Is Trump Assembling a War Cabinet?

Is Trump Assembling a War Cabinet?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

The last man standing between the U.S. and war with Iran may be a four-star general affectionately known to his Marines as “Mad Dog.”

Gen. James Mattis, the secretary of defense, appears to be the last man in the Situation Room who believes the Iran nuclear deal may be worth preserving and that war with Iran is a dreadful idea.

Yet, other than Mattis, President Donald Trump seems to be creating a war cabinet.

Trump himself has pledged to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal — “the worst deal ever” — and reimpose sanctions in May.

His new national security adviser John Bolton, who wrote an op-ed titled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran,” has called for preemptive strikes and “regime change.”

Secretary of State-designate Mike Pompeo calls Iran “a thuggish police state,” a “despotic theocracy,” and “the vanguard of a pernicious empire that is expanding its power and influence across the Middle East.”

Trump’s favorite Arab ruler, 32-year-old Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, calls Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei “the Hitler of the Middle East.”

Bibi Netanyahu is monomaniacal on Iran, calling the nuclear deal a threat to Israel’s survival and Iran “the greatest threat to our world.”

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley echoes them all.

Yet Iran appears not to want a war. U.N. inspectors routinely confirm that Iran is strictly abiding by the terms of the nuclear deal.

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While U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf often encountered Iranian “fast attack” boats and drones between January 2016 and August 2017, that has stopped. Vessels of both nations have operated virtually without incident.

What would be the result of Trump’s trashing of the nuclear deal?

First would be the isolation of the United States.

China and Russia would not abrogate the deal but would welcome Iran into their camp. England, France and Germany would have to choose between the deal and the U.S. And if Airbus were obligated to spurn Iran’s orders for hundreds of new planes, how would that sit with the Europeans?

How would North Korea react if the U.S. trashed a deal where Iran, after accepting severe restrictions on its nuclear program and allowing intrusive inspections, were cheated of the benefits the Americans promised?

Why would Pyongyang, having seen us attack Iraq, which had no WMD, and Libya, which had given up its WMD to mollify us, ever consider given up its nuclear weapons — especially after seeing the leaders of both nations executed?

And, should the five other signatories to the Iran deal continue with it despite us, and Iran agree to abide by its terms, what do we do then?

Find a casus belli to go to war? Why? How does Iran threaten us?

A war, which would involve U.S. warships against swarms of Iranian torpedo boats could shut down the Persian Gulf to oil traffic and produce a crisis in the global economy. Anti-American Shiite jihadists in Beirut, Baghdad and Bahrain could attack U.S. civilian and military personnel.

As the Army and Marine Corps do not have the troops to invade and occupy Iran, would we have to reinstate the draft?

And if we decided to blockade and bomb Iran, we would have to take out all its anti-ship missiles, submarines, navy, air force, ballistic missiles and air defense system.

And would not a pre-emptive strike on Iran unite its people in hatred of us, just as Japan’s pre-emptive strike on Pearl Harbor united us in a determination to annihilate her empire?

What would the Dow Jones average look like after an attack on Iran?

Trump was nominated because he promised to keep us out of stupid wars like those into which folks like John Bolton and the Bush Republicans plunged us.

After 17 years, we are still mired in Afghanistan, trying to keep the Taliban we overthrew in 2001 from returning to Kabul. Following our 2003 invasion, Iraq, once a bulwark against Iran, became a Shiite ally of Iran.

The rebels we supported in Syria have been routed. And Bashar Assad — thanks to backing from Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Shiite militias from the Middle East and Central Asia — has secured his throne.

The Kurds who trusted us have been hammered by our NATO ally Turkey in Syria, and by the Iraqi Army we trained in Iraq.

What is Trump, who assured us there would be no more stupid wars, thinking? Truman and LBJ got us into wars they could not end, and both lost their presidencies. Eisenhower and Nixon ended those wars and were rewarded with landslides.

After his smashing victory in Desert Storm, Bush I was denied a second term. After invading Iraq, Bush II lost both houses of Congress in 2006, and his party lost the presidency in 2008 to the antiwar Barack Obama.

Once Trump seemed to understand this history.

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Time to Get Over the Russophobia

Time to Get Over the Russophobia

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Unless there is a late surge for Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin, who is running second with 7 percent, Vladimir Putin will be re-elected president of Russia for another six years on March 18.

Then we must decide whether to continue on course into a second Cold War, or engage Russia, as every president sought to do in Cold War I.

For our present conflict, Vladimir Putin is not alone at fault. His actions have often been reactions to America’s unilateral moves.

After the Soviet Union collapsed, we brought all of the Warsaw Pact members and three former republics of the USSR into our military alliance, NATO, to corral Russia. How friendly was that?

Putin responded with his military buildup in the Baltic.

George W. Bush abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty that Richard Nixon had negotiated, Putin responded with a buildup of the offensive missiles he put on display last week.

The U.S. helped to instigate the Maidan Square coup that dumped over the elected pro-Russian government in Ukraine.

To prevent the loss of his Sebastopol naval base on the Black Sea, Putin countered by annexing the Crimean Peninsula.

After peaceful protests in Syria were put down by Bashar Assad, we sent arms to Syrian rebels to overthrow the Damascus regime.

Seeing his last naval base in the Med, Tartus, imperiled, Putin came to Assad’s aid and helped him win the civil war.

The Boris Yeltsin years are over.

Russia is acting again as a great power. And she sees us as a nation that slapped away her hand, extended in friendship in the 1990s, and then humiliated her by planting NATO on her front porch.

Yet, what is also clear is that Putin hoped and believed that, with the election of Trump, Russia might be able to restore respectful if not friendly relations with the United States.

Clearly, Putin wanted that, as did Trump.

Yet, with the Beltway hysteria over hacking of the DNC and John Podesta emails, and the Russophobia raging in this capital, we appear to be paralyzed when it comes to engaging with Russia.

The U.S. political system, said Putin this week, “has been eating itself up.” Is his depiction that wide of the mark?

What is the matter with us?

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Three years after Nikita Khrushchev sent tanks into Budapest to drown the Hungarian revolution in blood, Eisenhower was hosting him on a 10-day visit to the USA.

Two years after the Berlin Wall went up, and eight months after Khrushchev installed missiles in Cuba, Kennedy reached out to the Soviet dictator in his widely praised American University speech.

Lyndon Johnson met with Russian President Alexei Kosygin in Glassboro, New Jersey, just weeks after we almost clashed over Moscow’s threat to intervene in the Arab-Israeli War of 1967.

Six months after Leonid Brezhnev sent tank armies to crush the Prague Spring in August 1968, an inaugurated Nixon was seeking detente.

In those years, no matter who was in the White House or Kremlin, the U.S. establishment favored engagement with Moscow. It was the right that was skeptical or hostile.

Again, what is the matter with this generation?

True, Vladimir Putin is an autocrat seeking a fourth term, like FDR.

But what Russian leader, save Yeltsin, has not been an autocrat? And Russians today enjoy freedoms of speech, assembly, religion, travel, politics, and the press that the generations before 1989 never knew.

China, not Russia, has the more repressive single-party Communist state.

Indeed, which of these U.S. allies shows greater tolerance than Putin’s Russia? The Philippines of Rodrigo Duterte, the Egypt of Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the Turkey of President Erdogan, or the Saudi Arabia of Prince Mohammad bin Salman?

Russia is nowhere near the strategic or global threat the Soviet Union presented. As Putin conceded this week, with the breakup of the USSR, his nation “lost 23.8 percent of its national territory, 48.5 percent of its population, 41 percent of its gross domestic product and 44.6 percent of its military capacity.”

How would Civil War Unionists have reacted if the South had won independence and then, to secure the Confederacy against a new invasion, Dixie entered into an alliance with Great Britain, gave the Royal Navy bases in New Orleans and Charleston, and allowed battalions of British troops to deploy in Virginia?

Japan negotiates with Putin’s Russia over the southern Kuril Islands lost at the end of World War II. Bibi Netanyahu has met many times with Putin, though he is an ally of Assad, whom Bibi would like to see ousted, and has a naval and air base not far from Israel’s border.

We Americans have far more fish to fry with Russia than Bibi.

Strategic arms control. De-escalation in the Baltic, Ukraine and the Black Sea. Ending the war in Syria. North Korea. Space. Afghanistan. The Arctic. The war on terror.

Yet all we seem to hear from our elite is endless whining that Putin has not been sanctioned enough for desecrating “our democracy.”

Get over it.

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Is US Being Sucked Into Syria’s War?

Is US Being Sucked Into Syria's War?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Candidate Donald Trump may have promised to extricate us from Middle East wars, once ISIS and al-Qaida were routed, yet events and people seem to be conspiring to keep us endlessly enmeshed.

Friday night, a drone, apparently modeled on a U.S. drone that fell into Iran’s hands, intruded briefly into Israeli airspace over the Golan Heights, and was shot down by an Apache helicopter.

Israel seized upon this to send F-16s to strike the airfield whence the drone originated. Returning home, an F-16 was hit and crashed, unleashing the most devastating Israeli attack in decades on Syria. Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu says a dozen Syrian and Iranian bases and antiaircraft positions were struck.

Monday’s headline on The Wall Street Journal op-ed page blared:

“The Iran-Israel War Flares Up: The fight is over a Qods Force presence on the Syria-Israeli border. How will the U.S. respond?”

Op-ed writers Tony Badran and Jonathan Schanzer, both from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, closed thus:

“The Pentagon and State Department have already condemned Iran and thrown their support behind Israel. The question now is whether the Trump administration will go further. … Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (has) affirmed that the U.S. seeks not only to ensure its allies’ security but to deny Iran its ‘dreams of a northern arch’ from Tehran to Beirut. A good way to achieve both objectives would be back Israel’s response to Iran’s aggression — now and in the future.”

The FDD is an annex of the Israeli lobby and a charter member of the War Party.

Chagai Tzuriel, who heads the Israeli Ministry of Intelligence, echoed the FDD: “If you (Americans) are committed to countering Iran in the region, then you must do so in Syria — first.”

Our orders have been cut.

Iran has dismissed as “lies” and “ridiculous” the charge that it sent the drone into Israeli airspace.

If Tehran did, it would be an act of monumental stupidity. Not only did the drone bring devastating Israeli reprisals against Syria and embarrass Iran’s ally Russia, it brought attacks on Russian-provided and possibly Russian-manned air defenses.

Moreover, in recent months Iranian policy — suspending patrol boat harassment of U.S. warships — appears crafted to ease tensions and provide no new causes for Trump to abandon the nuclear deal Prime Minister Hassan Rouhani regards as his legacy.

Indeed, why would Iran, which, with Assad, Russia and Hezbollah, is among the victors in Syria’s six-year civil war, wish to reignite the bloodletting and bring Israeli and U.S. firepower in on the other side?

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In Syria’s southeast, another incident a week ago may portend an indefinite U.S. stay in that broken and bleeding country.

To recapture oil fields lost in the war, forces backed by Assad crossed the Euphrates into territory taken from ISIS by the U.S. and our Kurd allies. The U.S. response was a barrage of air and artillery strikes that killed 100 soldiers.

What this signals is that, though ISIS has been all but evicted from Syria, the U.S. intends to retain that fourth of Syria as a bargaining chip in negotiations.

In the northwest, Turkey has sent its Syrian allies to attack Afrin and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened Manbij, 80 miles to the east, where U.S. troops commingle with the Kurd defenders and U.S. generals were visible last week.

Midweek, Erdogan exploded: “(The Americans) tell us, ‘Don’t come to Manbij.’ We will come to Manbij to hand over these territories to their rightful owners.”

The U.S. and Turkey, allies for six decades, with the largest armies in NATO, may soon be staring down each other’s gun barrels.

Has President Trump thought through where we are going with this deepening commitment in Syria, where we have only 2,000 troops and no allies but the Kurds, while on the other side is the Syrian army, Hezbollah, Russia and Iran, and Shiite militias from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan?

Clearly, we have an obligation not to abandon the Kurds, who took most of the casualties in liberating eastern Syria from ISIS. And we have a strategic interest in not losing Turkey as an ally.

But this calls for active diplomacy, not military action.

And now that the rebels have been defeated and the civil war is almost over, what would be the cost and what would be the prospects of fighting a new and wider war? What would victory look like?

Bibi and the FDD want to see U.S. power deployed alongside that of Israel, against Iran, Assad and Hezbollah. But while Israel’s interests are clear, what would be the U.S. vital interest?

What outcome would justify another U.S. war in a region where all the previous wars in this century have left us bleeding, bankrupt, divided and disillusioned?

When he was running, Donald Trump seemed to understand this.

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Trump: In Immigration Debate, Race Matters

By Patrick J. Buchanan

President Trump “said things which were hate-filled, vile and racist. … I cannot believe … any president has ever spoken the words that I … heard our president speak yesterday.”

So wailed Sen. Dick Durbin after departing the White House.

And what caused the minority leader to almost faint dead away?

Trump called Haiti a “s—-hole country,” said Durbin, and then asked why we don’t have more immigrants from neat places “like Norway.”

With that, there erupted one of the great media firestorms of the Trump era. On Martin Luther King Day, it was still blazing.

Trump concedes he may have disparaged Haiti, which, at last check, was not listed among “Best Places to Live” in the Western Hemisphere. Yet Trump insists he did not demean the Haitian people.

Still, by contrasting Norway as a desirable source of immigrants, as opposed to Haiti, El Salvador and Africa, Trump tabled a question that is roiling the West, the answer to which will decide its fate.

Trump is saying with words, as he has with policies, that in taking in a million people a year, race, religion and national origin matter, if we are to preserve our national unity and national character.

Moreover, on deciding who comes, and who does not, Americans have the sovereign right to discriminate in favor of some continents, countries and cultures, and against others.

Moreover, in stating his own preferences, Trump is in a tradition as old as the Republic.

The original Colonies did not want Catholics here. Ben Franklin feared Pennsylvania was being overrun by stupid Germans:

“Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion.”

Just as anti-immigrant parties have arisen in Europe to stem the flood of refugees from the Mideast and Africa, an American Party (“Know-Nothings”) was formed to halt the surge of Irish immigrants during the Potato Famine of 1845-1849.

Lincoln wanted slaves repatriated to Africa. In the 19th and 20th centuries, we had Chinese and Japanese exclusion acts.

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“Californians have properly objected” to Japanese migrants, said V.P. nominee FDR “on the sound basic ground that … the mingling of Asiatic blood with European or American blood produces, in nine cases out of ten, the most unfortunate results.”

After the Great Migration of Italians, Poles, Jews and East Europeans, from 1890 to 1920, the Immigration Act of 1925 established quotas based on the national origins of the American people in 1890, thus favoring Brits, Scots-Irish, Irish and Germans.

Civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph, a major figure in Dr. King’s March on Washington, said of the Harding-Coolidge restrictive quotas:

“We favor reducing immigration to nothing … shutting out the Germans … Italians … Hindus … Chinese and even the Negroes from the West Indies. The country is suffering from immigration indigestion.”

The Senate floor leader of the 1965 Immigration Act addressed what were then regarded as valid concerns about the future racial and ethnic composition of the country. Sen. Edward Kennedy pledged:

“Our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually … the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset. … S. 500 will not inundate America with immigrants from … the most populated and economically deprived nations of Africa and Asia.”

What Kennedy assured America would not happen, did happen.

Today, issues of immigration and race are tearing countries and continents apart. There are anti-immigrant parties in every nation in Europe. Turkey is being bribed to keep Syrian refugees out of Europe.

Boatloads of Africans from Libya are being turned back in the Med. After building a wall to keep them out, Bibi Netanyahu has told “illegal aliens” from Africa: Get out of Israel by March, or go to jail.

Angela Merkel’s Party may have suffered irreparable damage when she let a million Mideast refugees in. The larger concentrations of Arabs, Africans and Turks in Britain, France and Germany are not assimilating. Central European nations are sealing borders.

Europe fears a future in which the continent, with its shrinking numbers of native-born, is swamped by peoples from the Third World.

Yet the future alarmed Europeans are resisting is a future U.S. elites have embraced. Among the reasons, endless mass migration here means the demographic death of the GOP.

In U.S. presidential elections, persons of color whose roots are in Asia, Africa and Latin America vote 4-1 Democratic, and against the candidates favored by American’s vanishing white majority. Not for the first time, liberal ideology comports precisely with liberal interests.

Mass immigration means an America in 2050 with no core majority, made up of minorities of every race, color, religion and culture on earth, a continent-wide replica of the wonderful diversity we see today in the U.N. General Assembly.

Such a country has never existed before. Are we on the Yellow Brick Road to the new Utopia — or on the path to national suicide?

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What Should We Fight For?

What Should We Fight For?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“We will never accept Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea,” declaimed Rex Tillerson last week in Vienna.

“Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns full control of the peninsula to Ukraine.”

Tillerson’s principled rejection of the seizure of land by military force — “never accept” — came just one day after President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and pledged to move our embassy there.

How did Israel gain title to East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Golan Heights? Invasion, occupation, colonization, annexation.

Those lands are the spoils of victory from Israel’s 1967 Six-Day War.

Is Israel being severely sanctioned like Russia? Not quite.

Her yearly U.S. stipend is almost $4 billion, as she builds settlement after settlement on occupied land despite America’s feeble protests.

What Bibi Netanyahu just demonstrated is that, when dealing with the Americans and defending what is vital to Israel, perseverance pays off. Given time, the Americans will accept the new reality.

Like Bibi, Vladimir Putin is a nationalist. For him, the recapture of Crimea was the achievement of his presidency. For two centuries that peninsula had been home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and critical to her security.

Putin is not going to return Crimea to Kiev, and, eventually, we will accept this new reality as well.

For while whose flag flies over Crimea has never been crucial to us, it is to Putin. And like Israelis, Russians are resolute when it comes to taking and holding what they see as rightly theirs.

Both these conflicts reveal underlying realities that help explain America’s 21st-century long retreat. We face allies and antagonists who are more willing than are we to take risks, endure pain, persevere and fight to prevail.

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This month, just days after North Korea tested a new ICBM, national security adviser H. R. McMaster declared that Trump “is committed to the total denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

If so, we are committed to a goal we almost surely are not going to achieve. For, short of a war that could go nuclear, Kim Jong Un is not going to yield to our demands.

For Kim, nuclear weapons are not an option.

He knows that Saddam Hussein, who had given up his WMD, was hanged after the Americans attacked. He knows the grisly fate of Moammar Gadhafi, after he invited the West into Libya to dismantle his nuclear program and disarm him of any WMD.

Kim knows that if he surrenders his nuclear weapons, he has nothing to deter the Americans should they choose to use their arsenal on his armed forces, his regime, and him.

North Korea may enter talks, but Kim will never surrender the missiles and nukes that guarantee his survival. Look for the Americans to find a way to accommodate him.

Consider, too, China’s proclaimed ownership of the South China Sea and her building on reefs and rocks in that sea, of artificial islands that are becoming air, missile and naval bases.

Hawkish voices are being raised that this is intolerable and U.S. air and naval power must be used if necessary to force a rollback of China’s annexation and militarization of the South China Sea.

Why is this not going to happen?

While this area is regarded as vital to China, it is not to us. And while China, a littoral state that controls Hainan Island in that sea, is a legitimate claimant to many of its islets, we are claimants to none.

Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan are the other claimants. But though their interests in the fishing grounds and seabed resources may be as great as China’s, none has seen fit to challenge Beijing’s hegemony.

Why should we risk war with China to validate the claims of Communist Vietnam or Rodrigo Duterte’s ruthless regime in Manila? Why should their fight become our fight?

China’s interests in the sea are as crucial to her as were U.S. interests in the Caribbean when, a rising power in 1823, we declared the Monroe Doctrine. Over time, the world’s powers came to recognize and respect U.S. special interests in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

Given the steady rise of Chinese military power, the proximity of the islets to mainland China, the relative weakness and reluctance to confront of the other claimants, China will likely become the controlling power in the South China Sea, as we came to be the predominant power in the Western Hemisphere.

What we are witnessing in Crimea, across the Middle East, in the South China Sea, on the Korean peninsula, are nations more willing than we to sacrifice and take risks, because their interests there are far greater than ours.

What America needs is a new national consensus on what is vital to us and what is not, what we are willing to fight to defend and what we are not.

For this generation of Americans is not going to risk war, indefinitely, to sustain some Beltway elite’s idea of a “rules-based new world order.” After the Cold War, we entered a new world — and we need new red lines to replace the old.

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Is Flynn’s Defection a Death Blow?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Why did Gen. Mike Flynn lie to the FBI about his December 2016 conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak?

Why did he not tell the FBI the truth?

As national security adviser to the president-elect, Flynn had called the ambassador. Message: Tell President Putin not to overreact to President Obama’s expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats. Trump will be president in three weeks, and we are committed to a new relationship.

Not only was this initiative defensible, it proved successful.

Putin accepted the loss of his diplomats and country houses on Long lsland and the Eastern Shore. Rather than expel U.S. diplomats in retaliation, he invited them and their families to the Kremlin’s New Year’s parties.

“Great move…(by V. Putin),” tweeted Trump, “I always knew he was very smart.” This columnist concurred:

“Among our Russophobes, one can hear the gnashing of teeth.

“Clearly, Putin believes the Trump presidency offers Russia the prospect of a better relationship with the United States. He appears to want this, and most Americans seem to want the same. After all, Hillary Clinton, who accused Trump of being ‘Putin’s puppet,’ lost.”

Flynn, it now appears, was not freelancing, but following instructions. His deputy, K. T. McFarland, sent an email to six Trump advisers saying that Obama, by expelling the Russians, was trying to “box Trump in diplomatically.”

“If there is a tit-for-tat escalation,” warned McFarland, “Trump will have difficulty improving relations with Russia.” Exactly.

Flynn was trying to prevent Russian retaliation. Yet, as the ex-director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, he had to know his call to Kislyak was being monitored and recorded.

So, again, why would he lie to the FBI about a conversation, the contents of which were surely known to the people who sent the FBI to question him?

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The other charge of lying about a call with Kislyak was Flynn’s request for Russian help in getting postponed or canceled a Security Council vote on a resolution denouncing Israeli settlements on the West Bank.

Obama’s White House was backing the anti-Israel resolution. And Bibi Netanyahu had asked Trump to weigh in to block the vote.

Bottom line: Flynn, acting on instructions, tried to prevent a U.N. condemnation of Israel, and to dissuade Russia from a mass expulsion of U.S. diplomats, lest this poison the well against a rapprochement for which the American people had voted.

In the court of public opinion, Flynn’s actions would find broad support. Rather than deny knowledge of them, Trump should have taken credit for them.

Why the general would lie to the FBI about conversations he had to know U.S. intelligence had recorded is a puzzling question, but now also an irrelevant one, water over the dam.

For Trump’s general is now the newly conscripted collaborator of the media-Mueller-Democrat-deep state conspiracy to overturn the election of 2016 and bring down the Trump presidency.

Remarkable.

After 18 months, we have no evidence Trump colluded with Russia in hacking the emails of the DNC or John Podesta, which is what the FBI investigation was supposedly about.

There is no conclusive evidence Flynn committed a crime when, as national security adviser-designate, he tried to prevent Obama from sabotaging the policies Trump had run on — and won on.

Yet there is evidence Russian intelligence agents colluded with a British spy in the pay of the oppo research arm of the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign — to find dirt on Donald Trump.

And there is evidence James Comey’s FBI wanted to hire the British spy who appeared to have access to the Russian agents who appeared to possess all that wonderful dirt on the Donald.

It is hard to see how this ends well.

This weekend, after Flynn’s admission he lied to the FBI, Beltway media were slavering like Pavlov’s dogs at anticipated indictments and plea bargains by present and former White House aides, Trump family members, and perhaps Trump himself.

The joy on the TV talk shows was transparent.

Yet the media have already been badly damaged; first, by the relentless Trump attacks and the cheering for those attacks by a huge slice of the country; second, by their reflexive reaction. The media have behaved exactly like the “enemy” Trump said they were.

In this us-versus-them country, the media now seem to relish the role of “them.” The old proud journalistic boast to be objective and neutral reporters, observers and commentators is gone.

We are all partisans now.

As last Friday’s sudden 300-point drop in the Dow reveals, if Trump’s enemies bring him down, they will almost surely crash the markets and abort the recovery that took hold in Trump’s first year.

And if the establishment, repudiated by Trump’s victory, thinks it will be restored to the nation’s good graces if they destroy Trump, they are whistling past the graveyard.

When Caesar falls, the cheering for Brutus and Cassius tends to die down rather quickly. Then their turn comes.

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Are Our Mideast Wars Forever?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“The Kurds have no friends but the mountains,” is an old lament. Last week, it must have been very much on Kurdish minds.

As their U.S. allies watched, the Kurdish peshmerga fighters were run out of Kirkuk and all the territory they had captured fighting ISIS alongside the Americans. The Iraqi army that ran them out was trained and armed by the United States.

The U.S. had warned the Kurds against holding the referendum on independence on Sept. 25, which carried with 92 percent. Iran and Turkey had warned against an independent Kurdistan that could be a magnet for Kurdish minorities in their own countries.

But the Iraqi Kurds went ahead. Now they have lost Kirkuk and its oil, and their dream of independence is all but dead.

More troubling for America is the new reality revealed by the rout of the peshmerga. Iraq, which George W. Bush and the neocons were going to fashion into a pro-Western democracy and American ally, appears to be as close to Iran as it is to the United States.

After 4,500 U.S. dead, scores of thousands wounded and a trillion dollars sunk, our 15-year war in Iraq could end with a Shiite-dominated Baghdad aligned with Tehran.

With that grim prospect in mind, Secretary Rex Tillerson said Sunday, “Iranian militias that are in Iraq, now that the fight against … ISIS is coming to a close … need to go home. Any foreign fighters in Iraq need to go home.”

Tillerson meant Iran’s Quds Force in Iraq should go home, and the Shiite militia in Iraq should be conscripted into the army.

But what if the Baghdad regime of Haider al-Abadi does not agree? What if the Quds Force does not go home to Iran and the Shiite militias that helped retake Kirkuk refuse to enlist in the Iraqi army?

Who then enforces Tillerson’s demands?

Consider what is happening in Syria.

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, largely Kurdish, just annihilated ISIS in Raqqa and drove 60 miles to seize Syria’s largest oil field, al-Omar, from ISIS. The race is now on between the SDF and Bashar Assad’s army to secure the border with Iraq.

Bottom line: The U.S. goal of crushing the ISIS caliphate is almost attained. But if our victory in the war against ISIS leaves Iran in the catbird seat in Baghdad and Damascus, and its corridor from Tehran to Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut secure, is that really a victory?

Do we accept that outcome, pack up and go home? Or do we leave our forces in Syria and Iraq and defy any demand from Assad to vacate his country?

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Sunday’s editorial in The Washington Post, “The Next Mideast Wars,” raises the crucial questions now before us.

Would President Trump be willing to fight a new war to keep Iran from consolidating its position in Iraq and Syria? Would the American people support such a war with U.S. troops?

Would Congress, apparently clueless to the presence of 800 U.S. troops in Niger, authorize a new U.S. war in Syria or Iraq?

If Trump and his generals felt our vital interests could not allow Syria and Iraq to drift into the orbit of Iran, where would we find allies for such a fight?

If we rely on the Kurds in Syria, we lose NATO ally Turkey, which regards Syria’s Kurds as collaborators of the PKK in Turkey, which even the U.S. designates a terrorist organization.

The decision as to whether this country should engage in new post-ISIS wars in the Mideast, however, may be taken out of our hands.

Saturday, Israel launched new air strikes against gun positions in Syria in retaliation for shells fired into the Golan Heights.

Damascus claims that Israel’s “terrorist” allies inside Syria fired the shells, to give the IDF an excuse to attack.

Why would Israel wish to provoke a war with Syria?

Because the Israelis see the outcome of the six-year Syrian civil war as a strategic disaster.

Hezbollah, stronger than ever, was part of Assad’s victorious coalition. Iran may have secured its land corridor from Tehran to Beirut. Its presence in Syria could now be permanent.

And only one force in the region has the power to reverse the present outcome of Syria’s civil war — the United States.

Bibi Netanyahu knows that if war with Syria breaks out, a clamor will arise in Congress to have the U.S. rush to Israel’s aid.

Closing its Sunday editorial the Post instructed the president:

“A failure by the United States to defend its allies or promote new political arrangements for (Syria and Iraq) will lead only to more war, the rise of new terrorist threats, and, ultimately, the necessity of more U.S. intervention.”

The interventionist Post is saying: The situation is intolerable. Confront Assad and Iran now, or fight them later.

Trump is being led to the Rubicon. If he crosses, he joins Bush II in the history books.

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