’s appearance by Kavanaugh and Ford is huge. A successful defense of his good name could mean Kavanaugh’s swift elevation to the high court, a historic victory for the GOP’s judicial philosophy, and the culmination of a decades-long campaign dating back to the Earl Warren era of the Supreme Court.

As for the judge himself, the issue is not just his behavior as a teenager and university student, but his credibility and honor as a man.

He has asked friends and allies to trust and believe him when he says that he is a victim of a character assassination steeped that is rooted in ideology and lies.

Thus far, no credible individual has come forward to corroborate the charges against him when he was at Georgetown Prep or at Yale. And almost all who knew him testify to his character.

We are often told that the moment we are in has historic significance and will be long remembered. Yet, how many can still recall what the “resistor” in the Trump White House or Cabinet wrote in his or her anonymous op-ed in The New York Times?

How Kavanaugh conducts himself Thursday, however, and whether he is elevated to the court, could decide the fate of constitutional conservatism and the Republican Congress in 2018.

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

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Russia Gives Up on Trump and the West

By the end of his second term, President Ronald Reagan, who had called the Soviet Union an “evil empire,” was strolling through Red Square with Russians slapping him on the back.

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive.

And how have we husbanded the fruits of our Cold War triumph?

This month, China’s leader-for-life Xi Jinping stood beside Vladimir Putin as 3,000 Chinese troops maneuvered with 300,000 Russians, 1,000 planes, and 900 tanks in Moscow’s largest military exercise in 40 years.

It was an uncoded message to the West from the East.

Richard Nixon’s great achievement of bringing in Peking from the cold, and Reagan’s great achievement of ending the Cold War, are history.

Bolshevism may be dead, but Russian nationalism, awakened by NATO’s quick march to Russia’s ancient frontiers, is alive and well.

Moscow appears to have given up on the West and accepted that its hopes for better times with President Donald Trump are not to be.

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is berating Russia for secretly trading with North Korea in violation of U.N. sanctions, saying, “Lying, cheating, and rogue behavior have become the new norm of the Russian culture.”

Cold wars don’t get much colder than defaming another country’s culture as morally debased.

The U.S. has also signaled that it may start supplying naval and anti-aircraft weaponry to Ukraine, as Russia is being warned to cease its inspections of ships passing from the Black Sea through the Kerch Strait into the Sea of Azov.

The three-mile-wide strait lies between Crimea and Kerch Peninsula. In Russia’s eyes, both banks of the strait are Russian national territory.

With U.S. backing, Ukraine has decided to build a naval base on the Sea of Azov to “create conditions for rebuffing the aggressive actions of the Russian Federation in this region.”

Kiev has several patrol boats in the Sea of Azov, with a few more to be transferred there in coming months. Russia’s navy could sink those boats and wipe out that base in minutes.

Are we going to send our Navy across the Black Sea to protect Ukraine’s naval rights inside a sea that has been as historically Russian as the Chesapeake Bay is historically American?

Poland this week invited the U.S. to establish a major base on its soil, for which the Poles will pay $2 billion, to be called “Fort Trump.”

Trump seemed to like the idea, and the name.

Yet the Bush II decision to install a missile defense system in Poland brought a Kremlin counter-move: the installation of nuclear-capable Iskander cruise missiles in Kaliningrad, the former German territory on Poland’s northern border annexed by Stalin at the end of World War II.

In the Balkans, over Russian protests, the U.S. is moving to bring Macedonia into NATO. But before Macedonia can join, half of its voters have to come out on September 30 to approve a change in the nation’s name to North Macedonia. This is to mollify Greece, which claims the birthplace of Alexander the Great as it own.

Where are we going with all this?

With U.S. warships making regular visits into the Eastern Baltic and Black Sea, the possibility of a new base in Poland, and growing lethal aid to Ukraine to fight pro-Russian rebels in the Donbass and the Russian navy on the Sea of Azov, are we not crowding the Russians a bit?

And are we confident the Russians will always back down?

When Georgia, believing it could kick Russian peacekeepers out and re-annex its seceded province of South Ossetia, attacked in August 2008, the Russian army came crashing in and ran the Georgians out in 48 hours.

George W. Bush wisely decided not to issue an ultimatum or send troops. He ignored the hawks in his own party who had helped goad him into the great debacle of his presidency: Iraq.

So what exactly is the U.S. grand strategy with regard to Russia?

What might be called the McCain wing of the Republican Party has sought to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, which would make the containment of Russia America’s policy in perpetuity.

Are the American people aware of the costs and risks inherent in such a policy? What are the prospects of Russia yielding always to U.S. demands? And are we not today stretched awfully thin?

Our share of the global economy is much shrunk from Reagan’s time. Our deficit is approaching $1 trillion. Our debt is surging toward 100 percent of GDP. Entitlements are consuming our national wealth.

We are committed to containing the two other greatest powers, Russia and China. We are tied down militarily in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, with the War Party beating the drums for another larger war with Iran. And we are sanctioning adversaries and allies for not following our leadership of the West and the world.

In looking at America’s global commitments, greatly expanded since our Cold War victory, one word comes to mind: unsustainable.

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. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

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The Late Hit Job on Judge Kavanaugh

Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Upon the memory and truthfulness of Christine Blasey Ford hangs the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, his reputation, and possibly his career on the nation’s second highest court.

And much more. If Kavanaugh is voted down or forced to withdraw, the Republican Party and conservative movement could lose their last best hope for recapturing the high court for constitutionalism.

No new nominee could be vetted and approved in six weeks. And the November election could bring in a Democratic Senate, an insuperable obstacle to the elevation of a new strict constructionist like Kavanaugh.

The stakes are thus historic and huge.

And what is Professor Ford’s case against Judge Kavanaugh?

When she was 15 in the summer of ’82, she went to a party with four boys in Montgomery County, Maryland, at a home where the parents were away.

She says she was dragged into a bedroom by Kavanaugh, then a 17-year-old at Georgetown Prep, who jumped her, groped her, tried to tear off her clothes, and cupped her mouth with his hand to stop her screams.

Only when Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge, laughing “maniacally,” piled on and they all tumbled off the bed, did she escape and lock herself in a bathroom as the “stumbling drunks” went downstairs. She later fled the house and told no one of the alleged rape attempt.

Not until 30 years later in 2012 did Ford, by then a clinical psychologist in California, relate, during a couples therapy session with her husband, what happened. She says she named Kavanaugh as her assailant, but the therapist notes from the session make no mention of him.

During the assault, says Ford, she was traumatized. “I thought he might inadvertently kill me.”

Here the story grows vague. She does not remember who drove her to the party. She does not say how much she drank. She does not remember whose house it was at. She does not recall who, if anyone, drove her home. She does not recall what day it was.

She did not tell her parents, Ford said, as she did not want them to know she had been drinking. She did not tell any friend or family member of this traumatic event that has so adversely affected her life.

Said Kavanaugh in response, “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”

Mark Judge says it never happened.

Given the seriousness of the charges, Ford must be heard out. But she also needs to be cross-examined and have her story probed as Kavanaugh’s has repeatedly been by FBI investigators.

During the many probes into Kavanaugh’s background, nothing was unearthed to suggest anything like this was in his character.

Some 65 women who grew up in the Chevy Chase and Bethesda area and knew Kavanaugh during his high school days have come out and spoken highly of his treatment of girls and women.

Moreover, the way in which all of this arose, at five minutes to midnight in the long confirmation process, suggests that this is political hardball, if not dirt ball.

When Ford, a Democrat, sent a letter detailing her accusations against Kavanaugh to her California congresswoman, Anna Eshoo, she insisted that her name not be revealed as the accuser.

That means she seemingly sought to destroy the judge’s career behind a cloak of anonymity. Eshoo sent the letter on to Senator Dianne Feinstein, who held it for two months.

Excising Ford’s name, Feinstein then sent it to the FBI, who sent it to the White House, who sent it on to the Senate to be included in the background material on the judge.

Thus, Ford’s explosive charge, along with her name, did not surface until this weekend.

What is being done here stinks. It is a late hit, a kill shot to assassinate a nominee who, before the weekend, was all but certain to be confirmed and whose elevation to the Supreme Court would have been the result of victories in free elections by President Trump and the Republican Party.

Palpable here is the desperation of the left to derail Kavanaugh, lest his elevation to the high court imperil their agenda and the social revolution that the Warren Court and its progeny have been able to impose upon the nation.

If Kavanaugh is elevated, the judicial dictatorship of decades past—going back to the salad days of Earl Warren, William Brennan, Hugo Black, and “Wild Bill” Douglas—will have reached its end. A new era will have begun.

That is what is at stake.

The Republican Senate should continue with its calendar to confirm Kavanaugh before October 1, while giving Ford some way to be heard and Kavanaugh the right to refute.

Then let the senators decide.

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. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

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Is Donald Trump Going Full Neocon in Syria?

Is President Donald Trump about to intervene militarily in the Syrian civil war? For that is what he and his advisors seem to be signaling.

Last week, Trump said of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s campaign to recapture the last stronghold of the rebellion, Idlib province: “If it’s a slaughter, the world is going to get very, very angry. And the United States is going to get very angry, too.”

In a front-page story Monday, “Assad is Planning Chlorine Attack, U.S. Says,” the Wall Street Journal reported that, during a recent meeting, “President Trump threatened to conduct a massive attack against Mr. Assad if he carries out a massacre in Idlib.”

Idlib contains three million civilians and refugees and 70,000 rebels, 10,000 of whom are al-Qaeda.

Friday, the Washington Post reported that Trump is changing U.S. policy. America will not be leaving Syria any time soon.

The 2,200 U.S. troops in Syria will remain until we see “the exit of all Iranian military and proxy forces and the establishment of a stable, non-threatening government acceptable to all Syrians.”

“We are not in a hurry to go,” said James Jeffrey, the retired Foreign Service officer brought back to handle the Syria account. “The new policy is we’re no longer pulling out by the end of the year.”

President Obama had a red line against Syria’s use of poison gas, which Trump enforced with bombing runs. Now we have a new red line. Said Jeffrey, the U.S. “will not tolerate an attack. Period.”

In an editorial Friday, the Post goaded Trump, calling his response to Assad’s ruthless recapture of his country “pathetically weak.” To stand by and let the Syrian army annihilate the rebels in Idlib, said the Post, would be “another damaging abdication of U.S. leadership.”

What Trump seems to be signaling, the Post demanding, and Jeffrey suggesting, is that, rather than allow a bloody battle for Idlib province to play out, the United States should engage Russian and Syrian forces militarily and force them to back off.

On Friday, near the U.S. garrison at Tanf in southern Syria close to Iraq, U.S. Marines conducted a live-fire exercise. Its purpose: warn Russian forces to stay away. The Americans have declared a 35-mile zone around Tanf off-limits. The Marine exercise followed a Russian notification, and U.S. rejection, of a plan to enter the zone in pursuit of “terrorists.”

Is Trump ready to order American action against Russian and Syrian forces if Assad gives his army the green light to take Idlib? For the bombing of Idlib has already begun.

What makes this more than an academic exercise is that Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, at a meeting in Tehran last Friday, told President Erdogan of Turkey that the reconquest of Idlib is going forward.

Erdogan fears that the Syrian army’s recapture of Idlib would send hundreds of thousands more refugees streaming to his border. Turkey already hosts millions of refugees from Syria’s civil war.

Yet the massing of the Syrian army near Idlib and the Russian and Syrian bombing suggest that the Assad-Putin-Rouhani coalition has decided to accept the risk of a clash with the Americans in order to bring an end to the rebellion. If so, this puts the ball in America’s court.

Words and warnings aside, is Trump prepared to take us into the Syrian civil war against forces who, absent our intervention, will have won the war? When did Congress authorize a new war?

What vital U.S. interest is imperiled in Idlib, or in ensuring that all Iranian forces and Shiite allies are removed, or that a “non-threatening government acceptable to all Syrians and the international community” is established in Damascus?

With these conditions required before our departure, we could be there for eternity.

The Syrian civil war is arguably the worst humanitarian disaster of the decade. The sooner it is ended the better. But Assad, Russia, and Iran did not start this war. Nor have they sought a clash with U.S. forces whose mission, we were repeatedly assured, was to crush ISIS and go home.

Trump has struck Syria twice for its use of poison gas, and U.S. officials told the Journal that Assad has now approved the use of chlorine on the rebels in Idlib. Moscow, however, is charging that a false-flag operation to unleash chlorine on civilians in Idlib is being prepared to trigger and justify U.S. intervention.

Many in this Russophobic city would welcome a confrontation with Putin’s Russia, even more than they would a war with Iran. But that is the opposite of what candidate Trump promised.

Such an outcome would represent a triumph of the never-Trumpers and President Trump relinquishing of his foreign policy to the interventionists and neoconservatives.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

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