What Should We Fight For?

What Should We Fight For?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

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

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

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

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

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

Is Israel being severely sanctioned like Russia? Not quite.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For Kim, nuclear weapons are not an option.

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

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

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

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

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

Why is this not going to happen?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Little Rocket Man’s Risky Game

Little Rocket Man's Risky Game

By Patrick J. Buchanan

In the morning darkness of Wednesday, Kim Jong Un launched an ICBM that rose almost 2,800 miles into the sky before falling into the Sea of Japan.

North Korea now has the proven ability to hit Washington, D.C.

Unproven still is whether Kim can put a miniaturized nuclear warhead atop that missile, which could be fired with precision, and survive the severe vibrations of re-entry. More tests and more time are needed for that.

Thus, U.S. markets brushed off the news of Kim’s Hwasong-15 missile and roared to record heights on Wednesday and Thursday.

President Donald Trump took it less well. “Little Rocket Man” is one “sick puppy,” he told an audience in Missouri.

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the Security Council that “if war comes … the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.” She then warned Xi Jinping that “if China does not halt the oil shipments” to North Korea, “we can take the oil situation into our own hands.”

Is Haley talking about bombing pipelines in North Korea — or China?

The rage of the president and bluster of Haley reflect a painful reality: As inhumane and ruthless as the 33-year-old dictator of North Korea is, he is playing the highest stakes poker game on the planet, against the world’s superpower, and playing it remarkably well.

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Reason: Kim may understand us better than we do him, which is why he seems less hesitant to invite the risks of a war he cannot win.

While a Korean War II might well end with annihilation of the North’s army and Kim’s regime, it would almost surely result in untold thousands of dead South Koreans and Americans.

And Kim knows that the more American lives he can put at risk, with nuclear-tipped missiles, the less likely the Americans are to want to fight him.

His calculation has thus far proven correct.

As long as he does not push the envelope too far, and force Trump to choose war rather than living with a North Korea that could rain nuclear rockets on the U.S., Kim may win the confrontation.

Why? Because the concessions Kim is demanding are not beyond the utterly unacceptable.

What does Kim want?

Initially, he wants a halt to U.S.-South Korean military exercises, which he sees as a potential prelude to a surprise attack. He wants an end to sanctions, U.S. recognition of his regime, and acceptance of his status as a nuclear weapons state. Down the road, he wants a U.S. withdrawal of all forces from South Korea and international aid.

Earlier administrations — Clinton, Bush II, Obama — have seen many of these demands as negotiable. And accepting some or even all of them would entail no grave peril to U.S. national security or vital interests.

They would entail, however, a serious loss of face.

Acceptance of such demands by the United States would be a triumph for Kim, validating his risky nuclear strategy, and a diplomatic defeat for the United States.

Little Rocket Man would have bested The Donald.

Moreover, the credibility of the U.S. deterrent would be called into question. South Korea and Japan could be expected to consider their own deterrents, out of fear the U.S. would never truly put its homeland at risk, but would cut a deal at their expense.

We would hear again the cries of “Munich” and the shade of Neville Chamberlain would be called forth for ritual denunciation.

Yet it is a time for truth: Our demand for “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” is not going to be met, absent a U.S. war and occupation of North Korea.

Kim saw how Bush II, when it served U.S. interests, pulled out of our 30-year-old ABM treaty with Moscow. He saw how, after he gave up all his WMD to reach an accommodation with the West, Moammar Gadhafi was attacked by NATO and ended up being lynched.

He can see how much Americans honor nuclear treaties they sign by observing universal GOP howls to kill the Iranian nuclear deal and bring about “regime change” in Tehran, despite Iran letting U.N. inspectors roam the country to show they have no nuclear weapons program.

For America’s post-Cold War enemies, the lesson is clear:

Give up your WMD, and you wind up like Gadhafi and Saddam Hussein. Build nuclear weapons that can threaten Americans, and you get respect.

Kim Jong Un would be a fool to give up his missiles and nukes, and while the man is many things, a fool is not one of them.

We are nearing a point where the choice is between a war with North Korea in which thousands would die, or confirming that the U.S. is not willing to put its homeland at risk to keep Kim from keeping what he already has — nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver them.

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Is the American Empire Worth the Price?

Is the American Empire Worth the Price?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight,” Samuel Johnson observed, “it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”

And the prospect of a future where Kim Jong Un can put a nuclear weapon on a U.S. city is going to cause this nation to reassess the risks and rewards of the American Imperium.

First, some history.

“Why should Americans be first to die in any second Korean war?” this writer asked in 1999 in “A Republic, Not an Empire.

“With twice the population of the North and twenty times its economic power, South Korea … is capable of manning its own defense. American troops on the DMZ should be replaced by South Koreans.”

This was denounced as neo-isolationism. And, in 2002, George W. Bush declared the U.S. “will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons.”

Bluster and bluff. In 2006, Pyongyang called and raised and tested an atom bomb. Now Kim Jong Un is close to an ICBM.

Our options?

As Kim believes the ability to hit America with a nuclear weapon is the only certain way he has of deterring us from killing his regime and him, he will not be talked out of his ICBM. Nor, short of an embargo-blockade by China, will sanctions keep him from his goal, to which he inches closer with each missile test.

As for the “military option,” U.S. strikes on Kim’s missile sites could cause him to unleash his artillery on Seoul, 35 miles south. In the first week of a second Korean war, scores of thousands could be dead.

If North Korea’s artillery opened up, says Gen. Barry McCaffrey, the U.S. would be forced to use tactical atomic weapons to stop the carnage. Kim could then give the suicidal order to launch his nukes.

A third option is to accept and live with a North Korean ICBM, as we have lived for decades with the vast nuclear arsenals of Russia and China.

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Now, assume the best: We get through this crisis without a war, and Kim agrees to stop testing ICBMs and nuclear warheads.

Does anyone believe that, given his youth, his determination to drive us off the peninsula, and his belief that only an ICBM can deter us, this deal will last and he will abandon his nuclear program?

Given concessions, Kim might suspend missile and nuclear tests. But again, we deceive ourselves if we believe he will give up the idea of acquiring the one weapon that might ensure regime survival.

Hence, assuming this crisis is resolved, what does the future of U.S.-North Korean relations look like?

To answer that question, consider the past.

In 1968, North Korea hijacked the USS Pueblo on the high seas and interned its crew. LBJ did nothing. In April 1969, North Korea shot down an EC-121, 100 miles of its coast, killing the crew. Nixon did nothing.

Under Jimmy Carter, North Koreans axe-murdered U.S. soldiers at Panmunjom. We defiantly cut down a nearby tree.

Among the atrocities the North has perpetrated are plots to assassinate President Park Chung-hee in the 1960s and ’70s, the Rangoon bombing that wiped out much of the cabinet of Chun Doo-hwan in 1983, and the bombing of Korean Air Flight 858, killing all on board in 1987.

And Kim Jong Un has murdered his uncle and brother.

If the past is prologue, and it has proven to be, the future holds this. A renewal of ICBM tests until a missile is perfected. Occasional atrocities creating crises between the U.S. and North Korea. America being repeatedly dragged to the brink of a war we do not want to fight.

As Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Sunday, such a war would be “catastrophic. … A conflict in North Korea … would be probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes.”

When the lesson sinks in that a war on the peninsula would be a catastrophe, and a growing arsenal of North Korean ICBMs targeted on America is intolerable, the question must arise:

Why not move U.S. forces off the peninsula, let South Korean troops replace them, sell Seoul all the modern weapons it needs, and let Seoul build its own nuclear arsenal to deter the North?

Remove any incentive for Kim to attack us, except to invite his own suicide. And tell China: Halt Kim’s ICBM program, or we will help South Korea and Japan become nuclear powers like Britain and France.

Given the rising risk of our war guarantees, from the eastern Baltic to the Korean DMZ — and the paltry rewards of the American Imperium — we are being bled from Libya to Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen — a true America First foreign policy is going to become increasingly attractive.

Kim’s credible threat to one day be able to nuke a U.S. city is going to concentrate American minds wonderfully.

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Is Trump’s Russia Policy Being Hijacked?

Is Trump's Russia Policy Being Hijacked?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

In crafting the platform in Cleveland on which Donald Trump would run, America Firsters inflicted a major defeat on the War Party.

The platform committee rejected a plank to pull us deeper into Ukraine, by successfully opposing new U.S. arms transfers to Kiev.

Improved relations with Russia were what candidate Trump had promised, and what Americans would vote for in November.

Yet, this week, The Wall Street Journal reports:

“The U.S. Pentagon and State Department have devised plans to supply Ukraine with antitank missiles and other weaponry and are seeking White House approval … as Kiev battles Russia-backed separatists … Defense Secretary Mattis has endorsed the plan.”

As pro-Russia rebels in East Ukraine have armored vehicles, Kiev wants U.S. tank-killing Javelin missiles, as well as antiaircraft weapons.

State and Defense want Trump to send the lethal weapons.

This is a formula for a renewed war, with far higher casualties in Ukraine than the 10,000 dead already suffered on both sides.

And it is a war Vladimir Putin will not likely allow Kiev to win.

If Ukraine’s army, bolstered by U.S. weaponry, re-engages in the east, it could face a Moscow-backed counterattack and be routed, and the Russian army could take permanent control of the Donbass.

Indeed, if Trump approves this State-Defense escalation plan, we could be looking at a rerun of the Russia-Georgia war of August 2008.

Then, to recapture its lost province of South Ossetia, which had seceded in 1992, after Georgia seceded from Russia, Georgia invaded.

Putin sent his army in, threw the Georgians out, and recognized South Ossetia, as John McCain impotently declaimed, “We are all Georgians now!”

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Wisely, George W. Bush ignored McCain and did nothing.

But about this new arms deal questions arise.

As the rebels have no aircraft, whose planes are the U.S. antiaircraft missiles to shoot down? And if the Russian army just over the border can enter and crush the Ukrainian army, why would we want to restart a civil war, the only certain result of which is more dead Ukrainians on both sides?

The Journal’s answer: Our goal is to bleed Russia.

“The point of lethal aid is to raise the price Mr. Putin pays for his imperialism until he withdraws or agrees to peace. … The Russians don’t want dead soldiers arriving home before next year’s presidential election.”

Also going neocon is Mike Pence. In Georgia this week, noting that Russian tanks are still in South Ossetia, the vice president not only declared, “We stand with you,” he told Georgians the U.S. stands by its 2008 commitment to bring them into NATO.

This would mean, under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, that in a future Russia-Georgia clash the U.S. could find itself in a shooting war with Russia in the South Caucasus.

Russia’s security interests there seem clear. What are ours?

Along with Trump’s signing of the new sanctions bill imposed by Congress, which strips him of his authority to lift those sanctions without Hill approval, these developments raise larger questions.

Is President Trump losing control of Russia policy? Has he capitulated to the neocons? These are not academic questions. For consider the architect of the new arms package, Kurt Volker, the new U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations.

A former CIA agent, member of the National Security Counsel, and envoy to NATO, Volker believes Russian troops in Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk are all there illegally — and U.S. policy should be to push them out.

A former staffer of Sen. McCain, Volker was, until July, executive director of the neocon McCain Institute. He has called for the imposition of personal sanctions on Putin and his family and European travel restrictions on the Russian president.

In the Journal this week, “officials” described his strategy:

“Volker believes … that a change in Ukraine can be brought only by raising the costs for Moscow for continued intervention in Ukraine. In public comments, he has played down the notion that supplying weapons to Ukraine would escalate the conflict with Russia.”

In short, Volker believes giving antitank and antiaircraft missiles to Ukraine will bring Putin to the negotiating table, as he fears the prospect of dead Russian soldiers coming home in caskets before his 2018 election.

As for concerns that Putin might send his army into Ukraine, such worries are unwarranted.

Volker envisions a deepening U.S. involvement in a Ukrainian civil war that can bleed and break Russia’s Ukrainian allies and convince Putin to back down and accept what we regard as a just settlement.

Does Trump believe this? Does Trump believe that confronting Putin with rising casualties among his army and allies in Ukraine is the way to force the Russian president to back down and withdraw from Crimea, Luhansk and Donetsk, as Nikita Khrushchev did from Cuba in 1962?

What if Putin refuses to back down, and chooses to confront?

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Shall We Fight Them All?

Shall We Fight Them All?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Saturday, Kim Jong Un tested an ICBM of sufficient range to hit the U.S. mainland. He is now working on its accuracy, and a nuclear warhead small enough to fit atop that missile that can survive re-entry.

Unless we believe Kim is a suicidal madman, his goal seems clear. He wants what every nuclear power wants — the ability to strike his enemy’s homeland with horrific impact, in order to deter that enemy.

Kim wants his regime recognized and respected, and the U.S., which carpet-bombed the North from 1950-1953, out of Korea.

Where does this leave us? Says Cliff Kupchan of the Eurasia Group, “The U.S. is on the verge of a binary choice: either accept North Korea into the nuclear club or conduct a military strike that would entail enormous civilian casualties.”

A time for truth. U.S. sanctions on North Korea, like those voted for by Congress last week, are not going to stop Kim from acquiring ICBMs. He is too close to the goal line.

And any pre-emptive strike on the North could trigger a counterattack on Seoul by massed artillery on the DMZ, leaving tens of thousands of South Koreans dead, alongside U.S. soldiers and their dependents.

We could be in an all-out war to the finish with the North, a war the American people do not want to fight.

Saturday, President Trump tweeted out his frustration over China’s failure to pull our chestnuts out of the fire: “They do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem.”

Sunday, U.S. B-1B bombers flew over Korea and the Pacific air commander Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy warned his units were ready to hit North Korea with “rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force.”

Yet, also Sunday, Xi Jinping reviewed a huge parade of tanks, planes, troops and missiles as Chinese officials mocked Trump as a “greenhorn President” and “spoiled child” who is running a bluff against North Korea. Is he? We shall soon see.

According to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump vowed Monday he would take “all necessary measures” to protect U.S. allies. And U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley bristled, “The time for talk is over.”

Are we headed for a military showdown and war with the North? The markets, hitting records again Monday, don’t seem to think so.

But North Korea is not the only potential adversary with whom our relations are rapidly deteriorating.

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After Congress voted overwhelmingly for new sanctions on Russia last week and Trump agreed to sign the bill that strips him of authority to lift the sanctions without Hill approval, Russia abandoned its hopes for a rapprochement with Trump’s America. Sunday, Putin ordered U.S. embassy and consulate staff cut by 755 positions.

The Second Cold War, begun when we moved NATO to Russia’s borders and helped dump over a pro-Russian regime in Kiev, is getting colder. Expect Moscow to reciprocate Congress’ hostility when we ask for her assistance in Syria and with North Korea.

Last week’s sanctions bill also hit Iran after it tested a rocket to put a satellite in orbit, though the nuclear deal forbids only the testing of ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear warheads. Defiant, Iranians say their missile tests will continue.

Recent days have also seen U.S. warships and Iranian patrol boats in close proximity, with the U.S. ships firing flares and warning shots. Our planes and ships have also, with increasingly frequency, come to close quarters with Russian and Chinese ships and planes in the Baltic and South China seas.

While wary of a war with North Korea, Washington seems to be salivating for a war with Iran. Indeed, Trump’s threat to declare Iran in violation of the nuclear arms deal suggests a confrontation is coming.

One wonders: If Congress is hell-bent on confronting the evil that is Iran, why does it not cancel Iran’s purchases and options to buy the 140 planes the mullahs have ordered from Boeing?

Why are we selling U.S. airliners to the “world’s greatest state sponsor of terror”? Let Airbus take the blood money.

Apparently, U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia are insufficient to satiate our War Party. Now it wants us to lead the Sunnis of the Middle East in taking down the Shiites, who are dominant in Iran, Iraq, Syria and South Lebanon, and are a majority in Bahrain and the oil-producing regions of Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. military has its work cut out for it. President Trump may need those transgender troops.

Among the reasons Trump routed his Republican rivals in 2016 is that he seemed to share an American desire to look homeward.

Yet, today, our relations with China and Russia are as bad as they have been in decades, while there is open talk of war with Iran and North Korea.

Was this what America voted for, or is this what America voted against?

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An America First Korea Policy

An America First Korea Policy

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“The North Korean regime is causing tremendous problems and is something that has to be dealt with, and probably dealt with rapidly.”

So President Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden this week.

But how this is to be done “rapidly” is not so easy to see.

North Korea has just returned to us Otto Warmbier, a student sentenced to 15 years hard labor for stealing a propaganda poster. Otto came home comatose, and died within days.

Trump’s conundrum: How to keep such a regime from acquiring an ICBM with a nuclear warhead, which Kim Jong Un is determined to do.

Having seen us attack Iraq and Libya, which had no nukes, Kim believes that only nuclear weapons that can hit America can deter America. He appears willing to risk war to achieve his goal.

Trump’s options as he meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in?

First, the decapitation of the Kim dynasty. But the U.S. has been unable to accomplish regime change for the 64 years following the Korean War. And killing Kim could ignite a war.

Then there is a U.S. pre-emptive strike on North Korea’s nuclear sites and missile arsenals. But this would surely mean a war in which Americans on the DMZ would be among the first to die, as thousands of North Korean artillery and mortar tubes fired into the suburbs and city of Seoul, which is as close as Dulles Airport is to the White House.

Asked by Congressman Tim Ryan why we don’t launch a war to end this threat, Defense Secretary James Mattis replied that, while we might “win … at great cost,” such a war would “involve the massive shelling of an ally’s capital … one of the most densely packed cities on earth.”

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Seoul has a metro-area population of 25 million.

We are thus approaching a point where we accept North Korea having a nuclear weapon that can reach Seattle, or we attack its strategic arsenal and bring on a war in which millions could die.

What about sanctions?

The only nation that could impose sufficient hardships on North Korea to imperil the regime is China. But China refuses to impose the Draconian sanctions that might destabilize the regime, and might bring Korean refugees flooding into China. And Beijing has no desire to see Kim fall and Korea united under a regime aligned with the United States.

What FDR said of one Caribbean dictator, the Chinese are probably saying of Kim Jong Un, “He may be an SOB, but he’s our SOB.”

Early in his presidency, Trump gave the franchise for dealing with the North Korean threat to Beijing. But his friend Xi Jinping has either failed Trump or declined to deliver.

As for President Moon, he wants to negotiate, to engage the North economically, to invite its athletes to join South Koreans on joint teams for the Winter Olympics in 2018. Moreover, Moon is said to be willing to cut back on joint military exercises with the U.S. and regards the THAAD missile defense we introduced into South Korea as a negotiable item.

China, whose missile launches can be detected by THAAD radar, wants it removed and has so informed South Korea.

Where does this leave us?

We are committed to go to war to defend the South and have 28,000 troops there. But South Korea wants to negotiate with North Korea and is prepared to make concessions to buy peace.

As the nation that would suffer most in any second Korean War, South Korea has the sovereign right to play the hand. But what Seoul considers best for South Korea is not necessarily best for us.

What would be an America First Korean policy?

The U.S. would give Seoul notice that we will, by a date certain, be dissolving our mutual security treaty and restoring our full freedom to decide whether or not to fight in a new Korean War. Given the present risk of war, possibly involving nuclear weapons, it is absurd that we should be obligated to fight what Mattis says would be a “catastrophic” war, because of a treaty negotiated six decades ago by Eisenhower and Dulles.

“The commonest error in politics,” Lord Salisbury reminded us, “is sticking to the carcass of dead policies.”

But we should also tell South Korea that if she desires a nuclear deterrent against an attack by the North, she should build it. Americans should not risk a nuclear war, 8,000 miles away, to defend a South Korea that has 40 times the economy of the North and twice the population.

No vital U.S. interest requires us, in perpetuity, to be willing to go to war to defend South Korea, especially if that war entails the risk of a nuclear attack on U.S. troops or the American homeland.

If the United States did not have a mutual security pact that obligates us to defend South Korea against a nuclear-armed North, would President Trump be seeking to negotiate such a treaty?

The question answers itself.

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Are We Nearing Civil War?

Are We Nearing Civil War?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

President Trump may be chief of state, head of government and commander in chief, but his administration is shot through with disloyalists plotting to bring him down.

We are approaching something of a civil war where the capital city seeks the overthrow of the sovereign and its own restoration.

Thus far, it is a nonviolent struggle, though street clashes between pro- and anti-Trump forces are increasingly marked by fistfights and brawls. Police are having difficulty keeping people apart. A few have been arrested carrying concealed weapons.

That the objective of this city is to bring Trump down via a deep state-media coup is no secret. Few deny it.

Last week, fired Director of the FBI James Comey, a successor to J. Edgar Hoover, admitted under oath that he used a cutout to leak to The New York Times an Oval Office conversation with the president.

Goal: have the Times story trigger the appointment of a special prosecutor to bring down the president.

Comey wanted a special prosecutor to target Trump, despite his knowledge, from his own FBI investigation, that Trump was innocent of the pervasive charge that he colluded with the Kremlin in the hacking of the DNC.

Comey’s deceit was designed to enlist the police powers of the state to bring down his president. And it worked. For the special counsel named, with broad powers to pursue Trump, is Comey’s friend and predecessor at the FBI, Robert Mueller.

As Newt Gingrich said Sunday: “Look at who Mueller’s starting to hire. … (T)hese are people that … look to me like they’re … setting up to go after Trump … including people, by the way, who have been reprimanded for hiding from the defense information into major cases. …

“This is going to be a witch hunt.”

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Another example. According to Daily Kos, Trump planned a swift lifting of sanctions on Russia after inauguration and a summit meeting with Vladimir Putin to prevent a second Cold War.

The State Department was tasked with working out the details.

Instead, says Daniel Fried, the coordinator for sanctions policy, he received “panicky” calls of “Please, my God, can you stop this?”

Operatives at State, disloyal to the president and hostile to the Russia policy on which he had been elected, collaborated with elements in Congress to sabotage any detente. They succeeded.

“It would have been a win-win for Moscow,” said Tom Malinowski of State, who boasted last week of his role in blocking a rapprochement with Russia. State employees sabotaged one of the principal policies for which Americans had voted, and they substituted their own.

Not in memory have there been so many leaks to injure a president from within his own government, and not just political leaks, but leaks of confidential, classified and secret documents. The leaks are coming out of the supposedly secure investigative and intelligence agencies of the U.S. government.

The media, the beneficiaries of these leaks, are giving cover to those breaking the law. The real criminal “collusion” in Washington is between Big Media and the deep state, colluding to destroy a president they detest and to sink the policies they oppose.

Yet another example is the unfolding “unmasking” scandal.

While all the evidence is not yet in, it appears an abnormal number of conversations between Trump associates and Russians were intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies.

On orders higher up, the conversations were transcribed, and, contrary to law, the names of Trump associates unmasked.

Then those transcripts, with names revealed, were spread to all 16 agencies of the intel community at the direction of Susan Rice, and with the possible knowledge of Barack Obama, assuring some would be leaked after Trump became president.

The leak of Gen. Michael Flynn’s conversation with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, after Obama imposed sanctions on Russia for the hacking of the DNC, may have been a product of the unmasking operation. The media hit on Flynn cost him the National Security Council post.

Trump has had many accomplishments since his election. Yet his enemies in the media and their deep state allies have often made a purgatory of his presidency.

What he and his White House need to understand is that this is not going to end, that this is a fight to the finish, that his enemies will not relent until they see him impeached or resigning in disgrace.

To prevail, Trump will have to campaign across this country and wage guerrilla war in this capital, using the legal and political weapons at his disposal to ferret out the enemies within his own government.

Not only is this battle essential, if Trump hopes to realize his agenda, it is winnable. For the people sense that the Beltway elites are cynically engaged in preserving their own privileges, positions and power.

If the president cannot rewrite Obamacare or achieve tax reform, he should not go around the country in 2018 wailing about Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer. They are not the real adversaries. They are but interchangeable parts.

He should campaign against the real enemies of America First by promising to purge the deep state and flog its media collaborators.

Time to burn down the Bastille.

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