At Age 70, Time to Rethink NATO

At Age 70, Time to Rethink NATO

By Patrick J.Buchanan

“Treaties are like roses and young girls. They last while they last.”

So said President Charles De Gaulle, who in 1966 ordered NATO to vacate its Paris headquarters and get out of France.

NATO this year celebrates a major birthday. The young girl of 1966 is no longer young. The alliance is 70 years old.

And under this aging NATO today, the U.S. is committed to treat an attack on any one of 28 nations from Estonia to Montenegro to Romania to Albania as an attack on the United States.

The time is ripe for a strategic review of these war guarantees to fight a nuclear-armed Russia in defense of countries across the length of Europe that few could find on a map.

Apparently, President Donald Trump, on trips to Europe, raised questions as to whether these war guarantees comport with vital U.S. interests and whether they could pass a rigorous cost-benefit analysis.

The shock of our establishment that Trump even raised this issue in front of Europeans suggests that the establishment, frozen in the realities of yesterday, ought to be made to justify these sweeping war guarantees.

Celebrated as “the most successful alliance in history,” NATO has had two histories. Some of us can yet recall its beginnings.

In 1948, Soviet troops, occupying eastern Germany all the way to the Elbe and surrounding Berlin, imposed a blockade on the city.

The regime in Prague was overthrown in a Communist coup. Foreign minister Jan Masaryk fell, or was thrown, from a third-story window to his death. In 1949, Stalin exploded an atomic bomb.

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As the U.S. Army had gone home after V-E Day, the U.S. formed a new alliance to protect the crucial European powers — West Germany, France, Britain, Italy. Twelve nations agreed that an attack on one would be treated as an attack on them all.

Cross the Elbe and you are at war with us, including the U.S. with its nuclear arsenal, Stalin was, in effect, told. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops returned to Europe to send the message that America was serious.

Crucial to the alliance was the Yalta line dividing Europe agreed to by Stalin, FDR and Churchill at the 1945 Crimean summit on the Black Sea.

U.S. presidents, even when monstrous outrages were committed in Soviet-occupied Europe, did not cross this line into the Soviet sphere.

Truman did not send armored units up the highway to Berlin. He launched an airlift to break the Berlin blockade. Ike did not intervene to save the Hungarian rebels in 1956. JFK confined his rage at the building of the Berlin Wall to the rhetorical: “Ich bin ein Berliner.”

LBJ did nothing to help the Czechs when, before the Democratic convention in 1968, Leonid Brezhnev sent Warsaw Pact tank armies to crush the Prague Spring.

When the Solidarity movement of Lech Walesa was crushed in Gdansk, Reagan sent copy and printing machines. At the Berlin Wall in 1988, he called on Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

Reagan never threatened to tear it down himself.

But beginning in 1989, the Wall was torn down, Germany was united, the Red Army went home, the Warsaw Pact dissolved, the USSR broke apart into 15 nations, and Leninism expired in its birthplace.

As the threat that had led to NATO disappeared, many argued that the alliance created to deal with that threat should be allowed to fade away, and a free and prosperous Europe should now provide for its own defense.

It was not to be. The architect of Cold War containment, Dr. George Kennan, warned that moving NATO into Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics would prove a “fateful error.”

This, said Kennan, would “inflame the nationalistic and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion” and “restore the atmosphere of the cold war in East-West relations.” Kennan was proven right.

America is now burdened with the duty to defend Europe from the Atlantic to the Baltic, even as we face a far greater threat in China, with an economy and population 10 times that of Russia.

And we must do this with a defense budget that is not half the share of the federal budget or the GDP that Eisenhower and Kennedy had.

Trump is president today because the American people concluded that our foreign policy elite, with their endless interventions where no vital U.S. interest was imperiled, had bled and virtually bankrupted us, while kicking away all of the fruits of our Cold War victory.

Halfway into Trump’s term, the question is whether he is going to just talk about halting Cold War II with Russia, about demanding that Europe pay for its own defense, and about bringing the troops home — or whether he is going to act upon his convictions.

Our foreign policy establishment is determined to prevent Trump from carrying out his mandate. And if he means to carry out his agenda, he had best get on with it.

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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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Who Lost the World Bush 41 Left Behind?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

George H.W. Bush was America’s closer.

Called in to pitch the final innings of the Cold War, Bush 41 presided masterfully over the fall of the Berlin Wall, the unification of Germany, the liberation of 100 million Eastern Europeans and the dissolution of the Soviet Union into 15 independent nations.

History’s assignment complete, Bush 41 was retired.

And what happened to the world he left behind?

What became of that world where America was the lone superpower, which 41 believed should lead in creation of the New World Order?

The Russia that back then was led by Boris Yeltsin, a man desperate to be our friend and ally, is now ruled by an autocratic nationalist.

Was not Vladimir Putin an inevitable reaction to our treating Russia like an untrustworthy and dangerous recidivist, by our expansion of NATO into the Balkans, the eastern Baltic and the Black Sea — the entire front porch of Mother Russia?

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Did the America that in her early decades declared the Monroe Doctrine believe a great nation like Russia would forever indulge the presence of a hostile alliance on her doorstep led by a distant superpower?

In this same quarter century that we treated Russia like a criminal suspect, we welcomed China as the prodigal son. We threw open our markets to Chinese goods, escorted her into the WTO, smiled approvingly as U.S. companies shifted production there.

Beijing reciprocated — by manipulating her currency, running up hundreds of billions of dollars in trade surpluses with us, and thieving our technology when she could not extort it from our industries in China. Beijing even sent student spies into American universities.

Now the mask has fallen. China is claiming all the waters around her, building island bases in the South China Sea and deploying weapons to counter U.S. aircraft carriers. Creating ports and bases in Asia and Africa, confronting Taiwan — China clearly sees America as a potentially hostile rival power and is reaching for hegemony in the Western Pacific and East Asia.

And who produced the policies that led to the “unipolar power” of 1992 being challenged by these two great powers now collaborating against us? Was it not the three presidents who sat so uncomfortably beside President Donald Trump at the state funeral of 41?

Late in the 20th century, Osama bin Laden declared war on us for our having planted military bases on the sacred soil of Mecca and Medina; and, on Sept. 11, 2001, he made good on his declaration.

America recoiled, invaded Afghanistan, overthrew the Taliban, and set out to build an Afghan regime on American principles. Bush 43, declaring that we were besieged by “an axis of evil,” attacked and occupied Iraq.

We then helped ignite a civil war in Syria that became, with hundreds of thousands dead and millions uprooted, the greatest humanitarian disaster of the century,

Then followed our attack on Libya and support for Saudi Arabia’s war to crush the Houthi rebels in Yemen, a war that many believe has surpassed Syria as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Where are the fruits of our forever war in the Middle East that justify the 7,000 U.S. dead, 60,000 wounded and untold trillions of dollars lost?

Since George H.W. Bush left the White House, the U.S. has incurred 12 trillion dollars in trade deficits, lost scores of thousands of manufacturing plants and 5 million manufacturing jobs. Our economic independence is ancient history.

After 41 left, the Republican Party supported an immigration policy that brought tens of millions, mostly unskilled and poor, half of them illegal, into the country. Result: The Nixon-Reagan coalition that delivered two 49-state landslides in the ’70s and ’80s is history, and the Republican nominee has lost the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections.

From 1992 to 2016, the American establishment contemptuously dismissed as “isolationists” those who opposed their wars for democracy in the Middle East, and as “protectionists” those who warned that by running up these massive trade deficits we were exporting America’s future.

The establishment airily dismissed those who said that pushing NATO right up to Russia’s borders would enrage and permanently antagonize a mighty military power. They ridiculed skeptics of our embrace of the Chinese rulers who defended the Tiananmen massacre.

The establishment won the great political battles before 2016. But how did the democracy crusaders, globalists, open borders progressives and interventionists do by their country in these decades?

Did the former presidents who sat beside Trump at National Cathedral, and the establishment seated in the pews behind them, realize that it was their policies, their failures, that gave birth to the new America that rose up to throw them out, and put in Donald Trump?

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Will Paris Riots Scuttle Climate Accord?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

In Katowice, Poland, all the signers of the 2015 Paris climate accord are gathered to assess how the world’s nations are meeting their goals to cut carbon emissions.

Certainly, the communications strategy in the run-up was impressive.

In October came that apocalyptic U.N. report warning that the world is warming faster than we thought and the disasters coming sooner than we thought.

What disasters? More and worse hurricanes, uncontrollable fires, floods, the erosion of coastlines, typhoons, drought, tsunamis, the sinking of islands into the sea.

In November, a scientific report issued by 13 U.S. agencies warned that if greater measures are not taken to reduce global warming, the damage could knock 10 percent off the size of the U.S. economy by century’s end.

At the G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires, 19 of the attending nations recommitted to the Paris accord. Only President Trump’s America did not.

Yet, though confidence may abound in Katowice that the world will meet the goals set down in Paris in 2015, the global environmentalists seem to be losing momentum and losing ground.

Consider what happened this weekend in France.

Saturday, rage over a fuel tax President Emmanuel Macron has proposed to cut carbon emissions brought mobs into the heart of Paris, where they battled police, burned cars, looted, smashed show windows of elite stores such as Dior and Chanel, and desecrated the Arc de Triomphe.

In solidarity with the Paris rioters, protests in other French cities erupted.

Virulently anti-elite, the protesters say they cannot make ends meet with the present burdens on the working and middle class.

Specifically, what the rioters seem to be saying is this:

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We cannot see the benefits you are promising to future generations from cutting carbon emissions. And we cannot survive the taxes you are imposing on us in the here and now.

What is happening in Paris carries a message for all Western countries.

Democracies, which rely on the sustained support of electorates, have to impose rising costs on those electorates, if they are to deeply cut carbon emissions.

But when the electorates cannot see the benefits of these painful price hikes, the greater the likelihood the people will rise up and repudiate those whom progressives regard as far-sighted leaders — such as Macron.

Paris shows that Western elites may be reaching the limits of their political capacity to impose major sacrifices upon their constituents, who are turning to populists of the left and right to dethrone those elites.

Trump has been using tariffs to cut the trade deficits America has been running in recent decades, to bring manufacturing back to the USA, and to restore America’s economic independence.

Excellent goals all. But the immediate impact of those tariffs is rising prices at the mall and retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports. Before the long-term benefits can be realized, the pain comes and the protests begin.

No one wins a trade war, we are told. But an America willing to endure lost access to British imports in the 19th century emerged in the 20th as the greatest manufacturing power history had ever seen, a nation independent of all others, and able to stay out of the great wars of that century.

Are the American people willing to make the sacrifices to restore that independence? Are the British people willing to pay the price that the restoration of their national independence, via Brexit, entails?

Authoritarians have it easier. Morally revolting and socially ruinous as its hellish policy was, China was able to impose, for decades, a one-couple, one-child mandate on the most populous nation on earth.

According to the Paris agreement, poorer nations were promised $100 billion a year, starting in 2020, to cut carbon emissions. Anyone think that the newly nationalistic peoples of the West will tolerate that kind of wealth transfer to the Third World indefinitely?

In the Paris climate accord, China and India were given a pass to produce carbon emissions, while reductions were mandated for the Western powers.

How long will the West go along with that, while paying ever-rising prices to cut their own carbon emissions?

China, according to The New York Times, “consumes half the world’s coal. More than 4.3 million Chinese are employed in the country’s coal mines. China has added 40 percent of the world’s coal capacity since 2002.”

Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, is planning new coal-fired power plants and financing them across Asia.

What we are witnessing is an irrepressible conflict between democratic governments committed to cutting carbon emissions “to save the planet,” and their constituents who can refuse to bear those sacrifices by throwing out politicians like Macron.

Perhaps it says something about the future that the host city for this meeting of Paris climate accord signatories, Katowice, is in Silesia, a region that is home to some 90,000 coal workers — around half of all the coal workers in the EU.

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Macron to Trump: ‘You’re No Patriot!’

Macron to Trump: 'You're No Patriot!'

By Patrick J. Buchanan

In a rebuke bordering on national insult Sunday, Emmanuel Macron retorted to Donald Trump’s calling himself a nationalist.

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism; nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.”

As for Trump’s policy of “America first,” Macron trashed such atavistic thinking in this new age: “By saying we put ourselves first and the others don’t matter, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great and what is essential: its moral values.”

Though he is being hailed as Europe’s new anti-Trump leader who will stand up for transnationalism and globalism, Macron reveals his ignorance of America.

Trump’s ideas are not ideological but rooted in our country’s history.
Continue reading “Macron to Trump: ‘You’re No Patriot!’”

The War for the Soul of America

The War for the Soul of America

By Patrick J. Buchanan

The war in Washington will not end until the presidency of Donald Trump ends. Everyone seems to sense that now.

This is a fight to the finish.

A postelection truce that began with Trump congratulating House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — “I give her a great deal of credit for what she’s done and what she’s accomplished” — was ancient history by nightfall.

With the forced resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his replacement by his chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, the long-anticipated confrontation with Robert Mueller appears at hand.
Continue reading “The War for the Soul of America”

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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