Has Russia Given Up on the West?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

By the end of his second term, President Ronald Reagan, who had called the Soviet Union an “evil empire,” was strolling through Red Square with Russians slapping him on the back.

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive.

And how have we husbanded the fruits of our Cold War triumph?

This month, China’s leader-for-life Xi Jinping stood beside Vladimir Putin as 3,000 Chinese troops maneuvered with 300,000 Russians, 1,000 planes and 900 tanks in Moscow’s largest military exercise in 40 years.

An uncoded message to the West from the East.

Richard Nixon’s great achievement in bringing Peking in from the cold, and Reagan’s great achievement of ending the Cold War, are history.

Bolshevism may be dead, but Russian nationalism, awakened by NATO’s quick march to Russia’s ancient frontiers, is alive and well.

Russia appears to have given up on the West and accepted that its hopes for better times with President Donald Trump are not to be.

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is berating Russia for secretly trading with North Korea in violation of U.N. sanctions, saying, “Lying, cheating, and rogue behavior have become the new norm of the Russian culture.”

Cold wars don’t get much colder than defaming another country’s culture as morally debased.

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The U.S. has also signaled that it may start supplying naval and anti-aircraft weaponry to Ukraine, as Russia is being warned to cease its inspections of ships passing from the Black Sea through the Kerch Strait into the Sea of Azov.

The three-mile-wide strait lies between Crimea and Kerch Peninsula. In Russia’s eyes, both banks of the strait are Russian national territory.

With U.S. backing, Ukraine has decided to build a naval base on the Sea of Azov to “create conditions for rebuffing the aggressive actions of the Russian Federation in this region.”

Kiev has several patrol boats in the Sea of Azov, with a few more to be transferred there in coming months. Russia’s navy could sink those boats and wipe out that base in minutes.

Are we going to send our Navy across the Black Sea to protect Ukraine’s naval rights inside a sea that has been as historically Russian as the Chesapeake Bay is historically American?

Poland this week invited the U.S. to establish a major base on its soil, for which Poland would pay two billion dollars, to be called “Fort Trump.”

Trump seemed to like the idea, and the name.

Yet, the Bush II decision to install a missile defense system in Poland brought a Kremlin counter-move: the installation of nuclear-capable Iskander cruise missiles in Kaliningrad, the former German territory on Poland’s northern border annexed by Stalin at the end of World War II.

In the Balkans, over Russian protests, the U.S. is moving to bring Macedonia into NATO. But before Macedonia can join, half its voters have to come out on Sept. 30 to approve a change in the nation’s name to North Macedonia. This is to mollify Greece, which claims the birthplace of Alexander the Great as it own.

Where are we going with all this?

With U.S. warships making regular visits into the Eastern Baltic and Black Sea, the possibility of a new base in Poland, and growing lethal aid to Ukraine to fight pro-Russian rebels in the Donbass and the Russian navy on the Sea of Azov, are we not crowding the Russians a bit?

Are we confident the Russians will always back down?

When Georgia, believing it could kick Russian peacekeepers out and re-annex its seceded province of South Ossetia, attacked in August 2008, the Russian Army came crashing in and ran the Georgians out in 48 hours.

George W. Bush wisely decided not to issue an ultimatum or send troops. He ignored the hawks in his own party who had helped goad him into the great debacle of his presidency: Iraq.

So, what exactly is the U.S. grand strategy with regard to Russia?

What might be called the McCain wing of the Republican Party has sought to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, which would make the containment of Russia America’s policy in perpetuity.

Are the American people aware of the costs and risks inherent in such a policy? What are the prospects of Russia yielding always to U.S. demands? And are we not today stretched awfully thin?

Our share of the global economy is much shrunken from Reagan’s time. Our deficit is approaching $1 trillion. Our debt is surging toward 100 percent of GDP. Entitlements are consuming our national wealth.

We are committed to containing the two other greatest powers, Russia and China. We are tied down militarily in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, with the War Party beating the drums for another and larger war — with Iran. And we are sanctioning adversaries and allies for not following our leadership of the West and the world.

In looking at America’s global commitments, greatly expanded since our Cold War victory, one word come to mind: unsustainable.

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Regime Change — American Style

Regime Change -- American Style

By Patrick J. Buchanan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kelly and Mattis both denied making the comments.

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

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

The transaction served the political objectives of both parties.

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

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

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

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

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

So, where are we headed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Are the Interventionists Now Leaderless?

Are the Interventionists Now Leaderless?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“McCain’s Death Leaves Void” ran The Wall Street Journal headline over a front-page story that began:

“The death of John McCain will leave Congress without perhaps its loudest voice in support of the robust internationalism that has defined the country’s security relations since World War II.”

Certainly, the passing of the senator whose life story will dominate the news until he is buried at his alma mater, the Naval Academy, on Sunday, leaves America’s interventionists without their greatest champion.

No one around has the prestige or media following of McCain.

And the cause he championed, compulsive intervention in foreign quarrels to face down dictators and bring democrats to power, appears to be a cause whose time has passed.

When 9/11 occurred, America was united in crushing the al-Qaida terrorists who perpetrated the atrocities. John McCain then backed President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, which had no role in the attacks.

During Barack Obama’s presidency, he slipped into northern Syria to cheer rebels who had arisen to overthrow President Bashar Assad, an insurgency that led to a seven-year civil war and one of the great humanitarian disasters of our time.

McCain supported the expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe and the Baltic, right up to Russia’s border. When Georgia invaded South Ossetia in 2008, and was expelled by the Russian army, McCain roared, “We are all Georgians now!”

He urged intervention. But Bush, his approval rating scraping bottom, had had enough of the neocon crusades for democracy.

McCain’s contempt for Vladimir Putin was unconstrained. When crowds gathered in Maidan Square in Kiev to overthrow an elected pro-Russian president, McCain was there, cheering them on.

He supported sending arms to the Ukrainian army to fight pro-Russian rebels in the Donbass. He backed U.S. support for Saudi intervention in Yemen. And this war, too, proved to be a humanitarian disaster.

John McCain was a war hawk, and proud of it. But by 2006, the wars he had championed had cost the Republican Party both houses of Congress.

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In 2008, when he was on the ballot, those wars helped cost him the presidency.

By 2016, the Republican majority would turn its back on McCain and his protege, Sen. Lindsey Graham, and nominate Donald Trump, who said he would seek to get along with Russia and extricate America from the wars into which McCain had helped plunge the country.

Yet, while interventionism now has no great champion and has proven unable to rally an American majority, it retains a residual momentum. This compulsion is pushing us to continue backing the Saudi war in Yemen and to seek regime change in Iran.

Yet if either of these enterprises holds any prospect of bringing about a more peaceful and prosperous Middle East, no one has made the case.

While the foreign policy that won the Cold War, containment, was articulated by George Kennan and pursued by presidents from Truman to Bush I, no grand strategy for the post-Cold War era has ever been embraced by a majority of Americans.

Bush I’s “New World Order” was rejected by Ross Perot’s economic patriots and Bill Clinton’s baby boomers who wanted to spend America’s peace dividend from our Cold War victory on America’s homefront.

As for the Bush II crusades for democracy “to end tyranny in our world,” the fruits of that Wilsonian idealism turned into ashes in our mouths.

But if the foreign policy agendas of Bush I and Bush II, along with McCain’s interventionism, have been tried and found wanting, what is America’s grand strategy?

What are the great goals of U.S. foreign policy? What are the vital interests for which all, or almost all Americans, believe we should fight?

“Take away this pudding; it has no theme,” said Churchill. Britain has lost an empire, but not yet found a role, was the crushing comment of Dean Acheson in 1962.

Both statements appear to apply to U.S. foreign policy in 2018.

We are bombing and fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, partly John McCain’s legacy. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has sent a virtual ultimatum to Iran. We have told North Korea, a nuclear power with the world’s fourth-largest army, either to denuclearize or the U.S. may use its military might to get the job done.

We are challenging Beijing in its claimed territorial waters of the South China Sea. From South Korea to Estonia, we are committed by solemn treaty to go to war if any one of dozens of nations is attacked.

Now one hears talk of an “Arab NATO” to confront the ayatollah’s Iran and its Shiite allies. Lest we forget, ISIS and al-Qaida are Sunni.

With all these war guarantees, the odds are excellent that one day we are going to be dragged in yet another war that the American people will sour upon soon after it begins.

Where is the American Kennan of the new century?

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The Never-Trumpers Are Never Coming Back

The Never-Trumpers Are Never Coming Back

By Patrick J. Buchanan

With never-Trump conservatives bailing on the GOP and crying out for the Party of Pelosi to save us, some painful truths need to be restated.

The Republican Party of Bush I and II, of Bob Dole and John McCain, is history. It’s not coming back. Unlike the Bourbons after the Revolution and the Terror, after Napoleon and the Empire, no restoration is in the cards.

It is over. The GOP’s policies of recent decades — the New World Order of George H.W. Bush, the crusades for democracy of Bush II — failed, and are seen as having failed. With Trump’s capture of the party they were repudiated.

There will be no turning back.

What were the historic blunders?

It was not supporting tax cuts, deregulation, conservative judges and justices, or funding a defense second to none. Donald Trump has delivered on these as well as any president since Reagan.

The failures that killed the Bush party, and that represented departures from Reaganite traditionalism and conservatism, are:

First, the hubristic drive, despite the warnings of statesmen like George Kennan, to exploit our Cold War victory and pursue a policy of permanent containment of a Russia that had lost a third of its territory and half its people.

We moved NATO into Eastern Europe and the Baltic, onto her doorstep. We abrogated the ABM treaty Nixon had negotiated and moved defensive missiles into Poland. John McCain pushed to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, and even to send U.S. forces to face off against Russian troops.

Thus we got a second Cold War that need never have begun and that our allies seem content to let us fight alone.

Europe today is not afraid of Vladimir Putin reaching the Rhine. Europe is afraid of Africa and the Middle East reaching the Danube.

Let the Americans, who relish playing empire, pay for NATO.

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Second, in a reflexive response to 9/11, we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, dumped over the regime in Libya, armed rebels to overthrow Bashar Assad in Syria, and backed Saudi intervention in a Yemeni civil war, creating a humanitarian crisis in that poorest of Arab countries that is exceeded in horrors only by the Syrian civil war.

Since Y2K, hundreds of thousands in the Middle East have perished, the ancient Christian community has all but ceased to exist, and the refugees now number in the millions. What are the gains for democracy from these wars, all backed enthusiastically by the Republican establishment?

Why are the people responsible for these wars still being listened to, rather than confessing their sins at second-thoughts conferences?

The GOP elite also played a crucial role in throwing open U.S. markets to China and ceding transnational corporations full freedom to move factories and jobs there and ship their Chinese-made goods back here, free of charge.

Result: In three decades, the U.S. has run up $12 trillion in merchandise trade deficits — $4 trillion with China — and Beijing’s revenue from the USA has more than covered China’s defense budget for most of those years.

Beijing swept past Italy, France, Britain, Germany and Japan to become the premier manufacturing power on earth and a geo-strategic rival. Now, from East Africa to Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, and from the South and East China Sea to Taiwan, Beijing’s expansionist ambitions have become clear.

And where are the Republicans responsible for building up this potentially malevolent power that thieves our technology? Talking of building a Reagan-like Navy to contain the mammoth they nourished.

Since the Cold War, America’s elites have been exhibiting symptoms of that congenital blindness associated since Rome with declining and falling empires.

While GOP grass roots have begged for measures to control our bleeding southern border, they were regularly denounced as nativists by party elites, many of whom are now backing Trump’s wall.

For decades, America’s elites failed to see that the transnational moment of the post-Cold War era was passing and an era of rising nationalism and tribalism was at hand.

“We live in a time,” said U2’s Bono this week, “when institutions as vital to human progress as the United Nations are under attack.”

The institutions Bono referenced — the U.N., EU, NATO — all trace their roots to the 1940s and 1950s, a time that bears little resemblance to the era we have entered, an era marked by a spreading and desperate desire of peoples everywhere to preserve who and what they are.

No, Trump didn’t start the fire.

The world was ablaze with tribalism and was raising up authoritarians to realize nationalist ends — Xi Jinping, Putin, Narendra Modi in India, Erdogan in Turkey, Gen. el-Sissi in Egypt — before he came down that escalator.

And so the elites who were in charge when the fire broke out, and who failed to respond and refused even to recognize it, and who now denounce Trump for how he is coping with it, are unlikely to be called upon again to lead this republic.

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Is Trump Standing Down in Syria?

Is Trump Standing Down in Syria

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Wednesday morning, President Trump jolted the nation with a tweet that contained both threat and taunt:

“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’ You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”

Trump was responding to a warning by Russia that she would shoot down U.S. missiles fired at her Syrian allies, and she reserved the right to fire on U.S. warships and bases from which any such missiles were launched.

The “Gas Killing Animal” was Syrian President Bashar Assad.

That afternoon, Defense Secretary James Mattis dialed it down. Had he seen enough evidence to convict Assad of a poison gas attack in Douma, Mattis was asked. His reply: “We are still assessing the intelligence. … We’re still working on this.”

Thursday morning, Trump seemed to walk back his threat: “Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!”

Is Trump planning a larger attack and silently gathering allies? Is he signaling that a U.S. attack on Syria may not be coming?

Whichever, the relief at his apparent stand down was palpable.

Yet the interlude should cause some sober second thoughts.

Why risk war with Russia in Syria, when, by our own inaction during this seven-year civil war, we have shown we have no vital interest there? And, surely, we have no interest in Syria so crucial as to justify a war with a nuclear-armed Russia.

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Trump allowed his revulsion at the awful pictures of dead children, allegedly gassed, to impel him to threaten military action almost certain to result in more dead children.

Emotions should not be allowed to overrule what the president has thought and expressed many times: While the outcome of Syria’s civil war may mean everything to Assad, and much to Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel, it means comparatively little to a USA 5,000 miles away.

We cannot forever fight other peoples’ wars without ending up on the same ash heap of history as the other world powers before us.

And why not talk directly to our adversaries there?

If Trump can talk to Kim Jong Un, who used an anti-aircraft gun to execute his uncle and had his half-brother murdered in a Malaysian airport with a chemical weapon, why cannot we talk to Bashar Assad?

In 1974, Richard Nixon flew to Damascus to establish ties to Assad’s father, the future “Butcher of Hama.” George H.W. Bush enlisted Hafez al-Assad and 4,000 Syrian troops in his Gulf War to liberate Kuwait.

What are America’s limited interests in Syria in 2018?

Containing al-Qaida, exterminating the ISIS caliphate, and effecting the best deal we can for the Kurds who have been loyal and crucial to our campaign against ISIS. Damascus, Moscow and Tehran are not fighting us on these fronts. For al-Qaida and ISIS are their enemies as well.

As for the political future of Syria, it is not vital to us and not ours to determine. And the efforts of others to have us come fight their wars, while understandable, need to be resisted.

All over this city, and across the Middle East, there are people who wish to conscript U.S. wealth and power to advance their goals and achieve their visions. Having let them succeed so often has diminished us as a superpower from what we were at the end of the Cold War.

This should stop, and the nation knows it.

Among the reasons Democrats nominated Barack Obama and America elected him was that his opponents, Hillary Clinton and John McCain, supported the Iraq War Obama opposed.

Among the reasons the Republican Party nominated Trump and the nation elected him was that he promised to take us out and keep us out of wars like this Syrian civil war.

Is it not ironic that today our War Party, which, almost to a man, loathed Trump and rejected his candidacy, is goading and cheering him on, deeper and deeper into the Syrian quagmire?

Trump is heading into a 60-day period that will go far to determine the fate of his presidency and the future of the Middle East.

If investigators determine that Assad’s forces used poison gas on civilians in Douma, Trump will have to decide whether to repeat the strike he made on Syria, a year ago, and, this time, risk war with Russia.

He will have to decide by May 12 whether the U.S. walks away from the Iran nuclear deal. On May 15 comes the formal move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the 70th anniversary of the birth of Israel and of the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” of the Palestinians, and the culmination of the Friday protests in Gaza that have turned so bloody.

We and Mr. Trump are heading into interesting times.

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Has the War Party Hooked Trump?

Has the War Party Hooked Trump?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

With his Sunday tweet that Bashar Assad, “Animal Assad,” ordered a gas attack on Syrian civilians, and Vladimir Putin was morally complicit in the atrocity, President Donald Trump just painted himself and us into a corner.

“Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria,” tweeted Trump, “President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price… to pay.”

“Big price… to pay,” said the president.

Now, either Trump launches an attack that could drag us deeper into a seven-year civil war from which he promised to extricate us last week, or Trump is mocked as being a man of bluster and bluff.

For Trump Sunday accused Barack Obama of being a weakling for failing to strike Syria after an earlier chemical attack.

“If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand,” Trump tweeted, “the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!”

Trump’s credibility is now on the line and he is being goaded by the war hawks to man up. Sunday, John McCain implied that Trump’s comments about leaving Syria “very soon” actually “emboldened” Assad:

“President Trump last week signaled to the world that the United States would prematurely withdraw from Syria. Bashar Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers have heard him, and emboldened by American inaction, Assad has reportedly launched another chemical attack against innocent men, women and children, this time in Douma.”

Pronouncing Assad a “war criminal,” Lindsey Graham said Sunday the entire Syrian air force should be destroyed.

So massive an attack would be an act of war against a nation that has not attacked us and does not threaten us. Hence, Congress, prior to such an attack, should pass a resolution authorizing a U.S. war on Syria.

And, as Congress does, it can debate our objectives in this new war, and how many men, casualties and years will be required to defeat the coalition of Syria, Russia, Hezbollah, Iran, and the allied Shiite militias from the Near East.

On John Bolton’s first day as national security adviser, Trump is being pushed to embrace a policy of Cold War confrontation with Russia and a U.S. war with Syria. Yet candidate Trump campaigned against both.

The War Party that was repudiated in 2016 appears to be back in the saddle. But before he makes good on that threat of a “big price… to pay,” Trump should ask his advisers what comes after the attack on Syria.

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Lest we forget, there was a reason Obama did not strike Syria for a previous gas attack. Americans rose up as one and said we do not want another Middle East war.

When John Kerry went to Capitol Hill for authorization, Congress, sensing the national mood, declined to support any such attack.

Trump’s strike, a year ago, with 59 cruise missiles, on the air base that allegedly launched a sarin gas attack, was supported only because Trump was new in office and the strike was not seen as the beginning of a longer and deeper involvement in a war Americans did not want to fight.

Does Trump believe that his political base is more up for a major U.S. war in Syria today than it was then?

The folks who cheered Trump a week ago when he said we were getting out of Syria, will they cheer him if he announces that we are going deeper in?

Before any U.S. attack, Trump should make sure there is more hard evidence that Assad launched this poison gas attack than there is that Russia launched that poison gas attack in Salisbury, England.

One month after that attack, which Prime Minister Theresa May ascribed to Russia and Foreign Minister Boris Johnson laid at the feet of Putin himself, questions have arisen:

If the nerve agent used, Novichok, was of a military variety so deadly it could kill any who came near, why is no one dead from it?

Both the target, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia are recovering.

If the deadly poison was, as reported, put on the doorknob of Skripal’s home, how did he and Yulia manage to go to a restaurant after being contaminated, with neither undergoing a seizure until later on a park bench?

If Russia did it, why are the British scientists at Porton Down now admitting that they have not yet determined the source of the poison?

Why would Putin, with the prestige of hosting the World Cup in June on the line, perpetrate an atrocity that might have killed hundreds and caused nations not only to pull out of the games, but to break diplomatic relations with Russia?

U.S. foreign policy elites claim Putin wanted Trump to win the 2016 election. But if Putin indeed wanted to deal with Trump, why abort all such prospects with a poison gas murder of a has-been KGB agent in Britain, America’s foremost ally?

The sole beneficiaries of the gas attacks in Salisbury and Syria appear to be the War Party.

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Is That Russia Troll Farm an Act of War?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

According to the indictment by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Russian trolls, operating out of St. Petersburg, took American identities on social media and became players in our 2016 election.

On divisive racial and religious issues, the trolls took both sides. In the presidential election, the trolls favored Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein and Donald Trump, and almost never Hillary Clinton.

One imaginative Russian troll urged Trumpsters to dress up a female volunteer in an orange prison jump suit, put her in a cage on a flatbed truck, then append the slogan, “Lock Her Up!”

How grave a matter is this?

This Russian troll farm is “the equivalent (of) Pearl Harbor,” says Cong. Jerrold Nadler, who would head up the House Judiciary Committee, handling any impeachment, if Democrats retake the House.

When MSNBC’s Chris Hayes pressed, Nadler doubled down: The Russians “are destroying our democratic process.” While the Russian trolling may not equal Pearl Harbor in its violence, said Nadler, in its “seriousness, it is very much on a par” with Japan’s surprise attack.

Trump’s reaction to the hysteria that broke out after the Russian indictments: “They are laughing their (expletives) off in Moscow.”

According to Sunday’s Washington Post, the troll story is old news in Russia, where reporters uncovered it last year and it was no big deal.

While Mueller’s indictments confirm that Russians meddled in the U.S. election, what explains the shock and the fear for “our democracy”?

Is the Great Republic about to fall because a bunch of trolls tweeted in our election? Is this generation ignorant of its own history?

Before and after World War II, we had Stalinists and Soviet spies at the highest levels of American culture and government.

The Hollywood Ten, who went to prison for contempt of Congress, were secret members of a Communist Party that, directed from Moscow, controlled the Progressive Party in Philadelphia in 1948 that nominated former Vice President Henry Wallace to run against Harry Truman.

Soviet spies infiltrated the U.S. atom bomb project and shortened the time Stalin needed to explode a Soviet bomb in 1949.

As for Russian trolling in our election, do we really have clean hands when it comes to meddling in elections and the internal politics of regimes we dislike?

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Sen. John McCain and Victoria Nuland of State egged on the Maidan Square crowds in Kiev that overthrew the elected government of Ukraine. When the democratically elected regime of Mohammed Morsi was overthrown, the U.S. readily accepted the coup as a victory for our side and continued aid to Egypt as tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members were imprisoned.

Are the CIA and National Endowment for Democracy under orders not to try to influence the outcome of elections in nations in whose ruling regimes we believe we have a stake?

“Have we ever tried to meddle in other countries’ elections?” Laura Ingraham asked former CIA Director James Woolsey this weekend.

With a grin, Woolsey replied, “Oh, probably.”

“We don’t do that anymore though?” Ingraham interrupted. “We don’t mess around in other people’s elections, Jim?”

“Well,” Woolsey said with a smile. “Only for a very good cause.”

Indeed, what is the National Endowment for Democracy all about, if not aiding the pro-American side in foreign nations and their elections?

Did America have no active role in the “color-coded revolutions” that have changed regimes from Serbia to Ukraine to Georgia?

When Republicans discuss Iran on Capitol Hill, the phrase “regime change” is frequently heard. When the “Green Revolution” took to the streets of Tehran to protest massively the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, Republicans denounced President Obama for not intervening more energetically to alter the outcome.

When China, Russia and Egypt expel NGOs, are their suspicions that some have been seeded with U.S. agents merely marks of paranoia?

The U.S. role in the overthrow of Premier Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, and of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, and of President Ngo Dinh Diem in Saigon in 1963 are established facts.

When the democratically elected Marxist Salvador Allende was overthrown in Chile in 1973, and committed suicide with an AK-47 given to him by Fidel Castro, the Nixon White House may have had no direct role. But the White House welcomed the ascendancy of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

What do these indictments of Russians tell us? After 18 months, the James Comey-Robert Mueller FBI investigation into the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta emails has yet to produce evidence of collusion.

Yet we do have evidence that a senior British spy and Trump hater, Christopher Steele, paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC to dig up dirt on Trump, colluded with Kremlin agents to produce a dossier of scurrilous and unsubstantiated charges, to destroy the candidacy of Donald Trump. And the FBI used this disinformation to get FISA Court warrants to surveil and wiretap the Trump campaign.

Why is this conspiracy and collusion with Russians less worthy of Mueller’s attention than a troll farm in St. Petersburg?

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