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!’”

Is Liberalism a Dying Faith?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Asked to name the defining attributes of the America we wish to become, many liberals would answer that we must realize our manifest destiny since 1776, by becoming more equal, more diverse and more democratic — and the model for mankind’s future.

Equality, diversity, democracy — this is the holy trinity of the post-Christian secular state at whose altars Liberal Man worships.

But the congregation worshiping these gods is shrinking. And even Europe seems to be rejecting what America has on offer.

In a retreat from diversity, Catalonia just voted to separate from Spain. The Basque and Galician peoples of Spain are following the Catalan secession crisis with great interest.

The right-wing People’s Party and far-right Freedom Party just swept 60 percent of Austria’s vote, delivering the nation to 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, whose anti-immigrant platform was plagiarized from the Freedom Party. Summarized it is: Austria for the Austrians!

Lombardy, whose capital is Milan, and Veneto will vote Sunday for greater autonomy from Rome.

South Tyrol (Alto Adige), severed from Austria and ceded to Italy at Versailles, written off by Hitler to appease Mussolini after his Anschluss, is astir anew with secessionism. Even the Sicilians are talking of separation.

By Sunday, the Czech Republic may have a new leader, billionaire Andrej Babis. Writes The Washington Post, Babis “makes a sport of attacking the European Union and says NATO’s mission is outdated.”

Platform Promise: Keep the Muslim masses out of the motherland.

To ethnonationalists, their countrymen are not equal to all others, but superior in rights. Many may nod at Thomas Jefferson’s line that “All men are created equal,” but they no more practice that in their own nations than did Jefferson in his.

On Oct. 7, scores of thousands of Poles lined up along the country’s entire 2,000-mile border — to pray the rosary.

It was the centennial of the Virgin Mary’s last apparition at Fatima in Portugal in 1917, and the day in 1571 the Holy League sank the Muslim fleet at Lepanto to save Europe. G. K. Chesterton’s poem, “Lepanto,” was once required reading in Catholic schools.

Each of these traditionalist-nationalist movements is unique, but all have a common cause. In the hearts of Europe’s indigenous peoples is embedded an ancient fear: loss of the homeland to Islamic invaders.

Europe is rejecting, resisting, recoiling from “diversity,” the multiracial, multicultural, multiethnic and multilingual future that, say U.S. elites, is America’s preordained mission to bring about for all mankind.

Indeed, increasingly, the indigenous peoples of Europe seem to view as the death of their nations and continent, what U.S. liberal elites see as the Brave New World to come.

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To traditionalist Europeans, our heaven looks like their hell.

Thus Poles fall on their knees to pray to the Virgin Mary to spare them from threats of an Islamic future, as their ancestors prayed at the time of Lepanto, and of Vienna in 1683, when the Polish King John Sobieski marched to halt the last Muslim drive into the heart of Europe.

European peoples and parties are today using democratic means to achieve “illiberal” ends. And it is hard to see what halts the drift away from liberal democracy toward the restrictive right. For in virtually every nation, there is a major party in opposition, or a party in power, that holds deeply nationalist views.

European elites may denounce these new parties as “illiberal” or fascist, but it is becoming apparent that it may be liberalism itself that belongs to yesterday. For more and more Europeans see the invasion of the continent along the routes whence the invaders came centuries ago, not as a manageable problem but an existential crisis.

To many Europeans, it portends an irreversible alteration in the character of the countries their grandchildren will inherit, and possibly an end to their civilization. And they are not going to be deterred from voting their fears by being called names that long ago lost their toxicity from overuse.

And as Europeans decline to celebrate the racial, ethnic, creedal and cultural diversity extolled by American elites, they also seem to reject the idea that foreigners should be treated equally in nations created for their own kind.

Europeans seem to admire more, and model their nations more, along the lines of the less diverse America of the Eisenhower era, than on the polyglot America of 2017.

And Europe seems to be moving toward immigration polices more like the McCarran-Walter Act of 1950 than the open borders bill that Sen. Edward Kennedy shepherded through the Senate in 1965.

Kennedy promised that the racial and ethnic composition of the America of the 1960s would not be overturned, and he questioned the morality and motives of any who implied that it would.

So, why is liberalism dying?

Because it is proving to be what James Burnham called it in his 1964 “Suicide of the West” — the ideology of Western suicide.

What we see in Europe today is people who, belatedly recognizing this, have begun to “rage, rage, against dying of the light.”

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Pope’s World and the Real World

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Pope Francis’s four-day visit to the United States was by any measure a personal and political triumph.

The crowds were immense, and coverage of the Holy Father on television and in the print press swamped the state visit of Xi Jinping, the leader of the world’s second-greatest power.

But how enduring, and how relevant, was the pope’s celebration of diversity, multiculturalism, inclusiveness, open borders, and a world of forgiveness, peace, harmony and love is another question.

The day the pope departed Philadelphia, 48 percent of Catalonia, in a record turnout of 78 percent, voted to deliver a parliamentary majority to two parties that advocate seceding from Spain.

Like the Scots in Britain, the Walloons in Belgium and the Italians of Veneto, they want to live apart, not together.

While the pope called on America and Europe to welcome the migrant millions of the Third World, Bishop Laszlo Kiss-Rigo, whose diocese stretches across the southern reaches of Catholic Hungary, says of those pouring into Europe: “They’re not refugees. This is an invasion. They come here with cries of ‘Allahu Akbar.’ They want to take over.”

The bishop hailed Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who denounced any open door: “Everything which is now taking place before our eyes threatens to have explosive consequences for the whole of Europe. We must acknowledge that the European Union’s misguided immigration policy is responsible for this situation.

“We shouldn’t forget that the people who are coming here grew up in a different religion and represent a completely different culture. Most are not Christian, but Muslim. … That is an important question, because Europe and European culture have Christian roots.”

The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland joined Hungary in voting to reject EU quotas for migrants. Under pressure from her allies in Bavaria, even Angela Merkel is re-imposing border controls.

A backlash against refugees, migrants and asylum seekers from Africa and the Islamic world is sweeping Europe. Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front, the strongest anti-EU party in Europe, has called on Paris to ship all migrants back across the Mediterranean.

This was the solution Dwight Eisenhower settled on in “Operation Wetback,” when he ordered Gen. Joseph Swing to send the million aliens in Texas illegally back to Mexico in 1954. Swing did as ordered.

Indeed, the call to repatriate the 12 million aliens here illegally has been a propellant behind the candidacy of GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

Behind this rising resistance to illegal and mass migration is human nature — the innate desire of peoples of one tribe or nation, who share a common language, history, faith, culture, traditions and identity, to live together — and to live apart from all the rest.

Such currents are stronger than any written constitutions.

That Global Citizen Festival concert in Central Park Saturday, featuring Beyonce, may have spoken to the globalist beliefs of Barack Obama, whose wife was there, and of the pope, who was flying to Philly.

But in the real world, nationalism, not globalism, is ascendant.

Though Gen. David Petraeus claims Vladimir Putin seeks to re-establish the Russian Empire, this misses the point. If Putin sought that, he would by now, 15 years in power, have annexed Belarus and Ukraine, but he has not even annexed the pro-Russian Donbass.

Putin is a nationalist who sees his country as one of the world’s great powers and sees himself as protector of Russian peoples everywhere. He believes Moscow should have its own Monroe Doctrine, and that rival powers should not be planting military bases on Russia’s doorstep.

Is that so hard for Americans to understand? How did we like having Soviet troops and bases in Castro’s Cuba?

China, too, which abandoned the world Communist revolution, is now a nationalistic power that seeks the same dominance of the waters around it — the Yellow Sea and Taiwan Strait, the East and the South China seas — that the United States has had for over a century in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, the Atlantic, and the Pacific from California to the China coast.

The stronger China grows, the more she will push us away, as we pushed the European powers and the Royal Navy out of our hemisphere.

While China is involved in territorial quarrels with Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, none of her claims represents a threat to U.S. vital interests. Nor does Russia’s actions in reclaiming Crimea or in aiding pro-Russian rebels achieve autonomy in East Ukraine.

What is threatened today is the New World Order of Bush I, the “unipolar world” preached by the neocons and Bush II, and the “rules-based” world of Barack Obama.

Russia and China, and other rising powers, are going to play by their rules, the rules of the 19th and early 20th century, the rules by which we Americans became the first power on earth.

America’s “red lines” should be set down clearly in front of our vital interests. Then, we should inform our friends and allies that their defense is, first and foremost, their own responsibility.

Is Europe Cracking Up?

Is Europe Cracking Up

By Patrick J. Buchanan

A week ago, in the St. George’s Hall in the Kremlin, Russia’s elite cheered and wept as Vladimir Putin announced the re-annexation of Crimea. Seven in 10 Russians approve of Putin’s rule.

In Crimea, the Russian majority has not ceased celebrating. The re-conquest nears completion. In Eastern Ukraine, Russians have now begun to agitate for annexation by Moscow.

Ukrainian nationalism, manifest in the anti-Russia coup in Kiev, has produced its inevitable reaction among Russians.

While praising the Ukrainians who came out to Maidan to protest peacefully, Putin said that those behind the decisive events “resorted to terror, murder and riots. Nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes and anti-Semites executed this coup.” The Kremlin erupted in cheers.

But not only in Ukraine is ethnic nationalism surging.

“National Front Vote Stuns Hollande” was the headline on the Financial Times’ story about France’s municipal elections Sunday.

Though the FN of Marine Le Pen, daughter of party founder Jean Marie Le Pen, did not field candidate in many cities, it won the mayoral race outright in Henin-Beaumont and ran first or second in a dozen medium-sized cities, qualifying for run-off elections on March 30.

“The National Front has arrived as a major independent force — a political force both at the national and local levels,” declared Le Pen.

No one is arguing the point. Indeed, a measure of panic has set in for the socialist party of Francois Hollande, which is calling on all parties to unite against FN candidates.

In early polling for the May elections for the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the National Front is running close behind the UMP of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, and ahead of Hollande’s socialists.

Begun as an anti-immigrant, anti-EU Party, the FN has broadened its base to issues like crime and unemployment.

But the most startling news on the nationalist front last week came in Venice and the Veneto region, where 89 percent of a large turnout in a non-binding referendum voted to secede from Italy and re-establish the Venetian republic that vanished in 1866.

Exulted Luca Zaia of the separatist Northern League, “The will for secession is growing very strong. We are only at the Big Bang of the movement — but revolutions are born of hunger and we are now hungry. Venice can now escape.”

The proposed “Repubblica Veneta” would embrace five million inhabitants of Veneto. Should it succeed in seceding, Lombardy and Trentino would likely follow, bringing about a partition of Italy.

Sardinia is also reportedly looking for an exit.

In readying their referendum, Venetians journeyed to Scotland to observe preparations by the Scottish National Party for the vote this fall to sever the 1707 Act of Union with England.

Also observing in Scotland were representatives of Catalonia who will hold a similar referendum this fall on secession from Spain. Basque Country secessionists were present in Scotland as well.

In a report published this weekend, “Europe on Trial,” a poll of 20,000 British commissioned by Lord Ashcroft of the Conservative Party found that Russia (before the Kiev-Crimea crisis) was viewed more favorably than either the EU or European Parliament.

By 49-31, British think the costs of membership in the EU outweigh the benefits and they are now evenly divided, 41-41, on whether to get out of the union altogether.

Prime Minister David Cameron has set a vote on EU membership for 2017. Now it appears the Labour Party, seeing the unpopularity of the EU, may also be open to changing the EU treaty and a referendum on saying goodbye to Europe, should they take power in 2015.

Why is the EU under rising centrifugal pressure? Why do so many nations of Europe seem on the verge of breaking up?

There is no single or simple explanation.

Venice and Northern Italy feel exploited. Why, they ask, should we subsidize a less industrious and lazier south that consumes tax revenues we raise here. Many northern Italians believe they have more in common with Swiss than Romans, Neapolitans or Sicilians.

Flanders feels the same about the Walloons in Belgium.

Scots and Catalans believe they are a people with a culture, history and identity separate from the nations to which they belong.

Across Europe, there is a fear that the ethnic character of their countries and continent are being altered forever against the will of the people.

Western Europeans are recoiling at the Bulgarians, Rumanians and gypsies arriving from Eastern Europe. Asylum seekers, economic refugees and migrants in the scores of thousands arrive annually on the Italian island of Lampedusa and in the Spanish Canaries.

Early this month, the New York Times reported a surge of 80,000 African migrants headed for the tiny Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on the Moroccan coast.

The goal these desperate people seek: the mother countries of the Old Continent and the wealthy welfare states of Northern Europe.

What the children of Europe are rebelling against is what their fathers, paralyzed by political correctness, refused to prevent.

It was predictable, it was predicted, and it has come to pass.

No Apologies Needed, Mitt

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Mitt Romney has conceded that his thoughts, expressed at that Boca Raton, Fla., fundraiser, were “not elegantly” stated. Those mocking him might concede he has tabled one of the mega-issues of our time.

Can America continue down the path President Obama is taking us on, to a time soon and certain when a majority of wage-earners pay no income taxes but a majority of citizens receive federal benefits?

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” said Mitt, “the 47 percent who … are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. … These are people who pay no income tax … .”

What was wrong with this?

One slice of that 47 percent who receive benefits are students who will pay taxes later. A larger slice are retirees on Social Security and Medicare who paid into both programs all their working lives.

But what was right about what Romney said was discerned two centuries ago by that governmental genius John C. Calhoun.

“The necessary result … of the unequal fiscal action of the government is to divide the community into two great classes; one consisting of those who … pay the taxes … and bear exclusively the burden of supporting the government; and the other, of those who are the recipients of their proceeds, through disbursements, and who are, in fact, supported by the government; or, in fewer words, to divide it into taxpayers and tax consumers.”

A nation sundered between taxpayers and tax consumers, said Calhoun, “must give rise to two parties and to violent conflicts and struggles between them, to obtain the control of the government.”

Is that not a fair description of where we are today?

Sen. Gene McCarthy used to say every citizen has three duties: to bear arms in defense of his country, to vote and to pay taxes. Is it a good thing that this ideal is laughed at, that the draft is abolished, that scores of millions pay nothing in income taxes?

Retired Americans living on Social Security, exempt from taxes because their income is modest, are not the problem.

But in 2010, some 4.4 million Americans were on welfare rolls, 22 million on government payrolls, 23 million were receiving Earned Income Tax Credit checks, 44 million were on food stamps, 50 million were on Medicaid, and 70 million wage-earners were paying no income taxes.

For most of these folks, Obama’s Party, which would expand benefits, tax the rich even more and redistribute the wealth, is their party. And understandably so.

By every standard, America is a far more prosperous country than in the 1950s. Yet, then, there were no food stamps. Today, 47 million Americans are on food stamps at an annual cost of $72 billion.

Does it not say something alarming when one in seven Americans cannot rely upon themselves or their families for their daily bread?

During the Chicago school strike, we learned that 86 percent of the 350,000 pupils were getting free or subsidized meals twice a day.

What kind of society have we become when children in a great city cannot rely on mothers or fathers for a bowl of cereal in the morning and a brown bag with a sandwich and apple in it for lunch?

Federal, state and local government together now consume 37 percent of the economy. Can we not see where this is leading us, by looking at Spain or Italy — or California?

In the Golden Land, the state tax burden has been shifted heavily onto the most successful, while state benefits have exploded.

Result: For the first time since California entered the Union, the young and middle class are moving out, not in, heading for Colorado, Arizona, Idaho and Nevada. And California has become the destination of choice for the immigrant poor, legal and illegal.

Yet, the November ballot has a proposal to raise the state income tax on the rich to the highest in the nation, 13.3 percent.

Romney indicated that folks deeply dependent on government are almost impossible for an advocate of smaller government to win over. Is he entirely off base when Washington, D.C., the most government-dependent city in America, went 93-7 for Obama in 2008?

In his 1935 State of the Union, Franklin Roosevelt himself warned about exactly what Mitt Romney is talking about.

“Continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. … The Federal Government must and shall quit this business of relief.”

That greatest generation got off the narcotic of dependency.

Unfortunately, for tens of millions today, that narcotic has become indispensable. And “spiritual and moral disintegration” describes exactly the condition of all too many who have come to rely upon it.

No apologies needed, Mitt.

Salad Days of the Public Sector Are Over

By Patrick J. Buchanan

San Bernardino, Calif., has now followed Stockton into bankruptcy.

Harrisburg and Scranton, Pa., and Jefferson County, Ala., home to Birmingham, are already there to welcome them.

Detroit has been taken into receivership by Michigan. A plan under discussion is to level a fourth of the city and reconvert it into the pasture and farmland it used to be a century ago.

On the Web, one may find a pictorial tale of two cities: Hiroshima, a smoking flattened ruin in 1945, now a beautiful gleaming metropolis. And Detroit, forge and furnace of democracy in 1945, today resembling Dresden after Bomber Command paid its visit.

Other American cities are exploring bankruptcy to escape from under the mountain of debt they have amassed or to get out of contracts that an earlier generation of politicians negotiated.

No longer shameful, bankruptcy is now seen as an option for U.S. cities. The crisis of the public sector has come to River City.

What happened to us?

In the Reagan-Clinton prosperity, officials earned popularity by making commitments that could be met only if the good times lasted forever. They added new beneficiaries to old programs and launched new ones. They hired more bureaucrats, aides, teachers, firemen, cops.

Government’s share of the labor force soared to 22.5 million. This is almost three times the number in the public sector when JFK took the oath of office. These employees were guaranteed job security and high salaries, given subsidized health care, and promised early retirement and pensions that the private sector could not match.

The balance between the private and public sectors shifted. As a share of the U.S. population, the number of taxpayers fell, as tax consumers — the beneficiaries of government programs and government employees who run those programs — rose.

The top 1 percent now pays 40 percent of the income tax. The top 10 percent pays 70 percent. The bottom half, scores of millions of workers, pay nothing. They ride free.

This could not go on forever. And when something cannot go on forever it will, by Stein’s Law, stop. The Great Recession brought it to a stop. We have come to the end of the line.

U.S. cities depend on property and sales taxes. But property tax revenue has fallen with the collapse of the housing market. Sales tax revenue has fallen as a result of the recession that has kept the consumers out of the malls.

Revenues down, cities and counties face a choice. Raise taxes, or cut payrolls and services. But if taxes rise or workers are laid off and services decline, Americans in our mobile society move across city and state lines, as they are moving from California to Colorado, Nevada and Arizona.

This does not end the crisis, it exacerbates it.

Bankruptcy not only offers cities relief from paying interest to bondholders, it enables mayors to break contracts with public service unions. Since the recession began, 650,000 government workers, almost all city, county or state employees, have lost their jobs. Millions have seen pay and benefits cut.

The salad days of the public sector are over. From San Joaquin Valley to Spain, its numbers have begun to shrink and its benefits to be cut.

A declaration of bankruptcy by a few cities, however, has an impact upon all — for it usually involves a default on debts. This terrifies investors, who then demand a higher rate of interest for the increased risk they take when they buy the new municipal bonds that fund the educational and infrastructure projects of the solvent cities.

Cities and counties have no way out of the vicious cycle. Rising deficits and debts force new tax hikes and new cuts in schools, cops and firemen. Residents see the town going down, and pack and leave.

This further reduces the tax base and further enlarges the deficit.

Then the process begins anew.

This is what is happening in Spain and Greece, which have reached the early 1930s stage of rioting and the rise of radical parties.

Since the New Deal, Keynesianism has been our answer to recession. As the private sector shrinks, the public sector expands to fill the void until the private sector returns to health. Only Keynesianism is not working.

Obama gave us an $800 billion stimulus and four deficits totaling $5 trillion. The Fed tripled the money supply and put interest rates at near zero. The banks are flush with cash. But the engine will not turn over.

What about supply-side tax cuts? But with the Bush tax cuts still in place, taxes are generating the smallest share of gross domestic product in decades.

How much bigger a deficit should we run?

Liberal economists are saying, deficits be damned, print money and spend. With Republicans blocking tax hikes and Democrats resisting cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, all eyes turn to the Fed.

As Milton Friedman said, “Inflation is the one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation.”

Dress Rehearsal for a Mideast War?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes,” said Mark Twain.

Observing the uprising in Syria, the atrocities, the intervention by rival powers, it all calls to mind the Great Rehearsal for World War II, the Spanish Civil War.

The war began in 1936 with an uprising in Morocco of Spanish Nationalists against a Madrid regime seen as anti-Catholic, Marxist and Trotskyite. Vladimir Lenin had predicted that Spain would be the second Soviet republic in Europe.

The war would last three years, with Joseph Stalin providing aid to the regime, Benito Mussolini sending troops to fight on the side of Gen. Francisco Franco and Adolf Hitler sending his Condor Legion. The bombing of Guernica by the Legion, commemorated in the famous Picasso painting of that name, would be regarded as the great war crime of the conflict.

Yet Guernica was child’s play compared with what was to come with the Blitz, Berlin, Dresden, Tokyo, Nagasaki, Hiroshima. The Nuremberg Tribunal would wisely rule out terror bombing of cities as a war crime for which Nazis could be prosecuted and hanged.

As America has declined to intervene in Syria, FDR declared neutrality early in the Spanish Civil War, outlawing any sale of weapons to either side.

In 1936, as the Spanish war erupted, FDR spoke for his country:

“We shun commitments which might entangle us in foreign wars; we avoid connections with the political activities of the League of Nations. … We are not isolationists except insofar as we seek to isolate ourselves completely from war.”

America emphatically agreed.

Today, it is the bitter fruit of Iraq and Afghanistan that explains our reluctance. Then, it was 116,000 American dead in places like the Argonne and Belleau Wood — which had produced a Carthaginian peace at Versailles and set the table for Hitler — that had left us with ashes in our mouths.

Two battalions of American volunteers did go to Spain to fight on the side of the regime. In 1947, veterans of that “Abraham Lincoln Brigade” would be put on the Attorney General’s List of Subversive Organizations.

In Spain, the struggle was ideological and religious — Nationalists and Catholics against socialists, communists and anarchists.

In Syria, too, it is religious — the Alawite Shia regime of Bashar Assad battling an uprising centered in the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood.

As Europe in 1936 contained democracies, dictatorships of the fascist and authoritarian right, and a Stalinist left, today’s Middle East contains democracies, monarchies and dictatorships.

As there were Catalans and Basques fighting for their own causes in Spain, in Syria today are Kurds, Druze and al-Qaida with their own rival agendas.

As America and Britain stayed out of the Spanish Civil War, so today America and Britain have stayed aloof from Syria‘s conflict.

As the Spanish Civil War exposed the impotence of the League of Nations, Syria‘s conflict is exposing the paralysis of the United Nations, when permanent members of the Security Council like Russia refuse to authorize the kind of intervention they did in Libya.

As the Spanish republic received moral and material support from Moscow, today Moscow sends attack helicopters to Damascus, while Turkey provides sanctuary for the resistance, and Saudi Arabia and Qatar provide weapons.

Russia and Iran see Assad’s Syria as their last strong, reliable ally in the region. Syria‘s ports on the Mediterranean are open to Vladimir Putin’s navy. And Putin’s military-industrial complex has long sold the Assad family the weapons to fight its wars and crush rebellions.

If Assad’s regime were to collapse and the Muslim Brotherhood come to power, Russia would be virtually out of the Middle East. Iran would be almost isolated. Had we not overthrown the Sunni regime of Saddam and brought the Shia majority to power in Baghdad, an Iran without Syria would be an Iran without a major ally across the region.

The first peril in the Syrian conflict is that it could become a civil war in which not just 10,000 die, but scores of thousands perish.

A second danger is that as Syria contains Sunni, Shia, Druze, Kurd, Arab, Christian — indeed, mirrors the Middle East — a Syrian civil war could become a proxy war for all in the region, beginning with Lebanon.

Third, as Syria is aligned with Iran in the conflict with Israel and with Russia on the world stage, greater powers may come to see themselves as having a vital stake in how this war ends, and intervene, each in its own way, to assure a favorable outcome.

The Spanish Civil War ended in Franco’s victory in 1939 and ended well for the Western democracies that had not intervened.

When Hitler, after occupying France in 1940, met with Franco to ask permission for the Wehrmacht to cross Spain to attack Gibraltar, Franco said no and put troops in the Pyrenees to enforce his decision.

Unlike Mussolini, Franco remained a nonbelligerent in the world war, returned U.S. pilots who came down in Spain and agreed to a postwar alliance with the United States.

Non-intervention in the Spanish Civil War worked out just fine.