Lavrov vs. McCain: Is Russia an Enemy?

Lavrov vs. McCain: Is Russia an Enemy?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

The founding fathers of the Munich Security Conference, said John McCain, would be “be alarmed by the turning away from universal values and toward old ties of blood, and race, and sectarianism.”

McCain was followed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who called for a “post-West world order.” Russia has “immense potential” for that said Lavrov, “we’re open for that inasmuch as the U.S. is open.”

Now McCain is not wrong. Nationalism is an idea whose time has come again. Those “old ties of blood, and race, and sectarianism” do seem everywhere ascendant. But that is a reality we must recognize and deal with. Deploring it will not make it go away.

But what are these “universal values” McCain is talking about?

Democracy? The free elections in India gave power to Hindu nationalists. In Palestine, Hamas. In Lebanon, Hezbollah. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, then overthrown in a military coup welcomed by the world’s oldest and greatest democracy. Have we forgotten it was a democratically elected government we helped to overthrow in Kiev?

Democracy is a bus you get off when it reaches your stop, says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, autocrat of Ankara, a NATO ally.

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Is freedom of religion a “universal value”?

Preach or proselytize for Christianity in much of the Islamic world and you are a candidate for martyrdom. Practice freedom of speech in Xi Jinping’s China and you can wind up in a cell.

As for the Western belief in the equality of all voluntary sexual relations, in some African and Muslim countries, homosexuals are beheaded and adulterers stoned to death.

In Nuristan Province in U.S.-liberated Afghanistan this month, an armed mob of 300 besieged a jail, shot three cops and dragged out an 18-year-old woman who had eloped with her lover to escape an arranged marriage. Beaten by relatives, the girl was shot by an older brother with a hunting rifle and by a younger brother with his AK-47.

Afghan family values.

Her lover was turned over to the husband. An “honor killing,” and, like suicide bombings, not uncommon in a world where many see such actions as commendable in the sight of Allah.

McCain calls himself an “unapologetic believer in the West” who refuses “to accept that our values are morally equivalent to those of our adversaries.”

Lavrov seemed to be saying this:

Reality requires us here in Munich to recognize that, in the new struggle for the world, Russia and the U.S. are natural allies not natural enemies. Though we may quarrel over Crimea and the Donbass, we are in the same boat. Either we sail together, or sink together.

Does the foreign minister not have a point?

Unlike the Cold War, Moscow does not command a world empire. Though a nuclear superpower still, she is a nation whose GDP is that of Spain and whose population of fewer than 150 million is shrinking. And Russia threatens no U.S. vital interest.

Where America is besieged by millions of illegal immigrants crossing from Mexico, Russia faces to her south 1.3 billion Chinese looking hungrily at resource-rich Siberia and Russia’s Far East.

The China that is pushing America and its allies out of the East and South China Seas is also building a new Silk Road through former Russian and Soviet provinces in Central Asia. With an estimated 16 million Muslims, Russia is threatened by the same terrorists, and is far closer to the Middle East, the source of Sunni terror.

Is Putin’s Russia an enemy, as McCain seems to believe?

Before we can answer that question, we need to know what the new world struggle is about, who the antagonists are, and what the threats are to us.

If we believe the struggle is for “global democracy” and “human rights,” then that may put Putin on the other side. But how then can we be allies of President el-Sissi of Egypt and Erdogan of Turkey, and the kings, emirs and sultans of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman?

But if the new world struggle is about defending ourselves and our civilization, Russia would appear to be not only a natural ally, but a more critical and powerful one than that crowd in Kiev.

In August 1914, Europe plunged into a 50-month bloodbath over an assassinated archduke. In 1939, Britain and France declared war to keep Poland from having to give up a Prussian port, Danzig, taken from Germany under the duress of a starvation blockade in 1919 and in clear violation of Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points and the Danzigers’ right of self-determination. In the two wars, 50 million to 100 million died.

Today, the United States is confronting Russia, a huge and natural ally, over a peninsula that had belonged to her since the 18th century and is 5,000 miles from the United States.

“We have immense potential that has yet to be tapped into,” volunteered Lavrov. But to deal, we must have “mutual respect.”

Hopefully, President Trump will sound out the Russians, and tune out the Beltway hawks.

The Coming Clash With Iran

The Coming Clash With Iran

By Patrick J. Buchanan

When Gen. Michael Flynn marched into the White House Briefing Room to declare that “we are officially putting Iran on notice,” he drew a red line for President Trump. In tweeting the threat, Trump agreed.

His credibility is now on the line.

And what triggered this virtual ultimatum?

Iran-backed Houthi rebels, said Flynn, attacked a Saudi warship and Tehran tested a missile, undermining “security, prosperity, and stability throughout the Middle East,” placing “American lives at risk.”

But how so?

The Saudis have been bombing the Houthi rebels and ravaging their country, Yemen, for two years. Are the Saudis entitled to immunity from retaliation in wars that they start?

Where is the evidence Iran had a role in the Red Sea attack on the Saudi ship? And why would President Trump make this war his war?

As for the Iranian missile test, a 2015 U.N. resolution “called upon” Iran not to test nuclear-capable missiles. It did not forbid Iran from testing conventional missiles, which Tehran insists this was.

Is the United States making new demands on Iran not written into the nuclear treaty or international law — to provoke a confrontation?

Did Flynn coordinate with our allies about this warning of possible military action against Iran? Is NATO obligated to join any action we might take?

Or are we going to carry out any retaliation alone, as our NATO allies observe, while the Israelis, Gulf Arabs, Saudis and the Beltway War Party, which wishes to be rid of Trump, cheer him on?

Bibi Netanyahu hailed Flynn’s statement, calling Iran’s missile test a flagrant violation of the U.N. resolution and declaring, “Iranian aggression must not go unanswered.” By whom, besides us?

The Saudi king spoke with Trump Sunday. Did he persuade the president to get America more engaged against Iran?

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Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker is among those delighted with the White House warning:

“No longer will Iran be given a pass for its repeated ballistic missile violations, continued support of terrorism, human rights abuses and other hostile activities that threaten international peace and security.”

The problem with making a threat public — Iran is “on notice” — is that it makes it almost impossible for Iran, or Trump, to back away.

Tehran seems almost obliged to defy it, especially the demand that it cease testing conventional missiles for its own defense.

This U.S. threat will surely strengthen those Iranians opposed to the nuclear deal and who wish to see its architects, President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, thrown out in this year’s elections.

If Rex Tillerson is not to become a wartime secretary of state like Colin Powell or Dean Rusk, he is going to have to speak to the Iranians, not with defiant declarations, but in a diplomatic dialogue.

Tillerson, of course, is on record as saying the Chinese should be blocked from visiting the half-dozen fortified islets they have built on rocks and reefs in the South China Sea.

A prediction: The Chinese will not be departing from their islands, and the Iranians will defy the U.S. threat against testing their missiles.

Wednesday’s White House statement makes a collision with Iran almost unavoidable, and a war with Iran quite possible.

Why did Trump and Flynn feel the need to do this now?

There is an awful lot already on the foreign policy plate of the new president after only two weeks, as pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine are firing artillery again, and North Korea’s nuclear missile threat, which, unlike Iran’s, is real, has yet to be addressed.

High among the reasons that many supported Trump was his understanding that George W. Bush blundered horribly in launching an unprovoked and unnecessary war on Iraq.

Along with the 15-year war in Afghanistan and our wars in Libya, Syria and Yemen, our 21st-century U.S. Mideast wars have cost us trillions of dollars and thousands of dead. And they have produced a harvest of hatred of America that was exploited by al-Qaida and ISIS to recruit jihadists to murder and massacre Westerners.

Osama’s bin Laden’s greatest achievement was not to bring down the twin towers and kill 3,000 Americans, but to goad America into plunging headlong into the Middle East, a reckless and ruinous adventure that ended her post-Cold War global primacy.

Unlike the other candidates, Trump seemed to recognize this.

It was thought he would disengage us from these wars, not rattle a saber at an Iran that is three times the size of Iraq and has as its primary weapons supplier and partner Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

When Barack Obama drew his red line against Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons in Syria’s civil war, and Assad appeared to cross it, Obama discovered that his countrymen wanted no part of the war that his military action might bring on.

President Obama backed down — in humiliation.

Neither the Ayatollah Khamenei nor Trump appears to be in a mood to back away, especially now that the president has made the threat public.

Iran Nuclear Deal — Alive or Dead?

Iran Nuclear Deal -- Alive or Dead?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Though every Republican in Congress voted against the Iran nuclear deal, “Tearing it up … is not going to happen,” says Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Hopefully, the chairman speaks for the president-elect.

During the campaign, Donald Trump indicated as much, saying that, though the U.S. got jobbed in the negotiations — “We have a horrible contract, but we do have a contract” — he might not walk away.

To Trump, a deal’s a deal, even a bad one. And we did get taken.

In 2007 and 2011, all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies assured us, “with high confidence,” that Iran did not have an atomic bomb program.

Yet our folks forked over $50 billion for an Iranian show and tell to prove they were not doing what our 17 intelligence agencies told us, again and again, they were not doing.

Why did we disbelieve our own intelligence, and buy into the “Chicken Little” chatter about Iran being “only months away from a bomb”?

Corker also administered a cold shower to those who darkly warn of a secret Iranian program to produce a bomb: “In spite of all the flaws in the agreement, nothing bad is going to happen relative to nuclear development in Iran in the next few years. It’s just not.”

Under the deal, Iran has put two-thirds of the 19,000 centrifuges at Natanz in storage, ceased enriching uranium to 20 percent at Fordow, poured concrete into the core of its heavy water reactor at Arak, and shipped 97 percent of its enriched uranium out of the country. Cameras and United Nations inspectors are all over the place.

Even should Iran decide on a crash program to create enough fissile material for a single A-bomb test, this would take a year, and we would know about it.

But why would they? After all, there are sound reasons of state why Iran decided over a decade ago to forego nuclear weapons.

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Discovery of a bomb program could bring the same U.S. shock and awe as was visited on Iraq for its nonexistent WMD. Discovery would risk a pre-emptive strike by an Israel with scores of nuclear weapons. Saudi Arabia and Turkey would have a powerful inducement to build their own bombs.

Acquiring a nuclear weapon would almost surely make Iran, a Persian nation on the edge of a sea of Arabs, less secure.

If, however, in the absence of a violation of the treaty by Iran, we tore up the deal, we could find ourselves isolated. For Britain, France and Germany also signed, and they believe the agreement is a good one.

Do we really want to force these NATO allies to choose between the deal they agreed to and a break with the United States?

If the War Party is confident Iran is going to cheat, why not wait until they do. Then make our case with evidence, so our allies can go with us on principle, and not from pressure.

Also at issue is the deal signed by Boeing to sell Iran 80 jetliners. Airbus has contracted to sell Iran 100 planes, and begun delivery. List price for the two deals: $34.5 billion. Tens of thousands of U.S. jobs are at stake.

Is a Republican Congress prepared to blow up the Boeing deal and force the Europeans to cancel the Airbus deal?

Why? Some contend the planes can be used to transport the Iranian Republican Guard. But are the Iranians, who are looking to tourism, trade and investment to rescue their economy, so stupid as to spend $35 billion for troop transports they could buy from Vladimir Putin?

The Ayatollah’s regime may define itself by its hatred of the Great Satan. Still, in 2009, even our War Party was urging President Obama to publicly back the Green Movement uprising against the disputed victory of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In 2013, moderates voted Hassan Rouhani into the presidency, where he began secret negotiations with the USA.

New elections will be held this year. And while the death of ex-President Rafsanjani this weekend has removed the powerful patron of Rouhani and strengthened the hard-liners, Ayatollah Khamenei is suffering from cancer, and the nation’s future remains undetermined.

Iran’s young seek to engage with the West. But if they are spurned, by the cancellation of the Boeing deal and the reimposition of U.S. sanctions, they will be disillusioned and discredited, and the mullahs will own the future.

How would that serve U.S. interests?

We still have sanctions on Iran for its missile tests in violation of Security Council resolutions, for its human rights violations, and for its support of groups like Hezbollah. But we also have in common with Iran an enmity for the Sunni terrorists of al-Qaida and ISIS.

We are today fighting in Libya, Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, as the War Party works to confront Beijing in the South China Sea, Russia in Ukraine and North Korea over its nuclear and missile tests.

Could we perhaps put the confrontation with Iran on hold?

The Real Saboteurs of a Trump Foreign Policy

The Real Saboteurs of a Trump Foreign Policy

By Patrick J. Buchanan

The never-Trumpers are never going to surrender the myth that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the hacking of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee to defeat Clinton and elect Donald Trump.

Their investment in the myth is just too huge.

For Clinton and her campaign, it is the only way to explain how they booted away a presidential election even Trump thought he had lost in November. To the mainstream media, this is the smoking gun in their Acela Corridor conspiracy to delegitimize Trump’s presidency.

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sees Russian hacking as a way to put a cloud over the administration before it begins. But it is the uber-hawks hereabouts who are after the really big game.

They seek to demonize Putin as the saboteur of democracy — someone who corrupted an American presidential election to bring about victory for a “useful idiot” whom Clinton called Putin’s “puppet.”

If the War Party can convert this “fake story” into the real story of 2016, then they can scuttle any Trump effort to attain the rapprochement with Russia that Trump promised to try to achieve.

If they can stigmatize Trump as “Putin’s president” and Putin as America’s implacable enemy, then the Russophobes are back in business.

Nor is the War Party disguising its goal.

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Over the weekend, Sen. John McCain called for a congressional select committee to investigate Russian hacking into the Clinton campaign. The purpose of the investigations, said Sen. Lindsey Graham, “is to put on President Trump’s desk crippling sanctions against Russia.”

“They need to pay a price,” Graham chortled on Twitter.

“Crippling sanctions” would abort any modus vivendi, any deal with Russia, before Trump could negotiate one. Trump would have to refuse to impose them — and face the firestorm to follow. The War Party is out to dynamite any detente with Russia before it begins.

Among the reasons Trump won is that he promised to end U.S. involvement in the costly, bloody and interminable wars in the Middle East the Bushites and President Barack Obama brought us — and the neocons relish — and to reach a new understanding with Russia and Putin.

But to some in Washington, beating up on Russia is a conditioned reflex dating to the Cold War. For others in the media and the front groups called think tanks, Russophobia is in their DNA.

Though Julian Assange says WikiLeaks did not get the emails from Russia, this has to be investigated. Did Russia hack the DNC’s email system and John Podesta’s email account? Did Putin direct that the emails be provided to WikiLeaks to disrupt democracy or defeat Clinton?

Clinton says Putin has had it in for her because he believes she was behind the anti-Putin demonstrations in Moscow in 2011.

But if there is to be an investigation of clandestine interference in the politics and elections of foreign nations, let’s get it all out onto the table.

The CIA director and his deputies should be made to testify under oath, not only as to what they know about Russia’s role in the WikiLeaks email dumps but also about who inside the agency is behind the leaks to The Washington Post designed to put a cloud over the Trump presidency before it begins.

Agents and operatives of the CIA should be subjected to lie detector tests to learn who is leaking to the anti-Trump press.

Before any congressional investigation, President-elect Trump should call in his new director of the CIA, Rep. Mike Pompeo, and tell him to run down and remove, for criminal misconduct, any CIA agents or operatives leaking secrets to discredit his election.

Putin, after all, is not an American. The CIA saboteurs of the Trump presidency are. Will the media investigate the leakers? Not likely, for they are the beneficiaries of the leaks and co-conspirators of the leakers.

The top officials of the CIA and Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy, should be called to testify under oath. Were they behind anti-Putin demonstrations during the Russian elections of 2011?

Did the CIA or NED have a role in the “color-coded” revolutions to dump over pro-Russian governments in Moscow’s “near abroad”?

If Russia did intrude in our election, was it payback for our intrusions to bring about regime change in its neighborhood?

What role did the CIA, the NED and John McCain play in the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Ukraine in 2014? McCain was seen cheering on the crowds in Independence Square in Kiev.

Trump has promised a more hopeful foreign policy than that of the Republicans he denounced and is succeeding. No more wars where vital interests are not imperiled. No more U.S. troops arriving as first responders for freeloading allies.

The real saboteurs of his new foreign policy may not be inside the Ring Road in Moscow; rather, they may be inside the Beltway around D.C.

The real danger may be that a new Trump foreign policy could be hijacked or scuttled by anti-Trump Republicans, not only on Capitol Hill but inside the executive branch itself.

Will Trump Defy McCain & Marco?

Will Trump Defy McCain & Marco?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

When word leaked that Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, a holder of the Order of Friendship award in Putin’s Russia, was Donald Trump’s choice for secretary of state, John McCain had this thoughtful response:

“Vladimir Putin is a thug, a bully, and a murderer and anybody else who describes him as anything else is lying.”

Yet, Putin is something else, the leader of the largest nation on earth, a great power with enough nuclear weapons to wipe the United States off the face of the earth. And we have to deal with him.

McCain was echoed by the senior Democrat on foreign relations, Bob Menendez, who said naming Tillerson secretary of state would be “alarming and absurd … guaranteeing Russia has a willing accomplice in the (Trump) Cabinet guiding our nation’s foreign policy.”

Sen Marco Rubio chimed in: “Being a ‘friend of Vladimir’ is not an attribute I am hoping for from a Secretary of State.”

If just three GOP senators vote no on Tillerson, and Democrats vote as a bloc against him, his nomination would go down. President Trump would sustain a major and humiliating defeat.

Who is Tillerson? A corporate titan, he has traveled the world, represented Exxon in 60 countries, is on a first-name basis with countless leaders, and is endorsed by Condi Rice and Robert Gates.

Dr. Samuel Johnson’s observation — “A man is seldom more innocently occupied than when he is engaged in making money” — may be a bit of a stretch when it comes to OPEC and the global oil market.

Yet there is truth to it. Most businessmen are interested in doing deals, making money, and, if the terms are not met, walking away, not starting a war.

And here is the heart of the objection to Tillerson. He wants to end sanctions and partner with Putin’s Russia, as does Trump. But among many in the mainstream media, think tanks, websites, and on the Hill, this is craven appeasement. For such as these, the Cold War is never over.

The attacks on Tillerson coincide with new attacks on Russia, based on CIA sources, alleging that not only did Moscow hack into the Democratic Party and Clinton campaign, and leak what it found to hurt Hillary Clinton, but Russia was trying to help elect Trump, and succeeded.

Why would Moscow do this?

Monday’s editorial in The New York Times explains: “In Mr. Trump, the Russians had reason to see a malleable political novice, one who had surrounded himself with Kremlin lackeys.”

Backed by Democratic leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, McCain has announced an investigation. The goal, said the Times, is to determine “whether anyone within Trump’s inner circle coordinated with the Kremlin and whether Moscow spread fake news to hurt Mrs. Clinton.”

What is going on here? More than meets the eye.

The people who most indignantly condemned Trump’s questioning of Obama’s birth certificate as a scurrilous scheme to delegitimize his presidency, now seek to delegitimize Trump’s presidency.

The Times editorial spoke of a “darkening cloud” already over the Trump presidency, and warned that a failure to investigate and discover the full truth of Russia’s hacking could only “feed suspicion among millions of Americans that … (t)he election was indeed rigged.”

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Behind the effort to smear Tillerson and delegitimize Trump lies a larger motive. Trump has antagonists in both parties who alarmed at his triumph because it imperils the foreign policy agenda that is their raison d’etre, their reason for being.

These people do not want to lift sanctions on Moscow. They do not want an end to the confrontation with Russia. As is seen by their bringing in tiny Montenegro, they want to enlarge NATO to encompass Sweden, Finland, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.

They have in mind the permanent U.S. encirclement of Russia.

They want to provide offensive weapons to Kiev to reignite the civil war in the Donbass and enable Ukraine to move on Crimea. This would mean a war with Russia that Ukraine would lose and we and our NATO allies would be called upon to intervene in and fight.

Their goal is to bring down Putin and bring about “regime change” in Moscow.

In the campaign, Trump said he wanted to get along with Russia, to support all the forces inside Syria and Iraq fighting to wipe out ISIS and al-Qaida, and to stay out of any new Middle East wars — like the disaster in Iraq — that have cost us “six trillion dollars.”

This is what America voted for when it voted for Trump — to put America First and “make America great again.” But War Party agitators are already beating the drums for confrontation with Iran.

Early in his presidency, if not before, Trump is going to have to impose his foreign policy upon his own party and, indeed, upon his own government. Or his presidency will be broken, as was Lyndon Johnson’s.

A good place to begin is by accepting the McCain-Marco challenge and nominating Rex Tillerson for secretary of state. Let’s get it on.

Image edit and remix by Linda Muller at Buchanan.org – Original Photo by Gage Skidmore – CC BY-SA 4.0

Fake News and War Party Lies

Fake News and War Party Lies

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“I have in my possession a secret map, made in Germany by Hitler’s government — by the planners of the New World Order,” FDR told the nation in his Navy Day radio address of Oct. 27, 1941.

“It is a map of South America as Hitler proposes to reorganize it. The geographical experts of Berlin, however, have ruthlessly obliterated all the existing boundary lines … bringing the whole continent under their domination,” said Roosevelt. “This map makes clear the Nazi design not only against South America but against the United States as well.”

Our leader had another terrifying secret document, “made in Germany by Hitler’s government. …

“It is a plan to abolish all existing religions — Protestant, Catholic, Mohammedan, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish alike. … In the place of the churches of our civilization, there is to be set up an international Nazi Church…

“In the place of the Bible, the words of ‘Mein Kampf’ will be imposed and enforced as Holy Writ. And in place of the cross of Christ will be put two symbols — the swastika and the naked sword. … A god of blood and iron will take the place of the God of love and mercy.”

The source of these astounding secret Nazi plans?

They were forgeries by British agents in New York operating under William Stephenson, Churchill’s “Man Called Intrepid,” whose assignment was to do whatever necessary to bring the U.S. into Britain’s war.

FDR began his address by describing two German submarine attacks on U.S. destroyers Greer and Kearny, the later of which had been torpedoed with a loss of 11 American lives.

Said FDR: “We have wished to avoid shooting. But the shooting has started. And history has recorded who fired the first shot.”

The truth: Greer and Kearny had been tracking German subs for British planes dropping depth charges.

It was FDR who desperately wanted war with Germany, while, for all his crimes, Hitler desperately wanted to avoid war with the United States.

Said Cong. Clare Boothe Luce, FDR “lied us into war because he did not have the political courage to lead us into it.”

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By late 1941, most Americans still wanted to stay out of the war. They believed “lying British propaganda” about Belgian babies being tossed around on German bayonets had sucked us into World War I, from which the British Empire had benefited mightily.

What brings these episodes to mind is the wave of indignation sweeping this capital over “fake news” allegedly created by Vladimir Putin’s old KGB comrades, and regurgitated by U.S. individuals, websites and magazines that are anti-interventionist and anti-war.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman says the “propaganda and disinformation threat” against America is real, and we must “counter and combat it.” Congress is working up a $160 million State Department program.

Now, Americans should be on guard against “fake news” and foreign meddling in U.S. elections.

Yet it is often our own allies, like the Brits, and our own leaders who mislead and lie us into unnecessary wars. And is not meddling in the internal affairs, including the elections, of regimes we do not like, pretty much the job description of the CIA and the National Endowment for Democracy?

History suggests it is our own War Party that bears watching.

Consider Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Who misled, deceived, and lied about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, the “fake news” that sucked us into one of our country’s greatest strategic blunders?

Who lied for years about an Iranian nuclear weapons program, which almost dragged us into a war, before all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies debunked that propaganda in 2007 and 2011?

Yet, there are those, here and abroad, who insist that Iran has a secret nuclear weapons program. Their goal: war with Iran.

Were we told the whole truth about the August 1964 incident involving North Vietnamese gunboats and U.S. destroyers Maddox and C. Turner Joy, which stampeded Congress into voting a near-unanimous resolution that led us into an eight-year war in Southeast Asia?

One can go back deeper into American history.

Cong. Abe Lincoln disbelieved in President Polk’s claim that the Mexican army had crossed the Rio Grande and “shed American blood upon American soil.” In his “spot” resolution, Lincoln demanded to know the exact spot where the atrocity had occurred that resulted in a U.S. army marching to Mexico City and relieving Mexico of half of her country.

Was Assistant Navy Secretary Theodore Roosevelt telling us the truth when he said of our blasted battleship in Havana harbor, “The Maine was sunk by an act of dirty treachery on the part of the Spaniards”?

No one ever proved that the Spanish caused the explosion.

Yet America got out of his war what T.R. wanted — Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines, an empire of our own.

“In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.”

So said Winston Churchill, the grandmaster of fake news.

A Trump Doctrine — ‘America First’

A Trump Doctrine -- 'America First'

By Patrick J. Buchanan

However Donald Trump came upon the foreign policy views he espoused, they were as crucial to his election as his views on trade and the border.

Yet those views are hemlock to the GOP foreign policy elite and the liberal Democratic interventionists of the Acela Corridor.

Trump promised an “America First” foreign policy rooted in the national interest, not in nostalgia. The neocons insist that every Cold War and post-Cold War commitment be maintained, in perpetuity.

On Sunday’s “60 Minutes,” Trump said: “You know, we’ve been fighting this war for 15 years. … We’ve spent $6 trillion in the Middle East, $6 trillion — we could have rebuilt our country twice. And you look at our roads and our bridges and our tunnels … and our airports are … obsolete.”

Yet the War Party has not had enough of war, not nearly.

They want to confront Vladimir Putin, somewhere, anywhere. They want to send U.S. troops to the eastern Baltic. They want to send weapons to Kiev to fight Russia in Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea.

They want to establish a no-fly zone and shoot down Syrian and Russian planes that violate it, acts of war Congress never authorized.

They want to trash the Iran nuclear deal, though all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies told us, with high confidence, in 2007 and 2011, Iran did not even have a nuclear weapons program.

Other hardliners want to face down Beijing over its claims to the reefs and rocks of the South China Sea, though our Manila ally is talking of tightening ties to China and kicking us out of Subic Bay.

In none of these places is there a U.S. vital interest so imperiled as to justify the kind of war the War Party would risk.

Trump has the opportunity to be the president who, like Harry Truman, redirected U.S. foreign policy for a generation.

After World War II, we awoke to find our wartime ally, Stalin, had emerged as a greater enemy than Germany or Japan. Stalin’s empire stretched from the Elbe to the Pacific.

In 1949, suddenly, he had the atom bomb, and China, the most populous nation on earth, had fallen to the armies of Mao Zedong.

As our situation was new, Truman acted anew. He adopted a George Kennan policy of containment of the world Communist empire, the Truman Doctrine, and sent an army to prevent South Korea from being overrun.

At the end of the Cold War, however, with the Soviet Empire history and the Soviet Union having disintegrated, George H.W. Bush launched his New World Order. His son, George W., invaded Iraq and preached a global crusade for democracy “to end tyranny in our world.”

A policy born of hubris.

Result: the Mideast disaster Trump described to Lesley Stahl, and constant confrontations with Russia caused by pushing our NATO alliance right up to and inside what had been Putin’s country.

How did we expect Russian patriots to react?

The opportunity is at hand for Trump to reconfigure U.S. foreign policy to the world we now inhabit, and to the vital interests of the United States.

What should Trump say?

“As our Cold War presidents from Truman to Reagan avoided World War III, I intend to avert Cold War II. We do not regard Russia or the Russian people as enemies of the United States, and we will work with President Putin to ease the tensions that have arisen between us.

“For our part, NATO expansion is over, and U.S. forces will not be deployed in any former republic of the Soviet Union.

“While Article 5 of NATO imposes an obligation to regard an attack upon any one of 28 nations as an attack on us all, in our Constitution, Congress, not some treaty dating back to before most Americans were even born, decides whether we go to war.

“The compulsive interventionism of recent decades is history. How nations govern themselves is their own business. While, as JFK said, we prefer democracies and republics to autocrats and dictators, we will base our attitude toward other nations upon their attitude toward us.

“No other nation’s internal affairs are a vital interest of ours.

“Europeans have to be awakened to reality. We are not going to be forever committed to fighting their wars. They are going to have to defend themselves, and that transition begins now.

“In Syria and Iraq, our enemies are al-Qaida and ISIS. We have no intention of bringing down the Assad regime, as that would open the door to Islamic terrorists. We have learned from Iraq and Libya.”

Then Trump should move expeditiously to lay out and fix the broad outlines of his foreign policy, which entails rebuilding our military while beginning the cancellation of war guarantees that have no connection to U.S. vital interests. We cannot continue to bankrupt ourselves to fight other countries’ wars or pay other countries’ bills.

The ideal time for such a declaration, a Trump Doctrine, is when the president-elect presents his secretaries of state and defense.