Regime Change — American Style

Regime Change -- American Style

By Patrick J. Buchanan

The campaign to overturn the 2016 election and bring down President Trump shifted into high gear this week.

Inspiration came Saturday morning from the altar of the National Cathedral where our establishment came to pay homage to John McCain.

Gathered there were all the presidents from 1993 to 2017, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Vice Presidents Al Gore and Dick Cheney, Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Henry Kissinger, the leaders of both houses of Congress, and too many generals and admirals to list.

Striding into the pulpit, Obama delivered a searing indictment of the man undoing his legacy:

“So much of our politics, our public life, our public discourse can seem small and mean and petty, trafficking in bombast and insult and phony controversies and manufactured outrage. … It’s a politics that pretends to be brave and tough but in fact is born of fear.”

Speakers praised McCain’s willingness to cross party lines, but Democrats took away a new determination: From here on out, confrontation!

Tuesday morning, as Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court began, Democrats disrupted the proceedings and demanded immediate adjournment, as scores of protesters shouted and screamed to halt the hearings.

Taking credit for orchestrating the disruption, Sen. Dick Durbin boasted, “What we’ve heard is the noise of democracy.”

But if mob action to shut down a Senate hearing is the noise of democracy, this may explain why many countries are taking a new look at the authoritarian rulers who can at least deliver a semblance of order.

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Wednesday came leaks in The Washington Post from Bob Woodward’s new book, attributing to Chief of Staff John Kelly and Gen. James Mattis crude remarks on the president’s intelligence, character and maturity, and describing the Trump White House as a “crazytown” led by a fifth- or sixth-grader.

Kelly and Mattis both denied making the comments.

Thursday came an op-ed in The New York Times by an anonymous “senior official” claiming to be a member of the “resistance … working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his (Trump’s) agenda.”

A pedestrian piece of prose containing nothing about Trump one cannot read or hear daily in the media, the op-ed caused a sensation, but only because Times editors decided to give the disloyal and seditious Trump aide who wrote it immunity and cover to betray his or her president.

The transaction served the political objectives of both parties.

While the Woodward book may debut at the top of The New York Times best-seller list, and “Anonymous,” once ferreted out and fired, will have his or her 15 minutes of fame, what this portends is not good.

For what is afoot here is something America specializes in — regime change. Only the regime our establishment and media mean to change is the government of the United States. What is afoot is the overthrow of America’s democratically elected head of state.

The methodology is familiar. After a years-long assault on the White House and president by a special prosecutor’s office, the House takes up impeachment, while a collaborationist press plays its traditional supporting role.

Presidents are wounded, disabled or overthrown, and Pulitzers all around.

No one suggests Richard Nixon was without sin in trying to cover up the Watergate break-in. But no one should delude himself into believing that the overthrow of that president, not two years after he won the greatest landslide in U.S. history, was not an act of vengeance by a hate-filled city that ran a sword through Nixon for offenses it had covered up or brushed under the rug in the Roosevelt, Kennedy and Johnson years.

So, where are we headed?

If November’s elections produce, as many predict, a Democratic House, there will be more investigations of President Trump than any man charged with running the U.S. government may be able to manage.

There is the Mueller investigation into “Russiagate” that began before Trump was inaugurated. There is the investigation of his business and private life before he became president in the Southern District of New York. There is the investigation into the Trump Foundation by New York State.

There will be investigations by House committees into alleged violations of the Emoluments Clause. And ever present will be platoons of journalists ready to report the leaks from all of these investigations.

Then, if media coverage can drive Trump’s polls low enough, will come the impeachment investigation and the regurgitation of all that went before.

If Trump has the stamina to hold on, and the Senate remains Republican, he may survive, even as Democrats divide between a rising militant socialist left and the Democrats’ septuagenarian caucus led by Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Bernie Sanders and Nancy Pelosi.

2019 looks to be the year of bellum omnium contra omnes, the war of all against all. Entertaining, for sure, but how many more of these coups d’etat can the Republic sustain before a new generation says enough of all this?

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Comey & The Saturday Night Massacre

Comey & The Saturday Night Massacre

By Patrick J. Buchanan

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce, said Marx.

On publication day of my memoir of Richard Nixon’s White House, President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Instantly, the media cried “Nixonian,” comparing it to the 1973 Saturday Night Massacre.

Yet, the differences are stark.

The resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General Bill Ruckelshaus and the firing of Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox came in the middle of an East-West crisis.

On Oct. 6, 1973, the high holy day of Yom Kippur, in a surprise attack, Egyptian troops crossed the Suez Canal and breached Israel’s Bar Lev Line. Syria attacked on the Golan Heights.

Within days, 1,000 Israeli soldiers were dead, hundreds of tanks destroyed, dozens of planes downed by Soviet surface-to-air missiles. As Egypt’s army broke through in the Sinai, there came reports that Moshe Dayan was arming Israeli F-4s with nuclear weapons.

“This is the end of the Third Temple,” Dayan was quoted.

Nixon ordered every U.S. transport that could fly to deliver tanks and planes to Israel. Gen. Ariel Sharon crossed the Canal to the west and rolled north to cut off and kill the Egyptian 3rd army in Sinai.

The Gulf Arabs declared an oil embargo of the United States.

We got reports that nuclear-capable Russian ships were moving through the Dardanelles and Soviet airborne divisions were moving to airfields. U.S. nuclear forces were put on heightened alert.

On Oct. 10, another blow had befallen Nixon’s White House. Vice President Agnew pleaded nolo contendere to tax evasion and resigned.

Nixon immediately named Gerald Ford to replace him.

It was in this environment, with Henry Kissinger in Moscow trying to negotiate a ceasefire in the Mideast, that Cox refused to accept a compromise deal that would give him verified summaries of Nixon’s tapes, but not actual tapes. Democrat Senators Sam Ervin and John Stennis had accepted this compromise, as had Richardson, or so we believed.

Nixon had no choice. As he told me, he could not, in this Cold War crisis, have Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev see him back down in the face of defiance by one of his own Cabinet appointees.

If he had to, Nixon told me, he would reach down to a GS-7 at Justice to fire Cox: “We can’t have that viper sleeping in the bed with us.”

That Saturday night, I told friends, next week will bring resolutions of impeachment in the House. And so it did.

How do Nixon and Trump’s actions differ?

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Where Nixon decapitated his Justice Department and shut down the special prosecutor’s office, Trump simply fired an FBI director who agreed that Trump had every right to do so.

By October 1973, with two dozen Nixon White House, Cabinet and campaign officers convicted or facing indictment and trial, we were steeped in the worst political scandal in U.S. history.

Nothing comparable exists today.

But if President Trump is enraged, he has every right to be.

Since July, the FBI has been investigating alleged Trump campaign collusion with Putin’s Russia to hack the DNC and John Podesta’s email accounts — and produced zilch. As of January, ex-CIA Director Mike Morell and ex-DNI James Clapper said no collusion had been found.

Yet every day we hear Democrats and the media bray about a Putin-Trump connection and Russian “control” of the president.

In the early 1950s, they had a term for this. It was called McCarthyism, and its greatest practitioners invariably turned out to be those who had invented the term.

“Justice delayed is justice denied!” applies to presidents, too.

Trump has been under a cloud of a “Russian connection” to him and his campaign for nearly a year. Yet no hard evidence of Trump-Russia collusion in the election has been produced.

Is not the endless airing of unproven allegations inherently un-American?

In 1973, NBC’s John Chancellor suggested the ouster of Richardson, Ruckelshaus and Cox was the “most serious constitutional crisis” in U.S. history, passing over the secession of 11 Southern states and a Civil War that cost 620,000 lives. One London reporter said that “the whiff of the Gestapo was in the clear October air.”

We see a similar hysteria rising today.

Yet that was not a constitutional crisis then, and the mandated early retirement of Jim Comey is not a constitutional crisis now.

And that the mainstream media are equating “Russia-gate” and Watergate tells you what is afoot.

Trump is hated by this city, which gave him 4 percent of its votes, as much as Nixon was. And the deep-state determination to bring him down is as great as it was with Nixon.

By 1968, the liberal establishment had lost the mandate it had held since 1933, but not lost its ability to wound and kill presidents.

Though Nixon won 49 states, that establishment took him down. Though Ronald Reagan won 49 states, that establishment almost took him down in the Iran-Contra affair.

And that is the end they have in mind for President Trump.

Pat Buchanan’s White House Battles

President Richard M. Nixon

By James Rosen at The National Interest…

“I DID not understand then, nor do I now, why we did what we did,” writes Patrick J. Buchanan towards the end of Nixon’s White House Wars, the second of two volumes chronicling the decade he spent with the thirty-seventh president as a speechwriter, political adviser and confidant.

In this instance, Buchanan was referencing a tactical blunder committed during Watergate, the denouement of the Nixon presidency. But the author—a pugnacious visionary who believed conservatives could recast the electoral map by peeling off key constituencies of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal coalition—could just as easily have been summarizing Richard Nixon’s five and a half years in the Oval Office, which repeatedly found Buchanan baffled by the steady leftward drift of a president he knew to be instinctually conservative. “Why we were doing this,” the author complains ninety-three pages earlier, about something else, “I did not know.”

Time and again, as Nixon and his men deliberated the conduct of the Vietnam War and the threats posed by the radical Left, school desegregation and affirmative-action programs, Supreme Court nominations and Great Society funding, Buchanan struggled to understand why the Nixon he knew intimately from 1965 onward, the wily politician whose worldview aligned so squarely with the “Silent Majority” of Americans—a phrase Buchanan himself had coined—had embraced the policy prescriptions of his political opponents.

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“Why did the conservatives, who had so influenced the policy positions that Nixon had adopted during his comeback, fail to play a comparable role in the transition and the administration?” Buchanan asks. At one point, he even plaintively wonders The Greatest Comebackwhether the president and his key aides—principally, Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman and domestic policy adviser John Ehrlichman—entertained an “inherent suicidal tendency or death wish.”

This lamentation, exposing the inner workings of the “troubled marriage” between Richard Nixon and conservatism and drawing on a thousand memoranda Buchanan exchanged with the president, many previously unpublished, provides the chief value of Buchanan’s book. Witty and well documented, rich with insights into Nixon, the nation and a cast of colorful characters—from Henry Kissinger to Hunter S. Thompson, Ronald Reagan to Coretta Scott King—White House Wars succeeds simultaneously as history and autobiography, polemic and portraiture, elegy and entertainment. In this and the first installment of his Nixon memoirs, The Greatest Comeback, which chronicled Nixon’s wilderness years and capturing of the presidency in 1968, Buchanan has made an indispensable contribution to the literature of Cold War America.

BUCHANAN’S CONFLICT endures to this day. His dismay over Nixon’s liberal domestic policy is tempered by a reflexive impulse to defend the man, both because he had all the right enemies—virtually all of academia, the news media, and the civil- and foreign-service bureaucracies—and because Nixon was subjected, across three decades on the national stage, to an unrelenting double standard. (Case in point: the same New York Times that in 1962 denounced publication of Cuban Missile Crisis secrets, to preserve “the integrity of the National Security Council,” could, by 1971, when Nixon and Kissinger were running the NSC, spend three months grooming the Pentagon Papers for publication.) Thus, Buchanan today can praise Nixon’s “willingness to set aside political differences and past battles and cross party lines to select the best to serve the nation” while deploring the fact that “there was not an ideological conservative among Nixon’s West Wing assistants or Cabinet officers.”

The nadir of Buchanan’s disaffection was Nixon’s historic trip to China in February 1972. Traveling on Air Force One back from Shanghai, Buchanan read the communiqué drafted, on the U.S. side, by Kissinger, and instantly became “angry, disgusted, and ashamed.” “I was ill,” he writes, over the “sellout of Taiwan.” There in the aisle a shouting match ensued. “Bullshit!” Buchanan screamed at the national security adviser…

Read much more at: The National Interest…

The American Way of Abandonment

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Hosni Mubarak, it appears, is not going to go quietly, or quickly.

He is not going to play the role assigned him in the White House script that has him resigning and fleeing Egypt in the face of mass demonstrations in Tahrir Square.

After U.S. diplomat Frank Wisner came to give Mubarak his marching orders, the Egyptian apparently decided that, if the Americans, whose water he has carried for years, are going to abandon him, he will play out this hand himself. And the old fighter pilot is not without cards to play.

While the army has said it will not fire on the demonstrators, the army also seems to want an end to the demonstrations — and appears reluctant to dump over a president who has been a friend and patron for decades.

And now that Mubarak has pledged on national television that he will not run again, and elections will be held in September, the cause that united the crowd — Mubarak must go! — appears victorious. Indeed, some demonstrators took Mubarak’s announced departure as victory and went home. Why start an insurrection to deny the man his last six months?

Wednesday, Mubarak played another card — his own “people power.”

Mobs of toughs pushed into Tahrir Square, throwing bricks, bottles and rocks, and using whips to drive out the remnant of Tuesday’s “million-man march.” The army did nothing.

The ball is now in the democracy demonstrators’ court.

If, as Mohamed ElBaradei has proclaimed, today is Departure Day for Mubarak, it is also D-Day for them. If the army balks, they will have to force the president of Egypt out of power themselves.

How do they do this if Mubarak stands his ground and the army stays neutral? Will the demonstrators keep bringing women, children and elderly into Tahrir Square when there is the possibility of a riot that could get them injured or killed?

Some demonstrators feel they have won and ought not press on.

The rest seem to have no clear leader, no compelling slogan, no agreed-upon agenda, other than that Mubarak must go. ElBaradei is seen as an international bureaucrat and opportunist more at home in Viennese cafe society than Cairo, who flew in to lead a revolution he did nothing to bring about.

And though Washington appears to have cut him loose to appease the crowds the White House now sees as the future of Egypt, Mubarak has sturdier allies in Israel and Saudi Arabia. Across the Middle East, monarchs and autocrats must be urging Mubarak to quash the revolution and prevent its spread to their own countries, as it has spread to Jordan and Yemen.

Mubarak has another advantage.

He is an old man — perhaps a sick man close to death — but a soldier with a sense of honor, who has spent his life in his country’s service. And he is no coward. When he says: “I have lived for this country. I have fought for it. … I will die on this land,” one ought to take him seriously.

Moreover, he knows that if he abdicates and flees, he goes into history with Ferdinand Marcos and the Shah as a despot and absconder who will be remembered for having let himself be run off by the crowd.

Only if he survives this challenge of the streets — as Charles De Gaulle survived the student riots of 1968, as Richard Nixon survived the mammoth antiwar riots and demonstrations of 1969 by calling on the Silent Majority to stand by him — can Mubarak hope to maintain his place in the history of modern Egypt.

My sense: Mubarak is determined he will be seated as president on the inaugural stand when the next Egyptian president is sworn in, and the crowd in Tahrir Square lacks what it takes to deny this to him.

But what must Mubarak think of us?

He stood by us through the final Reagan decade of the Cold War. At George H.W. Bush’s request, he sent his soldiers to fight alongside ours against fellow Arabs in Desert Storm. He stayed faithful to a peace with Israel his people detested. He cooperated with George Bush II in some of the nastier business of the War on Terror.

A dictator, yes, but also our man in the Arab world. Yet a few hundred thousand demonstrators in Cairo’s streets caused us to abandon him.

In the last half-century, how many others who cast their lot with us have we abandoned as “corrupt and dictatorial” when they started to lose their grip? Ngo Dinh Diem, Gen. Thieu and Marshal Ky, Lon Nol, Chiang Kai-shek, Marcos, the Shah, Somoza, Pinochet — the list goes on.

When we needed them, they were hailed as America’s great friends. When they needed us, we abandoned them in the name of our rediscovered democratic values.

“In this world, it is often dangerous to be an enemy of the United States,” said Henry Kissinger, “but to be a friend is fatal.”

Hosni Mubarak must be thinking something like that today.