Did Tariffs Make America Great?

Trump - MAGA

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“Make America Great Again!” will, given the astonishing victory it produced for Donald Trump, be recorded among the most successful slogans in political history.

Yet it raises a question: How did America first become the world’s greatest economic power?

In 1998, in “The Great Betrayal: How American Sovereignty and Social Justice Are Being Sacrificed to the Gods of the Global Economy,” this writer sought to explain.

The Great Betrayal

However, as the blazing issue of that day was Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton, it was no easy task to steer interviewers around to the McKinley Tariff.

Free trade propaganda aside, what is the historical truth?

As our Revolution was about political independence, the first words and acts of our constitutional republic were about ensuring America’s economic independence.

“A free people should promote such manufactures as tend to render them independent on others for essentials, especially military supplies,” said President Washington in his first message to Congress.

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The first major bill passed by Congress was the Tariff Act of 1789.

Weeks later, Washington imposed tonnage taxes all foreign shipping. The U.S. Merchant Marine was born.

In 1791, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton wrote in his famous Report on Manufactures:

“The wealth … independence, and security of a Country, appear to be materially connected with the prosperity of manufactures. Every nation … ought to endeavor to possess within itself all the essentials of national supply. These compromise the means of subsistence, habitation, clothing, and defence.”

During the War of 1812, British merchants lost their American markets. When peace came, flotillas of British ships arrived at U.S. ports to dump underpriced goods and to recapture the markets the Brits had lost.

Henry Clay and John Calhoun backed James Madison’s Tariff of 1816, as did ex-free traders Jefferson and John Adams. It worked.

In 1816, the U.S. produced 840 thousand yards of cloth. By 1820, it was 13,874 thousand yards. America had become self-sufficient.

Financing “internal improvements” with tariffs on foreign goods would become known abroad as “The American System.”

Said Daniel Webster, “Protection of our own labor against the cheaper, ill-paid, half-fed, and pauper labor of Europe, is … a duty which the country owes to its own citizens.”

This is economic patriotism, a conservatism of the heart. Globalists, cosmopolites and one-worlders recoil at phrases like “America First.”

Campaigning for Henry Clay, “The Father of the American System,” in 1844, Abe Lincoln issued an impassioned plea, “Give us a protective tariff and we will have the greatest nation on earth.”

Battling free trade in the Polk presidency, Congressman Lincoln said, “Abandonment of the protective policy by the American Government must result in the increase of both useless labor and idleness and … must produce want and ruin among our people.”

In our time, the abandonment of economic patriotism produced in Middle America what Lincoln predicted, and what got Trump elected.

From the Civil War to the 20th century, U.S. economic policy was grounded in the Morrill Tariffs, named for Vermont Congressman and Senator Justin Morrill who, as early as 1857, had declared: “I am for ruling America for the benefit, first, of Americans, and, for the ‘rest of mankind’ afterwards.”

To Morrill, free trade was treason:

“Free trade abjures patriotism and boasts of cosmopolitanism. It regards the labor of our own people with no more favor than that of the barbarian on the Danube or the cooly on the Ganges.”

William McKinley, the veteran of Antietam who gave his name to the McKinley Tariff, declared, four years before being elected president:

“Free trade results in our giving our money … our manufactures and our markets to other nations. … It will bring widespread discontent. It will revolutionize our values.”

Campaigning in 1892, McKinley said, “Open competition between high-paid American labor and poorly paid European labor will either drive out of existence American industry or lower American wages.”

Substitute “Asian labor” for “European labor” and is this not a fair description of what free trade did to U.S. manufacturing these last 25 years? Some $12 trillion in trade deficits, arrested wages for our workers, six million manufacturing jobs lost, 55,000 factories and plants shut down.

McKinley’s future Vice President Teddy Roosevelt agreed with him, “Thank God I am not a free trader.”

What did the Protectionists produce?

From 1869 to 1900, GDP quadrupled. Budget surpluses were run for 27 straight years. The U.S. debt was cut two-thirds to 7 percent of GDP. Commodity prices fell 58 percent. U.S. population doubled, but real wages rose 53 percent. Economic growth averaged 4 percent a year.

And the United States, which began this era with half of Britain’s production, ended it with twice Britain’s production.

Under Warren Harding, Cal Coolidge and the Fordney-McCumber Tariff, GDP growth from 1922 to 1927 hit 7 percent, an all-time record.

Economic patriotism put America first, and made America first.

Of GOP free traders, the steel magnate Joseph Wharton, whose name graces the college Trump attended, said it well:

“Republicans who are shaky on protection are shaky all over.”

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How Trump’s Presidency Will Be Judged

How Trump's Presidency Will Be Judged

By Patrick J. Buchanan

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.

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.

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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?

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Globalists & Nationalists: Who Owns the Future?

Globalists & Nationalists: Who Owns the Future

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Robert Bartley, the late editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, was a free trade zealot who for decades championed a five-word amendment to the Constitution: “There shall be open borders.”

Bartley accepted what the erasure of America’s borders and an endless influx or foreign peoples and goods would mean for his country.

Said Bartley, “I think the nation-state is finished.”

His vision and ideology had a long pedigree.

This free trade, open borders cult first flowered in 18th-century Britain. The St. Paul of this post-Christian faith was Richard Cobden, who mesmerized elites with the grandeur of his vision and the power of his rhetoric.

In Free Trade Hall in Manchester, Jan. 15, 1846, the crowd was so immense the seats had to be removed. There, Cobden thundered:

“I look farther; I see in the Free Trade principle that which shall act on the moral world as the principle of gravitation in the universe — drawing men together, thrusting aside the antagonisms of race, and creed, and language, and uniting us in the bonds of eternal peace.”

Britain converted to this utopian faith and threw open her markets to the world. Across the Atlantic, however, another system, that would be known as the “American System,” had been embraced.

The second bill signed by President Washington was the Tariff Act of 1789. Said the Founding Father of his country in his first address to Congress: “A free people … should promote such manufactures as tend to make them independent on others for essential, particularly military supplies.”

In his 1791 “Report on Manufactures,” Alexander Hamilton wrote, “Every nation ought to endeavor to possess within itself all the essentials of national supply. These comprise the means of subsistence, habitat, clothing and defence.”

This was wisdom born of experience.

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At Yorktown, Americans had to rely on French muskets and ships to win their independence. They were determined to erect a system that would end our reliance on Europe for the necessities of our national life, and establish new bonds of mutual dependency — among Americans.

Britain’s folly became manifest in World War I, as a self-reliant America stayed out, while selling to an import-dependent England the food, supplies and arms she needed to survive but could not produce.

America’s own first major steps toward free trade, open borders and globalism came with JFK’s Trade Expansion Act and LBJ’s Immigration Act of 1965.

By the end of the Cold War, however, a reaction had set in, and a great awakening begun. U.S. trade deficits in goods were surging into the hundreds of billions, and more than a million legal and illegal immigrants were flooding in yearly, visibly altering the character of the country.

Americans were coming to realize that free trade was gutting the nation’s manufacturing base and open borders meant losing the country in which they grew up. And on this earth there is no greater loss.

The new resistance of Western man to the globalist agenda is now everywhere manifest.

We see it in Trump’s hostility to NAFTA, his tariffs, his border wall.

We see it in England’s declaration of independence from the EU in Brexit. We see it in the political triumphs of Polish, Hungarian and Czech nationalists, in anti-EU parties rising across Europe, in the secessionist movements in Scotland and Catalonia and Ukraine, and in the admiration for Russian nationalist Vladimir Putin.

Europeans have begun to see themselves as indigenous peoples whose Old Continent is mortally imperiled by the hundreds of millions of invaders wading across the Med and desperate come and occupy their homelands.

Who owns the future? Who will decide the fate of the West?

The problem of the internationalists is that the vision they have on offer — a world of free trade, open borders and global government — are constructs of the mind that do not engage the heart.

Men will fight for family, faith and country. But how many will lay down their lives for pluralism and diversity?

Who will fight and die for the Eurozone and EU?

On Aug. 4, 1914, the anti-militarist German Social Democrats, the oldest and greatest socialist party in Europe, voted the credits needed for the Kaiser to wage war on France and Russia. With the German army on the march, the German socialists were Germans first.

Patriotism trumps ideology.

In “Present at the Creation,” Dean Acheson wrote of the postwar world and institutions born in the years he served FDR and Truman in the Department of State: The U.N., IMF, World Bank, Marshall Plan, and with the split between East and West, NATO.

We are present now at the end of all that.

And our transnational elites have a seemingly insoluble problem.

To rising millions in the West, the open borders and free trade globalism they cherish and champion is not a glorious future, but an existential threat to the sovereignty, independence and identity of the countries they love. And they will not go gentle into that good night.

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Why Is the GOP Terrified of Tariffs?

Why Is the GOP Terrified of Tariffs?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

From Lincoln to William McKinley to Theodore Roosevelt, and from Warren Harding through Calvin Coolidge, the Republican Party erected the most awesome manufacturing machine the world had ever seen.

And, as the party of high tariffs through those seven decades, the GOP was rewarded by becoming America’s Party.

Thirteen Republican presidents served from 1860 to 1930, and only two Democrats. And Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson were elected only because the Republicans had split.

Why, then, this terror of tariffs that grips the GOP?

Consider. On hearing that President Trump might impose tariffs on aluminum and steel, Sen. Lindsey Graham was beside himself: “Please reconsider,” he implored the president, “you’re making a huge mistake.”

Twenty-four hours earlier, Graham had confidently assured us that war with a nuclear-armed North Korea is “worth it.”

“All the damage that would come from a war would be worth it in terms of long-term stability and national security,” said Graham.

A steel tariff terrifies Graham. A new Korean war does not?

“Trade wars are not won, only lost,” warns Sen. Jeff Flake.

But this is ahistorical nonsense.

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The U.S. relied on tariffs to convert from an agricultural economy in 1800 to the mightiest manufacturing power on earth by 1900.

Bismarck’s Germany, born in 1871, followed the U.S. example, and swept past free trade Britain before World War I.

Does Senator Flake think Japan rose to post-war preeminence through free trade, as Tokyo kept U.S. products out, while dumping cars, radios, TVs and motorcycles here to kill the industries of the nation that was defending them. Both Nixon and Reagan had to devalue the dollar to counter the predatory trade policies of Japan.

Since Bush I, we have run $12 trillion in trade deficits, and, in the first decade in this century, we lost 55,000 factories and 6,000,000 manufacturing jobs.

Does Flake see no correlation between America’s decline, China’s rise, and the $4 trillion in trade surpluses Beijing has run up at the expense of his own country?

The hysteria that greeted Trump’s idea of a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum suggest that restoring this nation’s economic independence is going to be a rocky road.

In 2017, the U.S. ran a trade deficit in goods of almost $800 billion, $375 billion of that with China, a trade surplus that easily covered Xi Jinping’s entire defense budget.

If we are to turn our $800 billion trade deficit in goods into an $800 billion surplus, and stop the looting of America’s industrial base and the gutting of our cities and towns, sacrifices will have to be made.

But if we are not up to it, we will lose our independence, as the countries of the EU have lost theirs.

Specifically, we need to shift taxes off goods produced in the USA, and impose taxes on goods imported into the USA.

As we import nearly $2.5 trillion in goods, a tariff on imported goods, rising gradually to 20 percent, would initially produce $500 billion in revenue.

All that tariff revenue could be used to eliminate and replace all taxes on production inside the USA.

As the price of foreign goods rose, U.S. products would replace foreign-made products. There’s nothing in the world that we cannot produce here. And if it can be made in America, it should be made in America.

Consider. Assume a Lexus cost $50,000 in the U.S., and a 20 percent tariff were imposed, raising the price to $60,000.

What would the Japanese producers of Lexus do?

They could accept the loss in sales in the world’s greatest market, the USA. They could cut their prices to hold their U.S. market share. Or they could shift production to the United States, building their cars here and keeping their market.

How have EU nations run up endless trade surpluses with America? By imposing a value-added tax, or VAT, on imports from the U.S., while rebating the VAT on exports to the USA. Works just like a tariff.

The principles behind a policy of economic nationalism, to turn our trade deficits, which subtract from GDP, into trade surpluses, which add to GDP, are these:

Production comes before consumption. Who consumes the apples is less important than who owns the orchard. We should depend more upon each other and less upon foreign lands.

We should tax foreign-made goods and use the revenue, dollar for dollar, to cut taxes on domestic production.

The idea is not to keep foreign goods out, but to induce foreign companies to move production here.

We have a strategic asset no one else can match. We control access to the largest richest market on earth, the USA.

And just as states charge higher tuition on out-of state students at their top universities, we should charge a price of admission for foreign producers to get into America’s markets.

And — someone get a hold of Sen. Graham — it’s called a tariff.

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Fatal Delusions of Western Man

Fatal Delusions of Western Man

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“We got China wrong. Now what?” ran the headline over the column in The Washington Post.

“Remember how American engagement with China was going to make that communist backwater more like the democratic, capitalist West?” asked Charles Lane in his opening sentence.

America’s elites believed that economic engagement and the opening of U.S. markets would cause the People’s Republic to coexist benignly with its neighbors and the West.

We deluded ourselves. It did not happen.

Xi Jinping just changed China’s constitution to allow him to be dictator for life. He continues to thieve intellectual property from U.S. companies and to occupy and fortify islets in the South China Sea, which Beijing now claims as entirely its own.

Meanwhile, China sustains North Korea as Chinese warplanes and warships circumnavigate Taiwan threatening its independence.

We today confront a Chinese Communist dictatorship and superpower that seeks to displace America as first power on earth, and to drive the U.S. military back across the Pacific.

Who is responsible for this epochal blunder?

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The elites of both parties. Bush Republicans from the 1990s granted China most-favored-nation status and threw open America’s market.

Result: China has run up $4 trillion in trade surpluses with the United States. Her $375 billion trade surplus with us in 2017 far exceeded the entire Chinese defense budget.

We fed the tiger, and created a monster.

Why? What is in the mind of Western man that our leaders continue to adopt policies rooted in hopes unjustified by reality?

Recall. Stalin was a murderous tyrant unrivaled in history whose victims in 1939 were 1,000 times those of Adolf Hitler, with whom he eagerly partnered in return for the freedom to rape the Baltic States and bite off half of Poland.

When Hitler turned on Stalin, the Bolshevik butcher rushed to the West for aid. Churchill and FDR hailed him in encomiums that would have made Pericles blush. At Yalta, Churchill rose to toast the butcher:

“I walk through this world with greater courage and hope when I find myself in a relation of friendship and intimacy with this great man, whose fame has gone out not only over all Russia, but the world. … We regard Marshal Stalin’s life as most precious to the hopes and hearts of all of us.”

Returning home, Churchill assured a skeptical Parliament, “I know of no Government which stands to its obligations, even in its own despite, more solidly than the Russian Soviet Government.”

George W. Bush, with the U.S. establishment united behind him, invaded Iraq with the goal of creating a Vermont in the Middle East that would be a beacon of democracy to the Arab and Islamic world.

Ex-Director of the NSA Gen. William Odom correctly called the U.S. invasion the greatest strategic blunder in American history. But Bush, un-chastened, went on to preach a crusade for democracy with the goal of “ending tyranny in our world.”

What is the root of these astounding beliefs — that Stalin would be a partner for peace, that if we built up Mao’s China she would become benign and benevolent, that we could reshape Islamic nations into replicas of Western democracies, that we could eradicate tyranny?

Today, we are replicating these historic follies.

After our victory in the Cold War, we not only plunged into the Middle East to remake it in our image, we issued war guarantees to every ex-member state of the Warsaw Pact, and threatened Russia with war if she ever intervened again in the Baltic Republics.

No Cold War president would have dreamed of issuing such an in-your-face challenge to a great nuclear power like Russia.

If Putin’s Russia does not become the pacifist nation it has never been, these guarantees will one day be called. And America will either back down — or face a nuclear confrontation.

Why would we risk something like this?

Consider this crazed ideology of free trade globalism with its roots in the scribblings of 19th-century idiot savants, not one of whom ever built a great nation.

Adhering religiously to free trade dogma, we have run up $12 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I. Our cities have been gutted by the loss of plants and factories. Workers’ wages have stagnated. The economic independence Hamilton sought and Republican presidents from Lincoln to McKinley achieved is history.

But the greatest risk we are taking, based on utopianism, is the annual importation of well over a million legal and illegal immigrants, many from the failed states of the Third World, in the belief we can create a united, peaceful and harmonious land of 400 million, composed of every race, religion, ethnicity, tribe, creed, culture and language on earth.

Where is the historic evidence for the success of this experiment, the failure of which could mean the end of America as one nation and one people?

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Will War Cancel Trump’s Triumphs?

Will War Cancel Trump's Triumphs?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Asked what he did during the French Revolution, Abbe Sieyes replied, “I survived.”

Donald Trump can make the same boast.

No other political figure has so dominated our discourse. And none, not Joe McCarthy in his heyday in the early ’50s, nor Richard Nixon in Watergate, received such intensive and intemperate coverage and commentary as has our 45th president.

Whatever one may think of Trump, he is a leader and a fighter, not a quitter. How many politicians could have sustained the beatings Trump has taken, and remained as cocky and confident?

And looking back on what may fairly be called The Year of Trump, his achievements have surprised even some of his enemies.

With the U.S. military given a freer hand by Trump, a U.S.-led coalition helped expel ISIS from its twin capitals of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq, driving it back into a desert enclave on the Iraq-Syria border. The caliphate is dead, and the caliph nowhere to be found.

The economy, with the boot of Barack Obama off its neck, has been growing at 3 percent. The stock market has soared to record highs. Unemployment is down to 4 percent. And Trump and Congress just passed the largest tax cut since Ronald Reagan.

With deregulation, which conservative Republicans preached to deaf ears in the Bush I and Bush II eras, Trump and those he has put into positions of power have exceeded expectations.

Pipelines Obama blocked have been approved. Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge has been opened to exploratory drilling. We have exited a Paris climate accord that favored China over the U.S.

Though Beijing’s trade surplus with us is returning to record highs, a spirit of “America First” economic nationalism is pervasive among U.S. trade negotiators,

The one justice named to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, appears in the Antonin Scalia tradition. And under Chairman Chuck Grassley, the Senate judiciary committee is moving conservatives and strict constructionists onto U.S. appellate and district courts.

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Politically, however, the year brought bad news, with portents of worse to come. In November, the Republican Party was thrashed in Virginia, losing all state offices, and then lost a Senate seat in Alabama.

Given polls showing Trump under water and the GOP running 10 points behind the Democratic Party in favorability, there is a possibility the GOP could lose the House in 2018.

And though Democrats have three times as many seats at risk in 2018, the GOP losing the Senate is not beyond the realm of possibility.

Should that happen, the conservative dream of a recapture of the U.S. Supreme Court could swiftly vanish.

Recall: Democratic Senates turned down two Nixon nominees and Reagan’s nomination of Robert Bork, forcing both presidents to name justices who evolved into moderates and liberals on the high court.

But it is in the realm of foreign policy where the real perils seem to lie. President Trump has been persuaded by his national security team to send Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, for use against the tanks and armor of pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk.

Should Petro Poroshenko’s Kiev regime reignite the war in his breakaway provinces bordering Russia, Vladimir Putin is less likely to let him crush the rebels than to intervene with superior forces and rout the Ukrainian army.

Trump’s choice then? Accept defeat and humiliation for our “ally” — or escalate and widen the conflict with Russia.

Putin’s interest in the Donbass, a part of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union for centuries, is obvious.

What, exactly, is ours — to justify a showdown with Moscow?

In this city there is also a powerful propaganda push to have this country tear up the nuclear deal John Kerry negotiated with Iran, and confront the Iranians in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the Persian Gulf.

But how much backing would Trump have for another U.S. war in that blood-soaked region, after Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria?

Who would stand with us, and for how long?

When Trump declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel and pledged to move our embassy there, we had to veto a unanimous U.N. Security Council resolution condemning us. Then the General Assembly denounced the U.S. in a resolution supported by all our key NATO allies, Russia and China, and every Arab and Muslim nation.

A day later, Trump complained on Twitter that we have “foolishly spent $7 trillion in the Middle East.”

What then would justify a new $1 or $2 trillion war with the largest nation on the Persian Gulf, which could send oil to $200 a barrel and sink the global economy?

Cui bono? For whose benefit all these wars?

The Korean War finished Truman. Vietnam finished LBJ. Reagan said putting Marines into Lebanon was his worst mistake. Iraq cost Bush II both houses of Congress and his party the presidency in 2008.

Should Trump become a war president, he’ll likely become a one-term president.

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Is America Up for a Second Cold War?

Is America Up for a Second Cold War?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

After the 19th national congress of the Chinese Communist Party in October, one may discern Premier Xi Jinping’s vision of the emerging New World Order.

By 2049, the centennial of the triumph of Communist Revolution, China shall have become the first power on earth. Her occupation and humiliation by the West and Japan in the 19th and 20th centuries will have become hated but ancient history.

America will have been pushed out of Asia and the western Pacific back beyond the second chain of islands.

Taiwan will have been returned to the motherland, South Korea and the Philippines neutralized, Japan contained. China’s claim to all the rocks, reefs and islets in the South China Sea will have been recognized by all current claimants.

Xi’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy will have brought South and Central Asia into Beijing’s orbit, and he will be in the Pantheon beside the Founding Father of Communist China, Mao Zedong.

Democracy has been rejected by China in favor of one-party rule of all political, economic, cultural and social life.

And as one views Europe, depopulating, riven by secessionism, fearful of a Third World migrant invasion, and America tearing herself apart over politics and ideology, China must appear to ambitious and rising powers as the model to emulate.

Indeed, has not China shown the world that authoritarianism can be compatible with national growth that outstrips a democratic West?

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Over the last quarter century, China, thanks to economic nationalism and $4 trillion in trade surpluses with the United States, has exhibited growth unseen since 19th-century America.

Whatever we may think of Xi’s methods, this vision must attract vast numbers of China’s young — they see their country displace America as first power, becoming the dominant people on earth.

What is America’s vision? What is America’s cause in the 21st century? What is the mission and goal that unites, inspires and drives us on?

After World War II, America’s foreign policy was imposed upon her by the terrible realities the war produced: brutalitarian Stalinist domination of Eastern and Central Europe and much of Asia.

Under nine presidents, containment of the Soviet empire, while avoiding a war that would destroy civilization, was our policy. In Korea and Vietnam, Americans died in the thousands to sustain that policy.

But with the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the breakup of the USSR, it seemed that by 1992 our great work was done. Now democracy would flourish and be embraced by all advanced peoples and nations.

But it did not happen. The “end of history” never came. The New World Order of Bush I did not last. Bush II’s democracy crusade to end tyranny in our world produced disasters from Libya to Afghanistan.

Authoritarianism is now ascendant and democracy is in retreat.

Is the United States prepared to accept a world in which China, growing at twice our rate, more united and purposeful, emerges as the dominant power? Are we willing to acquiesce in a Chinese Century?

Or will we adopt a policy to ensure that America remains the world’s preeminent power?

Do we have what is required in wealth, power, stamina and will to pursue a Second Cold War to contain China, which, strategic weapons aside, is more powerful and has greater potential than the Soviet Union ever did?

On his Asia tour, President Trump spoke of the “Indo-Pacific,” shorthand for the proposition that the U.S., Japan, Australia and India form the core of a coalition to maintain the balance of power in Asia and contain the expansion of China.

Yet, before we create some Asia-Pacific NATO to corral and contain China in this century, as we did the USSR in the 20th century, we need to ask ourselves why.

Does China, even if she rises to surpass the U.S. in manufacturing, technology and economic output, and is a comparable military power, truly threaten us as the USSR did, to where we should consider war to prevent its expansion in places like the South China Sea that are not vital to America?

While China is a great power, she has great problems.

She is feared and disliked by her neighbors. She has territorial quarrels with Russia, India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan. She has separatists in Tibet and Xinjiang. Christianity is growing while Communism, the state religion, is a dead faith. Moreover, the monopoly of power now enjoyed by the Communist Party and Xi Jinping mean that if things go wrong, there is no one else to blame.

Finally, why is the containment of China in Asia the responsibility of a United States 12 time zones away? For while China seeks to dominate Eurasia, she appears to have no desire to threaten the vital interests of the United States. China’s Communism appears to be an ideology disbelieved by her own people, that she does not intend to impose it on Asia or the world.

Again, are we Americans up for a Second Cold War, and, if so, why?

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Is Trump the Heir to Reagan?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Three decades ago, as communications director in the White House, I set up an interview for Bill Rusher of National Review.

Among his first questions to President Reagan was to ask him to assess the political importance of Barry Goldwater. Said Reagan, “I guess you could call him the John the Baptist of our movement.”

I resisted the temptation to lean in and ask, “Sir, if Barry Goldwater is John the Baptist, who would that make you?”

What brings the moment back is Laura Ingraham’s new book: “Billionaire at the Barricades: The Populist Revolution from Reagan to Trump.” Thesis: Donald Trump is a conservative populist and direct descendant and rightful heir to Ronald Reagan.

To never-Trumpers this is pure blasphemy. Yet the similarities are there.

Both men were outsiders, and neither a career politician. Raised Democratic, Reagan had been a Hollywood actor, union leader and voice of GE, before running for governor of California.

Trump is out of Queens, a builder-businessman in a Democratic city whose Republican credentials were suspect at best when he rode down that elevator at Trump Tower. Both took on the Republican establishment of their day, and humiliated it.

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Among the signature issues of Trumpian populism is economic nationalism, a new trade policy designed to prosper Americans first.

Reagan preached free trade, but when Harley-Davidson was in danger of going under because of Japanese dumping of big bikes, he slammed a 50 percent tariff on Japanese motorcycles. Though a free trader by philosophy, Reagan was at heart an economic patriot.

He accepted an amnesty written by Congress for 3 million people in the country illegally, but Reagan also warned prophetically that a country that can’t control its borders isn’t really a country any more.

Reagan and Trump both embraced the Eisenhower doctrine of “peace through strength.” And, like Ike, both built up the military.

Both also believed in cutting tax rates to stimulate the economy and balance the federal budget through rising revenues rather than cutting programs like Medicare and Social Security.

Both believed in engaging with the superpower rival of the day — the Soviet Union in Reagan’s day, Russia and China in Trump’s time.

And both were regarded in this capital city with a cosmopolitan condescension bordering on contempt. “An amiable dunce” said a Great Society Democrat of Reagan.

The awesome victories Reagan rolled up, a 44-state landslide in 1980 and a 49-state landslide in 1984, induced some second thoughts among Beltway elites about whether they truly spoke for America. Trump’s sweep of the primaries and startling triumph in the Electoral College caused the same consternation.

However, as the Great Depression, New Deal and World War II represented a continental divide in history between what came before and what came after, so, too, did the end of the Cold War and the Reagan era.

As Ingraham writes, Trumpism is rooted as much in the populist-nationalist campaigns of the 1990s, and post-Cold War issues as economic patriotism, border security, immigration control and “America First,” as it is in the Reaganite issues of the 1980s.

Which bring us to the present, with our billionaire president, indeed, at the barricades.

The differences between Trump in his first year and Reagan in 1981 are stark. Reagan had won a landslide. The attempt on his life in April and the grace with which he conducted himself had earned him a place in the hearts of his countrymen. He not only showed spine in giving the air traffic controllers 48 hours to get back to work, and then discharging them when they defied him, he enacted the largest tax cut in U.S. history with the aid of boll weevil Democrats in the House.

Coming up on one year since his election, Trump is besieged by a hostile press and united Democratic Party. This city hates him. While his executive actions are impressive, his legislative accomplishments are not. His approval ratings have lingered in the mid-30s. He has lost half a dozen senior members of his original White House staff, clashed openly with his own Cabinet and is at war with GOP leaders on the Hill.

Moreover, we seem close to war with North Korea that would be no cakewalk. And the president appears determined to tear up the Obama nuclear deal with Iran that his own national security team believes is in the national interest.

Reagan was, as Trump claimed to be, an anti-interventionist. Reagan had no wish to be a war president. His dream was to rid the world of nuclear weapons. This does not sound like Trump in October 2017.

Steve Bannon may see the 25th Amendment, where a Cabinet majority may depose a president, as the great threat to Trump.

But it is far more likely that a major war would do for the Trump presidency and his place in history what it did for Presidents Wilson, Truman, LBJ and George W. Bush.

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A ‘Read-My-Lips’ Moment for Trump?

A 'Read My Lips' Moment for Trump?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“Having cut a deal with Democrats for help with the debt ceiling, will Trump seek a deal with Democrats on amnesty for the ‘Dreamers’ in return for funding for border security?”

The answer to that question, raised in my column a week ago, is in. Last night, President Donald Trump cut a deal with “Chuck and Nancy” for amnesty for 800,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program who came here illegally as youngsters, in return for Democratic votes for more money for border security.

According to preening Minority Leader Pelosi, the agreement contains not a dime for Trump’s Wall, and the “Dreamers” are to be put on a long glide “path to U.S. citizenship.”

Trump denies this is amnesty, and says the Wall comes later.

Fallout? Among the most enthusiastic of Trump backers, disbelief, disillusionment and wonderment at where we go from here.

Trump’s debt-ceiling deal cut the legs out from under the GOP budget hawks. But amnesty would pull the rug out from under all the folks at those rallies who cheered Trump’s promise to preserve the country they grew up in from this endless Third World invasion.

For make no mistake. If amnesty is granted for the 800,000, that will be but the first wave. “There are reasons no country has a rule that if you sneak in as a minor you’re a citizen,” writes Mickey Kaus, author of “The End of Equality,” in The Washington Post.

“We’d be inviting the world. … (An amnesty) would have a knock-on effect. Under ‘chain migration’ rules established in 1965 … new citizens can bring in their siblings and adult children, who can bring in their siblings and in-laws until whole villages have moved to the United States.

“(T)oday’s 690,000 dreamers would quickly become millions of newcomers who may well be low-skilled and who would almost certainly include the parents who brought them — the ones who in theory are at fault.”

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Trump is risking a breach in the dam. If the populists who provided him with decisive margins in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania feel betrayed, it’s hard to blame them.

Why did Trump do it? Clearly, he relished the cheers he got for the debt ceiling deal and wanted another such victory. And with the rampant accusations of a lack of “compassion” for his cancellation of the temporary Obama administration amnesty, he decided he had had enough heat.

It is not easy to stand up for long to the gale force winds of hostile commentary that blow constantly through this city.

Trump’s capitulation, if that is what turns out to be, calls to mind George H. W. Bush’s decision in 1990 to raise the Reagan tax rates in a deal engineered for him by a White House-Hill coalition, that made a mockery of his “Read my lips! No new taxes!” pledge of 1988.

For agreeing to feed the beast of Big Government, rather than cut its rations as Reagan sought to do, Bush was called a statesman.

By the fall of ’92, the cheering had stopped.

Can Trump not know that those congratulating him for his newfound flexibility will be rejoicing, should Bob Mueller indict his family and his friends, and recommend his impeachment down the road?

What makes pre-emptive amnesty particularly disheartening is that the Trump policy of securing the border and returning illegal immigrants to their home countries appears, from a Census Bureau report this week, to be precisely the prescription America needs.

In 2016, paychecks for U.S. households reached an average of $59,039, up 3.2 percent from 2015, a year when they had surged.

U.S. median household income is now at its highest ever.

Yet there are inequalities. Where the median family income of Asian-Americans is above $81,400, and more than $65,000 for white Americans, the median family income of Hispanic families is $47,675, and that of African-American households far less, $39,490.

Consider. Though black Americans are predominantly native-born, while high percentages of Hispanics and Asians are immigrants, from the Census numbers, Hispanics earn more and Asians enjoy twice the median family income of blacks, which is below where it was in 2000.

Still, black America remains steadfastly loyal to a party that supports the endless importation of workers who compete directly for jobs with them and their families. Writes Kaus, “The median hourly wage (of DACA recipients) is only $15.34, meaning that many are competing with hard-pressed, lower-skilled Americans.”

Looking closer at the Census Bureau figures, Trumpian economic nationalism would appear to have its greatest appeal to the American working class, a huge slice of which is native-born, black and Hispanic.

The elements of that policy?

Secure the border. Halt the invasion of low-wage workers, here legally and illegally, from the Third World. Tighten the labor market to force employers to raise wages in our full-employment economy. Provide tax incentives to companies who site factories in the USA. Impose border taxes on the products of companies who move plants abroad.

Put America and American workers first.

Will any amnesty of undocumented workers do that?

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Can the GOP’s Shotgun Marriage Be Saved?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Wednesday morning, Nov. 9, 2016, Republicans awoke to learn they had won the lottery. Donald Trump had won the presidency by carrying Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. All three states had gone Democratic in the last six presidential elections.

The GOP had won both houses of Congress. Party control of governorships and state legislatures rivaled the halcyon years of the 1920s.

But not everyone was jubilant. Neocons and Never-Trumpers were appalled, and as morose as they had been since the primaries produced a populist slaughter of what GOP elites had boasted was the finest class of presidential candidates in memory.

And there was this sobering fact: Hillary Clinton had won the popular vote. Her margin would rise to near three million, making this the sixth in seven presidential elections that the GOP lost the popular vote. Trump had cracked the Democrats’ “blue wall,” but a shift of 70,000 votes would have meant a third straight GOP defeat.

Seven months into the Trump presidency, the promise of a new Republican era has receded. It is not because Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have proven to be such formidable adversaries, but because the GOP coalition has gone to battle stations — against itself.

Trump has taken to disparaging Senate Leader Mitch McConnell for failing to pass health care reform, though the decisive vote to kill the bill came from John McCain, who, for his own motives and to media cheers, torpedoed McConnell’s effort and humiliated his party

And as Allan Ryskind writes in The Washington Times, McConnell is responsible for Neil Gorsuch being on the Supreme Court. Had Mitch not kept his troops in line to block a Senate vote on President Obama’s election-year nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, there would have been no vacancy for Trump to fill with Gorsuch.

McConnell is also indispensable to the Trump-GOP effort to repopulate federal appellate courts with disciples of Antonin Scalia.

What purpose is served by the coach trashing his quarterback — in midseason?

Undeniably, Congress, which the voters empowered to repeal Obamacare, reduce tax rates and rebuild America’s infrastructure, has thus far failed. And if Congress fails to produce on tax reform, the GOP will have some serious explaining to do in 2018.

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As for Trump, while public approval of his performance is at record lows for a president in his first year, he has fulfilled some major commitments and has had some major achievements.

He put Gorsuch on the court. He pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Climate Accord. He persuaded NATO allies to put up more for defense. He approved the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

Border security is markedly better. The economic news has been excellent: Record run-ups in the stock market, near full employment, growth approaching the 3 percent he promised. The coal industry has been liberated, and the Trump folks are renegotiating NAFTA.

Yet the divisions over policy and the persona of the president are widening. Trump is disliked and disrespected by many in his own party on Capitol Hill, and much of the Republican media proudly despise him.

And that form of bribery so familiar to D.C. — trashing one’s president at the coaxing of the press, in return for plaudits to one’s “courage” and “independence” — is openly practiced.

More critically, there are disputes over policy that again seem irreconcilable.

Free-trade Republicans remain irredeemably hostile to economic nationalism, though countries like China continue to eat our lunch. In July, the U.S. trade deficit in goods was $65 billion, an annual rate of more than $780 billion.

Interventionists continue to push for confrontation with Russia in the Baltic States and Ukraine, for more U.S. troops in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, for scrapping the nuclear deal with Iran.

On social issues, the GOP seems split, with many willing to soft-peddle opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion and wait on a Supreme Court that ignited the culture wars to reverse course with new Trump appointees.

Even Cabinet members and Trump aides have let the media know they sharply dissent from Trump’s stand in the Charlottesville brawl. And the coming clash over statues of Confederate soldiers and statesmen is likely to split Northern and Southern Republicans.

The white working class that provided Trump’s his margins in the Middle West wonders why affirmative action, reverse discrimination at their expense, has not been abolished.

As for Speaker Paul Ryan and others committed to entitlement reform — paring back Social Security and Medicare benefits, while raising the contributions of the well-to-do to ensure the long-term solvency of the programs — they have not been heard from lately.

What seems apparent is that the historic opportunity the party had in January, to forge a coalition of conservatives and populists who might find common ground on immigration, trade, border security, spending, culture and foreign policy, is slipping away.

And the battle for the soul and future of the GOP, thought to have been suspended until 2020, is on once again.

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Is Trump’s Agenda Being Eclipsed?

Is Trump's Agenda Being Eclipsed?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“I have not become the King’s First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire,” said Winston Churchill to cheers at the Lord Mayor’s luncheon in London in November 1942.

True to his word, the great man did not begin the liquidation.

When his countrymen threw him out in July 1945, that role fell to Clement Attlee, who began the liquidation. Churchill, during his second premiership from 1951-1955, would continue the process, as would his successor, Harold Macmillan, until the greatest empire the world had ever seen had vanished.

While its demise was inevitable, the death of the empire was hastened and made more humiliating by the wars into which Churchill had helped to plunge Britain, wars that bled and bankrupted his nation.

At Yalta in 1945, Stalin and FDR treated the old imperialist with something approaching bemused contempt.

War is the health of the state, but the death of empires.

The German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman empires all fell in World War I. World War II ended the Japanese and Italian empires — with the British and French following soon after. The Soviet Empire collapsed in 1989. Afghanistan delivered the coup de grace.

Is it now the turn of the Americans?

Persuaded by his generals — Mattis at Defense, McMasters on the National Security Council, Kelly as chief of staff — President Trump is sending some 4,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan to augment the 8,500 already there.

Like Presidents Obama and Bush, he does not intend to preside over a U.S. defeat in its longest war. Nor do his generals. Yet how can we defeat the Taliban with 13,000 troops when we failed to do so with the 100,000 Obama sent?

The new troops are to train the Afghan army to take over the war, to continue eradicating the terrorist elements like ISIS, and to prevent Kabul and other cities from falling to a Taliban now dominant in 40 percent of the country.

Yet what did the great general, whom Trump so admires, Douglas MacArthur, say of such a strategy?

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“War’s very object is victory, not prolonged indecision.”

Is not “prolonged indecision” what the Trump strategy promises? Is not “prolonged indecision” what the war policies of Obama and Bush produced in the last 17 years?

Understandably, Americans feel they cannot walk away from this war. For there is the certainty as to what will follow when we leave.

When the British left Delhi in 1947, millions of former subjects died during the partition of the territory into Pakistan and India and the mutual slaughter of Muslims and Hindus.

When the French departed Algeria in 1962, the “Harkis” they left behind paid the price of being loyal to the Mother Country.

When we abandoned our allies in South Vietnam, the result was mass murder in the streets, concentration camps and hundreds of thousands of boat people in the South China Sea, a final resting place for many. In Cambodia, it was a holocaust.

Trump, however, was elected to end America’s involvement in Middle East wars. And if he has been persuaded that he simply cannot liquidate these wars — Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan — he will likely end up sacrificing his presidency, trying to rescue the failures of those who worked hardest to keep him out of the White House.

Consider the wars, active and potential, Trump faces.

Writes Bob Merry in the fall issue of The National Interest:

“War between Russia and the West seems nearly inevitable. No self-respecting nation facing inexorable encirclement by an alliance of hostile neighbors can allow such pressures and forces to continue indefinitely. Eventually (Russia) must protect its interests through military action.”

If Pyongyang tests another atom bomb or ICBM, some national security aides to Trump are not ruling out preventive war.

Trump himself seems hell-bent on tearing up the nuclear deal with Iran. This would lead inexorably to a U.S. ultimatum, where Iran would be expected to back down or face a war that would set the Persian Gulf ablaze.

Yet the country did not vote for confrontation or war.

America voted for Trump’s promise to improve ties with Russia, to make Europe shoulder more of the cost of its defense, to annihilate ISIS and extricate us from Mideast wars, to stay out of future wars.

America voted for economic nationalism and an end to the mammoth trade deficits with the NAFTA nations, EU, Japan and China.

America voted to halt the invasion across our Southern border and to reduce legal immigration to ease the downward pressure on American wages and the competition for working-class jobs.

Yet today we hear talk of upping and extending the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, of confronting Iran, of sending anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine to battle pro-Russia rebels in the east.

Can the new custodians of Trump’s populist-nationalist and America First agenda, the generals and the Goldman Sachs alumni association, be entrusted to carry it out?

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