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Are Autocrats Always Adversaries?
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When did the political systems of 193 nations become the business of the government of the United States? And who elected us Americans to write the moral code for the regimes that rule other lands?

Consider: On taking office, President Joe Biden pledged to center his foreign policy “on the defense of democracy and the protection of human rights.” At his Summit for Democracy, he said it was America’s intent to undertake the bolstering of democracy and human rights worldwide.

Yet no nation bristles more than we Americans do when we discover foreign regimes meddling in our politics or presidential elections.

Why? Historically, Americans have collaborated not only with democracies but also with autocrats, dictators, monarchs and tyrants.

George Washington danced a jig when he learned an alliance had been forged with the France of King Louis XVI to fight beside us in our war of independence against the England of King George III, in whose army Washington had himself fought in the French and Indian War.

In the War of 1812, the United States fought the same British enemy as Napoleon was fighting, which may explain why the British enthusiastically burned our Capitol and White House in August 1814.

In World War I, we “make-the-world-safe-for-democracy” Americans were wartime allies of the British, French, Russian and Japanese empires.

At the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, President Woodrow Wilson signed the documents that parceled out Germanic lands and peoples against their will and in violation of Wilson’s own professed doctrine of self-determination.

Against Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany from 1941 to 1945, our principal allies, whose armies did most of the fighting and dying, were Joseph Stalin and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. Neither was a democrat.

During the Cold War, we were at times allied with South Korean dictators, Argentine generals, Greek colonels, the shah of Iran, Gen. Augusto Pinochet of Chile, Latin American despots, African kleptocrats and assorted royals across the Middle East.

The world’s largest democracy during the Cold War was India, which sided with Moscow, while autocratic and Muslim Pakistan lined up with us.

President Richard Nixon’s great diplomatic achievement, the 1972 opening to China, established a detente between the world’s greatest democracy and its most monstrous and murderous tyranny. U.S. elites were elated.

The point of the recitation? In times of crisis for our republic, we have often found allies in autocrats and dictators while democracies such as India and Sweden remained basically neutral.

Nations judge friends not by the ideology that they profess but by how they behave when a crisis comes.

When the Yom Kippur War broke out in 1973, autocratic Portugal allowed the use of the Azores for U.S. planes carrying tanks and guns to Israel. Some of our other allies remained neutral.

Lately, we have been preaching the superiority of our democracy as a political system for all peoples, as it manifests “universal values.”

But if tomorrow the kings of Morocco, Jordan, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and the emirs of Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, fell to popular uprisings in the name of democracy, how beneficial would this be to the U.S.?

A decade ago, when the Arab Spring produced free elections in Egypt and the Palestinian territories, the big winners were the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

Again, when did the political systems of foreign nations that do not threaten or attack us become an American concern?

When did they become any of our business?

During the Cold War, Stalin imposed communism on that half of Europe he had conquered in World War II. Nikita Khrushchev brayed, “We will bury you!” and, “Your grandchildren will live under communism.”

But Russian President Vladimir Putin does not say, “Your grandchildren will live under communism” or under autocracy. Or under Russian rule.

Nor does the China of Xi Jinping, who preaches the supremacy of his system, attempt to impose communist ideology on his neighbors who have not embraced it.

China is communist to the core, but outside the territories it claims as its own — such as Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Inner Mongolia — it does not impose its ideology. It does not impose Communist Party rule.

It was the U.S. under President George W. Bush that preached a global crusade for democracy. It is the United States that today backs color-coded revolutions to overturn regimes in the Balkans, Caucasus and Near East.

It is the United States whose National Endowment for Democracy and its subsidiaries, and government-backed NGOs, interfere incessantly in the internal affairs of other nations to extend our democratist ideology.

Most autocrats are nationalists, not transnational crusaders.

It is not Putin who is dividing the world based on ideology.

It is Biden who sees the world as divided between saints and sinners, democrats and autocrats and, by coercion and conversion, seeks to grow the camp of the saints. Pakistan is invited to the democracy summit, while NATO ally Hungary is blackballed.

In the great power struggle of the present, among America, Russia and China, it is the Americans who are waging relentless ideological wars. And ideological wars often end in shooting wars.

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

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, China, Russia, Ukraine 
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  1. Molip says:

    “It is Biden who sees the world as divided between saints and sinners …”

    Over the last two decades the US has killed hundreds of thousands of Muslim civilians in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya. It is responsible for, or complicit in humanitarian disasters in Iran, Palestine and Yemen. Infamous torture camps, rendition and black sites feature in the US line-up. Then who could forget that US sponsored sanctions killed _half a million_ Iraqi kids before the invasion but _after_ Iraq had rid itself of WMD.

    The US is a bone fide, current and continuing war criminal. I know who the saints aren’t.

    The only thing the US has going for it in its ideological warfare is a totally compliant and thereby complicit MsM.

  2. First off, US is not a democracy but a imperiocracy controlled by Zio-oligarchs and their commissars.

    • Replies: @Back_tothe_land
  3. Are Autocrats Always Adversaries?

    No, but in Mr. Buchanan’s world, adversaries are always autocrats.

    Consider. Even in another relatively good columns, Uncle Sam’s targets are relentlessly labeled

    the regimes that rule other lands


    foreign regimes meddling in our politics or presidential elections

    and badpersonified

    the China of Xi Jinping, who preaches the supremacy of his system

    Russian President Vladimir Putin does not say, “Your grandchildren will live under communism” or under autocracy.

    Meanwhile, it’s always

    America’s intent to undertake the bolstering of democracy and human rights worldwide.

    These are propagandistic investments on behalf of the Establishment, the planting of tiny seeds in the mass American mind. Later, when the weddings are droned, the sanctions deprive people of food and medicine, and the target’s shocked & awed … “we” can shrug it off and blame the victims for living in such unExceptional! places, leaving “us” to choose their new rulers.

  4. ki says:

    If something really holds the universal values and the truth, the last thing you want is sharing it with your enemy.
    However the behaviour of parasite infected entities will be greatly modified, the host will tend to spread the parasite by any means possible. The failure in Lybia, Syria, Afganistan and recently Ethiopia shows that the United States now is underperforming, maybe the parasite causes too much cognitive and physical damage to the host.

  5. tyrone says:

    Putin was democratically elected in an election that was just as fair and honest as ours….autocrat? not so much…….pot, meet kettle.

  6. Let’s not forget that the British burning of public buildings in Washington in 1814 came in retaliation for American atrocities in the invasion of Canada. US forces burned the government buildings in York (modern Toronto), the capital of Upper Canada, in the spring of 1813. Among other indignities, they forced locals to witness the Union Jack dragged through the mud, tied to the tails of their horses. The invaders returned a few months later, this time plundering and burning private homes. Canadians responded with a resounding “eh” to our generous efforts to liberate them from King George’s terrible tyranny. The conquest of Canada was undertaken to placate northerners in a war effort that was primarily about seizing more land for southerners to expand the slave system onto. Unknown in DC, just two days before the war was declared, Parliament suspended the offending “orders in council” that restricted American trade, the nominal cause of the war; but when the news arrived of Britain’s major concession, the US regime refused to end hostilities

    • Replies: @Greta Handel
  7. @Observator

    I appreciate many of your contributions. But this

    The conquest of Canada was undertaken to placate northerners in a war effort that was primarily about seizing more land for southerners to expand the slave system onto.

    reminds me of that stuff you posted several times a year or three ago about how the 1861-65 war wouldn’t have been waged but for the CSA refusal to return the “federal” mints. I repeatedly asked for documentation or other support for what remained a mere, unsourced assertion.

    I’m still curious about where you’re coming from.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  8. Autocrats and democrats can often be allies, as history shows: it depends on where a nation’s interests lie.

  9. The US “presidents” are autocrats. Or rather, figureheads for the plutocrats who run this increasingly authoritarian police state at home and vicious aggressive military abroad.

    Moreover, democracy and autocracy are not necessarily two different things, as Pat should know. False dichotomy. Oppression by a vote of the majority of your neighbors or “countrymen” (and usually far less than a majority of the voting-age population) is still oppression.

    • Replies: @Dutch Boy
  10. anon[372] • Disclaimer says:

    Excellent article, Pat. If Democracy were really so great, why do we need to go to war to impose it on others? What kind of freedom are we really bringing these people who supposedly lack freedom and democracy? Freedom to live a decadent, soulless, materialistic lifestyle as we do? For Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Hollywood and our mainstream media to brainwash their kids with sex and violence while looting them blind through capitalism and globalization?

    China needs to stop installing 5G all over the world through BRI. They are only enabling the US to further conquer all these countries through our contents and merchandise.

  11. Dutch Boy says:

    You might be interested in the book “Liberty: The God That Failed” by Christopher Ferrara. He points out that the modern “liberal” regimes are actually much more intrusive and tyrannical than the old traditional monarchies. He concentrates on the first hundred years of the American liberal regime but the liberal tyranny we are getting now would have shocked and bewildered our nineteenth century liberal predecessors.

  12. SafeNow says:

    Early this year, The Economist magazine’s “intelligence unit” published its democracy index. The U.S. ranked 28th. Norway was number 1. When you are #28, you should not presume to be a paragon.

    (Maybe it was 27 and not 28, I can’t recall. There is a fascinatingly small variance for the U.S. in international rankings; the U.S. seems to often rank 27 or 28. Competence of medical staff, PISA scores.)

  13. Patrick Buchanan is a perfect example of why a Catholic can’t understand Judaism, Zionism, and modern geopolitics. Another is E. Michael Jones. They start from the standpoint that Christians are the true heirs of Moses. Therefore they literally can’t read the Torah properly. They are wearing their Christian blinders. Evidently Mr. Buchanan thinks it was a good thing that Portugal allowed the U.S. to use the Azores air bases to rearm Israel. I’m sure he thinks the U.S. should support Israel. A proper worldview starts with studying 9/11 and understanding that it was engineered by Israeli military intelligence to start the war on terror and get the U.S. to attack their enemies in the Middle East. But Zionism goes all the way back to Deuteronomy, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, the Babylonian captivity. The modern version was born in Poland and the Pale of Settlement in Russia. The population explosion there makes it a modern Egyptian story. Now the Zionists are struggling with the realization that the Zionist project is failing, with the rise of China and the resurgence of Russia. Hence our Jewish State Department’s flailing. Maybe they have a secret plan, such as a major depopulation of the earth. Who knows. As for China, it is really more national socialist than Communist. Communism was a Jewish movement, another attempt to solve the Jewish Problem and get the Jews out from under God’s supposed plan for the Jews to conquer the nations. Laudable in a way, but the reality was horrible. Read Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archapelago to get the true story. Do the Jewish Zionists have a plan? We should find out soon.

    • Replies: @El Dato
  14. Phibbs says:

    U.S. foreign policy is extremely hypocritical. We back dictatorships we like (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, U.A.E., etc.) but oppose any countries that oppose Israel. We call them “regimes.” All this because Jews are in charge of Washington D.C. and the media. As for the vicious, rogue, human-rights abusing, enemy state of Israel, well, according to the Israeli-Occupied Government in Washington D.C., it is a “model democracy.”

  15. Anonymous[794] • Disclaimer says:

    Most Jews can’t read the Torah, so there’s that.

    Similarly most Catholic priests can’t read Greek but they do enjoy butt-rocking.

    Keep in mind that U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie enticed Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait.

    Keep in mind that Obama started an unnecessary war in Syria, including a still-ongoing invasion.

    • Replies: @Back_tothe_land
  16. I have to wonder why an establishment mouthpiece like this “Patrick Buchanan” has a place in a sanctuary for excluded media. If he was ever a maverick, it wasn’t in this century. I do not even think it is him writing these.

  17. @Priss Factor

    What else gave it away that this author is a complete fraud in every sense? Please, Mr. Unz, find a replacement columnist that agrees with your mission statement. This site could use a few more.

  18. @Anonymous

    Most Jews can’t read the Torah, so there’s that.

    The Torah is all of those works that the Jews think are important to their Babylonian Talmudist demon worship. You can find information from themselves explaining this (though probably not admitting to being demon worshipers).

    This is one of the greatest misinformation ploys in the 20th century – that the Torah resembles the Christian OT (false in every sense). It is not a single book, it does not contain the Christian OT, and it is mostly the Babylonian Talmud which they make some astonishing claims about.

    Their religion shares literally no lineage with Christianity or the biblical Hebrew tribes.

  19. What’s most ironic is that the historical examples are reliably presented as a Liberal/woke argument about ‘collective white guilt and colonialism etc’ by the same people who consistently praise and support the current imperial regime of global expansionists.

  20. SafeNow says:

    “Splitting” is a psychological mechanism is which a person is viewed as either all good or all bad. Commenters who criticize Mr. Buchanan raise very valid criticisms. But they seldom mention the good part – – he’s been around a long time and provides crucial historical perspective. So, I want to say, Thanks, Pat, for the long view.

    I am not a psychologist but I think conservatives are much better than liberals about this good/bad thing. When Trump did something wrong, we said so.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  21. El Dato says:

    Jews are just chaff before God, as are we all.

    We will find out indeed.

  22. @Molip

    For every Mohammedan killed by the US in the last 20 years, the Mohammedans have killed 20 of their co-religionists.

    Allahu Akbar!

  23. Thank you, Mr. Buchanan, for your usual good sense.

    For the US to preach “democracy” to the rest of the world makes us look stupid and two-faced. For starters, our system of rigged elections is hardly to be emulated. Then, there is the fact that a substantial part of the world is illiterate and unqualified to vote, or come from societies (Mohammedan and others) with a thousand or more year tradition of autocracy. And to top it off, we have routinely interfered in others’ elections, most notably the Russians’ election.

    Only a moron like Bush or Biden believes this crap about fostering democracy. To their credit, I suppose, Clinton and Obama never believed a word of it, although to their discredit, they mouthed the stupid platitudes nevertheless.

    Keep up the good work, Mr. Buchanan.

  24. Let the democrat who is without sin throw the first nuclear bomb.

  25. Big virtual meeting coming up between Putin and Xi. How long before they declare a formal alliance to deter NATO aggression?

  26. @Greta Handel

    Allow me to toss into the pot the idea that no President was so destructive of American lives and property as Abe Lincoln by his refusing to allow the Southern states to secede. Emancipation did not justify the disaster because even Cuba and Brazil gave up slavery in the 1880s and the combination of repealing the Fugitive Slaves legislation and pressure from the Northern states and Europeans would have ensured that slavery couldn’t survive.

  27. Consider: On taking office, President Joe Biden pledged to center his foreign policy “on the defense of democracy and the protection of human rights.”

    As if we have any credibility left after completely (and deliberately) botching the Crapghanistan adventure.

    Naturally the word “freedom” is absent from this illegitimate regime’s vocabulary.

  28. KenH says:

    It was the U.S. under President George W. Bush that preached a global crusade for democracy. It is the United States that today backs color-coded revolutions to overturn regimes in the Balkans, Caucasus and Near East.

    Could it having something to do with Jewish power and influence? America is the epicenter of Jewish power and is it just a coincidence that we’ve become as bellicose, reckless and dangerous as the Jew led former Soviet Union until they began losing power and falling out of favor?

    Russia and China are not controlled by Jews and even though both nations have their faults they are more respectful of the national sovereignty of foreign nations than the Jew controlled U.S. How many nations have Russia and China invaded to impose their system upon compared to the U.S.?

    The former Soviet Union and the United States have traded places. Jews in the U.S. are no longer content to boil the white frog slowly and have adopted a more radical and violent strategy of destabilization, anti-white racial hatred and overthrow of the existing Constitutional order similar to their racial forebears in the years leading up to the Bolshevik revolution.

    • Replies: @Zumbuddi
  29. Zumbuddi says:


    Re Jewish influence —

    But further research is needed — Anglos have bee & are a bloodthirsty lot intent on domination.

    Is that because the British were first taken over by Jews?

    • Replies: @KenH
  30. Yee says:

    This author seems to suffer from personality split… I recall him singing a very different tune during the HongKong roit.

  31. The point of the column is that the US has allied with non-Democratic elements when its interests dictated it; giving credence to the adage ”we have no permanent friends, only permanent interests.” Ideological wars likely wont end in shooting wars with Russia and China; wars are becoming obsolete and counter productive. The American people are tired of fighting them; and are less gullible about reasons for fighting them; and the US military is currently not in shape for a war with major powers. Russia has the ability to literally destroy the United States; that pretty much precludes any chance of war with Russia.

  32. RVBlake says:

    “Yet no nation bristles more than we Americans do when we discover foreign regimes meddling in our politics or presidential elections.” I think Pat is overlooking one.

    • Replies: @tyrone
  33. KenH says:

    But further research is needed — Anglos have bee & are a bloodthirsty lot intent on domination.

    The information is available for those with an open mind. No further research is needed.

    All people have proven throughout history to be a bloodthirsty lot bend on dominating others. Anglos are not unique as you seem to suggest.

    For example, some warlike American Indian tribes dominated, killed or enslaved weaker tribes using the best weapons at their disposal. The Seljuk and Ottoman Turks killed, forcibly converted and displaced legions of non-Muslims during their history. Jews kill Palestinians with impunity and treat them worse than second class citizens in Israel.

    The list of non Anglo crimes against humanity are quite long if you care to look. Only whites/Anglos are castigated and held to a higher standard than everyone else.

  34. Anonymous[881] • Disclaimer says:

    “We said so” now answer the question did it do any good and the answer would be no it did not.

  35. tyrone says:

    Yes ,that’s right and the US government feels it has the right and responsibility to meddle in other countries political processes.

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