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Did the Freedom Caucus just pull the Republican Party back off the ledge, before it jumped to its death? A case can be made for that.

Before the American Health Care Act, aka “Ryancare,” was pulled off the House floor Friday, it enjoyed the support — of 17 percent of Americans. Had it passed, it faced an Antietam in the GOP Senate, and probable defeat.

Had it survived there, to be signed by President Trump, it would have meant 14 million Americans losing their health insurance in 2018.

First among the losers would have been white working-class folks who delivered the Rust Belt states to President Trump.

“Victory has a thousand fathers; defeat is an orphan,” said JFK.

So, who are the losers here?

First and foremost, Speaker Paul Ryan and House Republicans who, having voted 50 times over seven years to repeal Obamacare, we learned, had no consensus plan ready to replace it.

Moreover, they put a bill on the floor many had not read, and for which they did not have the votes.

More than a defeat, this was a humiliation. For the foreseeable future, a Republican Congress and president will coexist with a health care regime that both loathe but cannot together repeal and replace.

Moreover, this defeat suggests that, given the ideological divide in the GOP, and the unanimous opposition of congressional Democrats, the most impressive GOP majorities since the 1920s may be impotent to enact any major complicated or complex legislation.

Friday’s failure appears to be another milestone in the decline and fall of Congress, which the Constitution, in Article I, fairly anoints as our first branch of government.

Through the last century, Congress has steadily surrendered its powers, with feeble resistance, to presidents, the Supreme Court, the Federal Reserve, the regulatory agencies, even the bureaucracy.

The long retreat goes on.

Another truth was reconfirmed Friday. Once an entitlement program has been created with millions of beneficiaries, it becomes almost impossible to repeal. As Ronald Reagan said, “A government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.”

Nor did President Trump escape unscathed.

Among the reasons he was elected was the popular belief, which carried him through scrapes that would have sunk other candidates, that, whatever his faults or failings, he was a doer, a man of action — “He gets things done!”

To have failed on his first big presidential project has thus been an occasion of merriment for the boo-birds in the Beltway bleachers.

Yet, still, Trump’s Saturday tweet — “Obamacare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan … Do not worry!” — may prove prophetic.

Now that “Trumpcare” or “Ryancare” is gone, the nation must live with Obamacare. A Democratic program from birth, it is visibly failing. And Democrats now own it again, as not one Democrat was there to help reform it. In the off-year election of 2018, they may be begging for Republican help in reforming the health care system.

After what he sees as a wonderful win, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer now intends to block a Senate vote on Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, and thus force Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to muster 60 votes to halt a Democratic filibuster.

Should Schumer persist, Senate Republicans will exercise the “nuclear option,” i.e., change the rules to allow debate to be cut off with 51 votes, and then elevate Gorsuch with their own slim majority.

Why would Schumer squander his political capital by denying a quality candidate like Judge Gorsuch a vote? Does he also think that a collapsing Obamacare — even its backers believe is in need of corrective surgery — will be an asset for his imperiled colleagues in 2018? The last time Democrats headed down that Radical Road and nominated George McGovern, they lost 49 states.

While the Republicans have sustained a defeat, this is not the end of the world. And there was an implied warning in the president’s Sunday tweet:

“Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare.”

What Trump is explaining here is that, if Republican majorities in the House and Senate cannot or will not unite with his White House behind solutions on health care, taxes, infrastructure, border security, he will seek out moderate Democrats to get the work done.

This humiliation of Obamacare reform may prove a watershed for the Trump presidency. What he is saying is simple and direct:

I am a Republican president who wants to work with Republicans. But if they cannot or will not work with me, I will find another partner with whom to form coalitions to write the laws and enact the reforms America needs, because, in the last analysis, while party unity is desirable, the agenda I was elected to enact is critical.

The health care defeat yet may prove to be another example of winning by losing.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.”

Copyright 2017 Creators.com.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, Obamacare, Republicans 

Devin Nunes just set the cat down among the pigeons.

Two days after FBI Director James Comey assured us there was no truth to President Trump’s tweet about being wiretapped by Barack Obama, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Trump may have had more than just a small point.

The U.S. intelligence community, says Nunes, during surveillance of legitimate targets, picked up the names of Trump transition officials during surveillance of targets, “unmasked” their identity, and spread their names around, virtually assuring they would be leaked.

If true, this has the look and smell of a conspiracy to sabotage the Trump presidency, before it began.

Comey readily confirmed there was no evidence to back up the Trump tweet. But when it came to electronic surveillance of Trump and his campaign, Comey, somehow, could not comment on that.

Which raises the question: What is the real scandal here?

Is it that Russians hacked the DNC and John Podesta’s emails and handed them off to WikiLeaks? We have heard that since June.

Is it that Trump officials may have colluded with the Russians?

But former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and ex-CIA Director Mike Morrell have both said they saw no evidence of this.

This March, Sen. Chris Coons walked back his stunning declaration about transcripts showing a Russia-Trump collusion, confessing, “I have no hard evidence of collusion.”

But if Clapper and Morrell saw no Russia-Trump collusion, what were they looking at during all those months to make them so conclude?

Was it “FBI transcripts,” as Sen. Coons blurted out?

If so, who intercepted and transcribed the conversations? If it was intel agencies engaged in surveillance, who authorized that? How extensive was it? Against whom? Is it still going on?

And if today, after eight months, the intel agencies cannot tell us whether or not any member of the Trump team colluded with the Russians, what does that say of their competence?

The real scandal, which the media regard as a diversion from the primary target, Trump, is that a Deep State conspiracy to bring down his presidency seems to have been put in place by Obamaites, and perhaps approved by Obama himself.

Consider. On Jan. 12, David Ignatius of the Washington Post wrote,

“According to a senior U.S. government official, (Gen. Michael) Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials … What did Flynn say?”

Now, on Dec. 29, Flynn, national security adviser-designate, was not only doing his job calling the ambassador, he was a private citizen.

Why was he unmasked by U.S. intelligence?

Who is this “senior official” who dropped the dime on him? Could this official have known how many times Flynn spoke to Kislyak, yet not known what was said on the calls?

That is hard to believe. This looks like a contract hit by an anti-Trump agent in the intel community, using Ignatius to do the wet work.

Flynn was taken down. Did Comey turn his FBI loose to ferret out the felon who had unmasked Flynn and done him in? If not, why not?

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Dan Henninger points anew to a story in The New York Times of March 1 that began:

“In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Trump and Russians — across the government.”

“This is what they did,” wrote Henninger, quoting the Times:

“At intelligence agencies, there was a push to process as much raw intelligence as possible into analyses, and to keep the reports at a relatively low classification level to ensure as wide a readership as possible across the government — and, in some cases, among European allies.”

For what benign purpose would U.S. intelligence agents spread secrets damaging to their own president — to foreign regimes? Is this not disloyalty? Is this not sedition?

On Jan. 12, writes Henninger, the Times “reported that Attorney General Loretta Lynch signed rules that let the National Security Agency disseminate ‘raw signals intelligence information’ to 16 other intelligence agencies.”

Astounding. The Obamaites seeded the U.S. and allied intel communities with IEDs to be detonated on Trump’s arrival. This is the scandal, not Trump telling Vlad to go find Hillary’s 30,000 missing emails.

We need to know who colluded with the Russians, if anyone did. But more critically, we need to unearth the deep state conspiracy to sabotage a presidency.

So far, the Russia-connection investigation has proven a dry hole. But an investigation into who in the FBI, CIA or NSA is unmasking U.S. citizens and criminally leaking information to a Trump-hating press to destroy a president they are sworn to serve could prove to be a gusher.

As for the reports of Lynch-White House involvement in this unfolding plot to damage and destroy Trump the real question is: What did Barack Obama know, and when did he know it?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.”

Copyright 2017 Creators.com.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Media, Donald Trump, Russia 

The big losers of the Russian hacking scandal may yet be those who invested all their capital in a script that turned out to based on a fairy tale.

In Monday’s Intelligence Committee hearings, James Comey did confirm that his FBI has found nothing to support President Trump’s tweet that President Obama ordered him wiretapped. Not unexpected, but undeniably an embarrassment for the tweeter-in-chief.

Yet longer-term damage may have been done to the left. For Monday’s hearing showed that its rendering of the campaign of 2016 may be a product of fiction and a fevered imagination.

After eight months investigating the hacking and leaking of the emails of Clinton campaign chief John Podesta and the DNC, there is apparently no evidence yet of Trump collusion with Russia.

Former Director of National Intelligence Gen. James Clapper has said that, as of his departure day, Jan. 20, he had seen no evidence of a Russia-Trump collusion.

Former acting CIA Director Michael Morell also made that clear this month: “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all. … There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.” Morell was a surrogate for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

But while the FBI is still searching for a Trump connection, real crimes have been unearthed — committed by anti-Trump bureaucrats colluding with mainstream media — to damage Trump’s presidency.

There is hard evidence of collusion between the intel community and The New York Times and The Washington Post, both beneficiaries of illegal leaks — felonies punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

While the howls have been endless that Trump accused Obama of a “felony,” the one provable felony here was the leak of a transcript of an intercepted conversation between Gen. Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador.

That leak ended Flynn’s career as national security adviser. And Director Comey would neither confirm nor deny that President Obama was aware of the existence of the Flynn transcript.

So where do we stand after yesterday’s hearing and eight-month FBI investigation? The Russians did hack Podesta’s email account and the DNC, and while the FBI has found no evidence of Trump campaign collusion with the Russians, it is still looking.

However, the known unknowns seem more significant.

How could DNI Director Clapper and CIA Director Morell say that no connection had been established between Trump’s campaign and the Russians, without there having been an investigation? And how could such an investigation be conclusive in exonerating Trump’s associates — without some use of electronic surveillance?

Did the FBI fly to Moscow and question Putin’s cyberwarfare team?

More questions arise. If, in its investigation of the Russian hacking and a Trump connection, the FBI did receive the fruits of some electronic surveillance of the Trump campaign, were Attorney General Loretta Lynch, White House aides or President Obama made aware of any such surveillance? Did any give a go-ahead to surveil the Trump associates? Comey would neither confirm nor deny that they did.

So, if Obama were aware of an investigation into the Trump campaign, using intel sources and methods, Trump would not be entirely wrong in his claims, and Obama would have some ‘splainin’ to do.

Is the FBI investigating the intelligence sources who committed felonies by illegally disclosing information about the Trump campaign?

Comey would not commit to investigate these leaks, though this could involve criminal misconduct within his own FBI.

Again, the only known crimes committed by Americans during and after the campaign are the leaks of security secrets by agents of the intel community, colluding with the Fourth Estate, which uses the First Amendment to provide cover for criminal sources, whom they hail as “whistleblowers.”

Indeed, if there was no surveillance of Trump of any kind, where did all these stories come from, which their reporters attributed to “intelligence sources”?

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from any role in the Russian hacking scandal. But the Justice Department should demand that the FBI put the highest priority on investigating the deep state and its journalistic collaborators in the sabotage of the Trump presidency.

If Comey refuses to do it, appoint a special counsel.

In the last analysis, as Glenn Greenwald, no Trumpite, writes for The Intercept, the real loser may well be the Democratic Party.

If the investigation of Russiagate turns up no link between Trump and the pilfered emails, Democrats will have egg all over their faces. And the Democratic base will have to face a painful truth.

Vladimir Putin did not steal this election. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama lost it. Donald Trump won it fair and square. He is not an “illegitimate” president. There will be no impeachment. They were deceived and misled by their own leaders and media. They bought into a Big Lie.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.”

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Donald Trump, Russia 

“The senator from Kentucky,” said John McCain, speaking of his colleague Rand Paul, “is working for Vladimir Putin … and I do not say that lightly.”

What did Sen. Paul do to deserve being called a hireling of Vladimir Putin?

He declined to support McCain’s call for a unanimous Senate vote to bring Montenegro into NATO as the 29th member of a Cold War alliance President Trump has called “obsolete.”

Bordered by Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania, tiny Montenegro has a population roughly that of D.C., and sits on the western coast of the most volatile peninsula in Europe.

What strategic benefit would accrue from having Montenegro as an ally that would justify the risk of our having to go to war should some neighbor breach Montenegro’s borders?

Historically, the Balkans have been an incubator of war. In the 19th century, Otto van Bismarck predicted that when the Great War came, it would come out of “some damn fool thing in the Balkans.” And so it did when the Austrian archduke was assassinated in Sarajevo June 28, 1914 by Serbian ethnonationalist Gavrilo Princip.

Aflame with ethnic, civil and sectarian war in the 1990s, the western Balkans are again in political turmoil. Milo Djukanovic, the longtime Montenegrin prime minister who resigned on election day in October, claims that he was targeted for assassination by Russia to prevent Montenegro’s accession to NATO.

Russia denies it. But on the Senate floor, McCain raged at Rand Paul: “You are achieving the objectives of Vladimir Putin … trying to dismember this small country which has already been the subject of an attempted coup.”

But if Montenegro, awash in corruption and crime, is on the verge of an uprising or coup, why would the U.S. issue a war guarantee that could vault us into a confrontation with Russia — without a full Senate debate?

The vote that needs explaining here is not Rand Paul’s.

It is the votes of those senators who are handing out U.S.-NATO war guarantees to countries most Americans could not find on a map.

Is no one besides Sen. Paul asking the relevant questions here?

What vital U.S. interest is imperiled in who comes to power in Podgorica, Montenegro? Why cannot Europe handle this problem in its own back yard?

Has President Trump given McCain, who wanted President Bush to intervene in a Russia-Georgia war — over South Ossetia! — carte blanche to hand out war guarantees to unstable Balkan states?

Did Trump approve the expansion of NATO into all the successor states born of the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia?

Or is McCain hijacking U.S. foreign policy on NATO and Russia?

President Trump should tell the Senate: No more admissions to NATO, no more U.S. war guarantees, unless I have recommended or approved them. Foreign policy is made in the White House, not on the Senate floor.

Indeed, what happened to the foreign policy America voted for — rapprochement with Russia, an end to U.S. wars in the Middle East, and having rich allies share more of the cost of their own defense?

It is U.S., not NATO defense spending that is rising to more than $50 billion this year. And today we learn the Pentagon has drawn up plans for the insertion of 1,000 more U.S. troops into Syria. While the ISIS caliphate seems doomed, this six-year Syrian war is far from over.

An al-Qaida subsidiary, the Nusra Front, has become the most formidable rebel fighting group. Syria’s army, with the backing of Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Shiite militias from across the Middle East, has carved out most of the territory it needs.

The Turkish army is now in Syria, beside its rebel allies. Their main enemy: Syria’s Kurds, who are America’s allies.

From our longest war, Afghanistan, comes word from U.S. Gen. John Nicholson that we and our Afghan allies are in a “stalemate” with the Taliban, and he will need a “few thousand” more U.S. troops — to augment the 8,500 President Obama left behind when he left office.

Some 5,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq, helping to liberate Mosul from ISIS. In Kabul, Baghdad and Damascus, terrorist bombings are a weekly, if not a daily, occurrence.

Then there is the U.S. troop buildup in Poland and the Baltic, the U.S. deployment of a missile defense to South Korea after multiple missile tests in the North, and Russia and China talking of upgrading their nuclear arsenals to counter U.S. missile defenses in Poland, Romania and South Korea.

In and around the waters of the Persian Gulf, United States warships are harassed by Iranian patrol boats, as Tehran test-fires anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles to send the Americans a message: Attack us and it will not be a cakewalk war.

With the death of Communism, the end of the Cold War, and the collapse of the Bushite New World Order, America needs a new grand strategy, built upon the solid foundation of America First.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.”

Copyright 2017 Creators.com.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Donald Trump, John McCain, Russia 

Not long ago, a democratizing Turkey, with the second-largest army in NATO, appeared on track to join the European Union.

That’s not likely now, or perhaps ever.

Last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared Angela Merkel’s Germany to Hitler’s, said the Netherlands was full of “Nazi remnants” and “fascists,” and suggested the Dutch ambassador go home.

What precipitated Erdogan’s outbursts?

City officials in Germany refused to let him campaign in Turkish immigrant communities on behalf of an April 16 referendum proposal to augment his powers.

When the Netherlands denied Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu landing rights, he exploded, saying: “The Netherlands … are reminiscent of the Europe of World War II. The same racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, anti-Semitism.”

When Turkey’s family and social policies minister, Betul Sayan Kaya, drove from Germany to Rotterdam to campaign, Dutch police blocked her from entering the Turkish consulate and escorted her back to Germany.

Liberal Europeans see Erdogan’s referendum as a power grab by an unpredictable and volatile ruler who has fired 100,000 civil servants and jailed 40,000 Turks after last summer’s attempted coup, and is converting his country into a dictatorship.

This crisis was tailor-made for Geert Wilders, the anti-EU, anti-Muslim Dutch nationalist who is on the ballot in Wednesday’s Dutch general election.

Claiming credit for the tough stance of conservative Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Wilders tweeted: “I am telling all Turks in the Netherlands that agree with Erdogan: GO to Turkey and NEVER come back!”

“Wilders is a racist, fascist Nazi,” replied Cavusoglu.

Wilders had been fading from his front-runner position, but this episode may have brought him back. While no major Dutch party would join a government led by Wilders, if he runs first in the election March 15, the shock to Europe would be tremendous.

Rutte, however, who dominated the media through the weekend confrontation with the Turks, could be the beneficiary, as a resurgent nationalism pulls all parties toward the right.

All Europe now seems to be piling on the Turks. Danes, Swedes and Swiss are taking Europe’s side against Erdogan.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the populist National Front in France, called on the socialist regime to deny Turkish leaders permission to campaign in Turkish communities. She was echoed by conservative party candidate Francois Fillon, whose once-bright hopes for the presidency all but collapsed after it was learned his wife and children had held do-nothing jobs on the government payroll.

On April 23 comes the first round of the French elections. And one outcome appears predictable. Neither of the major parties — the socialists of President Francois Hollande or the Republicans of ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy — may make it into the May 7 finals.

Le Pen, the anti-EU populist who would lift sanctions on Putin’s Russia, is running even with 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron, a socialist running as the independent leader of a new movement.

Should Le Pen run first in April, the shock to Europe would be far greater than when her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, made the finals in 2002.

At the end of 2017, neither Wilders nor Le Pen is likely to be in power, but the forces driving their candidacies are growing stronger.

Foremost among these is the gnawing ethnonational fear across Europe that the migration from the South — Maghreb, the Middle East and the sub-Sahara — is unstoppable and will eventually swamp the countries, cultures and civilization of Europe and the West.

The ugly and brutal diplomatic confrontation with Turkey may make things worse, as the Turks, after generous payments from Germany, have kept Syrian civil war refugees from crossing its borders into Europe. Should Ankara open the gates, a new immigration crisis could engulf Europe this spring and summer.

Other ethnonational crises are brewing in a familiar place, the Balkans, among the successor states born of the 1990s breakup of Yugoslavia.

In Bosnia, secessionists seek to pull the Serb Republic away from Sarajevo toward Belgrade. The Albanian minority in Macedonia is denouncing political discrimination. The Serbs left behind after Kosovo broke loose in 1999, thanks to 78 days of U.S. bombing of Serbia, have never been reconciled to their fate.

Montenegro has charged Russia with backing an attempted coup late last year to prevent the tiny nation from joining NATO.

The Financial Times sees Vladimir Putin’s hand in what is going on in the Western Balkans, where World War I was ignited with the June 1914 assassination of the Austrian archduke in Sarajevo.

The upshot of all this:

Turkey, a powerful and reliable ally of the U.S. through the Cold War, appears to be coming unmoored from Europe and the West, and is becoming increasingly sectarian, autocratic and nationalistic.

While anti-immigrant and anti-EU parties across Europe may not take power anywhere in 2017, theirs is now a permanent and growing presence, leeching away support from centrist parties left and right.

With Russia’s deepening ties to populist and nationalist parties across Europe, from Paris to Istanbul, Vlad is back in the game.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.”

Copyright 2017 Creators.com.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: European Right, Turkey 

To back up Defense Secretary “Mad Dog” Mattis’ warning last month, that the U.S. “remains steadfast in its commitment” to its allies, President Donald Trump is sending B-1 and B-52 bombers to Korea.

Some 300,000 South Korean and 15,000 U.S. troops have begun their annual Foal Eagle joint war exercises that run through April.

“The two sides are like two accelerating trains coming toward each other with neither side willing to give way,” says Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, “Are (they) really ready for a head-on collision?”

So it would seem.

It is Kim Jong Un, 33-year-old grandson of that Stalinist state’s founding father, who launched the first Korean War, who brought on this confrontation.

In February, Kim’s half-brother was assassinated in Malaysia in a VX nerve agent attack and five of Kim’s security officials were executed with anti-aircraft guns. Monday, Kim launched four missiles toward U.S. bases, with three landing in the Sea of Japan.

U.S. response: Begin immediate deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile shield in Korea.

This set off alarms in China. For while THAAD cannot shoot down Scuds on the DMZ, its radar can detect missile launches inside China, thereby, says Beijing, imperiling her deterrent.

For accepting THAAD, China has imposed sanctions on Seoul, and promised the U.S. a commensurate strategic response.

Minister Wang’s proposal for resolving the crisis: The U.S. and Seoul cancel the exercises and North Korea suspends the nuclear and missile tests.

How did we reach this crisis point?

In his 2002 “axis of evil” address, George W. Bush declared, “The United States … will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons.”

He then launched a war on Iraq, which had no such weapons. But North Korea, hearing Bush’s threat, built and tested five atom bombs and scores of missiles, a few of intercontinental range.

Pyongyang has tested new presidents before.

In April 1969, North Korea shot down a U.S. EC-121 over the Sea of Japan, killing its entire crew. President Nixon, a war in Vietnam on his hands, let it pass, which he regretted ever after.

But this crisis raises larger questions about U.S. foreign policy.

Why, a quarter of a century after the Cold War, do we still have 28,000 troops in Korea? Not only does South Korea have twice the population of the North, but an economy 40 times as large, and access to U.S. weapons far superior to any in the North.

Why should Americans on the DMZ be among the first to die in a second Korean War? Should the North attack the South, could we not honor our treaty obligations with air and naval power offshore?

Gen. James Mattis’ warning last month was unambiguous:

“Any attack on the United States or our allies will be defeated and any use of nuclear weapons would be met with a response that would be effective and overwhelming.”

JFK’s phrase in the Cuban crisis, “full retaliatory response,” comes to mind.

Hence the next move is up to Kim.

New tests by North Korea of missiles or atom bombs for an ICBM could bring U.S. strikes on its nuclear facilities and missile sites, igniting an attack on the South.

For China, this crisis, whether it leads to war, a U.S. buildup in the South, or a U.S. withdrawal from Korea, is problematic.

Beijing cannot sit by and let her North Korean ally be bombed, nor can it allow U.S. and South Korean forces to defeat the North, bring down the regime, and unite the peninsula, with U.S. and South Korean soldiers sitting on the Yalu, as they did in 1950 before Mao ordered his Chinese army into Korea.

However, should U.S. forces withdraw from the South, Seoul might build her own nuclear arsenal, followed by Japan. For Tokyo could not live with two Koreas possessing nukes, while she had none.

This could leave China contained by nuclear neighbors: to the north, Russia, to the south, India, to the east, South Korea and Japan. And America offshore.

What this crisis reveals is that China has as great an interest in restraining North Korea as do we.

While the United States cannot back down, it is difficult to reconcile a second Korean war with our America first policy. Which is why some of us have argued for decades that the United States should moves its forces out of South Korea and off the Asian continent.

Events in Asia — Chinese claims to reefs and rocks in the South and East China Seas and North Korea’s menacing her neighbors — are pushing us toward a version of the Nixon Doctrine declared in Guam in 1969 that is consistent with America first:

While we will provide the arms for friends and allies to fight in their own defense in any future wars, henceforth, they will provide the troops.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.”

Copyright 2017 Creators.com.

 

At Mar-a-Lago this weekend President Donald Trump was filled “with fury” says The Washington Post, “mad — steaming, raging, mad.”

Early Saturday the fuming president exploded with this tweet: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

The president has reason to be enraged. For what is afoot is a loose but broad conspiracy to break and bring him down, abort his populist agenda, and overturn the results of the 2016 election.

At its heart is the “deep state” — agents of the intel community, their media collaborators, and their amen corner in a Democratic party whose control of our permanent government is all but total.

At the heart of the case against Trump is what appears to be a Big Lie.

It is that Vladimir Putin and Russian intelligence hacked the DNC and John Podesta’s email account, then colluded with Trump’s friends or associates to systematically sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Therefore, Trump stole the election and is an illegitimate president. In this city, Trump is looked upon as a border-jumper, an illegal alien.

Yet let us consider the constituent components of the charge.

For months, we have heard that U.S. intel agencies agree that the Russians hacked the DNC and Clinton campaign, and gave the fruits of their cybertheft to WikiLeaks, because Putin wanted Trump to win.

For months, this storyline has been investigated by the FBI and the intelligence committees of both houses of Congress.

Yet where is the body of evidence that the Russians did this?

More critically, where is the evidence Trump’s people played an active role in the operation? Why is it taking the FBI the better part of a year to come up with a single indictment in this Trump-Putin plot?

Is this all smoke and mirrors?

In late February, The New York Times reported that Trump officials had been in regular touch with Russian intelligence officers.

The smoking gun had been found!

Yet, almost immediately after that report, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told Fox News “the top levels of the intelligence community” had assured him that the allegations of campaign contacts with Russia were “not only grossly overstated, but also wrong.”

If what Reince says is true, the real crime here is U.S. security officials enlisting their Fourth Estate collaborators, who enjoy First Amendment privileges against having to testify under oath or being prosecuted, to undermine the elected commander in chief.

Now we expect Russia to seek to steal our secrets as we steal theirs. After all, our NSA wiretapped Angela Merkel and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. Our National Endowment for Democracy pushes “color revolutions” to bring about regime change in the near abroad of Putin’s Russian Federation.

Our NGOs are being restricted, shut down, expelled from Russia, China, Israel and Egypt, because they have been caught interfering in the internal affairs of those countries.

There is talk that Putin use the pilfered emails as payback for Clinton’s urging demonstrators to take to the streets of Moscow to protest a narrow victory by his United Russia party in 2011.

As for the alleged wiretapping of Trump Tower, President Obama has denied ordering any such thing and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper assures us nothing of the sort was ever done.

Yet, there are other reports that intelligence officials got a warrant to surveil Trump campaign officials or the Trump Tower, and, though failing to succeed in the FISA court that authorizes such surveillance in June, they did succeed in October.

If true, this is a far more explosive matter than whether a Trump aide may have told the Russians, “You’re doing a great job!” when WikiLeaks blew DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz out of her job for tilting the playing field against Bernie Sanders in the primaries.

What needs to be done now?

The White House should tell the Justice Department to tell the FBI to expedite its investigation and file a report on what was done by the Russians. And if any Trump campaign official criminally colluded with the Russians, send the recommendation to indict to Justice.

The acting attorney general should instruct Director James Comey to run down, remove and recommend for prosecution any FBI or intel agent who has leaked the fruits of their investigation, or fake news, to the media. If Comey cannot find the source of the leaks, or lies, coming out of this investigation, a housecleaning may be needed at the bureau.

While President Obama may not have ordered any surveillance of Trump or his advisors, the real question is whether he or Attorney General Loretta Lynch were aware of or approved of any surveillance of Trump and his staff during the campaign.

Russian hacking of the DNC is a problem, not a scandal. The scandal is this: Who inside the government of the United States is trying to discredit, damage or destroy the President of the United States?

For these are the real subversives.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.”

Copyright 2017 Creators.com.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Deep State, Donald Trump, Russia 

Before the largest audience of his political career, save perhaps his inaugural, Donald Trump delivered the speech of his life.

And though Tuesday’s address may be called moderate, even inclusive, Trump’s total mastery of his party was on full display.

Congressional Republicans who once professed “free-trade” as dogmatic truth rose again and again to cheer economic nationalism.

“We’ve lost more than one-fourth of our manufacturing jobs since NAFTA was approved,” thundered Trump, “and we’ve lost 60,000 factories since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.”

Yet a Republican party that embraced NAFTA and voted MFN for China every time it came up gave Trump standing ovations.

“(W)e have inherited a series of tragic foreign policy disasters,” said Trump, “America has spent approximately six trillion dollars in the Middle East — all the while our infrastructure at home is crumbling.”

And from Congressional Republicans who backed every Bush-Obama war — Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen — not a peep of protest, as their foreign policy legacy was being consigned to the dumpster.

Watching Republicans rise again and again to hail Trump called to mind the Frankish King Clovis who, believing his wife’s Christian God had interceded to give him victory over the Alemanni, saw his army converted by the battalions and baptized by the platoons.

One had thought the free-trade beliefs of Republicans were more deeply rooted than this.

“We have withdrawn the United States from the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Trump exulted, having just tossed into the trash that mammoth trade deal beloved of Bush Republicans.

GOP champions of the TPP, if there are any left, sat mute.

Trump cited the first Republican president, Lincoln, as having got it right when he warned, “abandonment of the protective policy by the American Government (will) produce want and ruin among our people.”

Celebrating protectionism, hailing “America First!” in a virtual State of the Union address — it doesn’t get any better than this.

To open-borders Republicans who backed amnesty for 11 million illegal immigrants, Trump had this message, “We will soon begin the construction of a great wall along our southern border.”

And the cheering did not stop.

The president invoked Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System, the greatest public works project of the 20th century, as a model.

Yet Ike was opposed by the Taft wing of his party and Ike’s republicanism gave birth to the modern conservative movement.

Yet, in leading Republicans away from globalism to economic nationalism, Trump is not writing a new gospel. He is leading a lost party away from a modernist heresy — back to the Old-Time Religion.

In restating his commitment to the issues that separated him from the other Republicans and won him Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, however, Trump reaffirmed aspects of conservatism dear to his audience.

He committed himself to regulatory reform, freeing up the private sector, rolling back the administrative state. The Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines are on the way to completion. And Trump is all behind school choice.

While the speech was unifying and aspirational, the president set goals and laid down markers by which his presidency will be judged.

And none will be easy of attainment.

“Dying industries will come roaring back to life. … Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways … Our terrible drug epidemic will slow down and, ultimately, stop. … Our neglected inner cities will see a rebirth of hope, safety and opportunity.”

As some of these domestic crises are rooted in the character, or lack of it, of people, they have proven, since Great Society days, to be beyond the capacity of government to solve.

Ronald Reagan was not wrong when he said, “Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.”

And while the president’s speech astonished critics as much as it reassured friends, it leaves large questions unanswered.

How does one leave Social Security and Medicare untouched, grow defense by more than $50 billion, slash taxes, launch a $1 trillion infrastructure program — and not explode the deficit and national debt?

Now that we are ensnared in wars all over the Middle East, how do we extricate ourselves and come home without our enemies filling the vacuum?

How does the GOP repeal and replace Obamacare without cutting the benefits upon which millions of Americans have come to rely?

How do you eliminate an $800 billion merchandise trade deficit without tariffs that raise the price of cheap imports from abroad — on which Trump’s working-class voters have come to depend?

The Republican establishment today bends the knee to Caesar.

But how long before K Street lobbyists for transnational cartels persuade the GOP elite, with campaign contributions, to slow-walk the president’s America First agenda?

Tuesday’s speech established Trump as the man in charge.

But how loyal to him and his program will be the “deep state,” which dominates this city that gave Trump only 4 percent of its votes and, paranoically, believes him to be an agent of Vladimir Putin?

The Trump-Beltway wars have only just begun.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.”

Copyright 2017 Creators.com.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, Republican Party 

The founding fathers of the Munich Security Conference, said John McCain, would be “be alarmed by the turning away from universal values and toward old ties of blood, and race, and sectarianism.”

McCain was followed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who called for a “post-West world order.” Russia has “immense potential” for that said Lavrov, “we’re open for that inasmuch as the U.S. is open.”

Now McCain is not wrong. Nationalism is an idea whose time has come again. Those “old ties of blood, and race, and sectarianism” do seem everywhere ascendant. But that is a reality we must recognize and deal with. Deploring it will not make it go away.

But what are these “universal values” McCain is talking about?

Democracy? The free elections in India gave power to Hindu nationalists. In Palestine, Hamas. In Lebanon, Hezbollah. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, then overthrown in a military coup welcomed by the world’s oldest and greatest democracy. Have we forgotten it was a democratically elected government we helped to overthrow in Kiev?

Democracy is a bus you get off when it reaches your stop, says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, autocrat of Ankara, a NATO ally.

Is freedom of religion a “universal value”?

Preach or proselytize for Christianity in much of the Islamic world and you are a candidate for martyrdom. Practice freedom of speech in Xi Jinping’s China and you can wind up in a cell.

As for the Western belief in the equality of all voluntary sexual relations, in some African and Muslim countries, homosexuals are beheaded and adulterers stoned to death.

In Nuristan Province in U.S.-liberated Afghanistan this month, an armed mob of 300 besieged a jail, shot three cops and dragged out an 18-year-old woman who had eloped with her lover to escape an arranged marriage. Beaten by relatives, the girl was shot by an older brother with a hunting rifle and by a younger brother with his AK-47.

Afghan family values.

Her lover was turned over to the husband. An “honor killing,” and, like suicide bombings, not uncommon in a world where many see such actions as commendable in the sight of Allah.

McCain calls himself an “unapologetic believer in the West” who refuses “to accept that our values are morally equivalent to those of our adversaries.”

Lavrov seemed to be saying this:

Reality requires us here in Munich to recognize that, in the new struggle for the world, Russia and the U.S. are natural allies not natural enemies. Though we may quarrel over Crimea and the Donbass, we are in the same boat. Either we sail together, or sink together.

Does the foreign minister not have a point?

Unlike the Cold War, Moscow does not command a world empire. Though a nuclear superpower still, she is a nation whose GDP is that of Spain and whose population of fewer than 150 million is shrinking. And Russia threatens no U.S. vital interest.

Where America is besieged by millions of illegal immigrants crossing from Mexico, Russia faces to her south 1.3 billion Chinese looking hungrily at resource-rich Siberia and Russia’s Far East.

The China that is pushing America and its allies out of the East and South China Seas is also building a new Silk Road through former Russian and Soviet provinces in Central Asia. With an estimated 16 million Muslims, Russia is threatened by the same terrorists, and is far closer to the Middle East, the source of Sunni terror.Is Putin’s Russia an enemy, as McCain seems to believe?

Before we can answer that question, we need to know what the new world struggle is about, who the antagonists are, and what the threats are to us.

If we believe the struggle is for “global democracy” and “human rights,” then that may put Putin on the other side. But how then can we be allies of President el-Sissi of Egypt and Erdogan of Turkey, and the kings, emirs and sultans of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman?

But if the new world struggle is about defending ourselves and our civilization, Russia would appear to be not only a natural ally, but a more critical and powerful one than that crowd in Kiev.

In August 1914, Europe plunged into a 50-month bloodbath over an assassinated archduke. In 1939, Britain and France declared war to keep Poland from having to give up a Prussian port, Danzig, taken from Germany under the duress of a starvation blockade in 1919 and in clear violation of Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points and the Danzigers’ right of self-determination. In the two wars, 50 million to 100 million died.

Today, the United States is confronting Russia, a huge and natural ally, over a peninsula that had belonged to her since the 18th century and is 5,000 miles from the United States.

“We have immense potential that has yet to be tapped into,” volunteered Lavrov. But to deal, we must have “mutual respect.”

Hopefully, President Trump will sound out the Russians, and tune out the Beltway hawks.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.”

Copyright 2017 Creators.com.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: John McCain, Neocons, Russia 

As the culture war is about irreconcilable beliefs about God and man, right and wrong, good and evil, and is at root a religious war, it will be with us so long as men are free to act on their beliefs.

Yet, given the divisions among us, deeper and wider than ever, it is an open question as to how, and how long, we will endure as one people.

After World War II, our judicial dictatorship began a purge of public manifestations of the “Christian nation” that Harry Truman said we were.

In 2009, Barack Obama retorted, “We do not consider ourselves to be a Christian nation.” Secularism had been enthroned as our established religion, with only the most feeble of protests.

One can only imagine how Iranians or Afghans would deal with unelected judges moving to de-Islamicize their nations. Heads would roll, literally.

Which bring us to the first culture war skirmish of the Trump era.

Taking sides with Attorney General Jeff Sessions against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the president rescinded the Obama directive that gave transgender students the right to use the bathroom of their choice in public schools. President Donald Trump sent the issue back to the states and locales to decide.

While treated by the media and left as the civil rights cause of our era, the “bathroom debate” calls to mind Marx’s observation, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”

Can anyone seriously contend that whether a 14-year-old boy, who thinks he is a girl, gets to use the girls’ bathroom is a civil rights issue comparable to whether African-Americans get the right to vote?

Remarkably, there was vigorous dissent, from DeVos, to returning this issue to where it belongs, with state and local officials.

After yielding on the bathroom question, she put out a statement declaring that every school in America has a “moral obligation” to protect children from bullying, and directed her Office of Civil Rights to investigate all claims of bullying or harassment “against those who are most vulnerable in our schools.”

Now, bullying is bad behavior, and it may be horrible behavior.

But when did a Republican Party that believes in states rights decide this was a responsibility of a bureaucracy Ronald Reagan promised but failed to shut down? When did the GOP become nanny-staters?

Bullying is something every kid in public, parochial or private school has witnessed by graduation. While unfortunate, it is part of growing up.

But what kind of society, what kind of people have we become when we start to rely on federal bureaucrats to stop big kids from harassing and beating up smaller or weaker kids?

While the bathroom debate is a skirmish in the culture war, Trump’s solution — send the issue back to the states and the people there to work it out — may point the way to a truce — assuming Americans still want a truce.

For Trump’s solution is rooted in the principle of subsidiarity, first advanced in the 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum by Pope Leo XIII — that social problems are best resolved by the smallest unit of society with the ability to resolve them.

In brief, bullying is a problem for parents, teachers, principals to deal with, and local cops and the school district if it becomes widespread.

This idea is consistent with the Republican idea of federalism — that the national government should undertake those duties — securing the borders, fighting the nation’s wars, creating a continental road and rail system — that states alone cannot do.

Indeed, the nationalization of decision-making, the imposition of one-size-fits-all solutions to social problems, the court orders emanating from the ideology of judges — to which there is no appeal — that is behind the culture wars that may yet bring an end to this experiment in democratic rule.

Those factors are also among the primary causes of the fever of secessionism that is spreading all across Europe, and is now visible here.

Consider California. Democrats hold every state office, both Senate seats, two-thirds of both houses of the state legislature, 3 in 4 of the congressional seats. Hillary Clinton beat Trump 2-to-1 in California, with her margin in excess of 4 million votes.

Suddenly, California knows exactly how Marine Le Pen feels.

And as she wants to “Let France Be France,” and leave the EU, as Brits did with Brexit, a movement is afoot in California to secede from the United States and form a separate nation.

California seceding sounds like a cause that could bring San Francisco Democrats into a grand alliance with Breitbart.

A new federalism — a devolution of power and resources away from Washington and back to states, cities, towns and citizens, to let them resolve their problems their own way and according to their own principles — may be the price of retention of the American Union.

Let California be California; let red state America be red state America.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.”

Copyright 2017 Creators.com.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Political Correctness 
Pat Buchanan
About Pat Buchanan

Patrick J. Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three Presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and was the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000.

In his White House years, Mr. Buchanan wrote foreign policy speeches, and attended four summits, including Mr. Nixon’s historic opening to China in 1972, and Ronald Reagan’s Reykjavik summit in 1986 with Mikhail Gorbachev.

Mr. Buchanan has written ten books, including six straight New York Times best sellers A Republic, Not an Empire; The Death of the West; Where the Right Went Wrong; State of Emergency; Day of Reckoning and Churchill, Hitler and The Unnecessary War.

Mr. Buchanan is currently a columnist, political analyst for MSNBC, chairman of The American Cause foundation and an editor of The American Conservative. He is married to the former Shelley Ann Scarney, who was a member of the White House Staff from 1969 to 1975.


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