Macron: The Last Multilateralist

Macron: The Last Multilateralist

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“Together,” President Macron instructed President Trump, “we can resist the rise of aggressive nationalisms that deny our history and divide the world.”

Before Congress he denounced “extreme nationalism,” invoked the U.N., NATO, WTO, and Paris climate accord, and implored Trump’s America to come home to the New World Order.

“The United States is the one who invented this multilateralism,” Macron went on, “you are the one now who has to help preserve and reinvent it.”

His visit was hailed and his views cheered, but, on reflection, the ideas of Emmanuel Macron seem to be less about tomorrow than yesterday.

For the world he celebrates is receding into history.

The America of 2018 is coming to see NATO as having evolved into an endless U.S. commitment to go to war with Russia on behalf of a rich Europe that resolutely refuses to provide for its own defense.

Since the WTO was created in the mid-’90s, the U.S. has run $12 trillion in trade deficits; and among the biggest beneficiaries — the EU.

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Under the Paris climate accord, environmental restrictions are put upon the United States from which China is exempt.

As for the U.N., is that sinkhole of anti-Americanism, the General Assembly, really worth the scores of billions we have plunged into it?

“Aggressive nationalism” is a term that might well fit Napoleon Bonaparte whose Arc de Triomphe sits on the Champs-Elysees. But does it really fit the Hungarians, Poles, Brits, Scots, Catalans and other indigenous peoples of Europe who are now using democratic methods and means to preserve a national home for the unique peoples to whom they belong?

And the United States would seem an odd place to go about venting on “aggressive nationalisms that deny our history.”

Did Macron not learn at the Lycee Henri IV in Paris or the Ecole Nationale d’Administration how the Americans acquired all that land?

General Washington, at whose Mount Vernon home Macron dined, was a nationalist who fought for six years to sever America’s ties to the nation under which he was born.

How does Macron think Andrew Jackson acquired Florida from Spain, Sam Houston acquired Texas from Mexico, and Winfield Scott and Zachary Taylor acquired the Southwest? By bartering?

Aggressive nationalism is a good synonym for the Manifest Destiny of a republic that went about relieving Spain of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines.

How does Macron think the “New World” was conquered and colonized if not by aggressive British, French and Spanish nationalists determined to impose their rule upon weaker indigenous tribes?

Was it not nationalism that broke up the USSR into 15 nations?

Was not the Zionist movement that resurrected Israel in 1948, and, in 1967, captured the West Bank, and then annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, a manifestation of aggressive nationalism?

Macron is an echo of that George H.W. Bush who, in Kiev in 1991, warned Ukrainians against the “suicidal nationalism” of declaring independence from the Russian Federation.

“Aggressive nationalisms … divide the world,” warns Macron.

Well, yes, they do, which is why we have now 194 members of the U.N., rather than the original 50. Is this a problem?

“Together,” said Macron, “we will build a new, strong multilateralism that defends pluralism and democracy in the face of ill winds.”

Macron belongs to a political class that sees open borders and free trade thickening and tightening the ties of dependency, and eventually creating a One Europe, whose destiny his crowd will forever control.

But if his idea of pluralism is multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural nations, with a multilateral EU overlord, he is describing a future that tens millions of Europeans believe means the death of the nations that give meaning to their lives.

And they will not go gentle into that good night.

In America, too, millions have come to recognize that there is a method to the seeming madness of open borders. Name of the game: dispossessing the deplorables of the country they love.

With open borders and mass migration of over a million people a year into the USA, almost all of them peoples of color from Third World countries who vote 70-90 percent Democratic, the left is foreclosing the future. The left is converting the greatest country of the West into what Teddy Roosevelt called a “polyglot boarding house for the world.” And in that boarding house the left will have a lock on the presidency.

With the collaboration of co-conspirators in the media, progressives throw a cloak of altruism over the cynical seizure of permanent power.

For, as the millions of immigrants, here legally and illegally, register, and the vote is extended to prison inmates, ex-cons and 16-year-olds, the political complexion of America will come to resemble San Francisco.

End goal: Ensure that what happened in 2016, when the nation rose up and threw out a despised establishment, never happens again.

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Israel First or America First

Israel First or America First

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Donald Trump has a new best friend.

“President-elect Trump, thank you for your warm friendship and your clear-cut support of Israel,” gushed Bibi Netanyahu, after he berated John Kerry in a fashion that would once have resulted in a rupture of diplomatic relations.

Netanyahu accused Kerry of “colluding” in and “orchestrating” an anti-Israel, stab-in-the-back resolution in the Security Council, then lying about it. He offered to provide evidence of Kerry’s complicity and mendacity to President Trump.

Bibi then called in the U.S. ambassador and read him the riot act for 40 minutes. Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer charged that not only did the U.S. not “stand up to and oppose the gang-up” at the U.N., “the United States was actually behind that gang-up.”

When Ben Rhodes of the National Security Council called the charges false, Dermer dismissed President Obama’s man as a “master of fiction.”

Query: Why is Dermer not on a plane back to Tel Aviv?

Some of us can recall how Eisenhower ordered David Ben-Gurion to get his army out of Sinai in 1957, or face sanctions.

Ben-Gurion did as told. Had he and his ambassador castigated Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, as the Israelis dissed John Kerry, Ike would have called the U.S. ambassador home.

Indeed, Ike’s threat of sanctions against Prime Minister Anthony Eden’s government, which had also invaded Egypt, brought Eden down.

But then Dwight Eisenhower was not Barack Obama, and the America of 1956 was a more self-respecting nation.

Still, this week of rancorous exchanges between two nations that endlessly express their love for each other certainly clears the air.

While Kerry has been denounced for abstaining on the U.N. resolution calling Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem illegal and an impediment to peace, this has been U.S. policy for years.

And Kerry’s warning in his Wednesday speech that at the end of this road of continuous settlement-building lies an Israel that is either a non-Jewish or a non-democratic state is scarcely anti-Semitic.

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Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the most decorated soldier in Israel’s history, has warned his countrymen, “As long as in this territory west of the Jordan River there is only one political entity called Israel, it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-Democratic.”

“If the bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote” added Barak, “this will be an apartheid state.” Of John Kerry’s speech, Barak said, “Powerful, lucid … World & majority in Israel think the same.”

Defense Secretary-designate Gen. James Mattis warned in 2013 that Israeli settlements were leading to an “apartheid” state.

After Joe Biden visited Israel in 2010, to learn that Netanyahu just approved 1,600 new units in East Jerusalem, Gen. David Petraeus warned: “Arab anger on the Palestine question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnership with governments and people in the region.”

Yet facts and reality, however unpleasant, cannot be denied.

The two-state solution is almost surely dead. Netanyahu is not going to remove scores of thousands of Jewish settlers from Judea and Samaria to cede the land to a Palestinian state. After all, Bibi opposed Ariel Sharon’s removal of 8,000 Jewish settlers from Gaza.

How will all this impact the new Trump administration?

Having tweeted, “Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching,” and having named a militant Zionist as his ambassador, Trump is certain to tilt U.S. policy heavily toward Israel.

Politically, this will bring rewards in the U.S. Jewish community.

The Republican Party will become the “pro-Israel” party, while the Democrats can be portrayed as divided and conflicted, with a left wing that is pro-Palestine and sympathetic to sanctions on Israel.

And the problem for Trump in a full embrace of Bibi?

Britain and France, which voted for the resolution where the U.S. abstained, are going to go their separate way on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, as is the world.

Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf Arabs will be pressured by their peoples and by the militant states of the region like Iran, to distance themselves from the Americans or face internal troubles.

And once U.S. pressure ends and settlement building in the West Bank proceeds, Netanyahu, his hawkish Cabinet, the Israeli lobby, the neocons and the congressional Republicans will start beating the drums for Trump to terminate what he himself has called that “horrible Iran deal.”

Calls are already coming for the cancellation of the sale of 80 Boeing jets to Iran. Yet, any U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal, or reimposition of sanctions on Iran, will further split us off from our European allies. Not only did Britain and France vote for the Security Council resolution, both are party, as is Germany, to the Iran deal.

Having America publicly reassert herself as Israel’s best friend, with “no daylight” between us, could have us ending up as Israel’s only friend — and Israel as our only friend in the Middle East.

Bibi’s Israel First policy must one day collide with America First.

Barack Backhands Bibi

Barack Backhands Bibi

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Did the community organizer from Harvard Law just deliver some personal payback to the IDF commando? So it would seem.

By abstaining on that Security Council resolution declaring Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem illegal and invalid, raged Bibi Netanyahu, President Obama “failed to protect Israel in this gang-up at the UN, and colluded with it.”

Obama’s people, charged Bibi, “initiated this resolution, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed.”

White House aide Ben Rhodes calls the charges “falsehoods.”

Hence, we have an Israeli leader all but castigating an American president as a backstabber and betrayer, while the White House calls Bibi a liar.

This is not an unserious matter.

“By standing with the sworn enemies of Israel to enable the passage of this destructive, one-sided anti-Israel rant and tirade,” writes the Washington Times, “Mr. Obama shows his colors.”

But unfortunately for Israel, the blow was delivered by friends as well as “sworn enemies.”

The U.S. abstained, but Britain, whose Balfour Declaration of 1917 led to the Jewish state in Palestine, voted for the resolution.

As did France, which allied with Israel in the Sinai-Suez campaign of 1956 to oust Egypt’s Col. Nasser, and whose Mysteres were indispensable to Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War of 1967.

Vladimir Putin, who has worked with Bibi and was rewarded with Israel’s refusal to support sanctions on Russia for Crimea and Ukraine, also voted for the resolution.

Egypt, whose Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was welcomed by Bibi after his coup against the Muslim Brotherhood president, and who has collaborated with Bibi against terrorists in Sinai and Gaza, also voted yes.

China voted yes as did Ukraine. New Zealand and Senegal, both of which have embassies in Tel Aviv, introduced the resolution.

Despite Israel’s confidential but deepening ties with Sunni Arab states that share her fear and loathing of Iran, not a single Security Council member stood by her and voted against condemning Israel’s presence in Arab East Jerusalem and the Old City. Had the resolution gone before the General Assembly, support would have been close to unanimous.

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While this changes exactly nothing on the ground in the West Bank or East Jerusalem where 600,000 Israelis now reside, it will have consequences, and few of them will be positive for Israel.

The resolution will stimulate and strengthen the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, which has broad support among U.S. college students, Bernie Sanders Democrats and the international left.

If Israel does not cease expanding West Bank settlements, she could be hauled before the International Criminal Court and charged with war crimes.

Already, J Street, the liberal Jewish lobby that backs a two-state solution in Palestine — and has been denounced by Donald Trump’s new envoy to Israel David Friedman as “far worse than kapos,” the Jewish guards at Nazi concentration camps — has endorsed the resolution.

The successful resolution is also a reflection of eroding support for Israel at the top of the Democratic Party, as a two-term president and a presidential nominee, Secretary of State John Kerry, were both behind it.

Republicans are moving to exploit the opening by denouncing the resolution and the U.N. and showing solidarity with Israel. Goal: Replace the Democratic Party as the most reliable ally of Israel, and reap the rewards of an historic transfer of Jewish political allegiance.

That Sen. George McGovern was seen as pro-Palestinian enabled Richard Nixon to double his Jewish support between 1968 and 1972.

That Jimmy Carter was seen as cold to Israel enabled Ronald Reagan to capture more than a third of the Jewish vote in 1980, on his way to a 44-state landslide.

Moreover, U.S. acquiescence in this resolution puts Bibi in a box at home. Though seen here as a hawk on the settlements issue, the right wing of Bibi’s coalition is far more hawkish, pushing for outright annexation of West Bank settlements. Others call for a repudiation of Oslo and the idea of an independent Palestinian state.

If Bibi halts settlement building on the West Bank, he could cause a split in his Cabinet with rightist rivals like Naftali Bennett who seek to replace him.

Here in the U.S., the U.N. resolution is seen by Democrats as a political debacle, and by many Trump Republicans as an opportunity.

Sen. Chuck Schumer has denounced Obama’s refusal to veto the resolution, echoing sentiments about the world body one used to hear on America’s far right.

“The U.N.” said Schumer, “has been a fervently anti-Israel body since the days (it said) ‘Zionism is racism’ and that fervor has never diminished.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says he will urge Congress to slash funding for the United Nations.

If the folks over at the John Birch Society still have some of those bumper stickers — “Get the U.S. out of the U.N., and the U.N. out of the U.S.!” they might FedEx a batch over to Schumer and Graham.

May have some converts here.

Who Owns the Future?

Who Owns the Future

By Patrick J. Buchanan

In the near term, bet on the men with the guns.

The Egyptian Army, being slowly squeezed out of its central role in the nation’s life by Mohammed Morsi, waited for the moment to oust the elected president and crush his Muslim Brotherhood.

Morsi was deposed and arrested, and the Brotherhood leaders rounded up and jailed. Their Cairo encampments were cleansed by gunfire. Hundreds of brothers were cut down and killed, and thousands wounded.

Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, gazing into his mirror, must see Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser gazing back.

In the near term, the Brotherhood is in disarray. It backed the Arab Spring, heeded America’s call for free elections, and won parliament and the presidency, only to have the army, with America’s backing, overthrow its Islamist government in a military coup.

If the Brotherhood feels betrayed, if it believes its sons who opposed the coup died as martyrs, if it has concluded that the Americans, with their endless blather about democracy, are duplicitous hypocrites, are they entirely wrong?

In the short term, America must get on with the generals.

For it is they who bottle up Hamas in Gaza, battle al-Qaida in Sinai, protect the Christian Copts, grant our Air Force overflight rights and our Navy first-in-line transit rights through the Suez Canal. And it is the generals who continue to honor the terms of the Camp David accords.

Understandably, Israeli diplomats are imploring us, the slaughter aside, not to cut our ties to the Egyptian military. Yet it is hard to believe the long-term future belongs to the generals.

Looking back, of all the forces unleashed by the Arab Spring, the Facebook-Twitter crowd calling for secular democracy harvested the greatest publicity. But even then, other forces seemed to have deeper and broader roots in the hearts and minds of the masses.

Those forces: tribalism, nationalism and Islamism.

The generals may work hand-in-glove with the Israelis. But anti-Zionism remains one of the few rallying cries that can unite secularist and Islamist, Sunni and Shia.

And as the Jews have been expelled from the Arab world, today it is the turn of the Christians. They have seen priests murdered, churches torched and congregations massacred in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and beyond, in Ethiopia and Nigeria — by extremists who cite the Quran for what they are doing. And after the Jews and Christians are gone, it is likely to be the turn of the Americans.

Why? First, the Americans are seen as standing behind Israel’s regional superiority and dominance of the Palestinian Arabs.

Second, while we defend our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as liberations from dictatorship and obscurantism, they are seen over there as America using her power to impose upon these nations our institutions and our ideology. And while America’s achievements may inspire awe, America’s culture, suffused with feminist and Hollywood values, evokes revulsion.

Millions of Muslims are willing to die to keep America and American values out of their societies. How many Americans are willing to fight and die over there to force them on Arab peoples?

Third, there is a growing confidence in the Islamic world that the future belongs to them. Whence comes this confidence?

Western peoples are dying, as Muslim populations are exploding and Muslim migrants are pouring into Europe and the United States. While Islam is booming in the East and being welcomed in the West, Christianity is dying in the West and being expelled from the East.

It is not unreasonable for Muslim visionaries to see the next 500 years as an era of Islamic ascendancy, as the last 500 saw a Western ascendancy.

Fourth, while Egypt’s army has the guns and, temporarily, the banner of patriotism, it has no faith, no philosophy, no ideology to justify an indefinite hold on power. When, like Hosni Mubarak, this generation of generals is seen as incompetent and repressive, upon what do they fall back to justify their legitimacy to the next crowd in Tahrir Square?

Indeed, this is America’s dilemma. When Japan attacked and Adolf Hitler declared war, and when Josef Stalin set out to dominate the world, all we held dear — faith, family, freedom, country — said resist. When Osama bin Laden took down our towers, we united to take down him and al-Qaida.

Millions of Muslims are willing to fight to drive us out of their part of the world. How many Americans are willing to send our sons to die for secular democracy and American values in their part of the world?

After World War II, when communists captured the banner of nationalism, they were on the move in China, Vietnam, Cuba. When Ronald Reagan recaptured the banners of nationalism in Angola, Afghanistan and Eastern Europe, suddenly it was the communists on the run.

Ethnonationalism and religious fundamentalism tore apart the British, French and Soviet empires. All are working now against the U.S. Imperium. The generals in Egypt won this round. But is there any doubt as to which way the wind is blowing?

‘The Most Dangerous Man in the World’?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

U.S. newspapers this fall will devote countless column inches and network TV will set aside endless hours to revisiting the most perilous month in the history of the republic, if not of the world.

Nikita Khrushchev’s decision to secretly install nuclear-armed intermediate-range ballistic missiles in Cuba began to form in his mind sometime earlier, perhaps in April of 1961.

Then it was that the new young U.S. President John F. Kennedy put a brigade of Cubans ashore to become the vanguard of a guerrilla army to overthrow Fidel Castro’s regime.

The Bay of Pigs became a metaphor for feckless folly and failure.

Khrushchev had ordered an army of tanks into Budapest to crush the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 and watched, astonished, as a U.S. president recoiled at using his power to expunge a Soviet base camp 90 miles from America’s shores.

In June, Kennedy met Khrushchev in Vienna and was orally mauled. In August, Khrushchev tested Kennedy again, building a wall to sever East Berlin and seal off the Soviet sector. Berliners seeking to escape were shot.

Kennedy ordered a one-year call-up of the reserves.

Moscow then broke a moratorium on atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, exploding a 57-megaton monster bomb in the Arctic.

By mid-October 1962, Soviet missiles were in Cuba. Their 1,500-mile target radius put Washington, D.C., in range.

The Air Force chief of staff was Gen. Curtis LeMay, former head of Strategic Air Command, who boasted of his B-29 fleet in the Pacific war, “We torched and boiled and baked to death more people in Tokyo that night of March 9-10 than went up in vapor in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.”

LeMay wanted to bomb and invade Cuba, even after Khrushchev pulled his rockets out. When Mao Zedong denounced Khrushchev’s climb-down, calling America “a paper tiger,” Khrushchev is said to have reminded Mao, “This paper tiger has nuclear teeth.”

Mao reportedly indicated a willingness to lose 300 million Chinese in a nuclear war if that war would finish off the United States.

These were grave times and dangerous men. What prompts this recitation of what our world was like 50 years ago is the latest cover story in The Weekly Standard, “The Most Dangerous Man in the World.”

The cover photo is of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran‘s “man with a mission,” who is said to be seeking an atom bomb and who “loathes the United States more than Stalin, Mao, Tojo and Hitler combined.” If this “supreme leader gets nuclear weapons, it will be a miracle if he does not stupidly lead his country into war.”

Thrust of the 5,000-word article: Be afraid. Be very afraid of this man.

But what exactly are we to fear? And what is the imperative for war now on Iran, for which this piece beats the drum?

Khamenei has declared that nuclear weapons are immoral and Iran will never acquire them. Is Islamic Iran‘s supreme religious leader lying through his teeth? Where is the proof? Where is the hard evidence?

Sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies stated unanimously in 2007 and reaffirmed in 2011 their conviction that Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons program. In the Standard piece, John Sawyer, head of the British Intelligence Service MI-6, “flatly stated in July that we have two years left before the Iranians can build a weapon.”

And if we should fear this most dangerous man in the world, why do not the Iraqis, Turks, Azerbaijanis and Pakistanis, his neighbors, seem to fear him? The Paks, with scores of nukes, seem less nervous about Iran than democratic India, with whom they have fought several wars.

Before now it has been Iran‘s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who was the incarnation of Hitler. But Ahmadinejad’s eight years in office are up next summer, and he is reportedly going back to teaching.

For all his bellicosity, how many wars did Ahmadinejad fight?

When was the last time Iran started any war?

On Al-Quds Day, Wednesday, an annual event since the 1979 revolution, Khamenei reportedly said he was confidant “the fake Zionist (regime) will disappear from the landscape of geography.”

Yes, and Nikita Khrushchev said, “We will bury you,” and, “Your grandchildren will live under communism.” And we buried him, and his grandchildren saw the end to communism.

The author of the “Most Dangerous Man,” Reuel Marc Gerecht, says that should Israel attack Iran, Iranians “will probably take their revenge through terrorism” or opt for “playing dead and railing against Israel in the court of world opinion.”

Would Adolf Hitler or Hideki Tojo, pre-emptively attacked, respond with acts of reprisal untraceable to them, or denunciations of their attacker in the “court of world opinion,” or by playing possum?

Our fathers crushed fascism in four years and outlasted for half a century the evil empires of Stalin and Mao that had murdered millions. And we should be fearful of an ayatollah?

What happened to the America we grew up in, the America of Truman, Ike, JFK and Reagan?

Osama’s Dead — But Are His Ideas?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

When President Obama announced that U.S. special forces had helicoptered into Pakistan, broken into a secret compound an hour from the capital and killed Osama bin Laden, celebrations broke out all across America.

The man who plotted the mass murder of 3,000 of us had at last received his just reward. College students ran to the White House to chant “USA! USA!”

Even if one believes that rejoicing at executions of murderers is unseemly for a Christian people, the demands of justice had been met. The world is a better place without bin Laden, who was developing plans to blow up U.S passenger trains on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Yet, in Pakistan and across the Middle East, even in London, some came out to praise the “martyr” and threaten revenge.

In a way, this is the more interesting phenomenon. Why would people, who must believe themselves righteous and moral, keen and wail at the death of a monster who did what bin Laden had done?

Though Osama’s time was past — only 18 percent of the Arab world held a favorable view of him at his death — he was once among the most admired figures in the Islamic world.

In 2003, in Jordan, 56 percent of the pubic voiced confidence in Osama. In 2005, in Pakistan, 52 percent agreed. In July 2009, after Obama’s Cairo speech to the Muslim world, 22 percent of Palestinians said the U.S. president inspired confidence; 52 percent said Osama bin Laden did.

How to explain this? Do Arabs and Muslims approve of mass murder of innocent civilians? Why did so many find so much to admire in a man who planned the atrocities of 9/11?

In one man’s judgment, Osama was admired because he alone in the Arab world had the astonishing audacity to stand up and smash a fist into the face of the world’s last superpower, which had become one of the most resented powers in the Middle East. He was applauded because he had struck the most savage blow dealt America since British troops burned the Capitol and White House in 1814.

In short, the awe and admiration accorded bin Laden in the first half of the last decade were directly proportional to the depth of Arab and Muslim resentment and rage at the United States.

He was admired — for the enemy he hated and had attacked.

Nor is this unusual.

Why does Mao Zedong, who murdered 10 times as many Chinese as Japan in World War II, lie in honor in a crystal sarcophagus in Tiananmen Square? Because Mao is still seen to have ‘liberated” China from a century of rule by hated Japanese and Western imperial powers and their lackeys.

Why was Saigon renamed for Ho Chi Minh? Why do his remains rest in honor in Hanoi? Because “Uncle Ho” is seen by his people as having driven out the Japanese, French and Americans, and united all Vietnamese in a national home.

Even Fidel Castro, who brought the most successful country in Latin America down close to the level of Haiti, still has admirers inside and outside Cuba. Why? Because he defied the “Yanquis” and threw them out, along with their quisling Fulgencio Batista.

Like Mao, Ho and Castro, Osama tapped into the most powerful current of the age: ethnic nationalism, the desire of peoples to be rid of foreign rule and any oppressive foreign presence, and to put up against a wall all indigenous traitors who do the foreigners’ will.

Lest we forget, Osama was once an ally of Ronald Reagan’s America. We provided the Stingers, and he provided the money for the Afghan mujahedeen to administer the deathblow to the Soviet Empire.

Some yet argue that Osama and al-Qaida attacked us because they hate our freedoms. Why, then, did they fight the Russians? Did they hate the freedoms enjoyed by Soviet citizens in Leonid Brezhnev’s time?

In his 1998 declaration of war, Osama gave three reasons. Americans, he said, had deployed their infidel troops on sacred Saudi soil. Americans were strangling a crushed Iraqi people with murderous sanctions. Americans were enabling Zionists to oppress and rob Palestinian Arabs of their lands.

Osama plugged his personal war into the anti-American currents running in the region. It was whom he was fighting against, us, not the new caliphate he claimed to be fighting for, a utopian absurdity, that caused scores of millions to admire him, even if many were horrified by his methods.

It was when al-Qaida took to killing Arabs and Muslims that Osama lost the prestige he once had.

Osama is dead and gone. But the ideas he tapped into — the desire of Arab peoples to break free, to reclaim their sovereignty, to restore their past greatness, to be rid of the foreigner and his lackeys — are also the motivating ideas of the Arab Spring.

And as Victor Hugo reminded us, “Greater than the tread of mighty armies is an idea whose time has come.”