The Wire

  • Three takeaways from Alabama’s Runoff Election

    Excerpt:

    With Alabama’s primary election runoffs now in the books, here are three takeaways from the results.

    North Alabama has spoken.
    When this election cycle began, it became evident that north Alabama saw a window of opportunity to increase its influence.  The results from the Republican primary runoff have shown the electorate in that area of the state was eager to flex its muscle.

    Will Ainsworth pulled out an impressive come-from-behind victory in the Lt. Governor’s race. Steve Marshall enjoyed a resounding win in his bid to retain the Attorney General’s office.

  • On Roby’s win: One false media narrative dies, a new one is born

    Excerpt:

    Like Lucy van Pelt of Peanuts comic strip fame repeatedly pulling the football away from Charlie Brown as he lines up to kick it, Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) once again has shown you can’t beat her in a Republican primary.

    Similar to when she defeated “Gather Your Armies” Rick Barber in the 2010 GOP primary and “Born Free American Woman” Becky Gerritson in the 2016 GOP primary, Roby defeated former Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright for a second time on Tuesday night, this time by a whopping 36 points.

    Heading into yesterday, many national media reporters were sent into Alabama’s second congressional district looking at the possibility that Roby might have to answer to a revolt for not sticking with then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on the infamous Billy Bush weekend during the 2016 presidential campaign.

  • Mo Brooks Wins FreedomWorks’ Prestigious 2017 FreedomFighter Award

    Excerpt from a Rep. Mo Brooks news release:

    Tuesday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) was one of only 31 members of the U.S. House of Representatives awarded the prestigious 2017 FreedomFighter Award by FreedomWorks, a leading conservative organization with more than six million members nationwide. Only members of Congress who score better than 90% on the FreedomWorks scorecard receive the FreedomFighter Award. Congressman Brooks’ FreedomWorks score was in the top 4% of all Congressmen in 2017.

    Brooks said, “FreedomWorks is a leading organization in the conservative movement. I thank them for their work keeping members of Congress accountable and scoring key House floor votes which helps the American people better understand the impact of those votes. I was proud to receive the prestigious FreedomWorks 2017 FreedomFighter Award for my voting record in 2017. If America is to maintain its place as the greatest country in world history, more members of Congress must fight for the foundational principles that made America great. I’m fighting in Congress for those principles, and I’m glad to have a partner as effective as FreedomWorks in the fight.”

1 month ago

Trump’s historic gamble

(NBC News/YouTube)

President Donald Trump appears to belong to what might be called the Benjamin Disraeli school of diplomacy.

The British prime minister once counseled, “Everyone likes flattery; and when you come to Royalty you should lay it on with a trowel.”

At his Singapore summit, Trump smartly saluted a North Korean general and then lavished praise on Kim Jong Un as a “strong guy” with a “good personality” and a “great negotiator.” “He’s funny, and … very, very smart … and a very strategic kind of a guy. … His country does love him.”

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Predictably, Trump is being scourged for this.

Yet, during his trip to Peking in 1972, Richard Nixon did not confront Chairman Mao on his history of massacres and murder, though Nixon’s visit came in the midst of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, a nationwide pogrom.

Nor did Churchill or FDR at their wartime summits confront their ally Stalin for his legendary crimes against humanity. Both gushed over “Uncle Joe.”

Still, if the Trump-Kim camaraderie goes south and the crisis of 2017, when war seemed possible, returns, Trump, as he concedes, will be charged with naivety for having placed his trust in such a tyrant.

Yet, to Trump’s credit, we are surely at a better place than we were a year ago when Kim was testing hydrogen bombs and ICBMs, and he and Trump were trading threats and insults in what seemed the prelude to a new Korean War.

Whatever one may think of his diplomacy, Trump has, for now, lifted the specter of nuclear war from the Korean peninsula and begun a negotiating process that could lead to tolerable coexistence.

The central questions to emerge from the summit are these: What does Kim want, and what is he willing to pay for it?

Transparently, he does not want a war with the United States. That black cloud has passed over. Second, Kim and North Korea have emerged from their isolation in as dramatic a fashion as did Mao’s China in 1972.

In 2018, the North was invited to the Seoul Olympics. Kim met twice with South Korea’s president and twice with China’s Xi Jinping. Vladimir Putin’s foreign minister stopped by. And Kim had a face-to-face summit with a U.S. president, something his grandfather and father never came close to achieving.

It is unlikely Kim will be retreating back into the cloisters of the Hermit Kingdom after being courted by the world’s foremost powers.

What does Trump have on offer to induce Kim to end the lifetime of hostility? It is a long menu of what Kim can expect if he will surrender his nuclear weapons and dismantle the factories and facilities that produce them.

Among the benefits proffered: recognition of his dynasty and U.S. security guarantees, an end of sanctions, foreign investment, a peace treaty signed by the United States to replace the 65-year-old armistice and the eventual withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Korean peninsula.

Trump has already attended to one of Kim’s complaints. The joint military exercises we have conducted annually with South Korea for decades have been declared by Trump to be “war games” and “very provocative” and have been suspended.

What is being asked of Kim in return?

He must provide an inventory of all nuclear weapons and where they are hidden, surrender them all, dismantle his plutonium and uranium production plants, and shut down his testing sites, all under the watch of U.S.-approved inspectors.

He must renounce any and all nuclear weapons forever, and accept a regime of international inspections that would guarantee he never cheats on that commitment.

Here is where the crunch comes. Kim is being told that he must give up the weapons whose very possession by him are the reason why the world powers are paying him heed.

As leader of a country with a per capita income smaller than Haiti’s, Kim is being told he must surrender the weapons that placed him and North Korea in the world’s most exclusive club, to which only eight other nations belong: the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France, India, Pakistan and Israel.

Will Kim, whose nuclear weapons have enabled him to strut on the world stage and trade insults with the president of the United States, give them up to become the leader of a poor backward nation, with half the population of South Korea and not even 4 percent of the economy of the South?

Will he give up his most reliable deterrent against an attack by the United States or China?

In the Kim-Trump relationship, this is where the rubber meets the road. Kim has seen how Americans treat nations — like Gadhafi’s Libya, Saddam’s Iraq, and Iran — that decline to develop or surrender the kind of weapons his country took decades to plan, test, produce and deploy.

Should Kim give up his nukes, what U.S. president would fly halfway around the world to meet him one-to-one?

Hence the crucial question: Will he ever really give them up?

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.”

(Creators, copyright 2018)

1 month ago

Behind Trump’s exasperation

(WH/Flickr)

At the G-7 summit in Canada, President Donald Trump described America as “the piggy bank that everybody is robbing.”

After he left Quebec, his director of Trade and Industrial Policy, Peter Navarro, added a few parting words for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

“There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door. … And that’s … what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did. And that comes right from Air Force One.”

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In Singapore, Trump tweeted more about that piggy bank.

“Why should I, as President of the United States, allow countries to continue to make Massive Trade Surpluses, as they have for decades … (while) the U.S. pays close to the entire cost of NATO-protecting many of these same countries that rip us off on Trade?”

To understand what drives Trump, and explains his exasperation and anger, these remarks are a good place to begin.
Our elites see America as an “indispensable nation,” the premier world power whose ordained duty it is to defend democracy, stand up to dictators and aggressors, and uphold a liberal world order.

They see U.S. wealth and power as splendid tools that fate has given them to shape the future of the planet.
Trump sees America as a nation being milked by allies who free ride on our defense effort, as they engage in trade practices that prosper their own peoples at America’s expense.

Where our elites live to play masters of the universe, Trump sees a world laughing behind America’s back, while allies exploit our magnanimity and idealism for their own national ends.

The numbers are impossible to refute and hard to explain.

Last year, the EU had a $151 billion trade surplus with the U.S. China ran a $376 billion trade surplus with the U.S., the largest in history. The world sold us $796 billion more in goods than we sold to the world.

A nation that spends more than it takes in from taxes, and consumes more of the world’s goods than it produces itself for export, year in and year out, is a nation on the way down.

We are emulating our British cousins of the 19th century.

Trump understands that this situation is not sustainable. His strength is that the people are still with him on putting America first.

Yet he faces some serious obstacles.

What is his strategy for turning a $796 billion trade deficit into a surplus? Is he prepared to impose the tariffs and import restrictions that would be required to turn America from the greatest trade-deficit nation in history to a trade-surplus nation, as we were up until the mid-1970s?

Americans are indeed carrying the lion’s share of the load of the defense of the West, and of fighting the terrorists and radical Islamists of the Middle East, and of protecting South Korea and Japan.

But if our NATO and Asian allies refuse to make the increases in defense he demands, is Trump really willing to cancel our treaty commitments, walk away from our war guarantees, and let these nations face Russia and China on their own? Could he cut that umbilical cord?

Ike’s Secretary of State John Foster Dulles spoke of conducting an “agonizing reappraisal” of U.S. commitments to defend NATO allies, if they did not contribute more money and troops.

Dulles died in 1959, and that reappraisal, threatened 60 years ago, never happened. Indeed, when the Cold War ended, out NATO allies cut defense spending again. Yet we are still subsidizing NATO in Europe and have taken on new allies since the Soviet Empire fell.

If Europe refuses to invest the money in defense Trump demands, or accept the tariffs America needs to reduce and erase its trade deficits, what does he do? Is he prepared to shut U.S. bases and pull U.S. troops out of the Baltic republics, Poland and Germany, and let the Europeans face Vladimir Putin and Russia themselves?

This is not an academic question. For the crunch that was inevitable when Trump was elected seems at hand.

He promised to negotiate with Putin and improve relations with Russia. He promised to force our NATO allies to undertake more of their own defense. He pledged to get out and stay out of Mideast wars, and begin to slash the trade deficits that we have run with the world.

And that’s what America voted for.

Now, after 500 days, he faces formidable opposition to these defining goals of his campaign, even within his own party.

Putin remains a pariah on Capitol Hill. Our allies are rejecting the tariffs Trump has imposed and threatening retaliation. Free trade Republicans reject tariffs that might raise the cost of the items U.S. companies makes abroad and then ships back to the United States.

The decisive battles between Trumpian nationalism and globalism remain ahead of us. Trump’s critical tests have yet to come.

And our exasperated president senses this.

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.”

(Creators, copyright 2018)

1 month ago

Is Mayor de Blasio an anti-Asian bigot?

(NYC.gov)

“Though New York City has one of the most segregated schools systems in the country,” writes Elizabeth Harris of The New York Times, until now, Mayor Bill de Blasio “was all but silent on the issue.”

He was “reluctant even to use the word ‘segregation.'”

Now the notion that the liberal mayor belongs in the same basket as Southern governors in the ’50s and ’60s like Orval Faubus of Arkansas and Ross Barnett of Mississippi seems a bit of a stretch.

For what Harris means by “segregation” is that in the city’s eight most prestigious schools, like Stuyvesant High School and the Bronx School of Science, where admission is by written test, the makeup of the student body does not remotely resemble the racial diversity of the city.

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“Black and Hispanic students make up nearly 70 percent of the city’s public school students,” writes Harris, “but they received just 10 percent of offers for seats at specialized schools this fall.”

“About 27 percent of the offers went to white students who make up 15 percent of the student system; 52 percent went to Asian students, who up make 16 percent.”

Harris later adjusted her numbers. Asians are 62 percent of students. At Stuyvesant, only 10 of 900 students being admitted this fall are black.

At Stuyvesant, The Wall Street Journal writes, “2.8 percent of students are Latino and 0.69 percent are black. But 72.9 percent are Asian-American.”

Harris decries this as “extreme school segregation.”

De Blasio now demands change: “We must be sure that the very best high schools are open to … every kind of New Yorker.” The student bodies at the elite public schools “need to look like New York City.”

Translation: We must have more Hispanic and black students, and if that means throwing out the entrance exam to cut the numbers of Asians and whites, throw out the exam.

Soo Kim, president of the Stuyvesant alumni association, is having none of it: “Correct me if I’m wrong, but they’re saying these schools are too Asian, so there must be something wrong. … Am I the only one who looks at that and says, ‘I don’t understand how that’s even legal.'”

Councilman Peter Koo took it straight to the mayor:

“The test is the most unbiased way to get into a school. … It doesn’t require a resume. It doesn’t even require connections. The mayor’s son just graduated from Brooklyn Tech and got into Yale. Now he wants to stop this and build a barrier to Asian-Americans — especially our children.”

“I’m not sure if the mayor is a racist,” says Kenneth Chiu, chairman of the New York City Asian-American Democratic Club, “but this policy is certainly discriminatory.”

As Asians demonstrated this week against changing admissions standards to reduce the number of Asian students, schools chancellor Richard Carranza gave them the back of his hand: “I just don’t buy into the narrative that any one ethnic group owns admissions to these schools.”

Yet it is Carranza and De Blasio who are claiming an entitlement to seats at the schools based on race. The Asian protesters are insisting on maintaining merit and performance, measured by tests, as the standard of admission.

This issue is not confined to New York. It has gone national and pits Asian-Americans who believe in and benefit from a meritocracy in education against egalitarians who embrace race quotas and affirmative action to bring about a greater equality of rewards.

That Asians are the new victims of race discrimination seems undeniable. In August, the Times reported:

“A Princeton study found that students who identify as Asian need to score 140 points higher on the SAT than whites to have the same chance of admission to private colleges, a difference some have called ‘the Asian tax.’

“A lawsuit cites Harvard’s Asian-American enrollment at 18 percent in 2013, and notes very similar numbers ranging from 14 to 18 percent at other Ivy League colleges, like Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Princeton and Yale.”

Now, compare the numbers from California:

“In the same year (2013), Asian-Americans made up 34.8 percent of the student body at the University of California, Los Angeles, 32.4 percent at Berkeley and 42.5 percent at Caltech.”

Among possible reasons for the racial disparities: In 1996, by voter referendum, Californians outlawed racial preferences.

What the Ivy League is doing may be criminal in the Golden State.

In 1965, in words written by Richard Goodwin who died last month, and delivered at Howard University, LBJ declared:
“This is the next and the more profound stage of the battle for civil rights. We seek not just … equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and equality as a result.”

In today’s clash in liberalism’s citadel over which races have too many seats at Brooklyn Tech and Stuyvesant, and which races have too few, we get a glimpse of America’s future.

It appears to be a future of endless collisions and conflicts over who deserves and who gets what — based upon ethnicity and race.

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.”

(Creators, copyright 2018)

1 month ago

Boehner’s right — It’s Trump’s party now

(D. Trump/Instagram)

“There is no Republican Party. There’s a Trump party,” John Boehner told a Mackinac, Michigan, gathering of the GOP faithful last week. “The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere.”

Ex-Speaker Boehner should probably re-check the old party’s pulse, for the Bush-Boehner GOP may not just be napping. It could be comatose.

Consider. That GOP was dedicated to free trade, open borders, amnesty and using U.S. power to punish aggressors and “end tyranny in our world.” That GOP set out to create a new world order where dictatorships were threatened with “regime change,” and democratic capitalism was the new order of the ages.

Yet, Donald Trump captured the Republican nomination and won the presidency — by saying goodbye to all that.
How probable is it that a future GOP presidential candidate will revive the Bush-Boehner agenda the party rejected in 2016, run on it, win, and impose it on the party and nation?

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Bush-Boehner Republicanism appears to be as dead today as was Harding-Coolidge Republicanism after 1933. And if Trumpism is not the future of the GOP, it is hard to see what a promising GOP agenda might look like.

A brief history: In seven elections starting in 1992, Republicans won the presidency three times, but the popular vote only once, in 2004, when George W. was still basking in his “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq.

What fractured and overwhelmed the Bush-Boehner Republican Party?

First, demography. The mass immigration of Third World peoples that began with the 1965 immigration act, and the decline in the birth rate of native-born Americans, began to swamp the Nixon-Reagan New Majority.

Second, the collapse of the Soviet Empire and USSR removed the party’s great unifying cause from Eisenhower to Bush I — the Cold War.

After the Red Army went home, “America First” had a new appeal!

Third, faithful to the free trade cult in which they were raised, Republicans championed NAFTA, the WTO, and MFN for China.

Historians will look back in amazement at how America’s free trade zealots gave away the greatest manufacturing base the world had ever seen, as they quoted approvingly 18th- and 19th-century scribblers whose ideas had done so much to bring down their own country, Great Britain.

Between 1997 and 2017, the EU ran up, at America’s expense, trade surpluses in goods in excess of $2 trillion, while we also picked up the bill for Europe’s defense.

Between 1992 and 2016, China was allowed to run $4 trillion in trade surpluses at our expense, converting herself into the world’s first manufacturing power and denuding America of tens of thousands of factories and millions of manufacturing jobs.

In Trump’s first year, China’s trade surplus with the United States hit $375 billion. From January to March of this year, our trade deficit with China was running at close to the same astronomical rate.

“Trade deficits do not matter,” we hear from the economists.

They might explain that to Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

And perhaps someone can explain the wisdom of handing 4 percent of our GDP each year to an adversary nation, as U.S. admirals talk tough about confronting that adversary nation over islets and reefs in the South China Sea.
Why are we enriching and empowering so exorbitantly those whom we are told we may have to fight?

Fourth, under Bush II and Obama, the U.S. intervened massively in the Near and Middle East — in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen. And the forces that pushed up into those conflicts, and so disillusioned the nation that it elected Barack Obama, are back, pushing for a new war, on Iran. They may get this war, too.

Yet, given the anti-interventionist and anti-war stance of Trump’s winning campaign, and of the Bernie Sanders campaign, U.S. involvement in Middle East wars seems less America’s future than it does her past.

After his 16 months in office, it appears as though the Trump presidency, no matter how brief, is going to be a watershed moment in U.S. and world history, and in the future of the GOP.

The world is changing. NATO and the EU are showing their age. Nationalism, populism and tribalism are pervasive on the Old Continent. And America’s willingness to bear the burden of Europe’s defense, as they ride virtually free, is visibly waning.

It is hard to see why or how Republicans are ever again going to be the Bush-Boehner party that preceded the rise of Trump.

What would be the argument for returning to a repudiated platform?

Trump not only defeated 16 Bush Republicans, he presented an agenda on immigration, border security, amnesty, intervention abroad, the Middle East, NAFTA, free trade, Putin and Russia that was a rejection of what the Bush-Boehner Party had stood for and what its presidential candidates in 2008 and 2012, John McCain and Mitt Romney, had run on.

If the Republican Party is “napping,” let it slumber on, undisturbed, for its time has come and gone. We are in a new world now.

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.”

(Creators, copyright 2018)

1 month ago

Is America’s racial divide permanent?

(W.Miller/YHN)

For Roseanne Barr, star of ABC’s hit show “Roseanne,” there would be no appeal. When her tweet hit, she was gone.

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement, is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” declaimed Channing Dungey, the black president of ABC Entertainment.

Targeting Valerie Jarrett, a confidante and aide of President Barack Obama, Roseanne had tweeted: If the “muslim brotherhood & the planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”

Offensive, juvenile, crude, but was that not pretty much the job description ABC had in mind for the role of Roseanne in the show?

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Roseanne also tweeted that George Soros, 87-year-old radical-liberal billionaire, had been a Nazi “who turned in his fellow Jews 2 be murdered in German concentration camps and stole their wealth.”

The Soros slur seems far more savage than the dumb racial joke about Jarrett, but it was the latter that got Roseanne canned.

Her firing came the same day that 175,000 employees of 8,000 Starbucks’s stores were undergoing four hours of instruction to heighten their racial sensitivities.

These training sessions, said The Washington Post, “marked the start of Starbucks’ years-long commitment to new diversity and sensitivity programs after two African-Americans were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks on April 12.”

The Philly Starbucks manager, a woman, had called the cops when the two black men she took to be loiterers refused to leave.

Rachel Siegel of the Post describes the four-hour session:

“At first the employees are prompted to find differences. They watched a video in which (Starbucks head) Howard Schultz talks about his vision for a more inclusive company and country. They reflected what a place of belonging means to them. And they examine their own biases.

“Each group viewed a documentary underwritten by Starbucks and directed by Stanley Nelson. In the film people of color talk about experiences of being followed in stores. Footage from the civil rights movement quickly progresses to 21st-century cellphone videos capturing people being dragged off a plane, threatened in a New York deli and choked at a North Carolina Waffle House.”

On reading this, the terms “Orwellian” and “re-education camp” come to mind.

Earlier in May, the NFL issued a rule saying players who refuse to stand for the national anthem must remain in the locker room. If they take a knee on the field this coming season, they can be punished and the team fined.

Great was the outrage when this ruling came. The First Amendment rights of black players were being brutally trampled upon.

Yet the NFL has always had restrictions on behavior, from evicting players from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct to curtailing end-zone dances.

What is the common thread that runs through these social clashes from just this last month?

It is race. Each episode fits neatly into the great media narrative of an irredeemably racist America of white oppressors and black victims.

Had it been two white guys hanging out in that Philly Starbucks, who were told by the manager to buy a cup of coffee or get out, the spat would never have become a national story.

These incidents, coming as they do 50 years after the historic advances in civil rights, induce a deep pessimism that this country will ever escape from the endlessly boiling cauldron of racial conflict.

Today, because of cellphone videos, social media, 24-hour cable and the subsequent nationalization of even the most trivial incidents, our national conversation is more suffused than ever with matters of race.

For many, race has become a constant preoccupation.

And in each of these incidents and disputes, the country divides along the familiar fault lines, and the accusations and arguments go on and on until a new incident engenders a new argument.

The America of the 1960s, with its civil rights clashes and “long hot summers,” was a far more segregated society than today. Yet the toxic charge of “racist” is far more common now.

And how much do these conversations correspond to the real crisis of black America? Here is a sentence culled from another Post story this week: “Three fatal shootings …over the Memorial Day weekend brought the (Ward 8 total) to 30 homicides so far this year.”

Are white cops really the problem in Ward 8, Anacostia, when 30 people in that black community have been shot or stabbed to death in the first five months of 2018?

Washington, D.C., spends more per student than almost any other school district. Yet the test scores of vast numbers of black kids have already fallen below “proficiency” levels by the time they reach fourth and eighth grade, and the high school truancies have reached scandalous levels.

How does ABC’s cashiering of “Roseanne,” or apologies to the two guys at Starbucks, or restrictions on the rights of millionaire NFL players to kneel during our national anthem address the real crisis?

Is white America really black America’s biggest problem?

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.” T

(Creators, copyright 2018)

2 months ago

What Is America’s cause in the world today?

(Pixabay)

After being sworn in for a fourth term, Vladimir Putin departed the Kremlin for Annunciation Cathedral to receive the televised blessing of Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The patriarch and his priests in sacred vestments surrounded Putin, who, standing alone, made the sign of the cross.

Meanwhile, sacred vestments from the Sistine Chapel were being transported by the Vatican to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to adorn half-clad models in a sexy show billed as “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” One model sported a papal tiara.

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The show proved a sensation in secular media.

In Minsk, Belarus, on May 17, to celebrate International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Britain’s embassy raised the rainbow flag. Belarus’s Ministry of Internal Affairs was not amused:

“Same-sex relationships are a fake. And the essence of fake is always the same — the devaluation of truth. The LGBT community and all this struggle for ‘their rights,’ and the day of the community itself, are just a fake!”

Belarus is declaring moral truth — to Great Britain.

What is going on? A scholarly study sums it up: “The statistical trends in religion show two separate Europes: the West is undergoing a process of secularization while the post-socialist East, de-secularization.”

One Europe is turning back to God; the other is turning its back on God.

And when Vladimir Putin and Belarus’ Alexander Lukashenko are standing up for traditional values against Western cultural elites, the East-West struggle has lost its moral clarity.

And, so, what do we Americans stand for now? What is our cause in the world today?

In World War II, Americans had no doubt they were in the right against Nazism and a militaristic Japan that had attacked us at Pearl Harbor.

In the Cold War, we believed America was on God’s side against the evil ideology of Marxism-Leninism, which declared the Communist state supreme and that there was no such thing as God-given rights.

With the moral clarity of the Cold War gone, how do we rally Americans to fight on the other side of the world in places most of them can’t find on a map?

A weekend article in The Washington Post discusses the strategic difficulty of our even prevailing, should we become involved in wars with both Iran and North Korea.

“You would expect the U.S. and its allies to prevail but at a human and material cost that would be almost incalculable, particularly in the case of the Korean example,” said Rand researcher David Ochmanek,

Added John Hopkins professor Mara Karlin, “If you want to ensure the Pentagon can actually plan and prepare and resource for a potential conflict with China or Russia, then getting into conflict with Iran or North Korea is the exact wrong thing to do.”

One wonders: How many of these potential wars — with North Korea, Iran, Russia, China — could we fight without having America bled and bankrupted. What conceivable benefit could we derive from these wars, especially with a China or Russia, to justify the cost?

Looking back, only one great power survived the last century as a world power. The German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires did not survive World War I. World War II brought to an end the British, French, Italian and Japanese empires.

The Soviet Union and the United States were the only great surviving powers of World War II, and the USSR itself collapsed between 1989 and 1991.

Then, in 1991, we Americans started down the well-traveled road of empire, smashing Iraq to rescue Kuwait. Heady with that martial triumph, we plunged into Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Though still embroiled, we are now talking war with North Korea or Iran, or even Russia or China, the former over its annexation of Crimea, the latter over its annexation of the South China Sea.

Donald Trump is president today because he told the people he would “Make America Great Again” and put “America First.”

Which bring us back to the question: What is America’s cause today?

Defeating Nazism and fascism was a cause. Defending the West against Communism was a cause. But what cause now unites Americans?

It is certainly not Christianizing the world as it was in centuries long ago, or imposing Western rule on mankind as it was in the age of empires from the 17th to the 20th century.

Democracy crusading is out of style as the free elections we have demanded have produced Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq, and nationalists, populists and autocrats from Asia to the Middle East to Europe.

Perhaps our mission is to defend and protect what is vital to us, to stay out of foreign wars where our critical interests are not imperiled, and to reunite our divided and disputatious republic — if we are not too far beyond that.

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

(Creators, copyright 2018)

2 months ago

Is US bellicosity backfiring?

(G. Skidmore/Flickr)

U.S. threats to crush Iran and North Korea may yet work, but as of now neither Tehran nor Pyongyang appears to be intimidated.

Repeated references by NSC adviser John Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence to the “Libya model” for denuclearization of North Korea just helped sink the Singapore summit of President Trump and Kim Jong Un. To North Korea, the Libya model means the overthrow and murder of Libya strongman Col. Gadhafi, after he surrendered his WMD.

Wednesday, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui exploded at Pence’s invocation of Libya: “Vice-President Pence has made unbridled and impudent remarks that North Korea might end like Libya … I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks.

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“Whether the U.S. will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States.”

Yesterday, Trump canceled the Singapore summit.

Earlier this week at the Heritage Foundation, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid out our Plan B for Iran in a speech that called to mind Prussian Field Marshal Karl Von Moltke.

Among Pompeo’s demands: Iran must end all support for Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and Hamas in Gaza, withdraw all forces under Iranian command in Syria, and disarm its Shiite militia in Iraq.

Iran must confess its past lies about a nuclear weapons program, and account publicly for all such activity back into the 20th century.

Iran must halt all enrichment of uranium, swear never to produce plutonium, shut down its heavy water reactor, open up its military bases to inspection to prove it has no secret nuclear program, and stop testing ballistic missiles.
And unless Iran submits, she will be strangled economically.

What Pompeo delivered was an ultimatum: Iran is to abandon all its allies in all Mideast wars, or face ruin and possible war with the USA.

It is hard to recall a secretary of state using the language Pompeo deployed: “We will track down Iranian operatives and their Hezbollah proxies operating around the world and crush them. Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East.”

But how can Iran “dominate” a Mideast that is home to Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt, as well as U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea and Syria?

To Iran’s east is a nuclear-armed Pakistan. To its west is a nuclear-armed U.S. Fifth Fleet and a nuclear-armed Israel. Iran has no nukes, no warships to rival ours and a 1970s air force.

Yet, this U.S.-Iran confrontation, triggered by Trump’s trashing of the nuclear deal and Pompeo’s ultimatum, is likely to end one of three ways:

First, Tehran capitulates, which is unlikely, as President Hassan Rouhani retorted to Pompeo: “Who are you to decide for Iran and the world? We will continue our path with the support of our nation.” Added Ayatollah Khamenei, “Iran’s presence in the region is our strategic depth.”

Second, Iran defies U.S. sanctions and continues to support its allies in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen. This would seem likely to lead to collisions and war.

Third, the U.S. could back off its maximalist demands, as Trump backed off Bolton’s demand that Kim Jong Un accept the Libyan model of total and verifiable disarmament before any sanctions are lifted.

Where, then, are we headed?

While our NATO allies are incensed by Trump’s threat to impose secondary sanctions if they do not re-impose sanctions on Tehran, the Europeans are likely to cave in to America’s demands. For Europe to choose Iran over a U.S. that has protected Europe since the Cold War began and is an indispensable market for Europe’s goods would be madness.

Vladimir Putin appears to want no part of an Iran-Israel or U.S.-Iran war and has told Bashar Assad that Russia will not be selling Damascus his S-300 air defense system. Putin has secured his bases in Syria and wants to keep them.

As for the Chinese, she will take advantage of the West’s ostracism of Iran by drawing Iran closer to her own orbit.

Is there a compromise to be had?

Perhaps, for some of Pompeo’s demands accord with the interests of Iran, which cannot want a war with the United States, or with Israel, which would likely lead to war with the United States.

Iran could agree to release Western prisoners, move Shiite militia in Syria away from the Golan Heights, accept verifiable restrictions on tests of longer-range missiles and establish deconfliction rules for U.S. and Iranian warships in the Persian Gulf.

Reward: aid from the West and renewed diplomatic relations with the United States.

Surely, a partial, verifiable nuclear disarmament of North Korea is preferable to war on the peninsula. And, surely, a new nuclear deal with Iran with restrictions on missiles is preferable to war in the Gulf.

Again, we cannot make the perfect the enemy of the good.

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

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2 months ago

Can a Pope change moral truth?

(L. Thiên/Flickr)

That joking retort we heard as children, “Is the pope Catholic?” is starting to look like a serious question.

Asked five years ago about a “gay lobby” in the Vatican, Pope Francis responded, “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?”

As judgment was thought to be part of the papal job description, traditional Catholics were startled at what the new pope had volunteered.

Now the Holy Father has apparently fleshed out what he meant.

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According to a childhood victim of a pedophile priest in Chile, Juan Carlos Cruz, a homosexual to whom the pope apologized, Francis said: “God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care. The pope does love you like this. You have to be happy with who you are.”

The Vatican has not denied what Cruz relates.

What makes this remarkable is that the catechism of the Catholic Church, based on the Old and New Testament and tradition, has always taught that homosexuality is a moral disorder, a proclivity toward sexual relations that are unnatural and immoral.

The idea that God is responsible for homosexual orientations, that the pope and the Catholic Church are fine with men being attracted to one another, and that those so oriented should be happy with it, appears, on its face, to be heresy.

It implies that what Catholics regarded for centuries as moral truth was wrong, or that moral truth has evolved and must be made to conform to modernity. This is moral relativism: Truth changes with the times.

And if what Cruz reports is accurate, the pope’s position is close to Hillary Clinton’s.

In 2016, at a New York fundraiser, Clinton recited her infamous litany of sins common to the “basket of deplorables” backing Donald Trump.

Said Hillary, they are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic.”

A phobia is “an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.” Clinton was thus saying that those who have an aversion to homosexuality are morally or mentally sick.

Yet, up until December 1973, homosexuality itself was listed as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association.

The new morality we hear from the pope and Hillary reflects a historic change in the moral thinking of the West. For the belief that homosexuality is normal and natural, and not only acceptable but even praiseworthy, has carried the day.

Legislatures and courts have written this “truth” into law. It has been discovered by the Supreme Court to be lurking in that Constitution whose authors regarded and treated homosexuality as a grave crime.

And, yet, from this historic change, questions naturally arise:

On the issue of homosexuality, have we ascended to a higher moral plateau? Or has America jettisoned the truths we believed and replaced them with the tenets of an ideology that may be politically and culturally ascendant but is rooted in nothing but baseless assertions and lies?

Consider the views of Cardinal Gerhard Muller, lately removed as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as to what is behind the drive to have “homophobia” regarded as a mental disorder.

“Homophobia (is) an invention and an instrument of the totalitarian dominance over the thoughts of others. The homo-movement is lacking scientific arguments, which is why it created an ideology which wants to dominate by creating its own reality.”

In short, cultural Marxists and their progressive allies have taken an ideological assertion — homosexuality is normal, natural and moral — without any historical, biological or scientific basis, and asserted it as truth, established it as law, and demanded that we accept and act upon this truth, or face the wrath of the regime.

Said Muller: “It is the Marxist pattern according to which reality does not create thinking, but thinking creates its own reality. He who does not accept this created reality is to be considered as being sick.

“It is as if one could influence an illness with the help of the police or with the help of courts. In the Soviet Union, Christians were put into psychiatric clinics. These are the methods of totalitarian regimes, of National Socialism and of Communism.”

As Russell Kirk wrote, ideology is political religion. And the dogmas of the political religion by which we are increasingly ruled have displaced the teachings of Christianity and tradition.

Since the Stonewall Riot of 1969, homosexual relationships have gone from being seen as indecent and immoral, to being tolerated, to being accepted, to being on the same plane as traditional marriage, to being a constitutional right.

And if you do not accept the new morality, you are a deplorable bigot. And if you act on your disbelief in the equality of homosexuality, you will be ostracized and punished.

The truths being jettisoned built the greatest civilization known to man. Will the invented truths of our new egalitarianism survive the arrival of the new barbarians? It’s not looking all that good right now.

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.”

(Creators, copyright 2018)

2 months ago

A Trump doctrine for Singapore and beyond

(White House/Flickr)

After Pyongyang railed this week that the U.S.-South Korean Max Thunder military drills were a rehearsal for an invasion of the North, and imperiled the Singapore summit, the Pentagon dialed them back.

The B-52 exercises alongside F-22 stealth fighters were canceled.

But Pyongyang had other objections.

Sunday, NSC adviser John Bolton spoke of a “Libyan model” for the North’s disarmament, referring to Moammar Gadhafi’s surrender of all his weapons of mass destruction in 2004. The U.S. was invited into Libya to pick them up and cart them off, whereupon sanctions were lifted.

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As Libya was subsequently attacked by NATO and Gadhafi lynched, North Korea denounced Bolton and all this talk of the “Libyan model” of unilateral disarmament.

North Korea wants a step-by-step approach, each concession by Pyongyang to be met by a U.S. concession. And Bolton sitting beside Trump, and across the table from Kim Jong Un in Shanghai, may be inhibiting.

What was predictable and predicted has come to pass.

If we expected Kim to commit at Singapore to Bolton’s demand for “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization,” and a swift follow-through, we were deluding ourselves.

At Singapore, both sides will have demands, and both will have to offer concessions, if there is to be a deal.

What does Kim Jong Un want?

An end to U.S. and South Korean military exercises and sanctions on the North, trade and investment, U.S. recognition of his regime, a peace treaty, and the eventual removal of U.S. bases and troops.

He is likely to offer an end to the testing of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, no transfer of nuclear weapons or strategic missiles to third powers, a drawdown of troops on the DMZ, and the opening of North Korea’s borders to trade and travel.

As for his nuclear weapons and the facilities to produce them, these are Kim’s crown jewels. These brought him to the attention of the world and the Americans to the table. These are why President Trump is flying 10,000 miles to meet and talk with him.

And, unlike Gadhafi, Kim is not going to give them up.

Assuming the summit comes off June 12, this is the reality Trump will face in Singapore: a North Korea willing to halt the testing of nukes and ICBMs and to engage diplomatically and economically.

As for having Americans come into his country, pick up his nuclear weapons, remove them and begin intrusive inspections to ensure he has neither nuclear bombs nor the means to produce, deliver or hide them, that would be tantamount to a surrender by Kim.

Trump is not going to get that. And if he adopts a Bolton policy of “all or nothing,” he is likely to get nothing at all.

Yet, thanks to Trump’s threats and refusal to accept a “frozen conflict” on the Korean peninsula, the makings of a real deal are present, if Trump does not make the perfect the enemy of the good.

For there is nothing North Korea is likely to demand that cannot be granted, as long as the security of South Korea is assured to the degree that it can be assured, while living alongside a nuclear-armed North.

Hence, when Kim cavils or balks in Singapore, as he almost surely will, at any demand for a pre-emptive surrender of his nuclear arsenal, Trump should have a fallback position.

If we cannot have everything we want, what can we live with?

Moreover, while we are running a risk today, an intransigent North Korea that walks out would be running a risk as well.

A collapse in talks between Kim and the United States and Kim and South Korea would raise the possibility that he and his Chinese patrons could face an East Asia Cold War where South Korea and Japan also have acquired nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.

In the last analysis, the United States should be willing to accept both the concessions to the North that the South is willing to make and the risks from the North that the South is willing to take.

For, ultimately, they are the one who are going to have to live on the same peninsula with Kim and his nukes.

Trump ran on a foreign policy that may fairly be described as a Trump Doctrine: In the post-post-Cold War era, the United States will start looking out for America first.

This does not mean isolationism or the abandonment of our allies. It does mean a review and reassessment of all the guarantees we have issued to go to war on behalf of other countries, and the eventual transfer of responsibility for the defense of our friends over to our friends.

In the future, the U.S. will stop futilely imploring allies to do more for their own defense and will begin telling them that their defense is primarily their own responsibility. Our allies must cease to be our dependents.

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.”

(Creators, copyright 2018)

2 months ago

Israel at 70: Bibi’s troubled hour of power

(YouTube)

For Bibi Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister save only founding father David Ben-Gurion, it has been a week of triumph.

Last Tuesday, President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal as Bibi had demanded. Thursday, after Iran launched 20 missiles at the Golan Heights, Bibi answered with a 70-missile attack on Iran in Syria.

“If it rains on us, it will storm on them. I hope we have finished the episode,” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, boasting that Israel’s raids hit “nearly all Iranian infrastructure in Syria.”

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The day before, Bibi was in Moscow, persuading Vladimir Putin to cancel the sale of Russia’s S-300 air defense system to Damascus.

Yesterday, in an event televised worldwide, the U.S. embassy was transferred to Jerusalem, with Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner doing the honors in what Bibi called a “glorious day.” Few can recall a time when Israel seemed in so favorable a position.

The White House and the Republican Party that controls Congress are solidly behind Israel. Egypt is cooperating to battle terrorists in Sinai.

Israel has a de facto alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf royals. And the Palestinians have never been more divided, isolated and alone.

Yet, there is another side to this story, also visible this last week.

As the transfer ceremony of the Jerusalem embassy was taking place, TV split screens showed pictures of protesting Palestinians, 52 of whom were shot dead Monday, with thousands wounded by snipers. Some 40,000 had rallied against the U.S. embassy move.

Even before Monday’s body count, the Gaza Health Ministry said that, over the previous six Fridays of “March of Return” protests, 49 Palestinians had been killed and 2,240 hit by live fire from Israeli troops.

Those dead and wounded Palestinians are not likely to be forgotten in Gaza. And while Israel has never had so many Arab regimes willing to work with her in pushing back against Iran, Arab League Chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit called the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem, a “clear violation of international law.”

Gheit added: “The fall of Palestinian martyrs by the bullets of the Israeli occupation must ring an alarm … bell to any state that does not find anything wrong with the immoral and illegal stance that we are watching.”

Last week, Hezbollah, which arose in resistance to the 1982 Israeli occupation of Lebanon, and expelled the Israeli army 18 years later, won Lebanon’s elections. A Hezbollah-backed coalition will likely form the new government in Beirut.

Michael Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to the U.S. and Bibi ally, said that any attack by Hezbollah, which fought Israel to a standstill in 2006, should bring an Israeli declaration of war — on Lebanon.

While Israel launched some 100 strikes on Syria in recent years, Syrian President Bashar Assad has survived and, with the aid of Hezbollah, Iran and Russia, won his civil war.

Assad and his army and allies are far stronger now, while President Trump, Israel’s indispensable ally, speaks of bringing U.S. troops home from Syria. In polls, a majority of Americans lines up behind Israel in its clashes, but a majority also wants no more U.S. wars in the Middle East.

Also, Sunday, the U.S. sustained another major political defeat.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi lost his re-election bid. Based on early results, the winning coalition was that of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, against whose forces U.S. troops fought a decade ago.

Running second was a ticket led by a Shiite militia general close to Iran. When a new government is formed in Baghdad, the orientation of Iraq seems certain to shift away from the United States.

While the Israelis are the most powerful nation in the region, how long can they keep 2 million Palestinian Arabs confined in the penal colony that is the Gaza Strip? How long can they keep the 2 million Palestinians of the West Bank living in conditions even Israeli leaders have begun to compare to apartheid?

Across the West, especially in universities, a BDS movement to have students, companies and consumers boycott, divest and sanction Israeli-produced products has been gaining ground.

The Palestinians may have been abandoned by Arab rulers and the wider world. Yet, history teaches that people forced to survive in such conditions eventually rise in rebellion and revolution, take revenge, and exact retribution for what was done to them and their own.

Republican leaders often say that we cannot permit “any daylight” between the U.S. position and that of Israel.

But can the country that decried for decades the panicked reaction of an Ohio National Guard that shot and killed four students at Kent State University sit silent as scores of unarmed protesters are shot to death and thousands are wounded by Israeli troops in Gaza?

Bibi and Israel appear to be on a winning streak. It is difficult to see how, over the long run, it can be sustained.

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

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2 months ago

Are Bibi and Bolton in the wheel house now?

(Wikicommons)

Brushing aside the anguished pleas of our NATO allies, President Trump Tuesday contemptuously trashed the Iranian nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions.

Prime Minister Theresa May of Great Britain, President Emmanuel Macron of France and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were put on notice that their ties to Iran are to be severed, or secondary sanctions will be imposed on them.

Driving the point home, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin ordered Airbus to cancel its $19 billion contract to sell 100 commercial planes to Iran.

Who is cheering Trump’s trashing of the treaty?

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The neocons who sought his political extinction in 2016, the royals of the Gulf, Bibi Netanyahu, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The IRGC had warned Iranians that the Americans were duplicitous.

When Trump finished speaking, Bibi launched strikes on Iranian bases in Syria, and flew to Moscow to persuade Vladimir Putin not to give the Iranians any air defense against Israeli attacks.

Iranian forces responded with 20 missiles fired at the Golan, which ignited a massive Israeli counterstrike Thursday night, a 70-missile attack on Iranian bases in Syria.

We appear to be at the beginning of a new war, and how it ends we know not. But for Bibi and National Security Adviser John Bolton, the end has always been clear — the smashing of Iran and regime change.

Tuesday, Trump warned that Iran is on “a quest for nuclear weapons,” and “if we do nothing … in just a short period of time, the world’s worst sponsor of state terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapon.”

And where is the evidence for this Bush-like assertion?

If Iran is on a “quest” for nukes, why did 17 U.S. intel agencies, “with high confidence,” in 2007 and 2011, say Iran did not even have a nuclear weapons program?

Saddam Hussein could not convince us he had no WMD, because the nonexistent WMD were the pretext, the casus belli, for doing what the War Party had already decided to do: invade Iraq.

We were lied into that war. And how did it turn out?

Why has the Foreign Relations committee not called in the heads of the U.S. intelligence agencies and asked them flat out: Does Iran have an active nuclear bomb program, or is this a pack of lies to stampede us into another war?

If Iran is on a quest for nukes, let the intel agencies tell us where the work is being done, so we can send inspectors and show the world.

Efforts to pull us back from being dragged into a new war have begun.

The Europeans are begging Iran to abide by the terms of the nuclear deal, even if the Americans do not. But the regime of Hassan Rouhani, who twice defeated Ayatollah-backed candidates, is in trouble.

The nuclear deal and opening to the West were the reasons the children of the Green Movement of 2009 voted for Rouhani. If his difficulties deepen because of reimposed U.S. and Western sanctions, his great achievement, the nuclear deal, will be seen by his people as the failed gamble of a fool who trusted the Americans.

Should Rouhani’s regime fall, we may get a Revolutionary Guard regime rather less to the liking of everyone, except for the War Party, which could seize upon that as a pretext for war.

What happens next is difficult to see.

Iran does not want a war with Israel in Syria that it cannot win.

Iran’s ally, Hezbollah, which just swept democratic elections in Lebanon, does not want a war with Israel that would bring devastation upon the nation it now leads.

The Russians don’t want a war with Israel or the Americans.

But as Putin came to the rescue of a Syria imperiled by ISIS and al-Qaida, to save his ally from a broad insurgency, he is not likely to sit impotently and watch endless air and missile strikes on Syria.

Trump has said U.S. troops will be getting out of Syria. But Bolton and the generals appear to have walked him back.
There are reports we are reinforcing the Kurds in Manbij on the west bank of the Euphrates, though President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has demanded that the Kurds vacate all Syrian border towns with Turkey.

Americans are also reportedly on the border of Yemen, assisting Saudi Arabia in locating the launch sites of the rockets being fired at Riyadh by Houthi rebels in retaliation for the three years of savage Saudi assault on their country.

Meanwhile, the news out of Afghanistan, our point of entry into the Near East wars almost a generation ago, is almost all bad — most of it about terrorist bombings of Afghan troops and civilians.

Is the foreign policy that America Firsters voted for being replaced by the Middle East agenda of Bibi and the neoconservatives? So it would appear.

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.”

(Creators, copyright 2018)

2 months ago

Don’t trash the nuclear deal!

This next week may determine whether President Trump extricates us from that cauldron of conflict that is the Middle East, as he promised, or plunges us even deeper into these forever wars.

Friday will see the sixth in a row of weekly protests at the Gaza border fence in clashes that have left 40 Palestinians dead and 1,500 wounded by live fire from Israeli troops.

Monday, the U.S. moves its embassy to Jerusalem. Tuesday will see the triumphal celebration of the 70th birthday of the state of Israel.

Palestinians will commemorate May 15 as Nakba, “The catastrophe,” where hundred of thousands of their people fled their homes in terror to live in stateless exile for seven decades.

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Violence could begin Friday and stretch into next week.

Yet more fateful for our future is the decision Trump will make by Saturday. May 12 is his deadline to decide whether America trashes the Iran nuclear deal and reimposes sanctions.

While our NATO allies are imploring Trump not to destroy the deal and start down a road that is likely to end in war with Iran, Bibi Netanyahu on Sunday called this a Munich moment:

“Nations that did not act in time against murderous aggression against them paid a much higher price later on.”
From a U.S. standpoint, the Munich analogy seems absurd.

Iran is making no demands on the United States. Its patrol boats have ceased harassing our warships in the Persian Gulf. Its forces in Iraq and Syria do not interfere with our operations against ISIS. And, according to U.N. inspectors, Iran is abiding by the terms of the nuclear deal.

Iran has never tested a nuclear device and never enriched uranium to weapons grade. Under the deal, Iran has surrendered 95 percent of its uranium, shut down most of its centrifuges and allowed cameras and inspectors into all of its nuclear facilities.

Why Iran is abiding by the deal is obvious. For Iran it is a great deal.

Having decided in 2003 not to build a bomb, Iran terminated its program. Then Tehran decided to negotiate with the U.S. for return of $100 billion in frozen assets from the Shah’s era — by proving they were not doing what every U.S. intelligence agency said they were not doing.

Should Iran rashly decide to go for a nuclear weapon, it would have to fire up centrifuges to enrich uranium to a level that they have never done, and then test a nuclear device, and then weaponize it.

A crash bomb program would be detected almost instantly and bring a U.S. ultimatum which, if defied, could bring airstrikes. Why would Trump risk losing the means to monitor Iran’s compliance with the deal?

Israel, too, has an arsenal of nuclear weapons that can be delivered by Jericho missile, submarine-based cruise missile, and the Israeli air force.

Why then is the world anxiously awaiting a decision by President Trump that could lead to an unnecessary war with Iran?

The president painted himself into this corner. He has called the Iran nuclear deal “insane” and repeatedly pledged to tear it up.

The Israelis, Saudis and Beltway War Party want the deal trashed, because they want a U.S. clash with Iran. They are not afraid of war. Instead, they fear Trump will extricate us from the Middle East before we do our historic duty and effect regime change in Iran.

What is Israel’s motive? Israel fears that the Iranians, having contributed to Bashar Assad’s victory in Syria’s civil war, will stay on and establish bases and a weapons pipeline to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israel has launched scores of airstrikes into Syria to prevent this.

The problem for Bibi: While Trump sees no vital U.S. interest in Syria and has expressed his wish to get out when ISIS is demolished and scattered, Bibi has cast us in the lead role in taking down Iran in Syria.

Trump may want to stay out of the next phase of the Syrian civil war. Bibi is counting on the Americans to fight it.

But while Bibi may have a vital interest in driving Iran out of Syria, Iran is no threat to any vital interest of the United States.

Iran’s economy is in dreadful shape. Its youth have voted repeatedly against presidential candidates favored by the Ayatollah. There are regular constant demonstrations against the regime.

Time is not on the side of the Islamic Republic.

Fifty million Persians, leading a Shiite nation of Persians, Azeris, Baloch, Arabs and Kurds, are not going to control a vast Middle East of hundreds of millions of Arabs and Turks in an Islamic world where Shiites are outnumbered five times over by Sunnis.

For the United States, the strategic challenge of this century is not Iran, North Korea or Russia. If it is any nation, it is China.

Trump the dealmaker should find a way to keep the nuclear deal with Iran. We are far better off with it than without it.

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.”

(Creators, copyright 2018)

2 months ago

Memo to Trump: Defy Mueller

(Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

If Donald Trump does not wish to collaborate in the destruction of his presidency, he will refuse to be questioned by the FBI, or by a grand jury, or by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his malevolent minions.

Should Mueller subpoena him, as he has threatened to do, Trump should ignore the subpoena, and frame it for viewing in Trump Tower.

If Mueller goes to the Supreme Court and wins an order for Trump to comply and testify to a grand jury, Trump should defy the court.

The only institution that is empowered to prosecute a president is Congress. If charges against Trump are to be brought, this is the arena, this is the forum, where the battle should be fought and the fate and future of the Trump presidency decided.

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The goal of Mueller’s prosecutors is to take down Trump on the cheap. If they can get him behind closed doors and make him respond in detail to questions — to which they already know the answers — any misstep by Trump could be converted into a perjury charge.

Trump has to score 100 on a test to which Mueller’s team has all the answers in advance while Trump must rely upon memory.

Why take this risk?

By now, witnesses have testified in ways that contradict what Trump has said. This, plus Trump’s impulsiveness, propensity to exaggerate, and often rash responses to hostile questions, would make him easy prey for the perjury traps prosecutors set up when they cannot convict their targets on the evidence.

Mueller and his team are the ones who need this interrogation.

For, after almost two years, their Russiagate investigation has produced no conclusive proof of the foundational charge — that Trump’s team colluded with Vladimir Putin’s Russia to hack and thieve the emails of the Clinton campaign and DNC.

Having failed, Mueller & Co. now seek to prove that, even if Trump did not collude with the Russians, he interfered with their investigation.

How did Trump obstruct justice?

Did he suggest that fired NSC Advisor Gen. Mike Flynn might get a pardon? What was his motive in firing FBI Director James Comey? Did Trump edit the Air Force One explanation of the meeting in June 2016 between his campaign officials and Russians? Did he pressure Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire Mueller?

Mueller’s problem: These questions and more have all been aired and argued endlessly in the public square. Yet no national consensus has formed that Trump committed an offense to justify his removal. Even Democrats are backing away from talk of impeachment.

Trump’s lawyers should tell Mueller to wrap up his work, as Trump will not be testifying, no matter what subpoena he draws up, or what the courts say he must do. And if Congress threatens impeachment for defying a court order, Trump should tell them: Impeach me and be damned.

Will a new Congress impeach and convict an elected president?

An impeachment battle would become a titanic struggle between a capital that detests Trump and a vast slice of Middle America that voted to repudiate that capital’s elite, trusts Trump, and will stand by him to the end.

And in any impeachment debate before Congress and the cameras of the world, not one but two narratives will be heard.

The first is that Trump colluded with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton and then sought to obstruct an investigation of his collusion.

The second is the story of how an FBI cabal went into the tank on an investigation of Clinton to save her campaign. Then it used the product of a Clinton-DNC dirt-diving operation, created by a British spy with Russian contacts, to attempt to destroy the Trump candidacy. Now, failing that, it’s looking to overthrow the elected president of the United States.

In short, the second narrative is that the “deep state” and its media auxiliaries are colluding to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

Unlike Watergate, with Russiagate, the investigators will be on trial as well.

Trump needs to shift the struggle out of the legal arena, where Mueller and his men have superior weapons, and into the political arena, where he can bring his populous forces to bear in the decision as to his fate.

This is the terrain on which Trump can win — an us-vs-them fight, before Congress and country, where not only the alleged crimes of Trump are aired but also the actual crimes committed to destroy him and to overturn his victory.

Trump is a nationalist who puts America first both in trade and securing her frontiers against an historic invasion from the South. If he is overthrown, and the agenda for which America voted is trashed as well, it may be Middle America in the streets this time.

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.”

(Creators, copyright 2018)

3 months ago

Smut night at the press dinner

(C-SPAN/Youtube)

Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, billed as a celebration of the First Amendment and a tribute to journalists who “speak truth to power,” has to be the worst advertisement in memory for our national press corps.

Comedian Michelle Wolf, the guest speaker, recited one filthy joke after another at the expense of President Trump and his people, using words that would have gotten her kicked out of school not so long ago.

Media critic Howard Kurtz said he had “never seen a performance like that,” adding that Wolf “was not only nasty but dropping F-bombs on live television.” Some of her stuff was grungier than that.

The anti-Trump media at the black-tie dinner laughed and whooped it up, and occasionally “oohed” as Wolf went too far even for them, lending confirmation to Trump’s depiction of who and what they are.

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While the journalistic elite at the black-tie dinner was reveling in the raw sewage served up by Wolf, Trump had just wrapped up a rally in Michigan.

The contrast between the two assemblies could not have been more stark. We are truly two Americas now.

“Why would I want to be stuck in a room with a bunch of fake-news liberals who hate me?” said Trump in an email to supporters, adding that he would much rather “spend the evening with my favorite deplorables who love our movement and love America.”

Her objective in arranging this year’s dinner, said WHCA president Margaret Talev, was “in unifying the country,” but “we may have fallen a little bit short on that goal.” The lady has a gift for understatement.

With revulsion at Wolf’s performance coming in strong on Sunday, journalists began to call for a halt to inviting comedians, with some urging an end to the annual dinner that Trump has twice boycotted.

These dinners are becoming “close to suicidal for the press’s credibility,” writes Margaret Sullivan in The Washington Post.

How did the White House Correspondents’ Association descend to this depth?

In 1962, along with friends at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, this writer hung out outside the dinner, as we talked to legendary Pulitzer Prize-wining investigative reporter Clark Mollenhoff.

A memorable evening and though most of the press there had probably been JFK voters in 1960, these journalists would never have sat still for Saturday night’s festival of contempt.

Nor has the older Gridiron dinner descended to this depth.

A white-tie affair at the Statler Hilton, it is put on by the Gridiron Club, one of whose rules is, “Women are always present.” Nothing is to be said from the podium that might affront a lady. And the jokes from the rival party speakers are to “singe, but not burn.”

What happened to the WHCA dinner? The evening has become less a celebration of the First Amendment than a celebration of the press themselves, how wonderful they are and how indispensable they are to our democracy.

Yet in the eyes of tens of millions of their countrymen, they are seen not as “speaking truth to power,” but as using their immense power over American communications to punish their enemies, advance their own agendas, and, today, bring down a president.

The press denounces Trump for calling the media “the enemy of the people.” But is there any doubt that the mainstream media are, by and large, enemies of Trump and looking to Robert Mueller to solve their problem?

Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ dinner recalls to mind T.S. Eliot’s insight that, “Things reveal themselves passing away.”

It was saturated with detestation of Trump, his people, and what they represent.

How did we get here?

Like our cultural elite in Hollywood and the arts, and our academic elite in the Ivy League, our media elite is a different breed than we knew in the Eisenhower-Kennedy era. Our institutions passed through the great cultural, social and moral revolution of the late 20th century, and they have emerged different on the other side.

Most of the Washington press corps at that dinner have next to nothing in common with the folks who voted for Trump and cheered him in Michigan. And Hillary Clinton surely spoke for many of the Beltway media laughing at Wolf’s jokes when she said:

“(Y)ou could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. … The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic … (Trump) tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

It’s good to know what folks really think of you.

Perhaps, rather than seeking to create a synthetic unity, those who so deeply and viscerally disagree — on politics, morality, culture and even good and evil — ought peacefully to go their separate ways.

We both live in the USA, but we inhabit different countries.

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.”

(Creators, copyright 2018)

3 months ago

Macron: The last multilateralist

(Wikicommons)

“Together,” President Macron instructed President Trump, “we can resist the rise of aggressive nationalisms that deny our history and divide the world.”

Before Congress he denounced “extreme nationalism,” invoked the U.N., NATO, WTO, and Paris climate accord, and implored Trump’s America to come home to the New World Order.

“The United States is the one who invented this multilateralism,” Macron went on, “you are the one now who has to help preserve and reinvent it.”

His visit was hailed and his views cheered, but, on reflection, the ideas of Emmanuel Macron seem to be less about tomorrow than yesterday.

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For the world he celebrates is receding into history.

The America of 2018 is coming to see NATO as having evolved into an endless U.S. commitment to go to war with Russia on behalf of a rich Europe that resolutely refuses to provide for its own defense.

Since the WTO was created in the mid-’90s, the U.S. has run $12 trillion in trade deficits; and among the biggest beneficiaries — the EU.

Under the Paris climate accord, environmental restrictions are put upon the United States from which China is exempt.

As for the U.N., is that sinkhole of anti-Americanism, the General Assembly, really worth the scores of billions we have plunged into it?

“Aggressive nationalism” is a term that might well fit Napoleon Bonaparte whose Arc de Triomphe sits on the Champs-Elysees. But does it really fit the Hungarians, Poles, Brits, Scots, Catalans and other indigenous peoples of Europe who are now using democratic methods and means to preserve a national home for the unique peoples to whom they belong?

And the United States would seem an odd place to go about venting on “aggressive nationalisms that deny our history.”

Did Macron not learn at the Lycee Henri IV in Paris or the Ecole Nationale d’Administration how the Americans acquired all that land?

General Washington, at whose Mount Vernon home Macron dined, was a nationalist who fought for six years to sever America’s ties to the nation under which he was born.

How does Macron think Andrew Jackson acquired Florida from Spain, Sam Houston acquired Texas from Mexico, and Winfield Scott and Zachary Taylor acquired the Southwest? By bartering?

Aggressive nationalism is a good synonym for the Manifest Destiny of a republic that went about relieving Spain of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines.

How does Macron think the “New World” was conquered and colonized if not by aggressive British, French and Spanish nationalists determined to impose their rule upon weaker indigenous tribes?

Was it not nationalism that broke up the USSR into 15 nations?

Was not the Zionist movement that resurrected Israel in 1948, and, in 1967, captured the West Bank, and then annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, a manifestation of aggressive nationalism?

Macron is an echo of that George H.W. Bush who, in Kiev in 1991, warned Ukrainians against the “suicidal nationalism” of declaring independence from the Russian Federation.

“Aggressive nationalisms … divide the world,” warns Macron.

Well, yes, they do, which is why we have now 194 members of the U.N., rather than the original 50. Is this a problem?
“Together,” said Macron, “we will build a new, strong multilateralism that defends pluralism and democracy in the face of ill winds.”

Macron belongs to a political class that sees open borders and free trade thickening and tightening the ties of dependency, and eventually creating a One Europe, whose destiny his crowd will forever control.

But if his idea of pluralism is multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural nations, with a multilateral EU overlord, he is describing a future that tens millions of Europeans believe means the death of the nations that give meaning to their lives.

And they will not go gentle into that good night.

In America, too, millions have come to recognize that there is a method to the seeming madness of open borders. Name of the game: dispossessing the deplorables of the country they love.

With open borders and mass migration of over a million people a year into the USA, almost all of them peoples of color from Third World countries who vote 70-90 percent Democratic, the left is foreclosing the future. The left is converting the greatest country of the West into what Teddy Roosevelt called a “polyglot boarding house for the world.” And in that boarding house the left will have a lock on the presidency.

With the collaboration of co-conspirators in the media, progressives throw a cloak of altruism over the cynical seizure of permanent power.

For, as the millions of immigrants, here legally and illegally, register, and the vote is extended to prison inmates, ex-cons and 16-year-olds, the political complexion of America will come to resemble San Francisco.

End goal: Ensure that what happened in 2016, when the nation rose up and threw out a despised establishment, never happens again.

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

(Creators, copyright 2018)

3 months ago

America’s unsustainable empire

(YHN/Pixabay)

Before President Trump trashes the Iran nuclear deal, he might consider: If he could negotiate an identical deal with Kim Jong Un, it would astonish the world and win him the Nobel Peace Prize.

For Iran has no nuclear bomb or ICBM and has never tested either. It has never enriched uranium to bomb grade. It has shipped 98 percent of its uranium out of the country. It has cameras inside and inspectors crawling all over its nuclear facilities.

And North Korea? It has atom bombs and has tested an H-bomb. It has intermediate range-ballistic missiles that can hit Guam and an ICBM that, fully operational, could hit the West Coast. It has shorter-range missiles that could put nukes on South Korea and Japan.

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Hard to believe Kim Jong Un will surrender these weapons, his ticket of admission to the table of great powers.

Yet the White House position is that the Iran nuclear deal should be scrapped, and no deal with Kim Jong Un signed that does not result in the “denuclearization” of the peninsula.

If denuclearization means Kim gives up all his nukes and strategic missiles, ceases testing, and allows inspectors into all his nuclear facilities, we may be waiting a long time.

Trump decides on the Iran deal by May 12. And we will likely know what Kim is prepared to do, and not prepared to do, equally soon.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron is in D.C. to persuade Trump not to walk away from the Iran deal and to keep U.S. troops in Syria. Chancellor Angela Merkel will be arriving at week’s end with a similar message.

On the White House front burner then are these options:

Will North Korea agree to surrender its nuclear arsenal, or is it back to confrontation and possible war?

Will we stick with the nuclear deal with Iran, or walk away, issue new demands on Tehran, and prepare for a military clash if rebuffed?

Do we pull U.S. troops out of Syria as Trump promised, or keep U.S. troops there to resist the reconquest of his country by Bashar Assad and his Russian, Iranian, Hezbollah and Shiite allies?

Beyond, the larger question looms: How long can we keep this up?

How long can this country, with its shrinking share of global GDP, sustain its expanding commitments to confront and fight all over the world?

U.S. planes and ships now bump up against Russians in the Baltic and Black seas. We are sending Javelin anti-tank missiles to Kiev, while NATO allies implore us to bring Ukraine and Georgia into the alliance.

This would mean a U.S. guarantee to fight an alienated, angered and nuclear-armed Russia in Crimea and the Caucasus.

Sixteen years after 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan, we are still there, assisting Afghan troops against a Taliban we thought we had defeated.

We are now fighting what is left of ISIS in Syria alongside our Kurd allies, who tug us toward conflict with Turkey.

U.S. forces and advisers are in Niger, Djibouti, Somalia. We are aiding the Saudis in their air war and naval blockade of Yemen.

The last Korean War, which cost 33,000 U.S. lives, began in the June before this writer entered 7th grade. Why is the defense of a powerful South Korea, with an economy 40 times that of the North, still a U.S. responsibility?

We are committed, by 60-year-old treaties, to defend Japan, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand. Voices are being heard to have us renew the war guarantee to Taiwan that Jimmy Carter canceled in 1979.

National security elites are pushing for new naval and military ties to Vietnam and India, to challenge Beijing in the South China Sea, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.

How long can we sustain a worldwide empire of dependencies?

How many wars of this century — Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen — turned out to have been worth the blood shed and the treasure lost? And what have all the “color-coded revolutions” we have instigated to advance “democracy” done for America?

In a New York Times essay, “Adapting to American Decline,” Christopher Preble writes: “America’s share of global wealth is shrinking. By some estimates, the United States accounted for roughly 50 percent of global output at the end of World War II. … It has fallen to 15.1 percent today.”

Preble continues: “Admitting that the United States is incapable of effectively adjudicating every territorial dispute or of thwarting every security threat in every part of the world is hardly tantamount to surrender. It is rather a wise admission of the limits of American power.”

It is imperative, wrote Walter Lippmann, that U.S. commitments be brought into balance with U.S. power. This “forgotten principle … must be recovered and returned to the first place in American thought.”

That was 1943, at the height of a war that found us unprepared.

We are hugely overextended today. And conservatives have no higher duty than to seek to bring U.S. war guarantees into conformity with U.S. vital interests and U.S. power.

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.” 

(Creators, copyright 2018)

3 months ago

Why the authoritarian right is rising

(European People's Party/Flickr)

A fortnight ago, Viktor Orban and his Fidesz Party won enough seats in the Hungarian parliament to rewrite his country’s constitution.

To progressives across the West, this was disturbing news.

For the bete noire of Orban’s campaign was uber-globalist George Soros. And Orban’s commitments were to halt any further surrenders of Hungarian sovereignty and independence to the European Union, and to fight any immigrant invasion of Hungary from Africa or the Islamic world.

Why are autocrats like Orban rising and liberal democrats failing in Europe? The autocrats are addressing the primary and existential fear of peoples across the West — the death of the separate and unique tribes into which they were born and to which they belong.

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Modern liberals and progressives see nations as transitory — here today, gone tomorrow. The autocrats, however, have plugged into the most powerful currents running in this new century: tribalism and nationalism.

The democracy worshippers of the West cannot compete with the authoritarians in meeting the crisis of our time because they do not see what is happening to the West as a crisis.

They see us as on a steady march into a brave new world, where democracy, diversity and equality will be everywhere celebrated.

To understand the rise of Orban, we need to start seeing Europe and ourselves as so many of these people see us.
Hungary is a thousand years old. Its people have a DNA all their own. They belong to a unique and storied nation of 10 million with its own language, religion, history, heroes, culture and identity.

Though a small nation, two-thirds of whose lands were torn away after World War I, Hungarians wish to remain and endure as who they are.

They don’t want open borders. They don’t want mass migrations to change Hungary into something new. They don’t want to become a minority in their own country. And they have used democratic means to elect autocratic men who will put the Hungarian nation first.

U.S. elites may babble on about “diversity,” about how much better a country we will be in 2042 when white European Christians are just another minority and we have become a “gorgeous mosaic” of every race, tribe, creed and culture on earth.

To Hungarians, such a future entails the death of the nation. To Hungarians, millions of African, Arab and Islamic peoples settling in their lands means the annihilation of the historic nation they love, the nation that came into being to preserve the Hungarian people.

President Emmanuel Macron of France says the Hungarian and other European elections where autocrats are advancing are manifestations of “national selfishness.”

Well, yes, national survival can be considered national selfishness.

But let Monsieur Macron bring in another 5 million former subject peoples of the French Empire and he will discover that the magnanimity and altruism of the French has its limits, and a Le Pen will soon replace him in the Elysee Palace.
Consider what else the “world’s oldest democracy” has lately had on offer to the indigenous peoples of Europe resisting an invasion of Third World settlers coming to occupy and repopulate their lands.

Our democracy boasts of a First Amendment freedom of speech and press that protects blasphemy, pornography, filthy language and the burning of the American flag. We stand for a guaranteed right of women to abort their children and of homosexuals to marry.

We offer the world a freedom of religion that prohibits the teaching of our cradle faith and its moral code in our public schools.

Our elites view this as social progress upward from a dark past.

To much of the world, however, America has become the most secularized and decadent society on earth, and the title the ayatollah bestowed upon us, “The Great Satan,” is not altogether undeserved.

And if what “our democracy” has delivered here has caused tens of millions of Americans to be repulsed and to secede into social isolation, why would other nations embrace a system that produced so poisoned a politics and so polluted a culture?

“Nationalism and authoritarianism are on the march,” writes The Washington Post: “Democracy as an ideal and in practice seems under siege.” Yes, and there are reasons for this.

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people,” said John Adams. And as we have ceased to be a moral and religious people, the poet T. S. Eliot warned us what would happen:

“The term ‘democracy’ … does not contain enough positive content to stand alone against the forces you dislike — it can be easily be transformed by them. If you will not have God (and he is a jealous God), you should pay your respects to Hitler and Stalin.” Recall: Hitler rose to power through a democratic election.

Democracy lacks content. As a political system, it does not engage the heart. And if Europe’s peoples see their leaders as accommodating a transnational EU, while failing to secure national borders, they will use democracy to replace them with men of action.

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.”

(Creators, copyright 2018)

3 months ago

Trump: Prisoner of the war party?

(Wikicommons, DoD News/Flickr)

“Ten days ago, President Trump was saying ‘the United States should withdraw from Syria.’ We convinced him it was necessary to stay.”

Thus boasted French President Emmanuel Macron Saturday, adding, “We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term.”

Is the U.S. indeed in the Syrian civil war “for the long term”?

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If so, who made that fateful decision for this republic?

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley confirmed Sunday there would be no drawdown of the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, until three objectives were reached. We must fully defeat ISIS, ensure chemical weapons would not again be used by Bashar Assad and maintain the ability to watch Iran.

Translation: Whatever Trump says, America is not coming out of Syria. We are going deeper in. Trump’s commitment to extricate us from these bankrupting and blood-soaked Middle East wars and to seek a new rapprochement with Russia is “inoperative.”

The War Party that Trump routed in the primaries is capturing and crafting his foreign policy. Monday’s Wall Street Journal editorial page fairly blossomed with war plans:

“The better U.S. strategy is to … turn Syria into the Ayatollah’s Vietnam. Only when Russia and Iran began to pay a larger price in Syria will they have any incentive to negotiate an end to the war or even contemplate a peace based on dividing the country into ethnic-based enclaves.”

Apparently, we are to bleed Syria, Russia, Hezbollah and Iran until they cannot stand the pain and submit to subdividing Syria the way we want.

But suppose that, as in our Civil War of 1861-1865, the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, and the Chinese Civil War of 1945-1949, Assad and his Russian, Iranian and Shiite militia allies go all out to win and reunite the nation.

Suppose they choose to fight to consolidate the victory they have won after seven years of civil war. Where do we find the troops to take back the territory our rebels lost? Or do we just bomb mercilessly?

The British and French say they will back us in future attacks if chemical weapons are used, but they are not plunging into Syria.

Defense Secretary James Mattis called the U.S.-British-French attack a “one-shot” deal. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appears to agree: “The rest of the Syrian war must proceed as it will.”

The Journal’s op-ed page Monday was turned over to former U.S. ambassador to Syria Ryan Crocker and Brookings Institute senior fellow Michael O’Hanlon: “Next time the U.S. could up the ante, going after military command and control, political leadership, and perhaps even Assad himself. The U.S. could also pledge to take out much of his air force. Targets within Iran should not be off limits.”

And when did Congress authorize U.S. acts of war against Syria, its air force or political leadership? When did Congress authorize the killing of the president of Syria whose country has not attacked us?

Can the U.S. also attack Iran and kill the ayatollah without consulting Congress?

Clearly, with the U.S. fighting in six countries, Commander in Chief Trump does not want any new wars, or to widen any existing wars in the Middle East. But he is being pushed into becoming a war president to advance the agenda of foreign policy elites who, almost to a man, opposed his election.

We have a reluctant president being pushed into a war he does not want to fight. This is a formula for a strategic disaster not unlike Vietnam or George W. Bush’s war to strip Iraq of nonexistent WMD.

The assumption of the War Party seems to be that if we launch larger and more lethal strikes in Syria, inflicting casualties on Russians, Iranians, Hezbollah and the Syrian army, they will yield to our demands.

But where is the evidence for this?

What reason is there to believe these forces will surrender what they have paid in blood to win? And if they choose to fight and widen the war to the larger Middle East, are we prepared for that?

As for Trump’s statement Friday, “No amount of American blood and treasure can produce lasting peace in the Middle East,” the Washington Post Sunday dismissed this as “fatalistic” and “misguided.”

We have a vital interest, says the Post, in preventing Iran from establishing a “land corridor” across Syria.

Yet consider how Iran acquired this “land corridor.”

The Shiites in 1979 overthrew a shah our CIA installed in 1953.

The Shiites control Iraq because President Bush invaded and overthrew Saddam and his Sunni Baath Party, disbanded his Sunni-led army, and let the Shiite majority take control of the country.

The Shiites are dominant in Lebanon because they rose up and ran out the Israelis, who invaded in 1982 to run out the PLO.

How many American dead will it take to reverse this history?

How long will we have to stay in the Middle East to assure the permanent hegemony of Sunni over Shiite?

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.”

(Creators, copyright 2018)

3 months ago

Has the war party hooked Trump?

(AP/YouTube)

With his Sunday tweet that Bashar Assad, “Animal Assad,” ordered a gas attack on Syrian civilians, and Vladimir Putin was morally complicit in the atrocity, President Donald Trump just painted himself and us into a corner.

“Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria,” tweeted Trump, “President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price… to pay.”

“Big price… to pay,” said the president.

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Now, either Trump launches an attack that could drag us deeper into a seven-year civil war from which he promised to extricate us last week, or Trump is mocked as being a man of bluster and bluff.

For Trump Sunday accused Barack Obama of being a weakling for failing to strike Syria after an earlier chemical attack.

“If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand,” Trump tweeted, “the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!”

Trump’s credibility is now on the line and he is being goaded by the war hawks to man up. Sunday, John McCain implied that Trump’s comments about leaving Syria “very soon” actually “emboldened” Assad:

“President Trump last week signaled to the world that the United States would prematurely withdraw from Syria. Bashar Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers have heard him, and emboldened by American inaction, Assad has reportedly launched another chemical attack against innocent men, women and children, this time in Douma.”

Pronouncing Assad a “war criminal,” Lindsey Graham said Sunday the entire Syrian air force should be destroyed.

So massive an attack would be an act of war against a nation that has not attacked us and does not threaten us. Hence, Congress, prior to such an attack, should pass a resolution authorizing a U.S. war on Syria.

And, as Congress does, it can debate our objectives in this new war, and how many men, casualties and years will be required to defeat the coalition of Syria, Russia, Hezbollah, Iran, and the allied Shiite militias from the Near East.

On John Bolton’s first day as national security adviser, Trump is being pushed to embrace a policy of Cold War confrontation with Russia and a U.S. war with Syria. Yet candidate Trump campaigned against both.

The War Party that was repudiated in 2016 appears to be back in the saddle. But before he makes good on that threat of a “big price… to pay,” Trump should ask his advisers what comes after the attack on Syria.

Lest we forget, there was a reason Obama did not strike Syria for a previous gas attack. Americans rose up as one and said we do not want another Middle East war.

When John Kerry went to Capitol Hill for authorization, Congress, sensing the national mood, declined to support any such attack.

Trump’s strike, a year ago, with 59 cruise missiles, on the air base that allegedly launched a sarin gas attack, was supported only because Trump was new in office and the strike was not seen as the beginning of a longer and deeper involvement in a war Americans did not want to fight.

Does Trump believe that his political base is more up for a major U.S. war in Syria today than it was then?

The folks who cheered Trump a week ago when he said we were getting out of Syria, will they cheer him if he announces that we are going deeper in?

Before any U.S. attack, Trump should make sure there is more hard evidence that Assad launched this poison gas attack than there is that Russia launched that poison gas attack in Salisbury, England.

One month after that attack, which Prime Minister Theresa May ascribed to Russia and Foreign Minister Boris Johnson laid at the feet of Putin himself, questions have arisen:

If the nerve agent used, Novichok, was of a military variety so deadly it could kill any who came near, why is no one dead from it?

Both the target, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia are recovering.

If the deadly poison was, as reported, put on the doorknob of Skripal’s home, how did he and Yulia manage to go to a restaurant after being contaminated, with neither undergoing a seizure until later on a park bench?

If Russia did it, why are the British scientists at Porton Down now admitting that they have not yet determined the source of the poison?

Why would Putin, with the prestige of hosting the World Cup in June on the line, perpetrate an atrocity that might have killed hundreds and caused nations not only to pull out of the games, but to break diplomatic relations with Russia?

U.S. foreign policy elites claim Putin wanted Trump to win the 2016 election. But if Putin indeed wanted to deal with Trump, why abort all such prospects with a poison gas murder of a has-been KGB agent in Britain, America’s foremost ally?

The sole beneficiaries of the gas attacks in Salisbury and Syria appear to be the War Party.

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.”

(Creators, copyright 2018)

3 months ago

Is Trump standing down in Syria?

(White House/Pixabay)

Wednesday morning, President Trump jolted the nation with a tweet that contained both threat and taunt:

“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’ You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”

Trump was responding to a warning by Russia that she would shoot down U.S. missiles fired at her Syrian allies, and she reserved the right to fire on U.S. warships and bases from which any such missiles were launched.

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The “Gas Killing Animal” was Syrian President Bashar Assad.

That afternoon, Defense Secretary James Mattis dialed it down. Had he seen enough evidence to convict Assad of a poison gas attack in Douma, Mattis was asked. His reply: “We are still assessing the intelligence. … We’re still working on this.”

Thursday morning, Trump seemed to walk back his threat: “Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!”

Is Trump planning a larger attack and silently gathering allies? Is he signaling that a U.S. attack on Syria may not be coming?

Whichever, the relief at his apparent stand down was palpable.

Yet the interlude should cause some sober second thoughts.

Why risk war with Russia in Syria, when, by our own inaction during this seven-year civil war, we have shown we have no vital interest there? And, surely, we have no interest in Syria so crucial as to justify a war with a nuclear-armed Russia.

Trump allowed his revulsion at the awful pictures of dead children, allegedly gassed, to impel him to threaten military action almost certain to result in more dead children.

Emotions should not be allowed to overrule what the president has thought and expressed many times: While the outcome of Syria’s civil war may mean everything to Assad, and much to Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel, it means comparatively little to a USA 5,000 miles away.

We cannot forever fight other peoples’ wars without ending up on the same ash heap of history as the other world powers before us.

And why not talk directly to our adversaries there?

If Trump can talk to Kim Jong Un, who used an anti-aircraft gun to execute his uncle and had his half-brother murdered in a Malaysian airport with a chemical weapon, why cannot we talk to Bashar Assad?

In 1974, Richard Nixon flew to Damascus to establish ties to Assad’s father, the future “Butcher of Hama.” George H.W. Bush enlisted Hafez al-Assad and 4,000 Syrian troops in his Gulf War to liberate Kuwait.

What are America’s limited interests in Syria in 2018?

Containing al-Qaida, exterminating the ISIS caliphate, and effecting the best deal we can for the Kurds who have been loyal and crucial to our campaign against ISIS. Damascus, Moscow and Tehran are not fighting us on these fronts. For al-Qaida and ISIS are their enemies as well.

As for the political future of Syria, it is not vital to us and not ours to determine. And the efforts of others to have us come fight their wars, while understandable, need to be resisted.

All over this city, and across the Middle East, there are people who wish to conscript U.S. wealth and power to advance their goals and achieve their visions. Having let them succeed so often has diminished us as a superpower from what we were at the end of the Cold War.

This should stop, and the nation knows it.

Among the reasons Democrats nominated Barack Obama and America elected him was that his opponents, Hillary Clinton and John McCain, supported the Iraq War Obama opposed.

Among the reasons the Republican Party nominated Trump and the nation elected him was that he promised to take us out and keep us out of wars like this Syrian civil war.

Is it not ironic that today our War Party, which, almost to a man, loathed Trump and rejected his candidacy, is goading and cheering him on, deeper and deeper into the Syrian quagmire?

Trump is heading into a 60-day period that will go far to determine the fate of his presidency and the future of the Middle East.

If investigators determine that Assad’s forces used poison gas on civilians in Douma, Trump will have to decide whether to repeat the strike he made on Syria, a year ago, and, this time, risk war with Russia.

He will have to decide by May 12 whether the U.S. walks away from the Iran nuclear deal. On May 15 comes the formal move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the 70th anniversary of the birth of Israel and of the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” of the Palestinians, and the culmination of the Friday protests in Gaza that have turned so bloody.

We and Mr. Trump are heading into interesting times.

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.” 

(Creators, copyright 2018)

3 months ago

Syrian showdown: Trump vs. the Generals

(White House/YouTube)

With ISIS on the run in Syria, President Trump this week declared that he intends to make good on his promise to bring the troops home.

“I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home,” said the president. We’ve gotten “nothing out of the $7 trillion (spent) in the Middle East in the last 17 years. … So, it’s time.”

Not so fast, Mr. President.

For even as Trump was speaking he was being contradicted by his Centcom commander Gen. Joseph Votel. “A lot of good progress has been made” in Syria, Votel conceded, “but the hard part … is in front of us.”

Moreover, added Votel, when we defeat ISIS, we must stabilize Syria and see to its reconstruction.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had been even more specific:

“It is crucial to our national defense to maintain a military and diplomatic presence in Syria, to help bring an end to that conflict, as they chart a course to achieve a new political future.”

But has not Syria’s “political future” already been charted?

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Bashar Assad, backed by Iran and Russia, has won his seven-year civil war. He has retaken the rebel stronghold of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus. He now controls most of the country that we and the Kurds do not.

According to The Washington Post, Defense Secretary James Mattis is also not on board with Trump and “has repeatedly said … that U.S. troops would be staying in Syria for the foreseeable future to guarantee stability and political resolution to the civil war.”

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who fears a “Shiite corridor” from Tehran to Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut, also opposes Trump. “If you take those (U.S.) troops out from east Syria,” the prince told Time, “you will lose that checkpoint … American troops should stay (in Syria) at least for the mid-term, if not the long-term.”

Bibi Netanyahu also wants us to stay in Syria.

Wednesday, Trump acceded to his generals. He agreed to leave our troops in Syria until ISIS is finished. However, as the 2,000 U.S. troops there are not now engaging ISIS — many of our Kurd allies are going back north to defend border towns threatened by Turkey — this could take a while.

Yet a showdown is coming. And, stated starkly, the divide is this:

Trump sees al-Qaida and ISIS as the real enemy and is prepared to pull all U.S. forces out of Syria as soon as the caliphate is eradicated. And if Assad is in power then, backed by Russia and Iran, so be it.

Trump does not see an Assad-ruled Syria, which has existed since the Nixon presidency, as a great threat to the United States. He is unwilling to spill more American blood to overturn the outcome of a war that Syria, Iran and Russia have already won. Nor is he prepared to foot the bill for the reconstruction of Syria, or for any long-term occupation of that quadrant of Syria that we and our allies now hold.

Once ISIS is defeated, Trump wants out of the war and out of Syria.

The Israelis, Saudis and most of our foreign policy elite, however, vehemently disagree. They want the U.S. to hold onto that slice of Syria east of the Euphrates that we now occupy, and to use the leverage of our troops on Syrian soil to effect the removal of President Assad and the expulsion of the Iranians.

The War Party does not concede Syria is lost. It sees the real battle as dead ahead. It is eager to confront and, if need be, fight Syrians, Iranians and Shiite militias should they cross to the east bank of the Euphrates, as they did weeks ago, when U.S. artillery and air power slaughtered them in the hundreds, Russians included.

If U.S. troops do remain in Syria, the probability is high that Trump, like Presidents Bush and Obama before him, will be ensnared indefinitely in the Forever War of the Middle East.

President Erdogan of Turkey, who has seized Afrin from the Syrian Kurds, is threatening to move on Manbij, where Kurdish troops are backed by U.S. troops. If Erdogan does not back away from his threat, NATO allies could start shooting at one another.

As the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria are both uninvited and unwelcome, a triumphant Assad is likely soon to demand that we remove them from his country.

Will we defy President Assad then, with the possibility U.S. planes and troops could be engaging Syrians, Russians, Iranians and Shiite militias, in a country where we have no right to be?

Trump is being denounced as an isolationist. But what gains have we reaped from 17 years of Middle East wars — from Afghanistan to Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen — to justify all the blood shed and the treasure lost?

And how has our great rival China suffered from not having fought in any of these wars?

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

(Creators, copyright 2018)

3 months ago

How Trump’s presidency will be judged

(White House/Flickr)

On many issues — naming Scalia-like judges and backing Reagan-like tax cuts — President Trump is a conventional Republican.

Where he was exceptional in 2016, where he stood out starkly from his GOP rivals, where he won decisive states like Pennsylvania, was on his uniquely Trumpian agenda to put America and Americans first — from which the Bush Republicans recoiled.

Trump alone pledged to kill amnesty and secure the border with a 30-foot wall to halt the invasion of our country.

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Trump alone pledged to end the de-industrialization of America and bring back our lost factories and lost jobs.

Trump alone pledged to end the democracy-crusading and extricate us from the endless Mideast wars into which George Bush, Barack Obama and the War Party had plunged the nation.

And, upon how he delivers on these three uniquely Trumpian issues will hang his political fate and history’s assessment of whether he was a good, great or failed president.

Where this city stands is not in doubt. It is salivating to see Trump’s presidency broken, his agenda trashed, and him impeached. This city looks to Robert Mueller as the Moses of its deliverance from the tyrant whom an uncomprehending electorate imposed upon it.

While Trump’s support among his deplorables is holding — indeed, he is creeping back up in the polls — the outcome of the battle to bring him down remains in doubt.

Consider. Trump’s border wall was treated like a disposable bauble in the GOP Congress’ $1.6 trillion budget deal. Cities and whole states are declaring themselves sanctuaries for people here illegally and defying U.S. authorities’ requests for help in deporting accused criminals.

A “caravan” of a thousand Central Americans is passing through Mexico, aided by the authorities, and headed for the U.S. border.

When they arrive, rely upon it, the anti-Trump media will be there to bewail any transgressions by the Border Patrol.

The hysterical reaction to news that the 2020 census will include a question, “Are you a U.S. citizen?” testifies to what this is all about.

America’s elites are adamant that our country should vanish inside a new Third World nation that resembles in its racial, religious and ethnic composition the U.N. General Assembly. The old God-and-country America the people loved they detest.

Trump is likely the last president who will try to preserve that country. If he leaves office with the border unsecured, it is hard to see what stops the Third World invasion, even as it is also coming across the Mediterranean into Europe.

“The Camp of the Saints” is no longer a dystopian novel.

Enoch Powell’s warning, 50 years ago, about mass migration into Europe, “Et thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno,” “I see the River Tiber foaming with much blood,” is now seen as prophecy.

And Trump’s agenda of economic nationalism — restoring the industrial dynamism and self-sufficiency America knew from Lincoln to Reagan — faces relentless hostility from institutionalized power.

Against Trump stand corporate elites, whose profits and stock options depend on producing outside America, and the managerial class of a New World Order that runs the EU, U.N., IMF, World Bank and WTO.

Yet if global elites are hoarding the largest slice of the wealth of nations and a goodly slice of their political power, one senses that they are an unloved crowd, and they are sitting on a volcano.

The third unique Trump issue was his commitment to extricate us from the Middle East wars into which Bush and Obama had entrenched us, and to keep us out of any new wars. Trump also pledged to reach out to Vladimir Putin and to Russia to avoid a second Cold War.

Those who voted for him voted for that foreign policy.

And if Trump is drawn into new wars with Iran or North Korea, or reaches 2020 with U.S. forces still fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya, he will be perceived as having failed.

Yet the resistance of this city to giving up its vision of U.S. global hegemony is broad and deep, for that vision is almost a defining mark of our foreign policy elites. For them to give it up would be like death itself.

The stunned reaction to Trump’s suggestion last week that we will be leaving Syria after ISIS’s caliphate is destroyed, testifies to how much their identify is tied up in this vision.

That Trump would accept an end to Syria’s civil war, with Bashar Assad still in power, is intolerable. Yet how we can reverse that reality without putting thousands of U.S. combat troops into Syria is unexplained. In the last analysis, then, it is upon three questions that the Trump presidency will be judged:

Did he secure America’s borders? Did he restore the industrial might of America? Did he take us out of and keep us out of any more neocon wars?

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

(Creators, copyright 2018)

4 months ago

Does the Pope believe in hell?

(L. Thiên/Flickr)

“Pope Declares No Hell?”

So ran the riveting headline on the Drudge Report of Holy Thursday.

Drudge quoted this exchange, published in La Repubblica, between Pope Francis and his atheist friend, journalist Eugenio Scalfari.

Scalfari: “What about bad souls? Where are they punished?”

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Bad souls “are not punished,” Pope Francis is quoted, “those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”

On the first Holy Thursday, Judas betrayed Christ. And of Judas the Lord said, “Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man shall be betrayed; it were better for him if that man had never been born.”

Did the soul of Judas, and those of the monstrous evildoers of history, “just fade away,” as General MacArthur said of old soldiers? If there is no hell, is not the greatest deterrent to the worst of sins removed?

What did Christ die on the cross to save us from?

If Francis made such a statement, it would be rank heresy.

Had the pope been speaking ex cathedra, as the vicar of Christ on earth, he would be contradicting 2,000 years of Catholic doctrine, rooted in the teachings of Christ himself. He would be calling into question papal infallibility, as defined in 1870 by the Vatican Council of Pius IX.

Questions would arise as to whether Francis is a true pope.

The Vatican swiftly issued a statement saying the pope had had a private conversation, not a formal interview, with his friend Scalfari.

The Vatican added: “The textual words pronounced by the pope are not quoted. No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.”

Sorry, but this will not do. This does not answer the questions the pope raised in his chat. Does hell exist? Are souls that die in mortal sin damned to hell for all eternity? Does the pope accept this belief? Is this still the infallible teaching of the Roman Catholic Church?

However one may applaud Francis’ stance on social justice, on matters of faith and morals he has called defined doctrine into question and created confusion throughout the Church he heads.

In his letter Amoris Laetitia, “The Joy of Love,” the pope seemed to give approval to the receiving of Holy Communion by divorced and remarried Catholics, whose previous marriages had not been annulled, and whom the Church holds to be living in adultery.

Relying on the pope’s letter, German bishops have begun to authorize the distribution of Communion to divorced and remarried couples.

Cardinal Gerhard Muller, former prefect of the Vatican office for the Doctrine of the Faith, the position once held by Pope Benedict XVI, says this contradicts Catholic doctrine as enunciated by Pope John Paul II.

Said Cardinal Muller, “No power in heaven or on earth, neither an angel nor the pope, not a council, nor a law of the bishops has the faculty to change it.”

Four cardinals, including Raymond Burke of the United States, in a formal letter, asked the pope to clarify Amoris Laetitia. The pope did not, nor has he addressed the cardinals’ concerns.

Indeed, when asked early in his papacy about the immorality of homosexuality, the pope parried the question, “Who am I to judge?”

But if not thee, who? Is not the judging of right and wrong part of the job description?

Nor is it only in the realm of doctrine that the pope has sown confusion among the faithful.

To legalize the underground Catholic Church in China, the pope and the Vatican have agreed to ask Catholic bishops to stand aside for bishops approved by the Communist Party that seeks tighter control of Christian faiths.

The Vatican has also agreed to approve the consecration of a bishop named by Beijing, whom Rome previously regarded as illegitimate.

The capitulation is necessary for the Catholic Church in China to survive and prosper, argues the Vatican. But what kind of church will it become, asks retired Archbishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun of Hong Kong.

The Vatican is “selling out” the Church in China, says the archbishop: “Some say that all the effort to reach an agreement is to avoid the ecclesial schism. How ridiculous! The schism is there, in the Independent Church!”

Archbishop Zen concedes his criticism of the Communist Party and the Vatican’s diplomatic efforts are causing problems in closing the rift between the underground Church and the Communist Party-sanctioned church, but makes no apology: “Am I the major obstacle in the process of reaching a deal between the Vatican and China? If that is a bad deal, I would be more than happy to be the obstacle.”

There is a division inside Catholicism that is widening, between a Third World and traditional church that are growing, and a mainstream Church in Europe and here that is taking on aspects of the Anglican Church of the 20th century.

And how did that turn out, Your Holiness?

Happy Easter!

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.” 

(Creators, copyright 2018)

4 months ago

Is President Trump assembling a war cabinet?

(White House/Flickr)

The last man standing between the U.S. and war with Iran may be a four-star general affectionately known to his Marines as “Mad Dog.”

Gen. James Mattis, the secretary of defense, appears to be the last man in the Situation Room who believes the Iran nuclear deal may be worth preserving and that war with Iran is a dreadful idea.

Yet, other than Mattis, President Donald Trump seems to be creating a war cabinet.

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Trump himself has pledged to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal — “the worst deal ever” — and reimpose sanctions in May.

His new national security adviser John Bolton, who wrote an op-ed titled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran,” has called for preemptive strikes and “regime change.”

Secretary of State-designate Mike Pompeo calls Iran “a thuggish police state,” a “despotic theocracy,” and “the vanguard of a pernicious empire that is expanding its power and influence across the Middle East.”

Trump’s favorite Arab ruler, 32-year-old Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, calls Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei “the Hitler of the Middle East.”

Bibi Netanyahu is monomaniacal on Iran, calling the nuclear deal a threat to Israel’s survival and Iran “the greatest threat to our world.”

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley echoes them all.

Yet Iran appears not to want a war. U.N. inspectors routinely confirm that Iran is strictly abiding by the terms of the nuclear deal.

While U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf often encountered Iranian “fast attack” boats and drones between January 2016 and August 2017, that has stopped. Vessels of both nations have operated virtually without incident.

What would be the result of Trump’s trashing of the nuclear deal?

First would be the isolation of the United States.

China and Russia would not abrogate the deal but would welcome Iran into their camp. England, France and Germany would have to choose between the deal and the U.S. And if Airbus were obligated to spurn Iran’s orders for hundreds of new planes, how would that sit with the Europeans?

How would North Korea react if the U.S. trashed a deal where Iran, after accepting severe restrictions on its nuclear program and allowing intrusive inspections, were cheated of the benefits the Americans promised?

Why would Pyongyang, having seen us attack Iraq, which had no WMD, and Libya, which had given up its WMD to mollify us, ever consider given up its nuclear weapons — especially after seeing the leaders of both nations executed?
And, should the five other signatories to the Iran deal continue with it despite us, and Iran agree to abide by its terms, what do we do then?

Find a casus belli to go to war? Why? How does Iran threaten us?

A war, which would involve U.S. warships against swarms of Iranian torpedo boats could shut down the Persian Gulf to oil traffic and produce a crisis in the global economy. Anti-American Shiite jihadists in Beirut, Baghdad and Bahrain could attack U.S. civilian and military personnel.

As the Army and Marine Corps do not have the troops to invade and occupy Iran, would we have to reinstate the draft?
And if we decided to blockade and bomb Iran, we would have to take out all its anti-ship missiles, submarines, navy, air force, ballistic missiles and air defense system.

And would not a pre-emptive strike on Iran unite its people in hatred of us, just as Japan’s pre-emptive strike on Pearl Harbor united us in a determination to annihilate her empire?

What would the Dow Jones average look like after an attack on Iran?

Trump was nominated because he promised to keep us out of stupid wars like those into which folks like John Bolton and the Bush Republicans plunged us.

After 17 years, we are still mired in Afghanistan, trying to keep the Taliban we overthrew in 2001 from returning to Kabul. Following our 2003 invasion, Iraq, once a bulwark against Iran, became a Shiite ally of Iran.

The rebels we supported in Syria have been routed. And Bashar Assad — thanks to backing from Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Shiite militias from the Middle East and Central Asia — has secured his throne.

The Kurds who trusted us have been hammered by our NATO ally Turkey in Syria, and by the Iraqi Army we trained in Iraq.

What is Trump, who assured us there would be no more stupid wars, thinking? Truman and LBJ got us into wars they could not end, and both lost their presidencies. Eisenhower and Nixon ended those wars and were rewarded with landslides.

After his smashing victory in Desert Storm, Bush I was denied a second term. After invading Iraq, Bush II lost both houses of Congress in 2006, and his party lost the presidency in 2008 to the antiwar Barack Obama.

Once Trump seemed to understand this history.

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.”

(Creators, copyright 2018)