Friday, July 20, 2018

July 20, 2018

MY CORNER  by Boyd Cathey

Two Columns by Patrick J. Buchanan…and Some Introductory Comments


I tried, really I did, to watch Fox News last night—at least until Tucker Carlson came on, always a breath of fresh air in the midst of an increasingly fetid Neoconservative establishment swamp that Fox has become. But watching Martha MacCalllum interview her frenetically unhinged globalist/capitalist friend Bill Browder for the fifth time in seven days and hear him whine once again about how he—and he alone—was the “major” target of Vladimir Putin’s wrath; and then to have that quasi-Never Trump Ben Shapiro come on and wax about the fact that, no, it was he who was the “most hated” member of the (pseudo) Right and give his opinions on all the world’s events…you know, the same Ben Shapiro who attacked President Trump for his “grievous moral failing” for not condemning just the “rightwing Nazis” at Charlottesville, the same Shapiro who attacked Virginia senate candidate Corey Stewart for supporting Confederate heritage and also Pat Buchanan as “racists,” “believers in white supremacy,” and probably “anti-semitic,” too. THAT Ben Shapiro, the same figure who desperately wants to climb the greasy pole of success in the “movement.”

And all this came after Jonah Goldberg, another of those quasi-Never Trump Neocons, continued to pile on critically concerning “Trump’s poor performance and failing at Helsinki.” But even Molly Hemingway of the Federalist Society, one of the panelists on that installment of Bret Baier’s “Special Report,” couldn’t take the pot-bellied, pot-smoking Goldberg’s snarky misstatements of fact and history, specifically about the potential interrogations of both the designated Russian hackers (that we would like to talk to) and the Americans that the Russians want to question.  After Goldberg expressed his outrage at this supposed case of lese-majeste’, Hemingway pointed out, correctly, that the US and Russia have a treaty that provides exactly for that. But you won’t hear that mentioned on Fox—or anywhere else.

Goldberg, from his perch at National Review and on Fox and his appearances on college campuses (touted as the answer to the fanatical Left), is supposedly a conservative intellectual….All I will add is this: if this—if he—is what passes for conservative intellectual thought in 2018, then the entire “conservative movement” needs to quickly disappear from the face of the earth for good.

Today, I pass on the two most recent columns by my friend Pat Buchanan. Back in 1987 I encouraged him to run for president; in 1991-1992 I chaired his presidential campaign in North Carolina, and it was to Raleigh he came the very next day after announcing his run for president in New Hampshire in December  10, 1991 (Senator Jesse Helms showed up at that event, at the old Ballentine’s Cafeteria, in the Confederate Room! I treasure the photos I made back then). Pat was, in a very significant way, a kind of St. John the Baptist announcing the “Make America Great Again” and “America First” agenda years before Donald Trump. And his various books over the past thirty years have given us a road map….And that is the agenda that the Deep State, including not just the Democrats and Mainstream Media, but most Republicans (e.g. Thom Tillis, Richard Burr, Paul Ryan, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Ben Sasse, et al ad nauseum) and “conservative” media want to stop, or at the very least, control and derail.

Here is Pat on this week’s events—in brackets I make a few comments:

Trump Calls Off Cold War II

By Patrick J. Buchanan   Tuesday - July 17, 2018

Beginning his joint press conference with Vladimir Putin, President Trump declared that U.S. relations with Russia have "never been worse." He then added pointedly, that just changed "about four hours ago."

It certainly did. With his remarks in Helsinki and at the NATO summit in Brussels, Trump has signaled a historic shift in U.S. foreign policy that may determine the future of this nation and the fate of his presidency. He has rejected the fundamental premises of American foreign policy since the end of the Cold War [1991] and blamed our wretched relations with Russia, not on Vladimir Putin, but squarely on the U.S. establishment.

In a tweet prior to the meeting, Trump indicted the elites of both parties: "Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!" Trump thereby repudiated the records and agendas of the neocons and their liberal interventionist allies, as well as the archipelago of War Party think tanks beavering away inside the Beltway.

Looking back over the week, from Brussels to Britain to Helsinki, Trump's message has been clear, consistent and startling.

NATO is obsolete. European allies have freeloaded off U.S. defense while rolling up huge trade surpluses at our expense. Those days are over. Europeans are going to stop stealing our markets and start paying for their own defense.

And there will be no Cold War II.

We are not going to let Putin's annexation of Crimea or aid to pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine prevent us from working on a rapprochement and a partnership with him, Trump is saying. We are going to negotiate arms treaties and talk out our differences as Ronald Reagan did with Mikhail Gorbachev.

Helsinki showed that Trump meant what he said when he declared repeatedly, "Peace with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing."

On Syria, Trump indicated that he and Putin are working with Bibi Netanyahu, who wants all Iranian forces and Iran-backed militias kept far from the Golan Heights. As for U.S. troops in Syria, says Trump, they will be coming out after ISIS is crushed, and we are 98 percent there.

That is another underlying message here: America is coming home from foreign wars and will be shedding foreign commitments.

Both before and after the Trump-Putin meeting, the cable news coverage was as hostile and hateful toward the president as any this writer has ever seen. The media may not be the "enemy of the people" Trump says they are, but many are implacable enemies of this president.

Some wanted Trump to emulate Nikita Khrushchev, who blew up the Paris summit in May 1960 over a failed U.S. intelligence operation — the U-2 spy plane shot down over the Urals just weeks earlier.  Khrushchev had demanded that Ike apologize. Ike refused, and Khrushchev exploded. Some media [including most of Fox] seemed to be hoping for just such a confrontation.

When Trump spoke of the "foolishness and stupidity" of the U.S. foreign policy establishment that contributed to this era of animosity in U.S.-Russia relations, what might he have had in mind? Was it the U.S. provocatively moving NATO into Russia's front yard after the collapse of the USSR? [And after Gorbachev promised George H. W. Bush that Moscow would disband its Warsaw Pact, which he did, in return that NATO would not expand—something then that we have done. After all there would be no reason to do so.]

Was it the U.S. invasion of Iraq to strip Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction he did not have that plunged us into endless wars of the Middle East?

Was it U.S. support of Syrian rebels [many of whom are terrorists] determined to oust Bashar Assad, leading to ISIS intervention and a seven-year civil war with half a million dead, a war which Putin eventually entered to save his Syrian ally?

Was it George W. Bush's abrogation of Richard Nixon's ABM treaty and drive for a missile defense that caused Putin to break out of the Reagan INF treaty and start deploying cruise missiles to counter it?

Was it U.S. complicity in the Kiev coup that ousted the elected pro-Russian regime that caused Putin to seize Crimea to hold onto Russia's Black Sea naval base at Sevastopol?

Many Putin actions we condemn were reactions to what we did.

Russia annexed Crimea bloodlessly [there was a free referendum in which a huge majority voted to go with Russia]. But did not the U.S. bomb Serbia for 78 days to force Belgrade to surrender her cradle province of Kosovo [to Islamic forces]?  How was that more moral than what Putin did in Crimea?

If Russian military intelligence hacked into the emails of the DNC, exposing how they stuck it to Bernie Sanders, Trump says he did not collude in it. Is there, after two years, any proof that he did? [And there is substantial evidence that the hacking was an inside job, NOT by the Russians.]

Trump insists Russian meddling had no effect on the outcome in 2016 and he is not going to allow media obsession with Russiagate to interfere with establishing better relations.

Former CIA Director John Brennan rages that, "Donald Trump's press conference performance in Helsinki ... was ... treasonous. ... He is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???"

Well, as Patrick Henry said long ago, "If this be treason, make the most of it!"

Trump Stands His Ground on Putin

By Patrick J. Buchanan   Friday - July 20, 2018

"Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."  Under the Constitution, these are the offenses for which presidents can be impeached.
And to hear our elites, Donald Trump is guilty of them all.

Trump's refusal to challenge Vladimir Putin's claim at Helsinki — that his GRU boys did not hack Hillary Clinton's campaign — has been called treason a refusal to do his sworn duty to protect and defend the United States, by a former director of the CIA [none other than John Brennan].

Famed journalists and former high officials of the U.S. government have called Russia's hacking of the DNC "an act of war" comparable to Pearl Harbor.

The New York Times ran a story on how many are now charging Trump with treason. Others suggest Putin is blackmailing Trump, or has him on his payroll, or compromised Trump a long time ago.

Wailed Congressman Steve Cohen: "Where is our military folks? The Commander in Chief is in the hands of our enemy!"  Apparently, some on the left believe we need a military coup to save our democracy [from Trump and the “deplorables”].

Not since Robert Welch of the John Birch Society called Dwight Eisenhower a "conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy," have such charges been hurled at a president. But while the Birchers were a bit outside the mainstream, today it is the establishment itself bawling "Treason!"

What explains the hysteria?

The worst-case scenario would be that the establishment actually believes the nonsense it is spouting. But that is hard to credit. Like the boy who cried "Wolf!" the establishment has cried "Fascist!" too many times to be taken seriously.

A month ago, the never-Trumpers were comparing the separation of immigrant kids from detained adults, who brought them to the U.S. illegally, to FDR's concentration camps for Japanese-Americans.  Some commentators equated the separations to what the Nazis did at Auschwitz.

If the establishment truly believed this nonsense, it would be an unacceptable security risk to let them near the levers of power ever again.

Using Occam's razor, the real explanation for this behavior is the simplest one: America's elites have been driven over the edge by Trump's successes and their failure to block him. Trump is deregulating the economy, cutting taxes, appointing record numbers of federal judges, reshaping the Supreme Court, and using tariffs to cut trade deficits and the bully pulpit to castigate freeloading allies.

Worst of all, Trump clearly intends to carry out his campaign pledge to improve relations with Russia and get along with Vladimir Putin.  "Over our dead bodies!" the Beltway elite [including very notably and frenetically most of the Neoconservative pundits on Fox] seems to be shouting.

Hence the rhetorical WMDs hurled at Trump: Liar, dictator, authoritarian, Putin's poodle, fascist, demagogue, traitor, Nazi.

Such language approaches incitement to violence. One wonders if the haters are considering the impact of the words they are so casually using. Some of us yet recall how [the city of] Dallas was charged with complicity in the death of JFK for slurs far less toxic than this.

The post-Helsinki hysteria reveals not merely the mindset of the president's enemies, but the depth of their determination to destroy him. They intend to break Trump and bring him down, to see him impeached, removed, indicted and prosecuted, and the agenda on which he ran and was nominated and elected dumped onto the ash heap of history.

Thursday, Trump indicated that he knows exactly what is afoot, and threw down the gauntlet of defiance:

"The Fake News Media wants so badly to see a major confrontation with Russia, even a confrontation that could lead to war. They are pushing so recklessly hard and hate the fact that I'll probably have a good relationship with Putin."

Spot on. Trump is saying: I am going to call off this Cold War II before it breaks out into the hot war that nine U.S. presidents avoided, despite Soviet provocations far graver than Putin's pilfering of DNC emails showing how Debbie Wasserman Schultz stuck it to Bernie Sanders.

Then the White House suggested Vlad may be coming to dinner this fall.

Trump is edging toward the defining battle of his presidency: a reshaping of U.S. foreign policy to avoid clashes and conflicts with Russia, and the shedding of Cold War commitments no longer rooted in the national interests of this country.

Yet, should he attempt to carry out his agenda — to get out of Syria, pull troops out of Germany, take a second look at NATO's Article 5 commitment to go to war for 29 nations, some of which, like Montenegro, most Americans have never heard of — he is headed for the most brutal battle of his presidency.  This Helsinki hysteria is but a taste. 

By cheering Brexit, dissing the EU, suggesting NATO is obsolete, departing Syria, trying to get on with Putin, Trump is threatening the entire U.S. foreign policy establishment with what it fears most — irrelevance.

For if there is no war on, no war imminent, and no war wanted, what does a War Party do?

[NOTE from BDC: Maybe we could exile ALL of them to North Korea, or maybe Afghanistan?]

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