Trump Calls Off Cold War II

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Beginning his joint press conference with Vladimir Putin, President Trump declared that U.S. relations with Russia have “never been worse.”

He then added pointedly, that just changed “about four hours ago.”

It certainly did. With his remarks in Helsinki and at the NATO summit in Brussels, Trump has signaled a historic shift in U.S. foreign policy that may determine the future of this nation and the fate of his presidency.

He has rejected the fundamental premises of American foreign policy since the end of the Cold War and blamed our wretched relations with Russia, not on Vladimir Putin, but squarely on the U.S. establishment.

In a tweet prior to the meeting, Trump indicted the elites of both parties: “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”

Trump thereby repudiated the records and agendas of the neocons and their liberal interventionist allies, as well as the archipelago of War Party think tanks beavering away inside the Beltway.

Looking back over the week, from Brussels to Britain to Helsinki, Trump’s message has been clear, consistent and startling.

NATO is obsolete. European allies have freeloaded off U.S. defense while rolling up huge trade surpluses at our expense. Those days are over. Europeans are going to stop stealing our markets and start paying for their own defense.

And there will be no Cold War II.

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We are not going to let Putin’s annexation of Crimea or aid to pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine prevent us from working on a rapprochement and a partnership with him, Trump is saying. We are going to negotiate arms treaties and talk out our differences as Ronald Reagan did with Mikhail Gorbachev.

Helsinki showed that Trump meant what he said when he declared repeatedly, “Peace with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing.”

On Syria, Trump indicated that he and Putin are working with Bibi Netanyahu, who wants all Iranian forces and Iran-backed militias kept far from the Golan Heights. As for U.S. troops in Syria, says Trump, they will be coming out after ISIS is crushed, and we are 98 percent there.

That is another underlying message here: America is coming home from foreign wars and will be shedding foreign commitments.

Both before and after the Trump-Putin meeting, the cable news coverage was as hostile and hateful toward the president as any this writer has ever seen. The media may not be the “enemy of the people” Trump says they are, but many are implacable enemies of this president.

Some wanted Trump to emulate Nikita Khrushchev, who blew up the Paris summit in May 1960 over a failed U.S. intelligence operation — the U-2 spy plane shot down over the Urals just weeks earlier.

Khrushchev had demanded that Ike apologize. Ike refused, and Khrushchev exploded. Some media seemed to be hoping for just such a confrontation.

When Trump spoke of the “foolishness and stupidity” of the U.S. foreign policy establishment that contributed to this era of animosity in U.S.-Russia relations, what might he have had in mind?

Was it the U.S. provocatively moving NATO into Russia’s front yard after the collapse of the USSR?

Was it the U.S. invasion of Iraq to strip Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction he did not have that plunged us into endless wars of the Middle East?

Was it U.S. support of Syrian rebels determined to oust Bashar Assad, leading to ISIS intervention and a seven-year civil war with half a million dead, a war which Putin eventually entered to save his Syrian ally?

Was it George W. Bush’s abrogation of Richard Nixon’s ABM treaty and drive for a missile defense that caused Putin to break out of the Reagan INF treaty and start deploying cruise missiles to counter it?

Was it U.S. complicity in the Kiev coup that ousted the elected pro-Russian regime that caused Putin to seize Crimea to hold onto Russia’s Black Sea naval base at Sevastopol?

Many Putin actions we condemn were reactions to what we did.

Russia annexed Crimea bloodlessly. But did not the U.S. bomb Serbia for 78 days to force Belgrade to surrender her cradle province of Kosovo?

How was that more moral than what Putin did in Crimea?

If Russian military intelligence hacked into the emails of the DNC, exposing how they stuck it to Bernie Sanders, Trump says he did not collude in it. Is there, after two years, any proof that he did?

Trump insists Russian meddling had no effect on the outcome in 2016 and he is not going to allow media obsession with Russiagate to interfere with establishing better relations.

Former CIA Director John Brennan rages that, “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki … was … treasonous. … He is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”

Well, as Patrick Henry said long ago, “If this be treason, make the most of it!”

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Patching It Up With Putin

Patching It Up With Putin

By Patrick J. Buchanan

President Donald Trump flew off for his first meeting with Vladimir Putin — with instructions from our foreign policy elite that he get into the Russian president’s face over his hacking in the election of 2016.

Hopefully, Trump will ignore these people. For their record of failure is among the reasons Americans elected him to office.

What president, seeking to repair damaged relations with a rival superpower, would begin by reading from an indictment?

President Eisenhower did not begin his summit with Nikita Khrushchev by berating him for crushing the Hungarian freedom fighters in 1956 — a more grievous crime then hacking the emails of John Podesta.

President Kennedy did not let Russia’s emplacement of missiles in Cuba in 1962 prevent him from offering an olive branch to Moscow in his widely praised American University address of June 1963.

President Nixon, in first meeting Leonid Brezhnev, did not denounce him for extinguishing the Prague Spring. Were Trump to start his first summit with Putin by dressing him down, why meet with him at all?

Trump would do better to explore where we can work together, as in ending Syria’s civil war and averting a new war in Korea.

Moreover, when it comes to interference in the internal politics of other nations to bring about “regime change,” understandably, Putin might see himself as more sinned against than sinning.

Should Trump bring up the email hacking in 2016, Putin could ask him to explain U.S. support for the violent coup d’etat that overthrew a democratically elected pro-Russian government in Ukraine, a land with which Russia has been intimately associated for 1,000 years.

Consider the behavior of post-Cold War America, after Moscow gave up its empire, pulled all its troops out of Europe, let the USSR dissolve into 15 nations and held out a hand in friendship.

We gathered all the Warsaw Pact nations and three former Russian Federation republics into a NATO alliance targeted at Russia. We put troops, ships and bases into the Baltic on the doorstep of St. Petersburg. We bombed Russia’s old ally Serbia for 78 days, forcing it to surrender its birth province of Kosovo.

Among the failings of America’s post-Cold War foreign policy elites are hubris, arrogance and an utter absence of that greatest of gifts that the gods can give us — “to see ourselves as others see us.”

Can we not see why the Russian people, who saw us as friends in the 1990s, no longer do so, and why Putin, a Russia-First nationalist, has an 80 percent approval rating on the issue of standing up for his country?

Looking about the world today, do we really need any more crises or quarrels? Do we not have enough on our plate? As the Buddhist saying goes, “Do not dwell in the past … concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

Americans are rightly angry that Russia hacked the presidential election of 2016. But what was done cannot be undone. And Putin is not going to return Crimea to Kiev, the annexation of which was the most popular action of his long tenure as Russian president.

As D.C.’s immortal Mayor Marion Barry once said to constituents appalled by his latest episode of social misconduct: “Get over it!”

We have other fish to fry.

In Syria and Iraq, where the ISIS caliphate is in its death rattle, Russia and the U.S. both have a vital interest in avoiding any military collision, and in ending the war. This probably means the U.S. demand that Syrian President Assad be removed will have to be shelved.

Consider China. Asked by Trump to squeeze Pyongyang on its nuclear missile program, China increased trade with North Korea 37 percent in the first quarter. The Chinese are now telling us to stop sailing warships within 13 miles of its militarized islets and reefs in a South China Sea that they claim belongs to them, and demanding that we cancel our $1.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan.

Hong Kong’s 7 million people have been told their democratic rights, secured in Great Britain’s transfer of the island to China, are no longer guaranteed.

Now China is telling us to capitulate to North Korea’s demand for an end to U.S. military maneuvers with South Korea and to remove the THAAD missile system the U.S. has emplaced. And Beijing is imposing sanctions on South Korea for accepting the U.S. missile system.

Meanwhile, the dispute with North Korea is going critical.

If Kim Jong Un is as determined as he appears to be to build an ICBM with a nuclear warhead that can hit Seattle or San Francisco, we will soon be down to either accepting this or exercising a military option that could bring nuclear war.

Trump cannot allow this Beltway obsession with Putin to prevent us from closing, if we can, this breach. If we do not bring Russia back into the West, where do we think she will go?

Is Turkey Lost to the West?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

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

That’s not likely now, or perhaps ever.

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

What precipitated Erdogan’s outbursts?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The upshot of all this:

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

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

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

Bibi Backs Trump — on Putin

Bibi Backs Trump -- on Putin

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Since Donald Trump said that if Vladimir Putin praises him, he would return the compliment, Republican outrage has not abated.

Arriving on Capitol Hill to repair ties between Trump and party elites, Gov. Mike Pence was taken straight to the woodshed.

John McCain told Pence that Putin was a “thug and a butcher,” and Trump’s embrace of him intolerable.

Said Lindsey Graham: “Vladimir Putin is a thug, a dictator…who has his opposition killed in the streets,” and Trump’s views bring to mind Munich.

Putin is an “authoritarian thug,” added “Little Marco” Rubio.

What causes the Republican Party to lose it whenever the name of Vladimir Putin is raised?

Putin is no Stalin, whom FDR and Harry Truman called “Good old Joe” and “Uncle Joe.” Unlike Nikita Khrushchev, he never drowned a Hungarian Revolution in blood. He did crush the Chechen secession. But what did he do there that General Sherman did not do to Atlanta when Georgia seceded from Mr. Lincoln’s Union?

Putin supported the U.S. in Afghanistan, backed our nuclear deal with Iran and signed on to John Kerry’s plan have us ensure a cease fire in Syria and go hunting together for ISIS and al-Qaida terrorists.

Still, Putin committed “aggression” in Ukraine, we are told.

But was that really aggression, or reflexive strategic reaction?

We helped dump over a pro-Putin democratically elected regime in Kiev, and Putin acted to secure his Black Sea naval base by re-annexing Crimea, a peninsula that has belonged to Russia from Catherine the Great to Khrushchev. Great powers do such things.

When the Castros pulled Cuba out of America’s orbit, did we not decide to keep Guantanamo, and dismiss Havana’s protests?

Moscow did indeed support secessionist pro-Russia rebels in East Ukraine.

But did not the U.S. launch a 78-day bombing campaign on tiny Serbia to effect a secession of its cradle province of Kosovo?

What is the great moral distinction here?

The relationship between Russia and Ukraine goes back to 500 years before Columbus. It includes an ancient common faith, a complex history, terrible suffering and horrendous injustices — like Stalin’s starvation of millions of Ukrainians in the early 1930s.

Yet, before Bush II and Obama, no president thought Moscow-Kiev quarrels were any of our business. When did they become so?

Russia is reportedly hacking into our political institutions. If so, it ought to stop. But have not our own CIA, National Endowment for Democracy, and NGOs meddled in Russia’s internal affairs for years?

Putin is a nationalist who looks out for Russia first. He also heads a nation twice the size of ours with an arsenal equal to our own, and no peace in Eurasia can be made without him.

We have to deal with him. How does it help to call him names?

And what is Putin doing in terms of repression to outmatch our NATO ally, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and our Arab ally, Egypt’s General el-Sissi?

Is Putin’s Russia more repressive than Xi Jinping’s China?

Yet, Republicans rarely use “thug” when speaking about Xi.

During the Cold War, we partnered with such autocrats as the Shah of Iran and General Pinochet of Chile, Ferdinand Marcos in Manila and Park Chung-Hee of South Korea. Cold War necessity required it.

Scores of the world’s 190-odd nations are today ruled by autocrats. How does it advance our interests or diplomacy by having congressional leaders yapping “thug” at the ruler of a nation with hundreds of nuclear warheads?

Where is the realism, the recognition of the realities of the world in which we live, that guided the policies of presidents from Ike to Reagan?

We have been told by senators like Tom Cotton that there must be “no daylight” between the U.S. and Israel.

Fine. How does Israel regard Putin “the thug” and Putin “the butcher”?

According to foreign policy scholar Stephen Sniegoski, when Putin first visited Israel in 2005, President Moshe Katsav hailed him as a “friend of Israel” and Ariel Sharon said he was “among brothers.”

In the last year alone, Bibi Netanyahu has gone to Moscow three times and Putin has visited Israel. The two get along wonderfully well.

On the U.N. resolution that affirmed the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine, Israel abstained. And Israel refused to join in sanctions against a friendly Russia. Russian-Israeli trade is booming.

Perhaps Bibi, who just got a windfall of $38 billion in U.S. foreign aid over the next 10 years from a Barack Obama whom he does not even like, can show the GOP how to get along better with Vlad.

Lindsey Graham says that the $38 billion for Israel is probably not enough, that Bibi will need more, and that he will be there to provide it.

Remarkable. Bibi, a buddy of Vlad, gets $38 billion from the same Republican senators who, when Donald Trump says he will repay personal compliments from Vladimir Putin, gets the McCain-Graham wet mitten across the face.

A Russophobic Rant From Congress

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Hopefully, Russians realize that our House of Representatives often passes thunderous resolutions to pander to special interests, which have no bearing on the thinking or actions of the U.S. government.

Last week, the House passed such a resolution 411-10.

As ex-Rep. Ron Paul writes, House Resolution 758 is so “full of war propaganda that it rivals the rhetoric from the chilliest era of the Cold War.”

H. R. 758 is a Russophobic rant full of falsehoods and steeped in superpower hypocrisy.

Among the 43 particulars in the House indictment is this gem:

“The Russian Federation invaded the Republic of Georgia in August 2008.”

Bullhockey. On Aug. 7-8, 2008, Georgia invaded South Ossetia, a tiny province that had won its independence in the 1990s. Georgian artillery killed Russian peacekeepers, and the Georgian army poured in.

Only then did the Russian army enter South Ossetia and chase the Georgians back into their own country.

The aggressor of the Russo-Georgia war was not Vladimir Putin but President Mikheil Saakashvili, brought to power in 2004 in one of those color-coded revolutions we engineered in the Bush II decade.

H.R. 758 condemns the presence of Russian troops in Abkhazia, which also broke from Georgia in the early 1990s, and in Transnistria, which broke from Moldova. But where is the evidence that the peoples of Transnistria, Abkhazia or South Ossetia want to return to Moldova or Georgia?

We seem to support every ethnic group that secedes from Russia, but no ethnic group that secedes from a successor state.

This is rank Russophobia masquerading as democratic principle.

What do the people of Crimea, Transnistria, Georgia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Luhansk or Donetsk want? Do we really know? Do we care?

And what have the Russians done to support secessionist movements to compare with our 78-day bombing of Serbia to rip away her cradle province of Kosovo, which had been Serbian land before we were a nation?

H.R. 758 charges Russia with an “invasion” of Crimea.

But there was no air, land or sea invasion. The Russians were already there by treaty and the reannexation of Crimea, which had belonged to Russia since Catherine the Great, was effected with no loss of life.

Compare how Putin retrieved Crimea, with the way Lincoln retrieved the seceded states of the Confederacy — a four-year war in which 620,000 Americans perished.

Russia is charged with using “trade barriers to apply economic and political pressure” and interfering in Ukraine’s “internal affairs.”

This is almost comical.

The U.S. has imposed trade barriers and sanctions on Russia, Belarus, Iran, Cuba, Burma, Congo, Sudan, and a host of other nations.

Economic sanctions are the first recourse of the American Empire.

And agencies like the National Endowment for Democracy and its subsidiaries, our NGOs and Cold War radios, RFE and Radio Liberty, exist to interfere in the internal affairs of countries whose regimes we dislike, with the end goal of “regime change.”

Was that not the State Department’s Victoria Nuland, along with John McCain, prancing around Kiev, urging insurgents to overthrow the democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovych?

Was Nuland not caught boasting about how the U.S. had invested $5 billion in the political reorientation of Ukraine, and identifying whom we wanted as prime minister when Yanukovych was overthrown?

H.R. 578 charges Russia with backing Syria’s Assad regime and providing it with weapons to use against “the Syrian people.”

But Assad’s principal enemies are the al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaida affiliate, and ISIS. They are not only his enemies, and Russia’s enemies, but our enemies. And we ourselves have become de facto allies of Assad with our air strikes against ISIS in Syria.

And what is Russia doing for its ally in Damascus, by arming it to resist ISIS secessionists, that we are not doing for our ally in Baghdad, also under attack by the Islamic State?

Have we not supported Kurdistan in its drive for autonomy? Have U.S. leaders not talked of a Kurdistan independent of Iraq?

H.R. 758 calls the President of Russia an “authoritarian” ruler of a corrupt regime that came to power through election fraud and rules by way of repression.

Is this fair, just or wise? After all, Putin has twice the approval rating in Russia as President Obama does here, not to mention the approval rating our Congress.

Damning Russian “aggression,” the House demands that Russia get out of Crimea, South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transnistria, calls on Obama to end all military cooperation with Russia, impose “visa bans, targeted asset freezes, sectoral sanctions,” and send “lethal … defense articles” to Ukraine.

This is the sort of ultimatum that led to Pearl Harbor.

Why would a moral nation arm Ukraine to fight a longer and larger war with Russia that Kiev could not win, but that could end up costing the lives of ten of thousands more Ukrainians?

Those who produced this provocative resolution do not belong in charge of U.S. foreign policy, nor of America’s nuclear arsenal.

Hagel Didn’t Start the Fire

Hagle Didn't Start the Fire

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam war veteran and the lone Republican on Obama’s national security team, has been fired.

And John McCain’s assessment is dead on.

Hagel, he said, “was never really brought into that real tight circle inside the White House that makes all the decisions which has put us into the incredible debacle that we’re in today throughout the world.”

Undeniably, U.S. foreign policy is in a shambles. But what were the “decisions” that produced the “incredible debacle”?

Who made them? Who supported them?

The first would be George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq, a war for which Sens. John McCain, Joe Biden, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton all voted. At least Sen. Hagel admitted he made a mistake on that vote.

With our invasion, we dethroned Saddam and destroyed his Sunni Baathist regime. And today the Islamic State, a barbaric offshoot of al-Qaida, controls Mosul, Anbar and the Sunni third of Iraq.

Kurdistan is breaking away. And a Shia government in Baghdad, closely tied to Tehran and backed by murderous anti-American Shia militias, controls the rest. Terrorism is a daily occurrence.

Such is the condition of the nation which we were promised would become a model of democracy for the Middle East after a “cake-walk war.” The war lasted eight years for us, and now we are going back — to prevent a catastrophe.

A second decision came in 2011, when a rebellion arose against Bashar Assad in Syria, and we supported and aided the uprising. Assad must go, said Obama. McCain and the neocons agreed.

Now ISIS and al-Qaida are dominant from Aleppo to the Iraqi border with Assad barely holding the rest, while the rebels we urged to rise and overthrow the regime are routed or in retreat.

Had Assad fallen, had we bombed his army last year, as Obama, Kerry and McCain wanted to do, and brought down his regime, ISIS and al-Qaida might be in Damascus today. And America might be facing a decision either to invade or tolerate a terrorist regime in the heart of the Middle East.

Lest we forget, Vladimir Putin pulled our chestnuts out of the fire a year ago, with a brokered deal to rid Syria of chemical weapons.

The Turks, Saudis and Gulf Arabs who aided ISIS’ rise are having second thoughts, but sending no Saudi or Turkish troops to dislodge it.

So the clamor arises anew for U.S. “boots on the ground” to reunite the nations that the wars and revolutions we supported tore apart.

A third decision was the U.S.-NATO war on Col. Gadhafi’s Libya.

After deceiving the Russians by assuring them we wanted Security Council support for the use of air power simply to prevent a massacre in Benghazi, we bombed for half a year, and brought down Gadhafi.

Now we have on the south shore of the Mediterranean a huge failed state and strategic base camp for Islamists and terrorists who are spreading their poison into sub-Sahara Africa.

The great triumphs of Reagan and Bush 41 were converting Russia into a partner, and presiding over the liberation of Eastern Europe and the dissolution of the old Soviet Union into 15 independent nations.

Unfulfilled by such a victory for peace and freedom, unwilling to go home when our war, the Cold War, was over, Bush 43 decided to bring the entire Warsaw Pact, three Baltic states, and Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. For this project, Bush had the enthusiastic support of McCain, the neocons and the liberal interventionists.

Since 1991, we sought to cut the Russians out of the oil and gas of the Caspian basin with a pipeline through the Caucasus to Turkey, bombed Serbia to tear off its cradle province of Kosovo, and engineered color-coded revolutions in Belgrade, Tbilisi and other capitals to pull these new nations out of Russia’s sphere of influence.

Victoria Nuland of State and McCain popped up in Maidan Square in Kiev, backing demonstrations to bring down the democratically elected (if, admittedly, incompetent) regime in Ukraine.

The U.S.-backed coup succeeded. President Viktor Yanukovych fled, a pro-Western regime was installed, and a pro-Western president elected.

Having taken all this from his partner, Putin retrieved the Crimea and Russia’s Black Sea naval base at Sebastopol. When pro-Russia Ukrainians rose against the beneficiaries of the coup in Kiev, he backed his team, as we backed ours.

Now, we are imposing sanctions, driving Russia further from the West and into a realliance with Beijing, with which Putin has completed two long-term deals for oil and gas running over $700 billion dollars.

As the U.S. and NATO send planes, ships and troops to show our seriousness in the Baltic and Ukraine, Russian planes and ships test Western defenses from Finland to Sweden to Portugal to Alaska and the coast of the continental United States.

Who made these decisions that created the debacle?

Was it those isolationists again?

NED’s Chickens Come Home to Roost

Chickens Come Home to Roost

By Patrick J. Buchanan

When Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Empire an “evil empire,” the phrase reflected his conviction that while the East-West struggle was indeed a global geostrategic conflict, it had a deep moral dimension.

If Americans did not see the Cold War as he did, a battle between good and evil, Reagan knew that they would indefinitely sacrifice neither the wealth of the nation nor the blood of its sons to sustain it.

That is in the character of Americans.

Jimmy Carter had sought to remove that moral dimension by declaring, “We have gotten over our inordinate fear of communism.”

But with his “evil empire” speech, Reagan re-moralized the Cold War in what Natan Sharansky called “a moment of moral clarity.”

Here we come to the heart of the matter as to why Americans want to stay out of any Ukrainian conflict. Americans not only see no vital U.S. interest, but also no moral dimension to this quarrel.

If, after all, it was a triumph of self-determination for Ukraine to secede from the Russian Federation, do not Russians in Crimea and Donetsk have the same right — to secede from Kiev and go home to Russia?

If Georgians had a right to break free of the Russian Federation, do not Abkhazians and South Ossetians have a right to break free of Georgia?

Turnabout is fair play is an old American saying.

Op-ed writers bewail Vladimir Putin’s threat to the “rules-based” world we have created. But under what rule did we bomb Serbia for 78 days to tear away Kosovo, the cradle province of the Serb people?

Perhaps some history is in order.

Compare how Putin brought about the secession and annexation of Crimea, without bloodshed but with popular approval, with how Sam Houston and friends brought about the secession of Texas from Mexico, and its annexation by the United States in 1845.

When the Mexicans tried to retrieve a disputed piece of their lost Texas territory, James K. Polk accused them of shedding American blood on American soil, had Congress declare war, sent Gen. Winfield Scott and a U.S. army to Mexico City, and annexed the entire northern half of Mexico, which is now the American Southwest and California.

Compared to the Jacksonian, James Polk, Vladimir Putin is Pierre Trudeau.

Even in Eastern Ukraine, it is hard to see a moral issue.

For the Kiev regime is loudly denouncing as “terrorists” the Russians who are taking over city centers by using the exact same tactics the Maidan Square demonstrators used to seize Kiev.

If it was heroic for the Svoboda Party and Pravy Sektor to fight police and torch buildings to oust Viktor Yanukovych, the elected president of Ukraine, upon what ground do the usurpers who inherited his power bewail the same thing being done to them?

Is there not glaring hypocrisy here?

And where do we Americans come off piously damning what the Russians are doing in Ukraine?

A decade ago, the National Endowment for Democracy and its progeny helped to foment the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, the Orange Revolution in Kiev, and countless other “color revolutions” to dethrone unresponsive regimes and bring those countries into America’s orbit.

In the last decade, Putin has learned how to play the Americans’ game. And before winding up in a conflict we managed to avoid over four decades of Cold War, perhaps we should call off this game of thrones, and consign NED to the boneyard.

Today, two courses of action are being hotly pressed upon the Obama White House by the War Party. Both appear likely to lead to disaster.

The first is to arm the Ukrainians. This would likely provoke a war with Russia that Kiev could not win, and lead Ukrainians to believe the Americans will be there beside them, which is not in the cards.

The second option is the sanctions road.

But Europe, dependent on Russian oil and gas, is not going to vote itself a recession. And should the West sanction Russia, Moscow would sanction Ukraine and sink what the Washington Post calls that “black hole of corruption and waste that is the Ukrainian economy.”

As for more U.S. warships in the Black and Baltic seas and more F-16s and U.S. troops in Eastern Europe, what is their purpose, when we are not going to go to war with Russia?

In the title of the old song, Johnny Cash got it right, “Don’t take your guns to town,” unless you’re prepared to use them.

Undeniably, President Obama and John Kerry have egg all over their faces today, as they did in the Syrian “red line” episode.

Yet they continue to meddle where we do not belong, issue warnings and threats they have no power to enforce, and bluster and bluff about what they are going to do, when the American people are telling them, “This is not our quarrel.”

IMAGE NOTE: The image above is an artistic remix by Linda Muller for buchanan.org. Photo Credit: Flickr / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Is Putin the Irrational One?

Is Putin the Irrational One?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Vladimir Putin seems to have lost touch with reality, Angela Merkel reportedly told Barack Obama after speaking with the Russian president. He is “in another world.”

“I agree with what Angela Merkel said … that he is in another world,” said Madeleine Albright, “It doesn’t make any sense.”

John Kerry made his contribution to the bonkers theory by implying that Putin was channeling Napoleon: “You don’t just, in the 21st century, behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on a completely trumped-up pretext.”

Now that Putin has taken Crimea without firing a shot, and 95 percent of a Crimean electorate voted Sunday to reunite with Russia, do his decisions still appear irrational?

Was it not predictable that Russia, a great power that had just seen its neighbor yanked out of Russia’s orbit by a U.S.-backed coup in Kiev, would move to protect a strategic position on the Black Sea she has held for two centuries?

Zbigniew Brzezinski suggests that Putin is out to recreate the czarist empire. Others say Putin wants to recreate the Soviet Union and Soviet Empire.

But why would Russia, today being bled in secessionist wars by Muslim terrorists in the North Caucasus provinces of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, want to invade and reannex giant Kazakhstan, or any other Muslim republic of the old USSR, which would ensure jihadist intervention and endless war?

If we Americans want out of Afghanistan, why would Putin want to go back into Uzbekistan? Why would he want to annex Western Ukraine where hatred of Russia dates back to the forced famine of the Stalin era?

To invade and occupy all of Ukraine would mean endless costs in blood and money for Moscow, the enmity of Europe, and the hostility of the United States. For what end would Russia, its population shrinking by half a million every year, want to put Russian soldiers back in Warsaw?

But if Putin is not a Russian imperialist out to re-establish Russian rule over non-Russian peoples, who and what is he?

In the estimation of this writer, Vladimir Putin is a blood-and-soil, altar-and-throne ethnonationalist who sees himself as Protector of Russia and looks on Russians abroad the way Israelis look upon Jews abroad, as people whose security is his legitimate concern.

Consider the world Putin saw, from his vantage point, when he took power after the Boris Yeltsin decade.

He saw a Mother Russia that had been looted by oligarchs abetted by Western crony capitalists, including Americans. He saw millions of ethnic Russians left behind, stranded, from the Baltic states to Kazakhstan.

He saw a United States that had deceived Russia with its pledge not to move NATO into Eastern Europe if the Red Army would move out, and then exploited Russia’s withdrawal to bring NATO onto her front porch.

Had the neocons gotten their way, not only the Warsaw Pact nations of Central and Eastern Europe, but five of 15 republics of the USSR, including Ukraine and Georgia, would have been brought into a NATO alliance created to contain and, if need be, fight Russia.

What benefits have we derived from having Estonia and Latvia as NATO allies that justify losing Russia as the friend and partner Ronald Reagan had made by the end of the Cold War?

We lost Russia, but got Rumania as an ally? Who is irrational here?

Cannot we Americans, who, with our Monroe Doctrine, declared the entire Western Hemisphere off limits to the European empires — “Stay on your side of the Atlantic!” — understand how a Russian nationalist like Putin might react to U.S. F-16s and ABMs in the eastern Baltic?

In 1999, we bombed Serbia for 78 days, ignoring the protests of a Russia that had gone to war for Serbia in 1914. We exploited a Security Council resolution authorizing us to go to the aid of endangered Libyans in Benghazi to launch a war and bring down the Libyan regime.

We have given military aid to Syrian rebels and called for the ouster of a Syrian regime that has been Russia’s ally for decades.

At the end of the Cold War, writes ex-ambassador to Moscow Jack Matlock, 80 percent of Russia’s people had a favorable opinion of the USA. A decade later, 80 percent of Russians were anti-American.

That was before Putin, whose approval is now at 72 percent because he is perceived as having stood up to the Americans and answered our Kiev coup with his Crimean counter coup.

America and Russia are on a collision course today over a matter — whose flag will fly over what parts of Ukraine — no Cold War president, from Truman to Reagan, would have considered any of our business.

If the people of Eastern Ukraine wish to formalize their historic, cultural and ethnic ties to Russia, and the people of Western Ukraine wish to sever all ties to Moscow and join the European Union, why not settle this politically, diplomatically and democratically, at a ballot box?