Who’s the Conservative Heretic?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

In his coquettish refusal to accept the Donald, Paul Ryan says he cannot betray the conservative “principles” of the party of Abraham Lincoln, high among which is a devotion to free trade.

But when did free trade become dogma in the Party of Lincoln?

As early as 1832, young Abe declared, “My politics are short and sweet, like the old woman’s dance. I am in favor of a national bank … and a high protective tariff. These are my sentiments and political principles.”

Campaigning in 1844, Lincoln declared, “Give us a protective tariff and we will have the greatest nation on earth.”

Abe’s openness to a protective tariff in 1860 enabled him to carry Pennsylvania and the nation. As I wrote in “The Great Betrayal: How American Sovereignty and Social Justice Are Being Sacrificed to the Gods of the Global Economy” in 1998:

“The Great Emancipator was the Great Protectionist.”

During his presidency, Congress passed and Abe signed 10 tariff bills. Lincoln inaugurated the Republican Party tradition of economic nationalism.

Vermont’s Justin Morrill, who shepherded GOP tariff bills through Congress from 1860 to 1898, declared, “I am for ruling America, for the benefit, first, of Americans, and for the ‘rest of mankind’ afterwards.”

In 1890, Republicans enacted the McKinley Tariff that bore the name of that chairman of ways and means and future president.

“Open competition between high-paid American labor and poorly paid European labor,” warned Cong. William McKinley, “will either drive out of existence American industry or lower American wages.”

Too few Republicans of McKinley’s mindset sat in Congress when NAFTA and MFN for China were being enacted.

In the 1895 “History of the Republican Party,” the authors declare, “the Republican Party … is the party of protection … that carries the banner of protection proudly.”

Under protectionist policies from 1865 to 1900, U.S. debt was cut by two-thirds. Customs duties provided 58 percent of revenue. Save for President Cleveland’s 2 percent tax, which was declared unconstitutional, there was no income tax. Commodity prices fell 58 percent. Real wages, despite a doubling of the population, rose 53 percent. Growth in GDP averaged over 4 percent a year. Industrial production rose almost 5 percent a year.

The U.S. began the era with half of Britain’s production, and ended it with twice Britain’s production.

In McKinley’s first term, the economy grew 7 percent a year. After his assassination, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt took over. His reaction to Ryan’s free-trade ideology? In a word, disgust.

“Pernicious indulgence in the doctrine of free trade seems inevitably to produce fatty degeneration of the moral fibre,” wrote the Rough Rider, “I thank God I am not a free trader.”

When the GOP returned to power after President Wilson, they enacted the Fordney-McCumber Tariff of 1922. For the next five years, the economy grew 7 percent a year.

While the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, signed eight months after the Crash of ’29, was blamed for the Depression, Nobel laureate Milton Friedman ferreted out the real perp, the Federal Reserve.

Every Republican platform from 1884 to 1944 professed the party’s faith in protection. Free trade was introduced by the party of Woodrow Wilson and FDR.

Our modern free-trade era began with the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Among the eight no votes in the Senate were Barry Goldwater and Prescott Bush.

Even in recent crises, Republican presidents have gone back to the economic nationalism of their Grand Old Party. With the Brits coming for our gold and Japanese imports piling up, President Nixon in 1971 closed the gold window and imposed a 10 percent tariff on Japanese goods.

Ronald Reagan slapped a 50 percent tariff on Japanese motorcycles being dumped here to kill Harley-Davidson, then put quotas on Japanese auto imports, and on steel and machine tools.

Reagan was a conservative of the heart. Though a free trader, he always put America first.

What, then, does history teach?

The economic nationalism and protectionism of Hamilton, Madison, Jackson, and Henry Clay, and the Party of Lincoln, McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, and Coolidge, of all four presidents on Mount Rushmore, made America the greatest and most self-sufficient republic in history.

And the free-trade, one-worldism of Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama enabled Communist China to shoulder us aside us and become the world’s No. 1 manufacturing power.

Like Britain, after free-trade was adopted in the mid-19th century, when scribblers like David Ricardo, James Mill and John Stuart Mill, and evangelists like Richard Cobden dazzled political elites with their visions of the future, America has been in a long steady decline.

If we look more and more like the British Empire in its twilight years, it is because we were converted to the same free-trade faith that was dismissed as utopian folly by the men who made America.

Where in the history of great nations — Britain before 1850, the USA, Bismarck’s Germany, postwar Japan and China today — has nationalism not been the determinant factor in economic policy?

Speaker Ryan should read more history and less Ayn Rand.

America in Search of a Cause?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“If the Cold War is over, what’s the point of being an American?” said Rabbit Angstrom, the protagonist of the John Updike novels.

A haunting remark, since, for 40 years, America was largely united on the proposition that our survival depended upon our victory over communism in the Cold War.

We had a cause then. By and large, we stood together through the crises in the first decades of that Cold War — the Berlin blockade, Stalin’s atom bomb and the fall of China to Mao, the Korean War, the Hungarian revolution, the Cuban missile crisis, and on into Vietnam.

We accepted the conscription of our young men. We accepted wars in Asia, and, if need be, in Europe, to check the Soviet Empire.

Vietnam sundered that unity.

By 1967, the Gene McCarthy-Robert Kennedy wing of the Democratic Party had broken with the Cold War consensus. “We have gotten over our inordinate fear of communism,” said Jimmy Carter.

The Reagan Republicans and George H. W. Bush would pick up the torch and lead the nation to victory in the last decade of that Cold War that had been a defining cause of the American nation.

But when it was over in 1990, America was suddenly at a loss for a new cause to live for, fight for and, if need be, see its sons die for.

Bush 1, after leading a coalition that drove Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, declared that America’s cause would be the building of a “New World Order.” But few Americans bought in.

Sixteen months after his victory parade up Constitution Avenue, after Bush had reached 90 percent approval, 62 percent of his country’s electorate voted to replace him with Bill Clinton or Ross Perot.

Clinton pursued liberal interventionism in the Balkans, leading to 78 days of bombing Serbia, and he regretted not intervening in Rwanda to halt the genocide.

George W. Bush promised a “humble” foreign policy. But 9/11 put an end to that. After driving the Taliban from power and Osama Bin Laden out of Afghanistan, he declared that America’s new goal was preventing an “axis of evil” — Iraq, Iran, North Korea — from acquiring nuclear weapons. Then, Bush marched us up to Baghdad.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq lasted years longer and cost far more in blood and treasure than Bush had anticipated.

At the peak of his prestige, like Pope Urban II, Bush declared a global crusade for democracy.

This ended like many of the crusades. Democratic elections were won by Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and, after the Arab Spring, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Barack Obama promised to end the Bush wars and bring the troops home. And he was rewarded with two terms by a country that has shown minimal enthusiasm for more wars in the Middle East.

Obama is now openly mocking the McCainiacs.

“Right now, if I was taking the advice of some of the members of Congress who holler all the time, we’d be in, like, seven wars right now,” he told a group of veterans and Gold Star mothers of slain U.S. soldiers.

This reluctance to begin wars or intervene in wars — be it in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Ukraine — seems to comport with the wishes of the country. And this new reality raises serious questions.

What is America’s cause today? What is our mission in the world? For what end, other than defending our citizens, vital interests and crucial allies, would we be willing to send a great army to fight — as we did in Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan?

Are all the global causes of Bush I, Clinton, Bush II over?

Where is the coherence, the consistency, of U.S. policy in the Middle East that should cause us to draw red lines, and fight if they are crossed?

If our belief in democracy demands the ouster of the dictator Assad in Damascus, how can we ally with the theocratic monarchy in Riyadh, the Sunni king sitting atop a Shiite majority in Bahrain, and the Egyptian general on his throne in Cairo, who took power in a military coup against a democratically elected Muslim government?

Other than supporting Israel, maintaining access to Gulf oil and resisting ISIS and al-Qaida, upon what do Americans agree?

Henry Kissinger seeks a restoration of the crumbling strategic architecture. Neocons and interventionist liberals want to confront Russia and Iran. Reluctant interventionists like Obama, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders think we should stay out of other wars there.

“When a people is divided within itself about the conduct of its foreign relations, it is unable to agree on the determination of its true interests,” wrote Walter Lippmann at the climax of World War II:

“Thus, its course in foreign policy depends, in Hamilton’s words, not on reflection and choice but on accident and force.”

America is a nation divided, not only upon the means we should use to attain our ends in the world, but upon the ends themselves.

Pope’s World and the Real World

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Pope Francis’s four-day visit to the United States was by any measure a personal and political triumph.

The crowds were immense, and coverage of the Holy Father on television and in the print press swamped the state visit of Xi Jinping, the leader of the world’s second-greatest power.

But how enduring, and how relevant, was the pope’s celebration of diversity, multiculturalism, inclusiveness, open borders, and a world of forgiveness, peace, harmony and love is another question.

The day the pope departed Philadelphia, 48 percent of Catalonia, in a record turnout of 78 percent, voted to deliver a parliamentary majority to two parties that advocate seceding from Spain.

Like the Scots in Britain, the Walloons in Belgium and the Italians of Veneto, they want to live apart, not together.

While the pope called on America and Europe to welcome the migrant millions of the Third World, Bishop Laszlo Kiss-Rigo, whose diocese stretches across the southern reaches of Catholic Hungary, says of those pouring into Europe: “They’re not refugees. This is an invasion. They come here with cries of ‘Allahu Akbar.’ They want to take over.”

The bishop hailed Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who denounced any open door: “Everything which is now taking place before our eyes threatens to have explosive consequences for the whole of Europe. We must acknowledge that the European Union’s misguided immigration policy is responsible for this situation.

“We shouldn’t forget that the people who are coming here grew up in a different religion and represent a completely different culture. Most are not Christian, but Muslim. … That is an important question, because Europe and European culture have Christian roots.”

The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland joined Hungary in voting to reject EU quotas for migrants. Under pressure from her allies in Bavaria, even Angela Merkel is re-imposing border controls.

A backlash against refugees, migrants and asylum seekers from Africa and the Islamic world is sweeping Europe. Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front, the strongest anti-EU party in Europe, has called on Paris to ship all migrants back across the Mediterranean.

This was the solution Dwight Eisenhower settled on in “Operation Wetback,” when he ordered Gen. Joseph Swing to send the million aliens in Texas illegally back to Mexico in 1954. Swing did as ordered.

Indeed, the call to repatriate the 12 million aliens here illegally has been a propellant behind the candidacy of GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

Behind this rising resistance to illegal and mass migration is human nature — the innate desire of peoples of one tribe or nation, who share a common language, history, faith, culture, traditions and identity, to live together — and to live apart from all the rest.

Such currents are stronger than any written constitutions.

That Global Citizen Festival concert in Central Park Saturday, featuring Beyonce, may have spoken to the globalist beliefs of Barack Obama, whose wife was there, and of the pope, who was flying to Philly.

But in the real world, nationalism, not globalism, is ascendant.

Though Gen. David Petraeus claims Vladimir Putin seeks to re-establish the Russian Empire, this misses the point. If Putin sought that, he would by now, 15 years in power, have annexed Belarus and Ukraine, but he has not even annexed the pro-Russian Donbass.

Putin is a nationalist who sees his country as one of the world’s great powers and sees himself as protector of Russian peoples everywhere. He believes Moscow should have its own Monroe Doctrine, and that rival powers should not be planting military bases on Russia’s doorstep.

Is that so hard for Americans to understand? How did we like having Soviet troops and bases in Castro’s Cuba?

China, too, which abandoned the world Communist revolution, is now a nationalistic power that seeks the same dominance of the waters around it — the Yellow Sea and Taiwan Strait, the East and the South China seas — that the United States has had for over a century in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, the Atlantic, and the Pacific from California to the China coast.

The stronger China grows, the more she will push us away, as we pushed the European powers and the Royal Navy out of our hemisphere.

While China is involved in territorial quarrels with Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, none of her claims represents a threat to U.S. vital interests. Nor does Russia’s actions in reclaiming Crimea or in aiding pro-Russian rebels achieve autonomy in East Ukraine.

What is threatened today is the New World Order of Bush I, the “unipolar world” preached by the neocons and Bush II, and the “rules-based” world of Barack Obama.

Russia and China, and other rising powers, are going to play by their rules, the rules of the 19th and early 20th century, the rules by which we Americans became the first power on earth.

America’s “red lines” should be set down clearly in front of our vital interests. Then, we should inform our friends and allies that their defense is, first and foremost, their own responsibility.

The Persians Are Coming!

The Persians Are Coming

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“The Iranians are on the march,” warned John McCain Sunday.

“Iran is building a new Persian Empire,” echoed Col. Ralph Peters.

So alarmed is Speaker Boehner, he invited Bibi Netanyahu to come and challenge U.S. policy toward Iran from the same podium where the president delivered his State of the Union address.

Bibi will make the case for new U.S. sanctions on Iran; sanctions that Obama has said he will veto as they would sabotage talks on Iran’s nuclear program and potentially put us on the road to war.

Why are Bibi’s insights needed?

Because, says Sen. Robert Menendez, the outgoing chairman of foreign relations, White House statements sound like “talking points from Tehran.” This beloved poodle of AIPAC is always a strong contender for best in show.

“Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence … a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”

So warned our first and greatest president in his Farewell Address.

But this column is not about how Washington would weep at what has become of this Republic, nor a polemic against the corruption of a capital where the currency is campaign cash and national policy is the commodity bought and sold.

The issue is whether Iran represents a threat to our security worth risking a war. For that is where many, including Bibi, want us to go.

Last week’s panic was triggered by the ouster of the pro-American Yemeni President by Houthi rebels. Suddenly, we heard wails that Iran has now captured four Arab capitals — Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus and Sanaa.

“Death to America, death to Israel,” is a slogan of the Houthis who are a Shia minority in Sunni Yemen. But who do the Houthis view as their mortal foes?

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP. Our enemy, too.

The crown jewel of the new “Persian Empire” is said to be Iraq. So how did the Iranian imperialists manage to acquire it?

George Bush sent an army up to Baghdad, ousted Iran’s greatest enemy, Saddam, disbanded his army, smashed his state, and brought to power a Shia majority with religious and historic bonds to Iran.

A masterstroke of Bismarckian brilliance. And both parties voted in Congress to authorize it. Mission Accomplished! — as they say in Tehran.

As for Damascus, Iran is but backing the Alawite Shia regime of Bashar Assad, whose father, Hafez Assad, was Bush I’s ally in Desert Storm.

As for Beirut, Hezbollah arose as a resistance movement when Ariel Sharon invaded Lebanon in 1982.

Yitzhak Rabin would come to regret the consequences: “We let the Shia genie out of the bottle.”

Looking over the chaos that is the Middle East today, we see failed states in Libya, Yemen and Syria, with Iraq and Afghanistan perhaps next.

A strategic disaster, largely of our own making. But if al-Qaeda and ISIS are our real enemies now, Iran, Hezbollah, Assad and the Houthis are all de facto allies, fighting on the same side with us.

Alarmists may see a new Persian Empire threatening all mankind.

A closer look reveals a Shia minority in a Sunni-dominated world where Shia are despised heretics. And of all the terrorist organizations we have the most reason to fear and hate — al-Qaida, Islamic State, Ansar al-Sharia, Boko Haram — none is Shia, all are Sunni.

What about Iran’s drive to build a nuclear bomb?

Well, Israel has 100-300 atom bombs. America has thousands. Iran’s Muslim neighbor Pakistan has scores. And Iran? She has no bomb.

Iran has never tested a nuclear device. She has never produced weapons-grade uranium. Her Fordow underground plant now has IAEA inspectors and its 20-percent-enriched uranium is all being diluted. Construction of the heavy-water reactor at Arak has been halted. Half of Iran’s centrifuges are not operating. There are International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors and cameras blanketing Iran’s program.

The U.S. intelligence community has twice said Iran has no nuclear bomb program. And the most recent finding, 2011, has never been reversed by the Director of National Intelligence.

And just how credible a foreign leader has Boehner invited to undercut his own president’s credibility?

This is the same Bibi who told the Jewish community of Los Angeles in 2006, “It’s 1938 and Iran is Germany … racing to arm itself with atomic bombs.” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “is preparing another Holocaust for the Jewish state.” Bibi even had the war plans:

“Israel would certainly be the first stop on Iran’s tour of destruction, but at [Tehran’s] planned production rate of 25 nuclear bombs a year, [the arsenal] will be directed against ‘the big Satan,’ the U.S.”

Twenty-five Iranian nuclear bombs a year! What bullhockey it all was.

Boehner seem to have concluded that new sanctions on Iran, even if it aborts negotiations and brings on a war with Iran, will be rewarded by the electorate in 2016.

Perhaps. But if this is where the GOP is heading, we’ll be getting off here.

The Rise of Putinism

The Rise of Putinism

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“Abe tightens grip on power as Japanese shun election.”

So ran the page one headline of the Financial Times on the victory of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Sunday’s elections.

Abe is the most nationalistic leader of postwar Japan. He is rebooting nuclear power, building up Japan’s military, asserting her rights in territorial disputes with China and Korea.

And he is among a host of leaders of large and emerging powers who may fairly be described as the new nationalistic strong men.

Xi Jinping is another. Staking a claim to all the islands in the South and East China seas, moving masses of Han Chinese into Tibet and Uighur lands to swamp native peoples, purging old comrades for corruption, Xi is the strongest leader China has seen in decades.

He sits astride what may now be the world’s largest economy and is asserting his own Monroe Doctrine. Hong Kong’s democracy protests were tolerated until Xi tired of them. Then they were swept off the streets.

Call it Putinism. It appears to be rising, while the New World Order of Bush I, the “global hegemony” of the neocons, and the democracy crusade of Bush II seem to belong to yesterday.

Narendra Modi, leader of the Hindu nationalist party who was denied entry into the United States for a decade for complicity in or toleration of a massacre of Muslims is now Prime Minister of India.

“Members of the rightwing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh,” the FT reports, “the Organisation of National Volunteers that gave birth to the Bharatiya Janata party headed by Mr. Modi — have been appointed to key posts in the governing party and cultural institutions.

“Nationalists have railed in public against the introduction of ‘western’ practices such as wearing bikinis on the beach, putting candles on birthday cakes and using English in schools — all to the chagrin of fretful liberals.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is another such leader.

Once seen as a model of the enlightened ruler who blended his Islamic faith with a secular state, seeking friendship with all of his neighbors, he has declared cold war on Israel, aided the Islamic State in Syria, and seems to be reigniting the war with the Kurds, distancing himself from his NATO allies and the U.S., and embracing Putin’s Russia.

Not since Ataturk has Turkey had so nationalistic a leader.

And as the democracy demonstrators were routed in Hong Kong, so, too, were the Tahrir Square “Arab Spring” demonstrators in Egypt, home country to one in four Arabs.

With the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood came to power in free elections, but was then overthrown by the Egyptian Army.

General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is now president and rules as autocratically as Mubarak, or Nasser before him.

Thousands of the Muslim Brotherhood are in prison, hundreds face the death penalty. Yet, despite the military coup that brought Sisi to power, and the repression, the American aid continues to flow.

What do these leaders have in common?

All are strong men. All are nationalists. Almost all tend to a social conservatism from which Western democracies recoil. Almost none celebrate democracy or democratic values the way we do.

And almost all reject America’s claim to be the “indispensable nation” or “exceptional nation” and superpower leader.

Fareed Zakaria lists as “crucial elements of Putinism … nationalism, religion, social conservatism, state capitalism and government domination of the media. They are all, in some way or another, different from and hostile to, modern Western values of individual rights, tolerance, cosmopolitanism, and internationalism.”

Yet not every American revels in the sewer that is our popular culture. Not every American believes we should impose our democratist ideology on other nations. Nor are Big Media and Hollywood universally respected. Patriotism, religion and social conservatism guide the lives of a majority of Americans today.

As the Associated Press reports this weekend, Putinism finds echoes across Central and Western Europe. Hungary’s Viktor Orban has said he sees in Russia a model for his own “illiberal state.”

The National Front’s Marine Le Pen wants to bring France into a new Gaullist Europe, stretching “from the Atlantic to the Urals,” with France seceding from the EU superstate.

“Of the 24 right-wing populist parties that took about a quarter of the European Parliament seats in May elections, Political Capital lists 15 as ‘committed’ to Russia,” writes the AP.

These rising right-wing parties are “partners” of Russia in that they “share key views — advocacy of traditional family values, belief in authoritarian leadership, a distrust of the U.S., and support for strong law and order measures.”

While the financial collapse caused Orban to turn his back on the West, says Zakaria, to the Hungarian prime minister, liberal values today embody “corruption, sex and violence,” and Western Europe has become a land of “freeloaders on the backs of welfare systems.”

If America is a better country today than she has ever been, why are so many, East and West, recoiling from what we offer now?

Watch Pat Buchanan Chat With Jack Hunter About the Midterm Elections and 2016

Pat Buchanan at Rare.us Event

A post-election conversation and book signing with New York Times best-selling author Pat Buchanan and RARE.us Managing Editor Jack Hunter

Political Trends After the 2014 Election

View the video on Rare.us….
NOTE: Scroll the video forward to the 1:00 mark [midway] to view the beginning of the show.

Pat Buchanan and Jack Hunter chewed over the lessons of the midterm elections and now we can officially start talking nonstop about the 2016 presidential election!

Crown Forum Publishers, All News 99.1 WNEW FM, and RARE TM “America’s News Feed” present an evening of analysis and insight with one of the most influential thought leaders in American Politics, Pat Buchanan. In the aftermath of one of the most contentious mid-term election cycles in history, Mr. Buchanan and Mr. Hunter charted the course of the United States over the next two years when America will hold a referendum on its ideals in the 2016 Presidential Election.

It was an awesome event that political junkies won’t want to miss!

View the video on Rare.us….
NOTE: Scroll the video forward to the 1:00 mark to view the beginning of the show.

Terrorism & ‘The True Believer’

Terrorism and The True Believer

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“A mass movement,” wrote Eric Hoffer in “The True Believer,” “appeals not to those intent on bolstering and advancing a cherished self, but to those who crave to be rid of an unwanted self.

“Their innermost craving is for a new life — a rebirth — or, failing this, a chance to acquire new elements of pride, confidence, hope, a sense of purpose, and worth by an identification with a holy cause.”

Such a man was Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a criminal with a decade-long record of drug-dealing, assault and robbery, who shot and killed a guard at Ottawa’s National War Memorial and then burst into Parliament and shot two others before being cut down.

A psychiatric evaluation of Zehaf-Bibeau in 2011 found, “He has been a devoted Muslim for seven years, and he believes he must spend time in jail as a sacrifice to pay for his mistakes in the past.”

Now Zehaf-Bibeau is known to his countrymen and the world. Now his deeds are celebrated by the Islamic State he sought to join.

To understand the appeal to such men of the Islamic State, despite its cruelties, beheadings, crucifixions, slaughter of prisoners, rape and sale into slavery of the daughters and wives of enemies, there are few better sources than the longshoreman-philosopher Eric Hoffer.

Why do young men and women travel from a free prosperous West to fight in Syria and perhaps die in a suicide bombing? What do they seek?

What does ISIS offer? And a more alarming question — why do these jihadists and terrorists continue to gain ground and attract new recruits?

Bin Laden may be dead, but he is world famous and by no means universally loathed for slaughtering 3,000 Americans. During the Bush era, he was more popular in the Muslim world than the U.S. president.

Al-Qaida may have been obliterated in Afghanistan, but has spread to Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, spawning imitators, like ISIS, from the Maghreb across the Middle East into black Africa.

Why are almost all the suicide bombers, the martyrs, on their side?

Wrote Hoffer: “All mass movements generate in their adherents a readiness to die and a proclivity for united action. … All of them irrespective of the doctrine they preach and the program they project breed fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred and intolerance; all … demand blind faith and single-hearted allegiance.”

Does this not fairly describe the Islamic State?

Still, what does ISIS offer the young?

A second chance at a heroic life.

A cause to die for. A vision of a new world as Allah intended it. Communion and camaraderie. And should one die striking a blow against the infidel, there is martyrdom and a place of honor and happiness in the world to come.

To the True Believer, writes Hoffer,

“Chaos is his element. When the old order begins to crack, he wades in with all his might to blow the whole hated present to high heaven. … He alone knows the innermost craving of the masses in action, the craving for communion, for the mustering of the host, for the dissolution of cursed individualism in the zest and grandeur of a mighty whole. Posterity is king.”

Another attraction of the Islamic State is that it appears to be not only the strongest of the jihadist movements but also the most feared by America.

An indispensable aspect of mass movements is hatred, writes Hoffer. Mass movements can never rise and spread “without a devil.”

Indeed, he adds, “the strength of a mass movement is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil … the ideal devil is omnipotent and omnipresent. … The ideal devil is a foreigner.”

Superpower America fits the bill perfectly, assuming the devil role by intervening in the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Our presence in their war testifies to the truth of what their leaders preach: We are the ones America fears most.

In a West saturated in self-indulgence, to many young Muslims, this must have an appeal. Again, Hoffer: “There is no doubt but that in exchanging a self-centered for a selfless life we gain enormously in self-esteem. The vanity of the selfless, even those who practice utmost humility, is boundless.”

The Islamic State cannot defeat the United States. But in fighting against the United States, ISIS sends a message to an Arab and Islamic world where we are not loved that they are the enemies we fear most.

If you wish to fight the Great Satan, come join us.

Thus, while we are killing them, we recruit for them.

Moreover, in waging war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, we are not only sheltering the Shia Crescent of Iran and Hezbollah, we are fighting a Sunni war that Sunni powers like Turkey refuse to fight for themselves.

We are now on both sides of the Sunni-Shia sectarian struggle that has never been America’s war, and we have no credible strategy and no credible army to win it. Who got us into this?

Their War, Not Ours

Their War, Not Ours

By Patrick J. Buchanan

As the Islamic warriors of ISIS rolled down the road from Mosul, John McCain was an echo of French Premier Paul Reynaud, when word reached Paris that Rommel had broken through in the Ardennes:

“We are now facing an existential threat to the security of the United States of America,” said McCain.

But nothing that happens in Mesopotamia is going to threaten the existence of the United States. As for the terrorist threat from ISIS, for us it is neither greater nor less than it was a week ago.

The existential threat here is to Iraq. Its survival as one nation is now in question, with the possibility it could be torn apart in a civil and sectarian war. But this is preeminently Iraq’s problem, not ours.

And if Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, his 900,000-man army, and Shia militia cannot defend Baghdad from a few thousand Islamist warriors, America is under no obligation to do it for them.

Maliki told us to go home three years ago. We did. And before we plunge back into that misbegotten war, let us consider what the real threats are — to America.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria consists of fanatics who seek to carve a caliphate out of territory they now control from Aleppo in Syria to 60 miles north of Baghdad.

Yet they have halted before Baghdad. And among the reasons is that Iraq’s Shia majority is not going to allow Sunni zealots to capture their cities, smash their shrines, and murder their fellow Shia.

They will fight, as the Iraqi army did not.

Secondly, ISIS has as allies in the north and west of Iraq Sunnis who detest Maliki and wish to be rid of him. But these Sunni are not demanding a Taliban regime to abolish smoking and drinking. Nor are they fighting to cut off the heads of their Shia countrymen.

If ISIS goes beyond the liberation of the Sunni triangle to trying to take over all of Iraq, they will lose many Sunni allies and find themselves facing Iraq’s Shia majority, backed up by Iranian forces, virtually alone.

But while the Iraqi army and Shia militia may well hold Baghdad, it is hard to see how Maliki can soon reconquer the Sunni provinces. For the Sunnis want no part of him or his regime.

Nor does Maliki seem capable of taking back Kirkuk, which the Kurds seized in the chaos as a step toward independence.

What should America do? Take a hard look at our entire Middle East policy.

Consider. We are now providing weapons to the Free Syrian Army to oust Bashar Assad. “Assad must go!” blared Barack Obama in one of his many ignored ultimata.

But should Assad fall, the result will be the persecution of the Syrian Christians, a massacre of the Alawites, and a possible takeover of the country by the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front and ISIS.

Is any of that in America’s interests?

Vladimir Putin lately raised a valid question: Why, in Syria, are the Americans on the same side as the people who took down the twin towers? Indeed, why are we?

And who is fighting al-Qaida and ISIS in Syria, battling those McCain calls an “existential threat” to American security?

Bashar Assad. Hezbollah. Iran. Russia.

Tehran has reportedly volunteered to work with us in providing military aid to prop up the Maliki regime and keep ISIS out of Baghdad.

If we regard the survival of the Maliki regime to be in our national interests, why would we not green-light the Iranians to do this?

When Hitler turned on his partner Stalin, the United States rushed military aid to save the monster whom FDR and Truman took to calling “Good Old Joe” and “Uncle Joe” at Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam.

Is the Ayatollah somehow worse than Stalin?

Yet, consider, too, how our allies in the Gulf and Middle East have behaved in Syria.

The Turks, clamoring for the overthrow of Assad, looked the other way as jihadists moved into Syria. The Gulf states and Saudis have reportedly sent money and military aid to the extremists.

Are the Turks and Gulf Arabs aiding these jihadists in the belief they will not turn on them, if and when Assad and Maliki fall? Do they think that by feeding this tiger ISIS, it will eat them last?

We may be entering the early stages of a sectarian war between Sunni and Shia across the Middle East. The ISIS claim of having executed 1,700 captured Shia soldiers in Iraq is surely intended to ignite one.

If it happens, this war could spread to Lebanon, Jordan and down into the Gulf states where Shia outnumber Sunnis in Bahrain and in the oil-producing provinces of the Saudi northeast.

Does the Middle East today — Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon — look like what we were promised by George Bush and his neocon advisers when they were beating the drums for a U.S. invasion of Iraq?

Is Obama Blundering Into a Syrian Quagmire?

Is Obama Blundering Into a Syrian Quagmire?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

With his address at West Point, President Obama succeeded where all his previous efforts had failed. He brought us together.

Nobody seems to have liked the speech.

A glance shows that the New York Times and Washington Times, the Financial Times and Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal were all disappointed with it.

As was said of one of Harding’s addresses, it was “an army of pompous phrases marching across the landscape in search of an idea.”

What Obama has is less a foreign policy doctrine than a foreign policy disposition. He is a reluctant interventionist.

He got us out of Iraq and is taking us out of Afghanistan. Yet he was pushed into a war on Libya that turned out disastrously and is now dipping his toe into what he has called “somebody else’s civil war” in Syria.

Still, Obama’s foreign policy is not going to be judged on what he said, but what he did and failed to do. The same holds for the Beltway hawks, now so harsh on Obama, who once whooped it up for George W. Bush.

Perhaps it is time to review the respective records.

After America backed him in going after al-Qaida after 9/11, Bush, on a triumphal high, invaded Iraq. Soon we were mired in the two longest wars in our history.

America responded by evicting Bush’s party from leadership of both houses of Congress and the White House in 2008.

And what did we miss out on by not electing John McCain?

McCain would have put us into the Russo-Georgian war over South Ossetia. He would have bombed Iran’s nuclear sites. We would still have troops in Iraq. He would have bombed Syria. He would have sent weapons to Kiev to oust the Russians from Crimea and crush the pro-Russian militias in the Donbass. He would be pushing for membership in NATO for Ukraine and Georgia, so the next time there was a dust-up with Putin’s Russia, we could be right in the thick of it.

As for Obama’s foreign policy, while the think tanks and media elite regard it as vacillating and weak, the people who gave him two electoral victories seem generally to approve.

Broadly speaking, Americans are delighted our soldiers are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. They were passionately opposed last August to U.S. action in Syria. They dislike Iran, but like that the president is negotiating with Iran.

Thus, whoever persuaded Obama to send TOW antitank missiles to the Syrian rebels and train and arm them may end up responsible for his worst foreign policy blunder.

For we are now extending and broadening a Syrian war that has left 150,000 dead.

And we have become de facto allies of both the al-Qaida-linked Al Nusra Front and the more extreme Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which is carving out a caliphate from Aleppo to Anbar.

President Obama declared years ago that Assad must go.

But has he thought through who rises when Assad falls?

A civil war for power between our rebels and the Islamists would break out. A Sunni-Shia struggle could spread to Lebanon and Iraq.

Reprisals against the Alawite and Christian minorities that backed the Assad family could be horrific.

If so, demands for U.S. intervention would start coming from all quarters: Saudis, Israelis, Turks and pro-Western Syrian rebels.

Obama would be torn between the anti-war country that elected him and the pro-war capital that wants to pivot back to the Middle East.

Another worrisome possibility must be considered.

When President Reagan inserted U. S. Marines into Lebanon’s civil war in 1983, blowback came in the bombing of our embassy and the terrorist attack on the Beirut barracks, killing 241.

Are we not, by sending antitank missiles into a war where Assad is backed by Hezbollah and Iran, inviting terrorist retaliation against us or the Jordanian monarchy that is playing host to U.S. advisers?

There is a reason why Obama has been unable to formulate an Eisenhower Doctrine or a Reagan Doctrine. The nation is divided within itself about where and when we should stand or fight.

Putin’s Russia is not Stalin’s. Xi Jinping’s China is not Mao’s. The 20th century’s ideological struggles between communism, fascism and democracy that produced World War II and the Cold War are over.

Quite naturally, old allies from Saudi Arabia to South Korea and from Japan to Europe want to know why the United States is not out there on point, confronting their adversaries, as we once did.

But the reality is that we are not threatened by Assad in Syria, or by whose flag flies over Crimea or Donetsk, or by who gets custody of the islets in the South or East China Sea.

“Great Britain has lost an empire, but not yet found a role,” said Dean Acheson, also at West Point, half a century ago.

Something similar to that is happening to us.

Obama’s speech simply mirrored our own ambivalence.

——————-

IMAGE NOTES: The image above is an artistic remix by Linda Muller for buchanan.org.
PHOTO CREDIT: Whitehouse.gov

What Would the GOP Do?

Russia and China

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Though Barack Obama is widely regarded as a weak president, is the new world disorder really all his fault?

Listening to the more vocal voices of the GOP one might think so.

According to Sen. Lindsey Graham, Vladimir Putin’s move into Crimea “started with Benghazi.”

“When you kill Americans and nobody pays a price, you invite this type of aggression,” said Graham. Putin “came to the conclusion after Benghazi, Syria, Egypt” that Barack Obama is “a weak indecisive leader.”

Also blaming Obama for Crimea, John McCain got cheers at AIPAC by charging, “This is the ultimate result of a feckless foreign policy in which nobody believes in America’s strength anymore.”

This “blatant act” of aggression “cannot stand,” said McCain.

How McCain plans to force Putin to cough up Crimea was left unexplained.

Now Marco Rubio seems to be auditioning to replace the retired Joe Lieberman as third amigo. His CPAC speech is described by the L.A. Times:

“[Rubio] said that China is threatening to take parts of the South China Sea … a nuclear North Korea is testing missiles, Venezuela is slaughtering protesters, and Cuba remains an oppressive dictatorship. He added that Iran continues to pursue nuclear weapons and regional hegemony and Russia is attempting to ‘reconstitute’ the former Soviet Union.”

What all these countries have in common, said Rubio, is “totalitarian governments.” Rubio proposes a U.S. foreign policy of leading the world to “stand up to the spread of totalitarianism.”

Not quite as ambitious as George W. Bush’s “ending tyranny in our world,” but it will do.

Where to begin.

First, it is absurd to suggest Putin felt free to restore Crimea to Russia because of Obama’s inaction in Benghazi. And while Castro’s Cuba and Kim Jong-Un’s North Korea are totalitarian, Putin’s Russia is not Stalin’s. Nor is Xi Jinping’s China Mao’s China.

Russia and China are great power rivals and antagonists, not the monster regimes of the Cold War that massacred millions. We must deal with them, and they don’t take direction from Uncle Sam.

As for Iran, 17 U.S. intelligence agencies say it has no nuclear weapons program. Moreover, Hassan Rouhani is an elected president now presiding over the dilution of his 20-percent-enriched uranium in compliance with our November agreement.

McCain points to Obama’s failure to enforce his “red line” in Syria with air and missile strikes, when Bashar Assad used chemical weapons, as the reason Obama is not respected.

But a little history is in order here.

While John Kerry and Obama were ready to attack Syria, it was the American people who rose up and said “no.” It was Congress that failed to give Obama the authorization to go to war.

If McCain, Graham and Rubio think Obama should attack Syria, why don’t they get their hawkish Republican brethren in the House to authorize war on Syria? See how that sits with the voters in 2014.

Last fall, Lindsey Graham was shopping around a resolution for a U.S. war on Iran. What became of that brainstorm? After Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans are weary of what all this bellicosity inevitably brings.

Is Russia really reconstituting the Soviet Union?

True, Putin seeks to bring half a dozen ex-Soviet republics, now nations, into an economic union to rival the EU. But where the state religion of the USSR was Marxism-Leninism, i.e., communism, Putin is trying to restore Russian Orthodox Christianity.

There is a difference, as there is a difference between Stalin murdering priests and Putin prosecuting Pussy Riot for blasphemous misbehavior on the high altar of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

How do we think King Abdullah would have handled the women, had they pulled their stunt in the Great Mosque in Mecca?

While China is indeed moving to claim the East and South China seas, bringing her into possible conflict with Japan over the Senkakus, the GOP is not without culpability here.

It was a Bush-led Republican Party that voted to throw open America’s markets to China. Result: In the last two years, China ran up $630 billion in trade surpluses at our expense, a figure larger than the entire U.S. defense budget for 2015.

Our trade deficits with China provide her annually with enough dollars to finance her own defense budget twice over. Twenty years of such U.S. trade deficits have given the Middle Kingdom the trillions it needed to build the armed forces to drive us out of East Asia.

Are U.S. sailors and Marines now to die defending the Senkakus against a menacing China that the Bush free traders helped mightily to create?

If Sen. Rubio wants to “stand up” to China, why not call for a 50 percent tariff on all Chinese-made goods. Try that one out on the K Street bundlers and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Yet Marco Rubio in the primaries would be healthy for America. A showdown between non-interventionists and the neocon War Party, to determine which way America goes, is long overdue. Let’s get it on.

How the GOP Lost Middle America

How the GOP Lost Middle America

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Out of the Republican retreat on Maryland’s Eastern shore comes word that the House leadership is raising the white flag of surrender on immigration.

The GOP will agree to halt the deportation of 12 million illegal aliens, and sign on to a blanket amnesty. It only asks that the 12 million not be put on a path to citizenship.

Sorry, but losers do not dictate terms. Rich Trumka of the AFL-CIO says amnesty is no longer enough. Illegal aliens must be put on a path to citizenship and given green cards to work — and join unions.

Rep. Paul Ryan and the Wall Street Journal are for throwing in the towel. Legalize them all and start them on the path to citizenship.

A full and final capitulation. Let’s get it over with.

To understand why and how the Republican Party lost Middle America, and faces demographic death, we need to go back to Bush I.

At the Cold War’s end, the GOP reached a fork in the road. The determination of Middle Americans to preserve the country they grew up in, suddenly collided with the profit motive of Corporate America.

The Fortune 500 wanted to close factories in the USA and ship production abroad — where unions did not exist, regulations were light, taxes were low, and wages were a fraction of what they were here in America.

Corporate America was going global and wanted to be rid of its American work force, the best paid on earth, and replace it with cheap foreign labor.

While manufacturing sought to move production abroad, hotels, motels, bars, restaurants, farms and construction companies that could not move abroad also wanted to replace their expensive American workers.

Thanks to the Republican Party, Corporate America got it all.

U.S. factories in the scores of thousands were shut down, shedding their American workers. Foreign-made goods poured in, filling U.S. stores and killing the manufacturers who had stayed behind, loyal to their U.S. workers.

The Reagan prosperity was exported to Asia and China by the Bush Republicans. And the Reagan Democrats reciprocated by deserting the Bush Republican Party and going home. But this was not the end of what this writer described in his 1998 book, “The Great Betrayal.”

As those hotels, motels, restaurants, bars, fast-food shops, car washes, groceries and other service industries also relished the rewards of cheap foreign labor, they got government assistance in replacing their American workers.

Since 1990, some 30 to 40 million immigrants, legal and illegal, have entered the country.

This huge increase in the labor force, at the same time the U.S. was shipping factories abroad, brought massive downward pressure on wages. The real wages of Middle Americans have stagnated for decades.

What was wildly wonderful for Corporate America was hell on Middle America. But the Republican Party had made its choice. It had sold its soul to the multinationals. And as it went along with NAFTA, GATT, fast track and mass immigration, to appease Corporate America, it lost Middle America.

The party went with the folks who paid for their campaigns, only to lose the folks who had given them their landslides.

When Republicans accede to the demand for amnesty, and immigration without end, it does not take a political genius to see what is going to happen. For it is happening now.

Almost all of those breaking our laws, crossing the border, and overstaying their visas are young, poor or working class. Between 80 and 90 percent are from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

They are Third World peoples. They believe in government action and government programs that provide their families with free education, health care, housing, food, and income subsidies. They are not Bob Taft or Barry Goldwater conservatives.

Perhaps 85 percent of all immigrants, legal and illegal, more than a million a year now, are people of color. And while over 70 percent of Hispanics and Asians voted Democratic for Obama, among voters of African descent, the Obama vote was well above 90 percent.

Four of every five U.S. citizens of Asian, African and Hispanic descent vote Democratic in presidential elections. And it is their numbers that are growing. Already they are well over a third of the U.S. population.

As has been observed often, America, demographically, is going to look like California. And while Nixon won California all five times he was on a national ticket, and Reagan won California in landslides all four times he ran, California has not gone Republican in six straight presidential elections.

Democrats outnumber Republicans there by more than two-to-one in the Congressional delegation and in the state assembly, and not a single Republican holds statewide office.

If Bush I had built that border fence back in 1992 and declared a moratorium on legal immigration that fall, as many implored him to do, the party of the Bushes would not be facing its demise well before midcentury.