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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Fatal Delusions of Western Man

Fatal Delusions of Western Man

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“We got China wrong. Now what?” ran the headline over the column in The Washington Post.

“Remember how American engagement with China was going to make that communist backwater more like the democratic, capitalist West?” asked Charles Lane in his opening sentence.

America’s elites believed that economic engagement and the opening of U.S. markets would cause the People’s Republic to coexist benignly with its neighbors and the West.

We deluded ourselves. It did not happen.

Xi Jinping just changed China’s constitution to allow him to be dictator for life. He continues to thieve intellectual property from U.S. companies and to occupy and fortify islets in the South China Sea, which Beijing now claims as entirely its own.

Meanwhile, China sustains North Korea as Chinese warplanes and warships circumnavigate Taiwan threatening its independence.

We today confront a Chinese Communist dictatorship and superpower that seeks to displace America as first power on earth, and to drive the U.S. military back across the Pacific.

Who is responsible for this epochal blunder?

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The elites of both parties. Bush Republicans from the 1990s granted China most-favored-nation status and threw open America’s market.

Result: China has run up $4 trillion in trade surpluses with the United States. Her $375 billion trade surplus with us in 2017 far exceeded the entire Chinese defense budget.

We fed the tiger, and created a monster.

Why? What is in the mind of Western man that our leaders continue to adopt policies rooted in hopes unjustified by reality?

Recall. Stalin was a murderous tyrant unrivaled in history whose victims in 1939 were 1,000 times those of Adolf Hitler, with whom he eagerly partnered in return for the freedom to rape the Baltic States and bite off half of Poland.

When Hitler turned on Stalin, the Bolshevik butcher rushed to the West for aid. Churchill and FDR hailed him in encomiums that would have made Pericles blush. At Yalta, Churchill rose to toast the butcher:

“I walk through this world with greater courage and hope when I find myself in a relation of friendship and intimacy with this great man, whose fame has gone out not only over all Russia, but the world. … We regard Marshal Stalin’s life as most precious to the hopes and hearts of all of us.”

Returning home, Churchill assured a skeptical Parliament, “I know of no Government which stands to its obligations, even in its own despite, more solidly than the Russian Soviet Government.”

George W. Bush, with the U.S. establishment united behind him, invaded Iraq with the goal of creating a Vermont in the Middle East that would be a beacon of democracy to the Arab and Islamic world.

Ex-Director of the NSA Gen. William Odom correctly called the U.S. invasion the greatest strategic blunder in American history. But Bush, un-chastened, went on to preach a crusade for democracy with the goal of “ending tyranny in our world.”

What is the root of these astounding beliefs — that Stalin would be a partner for peace, that if we built up Mao’s China she would become benign and benevolent, that we could reshape Islamic nations into replicas of Western democracies, that we could eradicate tyranny?

Today, we are replicating these historic follies.

After our victory in the Cold War, we not only plunged into the Middle East to remake it in our image, we issued war guarantees to every ex-member state of the Warsaw Pact, and threatened Russia with war if she ever intervened again in the Baltic Republics.

No Cold War president would have dreamed of issuing such an in-your-face challenge to a great nuclear power like Russia.

If Putin’s Russia does not become the pacifist nation it has never been, these guarantees will one day be called. And America will either back down — or face a nuclear confrontation.

Why would we risk something like this?

Consider this crazed ideology of free trade globalism with its roots in the scribblings of 19th-century idiot savants, not one of whom ever built a great nation.

Adhering religiously to free trade dogma, we have run up $12 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I. Our cities have been gutted by the loss of plants and factories. Workers’ wages have stagnated. The economic independence Hamilton sought and Republican presidents from Lincoln to McKinley achieved is history.

But the greatest risk we are taking, based on utopianism, is the annual importation of well over a million legal and illegal immigrants, many from the failed states of the Third World, in the belief we can create a united, peaceful and harmonious land of 400 million, composed of every race, religion, ethnicity, tribe, creed, culture and language on earth.

Where is the historic evidence for the success of this experiment, the failure of which could mean the end of America as one nation and one people?

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Is America Up for a Second Cold War?

Is America Up for a Second Cold War?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

After the 19th national congress of the Chinese Communist Party in October, one may discern Premier Xi Jinping’s vision of the emerging New World Order.

By 2049, the centennial of the triumph of Communist Revolution, China shall have become the first power on earth. Her occupation and humiliation by the West and Japan in the 19th and 20th centuries will have become hated but ancient history.

America will have been pushed out of Asia and the western Pacific back beyond the second chain of islands.

Taiwan will have been returned to the motherland, South Korea and the Philippines neutralized, Japan contained. China’s claim to all the rocks, reefs and islets in the South China Sea will have been recognized by all current claimants.

Xi’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy will have brought South and Central Asia into Beijing’s orbit, and he will be in the Pantheon beside the Founding Father of Communist China, Mao Zedong.

Democracy has been rejected by China in favor of one-party rule of all political, economic, cultural and social life.

And as one views Europe, depopulating, riven by secessionism, fearful of a Third World migrant invasion, and America tearing herself apart over politics and ideology, China must appear to ambitious and rising powers as the model to emulate.

Indeed, has not China shown the world that authoritarianism can be compatible with national growth that outstrips a democratic West?

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Over the last quarter century, China, thanks to economic nationalism and $4 trillion in trade surpluses with the United States, has exhibited growth unseen since 19th-century America.

Whatever we may think of Xi’s methods, this vision must attract vast numbers of China’s young — they see their country displace America as first power, becoming the dominant people on earth.

What is America’s vision? What is America’s cause in the 21st century? What is the mission and goal that unites, inspires and drives us on?

After World War II, America’s foreign policy was imposed upon her by the terrible realities the war produced: brutalitarian Stalinist domination of Eastern and Central Europe and much of Asia.

Under nine presidents, containment of the Soviet empire, while avoiding a war that would destroy civilization, was our policy. In Korea and Vietnam, Americans died in the thousands to sustain that policy.

But with the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the breakup of the USSR, it seemed that by 1992 our great work was done. Now democracy would flourish and be embraced by all advanced peoples and nations.

But it did not happen. The “end of history” never came. The New World Order of Bush I did not last. Bush II’s democracy crusade to end tyranny in our world produced disasters from Libya to Afghanistan.

Authoritarianism is now ascendant and democracy is in retreat.

Is the United States prepared to accept a world in which China, growing at twice our rate, more united and purposeful, emerges as the dominant power? Are we willing to acquiesce in a Chinese Century?

Or will we adopt a policy to ensure that America remains the world’s preeminent power?

Do we have what is required in wealth, power, stamina and will to pursue a Second Cold War to contain China, which, strategic weapons aside, is more powerful and has greater potential than the Soviet Union ever did?

On his Asia tour, President Trump spoke of the “Indo-Pacific,” shorthand for the proposition that the U.S., Japan, Australia and India form the core of a coalition to maintain the balance of power in Asia and contain the expansion of China.

Yet, before we create some Asia-Pacific NATO to corral and contain China in this century, as we did the USSR in the 20th century, we need to ask ourselves why.

Does China, even if she rises to surpass the U.S. in manufacturing, technology and economic output, and is a comparable military power, truly threaten us as the USSR did, to where we should consider war to prevent its expansion in places like the South China Sea that are not vital to America?

While China is a great power, she has great problems.

She is feared and disliked by her neighbors. She has territorial quarrels with Russia, India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan. She has separatists in Tibet and Xinjiang. Christianity is growing while Communism, the state religion, is a dead faith. Moreover, the monopoly of power now enjoyed by the Communist Party and Xi Jinping mean that if things go wrong, there is no one else to blame.

Finally, why is the containment of China in Asia the responsibility of a United States 12 time zones away? For while China seeks to dominate Eurasia, she appears to have no desire to threaten the vital interests of the United States. China’s Communism appears to be an ideology disbelieved by her own people, that she does not intend to impose it on Asia or the world.

Again, are we Americans up for a Second Cold War, and, if so, why?

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Pat Buchanan’s White House Battles

President Richard M. Nixon

By James Rosen at The National Interest…

“I DID not understand then, nor do I now, why we did what we did,” writes Patrick J. Buchanan towards the end of Nixon’s White House Wars, the second of two volumes chronicling the decade he spent with the thirty-seventh president as a speechwriter, political adviser and confidant.

In this instance, Buchanan was referencing a tactical blunder committed during Watergate, the denouement of the Nixon presidency. But the author—a pugnacious visionary who believed conservatives could recast the electoral map by peeling off key constituencies of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal coalition—could just as easily have been summarizing Richard Nixon’s five and a half years in the Oval Office, which repeatedly found Buchanan baffled by the steady leftward drift of a president he knew to be instinctually conservative. “Why we were doing this,” the author complains ninety-three pages earlier, about something else, “I did not know.”

Time and again, as Nixon and his men deliberated the conduct of the Vietnam War and the threats posed by the radical Left, school desegregation and affirmative-action programs, Supreme Court nominations and Great Society funding, Buchanan struggled to understand why the Nixon he knew intimately from 1965 onward, the wily politician whose worldview aligned so squarely with the “Silent Majority” of Americans—a phrase Buchanan himself had coined—had embraced the policy prescriptions of his political opponents.

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“Why did the conservatives, who had so influenced the policy positions that Nixon had adopted during his comeback, fail to play a comparable role in the transition and the administration?” Buchanan asks. At one point, he even plaintively wonders The Greatest Comebackwhether the president and his key aides—principally, Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman and domestic policy adviser John Ehrlichman—entertained an “inherent suicidal tendency or death wish.”

This lamentation, exposing the inner workings of the “troubled marriage” between Richard Nixon and conservatism and drawing on a thousand memoranda Buchanan exchanged with the president, many previously unpublished, provides the chief value of Buchanan’s book. Witty and well documented, rich with insights into Nixon, the nation and a cast of colorful characters—from Henry Kissinger to Hunter S. Thompson, Ronald Reagan to Coretta Scott King—White House Wars succeeds simultaneously as history and autobiography, polemic and portraiture, elegy and entertainment. In this and the first installment of his Nixon memoirs, The Greatest Comeback, which chronicled Nixon’s wilderness years and capturing of the presidency in 1968, Buchanan has made an indispensable contribution to the literature of Cold War America.

BUCHANAN’S CONFLICT endures to this day. His dismay over Nixon’s liberal domestic policy is tempered by a reflexive impulse to defend the man, both because he had all the right enemies—virtually all of academia, the news media, and the civil- and foreign-service bureaucracies—and because Nixon was subjected, across three decades on the national stage, to an unrelenting double standard. (Case in point: the same New York Times that in 1962 denounced publication of Cuban Missile Crisis secrets, to preserve “the integrity of the National Security Council,” could, by 1971, when Nixon and Kissinger were running the NSC, spend three months grooming the Pentagon Papers for publication.) Thus, Buchanan today can praise Nixon’s “willingness to set aside political differences and past battles and cross party lines to select the best to serve the nation” while deploring the fact that “there was not an ideological conservative among Nixon’s West Wing assistants or Cabinet officers.”

The nadir of Buchanan’s disaffection was Nixon’s historic trip to China in February 1972. Traveling on Air Force One back from Shanghai, Buchanan read the communiqué drafted, on the U.S. side, by Kissinger, and instantly became “angry, disgusted, and ashamed.” “I was ill,” he writes, over the “sellout of Taiwan.” There in the aisle a shouting match ensued. “Bullshit!” Buchanan screamed at the national security adviser…

Read much more at: The National Interest…

The Rise of the Generals

The Rise of the Generals

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Has President Donald Trump outsourced foreign policy to the generals?

So it would seem. Candidate Trump held out his hand to Vladimir Putin. He rejected further U.S. intervention in Syria other than to smash ISIS.

He spoke of getting out and staying out of the misbegotten Middle East wars into which Presidents Bush II and Obama had plunged the country.

President Trump’s seeming renunciation of an anti-interventionist foreign policy is the great surprise of the first 100 days, and the most ominous. For any new war could vitiate the Trump mandate and consume his presidency.

Trump no longer calls NATO “obsolete,” but moves U.S. troops toward Russia in the Baltic and eastern Balkans. Rex Tillerson, holder of Russia’s Order of Friendship, now warns that the U.S. will not lift sanctions on Russia until she gets out of Ukraine.

If Tillerson is not bluffing, that would rule out any rapprochement in the Trump presidency. For neither Putin, nor any successor, could surrender Crimea and survive.

What happened to the Trump of 2016?

When did Kiev’s claim to Crimea become more crucial to us than a cooperative relationship with a nuclear-armed Russia? In 1991, Bush I and Secretary of State James Baker thought the very idea of Ukraine’s independence was the product of a “suicidal nationalism.”

Where do we think this demonization of Putin and ostracism of Russia is going to lead?

To get Xi Jinping to help with our Pyongyang problem, Trump has dropped all talk of befriending Taiwan, backed off Tillerson’s warning to Beijing to vacate its fortified reefs in the South China Sea, and held out promises of major concessions to Beijing in future trade deals.

“I like (Xi Jinping) and I believe he likes me a lot,” Trump said this week. One recalls FDR admonishing Churchill, “I think I can personally handle Stalin better than … your Foreign Office … Stalin hates the guts of all your people. He thinks he likes me better.”

FDR did not live to see what a fool Stalin had made of him.

Among the achievements celebrated in Trump’s first 100 days are the 59 cruise missiles launched at the Syrian airfield from which the gas attack on civilians allegedly came, and the dropping of the 22,000-pound MOAB bomb in Afghanistan.

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But what did these bombings accomplish?

The War Party seems again ascendant. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are happy campers. In Afghanistan, the U.S. commander is calling for thousands more U.S. troops to assist the 8,500 still there, to stabilize an Afghan regime and army that is steadily losing ground to the Taliban.

Iran is back on the front burner. While Tillerson concedes that Tehran is in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, Trump says it is violating “the spirit of the agreement.”

How so? Says Tillerson, Iran is “destabilizing” the region, and threatening U.S. interests in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon.

But Iran is an ally of Syria and was invited in to help the U.N.-recognized government put down an insurrection that contains elements of al-Qaida and ISIS. It is we, the Turks, Saudis and Gulf Arabs who have been backing the rebels seeking to overthrow the regime.

In Yemen, Houthi rebels overthrew and expelled a Saudi satrap. The bombing, blockading and intervention with troops is being done by Saudi and Sunni Arabs, assisted by the U.S. Navy and Air Force.

It is we and the Saudis who are talking of closing the Yemeni port of Hodeida, which could bring on widespread starvation.

It was not Iran, but the U.S. that invaded Iraq, overthrew the Baghdad regime and occupied the country. It was not Iran that overthrew Col. Gadhafi and created the current disaster in Libya.

Monday, the USS Mahan fired a flare to warn off an Iranian patrol boat, 1,000 meters away. Supposedly, this was a provocation. But Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif had a point when he tweeted:

“Breaking: Our Navy operates in — yes, correct — the Persian Gulf, not the Gulf of Mexico. Question is what US Navy doing 7,500 miles from home.”

Who is behind the seeming conversion of Trump to hawk?

The generals, Bibi Netanyahu and the neocons, Congressional hawks with Cold War mindsets, the Saudi royal family and the Gulf Arabs — they are winning the battle for the president’s mind.

And their agenda for America?

We are to recognize that our true enemy in the Mideast is not al-Qaida or ISIS, but Shiite Iran and Hezbollah, Assad’s Syria and his patron, Putin. And until Hezbollah is eviscerated, Assad is gone, and Iran is smashed the way we did Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen, the flowering of Middle East democracy that we all seek cannot truly begin.

But before President Trump proceeds along the path laid out for him by his generals, brave and patriotic men that they are, he should discover if any of them opposed any of the idiotic wars of the last 15 years, beginning with that greatest of strategic blunders — George Bush’s invasion of Iraq.

New President, New World

New President, New World

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“Don’t Make Any Sudden Moves” is the advice offered to the new president by Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations, which has not traditionally been known as a beer hall of populist beliefs.

Haass meant the president should bring his National Security Council together to anticipate the consequences before tearing up the Iran nuclear deal, moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem or shooting down a missile being tested by Kim Jong Un.

In arguing against rash action, Haass is correct.

Where the CFR and the establishment are wrong, and Donald Trump is right, however, is in recognizing the new world we have entered.

The old order is passing away. Treaties and alliances dating from the Cold War are ceasing to be relevant and cannot long be sustained.

Economic patriotism and ethnonationalism, personified by Trump, seem everywhere ascendant. Transnationalism is yielding to tribalism.

The greater danger for President Trump is that the movement he led will be abandoned, its hopes dashed, and the agenda that Trump rejected and routed will be reimposed by a Republican Establishment and its collaborators in politics and the press.

Again, it was Trump who read the nation right, which is why he is taking the oath today.

The existential threat to the West no longer comes from the East, from a Russian army crashing through Poland and Germany and driving for the Elbe and Fulda Gap.

The existential threat to the West comes, instead, from the South.

The billion-plus peoples of the Maghreb, Middle East and sub-Sahara, whose numbers are exploding, are moving inexorably toward the Med, coming to occupy the empty places left by an aging and dying Europe, all of whose native-born populations steadily shrink.

American’s bleeding border is what concerns Americans, not the borders of Estonia, South Korea, Kuwait or the South China Sea.

When Trump calls NATO “obsolete,” he is saying that the great threat to the West is not Putin’s recapture of a Crimea that belonged to Russia for 150 years. And if the price of peace is getting out of Russia’s face and Russia’s space, maybe we should pay it.

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George Kennan himself, the architect of Cold War containment of Stalin’s Russia, admonished us not to move NATO to Russia’s border.

Of Brexit, the British decision to leave the EU, Trump said this week, “People, countries want their own identity and the U.K. wanted its own identity … so if you ask me, I believe others will leave.”

Is he not right? Is it so shocking to hear a transparent truth?

How could Europe’s elites not see the populist forces rising? The European peoples wished to regain their lost sovereignty and national identity, and they were willing to pay a price to achieve it.

Apparently, the Davos crowd cannot comprehend people who believe there are more important things than wealth.

Yet while President Trump should avoid rash actions, if he is to become a transformational president, he will spurn an establishment desperately seeking to hold onto the world that is passing away.

Article V of the NATO treaty may require us to treat a Russian move in the Baltic as an attack on the United States. But no sane president will start a war with a nuclear-armed Russia over Estonia.

No Cold War president would have dreamed of so rash an action.

Rather than risk such a war, Ike refused to send a rifle or bullet to the heroic Hungarian rebels in 1956. Painful, but Ike put America first, just as Trump pledged to do.

And given the strength of ethnonationalism in Europe, neither the eurozone nor the EU is likely to survive the decade. We should prepare for that day, not pretend that what is taking place across Europe, and indeed worldwide, is some passing fever of nationalism.

Notwithstanding Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson’s diktat, the United States is not going to force China to vacate the fortified reefs in a South China Sea she claims as her national territory.

Stick to that demand, and we best prepare for war.

As for the Taiwan card, it was played in 1972 by Richard Nixon as the price of his opening to China. Four decades ago, Jimmy Carter cut diplomatic ties to Taiwan and terminated our security pact.

For Xi Jinping to accept that Taiwan might be negotiable would mean an end of him and the overthrow of his Communist Party of China.

The Chinese will fight to prevent a permanent loss of Taiwan.

The imperative of the new era is that the great nuclear powers — China, Russia, the United States — not do to each other what Britain, France and Germany did to each other a century ago over a dead archduke.

President Trump should build the wall, secure the border, impose tariffs, cut taxes, free up the American economy, bring the factories home, create millions of jobs and keep us out of any new wars.

With rare exceptions, wars tend to be fatal to presidencies.

Is Trump Calling Out Xi Jinping?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Like a bolt of lightning, that call of congratulations from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to President-elect Donald Trump illuminated the Asian landscape.

We can see clearly now the profit and loss statement from more than three decades of accommodating and appeasing China, since Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger made their historic journey in 1972.

What are the gains and losses?

Soon after Nixon announced the trip in July 1971, our World War II ally, the Republic of China on Taiwan, was expelled from the UN, its permanent seat on the Security Council given to the People’s Republic of China’s Chairman Mao, a rival of Stalin’s in mass murder.

In 1979, Jimmy Carter recognized the regime in Beijing, cut ties to Taipei and terminated the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty of 1954. All over the world countries followed our lead, shut down Taiwan’s embassies, and expelled her diplomats. Our former allies have since been treated as global pariahs.

During the 1990s and into the new century, Republicans, acting on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable, voted annually to grant Most Favored Nation trade status for China. They then voted to make it permanent and escort China into the WTO.

What did China get out of the new U.S. policy? Vast investment and $4 trillion in trade surpluses at America’s expense over 25 years.

From the backward country mired in the madness of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in 1972, China grew by double-digits yearly to become the foremost manufacturing nation on earth, and has used its immense earnings from trade to make itself a military power to rival the United States.

China now claims all the islands of the South China Sea, has begun converting reefs into military bases, targeted hundreds of missiles on Taiwan, claimed the Senkakus held by Japan, ordered U.S. warships out of the Taiwan Strait, brought down a U.S. EP-3 on Hainan island in 2001, and then demanded and got from Secretary of State Colin Powell an apology for violating Chinese airspace.

Beijing has manipulated her currency, demanded transfers of U.S. technology, and stolen much of what of U.S. did not cover.

For decades, China has declared a goal of driving the United States out beyond the second chain of islands off Asia, i.e., out of the Western Pacific and back to Guam, Hawaii and the West Coast.

During these same decades, some of us were asking insistently what we were getting in return.

Thus Trump’s phone call seemed the right signal to Beijing — while we recognize one China, we have millions of friends on Taiwan in whose future as a free people we retain an interest.

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China bristled at Trump’s first communication between U.S. and Taiwanese leaders since 1979, with Beijing indicating that Trump’s failure to understand the Asian situation may explain the American’s gaffe.

Sunday, Vice President-elect Mike Pence assured us that nothing of significance should be read into the 15-minute phone call of congratulations.

Trump, however, was less polite and reassuring, giving Beijing the wet mitten across the face for its impertinence:

“Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the U.S. doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea?”

Trump then answered his own question, “I don’t think so.”

According to The Washington Post, the phone call from Taiwan to Trump was no chance happening. It had been planned for weeks. And people in Trump’s inner circle are looking to closer ties to Taiwan and a tougher policy toward Beijing.

This suggests that Trump was aware there might be a sharp retort from Beijing, and that his tweets dismissing Chinese protests and doubling down on the Taiwan issue were both considered and deliberate.

Well, the fat is in the fire now.

Across Asia, every capital is waiting to see how Xi Jinping responds, for a matter of face would seem to be involved.

On the trade front, China is deeply vulnerable. U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods would cause a sudden massive loss of income to factories in China and a stampede out of the country to elsewhere in Asia by companies now producing in the Middle Kingdom.

On the other hand, without China using its economic leverage over North Korea, it is unlikely any sanctions the U.S. and its allies can impose will persuade Kim Jong Un to halt his nuclear weapons program.

China can choke North Korea to death. But China can also step back and let Pyongyang become a nuclear weapons state, though that could mean Seoul and Tokyo following suit, which would be intolerable to Beijing.

Before we go down this road, President-elect Trump and his foreign policy team ought to think through just where it leads — and where it might end.