Tuesday, August 7, 2018

August 7, 2018

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

Three Significant Columns by Pat Buchanan: The Globalists Strike Back; Russian Relations; and War with Iran?


Three recent columns by nationally-syndicated columnist and friend Patrick Buchanan form the core of MY CORNER this morning, and they offer brief but incisive views on how the United States conducts its foreign policy and the continuing (and increased and fierce) opposition to a “make American great again” populist and traditionalist conservative agenda that was given new life back in November 2016 with the election of Donald J. Trump as president of this nation.

Back in 1992 Pat Buchanan was the first major political leader to herald the advent of a growing, if still somnolent counter-revolution from the grass roots—his “pitchfork brigades”—to take back our culture from a transfigured post-Communist Left that was then infiltrating and seizing control of most of our basic institutions—our schools and colleges, our churches, our film industry, our government.  At the Republican National Convention that year Pat announced what a few prescient observers—e.g., Sam Francis, William Lind—had already noted: we were in an immense, cataclysmic “culture war,” a war for the very existence of our immemorial Western and Christian civilization. And ranged against us were the minions and mini-demons of a hybrid Marxism that became denominated “Cultural Marxism.”

The Republican Party back then—at least its leadership cadres and elites—was infuriated by Pat’s rhetoric. It did not get it, it refused to get it. And, in fact, it continued to participate, de facto, through such nugatory placeholders as George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney, in the progressive advances of the Deep State managerial establishment. Despite the GOP’s protestations to the contrary—and despite the shadow boxing of a decadent, subverted, and gutted official “conservative movement”—Cultural Marxism continued its rapid advances. And the only opposition it got from the GOP and the “movement” was a tepid “please don’t do that, it hurts!” In other words, practically no real opposition.

To employ an historical analogy: the official “Right”—that is the Neoconservatives in policy and the Republicans in politics—were very similar to socialist Alexander Kerensky facing off with the farther Left Bolsheviks in Russia in 1917. Both partook generally of socialist fundamentals, Kerensky’s brand being “democratic socialism,” but the Bolshies taking those principles to their logical conclusion. In the end, it was the better organized, more dedicated, and more consistent and purposed Reds who would gain the upper hand.

That should have been evident. For some White Russian observers at the time it clearly was.  Such White Russian writers as Ivan Ilyin saw clearly what was happening—like Pat who warned of what was occurring seven decades later in Europe and America. And, alas, like the prophetess Cassandra in Homer’s Iliad, Pat, it seemed, was “destined to prophesy, but not to be believed until too late.”

But then history played one of those tricks it sometimes plays on best-laid human plans and stratagems: it permitted the door which seemed so tightly shut against any real reaction against the managerial Deep State and the contagion of virulent Cultural Marxism to swing open ajar just a bit in November 2016. 

As I and others stated back then, the incredible, seemingly impossible election victory in 2016 was, in fact, the easy part. Throwing back the Deep State, draining the establishment swamp, and challenging the Cultural Marxist venom that so infects our civilization—those three Herculean tasks remained and were—and are—far more difficult.

Perhaps the most difficult of the three involves the should-have-been-foreseen attempt by the minions and apparatchiks of the Deep State swamp, many of whom who had been staunch Never Trumpers, to suddenly jump on board the Trump Train, and like the cat preparing to pounce on its prey, with a seductive grin and meow, offer their generous services as “advisers” to the new administration. This they have done with some success, and, indeed, it is a major reason that what the president often says and tweets (reflecting his real beliefs and vision) is often then undercut later by pronouncements from “administration officials.”

That battle within the administration goes on—and the best hope we have is those genuine instinctive views of the president, whether it be concerning relations with Russia, or how we deal with a now-outdated NATO,  or whether we should retaliate with tariffs against woefully unfair trading partners, or about illegal immigration and the “wall.” In every case, the Establishment GOP (not to mention the Democrats) is on the other side from the president; and it has its own agents within the White House pushing the president to give way.

That’s why Pat Buchanan’s voice, now some twenty-five years after his Culture Wars speech is still so important and vital, and must be listened to. For Pat is indeed the “grand old man” of the America First counter-revolution, its St. John the Baptist, its precursor.

Here, first, he examines the attempt of the globalists (e.g., Koch Brothers, Americans for Prosperity, Chambers of Commerce, Business Roundtable, John Locke Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, etc.) to both oppose and, if possible, undo the Trump Agenda. As Pat indicates, these “makers-and-shakers” of the establishment GOP aren’t going away: they must be opposed at every turn, smitten down, for they are as the poisonous weed that even though sprayed with Round Up, keeps coming back. And they seriously threaten even the smallest steps at counter-revolution.

The two remaining articles consider foreign policy themes. In the first Pat returns to our situation with Russia, and once again, writes rationally and logically of the need for good relations with that country, something that Donald Trump also recognizes. Remarkably, and Pat probably understands this as well, since 2016 we have witnessed the biggest con game in American history (at least since Abraham Lincoln attempted one in 1861); both Democrats and Republicans, leftist crazies and Neocon scribblers, have, in an unhinged and irrational manner, made Russia into a gigantic bugaboo, in some ways far more dangerous and menacing than the old Soviet regime ever was. Is it not the height of ignominious irony to see leftist Democrats—who never, not once had ever uttered a peep of protest against Communist Russia—now proclaim in frenzied and hysterical tones that Russia is evil incarnate (that is, Russia, with an economy the size of Italy’s, Russia that had well over one-third of its national territory torn away at the fall of Communism, Russia that saw all its European satellites forcibly removed from its influence—that Russia)?

And to hear and see those self-proclaimed “champions of freedom,” those Neocon and GOP swamp dwellers, wail and whine about Russia not being democratic and liberal enough….that it is too right wing, too nationalist, too bigoted (of course, it forbids same sex marriage and “persecutes” gay folk, which is something that is a rigidly forbidden “no no” in the new “conservative movement”)...is one more illustration of their own Trotskyite globalist genealogy.

Lastly, and probably the most provocative column by Pat focuses on Iran, and it is his plea that we not go to war with that country. Yes, there are those (mostly Neoconservatives) in and outside the administration who would like nothing better than to engage in armed conflict with the Iranian Mullahs. Of course, I don’t know anyone who is favorable to Iran’s current government. Most of us have negative views since the overthrow of the Shah in 1979 and the hostage crisis. Yet, being negative and critical does not, should not mean war. Iran is a very large country, two and half times larger than the state of Texas. It very mountainous, with a sparsely developed communications and transportation system…you think Afghanistan is isolated and remote, just consider the vast reaches of Iran.

Yes, American missiles and bombers might be able to take out Iran’s fledgling nuclear research facilities. But what would that unleash not only across the Middle East but in Western Europe and here in America? 

Of course, the Saudis, the Israelis, and some of the Gulf monarchies are itching for us to do just that on their behalf, remove what is seen as a threat to them from the major Shi’a power in the region. But how is it our responsibility to remove their bacon from the fire? For nearly forty years the American Navy has kept the Straits of Hormuz free and open; the threat of American retaliation has prevented Iran from any large scale military incursion.

Actually, when Saddam Husein in Iraq was “our man,” he engaged in a desultory border war with Iran for nearly seven years, and that kept the Iranians occupied. [Remember Ronald Reagan’s wise dictum: “It is always better to have your enemies fighting each other rather than fighting you.”] But the Neocons in the George W. Bush administration decided, on made-up and fake evidence, to invade Iraq and take out that major obstacle to Iran’s success, our former friend Saddam. And the result was an elected Iran-friendly Shi’a government in Bagdad. Iran had won without it having to fire a shot!

And Syria? Its president Bashar al-Assad asked for Iranian assistance against ISIS (mostly Sunni) terrorists. And, never forget, it is the secularized Alawite Muslim Assad (with Russian support) who has been the strong protector of Syria’s once very large Christian minority, while John McCain and Lindsey Graham palled around with Al-Nusra terrorist types.

No: Pat is correct again. We have no business pulling anyone’s bacon out of the fire in the ultra-complexity known as the Middle East. The Saudis and Israelis are more than capable of defending themselves. And with Assad’s virtual victory in the Syrian civil war, we have no further business being there, either.


Are Globalists Plotting a Counter-Revolution?

By Patrick J. Buchanan   Tuesday - August 7, 2018

On meeting with the EU's Jean-Claude Juncker last month, Donald Trump tweeted: "Both the U.S. and the E.U. drop all Tariffs, Barriers and Subsidies! That would finally be Free Market and Fair Trade."

Did Larry Kudlow somehow get access to Trump's phone? We know not. But, on hearing this, Steve Forbes, Stephen Moore and Arthur Laffer broke into the "Hallelujah" chorus of Handel's "Messiah."

"Amen," they thundered in The New York Times.  Trump should declare "total trade disarmament" to be national policy and make free trade his "legacy" to America. Such a proclamation, they wrote, would assure Trump the "moral high ground" in the global debate and transform him from "evil disrupter of international commerce to potential savior."

For free trade is always and ever a "win-win for trading partners." To read the Times op-ed is to appreciate that what we are dealing with here is an ideology, a political religion, a creed, a cult.

For consider the fruits of free trade policy during the last 25 years: the frozen wages of U.S. workers, $12 trillion in U.S. trade deficits, 55,000 factories lost, 6 million manufacturing jobs gone, China surpassing the U.S in manufacturing, all causing a backlash that pushed a political novice to the Republican nomination and into the presidency.

To maintain a belief in the superiority of free trade to economic patriotism, in the face of such results, is to recognize that this belief system is impervious to contradictory proof.  Still, the enduring enthusiasm of free trade zealots is not the only sign that GOP globalists, having learned nothing and forgotten nothing, are looking to a post-Trump era to resurrect their repudiated dogmas.

In USA Today, Jeffrey Miron, director of economic studies at the libertarian flagship think tank Cato Institute, wrote last week:  "The solution to America's immigrant problems is open borders. ... Open borders means no walls, fences, screenings at airports, ICE ... deportations, detention centers or immigration courts."

And what would happen after we declare open borders?  "Immigrants will not flood into America. ... Crime will not skyrocket. ... Even if values and culture change, so what? ... Who says America's current values — some of them deeply evil — are the right ones?"

Bottom line for Cato's Miron: If we throw open America's borders and invite the world to come in and to remake who we are as a nation, "Think about the money we could save and make."

This is truly economics uber alles, economy before country.

Other open borders and free trade true believers have begun speaking out. Billionaire industrialist Charles Koch, a megadonor to the GOP, has just lashed out at Trump as "divisive" and denounced the "rise in protectionism."
Nations, organizations and individuals, said Koch, "are doing whatever they can to close themselves off from the new, hold onto the past and prevent change." He added, "This is a natural tendency, but it is a destructive one."

In a pair of tweets, Trump fired back:

"The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade. I never sought their support because I don't need their money or bad ideas. I made them richer.

"Their network is highly overrated, I have beaten them at every turn. They want to protect their companies outside the U.S. from being taxed, I'm for America First and the American Worker — a puppet for no one. Two nice guys with bad ideas. Make America Great Again!"

The billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David, are threatening to have their network, Americans for Prosperity, withhold funding from GOP candidates who echo Trump on immigration and trade. The open borders, free trade ideology of the Kochs, the Cato Institute, and such supply-siders as Moore, Forbes and Laffer, have deep roots in the Republican Party establishment.

Milton Friedman was of this school, as was the longtime editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, Bob Bartley, who for years pushed for a constitutional amendment declaring, "There shall be open borders." Bartley, somewhat prematurely, predicted that the nation-state was "finished" in the New World Order. Yet, today, as tribalism and nationalism are making a comeback, it looks more like the transnational "New World Order" that may be headed for the dumpster.

As long as Trump is in the White House and the party base is so viscerally behind him and his America First agenda, a renunciation of tariffs or a return to globalism is dead.

But what happens after Trump? Who and what comes next?  Republican recidivism — a return to the rejected open borders, free trade agenda of the Bush Republicans — would ignite a firestorm of protest that would tear the party of Trump apart.

Yet, while these ideas have lost Middle America, they are alive and well among the establishment elites of both parties, who have also not given up on a foreign policy of using America's economic and military power to attempt to convert mankind to democracy.


Is Putin's Russia an 'Evil Empire'?

By Patrick J. Buchanan    Tuesday - July 24, 2018

"History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce," a saying attributed to Karl Marx, comes to mind in this time of Trump.

To those of us raised in the Truman era, when the Red Army was imposing its bloody Bolshevik rule on half of Europe, and NATO was needed to keep Stalin's armies from the Channel, the threat seemed infinitely more serious. And so it was.

There were real traitors in that time.  Alger Hiss, a top State Department aide, at FDR's side at Yalta, was exposed as a Stalinist spy by Congressman Richard Nixon. Harry Dexter White, No. 2 at Treasury, Laurence Duggan at State, and White House aide Lauchlin Currie were all exposed as spies. Then there was the Rosenberg spy ring that gave Stalin the secrets of the atom bomb.

Who do we have today to match Hiss and the Rosenbergs? A 29-year-old redheaded Russian Annie Oakley named Maria Butina, accused of infiltrating the National Rifle Association and the National Prayer Breakfast.

Is Putin's Russia really a reincarnation of Stalin's Soviet Union? Is Russia a threat of similar magnitude?  Russia is "our No. 1 geopolitical foe," thundered Mitt Romney in 2012, now cited as a sage by liberals who used to castigate Republicans for any skepticism of detente during the Cold War.

Perhaps it is time to contrast the USSR of Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev with the Russia of Vladimir Putin.

By the beginning of Reagan's tenure in 1981, 400,000 Red Army troops were in Central Europe, occupying the eastern bank of the Elbe.  West Berlin was surrounded by Russian troops. East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria were all ruled by Moscow's puppets. All belonged to a Warsaw Pact created to fight NATO. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Georgia, Ukraine were inside the USSR.

By the end of the Jimmy Carter era, Moscow had driven into Ethiopia, Mozambique and Angola in Africa, Cuba in the Caribbean, and Nicaragua in Central America, in the greatest challenge ever to the Monroe Doctrine.  The Soviets had invaded and occupied Afghanistan. The Soviet navy, built up over 25 years by Adm. Sergey Gorshkov, was a global rival of a U.S. Navy that had sunk to 300 ships.

And today? The Soviet Empire is history. The Soviet Union is history, having splintered into 15 nations. Russia is smaller than it was in the 19th century. Russia is gone from Cuba, Grenada, Central America, Ethiopia, Angola and Mozambique.  The Warsaw Pact is history. The Red Army is gone from Eastern Europe. The former Warsaw Pact nations of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria all belong to NATO, as do the former Soviet "republics" of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.

When the flagship of Russia's navy, the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, sailed from Murmansk to Syria, it had to pass through the North Sea, the Channel, the east Atlantic, the Straits of Gibraltar, and then sail the length of the Med to anchor off Latakia.  Coming and going, the Kuznetsov was within range of anti-ship missiles, aircraft, submarines and surface ships of 20 NATO nations, among them Norway, Britain, Germany, France, Spain and Portugal, and many U.S. bases and warships.  Entering the Med, the Kuznetsov had to travel, without a naval base to refuel, within range of the missiles, planes and ships of Spain, France, Italy and Greece. Along the banks of the Adriatic and Aegean there are only NATO nations, except for Kosovo, which is home to the largest U.S. base in the Balkans, Camp Bondsteel.

To sail from St. Petersburg through the Baltic Sea to the Atlantic, Russian warships must pass within range of 11 NATO nations — the three Baltic republics, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium, Britain and France.  The Black Sea's western and southern shores are now controlled entirely by NATO: Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey. Russia's lone land passage to its naval base in Crimea is a narrow bridge from the Kerch Peninsula.

With the breakup of the USSR, Russia has been reduced to two-thirds of the territory and half the population of the Soviet Union.  Its former republics and now neighbors Georgia and Ukraine are hostile. Its space launches are now done from a foreign land, Kazakhstan. Its economy has shrunk to the size of Italy's.  It has one-tenth the population and one-fifth the economy of its looming neighbor, China, and, except for territory, is even more dwarfed by the United States with a GDP of $20 trillion, and troops, bases and allies all over the world.

Most critically, Russia's regime is no longer Communist. The ideology that drove its imperialism is dead. There are parties, demonstrations and dissidents in Russia, and an Orthodox faith that is alive and promoted by Putin.

Where, today, is there a vital U.S. interest imperiled by Putin?  Better to jaw-jaw, than war-war, said Churchill. He was right, as is President Trump to keep talking to Putin — right through the Russophobia rampant in this city

Would War With Iran Doom Trump?

By Patrick J. Buchanan Friday - August 3, 2018

A war with Iran would define, consume and potentially destroy the Trump presidency, but exhilarate the neocon never-Trumpers who most despise the man.  Why, then, is President Donald Trump toying with such an idea?

Looking back at Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, wars we began or plunged into, what was gained to justify the cost in American blood and treasure, and the death and destruction we visited upon that region? How has our great rival China suffered by not getting involved?

Oil is the vital strategic Western interest in the Persian Gulf. Yet a war with Iran would imperil, not secure, that interest.  Mass migration from the Islamic world, seeded with terrorist cells, is the greatest threat to Europe from the Middle East. But would not a U.S. war with Iran increase rather than diminish that threat?

Would the millions of Iranians who oppose the mullahs' rule welcome U.S. air and naval attacks on their country? Or would they rally behind the regime and the armed forces dying to defend their country?

"Mr Trump, don't play with the lion's tail," warned President Hassan Rouhani in July: "War with Iran is the mother of all wars."  But he added, "Peace with Iran is the mother of all peace."  Rouhani left wide open the possibility of peaceful settlement.

Trump's all-caps retort virtually invoked Hiroshima: "Never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the like of which few throughout history have suffered before."

When Trump shifted and blurted out that he was open to talks — "No preconditions. They want to meet? I'll meet." — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo contradicted him: Before any meeting, Iran must change the way they treat their people and "reduce their malign behavior."  We thus appear to be steering into a head-on collision.

For now that Trump has trashed the nuclear deal and is re-imposing sanctions, Iran's economy has taken a marked turn for the worse.  Its currency has lost half its value. Inflation is surging toward Venezuelan levels. New U.S. sanctions will be imposed this week and again in November. Major foreign investments are being canceled. U.S. allies are looking at secondary sanctions if they do not join the strangulation of Iran. Tehran's oil exports are plummeting along with national revenue. Demonstrations and riots are increasingly common.

Rouhani and his allies who bet their futures on a deal to forego nuclear weapons in return for an opening to the West look like fools to their people. And the Revolutionary Guard Corps that warned against trusting the Americans appears vindicated. Iran's leaders have now threatened that when their oil is no longer flowing freely and abundantly, Arab oil may be blocked from passing through the Strait of Hormuz out to Asia and the West. Any such action would ignite an explosion in oil prices worldwide and force a U.S. naval response to reopen the strait. A war would be on.

Yet the correlation of political forces is heavily weighted in favor of driving Tehran to the wall. In the U.S., Iran has countless adversaries and almost no advocates. In the Middle East, Israelis, Saudis and the UAE would relish having us smash Iran.

Among the four who will decide on war, Trump, Pompeo and John Bolton have spoken of regime change, while Defense Secretary James Mattis has lately renounced any such strategic goal.

With Israel launching attacks against Iranian-backed militia in Syria, U.S. ships and Iranian speedboats constantly at close quarters in the Gulf, and Houthi rebels in Yemen firing at Saudi tankers in the Bab el-Mandeb entrance to the Red Sea, a military clash seems inevitable.

While America no longer has the ground forces to invade and occupy an Iran four times the size of Iraq, in any such war, the U.S., with its vastly superior air, naval and missile forces, would swiftly prevail. But if Iran called into play Hezbollah, the Shiite militias in Syria and Iraq, and sectarian allies inside the Arab states, U.S. casualties would mount and the Middle East could descend into the kind of civil-sectarian war we have seen in Syria these last six years.

Any shooting war in the Persian Gulf could see insurance rates for tankers soar, a constriction of oil exports, and surging prices, plunging us into a worldwide recession for which one man would be held responsible: Donald Trump.

How good would that be for the GOP or President Trump in 2020?

And when the shooting stopped, would there be installed in Iran a liberal democracy, or would it be as it was in Hosni Mubarak's Egypt, with first the religious zealots taking power, and then the men with guns.

If we start a war with Iran, on top of the five in which we are engaged still, then the party that offers to extricate us will be listened to, as Trump was listened to, when he promised to extricate us from the forever wars of the Middle East.

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