Is War With Iran Now Inevitable?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

With his declaration Friday that the Iran nuclear deal is not in the national interest, President Donald Trump may have put us on the road to war with Iran.

Indeed, it is easier to see the collisions that are coming than to see how we get off this road before the shooting starts.

After “de-certifying” the nuclear agreement, signed by all five permanent members of the Security Council, Trump gave Congress 60 days to reimpose the sanctions that it lifted when Teheran signed.

If Congress does not reimpose those sanctions and kill the deal, Trump threatens to kill it himself.

Why? Did Iran violate the terms of the agreement? Almost no one argues that — not the UN nuclear inspectors, not our NATO allies, not even Trump’s national security team.

Iran shipped all its 20 percent enriched uranium out of the country, shut down most of its centrifuges, and allowed intrusive inspections of all nuclear facilities. Even before the deal, 17 U.S. intelligence agencies said they could find no evidence of an Iranian nuclear bomb program.

Indeed, if Iran wanted a bomb, Iran would have had a bomb.

She remains a non-nuclear-weapons state for a simple reason: Iran’s vital national interests dictate that she remain so.

As the largest Shiite nation with 80 million people, among the most advanced in the Mideast, Iran is predestined to become the preeminent power in the Persian Gulf. But on one condition: She avoid the great war with the United States that Saddam Hussein failed to avoid.

Iran shut down any bomb program it had because it does not want to share Iraq’s fate of being smashed and broken apart into Persians, Azeris, Arabs, Kurds and Baluch, as Iraq was broken apart by the Americans into Sunni, Shiite, Turkmen, Yazidis and Kurds.

Tehran does not want war with us. It is the War Party in Washington and its Middle East allies — Bibi Netanyahu and the Saudi royals — who hunger to have the United States come over and smash Iran.

Thus, the Congressional battle to kill, or not to kill, the Iran nuclear deal shapes up as decisive in the Trump presidency.

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Yet, even earlier collisions with Iran may be at hand.

In Syria’s east, U.S.-backed and Kurd-led Syrian Democratic Forces are about to take Raqqa. But as we are annihilating ISIS in its capital, the Syrian army is driving to capture Deir Ezzor, capital of the province that sits astride the road from Baghdad to Damascus.

Its capture by Bashar Assad’s army would ensure that the road from Baghdad to Damascus to Hezbollah in Lebanon remains open.

If the U.S. intends to use the SDF to seize the border area, we could find ourselves in a battle with the Syrian army, Shiite militia, the Iranians, and perhaps even the Russians.

Are we up for that?

In Iraq, the national army is moving on oil-rich Kirkuk province and its capital city. The Kurds captured Kirkuk after the Iraqi army fled from the ISIS invasion. Why is a U.S.-trained Iraqi army moving against a U.S.-trained Kurdish army?

The Kurdistan Regional Government voted last month to secede. This raised alarms in Turkey and Iran, as well as Baghdad. An independent Kurdistan could serve as a magnet to Kurds in both those countries.

Baghdad’s army is moving on Kirkuk to prevent its amputation from Iraq in any civil war of secession by the Kurds.

Where does Iran stand in all of this?

In the war against ISIS, they were de facto allies. For ISIS, like al-Qaida, is Sunni and hates Shiites as much as it hates Christians. But if the U.S. intends to use the SDF to capture the Iraqi-Syrian border, Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and Russia could all be aligned against us.

Are we ready for such a clash?

We Americans are coming face to face with some new realities.

The people who are going to decide the future of the Middle East are the people who live there. And among these people, the future will be determined by those most willing to fight, bleed and die for years and in considerable numbers to realize that future.

We Americans, however, are not going to send another army to occupy another country, as we did Kuwait in 1991, Afghanistan in 2001, and Iraq in 2003.

Bashar Assad, his army and air force backed by Vladimir Putin’s air power, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran, and Hezbollah won the Syrian civil war because they were more willing to fight and die to win it. And, truth be told, all had far larger stakes there than did we.

We do not live there. Few Americans are aware of what is going on there. Even fewer care.

Our erstwhile allies in the Middle East naturally want us to fight their 21st-century wars, as the Brits got us to help fight their 20th-century wars.

But Donald Trump was not elected to do that. Or so at least some of us thought.

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The Rise of the Generals

The Rise of the Generals

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Has President Donald Trump outsourced foreign policy to the generals?

So it would seem. Candidate Trump held out his hand to Vladimir Putin. He rejected further U.S. intervention in Syria other than to smash ISIS.

He spoke of getting out and staying out of the misbegotten Middle East wars into which Presidents Bush II and Obama had plunged the country.

President Trump’s seeming renunciation of an anti-interventionist foreign policy is the great surprise of the first 100 days, and the most ominous. For any new war could vitiate the Trump mandate and consume his presidency.

Trump no longer calls NATO “obsolete,” but moves U.S. troops toward Russia in the Baltic and eastern Balkans. Rex Tillerson, holder of Russia’s Order of Friendship, now warns that the U.S. will not lift sanctions on Russia until she gets out of Ukraine.

If Tillerson is not bluffing, that would rule out any rapprochement in the Trump presidency. For neither Putin, nor any successor, could surrender Crimea and survive.

What happened to the Trump of 2016?

When did Kiev’s claim to Crimea become more crucial to us than a cooperative relationship with a nuclear-armed Russia? In 1991, Bush I and Secretary of State James Baker thought the very idea of Ukraine’s independence was the product of a “suicidal nationalism.”

Where do we think this demonization of Putin and ostracism of Russia is going to lead?

To get Xi Jinping to help with our Pyongyang problem, Trump has dropped all talk of befriending Taiwan, backed off Tillerson’s warning to Beijing to vacate its fortified reefs in the South China Sea, and held out promises of major concessions to Beijing in future trade deals.

“I like (Xi Jinping) and I believe he likes me a lot,” Trump said this week. One recalls FDR admonishing Churchill, “I think I can personally handle Stalin better than … your Foreign Office … Stalin hates the guts of all your people. He thinks he likes me better.”

FDR did not live to see what a fool Stalin had made of him.

Among the achievements celebrated in Trump’s first 100 days are the 59 cruise missiles launched at the Syrian airfield from which the gas attack on civilians allegedly came, and the dropping of the 22,000-pound MOAB bomb in Afghanistan.

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But what did these bombings accomplish?

The War Party seems again ascendant. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are happy campers. In Afghanistan, the U.S. commander is calling for thousands more U.S. troops to assist the 8,500 still there, to stabilize an Afghan regime and army that is steadily losing ground to the Taliban.

Iran is back on the front burner. While Tillerson concedes that Tehran is in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, Trump says it is violating “the spirit of the agreement.”

How so? Says Tillerson, Iran is “destabilizing” the region, and threatening U.S. interests in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon.

But Iran is an ally of Syria and was invited in to help the U.N.-recognized government put down an insurrection that contains elements of al-Qaida and ISIS. It is we, the Turks, Saudis and Gulf Arabs who have been backing the rebels seeking to overthrow the regime.

In Yemen, Houthi rebels overthrew and expelled a Saudi satrap. The bombing, blockading and intervention with troops is being done by Saudi and Sunni Arabs, assisted by the U.S. Navy and Air Force.

It is we and the Saudis who are talking of closing the Yemeni port of Hodeida, which could bring on widespread starvation.

It was not Iran, but the U.S. that invaded Iraq, overthrew the Baghdad regime and occupied the country. It was not Iran that overthrew Col. Gadhafi and created the current disaster in Libya.

Monday, the USS Mahan fired a flare to warn off an Iranian patrol boat, 1,000 meters away. Supposedly, this was a provocation. But Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif had a point when he tweeted:

“Breaking: Our Navy operates in — yes, correct — the Persian Gulf, not the Gulf of Mexico. Question is what US Navy doing 7,500 miles from home.”

Who is behind the seeming conversion of Trump to hawk?

The generals, Bibi Netanyahu and the neocons, Congressional hawks with Cold War mindsets, the Saudi royal family and the Gulf Arabs — they are winning the battle for the president’s mind.

And their agenda for America?

We are to recognize that our true enemy in the Mideast is not al-Qaida or ISIS, but Shiite Iran and Hezbollah, Assad’s Syria and his patron, Putin. And until Hezbollah is eviscerated, Assad is gone, and Iran is smashed the way we did Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen, the flowering of Middle East democracy that we all seek cannot truly begin.

But before President Trump proceeds along the path laid out for him by his generals, brave and patriotic men that they are, he should discover if any of them opposed any of the idiotic wars of the last 15 years, beginning with that greatest of strategic blunders — George Bush’s invasion of Iraq.

The Deep State Targets Trump

The Deep State Targets Trump

By Patrick J. Buchanan

When Gen. Michael Flynn was forced to resign as national security adviser, Bill Kristol purred his satisfaction, “If it comes to it, prefer the deep state to the Trump state.”

To Kristol, the permanent regime, not the elected president and his government, is the real defender and rightful repository of our liberties.

Yet it was this regime, the deep state, that carried out what Eli Lake of Bloomberg calls “The Political Assassination of Michael Flynn.”

And what were Flynn’s offenses?

In December, when Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats, Flynn spoke to the Russian ambassador. He apparently counseled the envoy not to overreact, saying a new team would be in place in a few weeks and would review U.S.-Russian relations.

“That’s neither illegal nor improper,” writes Lake.

Vladimir Putin swiftly declared that there would be no reciprocal expulsions and U.S. diplomats and their families would be welcome at the Kremlin’s Christmas and New Year’s parties.

Diplomatic crisis averted. “Great move … (by V. Putin),” tweeted Trump, “I always knew he was very smart.”

But apparently, this did not sit well with the deep state.

For when Vice President Pence told a TV show that Flynn told him that sanctions did not come up in conversation with the Russian ambassador, a transcript of Flynn’s call was produced from recordings by intelligence agencies, and its contents leaked to The Washington Post.

After seeing the transcript, the White House concluded that Flynn had misled Pence, mutual trust was gone, and Flynn must go.

Like a good soldier, Flynn took the bullet.

The real crime here, however, is not that the incoming national security adviser spoke with a Russian diplomat seeking guidance on the future president’s thinking. The real crime is the criminal conspiracy inside the deep state to transcribe the private conversation of a U.S. citizen and leak it to press collaborators to destroy a political career.

“This is what police states do,” writes Lake.

But the deep state is after larger game than General Flynn. It is out to bring down President Trump and abort any move to effect the sort of rapprochement with Russia that Ronald Reagan achieved.

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For the deep state is deeply committed to Cold War II.

Hence, suddenly, we read reports of a Russian spy ship off the Connecticut, Delaware and Virginia coasts, of Russian jets buzzing a U.S. warship in the Black Sea, and Russian violations of Reagan’s INF treaty outlawing intermediate-range missiles in Europe.

Purpose: Stampede the White House into abandoning any idea of a detente with Russia. And it appears to be working. At a White House briefing Tuesday, Sean Spicer said, “President Trump has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to … return Crimea.”

Is the White House serious?

Putin could no more survive returning Crimea to Ukraine than Bibi Netanyahu could survive giving East Jerusalem back to Jordan.

How does the deep state go about its work? We have seen a classic example with Flynn. The intelligence and investigative arms of the regime dig up dirt, and then move it to their Fourth Estate collaborators, who enjoy First Amendment immunity to get it out.

For violating their oaths and breaking the law, bureaucratic saboteurs are hailed as “whistleblowers” while the journalists who receive the fruits of their felonies put in for Pulitzers.

Now if Russians hacked into the DNC and John Podesta’s computer during the campaign, and, more seriously, if Trump aides colluded in any such scheme, it should be investigated.

But we should not stop there. Those in the FBI, Justice Department and intelligence agencies who were complicit in a conspiracy to leak the contents of Flynn’s private conversations in order to bring down the national security adviser should be exposed and prosecuted.

An independent counsel should be appointed by the attorney general and a grand jury impaneled to investigate what Trump himself rightly calls “criminal” misconduct in the security agencies.

As for interfering in elections, how clean are our hands?

Our own CIA has a storied history of interfering in elections. In the late ’40s, we shoveled cash into France and Italy after World War II to defeat the Communists who had been part of the wartime resistance to the Nazis and Fascists.

And we succeeded. But we continued these practices after the Cold War ended. In this century, our National Endowment for Democracy, which dates to the Reagan era, has backed “color revolutions” and “regime change” in nations across what Russia regards as her “near abroad.”

NED’s continued existence appears a contradiction of Trump’s inaugural declaration: “We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone.”

The president and GOP should get out front here. Let Congress investigate Russia meddling in our election. And let a special prosecutor run down, root out, expose and indict those in the investigative and intel agencies who used their custody of America’s secrets, in collusion with press collaborators, to take down Trump appointees who are on their enemies lists.

Then put NED down.

The Coming Clash With Iran

The Coming Clash With Iran

By Patrick J. Buchanan

When Gen. Michael Flynn marched into the White House Briefing Room to declare that “we are officially putting Iran on notice,” he drew a red line for President Trump. In tweeting the threat, Trump agreed.

His credibility is now on the line.

And what triggered this virtual ultimatum?

Iran-backed Houthi rebels, said Flynn, attacked a Saudi warship and Tehran tested a missile, undermining “security, prosperity, and stability throughout the Middle East,” placing “American lives at risk.”

But how so?

The Saudis have been bombing the Houthi rebels and ravaging their country, Yemen, for two years. Are the Saudis entitled to immunity from retaliation in wars that they start?

Where is the evidence Iran had a role in the Red Sea attack on the Saudi ship? And why would President Trump make this war his war?

As for the Iranian missile test, a 2015 U.N. resolution “called upon” Iran not to test nuclear-capable missiles. It did not forbid Iran from testing conventional missiles, which Tehran insists this was.

Is the United States making new demands on Iran not written into the nuclear treaty or international law — to provoke a confrontation?

Did Flynn coordinate with our allies about this warning of possible military action against Iran? Is NATO obligated to join any action we might take?

Or are we going to carry out any retaliation alone, as our NATO allies observe, while the Israelis, Gulf Arabs, Saudis and the Beltway War Party, which wishes to be rid of Trump, cheer him on?

Bibi Netanyahu hailed Flynn’s statement, calling Iran’s missile test a flagrant violation of the U.N. resolution and declaring, “Iranian aggression must not go unanswered.” By whom, besides us?

The Saudi king spoke with Trump Sunday. Did he persuade the president to get America more engaged against Iran?

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Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker is among those delighted with the White House warning:

“No longer will Iran be given a pass for its repeated ballistic missile violations, continued support of terrorism, human rights abuses and other hostile activities that threaten international peace and security.”

The problem with making a threat public — Iran is “on notice” — is that it makes it almost impossible for Iran, or Trump, to back away.

Tehran seems almost obliged to defy it, especially the demand that it cease testing conventional missiles for its own defense.

This U.S. threat will surely strengthen those Iranians opposed to the nuclear deal and who wish to see its architects, President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, thrown out in this year’s elections.

If Rex Tillerson is not to become a wartime secretary of state like Colin Powell or Dean Rusk, he is going to have to speak to the Iranians, not with defiant declarations, but in a diplomatic dialogue.

Tillerson, of course, is on record as saying the Chinese should be blocked from visiting the half-dozen fortified islets they have built on rocks and reefs in the South China Sea.

A prediction: The Chinese will not be departing from their islands, and the Iranians will defy the U.S. threat against testing their missiles.

Wednesday’s White House statement makes a collision with Iran almost unavoidable, and a war with Iran quite possible.

Why did Trump and Flynn feel the need to do this now?

There is an awful lot already on the foreign policy plate of the new president after only two weeks, as pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine are firing artillery again, and North Korea’s nuclear missile threat, which, unlike Iran’s, is real, has yet to be addressed.

High among the reasons that many supported Trump was his understanding that George W. Bush blundered horribly in launching an unprovoked and unnecessary war on Iraq.

Along with the 15-year war in Afghanistan and our wars in Libya, Syria and Yemen, our 21st-century U.S. Mideast wars have cost us trillions of dollars and thousands of dead. And they have produced a harvest of hatred of America that was exploited by al-Qaida and ISIS to recruit jihadists to murder and massacre Westerners.

Osama’s bin Laden’s greatest achievement was not to bring down the twin towers and kill 3,000 Americans, but to goad America into plunging headlong into the Middle East, a reckless and ruinous adventure that ended her post-Cold War global primacy.

Unlike the other candidates, Trump seemed to recognize this.

It was thought he would disengage us from these wars, not rattle a saber at an Iran that is three times the size of Iraq and has as its primary weapons supplier and partner Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

When Barack Obama drew his red line against Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons in Syria’s civil war, and Assad appeared to cross it, Obama discovered that his countrymen wanted no part of the war that his military action might bring on.

President Obama backed down — in humiliation.

Neither the Ayatollah Khamenei nor Trump appears to be in a mood to back away, especially now that the president has made the threat public.

Israel First or America First

Israel First or America First

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Donald Trump has a new best friend.

“President-elect Trump, thank you for your warm friendship and your clear-cut support of Israel,” gushed Bibi Netanyahu, after he berated John Kerry in a fashion that would once have resulted in a rupture of diplomatic relations.

Netanyahu accused Kerry of “colluding” in and “orchestrating” an anti-Israel, stab-in-the-back resolution in the Security Council, then lying about it. He offered to provide evidence of Kerry’s complicity and mendacity to President Trump.

Bibi then called in the U.S. ambassador and read him the riot act for 40 minutes. Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer charged that not only did the U.S. not “stand up to and oppose the gang-up” at the U.N., “the United States was actually behind that gang-up.”

When Ben Rhodes of the National Security Council called the charges false, Dermer dismissed President Obama’s man as a “master of fiction.”

Query: Why is Dermer not on a plane back to Tel Aviv?

Some of us can recall how Eisenhower ordered David Ben-Gurion to get his army out of Sinai in 1957, or face sanctions.

Ben-Gurion did as told. Had he and his ambassador castigated Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, as the Israelis dissed John Kerry, Ike would have called the U.S. ambassador home.

Indeed, Ike’s threat of sanctions against Prime Minister Anthony Eden’s government, which had also invaded Egypt, brought Eden down.

But then Dwight Eisenhower was not Barack Obama, and the America of 1956 was a more self-respecting nation.

Still, this week of rancorous exchanges between two nations that endlessly express their love for each other certainly clears the air.

While Kerry has been denounced for abstaining on the U.N. resolution calling Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem illegal and an impediment to peace, this has been U.S. policy for years.

And Kerry’s warning in his Wednesday speech that at the end of this road of continuous settlement-building lies an Israel that is either a non-Jewish or a non-democratic state is scarcely anti-Semitic.

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Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the most decorated soldier in Israel’s history, has warned his countrymen, “As long as in this territory west of the Jordan River there is only one political entity called Israel, it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-Democratic.”

“If the bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote” added Barak, “this will be an apartheid state.” Of John Kerry’s speech, Barak said, “Powerful, lucid … World & majority in Israel think the same.”

Defense Secretary-designate Gen. James Mattis warned in 2013 that Israeli settlements were leading to an “apartheid” state.

After Joe Biden visited Israel in 2010, to learn that Netanyahu just approved 1,600 new units in East Jerusalem, Gen. David Petraeus warned: “Arab anger on the Palestine question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnership with governments and people in the region.”

Yet facts and reality, however unpleasant, cannot be denied.

The two-state solution is almost surely dead. Netanyahu is not going to remove scores of thousands of Jewish settlers from Judea and Samaria to cede the land to a Palestinian state. After all, Bibi opposed Ariel Sharon’s removal of 8,000 Jewish settlers from Gaza.

How will all this impact the new Trump administration?

Having tweeted, “Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching,” and having named a militant Zionist as his ambassador, Trump is certain to tilt U.S. policy heavily toward Israel.

Politically, this will bring rewards in the U.S. Jewish community.

The Republican Party will become the “pro-Israel” party, while the Democrats can be portrayed as divided and conflicted, with a left wing that is pro-Palestine and sympathetic to sanctions on Israel.

And the problem for Trump in a full embrace of Bibi?

Britain and France, which voted for the resolution where the U.S. abstained, are going to go their separate way on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, as is the world.

Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf Arabs will be pressured by their peoples and by the militant states of the region like Iran, to distance themselves from the Americans or face internal troubles.

And once U.S. pressure ends and settlement building in the West Bank proceeds, Netanyahu, his hawkish Cabinet, the Israeli lobby, the neocons and the congressional Republicans will start beating the drums for Trump to terminate what he himself has called that “horrible Iran deal.”

Calls are already coming for the cancellation of the sale of 80 Boeing jets to Iran. Yet, any U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal, or reimposition of sanctions on Iran, will further split us off from our European allies. Not only did Britain and France vote for the Security Council resolution, both are party, as is Germany, to the Iran deal.

Having America publicly reassert herself as Israel’s best friend, with “no daylight” between us, could have us ending up as Israel’s only friend — and Israel as our only friend in the Middle East.

Bibi’s Israel First policy must one day collide with America First.

Barack Backhands Bibi

Barack Backhands Bibi

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Did the community organizer from Harvard Law just deliver some personal payback to the IDF commando? So it would seem.

By abstaining on that Security Council resolution declaring Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem illegal and invalid, raged Bibi Netanyahu, President Obama “failed to protect Israel in this gang-up at the UN, and colluded with it.”

Obama’s people, charged Bibi, “initiated this resolution, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed.”

White House aide Ben Rhodes calls the charges “falsehoods.”

Hence, we have an Israeli leader all but castigating an American president as a backstabber and betrayer, while the White House calls Bibi a liar.

This is not an unserious matter.

“By standing with the sworn enemies of Israel to enable the passage of this destructive, one-sided anti-Israel rant and tirade,” writes the Washington Times, “Mr. Obama shows his colors.”

But unfortunately for Israel, the blow was delivered by friends as well as “sworn enemies.”

The U.S. abstained, but Britain, whose Balfour Declaration of 1917 led to the Jewish state in Palestine, voted for the resolution.

As did France, which allied with Israel in the Sinai-Suez campaign of 1956 to oust Egypt’s Col. Nasser, and whose Mysteres were indispensable to Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War of 1967.

Vladimir Putin, who has worked with Bibi and was rewarded with Israel’s refusal to support sanctions on Russia for Crimea and Ukraine, also voted for the resolution.

Egypt, whose Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was welcomed by Bibi after his coup against the Muslim Brotherhood president, and who has collaborated with Bibi against terrorists in Sinai and Gaza, also voted yes.

China voted yes as did Ukraine. New Zealand and Senegal, both of which have embassies in Tel Aviv, introduced the resolution.

Despite Israel’s confidential but deepening ties with Sunni Arab states that share her fear and loathing of Iran, not a single Security Council member stood by her and voted against condemning Israel’s presence in Arab East Jerusalem and the Old City. Had the resolution gone before the General Assembly, support would have been close to unanimous.

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While this changes exactly nothing on the ground in the West Bank or East Jerusalem where 600,000 Israelis now reside, it will have consequences, and few of them will be positive for Israel.

The resolution will stimulate and strengthen the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, which has broad support among U.S. college students, Bernie Sanders Democrats and the international left.

If Israel does not cease expanding West Bank settlements, she could be hauled before the International Criminal Court and charged with war crimes.

Already, J Street, the liberal Jewish lobby that backs a two-state solution in Palestine — and has been denounced by Donald Trump’s new envoy to Israel David Friedman as “far worse than kapos,” the Jewish guards at Nazi concentration camps — has endorsed the resolution.

The successful resolution is also a reflection of eroding support for Israel at the top of the Democratic Party, as a two-term president and a presidential nominee, Secretary of State John Kerry, were both behind it.

Republicans are moving to exploit the opening by denouncing the resolution and the U.N. and showing solidarity with Israel. Goal: Replace the Democratic Party as the most reliable ally of Israel, and reap the rewards of an historic transfer of Jewish political allegiance.

That Sen. George McGovern was seen as pro-Palestinian enabled Richard Nixon to double his Jewish support between 1968 and 1972.

That Jimmy Carter was seen as cold to Israel enabled Ronald Reagan to capture more than a third of the Jewish vote in 1980, on his way to a 44-state landslide.

Moreover, U.S. acquiescence in this resolution puts Bibi in a box at home. Though seen here as a hawk on the settlements issue, the right wing of Bibi’s coalition is far more hawkish, pushing for outright annexation of West Bank settlements. Others call for a repudiation of Oslo and the idea of an independent Palestinian state.

If Bibi halts settlement building on the West Bank, he could cause a split in his Cabinet with rightist rivals like Naftali Bennett who seek to replace him.

Here in the U.S., the U.N. resolution is seen by Democrats as a political debacle, and by many Trump Republicans as an opportunity.

Sen. Chuck Schumer has denounced Obama’s refusal to veto the resolution, echoing sentiments about the world body one used to hear on America’s far right.

“The U.N.” said Schumer, “has been a fervently anti-Israel body since the days (it said) ‘Zionism is racism’ and that fervor has never diminished.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says he will urge Congress to slash funding for the United Nations.

If the folks over at the John Birch Society still have some of those bumper stickers — “Get the U.S. out of the U.N., and the U.N. out of the U.S.!” they might FedEx a batch over to Schumer and Graham.

May have some converts here.

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.