Obama v. Bibi — Fight to the Finish

Obama v. Bibi -- Fight to the Finish

By Patrick J. Buchanan

In his desperation to sink the Iran nuclear deal, Bibi Netanyahu is taking a hellish gamble.

Israel depends upon the United States for $3 billion a year in military aid and diplomatic cover in forums where she is often treated like a pariah state. Israel has also been the beneficiary of almost all the U.S. vetoes in the Security Council.

America is indispensable to Israel. The reverse is not true.

Yet, without telling the White House, Bibi had his U.S. ambassador arrange for him to address a joint session of Congress in March — to rip up the president’s Iran nuclear deal before it was even completed.

The day the deal was signed, using what The Washington Post calls “stark apocalyptic language,” Bibi accused John Kerry of giving the mullahs a “sure path to a nuclear weapon” and a “cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of dollars … to pursue its aggression and terror.”

Bibi has since inspired and led the campaign to get Congress to kill the deal, the altarpiece of the Obama presidency.

Israel Ambassador Ron Dermer, a former Republican operative now cast in the role of “Citizen Genet,” has intensively lobbied the Hill to get Congress to pass a resolution of rejection.

If that resolution passes, as it appears it will, Obama will veto it.

Then Israel, the Israeli lobby AIPAC, and all its allies and auxiliaries in the think tanks and on op-ed pages will conduct a full-court press to have Congress override the Obama veto and kill his nuclear deal.

Has Bibi, have the Israelis, considered what would happen should they succeed? Certainly, there would be rejoicing in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and Bibi would be crowned King of Capitol Hill.

But they will have humiliated an American president by crushing him by two-to-one in his own legislature. Such a defeat could break the Obama presidency and force the resignation of John Kerry, who would have become a laughing stock in international forums.

The message would go out to the world. In any clash between the United States and Israel over U.S. policy in the Middle East, bet on Bibi. Bet on Israel. America is Israel’s poodle now.

With the Gulf nations having joined Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia in backing the deal, Israel is isolated in its opposition. And, two weeks ago, Kerry warned that if Congress rejects the deal, “Israel could end up being more isolated and more blamed.”

Hardly an outrageous remark.

Yet, Israel’s ex-ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren fairly dripped condescension and contempt in his retort: “The threat of the secretary of state who, in the past, warned that Israel was in danger of being an apartheid state, cannot deter us from fulfilling our national duty to oppose this dangerous deal.”

But this is not Israel’s deal. It is our deal, and our decision. And Israel is massively interfering in our internal affairs to scuttle a deal the president believes is in the vital interests of the United States.

When the U.S. and Israel disagree over U.S. policy in the Mideast, who decides for America? Them or us?

Why does Barack Obama take this? Why does John Kerry take this?

One can only imagine what President Eisenhower would have done had he seen Bibi at the rostrum of the U.S. House of Representatives, ripping apart his Middle East policy. Or had Ike learned that an Israeli ambassador was working the halls of Congress to kill an arms deal he and John Foster Dulles had just negotiated.

Lest we forget, Ike told his wartime colleague, Prime Minister Anthony Eden, to get his army out of Suez or he would sink the British pound. Ike then told Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to get his army out of Sinai or face U.S. economic reprisals.

Eden and Ben-Gurion did as they were told.

That was an America respected by friend and foe alike.

When Harry Truman felt that Gen. Douglas MacArthur had been insubordinate in resisting presidential restrictions on his actions in Korea, Truman fired the general and astounded the nation.

Yet this president and John Kerry have been wimpishly seeking for weeks to placate Netanyahu. And Bibi is no Douglas MacArthur.

Time to stop acting like wusses.

The president should declare Dermer persona non grata and send him packing, then tell the Israeli government we will discuss a new arms package when you have a prime minister who understands that no nation interferes in the internal affairs of the United States. None.

That could bring Bibi’s government, with its single-vote majority, crashing down. And why not? After all, Bibi was a virtual surrogate for Mitt Romney when Mitt was trying to bring down Obama.

Obama and Kerry are never running again. Deep down, they would surely relish taking Bibi down. And they could do it.

Deal or no deal, it is time America started acted like America again.

The GOP’s Iran Dilemma

The GOP's Iran Dilemma

By Patrick J. Buchanan

From first reactions, it appears that Hill Republicans will be near unanimous in voting a resolution of rejection of the Iran nuclear deal.

They will then vote to override President Obama’s veto of their resolution. And if the GOP fails there, Gov. Scott Walker says his first act as president would be to kill the deal.

But before the party commits to abrogating the Iran deal in 2017, the GOP should consider whether it would be committing suicide in 2016.

For even if Congress votes to deny Obama authority to lift U.S. sanctions on Iran, the U.S. will vote to lift sanctions in the U.N. Security Council. And Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, all parties to the deal, will also lift sanctions.

A Congressional vote to kill the Iran deal would thus leave the U.S. isolated, its government humiliated, unable to comply with the pledges its own secretary of state negotiated. Would Americans cheer the GOP for leaving the United States with egg all over its face?

And if Congress refuses to honor the agreement, but Iran complies with all its terms, who among our friends and allies would stand with an obdurate America then?

Israel would applaud, the Saudis perhaps, but who else?

And as foreign companies raced to Iran, and U.S. companies were told to stay out, what would GOP presidential candidates tell the business community?

Would the party campaign in 2016 on a pledge to get tough and impose new sanctions? “Coercive diplomacy,” The Wall Street Journal calls it.

If so, what more would they demand that Iran do? And what would they threaten Iran with, if she replied: We signed a deal. We will honor it. But we will make no new concessions under U.S. threat.

Would we bomb Iran? Would we go to war? Not only would Americans divide on any such action, the world would unite — against us.

And would a Republican president really bomb an Iran that was scrupulously honoring the terms of the John Kerry deal? What would we bomb? All the known Iran nuclear facilities will be crawling with U.N. inspectors.

“Either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapons is resolved diplomatically through negotiation or it’s resolved through force,” said the president, “Those are the options.”

Is that not pretty much where we are at, even if the GOP does not like it?

Republicans seem to be unable to grasp the changes that have taken place in this century. With the Arab Spring, the fall of half a dozen regimes, the rise of al-Qaida and ISIS, civil wars in Libya, Syria, Yemen and Iraq, we have a new Middle East.

Our principal enemies are now al-Qaida and ISIS. And while both have been aided by our old allies, Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, both are being resisted by Iran.

But, we are reminded, Iran’s regime is founded upon ideological hatred of America. But, so, too, were Mao’s China and Stalin’s USSR. Yet Nixon forged a detente with Mao and FDR partnered with Stalin. And Ronald Reagan negotiated a strategic arms deal with the “evil empire” of his time.

Bibi Netanyahu and AIPAC, the Saudis and Gulf Arabs, will demand that Congress kill the Iran deal that Lindsey Graham says is a “death sentence for the State of Israel.” But one trusts that, this time, the GOP will add a dose of salt to what the hysterics are bellowing.

After all, it was Bibi’s rants — Iran is hellbent on getting a bomb, is only months away, and military action is needed now to smash the whirling centrifuges — that teed up the talks for Tehran.

All Iran had to do was prove it had no bomb program, which was not difficult, as U.S. intelligence had repeatedly said Iran had no bomb program.

Then the Iranians proved it. They agreed to cut their centrifuges by two-thirds, to eliminate 98 percent of their uranium, to halt production of 20 percent uranium at Fordow, to convert the heavy-water reactor at Arak that produces plutonium to a light water reactor that produces one kilogram a year, and to let cameras in and give U.N. inspectors the run of their nuclear facilities.

And how is Israel, with hundreds of atom bombs, mortally imperiled by a deal that leaves Iran with not a single ounce of bomb-grade uranium?

What does Iran get? What Iran always wanted. Not a bomb which would make Iran a pariah like North Korea and could bring down upon her the same firestorm America delivered to Iraq, but a path to become again the hegemon of the Persian Gulf.

Remarkable. Iran agrees not to build a bomb it had already decided not to build, and we agree to lift all sanctions. And they pulled it off.

What is one or two atom bombs you can’t use, without committing national suicide, compared to $100 billion in freed assets and a welcome mat back to the community of nations.

The Enemy of My Enemy

The Enemy of My Enemy

By Patrick J. Buchanan

The forces that do not want a U.S. nuclear deal with Iran, nor any U.S. detente with Iran, are impressive.

Among them are the Israelis and their powerful lobby AIPAC, the Saudis and their Sunni allies on the Persian Gulf, a near unanimity of Republicans and a plurality of Democrats in Congress.

Is there a case to be made for a truce in the venomous conflict that has gone on between us since the taking of U.S. hostages in 1979? Is there any common ground?

To both questions, President Obama and John Kerry believe the answer is yes. And they are not without an argument.

First, the alternative to a truce — breaking off of negotiations, doubling down on demands Iran dismantle all nuclear facilities, tougher sanctions — inevitably leads to war. And we all know it.

Yet Americans do not want another war in the Middle East, with a nation three times the size of Iraq, and its allies across the region.

Nor can Iran want such a war. Had the ayatollahs and mullahs wanted it, they could have had a war with the United States at any time in the third of a century since they seized power.

Yet as Ronald Reagan was taking the oath in 1981, our hostages were suddenly on their way home. With the accidental shoot-down of an Iranian Airbus by the cruiser Vincennes in 1988, the Ayatollah ended his war with Saddam Hussein, fearful the Americans were about to intervene on the side of Iraq.

Why Iran wants to avoid war is obvious. Given U.S. air, missile and naval power, and cyberwarfare capabilities, a war with the United States would do to Iran what we did to Iraq, smash it up, set it back decades, perhaps break up the country.

Some mullahs may be fanatics, but Iran is not run by fools.

Yet even if we have a mutual interest in avoiding a war, where is the common ground between us?

Let us begin with the Sunni terrorists of al-Qaida who brought down the twin towers, and the Islamic State that is beheading Christians, apostates, and nonbelievers, and intends to establish a Middle East caliphate where there are no Americans, no Christians, and no Shiites.

Americans and Iranians have a common goal of degrading and defeating them.

In the Syrian civil war, Iran and its Shiite allies in Hezbollah have prevented the fall of the Alawite regime of Bashar Assad.

For years, Iran has helped to keep the al-Nusra Front and ISIL out of Damascus.

When the Islamic State seized Mosul and most of Anbar, the Iranians helped to rally Shiite resistance to defend Baghdad, and are now assisting the Iraqi army in its effort to recapture Tikrit.

Until this week, the U.S. stayed out, as Shiite militias were mauled by fewer than 1,000 jihadis. Wednesday, however, we intervened with air power, thus exposing Iraq’s reliance on us.

This does not contradict but rather reinforces the point. In the war to expel the Islamic State from Iraq, we and Iran are on the same side.

Does Iran wish to displace American influence in Baghdad?

Undeniably. But when we destroyed the Sunni Baathist regime of Saddam, disbanded his army and held elections, we greased the skids for a pro-Iranian Shiite regime. We can’t walk that cat back.

Consider Yemen.

This week, the Saudis sent their air force against the Houthi rebels who had seized the capital of Sanaa, driven out the president, and have now driven south to Aden to take over half of the country.

Why is the Saudi air force attacking the Houthis?

The Houthis belong to a sect close to the Shiite and are supported by Iran. Yet the Houthis, who bear no love for us, began this war to expel al-Qaida from Yemen. And their hatred for ISIS is surely greater than it is for us or Israel, as, last week, 137 of their co-religionists were massacred in two mosque bombings in Sanaa. ISIS claimed credit.

In summary, though the Houthi rebels in Yemen, Shiite militia in Iraq, Iran, Hezbollah, and the Alawite regime of Assad may not love us, they look on al-Qaida and ISIS as mortal enemies. And, thus far, they alone have seemed willing to send troops to defeat them.

Where are the Turkish, Saudi, Kuwaiti or Qatari troops?

During World War II, the U.S. Navy and Merchant Marine shipped tanks, guns and munitions to a Soviet Union that was doing most of the fighting and suffering most of the casualties in the war against Hitler.

No matter all the “Uncle Joe” drivel at Tehran and Yalta, we were never true friends or allies, and shared nothing in common with the monster Stalin, save Hitler’s defeat.

If President Nixon could toast Mao Zedong, can we not deal with Ayatollah Khamenei?

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.

Walter Jones Repels a War Party Attack

Walter Jones Repels a War Party Attack

By Patrick J. Buchanan

The GOP Beltway establishment is celebrating the victory of Thom Tillis, Speaker of the North Carolina House, over his Tea Party and Evangelical rivals in Tuesday’s primary for the U.S. Senate.

But the story ended less happily for the Beltway elite in the Tar Heel State’s 3rd Congressional District. There, the planned purge of Rep. Walter Jones was repulsed by his loyal Republican base.

Yet, this massively funded effort, to kill the career of a 20-year House veteran, whose father held the seat for decades before him, testifies eloquently to the intolerance of the ideological and monied elite of the party to which conservatives give allegiance.

Reportedly, a million dollars of super PAC money poured into the 3rd, from Republicans, in support of a brazen Big Lie campaign to paint Walter Jones as a liberal. But what is the Congressman’s real record?

In the Bush I era, he voted against No Child Left Behind.

In the Obama years, he voted against Obamacare and the bailouts of the big banks, Wall Street and Detroit. He voted against cap and trade, and TARP, the trillion-dollar stimulus package.

Jones voted against every increase in the debt ceiling in 10 years and refuses to vote for any U.S. budget not in balance. He stands against same-sex marriage, has a 100 percent rating from National Right to Life, and receives a consistent A from the NRA.

A national organization opposing illegal immigration gives Jones an A+ for battling to secure America’s borders and block amnesty.

Camp Lejeune is in Jones’ district, and he has received awards from every veterans organization from the American Legion to the Disabled American Veterans.

FreedomWorks cited Jones last year as the most conservative member of the North Carolina delegation and one of the 10 most conservative members of the House. And he had the endorsement of Dot Helms, widow of conservative legend Jesse Helms.

Why, then, was the Beltway elite so determined to destroy Jones that they spent a million dollars backing a Bush II apparatchik turned K Street lobbyist who moved only last year to the district?

Why was the War Party determined to kill Walter Jones?

First, Jones has voted for years to end foreign aid, a capital crime to the Israeli lobby AIPAC.

Second, though Jones was so pro-war in 2003 that when France opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq he had the House dining room rename French fries “freedom fries,” when the caskets began to come home he starting having second thoughts.

Walter Jones came to believe that voting to send Americans to fight and die in Iraq was the worst mistake of his career.

So now Rep. Jones spends hours each weekend writing personal letters to every family that lost a son or daughter in a war he wrongly supported. And he has resolved to oppose every idiotic war into which his country is being stampeded.

Walter Jones is a pro-peace conservative, a principled patriot who votes his convictions, puts his country first, and refuses to take dictation from the War Party.

And that is why the War Party front, the “Emergency Committee for Israel,” chaired by Bill Kristol, leading tub-thumper for a war that cost 4,500 American lives, funneled hundreds of thousands into attack ads in one Congressional District in North Carolina to kill the career of one congressman.

And that is why Ending Spending Action Fund, a super PAC led by billionaire Joe Ricketts and backed by the Macau-Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, dumped scores of thousands into the 3rd District to deceive voters into believing that Walter Jones is a liberal.

Describing the Beltway coalition that tried to end the career of Rep. Jones, Ronald Reagan’s Budget Director David Stockman writes:

“The whole Bush White House crowd that destroyed the GOP’s commitment to fiscal discipline, bailed-out Wall Street and GM and launched disastrous wars … joined the attack. The heavy artillery included … Karl Rove, former Governor and RNC chair Haley Barber and the War Party’s highly paid chief PR flack, Ari Fleischer.”

Consider what the GOP establishment and the Adelson-Kristol neocons are telling Republicans nationally with this wilding attack on a venerable veteran of the Republican House.

They are saying: You can be for amnesty for illegal aliens, support same-sex marriage, be pro-choice on abortion, and you can still be welcome in our party. But oppose foreign aid or resist the War Party agenda, and you are a heretic who should and shall be purged.

With this massive intervention in North Carolina, not to elect some outstanding new candidate, but to kill the career of one defiant dissenter, the GOP establishment is sending a message to the Republican base:

Our “Big Tent” is not big enough to include Walter Jones.

But if that is true of Walter Jones, what does that say to a nation that has come to agree with Walter Jones that America should mind her own business and stop fighting other countries’ wars?

Who is out of touch with America here?

IMAGE NOTES: The image above is an artistic remix by Linda Muller for buchanan.org. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
PHOTO CREDIT: Flickr

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.

A Blank Check For War on Iran

Bibi A Blank Check For War on Iran

By Patrick J. Buchanan

As we approach the centennial of World War I, we will read much of the blunders that produced that tragedy of Western civilization.

Among them will be the “blank check” Kaiser Wilhelm II gave to Vienna after the assassination by a Serb terrorist of the Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand.

If you decide to punish the Serbs, said the Kaiser, we are with you.

After dithering for weeks, Austria shelled Belgrade. Within a week, Germany and Austria were at war with Russia, France and Great Britain.

Today the Senate is about to vote Israel a virtual blank check — for war on Iran. Reads Senate bill S.1881:

If Israel is “compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” the United States “should stand with Israel and provide … diplomatic, military and economic support to the Government of Israel in the defense of its territory, people and existence.”

Inserted in that call for U.S. military action to support an Israeli strike on Iran, S.1881 says that, in doing so, we should follow our laws and constitutional procedures.

Nevertheless, this bill virtually hands over the decision on war to Bibi Netanyahu who is on record saying: “This is 1938. Iran is Germany.”

Is this the man we want deciding whether America fights her fifth war in a generation in the Mideast? Do we really want to outsource the decision on war in the Persian Gulf, the gas station of the world, to a Likud regime whose leaders routinely compare Iran to Nazi Germany?

The bill repeatedly asserts that Iran has a “nuclear weapons program.”

Yet in both 2007 and 2011, U.S. intelligence declared “with high confidence” that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program.

Where is the Senate’s evidence for its claim? Why has Director of National Intelligence James Clapper not been called to testify as to whether Tehran has made the decision to go for a bomb?

Why are the American people being kept in the dark?

Are we being as misled, deceived and lied to about Iran’s “weapons of mass destruction,” as we were about Iraq’s?

The bill says that in a final deal Iran must give up all enrichment of uranium. However, we have already been put on notice by President Hassan Rouhani that this is an ultimatum Iran cannot accept.

Even the reformers of Iran’s Green Revolution of 2009 back their country’s right to a peaceful nuclear program including enrichment.

Senate bill S.1881 imposes new sanctions if Iran fails to live up to the interim agreement or fails to come to a final agreement in six months.

Yet the Senate knows that Iran has warned that if new sanctions are voted during negotiations, they will walk away from the table.

Why is the Senate risking, or even inviting, a blowup in these talks?

When the interim agreement was reached, it was denounced by neocons as “worse than Munich.” Now the War Party piously contends this Senate bill is simply an “insurance policy” to ensure that the terms of the deal are met and a final deal reached.

It is nothing of the sort. This bill is a project of AIPAC, the Israeli lobby, designed to sabotage and scuttle the Geneva talks by telling Tehran: Either capitulate and dismantle all your enrichment facilities, or face more severe sanctions which will put us on the road to war.

What terrifies AIPAC and Bibi is not an American war on Iran, but an American rapprochement with Iran.

Who are the leaders of the push for S.1881? Sens. Mark Kirk and Robert Menendez, the biggest recipients of AIPAC campaign cash.

Last weekend, the Obama National Security Council finally belled the cat with a blunt statement by spokesperson Bernadette Meehan:

“If certain members of Congress want the United States to take military action [against Iran], they should be up front with the American public and say so.”

Exactly. For whether or not all these senators understand what they are doing, this is where their bill points — to a scuttling of the Geneva talks and a return to the sanctions road, at the end of which lies a U.S. war with Iran.

A majority of Democratic senators have thus far bravely bucked AIPAC and declined to co-sponsor S.1881. However, all but two Republican senators have signed on.

If, after Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, the GOP has once again caught the war fever, the party should be quarantined from the White House for another four years.

Press Secretary Jay Carney says that if S.1881 passes, Obama will veto it. The president should tell Congress that not only will he veto it, but that if Israel decides on its own to attack Iran, Israel will be on its own in the subsequent war.

Obama should order U.S. intelligence to tell us the truth.

Is Iran truly hell-bent on acquiring a nuclear bomb? Does Iran have a nuclear bomb program? If so, when did Tehran make that decision?

Or are we being lied into war again?