How Democracy Is Losing the World

How Democracy Is Losing the World

By Patrick J. Buchanan

If Donald Trump told Michael Cohen to pay hush money to Stormy Daniels about a one-night stand a decade ago, that, says Jerome Nadler, incoming chair of House Judiciary, would be an “impeachable offense.”

This tells you what social media, cable TV and the great herd of talking heads will be consumed with for the next two years — the peccadillos and misdeeds of Trump, almost all of which occurred before being chosen as president of the United States.

“Everywhere President Trump looks,” writes The Washington Times’ Rowan Scarborough, “there are Democrats targeting him from New York to Washington to Maryland… lawmakers, state attorneys general, opposition researchers, bureaucrats and activist defense lawyers.

“They are aiming at Russia collusion, the Trump Organization, the Trump Foundation, a Trump hotel, Trump tax returns, Trump campaign finances and supposed money laundering.”

The full-court press is on. Day and night we will be hearing debate on the great question: Will the elites that loathe him succeed in bringing Trump down, driving him from office, and prosecuting and putting him in jail?

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Says Adam Schiff, the incoming chair of the House intelligence committee: “Donald Trump may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.”

And what will a watching world be thinking when it sees the once-great republic preoccupied with breaking yet another president?

Will that world think: Why can’t we be more like America?

Does the world still envy us our free press, which it sees tirelessly digging up dirt on political figures and flaying them with abandon?

Among the reasons democracy is in discredit and retreat worldwide is that its exemplar and champion, the USA, is beginning to resemble France’s Third Republic in its last days before World War II.

Also, democracy no longer has the field largely to itself as to how to create a prosperous and powerful nation-state.

This century, China has shown aspiring rulers how a single-party regime can create a world power, and how democracy is not a necessary precondition for extraordinary economic progress.

Vladimir Putin, an autocratic nationalist, has shown how a ruined nation can be restored to a great power in the eyes of its people and the world, commanding a new deference and respect.

Democracy is a bus you get off when it reaches your stop, says Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan. After the attempted coup in the summer of 2017, Erdogan purged his government and military of tens of thousands of enemies and jailed more journalists than any other nation.

Yet he is welcomed in the capitals of the world.

What does American democracy now offer the world as its foremost attribute, its claim to greatness?

“Our diversity is our strength!” proclaims this generation.

We have become a unique nation composed of peoples from every continent and country, every race, ethnicity, culture and creed on earth.

But is not diversity what Europe is openly fleeing from?

Is there any country of the Old Continent clamoring for more migrants from the Maghreb, sub-Sahara or Middle East?

Broadly, it seems more true to say that the world is turning away from transnationalism toward tribalism, and away from diversity and back to the ethno-nationalism whence the nations came.

The diversity our democracy has on offer is not selling.

Ethnic, racial and religious minorities, such as the Uighurs and Tibetans in China, the Rohingya in Myanmar, minority black tribes in sub-Sahara Africa and white farmers in South Africa, can testify that popular majority rule often means mandated restrictions or even an end to minority rights.

In the Middle East, free elections produced a Muslim Brotherhood president in Egypt, Hamas in Palestine, Hezbollah in Lebanon. After this, a disillusioned Bush 43 White House called off the democracy crusade.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, relates how one minority is treated in much of the Muslim world:

“Christians face daily the threat of violence, murder, intimidation, prejudice and poverty…”

“In the last few years, they have been slaughtered by so-called Islamic State. … Hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes. Many have been killed, enslaved and persecuted or forcibly converted. Even those who remain ask the question, ‘Why stay?’

“Christian communities that were the foundation of the universal Church now face the threat of imminent extinction.”

And all the while this horror is going on, Ronald Reagan’s treaty that banned all U.S. and Soviet nuclear missiles with a range between 310 and 3,400 miles faces collapse. And President Trump’s initiative to bring about a nuclear-free North Korea appears in peril.

Yet, for the next two years, we will be preoccupied with whether paying hush money to Stormy Daniels justifies removing a president, and exactly when Michael Cohen stopped talking to the Russians about his boss building a Trump Tower in Moscow.

We are an unserious nation, engaged in trivial pursuits, in a deadly serious world.

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With Friends Like These

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Was Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and then his body cut up with a bone saw and flown to Riyadh in Gulfstream jets owned by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman?

So contend the Turks, who have video from the consulate, photos of 15 Saudi agents who flew into Istanbul that day, Oct. 2, and the identity numbers of the planes.

Supporting the thesis of either a murder in the consulate or a “rendition,” a kidnaping gone horribly bad, is a Post story that U.S. intel intercepted Saudi planning, ordered by the prince, to lure Khashoggi from his suburban D.C. home back to Saudi Arabia. And for what beneficent purpose?

If these charges are not refuted by Riyadh, there will likely be, and should be, as John Bolton said in another context, “hell to pay.”

And the collateral diplomatic damage looks to be massive.

Any U.S.-backed “Arab NATO” to face down Iran, with Riyadh as central pillar, would appear dead. Continued U.S. support for the Saudi war in Yemen would now be in question.

The special relationship the crown prince and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have established could be history.

Congress could cancel U.S. arms sales to the kingdom that keep thousands of U.S. defense workers employed, and impose sanctions on the prince who is heir apparent to the throne of his 82-year-old father, King Salman.

Today, the Saudi prince has become toxic, and his ascension to the Saudi throne seems less inevitable than two weeks ago. Yet, well before Khashoggi’s disappearance in the consulate, Crown Prince Mohammed’s behavior had seemed wildly erratic.

Along with the UAE, he charged Qatar with supporting terrorism, severed relations, and threatened to build a ditch to sever Qatar from the Arabian Peninsula. To protest criticism of his country’s human rights record by Canada’s foreign minister, he cut all ties to Ottawa.

Last year, he summoned Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to Riyadh, held him for a week, and forced him to resign his office and blame it on Iranian interference in Lebanon. Released, Hariri returned home to reclaim his office.

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A professed reformer, Crown Prince Mohammed opened movie theaters to women and allowed them to drive, and then jailed the social activists who had called for these reforms.

Three years ago, he initiated the war on the Houthis, after the rebels ousted a pro-Saudi president and took over most of the country.

And, since 2015, the crown prince has conducted a savage air war that has brought Houthi missiles down on his own country and capital.

Yemen has become Saudi Arabia’s Vietnam.

That our principal Arab ally in our confrontation with Iran, which could lead to yet another U.S. war, is a regime headed by so unstable a character should raise serious concerns about where it is we are going in the Middle East.

Have we not wars already?

Do we not have enough enemies in the region — Taliban, al-Qaida, ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria, Iran — to be starting another war?

As for our regional allies, consider.

NATO ally Turkey, which is pressing the case against our Saudi allies, leads the world in the number of journalists jailed. Our Egyptian ally, Gen. al-Sissi, came to power in a military coup, and has imprisoned thousands of dissidents of the Muslim Brotherhood.

While we have proclaimed Iran the “world’s greatest state sponsor of terror,” it is Yemen, where Saudi Arabia intervened in 2015, that is regarded as the world’s great human rights catastrophe.

Moreover, Iran is itself suffering from terrorism.

Last month, a military parade in the city of Ahvaz in the southwest was attacked by gunmen who massacred 25 soldiers and civilians in the deadliest terror attack in Iran in a decade.

And like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, Iran suffers, too, from tribalism, with Arab secessionists in its southwest, Baloch secessionists in its southeast, and Kurd secessionists in its northwest.

The U.S. cannot look aside at a royal Saudi hand in the murder of a U.S.-based journalist in its consulate in Istanbul. But before we separate ourselves from the Riyadh regime, we should ask what is the alternative if the House of Saud should be destabilized or fall?

When Egypt’s King Farouk was overthrown in 1952, we got Nasser.

When young King Faisal was overthrown in Baghdad in 1958, we eventually got Saddam Hussein. When King Idris in Libya was ousted in 1969, we got Qaddafi. When Haile Selassie was overthrown and murdered in Ethiopia in 1974, we got Col. Mengistu and mass murder. When the Shah was overthrown in Iran in 1979, we got the Ayatollah.

As World War I, when four empires fell, testifies, wars are hell on monarchies. And if a new and larger Middle East war, with Iran, should break out in the Gulf, some of the Arab kings, emirs and sultans will likely fall.

And when they do, history shows, it is not usually democrats who rise to replace them.

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Israel at 70: Bibi’s Troubled Hour of Power

Israel at 70: Bibi's Troubled Hour of Power

By Patrick J. Buchanan

For Bibi Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister save only founding father David Ben-Gurion, it has been a week of triumph.

Last Tuesday, President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal as Bibi had demanded. Thursday, after Iran launched 20 missiles at the Golan Heights, Bibi answered with a 70-missile attack on Iran in Syria.

“If it rains on us, it will storm on them. I hope we have finished the episode,” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, boasting that Israel’s raids hit “nearly all Iranian infrastructure in Syria.”

The day before, Bibi was in Moscow, persuading Vladimir Putin to cancel the sale of Russia’s S-300 air defense system to Damascus.

Yesterday, in an event televised worldwide, the U.S. embassy was transferred to Jerusalem, with Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner doing the honors in what Bibi called a “glorious day.” Few can recall a time when Israel seemed in so favorable a position.

The White House and the Republican Party that controls Congress are solidly behind Israel. Egypt is cooperating to battle terrorists in Sinai.

Israel has a de facto alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf royals. And the Palestinians have never been more divided, isolated and alone.

Yet, there is another side to this story, also visible this last week.

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As the transfer ceremony of the Jerusalem embassy was taking place, TV split screens showed pictures of protesting Palestinians, 52 of whom were shot dead Monday, with thousands wounded by snipers. Some 40,000 had rallied against the U.S. embassy move.

Even before Monday’s body count, the Gaza Health Ministry said that, over the previous six Fridays of “March of Return” protests, 49 Palestinians had been killed and 2,240 hit by live fire from Israeli troops.

Those dead and wounded Palestinians are not likely to be forgotten in Gaza. And while Israel has never had so many Arab regimes willing to work with her in pushing back against Iran, Arab League Chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit called the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem, a “clear violation of international law.”

Gheit added: “The fall of Palestinian martyrs by the bullets of the Israeli occupation must ring an alarm … bell to any state that does not find anything wrong with the immoral and illegal stance that we are watching.”

Last week, Hezbollah, which arose in resistance to the 1982 Israeli occupation of Lebanon, and expelled the Israeli army 18 years later, won Lebanon’s elections. A Hezbollah-backed coalition will likely form the new government in Beirut.

Michael Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to the U.S. and Bibi ally, said that any attack by Hezbollah, which fought Israel to a standstill in 2006, should bring an Israeli declaration of war — on Lebanon.

While Israel launched some 100 strikes on Syria in recent years, Syrian President Bashar Assad has survived and, with the aid of Hezbollah, Iran and Russia, won his civil war.

Assad and his army and allies are far stronger now, while President Trump, Israel’s indispensable ally, speaks of bringing U.S. troops home from Syria. In polls, a majority of Americans lines up behind Israel in its clashes, but a majority also wants no more U.S. wars in the Middle East.

Also, Sunday, the U.S. sustained another major political defeat.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi lost his re-election bid. Based on early results, the winning coalition was that of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, against whose forces U.S. troops fought a decade ago.

Running second was a ticket led by a Shiite militia general close to Iran. When a new government is formed in Baghdad, the orientation of Iraq seems certain to shift away from the United States.

While the Israelis are the most powerful nation in the region, how long can they keep 2 million Palestinian Arabs confined in the penal colony that is the Gaza Strip? How long can they keep the 2 million Palestinians of the West Bank living in conditions even Israeli leaders have begun to compare to apartheid?

Across the West, especially in universities, a BDS movement to have students, companies and consumers boycott, divest and sanction Israeli-produced products has been gaining ground.

The Palestinians may have been abandoned by Arab rulers and the wider world. Yet, history teaches that people forced to survive in such conditions eventually rise in rebellion and revolution, take revenge, and exact retribution for what was done to them and their own.

Republican leaders often say that we cannot permit “any daylight” between the U.S. position and that of Israel.

But can the country that decried for decades the panicked reaction of an Ohio National Guard that shot and killed four students at Kent State University sit silent as scores of unarmed protesters are shot to death and thousands are wounded by Israeli troops in Gaza?

Bibi and Israel appear to be on a winning streak. It is difficult to see how, over the long run, it can be sustained.

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Their War, Not Ours

Their War, Not Ours

By Patrick J. Buchanan

As the Islamic warriors of ISIS rolled down the road from Mosul, John McCain was an echo of French Premier Paul Reynaud, when word reached Paris that Rommel had broken through in the Ardennes:

“We are now facing an existential threat to the security of the United States of America,” said McCain.

But nothing that happens in Mesopotamia is going to threaten the existence of the United States. As for the terrorist threat from ISIS, for us it is neither greater nor less than it was a week ago.

The existential threat here is to Iraq. Its survival as one nation is now in question, with the possibility it could be torn apart in a civil and sectarian war. But this is preeminently Iraq’s problem, not ours.

And if Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, his 900,000-man army, and Shia militia cannot defend Baghdad from a few thousand Islamist warriors, America is under no obligation to do it for them.

Maliki told us to go home three years ago. We did. And before we plunge back into that misbegotten war, let us consider what the real threats are — to America.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria consists of fanatics who seek to carve a caliphate out of territory they now control from Aleppo in Syria to 60 miles north of Baghdad.

Yet they have halted before Baghdad. And among the reasons is that Iraq’s Shia majority is not going to allow Sunni zealots to capture their cities, smash their shrines, and murder their fellow Shia.

They will fight, as the Iraqi army did not.

Secondly, ISIS has as allies in the north and west of Iraq Sunnis who detest Maliki and wish to be rid of him. But these Sunni are not demanding a Taliban regime to abolish smoking and drinking. Nor are they fighting to cut off the heads of their Shia countrymen.

If ISIS goes beyond the liberation of the Sunni triangle to trying to take over all of Iraq, they will lose many Sunni allies and find themselves facing Iraq’s Shia majority, backed up by Iranian forces, virtually alone.

But while the Iraqi army and Shia militia may well hold Baghdad, it is hard to see how Maliki can soon reconquer the Sunni provinces. For the Sunnis want no part of him or his regime.

Nor does Maliki seem capable of taking back Kirkuk, which the Kurds seized in the chaos as a step toward independence.

What should America do? Take a hard look at our entire Middle East policy.

Consider. We are now providing weapons to the Free Syrian Army to oust Bashar Assad. “Assad must go!” blared Barack Obama in one of his many ignored ultimata.

But should Assad fall, the result will be the persecution of the Syrian Christians, a massacre of the Alawites, and a possible takeover of the country by the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front and ISIS.

Is any of that in America’s interests?

Vladimir Putin lately raised a valid question: Why, in Syria, are the Americans on the same side as the people who took down the twin towers? Indeed, why are we?

And who is fighting al-Qaida and ISIS in Syria, battling those McCain calls an “existential threat” to American security?

Bashar Assad. Hezbollah. Iran. Russia.

Tehran has reportedly volunteered to work with us in providing military aid to prop up the Maliki regime and keep ISIS out of Baghdad.

If we regard the survival of the Maliki regime to be in our national interests, why would we not green-light the Iranians to do this?

When Hitler turned on his partner Stalin, the United States rushed military aid to save the monster whom FDR and Truman took to calling “Good Old Joe” and “Uncle Joe” at Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam.

Is the Ayatollah somehow worse than Stalin?

Yet, consider, too, how our allies in the Gulf and Middle East have behaved in Syria.

The Turks, clamoring for the overthrow of Assad, looked the other way as jihadists moved into Syria. The Gulf states and Saudis have reportedly sent money and military aid to the extremists.

Are the Turks and Gulf Arabs aiding these jihadists in the belief they will not turn on them, if and when Assad and Maliki fall? Do they think that by feeding this tiger ISIS, it will eat them last?

We may be entering the early stages of a sectarian war between Sunni and Shia across the Middle East. The ISIS claim of having executed 1,700 captured Shia soldiers in Iraq is surely intended to ignite one.

If it happens, this war could spread to Lebanon, Jordan and down into the Gulf states where Shia outnumber Sunnis in Bahrain and in the oil-producing provinces of the Saudi northeast.

Does the Middle East today — Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon — look like what we were promised by George Bush and his neocon advisers when they were beating the drums for a U.S. invasion of Iraq?

Stay out of the Syrian Maelstrom

Stay Out of Syria

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“In Syria, I will work … to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters and fighter jets.”

This commitment by Mitt Romney in his VMI address has thrilled the neocons as much as it has unsettled the realists in his camp.

And the reasons for the latter’s alarm are apparent.

Last year, U.S. planes scrambled to defend Benghazi against the “tanks, helicopters and fighter jets” of Col. Gadhafi. Now we are investigating the murders of our ambassador and three Americans in the city we saved.

To bring down helicopters and fighter jets would require U.S. F-16s over Syria or putting surface-to-air missiles in rebel hands. Do we really want to be passing Stingers around a no man’s land where al-Qaida agents could buy up a few to bring down U.S. airliners?

What Romney proposes is an act of war. Before we get into our fourth war in 12 years, let us consider the antagonists.

This is first a religious war with the Shia regimes — Hezbollah, Iran and the Iraqis we brought to power — lined up behind Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Aligned against are Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who have been sending arms to the rebels, and Turkey, which has allowed the transfer of arms.

Egypt has not gotten involved, but President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood has demanded that Assad stand down.

Among the rebels fighting Assad, however, are Islamic jihadists from across the Middle East and al-Qaida. And should Assad fall, his successor would likely be a Sunni favorite of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Does the Brotherhood “share our values”?

If Damascus falls to the Brotherhood, the Christians Assad sheltered would face the fate of the Copts in Egypt and Christians in Iraq: terror, persecution, expulsion. The Alawites, the Shia minority whence Assad comes, would go to the wall.

There is also an ethnic component to this war. If the regime and state collapse, Syria‘s Kurds could emulate their cousins in Iraq and Turkey and unite to fight for a separate Kurdistan in the heart of the Middle East.

Then there are the strategic stakes. If Assad falls, the Shia crescent — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon — is severed. Vladimir Putin’s navy, whose last base in the Mediterranean is Tartus on Syria‘s coast, would suffer a strategic defeat.

Thursday, the Turks forced down a Syrian airliner flying from Moscow to Damascus and removed what the Turks described as military equipment. An angry Moscow has protested.

And Israel? While nothing would please Israelis more than a strategic defeat for Tehran, Assad and his father kept the peace on the Golan for 40 years. And as the Sinai is turning into a no man’s land with Hosni Mubarak gone and the Muslim Brotherhood in power, might not the same happen on the Golan when Assad falls?

And how have the Turks benefited from their involvement? By siding against Assad, they made a mortal enemy of a friend. Assad in retaliation loosened the reins on Syria‘s Kurds, whose kinsmen are 20 percent of Turkey‘s population. The Alawites in Turkey, ethnic Arabs, number another 15 million. The hard line taken by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is becoming increasingly unpopular with his people.

How long would Americans support an administration that embroiled us in this maelstrom?

In the last week, shells from Syria have landed on Turkish soil. Is the Syrian army doing this deliberately? That makes no sense.

Are these mortar shells landing in Turkey a result of artillery duels between the Syrian army and rebels? Or are the rebels doing it deliberately to provoke Turkey into entering the war?

The Turkish line toward Syria is growing more belligerent. Are the Turks seeking a clash with the Syrian army so Ankara can invoke Article 5 of the NATO treaty and force the United States to join Turkey in ousting Assad, if not on a march to Damascus?

In an Arab world that does not fondly recall an Ottoman Empire whose heartland Turkey was, that would not sit well.

The Syrian civil war could end suddenly with the fall of Assad. But it could also widen with Turkey and Hezbollah becoming directly involved, and Russia, Iran and Iraq sending military aid to prop up their ally. The whole region could go up in flames.

Yet what vital American interest is there in who rules in Damascus to justify yet another U.S. war in the Middle East?

While the Assads are despotic, George H.W. Bush made the father an ally in Desert Storm and Ehud Barak offered to return to Hafez Assad the Golan Heights in exchange for a peace deal.

If America has a vital interest in this multisided war, that interest is served by staying out, as we have done for its duration.

And how exactly have we suffered by not plunging in?

The Irreconcilable Conflict

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,

“Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat.”

Thus did Kipling, the Poet of Empire, caution the British about the Eastern world the Victorians and Edwardians believed to be theirs.

And with that world so inflamed against us, perhaps we should inspect more closely our irreconcilable conflict — what Harvard’s Michael Ignatieff calls “the fatal dialectic between Islamic rage and Western free speech.” Consider first American values, as seen from an ACLU point of view.

Our establishment holds that not only is there to be a wall of separation between church and state, all symbols of religious belief are to be expunged from public institutions and the public square.

And what do devout Muslims believe?

That there is no God but Allah, that Muhammad is his Prophet, that sharia shows the way to a moral life in this world and paradise in the next.

Many Muslims put their Islamic faith ahead of their national identity and forbid preachers from other religions from coming into their countries to convert their young. Apostasy is treason to Allah. Heresy has no rights.

From America’s schools, religion has been relentlessly purged. No prayers, no Bibles, no Christian symbols, no Ten Commandments. And into these godless madrassas of modernity has come compulsory sex education starting in the early grades, with condoms handed out to the sexually active.

Devout Muslims demand that children be immersed in their Islamic faith in their schools and believe that teachers who condone or encourage sexual activity among their young are and should be treated as perverts.

In Charlotte, the Democratic Party came out for “marriage equality” and subsidized abortions into the ninth month of pregnancy with the woman the sole decider as to whether the unborn child lives or dies.

In many Muslim countries, men caught in homosexual activity risk mutilation and women’s rights do not exist. What do we think is going to happen to those girls’ schools in Afghanistan when we come home and the Taliban return?

When we proclaim that our First Amendment protects Quran-burning and denigrating the Prophet in books, magazines, videos and films, devout Muslims reply unapologetically: Under Quranic law, we kill people like that.

In America, Christians have futilely protested insults to their faith like the “Piss Christ” and depiction of a Madonna adorned with elephant dung.

Muslim protests appear more effective, as Salman Rushdie, the Danish cartoonist who portrayed Muhammad with a bomb for a turban and Theo van Gogh, ritually slaughtered in Holland, could testify.

We preach pluralism. Some Muslim countries take the same attitude toward religious pluralism as Henry VIII and Torquemada.

In our own country in 1844, the founder of Mitt Romney’s faith discovered that Protestant America was not all that tolerant, when a mob lynched him right there in the land of Lincoln.

Our elite believe in a new trinity of equality, democracy and diversity. Indeed, after the Cold War, we declared the spread of democracy worldwide to be our historic mission and national goal.

But, down deep, do we really believe what we say? When U.S. vital interests clash with democratist ideology, do we not put those interests first?

The king of Bahrain has been in power for 10 years. Have we ever called for free elections there, which would likely produce a Shia government friendly to Iran and far less receptive to remaining as the Persian Gulf base for the Fifth Fleet?

Have we ever demanded that the king of Saudi Arabia hold free elections? When one-man, one-vote produced victories for Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, did not George W. Bush, the great Democracy Crusader himself, put it on the shelf for a while?

We proclaim that we cherish the First Amendment. Do we?

If so, whose version of that amendment? How many Americans would willingly die for the constitutional right to produce pornographic films? Or for some nutball’s right to insult the Prophet? Or the right of “artists” to befoul and denigrate Christian images of our own Lord and Savior?

Our Founding Fathers who created this republic did not believe in democracy. When did we come to worship this idol? Wrote T.S. Eliot:

“The term ‘democracy,’ as I have said again and again, does not contain enough positive content to stand alone against the forces that you dislike — it can easily be transformed by them. If you will not have God (and He is a jealous God), you should pay your respects to Hitler or Stalin.”

Worldwide, there are a billion and a half Muslims. Their numbers are exploding, while the post-Christian West stares at demographic death by century’s end.

While we remain infinitely superior militarily and materially, what will be the ultimate outcome of the clash of civilizations? Kipling’s prediction:

“And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased,

“And the epitaph drear: ‘A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East.'”

Syria’s Insurrection Is Not America’s War

By Patrick J. Buchanan

In pushing for U.S. military intervention in Syria — arming the insurgents and using U.S. air power to “create safe zones” for anti-regime forces “inside Syria’s borders” — The Washington Post invokes “vital U.S. interests” that are somehow imperiled there.

Exactly what these vital interests are is left unexplained.

For 40 years, we have lived with a Damascus regime led by either Bashar Assad or his father, Hafez Assad. Were our “vital interests” in peril all four decades?

In 1991, George H.W. Bush recruited the elder Assad into his Desert Storm coalition that liberated Kuwait. Damascus sent 4,000 troops. In gratitude, we hosted a Madrid Conference to advance a land-for-peace deal between Assad and Israel.

It failed, but it could have meant a return of the Golan Heights to Assad and Syria’s return to the eastern bank of the Sea of Galilee.

We could live with that but cannot live with Bashar?

Comes the reply: The reason is the Houla massacre, where more than 100 Syrians were slaughtered, mostly women and children, the most horrid atrocity in a 15-month war that has taken 10,000 lives.

We Americans cannot stand idly by and let this happen.

That massacre was indeed appalling, and apparently the work of rogue militias aligned with the regime. But in 1982, Bashar’s father rolled his artillery up to the gates of Hama and, to crush an insurrection by the Muslim Brotherhood, fired at will into the city until 20,000 were dead.

What did America do? Nothing.

In Black September, 1970, Jordan’s King Hussein used artillery on a Palestinian camp, killing thousands and sending thousands fleeing into Lebanon. During Lebanon’s civil war from 1975 to 1990, more than 100,000 perished. In the 1980s, Iraq launched a war on Iran that cost close to a million dead.

We observed, content that our enemies were killing one another.

In 1992, Islamists in Algeria won the first round of voting and were poised to win the second. Democracy was about to produce a result undesired by the Western democracies. So Washington and Paris gave Algiers a green light to prevent the Islamists from coming to power. That Algerian civil war cost scores of thousands dead.

If Arab and Muslim peoples believe Americans are hypocrites who cynically consult their strategic interests before bemoaning Arab and Muslim victims of terror and war, do they not have a point?

As for the Post‘s idea of using U.S. air power to set up “safe zones” on Syrian soil, those are acts of war. What do we do if the Syrian army answers with artillery strikes on those safe zones or overruns one, inflicting a stinging defeat on the United States?

Would we accept the humiliation — or escalate? What if Syrian air defenses start bringing down U.S. planes? What would we do if Syria’s Hezbollah allies start taking Americans hostage in Lebanon?

Ronald Reagan sent the Marines into Lebanon in 1983. His intervention in that civil war resulted in our embassy being blown up and 241 Marines massacred in the bombing of the Beirut barracks. Reagan regarded it as the worst mistake of his presidency. Are we going to repeat it because Bashar has failed to live up to our expectations?

Consider the forces lining up on each side in what looks like a Syrian civil war and dress rehearsal for a regional sectarian war.

Against Assad’s regime are the United States, the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, the Turks and Saudis, and Sunni states of the Persian Gulf.

On Assad’s side are his 300,000-strong army, the Alawite Shia in Syria, Druze, Christians, and Kurds, all of whom fear a victory of the Brotherhood, and Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah.

The question for our bellicose interventionists is this:

How much treasure should be expended, how much American blood shed so the Muslim Brotherhood can depose the Assad dynasty, take power, and establish an Islamist state in Syria?

“Tell me how this thing ends,” said Gen. David Petraeus at the onset of our misbegotten Iraq War. If we begin providing weapons to those seeking the overthrow of Assad, as the Post urges, it will be a fateful step for this republic.

We will be morally responsible for the inevitable rise in dead and wounded from the war we will have fueled. We will have committed our prestige to Assad’s downfall. As long as he survives, it will be seen as a U.S. defeat and humiliation.

And once the U.S. casualties come, the cry of the war party will come — for victory over Assad, Hezbollah, Iran, Russia! We will be on our way into another bloody debacle in a region where there is no vital U.S. interest but perhaps oil, which these folks have to sell to survive.

Before the religious and ethnic conflicts of Europe were sorted out, it took centuries of bloodletting, and our fathers instructed us to stay out of these quarrels that were none of our business.

Syria in 2012 is even less our business.