Patrick J. Buchanan

Trump Must Choose: War President or Anti-Interventionist

Michael Hogue

Visualizing 150 Iranians dead from a missile strike that he had ordered, President Donald Trump recoiled and canceled the attack, a brave decision and defining moment for his presidency.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton, and Vice President Mike Pence had signed off on the strike on Iran as the right response to Tehran’s shootdown of a U.S. Global Hawk spy plane over the Gulf of Oman.

The U.S. claims that the drone was over international waters. Tehran says it was in Iranian territory. But while the loss of a $100 million drone is no small matter, no American pilot was aboard, and retaliating by killing 150 Iranians would appear to be a disproportionate response.

Good for Trump. Yet all weekend, he was berated for chickening out and imitating President Barack Obama. U.S. credibility, it was said, had taken a big hit and must be restored with military action.

By canceling the strike, the president also sent a message to Iran: we’re ready to negotiate. Yet given the irreconcilable character of our clashing demands, it is hard to see how the U.S. and Iran get off this road we are on, at the end of which a military collision seems almost certain.

Consider the respective demands.

Monday, the president tweeted: “The U.S. request for Iran is very simple—No Nuclear Weapons and No Further Sponsoring of Terror!”

But Iran has no nuclear weapons, has never had nuclear weapons, and has never even produced bomb-grade uranium.

According to our own intelligence agencies in 2007 and 2011, Tehran did not even have a nuclear weapons program.

Under the 2015 nuclear deal, the JCPOA, the only way Iran could have a nuclear weapons program would be in secret, outside its known nuclear facilities, all of which are under constant U.N. inspection.

Where is the evidence that any such secret program exists?

And if it does, why does America not tell the world where Iran’s secret nuclear facilities are located and demand immediate inspections?

“No further sponsoring of terror,” Trump says.

But what does that mean?

As the major Shiite power in a Middle East divided between Sunni and Shiite, Iran backs the Houthi rebels in Yemen’s civil war, Shiite Hezbollah in Lebanon, Alawite Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and the Shiite militias in Iraq that helped us stop ISIS’s drive to Baghdad.

In his 12 demands, Pompeo virtually insisted that Iran abandon these allies and capitulate to their Sunni adversaries and rivals.

Not going to happen. Yet if these demands are non-negotiable, to be backed up by sanctions severe enough to choke Iran’s economy to death, we will be headed for war.

No more than North Korea is Iran going to yield to U.S. demands that it abandon what it sees as vital national interests.

As for the charge that Iran is “destabilizing” the Middle East, it was not Iran that invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, overthrew the Gaddafi regime in Libya, armed rebels against Assad in Syria, or aided and abetted the Saudis’ intervention in Yemen’s civil war.

Iran, pushed to the wall, its economy shrinking as inflation and unemployment rise, is approaching the limits of its tolerance.

And as Iran suffers pain, it is saying that other nations in the Gulf will endure similar pain, as will the USA. At some point, collisions will produce casualties and we will be on the up escalator to war.

Yet what vital interest of ours does Iran today threaten?

Trump, with his order to stand down on the missile strike, signaled that he wanted a pause in the confrontation.

Still, it needs to be said: the president himself authorized the steps that have brought us to this peril point.

Trump pulled out of and trashed Obama’s nuclear deal. He imposed the sanctions that are now inflicting something close to unacceptable if not intolerable pain on Iran. He had the Islamic Revolutionary Guard declared a terrorist organization. He sent the Abraham Lincoln carrier task force and B-52s to the Gulf region.

If war is to be avoided, either Iran is going to have to capitulate or the U.S. is going to have to walk back its maximalist position.

And who would Trump name to negotiate with Tehran for the United States?

The longer the sanctions remain in place and the deeper they bite, the greater the likelihood that Iran will respond to our economic warfare with its own asymmetric warfare. Has the president decided to take that risk?

We appear to be at a turning point in the Trump presidency.

Does he want to run in 2020 as the president who led us into war with Iran, or as the anti-interventionist who began to bring U.S. troops home?

Perhaps Congress, the branch of government designated by the Constitution to decide on war, should instruct President Trump as to the conditions under which he is authorized to take us to war with Iran.

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.

Post a comment

Uncle Joe Gets Snared by the Democratic Party’s Jim Crow Past

“Apologize for what? Cory should apologize. He knows better. There’s not a racist bone in my body.”

Thus did a stung Joe Biden answer rival Cory Booker’s demand that he apologize for telling contributors, in a Southern drawl, “I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland, He never called me ‘boy.’ He always called me ‘son.”

Joe was recalling fondly when he came into the Senate at age 30 during the 1970s, having lost his wife and child in an accident, and “Jim” Eastland, the arch-segregationist from Mississippi, took him under his wing and became a patron, mentor, and friend.

“You don’t joke about calling black men ‘boy,'” Booker had said. “Biden’s relationships with proud segregationists are not the model for how we make America a safer and more inclusive place for black people.”

Kamala Harris piled on: if Biden’s segregationist friends “had their way…I wouldn’t be in the United States Senate.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted a photo of his black wife and two children, saying, “Eastland thought my multiracial family should be illegal & that whites were entitled to ‘the pursuit of dead n—–s.'”

Said The Washington Post, “[Biden’s] history of collegiality with racists is being seen by many in his party as a reason to question his judgment—and not, as Biden says, a sign of his civility.”

This portends a coming clash over race inside the Democratic Party in 2019 and perhaps 2020. For Joe is bleeding—and his rivals can see in his segregationist friends of yesterday a way to peel off the black support crucial to his nomination.

Biden is about to have his nose rubbed in friendships formed almost half a century ago.

Like reparations for slavery, on which hearings have opened in the House, this issue seems certain to arise in the debates next week, where taking down Biden will be an objective of every other candidate.

And Jim Eastland is not the only segregationist friend Joe had.

Joe called Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, who conducted the longest filibuster in history against the 1957 Civil Rights Act, “one of my closest friends,” and delivered a eulogy at Strom’s funeral.

When Joe backed an anti-busing amendment in the 1970s, Senator Jesse Helms, on the Senate floor, welcomed him to the “ranks of the enlightened.” On leaving the Senate for the vice presidency in 2009, Biden spoke of his “close personal relationships” with “Eastland, Stennis, Thurmond…all these men became my friends.”

Those three senators all signed the Southern Manifesto pledging “massive resistance” to the desegregation of public schools mandated by the Brown decision of 1954. All three opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, enacted after bloody Sunday at Selma Bridge.

Asked for her views on Biden’s remarks, Elizabeth Warren joined the attack: “It’s never okay to celebrate segregationists. Never.”

But if that is the new Warren Rule in Democratic politics, it may be hard to maintain. For the Democratic Party, the oldest party on earth, was from its founding to the final third of the 20th century, a bastion of slavery, secession, and segregation.

Jim Crow voted a straight Democratic ticket.

Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, founding fathers of the party, were slaveowners, as were James Madison and James Monroe, who succeeded Jefferson in the White House. And so were John Tyler and James K. Polk, who succeeded them.

Washington, a slave owner, was the father of our country and gave us our independence and a new nation from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. Jefferson executed the Louisiana Purchase. Jackson seized Florida. Tyler annexed Texas. Polk got us the Southwest, California, and clear title to Washington and Oregon. All were slaveowners.

The first Democratic president of the 20th century, Woodrow Wilson, restored segregation to the U.S. government. The second, FDR, chose a segregationist vice president, “Cactus Jack” Garner; put a Klansman, Hugo Black, on the Supreme Court; and, together with Wilson, carried all 11 segregated states of the Old Confederacy six times.

To hold a segregated South against Eisenhower in 1952, liberal Adlai Stevenson continued the Southern strategy by putting on his ticket John Sparkman of Alabama. Returning to the Senate after Adlai’s defeat, Sparkman signed the Dixie Manifesto and opposed the civil rights acts of both 1964 and 1965.

On his second run for the presidency over a decade ago, Joe Biden joked of his home state: “Delaware…was a slave state that fought beside the North. That’s only because we couldn’t figure out how to get to the South. There were a couple of states in the way.”

The Warren Rule notwithstanding, Southern segregationists remain honored today. The Old Senate Office Building was renamed in 1972 for Senator Richard Russell of Georgia and John C. Stennis of Mississippi.

What does all this mean for the Democratic Party? We are about to find out.

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.

Post a comment

Donald Trump Would Own a War With Iran

Iran President Rouhani and U.S. President Trump. Drop of Light/Shutterstock and Office of President of Russia.   

President Donald Trump cannot want war with Iran.

Such a war, no matter how long, would be fought in and around the Persian Gulf, through which a third of the world’s seaborne oil travels. It could trigger a worldwide recession and imperil Trump’s reelection.

It would widen the “forever war,” which Trump said he would end, to a nation of 80 million people, three times as large as Iraq. It would become the defining issue of his presidency, as the Iraq war became the defining issue of George W. Bush’s presidency.

And if war comes now, it would forever be known as “Trump’s War.”

For it was Trump who pulled us out of the Iran nuclear deal, though, according to U.N. inspectors and the other signatories—Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China—Tehran was complying with its terms.

Trump’s repudiation of the treaty was followed by his reimposition of sanctions and a policy of maximum pressure. This was followed by the designation of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a “terrorist” organization.

Then came the threats of secondary sanctions on nations, some of them friends and allies, that continued to buy oil from Iran.

U.S. policy has been to squeeze Iran’s economy until the regime buckles to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s 12 demands, including an end to Tehran’s support of its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.

Sunday, Pompeo said Iran was behind the attacks on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman and that Tehran instigated an attack that injured four American soldiers in Kabul even though the Taliban claimed responsibility.

The war hawks are back.

“This unprovoked attack on commercial shipping warrants retaliatory military strikes,” said Senator Tom Cotton on Sunday.

But just as Trump does not want war with Iran, Iran does not want war with us. Tehran has denied any role in the tanker attacks, helped put out the fire on one tanker, and accused its enemies of a “false flag” to instigate a war.

If the Revolutionary Guard, which answers to the ayatollah, did attach explosives to the hulls of the tankers, it was most likely to send a direct message: if our exports are halted by U.S. sanctions, the oil exports of the Saudis and Gulf Arabs can be made to experience similar problems.

Yet if the president and the ayatollah do not want war, who does?

Not the Germans or Japanese, both of whom are asking for more proof that Iran instigated the tanker attacks. Japan’s prime minster was meeting with the ayatollah when the attacks occurred, and one of the tankers was a Japanese vessel.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal Monday were Ray Takeyh and Reuel Marc Gerecht. Gerecht is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a neocon nest funded by Paul Singer and Sheldon Adelson.

In a piece titled “America Can Face Down a Fragile Iran,” the pair make the case that Trump should squeeze the Iranian regime relentlessly and not fear a military clash. A war with Iran would be a cakewalk, they say:

Iran is in no shape for a prolonged confrontation with the U.S. The regime is in a politically precarious position. The sullen Iranian middle class has given up on the possibility of reform or prosperity. The lower classes, once tethered to the regime by the expansive welfare state, have also grown disloyal. The intelligentsia no longer believes that faith and freedom can be harmonized. And the youth have become the regime’s most unrelenting critics.

Iran’s fragile theocracy can’t absorb a massive external shock. That’s why Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has, for the most part, adhered to the JCPOA (the nuclear pact) and why he is likely angling for negotiation over confrontation with the Great Satan.

This depiction of Iran’s political crisis and economic decline invites a question: if the Tehran regime is so fragile and the Iranian people are so alienated, why not avoid a war and wait for the regime’s collapse?

Trump seems to have a few options:

  • Negotiate with the Tehran regime for some tolerable detente.
  • Refuse to negotiate and await the regime’s collapse, in which case the president must be prepared for Iranian actions that raise the cost of choking that nation to death.
  • Strike militarily, as Cotton urges, and accept the war that follows, if Iran chooses to fight rather than be humiliated and capitulate to Pompeo’s demands.

One recalls: Saddam Hussein accepted war with the United States in 1991 rather than yield to Bush I’s demand that he get his army out of Kuwait.

Who wants a U.S. war with Iran?

Primarily the same people who goaded us into wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen, and who oppose every effort of Trump’s to extricate us from those wars.

Should they succeed in Iran, it is hard to see how we will ever be able to extricate our country from this blood-soaked region that holds no vital strategic interest save oil. And America, thanks to fracking, is no longer dependent on the Middle East even for that.

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.

Post a comment

Russiagate is No Watergate

Presidents Trump and Nixon. (Office of the President)

“History is repeating itself, and with a vengeance,” John Dean told the Judiciary Committee, drawing a parallel between Watergate, which brought down Richard Nixon, and “Russiagate,” which has bedeviled Donald Trump.

But what strikes this veteran of Nixon’s White House is not the similarities but the stark differences.

Watergate began with an actual crime, a midnight break-in at the offices of the DNC in June 1972 to wiretap phones and filch files, followed by a cover-up that spread into the inner circles of the White House.

Three years after FBI Director James Comey began the investigation of Trump, however, the final report of his successor, Robert Mueller, found there had been no conspiracy, no collusion, and no underlying crime.

How can Trump be guilty of covering up a crime that the special counsel says he did not commit?

And the balance of power today in D.C. is not as lopsided as it was in 1973 and ’74.

During Watergate, Nixon had little support in a city where the elites, the press, the Democratic Congress, and the liberal bureaucracy labored in earnest to destroy him. He had few of what Pat Moynihan called “second and third echelons of advocacy.”

Contrast this with Trump, a massive presence on social media, whose tweets, daily interactions with the national press, and rallies keep his enemies constantly responding to his attacks rather than making their case.

Trump interrupts their storytelling. And behind him is a host of defenders at Fox News and some of the top radio talk show hosts in America.

There are pro-Trump websites that did not exist in Nixon’s time, home to populist and conservative columnists and commentators full of fight.

Leftists may still dominate the mainstream media. But their unconcealed hatred of Trump and the one-sided character of their coverage has cost them much of the credibility they had half a century ago.

The media are seen as militant partisans masquerading as journalists.

Consider the respective calendars.

Two years after the Watergate break-in, Nixon was near the end, about to be impeached by the House with conviction possible in the Senate.

Three years into Russiagate, three in four House Democrats do not want their caucus to take up impeachment. Many of these Democrats, especially moderates from swing districts, do not want to cast a vote to either bring down or exonerate the president.

Assume the House did take up impeachment. Would all the Democrats vote aye? Does anyone think a Republican Senate would deliver the needed 20 votes to provide a two-thirds majority to convict and remove him?

For a Republican Senate to split asunder and vote to expel its own Republican president who is supported by the vast majority of the party would be suicidal. It could cost the GOP both houses of Congress and the White House in 2020. Why would Republicans not prefer to unite and fight to the end, just as Senate Democrats did during the Clinton impeachment?

Trump’s support in the Senate Republican caucus today is rock-solid. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is herself opposed to impeachment hearings in the House, which she considers ruinous to her party’s hopes of maintaining control in 2020.

When Dean went before the Watergate committee of Senator Sam Ervin in 1973, all five days of his testimony were carried live on ABC, CBS, and NBC.

When Dean appeared Monday, the three cable news networks swiftly dropped coverage of the Judiciary Committee hearings to report on a helicopter crash in Manhattan. Dean’s testimony could be seen on C-Span3.

Much of America is bored by the repetitive, nonstop media attacks on Trump and look on the back-and-forth between left and right not as a “constitutional crisis” but a savage battle between parties and partisans.

The impeachers who seek to bring down Trump face other problems.

Now that Mueller has spent two years investigating and found no proof of a Trump-Putin conspiracy to hack the emails of the DNC and Clinton campaign, questions have arisen as to what the evidence was that caused the FBI to launch its unprecedented investigation of a presidential campaign and a newly elected president.

Did an anti-Trump cabal at the apex of the FBI and U.S. security agencies work with foreign intelligence, including former British spy Christopher Steele, in an attempt to destroy Trump?

The political dynamic of Trump’s taunts and defiance of the demands of committee chairs in a Democratic House, and the clamor for impeachment from the Democratic and media left, are certain to produce more calls for hearings.

But if the impeachment hearings come, they will be seen for what they are: an attempted coup to overthrow a president by the losers of 2016 who are fearful they could lose again in 2020 and be out of power for four more years.

Russiagate is not Watergate, but there is this similarity: Nixon and Trump are both the objects of truly great hatred.

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.

Post a comment

Are Abortion and Gay Rights Really American Values?

“My religion defines who I am. And I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life,” said Vice President Joe Biden in 2012. “I accept my church’s position on abortion as…doctrine. Life begins at conception. …I just refuse to impose that on others.”

For four decades, Biden backed the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of the tax dollars of Joe’s fellow Catholics to pay for what they view as the killing of the innocent unborn.

Last week, Joe flipped. He now backs the repeal of the Hyde Amendment.

Ilyse Hogue of NARAL Pro-Choice America welcomed home the prodigal son: “We’re pleased that Joe Biden has joined the rest of the 2020 Democratic field in coalescing around the Party’s core values—support for abortion rights.”

But when did the right to an abortion—a crime in many states before 1973—become a “core value” of the Democratic Party?

And what are these “values” of which politicians incessantly talk?

Are they immutable? Or do they change with the changing times?

Last month, Disney CEO Bob Iger said his company may cease filming in Georgia if its new anti-abortion law takes effect: “If [the bill] becomes law, I don’t see how it’s practical for us to continue to shoot there.”

The Georgia law outlaws almost all abortions, once a heartbeat is detected, some six to eight weeks into pregnancy. It reflects the Christian conservative values of millions of Georgians.

To Iger and Hollywood, however, Georgia’s law radically restricts the “reproductive rights” of women, and is a moral outrage.

What we have here is a clash of values.

What one side believes is preserving the God-given right to life for the unborn, the other regards as an assault on the rights of women.

The clash raises questions that go beyond our culture war to ask what America should stand for in the world.

“American interests and American values are inseparable,” Pete Buttigieg told Rachel Maddow. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Claremont Institute: “We have had too little courage to confront regimes squarely opposed to our interests and our values.”

Are Pompeo and Mayor Pete talking about the same values?

The mayor is proudly gay and in a same-sex marriage. Yet the right to same-sex marriage did not even exist in this country until the Supreme Court discovered it a few years ago.

In a 2011 speech to the U.N., Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “Gay rights are human rights.” She approved of U.S. embassies flying the rainbow flag during Pride Month.

This year, Mike Pompeo told the U.S. embassy in Brazil not to fly the rainbow flag. He explained his moral duty to the Christian Broadcasting Network: “The task I have is informed by my understanding of my faith, my belief in Jesus Christ as the Savior.”

The Christian values Pompeo espouses on abortion and gay rights are in conflict with what progressives now call human rights.

And the world mirrors the American divide.

There are gay pride parades in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, but none in Riyadh and Mecca. In Brunei, homosexuality can get you killed.

To many Americans, diversity—racial, ethnic, cultural, religious—is our greatest strength.

Yet Poland and Hungary are proudly ethnonationalist. South Korea and Japan fiercely resist the racial and ethnic diversity immigration would bring. Catalans and Scots in this century, like Quebecois in the last, seek to secede from nations to which they have belonged for centuries.

Are ethnonationalist nations less righteous than diverse nations likes ours? And if diversity is an American value, is it really a universal value?

Consider the treasured rights of our First Amendment—freedom of speech, religion, and the press.

Saudi Arabia does not permit Christian preachers. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, converts to Christianity face savage reprisals. In Buddhist Myanmar, Muslims are ethnically cleansed.

These nations reject an equality of all faiths, believing instead in the primacy of their own majority faith. They reject our wall of separation between religion and state. Our values and their values conflict.

What makes ours right and theirs wrong? Why should our views and values prevail in what are, after all, their countries?

Some view our Constitution as protecting practices—abortion, blasphemy, pornography, flag-burning, trashing religious beliefs—that other nations regard as symptoms of a disintegrating society.

When Hillary Clinton said half of all Trump supporters could be put into a “basket of deplorables” for being “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic,” she was conceding that many of them detest many progressive values.

True, but in the era of Trump, why should her liberal values be those America champions abroad?

With secularism’s triumph, we Americans have no common religion, no common faith, no common font of moral truth. We disagree on what is right and wrong, moral and immoral.

Without an agreed-upon higher authority, values become matters of opinion. And ours are in conflict and irreconcilable.

Understood. But how, then, do we remain one nation and one people?

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.

38 comments

The Old White Men Leading the Democratic Race

Vice President Joe Biden in 2017 By Drop of Light/Shutterstock

In 2018, a record turnout of women, minorities, and the young added 40 House seats to Democratic ranks and made Nancy Pelosi speaker.

This, we were told, was the new diversity coalition—women, people of color, Millennials—that would take down The Donald in 2020.

So how has the Democratic field sorted itself out half a year later?

According to the Real Clear Politics average of polls, two old white guys, Joe Biden, 76, and Bernie Sanders, 77, are setting the pace and have together corralled more than half of all Democrats.

There is a good chance the party of minorities, Millennials, and women will be led in 2020 by a white man who would be the oldest candidate ever nominated by a major party.

Biden and Bernie may be wheezing, but the old white boys are out in front of the pack.

Add Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke, running fifth and sixth, and 60 percent of Democrats favor white men for the nomination. Only 20 percent favor one of five women: Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, or Tulsi Gabbard.

The African-American candidates, Harris and Cory Booker, are backed by only one in 10 Democrats. Julian Castro, the lone Hispanic, is at 1 percent, as is the Asian-American Andrew Yang.

While the first primaries are still half a year off, the odds today—after nominating Barack Obama twice and then Hillary Clinton—favor Democrats returning to their 20th-century traditional candidate, a seasoned white man.

Frontrunner Biden is benefitting from the fact that his closest rival, Bernie Sanders, is a socialist with a large and loyal following from his 2016 campaign. For Bernie sits on a huge pile of votes that Biden may not be able to win but that Bernie is denying to any other challenger.

Indeed, Bernie is becoming a problem for a whole host of Democrats.

If he defeats Biden for the nomination, he pulls Democrats a long way towards becoming a U.S. replica of the British Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn. Many moderate Democrats will not vote for a lifelong socialist who chose to spend his honeymoon during the Cold War in the Soviet Union.

Yet as long as Bernie holds onto the votes he has, he prevents any candidate of color, any woman, or any fresh new face from amassing enough strength in the polls to get within striking distance of Biden.

Bernie is thus today a de facto ally of Biden. He holds too few votes to take the nomination from Joe, but sufficient votes to stay in the race through the early primaries and deny any other Democrat a clean shot at Biden.

As of now, there are two lanes to the Democratic nomination—the centrist-moderate lane Biden occupies almost exclusively, and the left lane where Bernie leads but is being challenged by Elizabeth Warren.

Where does the Democratic race, with the largest number of entries in political history at almost two dozen, stand at the first turn?

Though Biden has more than a third of all Democrats behind him, he has slipped from his highest ratings and is under attack from his many rivals who believe that a new day has come and who want old white men to go into retirement and get out of the way.

Biden is being hit for a variety of sins over a career that began in 1972. He voted to authorize George W. Bush to take us to war in Iraq. He led the fight for the 1994 anti-crime bill, now viewed as tough on minorities. He left Anita Hill twisting in the wind when he was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Clarence Thomas hearings. He denounced busing for racial balance back in the 1970s and 1980s.

Now the old plagiarism charges from his law school days and his presidential campaign of 1988 are being resurrected, ever since the Biden campaign distributed materials to back up his plan for combatting climate change with lines plagiarized from other sources.

This week, Biden’s support of the Hyde Amendment, which, for decades, has blocked federal tax funding for almost all abortions, is calling down the wrath of pro-choice Democrats who are both militant and many.

Another noteworthy development of recent weeks is the progress of Elizabeth Warren, due to the sheer number and appeal of her ideas for soaking the rich and using the revenue to create new entitlements in the name of “economic patriotism.” Say what you will, she is talking issues.

Mayor Pete seems to have eased back from his earlier highs, and stalled. As for Beto, he may be flailing those arms around like a drowning man—because he is one. The bloom is off the rose. Beto seems frozen at 4 percent. There is truth in what Alice Roosevelt Longworth said of Tom Dewey’s re-nomination in 1948 after having lost to FDR in 1944.

You can’t make a souffle rise a second time.

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.

14 comments

Who Speaks for Donald Trump?

John Bolton, VP Mike Pence and Secretary Pompeo (Credit: Gage Skidmore, Gino Santa Maria / Shutterstock.com and U.S. Mission)

For a president who won his office by denouncing the Middle East wars into which George W. Bush and Barack Obama plunged the nation, Donald Trump has assembled the most unabashedly hawkish conclave of foreign policy advisers in memory. And he himself seems to concede the point.

If foreign policy were decided by my security adviser John Bolton, the president confided recently, “We’d be in four wars by now.”

It was Bolton who ordered the Abraham Lincoln carrier group and B-52s to the Gulf and told the Pentagon to draw up plans to send 120,000 U.S. troops. It is Bolton who is charging Iran with using mines to sabotage four oil tankers outside the Strait of Hormuz.

Asked for evidence, Bolt barked back at reporters: “Who else would you think is doing it? Somebody from Nepal?”

But if Bolton is first hawk, he is not without rivals in the inner circle of the commander-in-chief.

At West Point last week, Vice President Mike Pence, after hailing the diversity of a class with the highest number of Hispanic and black women graduates ever, laid out what the future holds in store for them.

“You will fight on a battlefield for America … You will lead soldiers in combat. It will happen.

“Some of you will join the fight against radical Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some of you will join the fight on the Korean Peninsula and in the Indo-Pacific, where North Korea continues to threaten the peace, and an increasingly militarized China challenges our presence.

“Some of you will join the fight in Europe, where an aggressive Russia seeks to redraw international boundaries by force. And some of you may even be called upon to serve in this hemisphere.

“And when that day comes, I know you will move to the sound of the guns … and you will fight, and you will win.

“Put your armor on,” Pence admonished the warriors, “so that when — not if — that day comes, you’ll be able to stand your ground.”

A question: Did not candidate Trump say he would be ending wars and bringing troops home, not plunging into new conflicts in the Mideast, Asia, Europe, the Western Hemisphere and “the Indo-Pacific”?

As for war in our hemisphere, which Pence said was possible, that could come sooner than the graduating cadets expect, if Trump’s confidant Sen. Lindsey Graham has his way.

All last week, Graham beat the drums for an ultimatum to Cuba to get any and all of its troops out of Venezuela. Should Havana refuse, said Graham, Trump ought to “do in Venezuela what Reagan did in Grenada.”

In 1983, Reagan ordered an invasion of Grenada to prevent U.S. medical students from being taken hostage by Marxist thugs who had just assassinated their leader and seized power.

But Grenada is a tiny island roughly twice the size of Washington, D.C., with a population of 100,000, while Venezuela is the size of Texas, with 30 million people and an army of more soldiers than Grenada has citizens.

“I would let the Venezuelan military know, you’ve got to choose between democracy and Maduro,” thundered Graham. “And if you choose Maduro and Cuba, we’re coming after you. This is our backyard.”

Trump may have run as anti-interventionist, but his secretary of state was apparently not closely following his campaign.

Speaking at the West Coast neocon lamasery Claremont Institute last week, Secretary Mike Pompeo said the Founding Fathers “knew peace wasn’t the norm” and “conflict is the normative experience for nations.”

He ripped into the Russians.

Thirty years after the Cold War, said Pompeo, “The Putin regime slays dissidents in cold blood and invades its neighbors,” and, along with China, conducts a foreign policy “intent on eroding American power.”

“We Americans have had too little courage to confront regimes squarely opposed to our interests and our values.”

As for “America First!” Pompeo explained Trump’s signature phrase thus:

The president “believes America is exceptional — a place and history apart from normal human experience.” This recalls Madeline Albright’s famous formulation: “We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further … into the future.”

President George Washington would approve of our policies, said Pompeo. Though the Father of our Country may have warned in his Farewell Address against “permanent alliances,” we are “banding together with the like-minded nations like Australia, India, Japan and South Korea to make sure that each Indo-Pacific nation can protect its sovereignty from coercion.”

“American exceptionalism … will remain alive and well in the 21st century,” concluded Pompeo. “What’s good for the United States is good for the world.”

One wonders: Do the hawks in his inner councils speak for Trump? For they surely do not speak for a nation whose weariness with wars put him into the White House.

On the first day of Trump’s visit to London, Pompeo, who last year issued his 12 demands on Iran, was quoted as saying the U.S. is now prepared to negotiate with Tehran with “no preconditions.”

For now, Trump’s hawks appeared contained. But for how long?

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

 

 Tagged , , , , , , , . 19 comments

The Hash Mueller Made of Things

Why is it that special counsel Robert Mueller cannot say clearly and concisely what he means?

His nine-minute summary of the findings of his office, after two years of investigation, was a mess. It guaranteed that the internecine warfare that has poisoned our politics will continue into 2020.

If it was the intention of the Russian hackers and trolls of 2016 to sow discord within their great power rival, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

Consider. Of the charge of conspiracy to collude with the Russians to hack the emails of the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Mueller said, “there was insufficient evidence to charge a larger conspiracy.”

This suggests that there was at least some evidence to conclude that Donald Trump’s campaign did conspire with Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin to fix the 2016 election, just not enough to sustain a charge of treason.

Didn’t they use to call this McCarthyism?

On obstruction of justice, Trump attempting to impede his investigation, Mueller said: “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”

“Mueller Declines to Absolve Trump” was the New York Times headline.

That tells us that Mueller would not give Trump absolution. But why would Trump need absolution if he did not commit the crime?

Mueller implied that his refusal to charge Trump publicly was based on a Justice Department ruling that presidents cannot be indicted.

But if the special counsel cannot indict a sitting president and ought not charge him, as, said Mueller, it is “unfair to accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge,” then what was the point of naming a special counsel?

If Mueller actually believes Trump was guilty of obstruction, why did he not forthrightly declare “While the Justice Department’s interpretation of the Constitution precludes my office us from indicting President Trump, we believe his actions during the course of our investigation constituted an obstruction of justice”?

At least we would have clarity. Now we have Mueller walking out without taking questions, and leaving us with this toxic mush.

Republicans should not let Mueller skate on this. For the James Comey-Mueller investigation is itself in need of investigation.

Among the questions that need answering: if, after two years, Mueller found “insufficient evidence” of collusion by Trump, what was the compelling evidence that justified launching the investigation during the Obama era?

Did that earlier “evidence” turn out to be false allegations and lies?

When did Mueller discover that George Papadopoulos and Carter Page were not agents of the GRU or KGB?

When did Mueller decide there was no collusion or conspiracy? Was it not until this spring? Or has Mueller known for a good while?

Why are these questions important? Because the investigation itself, leaving as it did a cloud over the legitimacy of the president, was damaging not only to Trump but also to the nation. As long as half the country believed Trump was an agent or asset or blackmail victim of Putin, America could not come together.

Did Mueller feel no obligation to clear up that false impression as swiftly and fully as possible, if, indeed, he believes it is false?

When did Mueller discover that the Steele dossier was the product of a dirt-diving operation financed by the Clinton campaign and fabricated by a Trump-hating ex-chief of British intelligence with long ties both to former agents of Russia’s FSB and James Comey’s FBI?

Did Mueller ever suspect that the investigation he inherited was a takedown operation, instigated by enemies of Trump who were determined that he never become president or, if he did, that his tenure would be short?

Mueller’s performance Wednesday has reinvigorated the impeach Trump caucus. But it has disserved the Democratic Party as much as it has the country.

The progressive left and its media auxiliaries, rabid on the subject, are egging on and cheering for candidates who call for impeachment. As of now, at least eight Democratic presidential candidates favor hearings.

The Democratic left is out to break Nancy Pelosi’s resistance.

If they succeed and this city and the nation turn their attention to a titanic battle to see if the Democratic Party can remove the Republican president, it will be bad news for the republic.

The real business of the nation will be put off until 2021.

Meanwhile, the Venezuela crisis is smoldering, and Senator Lindsey Graham is urging an ultimatum to Cuba to get its forces out.

North Korea is testing missiles again, and few believe Kim Jong-un will give up the security provided by his nuclear weapons.

And John Bolton is in the Middle East accusing Iran of acts of sabotage, war in Yemen and the Gulf, and making threats to American forces in Iraq.

Mueller’s assignment was to give us answers. After two years, he gave us options.

The nation will pay a price for such muddling indecisiveness.

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.

25 comments

The Path to Impeachment, Littered With Bad Intentions

Credit: C-Span/YouTube Screenshot

After a stroke felled Woodrow Wilson during his national tour to save his League of Nations, an old rival, Sen. Albert Fall, went to the White House to tell the president, “I have been praying for you, Sir.”

To which Wilson is said to have replied, “Which way, Senator?”

Historians are in dispute as to whether Wilson actually said it.

But the acid retort came to mind on hearing that Nancy Pelosi, hours after accusing President Donald Trump of “engaging in a cover-up,” a felony, piously volunteered, “I pray for the president of the United States.”

For, by now, the hostile investigations of Trump by Pelosi’s House are becoming too numerous to list.

Subpoenas have been issued to the IRS demanding Trump’s tax returns. New York has enacted a law to gain access to Trump’s state tax returns, to pass them on to the comrades on Capitol Hill. Democrats are not seeking these records for guidance on how to reform the tax code.

House committees want the files of his accountants. Subpoenas have been issued to lending institutions where Trump borrowed, such as Deutsche Bank, going back to the last century.

The Mueller investigation found that neither Trump nor anyone in his campaign colluded with the Russians in 2016. Yet that exoneration is insufficient for the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler. He wants public hearings with present and past White House aides under oath to put on a show trial for a national TV audience.

The euphemism for this swarm attack is “Congressional oversight of the executive.” And Trump is not wrong to see in it a conspiracy to bring down his presidency and impeach and remove him.

And if Trump believes, not without reason, that Pelosi’s caucus is out to kill his presidency, should he cooperate with the co-conspirators or use all of the actual and latent powers of his office to repel them?

These are the alternatives the president faces.

Out in the Rose Garden, Trump declared there would be no further cooperation on a legislative agenda with Democrats until a halt is called to their investigations:

“I told Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, ‘I want to do infrastructure. I want to do it more than you want to do it. … But you can’t do it under these circumstances. So get these phony investigations over with.'”

Where, then, are we headed?

To gridlock first, then almost surely down the impeachment road.

For if Trump continues to defy subpoenas and denounce those who issue them, and Pelosi cannot deliver on the Democrats’ agenda, the louder will be the clamor of the Democratic base to remove Trump. At some point, Pelosi will have to go along or lose control of her rebellious caucus.

Consider Trump’s immigration plan, which was introduced to no great enthusiasm among his supporters.

In April in Las Vegas, after 75,000 asylum seekers had crossed the U.S. border in February and 100,000 in March — an average of a million crossers a year — Trump declared:

“There is an emergency on our southern border. … It’s a colossal surge and it’s overwhelming our immigration system, and we can’t let that happen. … We can’t take you anymore. … Our country is full.”

But if the country is “full,” and we cannot stop the illegal crossings swamping the southern border, how can we take in and hand out green cards to another million legal immigrants every year?

What is the carrying capacity of a country whose debt is larger than its economy and whose social welfare system is overflowing with applicants?

Given the lukewarm reception among Republicans, the refusal of Democrats to back an immigration bill that does not put millions of undocumented migrants on a path to citizenship, and the animosity that has arisen between Trump and Pelosi, the bill seems stillborn.

Pelosi and her leadership in the House, it is said, do not want impeachment. They see it as a dead end. And understandably so.

For if the House holds hearings and fails to impeach, Democrats would be seen as impotent. And if they did impeach the president and the Senate swiftly acquitted him, House Democrats would be seen a having wasted their two years, only to make Trump a political martyr.

Still, as Emerson wrote, things are in the saddle and ride mankind.

The left and its media allies are demanding more subpoenas, and Trump is growing more defiant. And if Pelosi continues to argue that impeachment is not justified now, the anti-Trump sentiment in her party could turn against her.

The left’s ultimatum: Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

Impeachment is how a democratic republic does regicide, the dethroning and beheading of a sovereign like England’s Charles I.

For the left, Trump’s fate is decided. The only lingering question is whether proceeding with impeachment now is premature for the progressives’ cause in 2020.

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

 

 Tagged , , , . 21 comments

Has the Day of the Nationalists Come?

A week from today, Europeans may be able to gauge how high the tide of populism and nationalism has risen within their countries and on their continent.

For all the returns will be in from three days of elections in the 28 nations represented in the European Parliament.

Expectation: Nationalists and populists will turn in their strongest performance since the EU was established, and their parliamentary group—Europe of Nations and Freedom—could sweep a fourth of the seats in Strasbourg.

Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party is predicted to run first in the British elections, winning two to three times the votes of the ruling Tory Party of Prime Minister Theresa May.

In France, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally is running even with the party of President Emmanuel Macron, who pleads for “more Europe.”

Matteo Salvini, interior minister and leader of the League, predicts his party will finish first in Italy and first in Europe.

At Salvini’s invitation, a dozen nationalist parties gathered in Milan this weekend. A week from now, they could be the third-largest bloc in the European Parliament. If so, their gains will come at the expense of the center-left and center-right parties that have dominated European politics since World War II.

Speaking before tens of thousands in front of Duomo Cathedral in Milan, Salvini threw back in the faces of his enemies the taunt that these new parties are rooted in the old ugly politics of the 1930s.

“In this piazza, there are no extremists. There are no racists. There are no fascists. … In Italy and in Europe, the difference is between … those who speak of the future instead of making trials of the past.”

Tomorrow versus yesterday, says Salvini.

While the European establishment draws parallels between the populist parties of the present and what happened in the 1930s, it fails to recognize its own indispensable role in generating the mass defections to the populist right that now imperil its political hegemony.

The populist-nationalist parties are energized and united by both what they detest and what the EU has produced.

And what is that?

They resent the inequities of the new economy, where the wages of the working and middle class, the core of the nation, have fallen far behind the managerial class and the corporate and financial elites.

People who work with their hands, tools and machines have seen their wages arrested and jobs disappear, as salaries have surged for those who move numbers on computers.

The disparities have grown too great, as has the distance between national capitals and national heartlands.

Then there is immigration. Native-born Europeans do not welcome the new ethnic groups that have come uninvited in considerable numbers in recent decades, failed to assimilate and created enclaves that replicate the Third World places whence they came.

If one could identify a cry common to populists, it might be: “We want our country back!”

Whatever may be said of populists and nationalists, they are people of the heart. They love their countries. They cherish the cultures in which they grew up. They want to retain their own unique national identities.

What is wrong with that?

Patriotism is central to nationalist and populist movements. Globalism is alien to them. They believe in De Gaulle’s Europe of nation-states “from the Atlantic to the Urals,” not in the abstract Europe of Jean Monnet, and surely not in the Brussels bureaucracy of today.

The nation, the patria, is the largest entity to which one can give loyalty and love. Who would march into no man’s land for the EU?

Europe’s nationalists are not all the same. The ruling Polish Law and Justice Party disagrees on Putin’s Russia with the ruling Fidesz Party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Hungary.

While the EU Parliament does not possess great power, these elections are not without great meaning.

Consider Farage. Should his Brexit Party run first in Britain, how can the Tory Party not carry through on the 2016 vote to withdraw from the EU, without betraying its most loyal constituency on its most critical issue?

Nationalism in Europe is spreading, even deepening rifts between the premier powers in the NATO alliance.

Germany will not be reaching the promised 2 percent of GDP for defense President Donald Trump has demanded. And Berlin is going ahead with a second natural gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany from Russia, Nord Stream 2.

Turkey is taking possession of a Russian-built S-400 air defense system this summer, despite a U.S. warning that our sale of 100 F-35s will not go through if the Turks go forward with the Russian system.

Have the nationalists of Europe caught the wave of the future?

Or will the future see the revival of the idea of One Europe, a political and economic union that inspired the dreamers of yesteryear?

From here it looks like Matteo, not Macron.

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

9 comments
← Older posts