HATE CRIME IN THE MAKING
seriously, if I were Buchanan, I would hire a couple of bodyguards.
The sheer hatred whipped up by the "Get Buchanan"
crowd is so intense, in certain quarters, that the tired old
liberal cliché about how "hate speech" causes
"hate crimes" begins to make a certain kind of sense.
After all, both the left and the neocon "right"
have been equating Pat with Hitler at every opportunity, and
some wacko eager for his fifteen minutes of fame is bound
to take them seriously. No doubt, our aspiring assassin would
expect to be treated as a hero after all, who could
blame anybody for killing Hitler?
deed would naturally be blamed on someone suitably marginal,
yet another "lone nut" who just happened
to change the course of American political history. Notice
how all assassins in our recent history have been typecast
as disgruntled loners, who incubated their hatred in a seeming
vacuum. No one else is ever even marginally involved,
according to the Official Story, and to believe otherwise
is to risk being fitted for a tinfoil hat. What are you, some
kind of conspiracy theorist?
you don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to see that something
is afoot, and that the panic of the elites in government,
media, and the two major political parties (or do I repeat
myself?) is way out of proportion to the apparent threat to
their political hegemony. After all, as eloquent and invaluable
to the cause as Buchanan is, he is only one man with a small
but very dedicated following. No poll I am familiar with shows
him even close to winning: the best I've seen is 15 percentage
points, less than half of what he would need to take the White
House. Other polls show him at 6 percent and, remember,
third party poll numbers invariably drop with the approach
of the election. Ah, but there is much more to it than that
. . .
RAY OF HOPE
measure only the present, but the future is up for grabs.
This is what makes the elites nervous about the Buchanan campaign:
but what really annoys them to no end is that it places
certain constraints on their behavior especially in
the international arena. Pat's campaign, simply by existing,
is already a remarkable achievement and a real roadblock
to the interventionist schemes of our rulers. The Clintonians
have been straining at the bit to strike out again at Iraq
in a major way instead of the low-level assault currently
underway and Serbia is still right up there at the
top of their target list. And the players of the "Great
Game" in the Transcaucasus, the big oil companies with
wide influence in both parties, are impatient to get on with
reaping the much-touted profits to be had in the region: the
war in Chechnya will no doubt provoke a well-orchestrated
outcry for another "humanitarian" intervention
this time against a nuclear-armed power. War clouds gather
on the horizon, a condition not at all unusual, as regular
visitors to Antiwar.com will attest what is
unusual, however, is that, for once, a ray of hope pierces
THE BOMBERS AND THE GRAVE
the rise of Buchananism, the internationalists had the field
entirely to themselves: since they controlled both parties,
foreign policy was almost never discussed until long
after it was too late. Not since the eclipse of the old isolationist
Republicans in the early 1950s has there been any national
voice raised against the globalist delusions of our modern-day
empire-builders and self-styled "hegemons." You
can be sure that the Buchanan challenge is now being factored
into the war plans of our rulers. They don't dare start bombing
Serbia again, and are even hesitant about unleashing the American
military on the demonized and practically defenseless Iraqis,
for fear of increasing Buchanan's base. In an important and
very real sense, Patrick J. Buchanan is all that stands between
the would-be recipients of NATO's latest bombing campaign
and the grave.
is a man who could have had a comfortable and very easy life.
He could have gone along with the conventional wisdom, and
not challenged the most cherished assumptions of political
correctness on the Right as well as the Left. He could have
gone along with the globalizers, the militarists, and the
Money Power, at the end of the Cold War, and lived off the
fat of the land. Instead, he chose to challenge our globalist
elites on their own turf with his passionately written and
extensively researched popularization of the work of such
prominent historians as Charles A. Beard, Harry Elmer Barnes,
William Henry Chamberlain, and a host of others all cited
in A Republic, Not an Empire. He has left the party
he served so well, broken with the Establishment of the right
as well as the left, and given up a career as a television
star and nationally-syndicated columnist and for what?
To stand between the NATO-crats and their next victims, a
human sacrifice to peace and the honor of his country
this is the role Buchanan is now playing on the international
stage. With a cool $13 mil to spend on television ads attacking
Clinton's latest diversionary act of "humanitarianism,"
even as the bombs are falling and the troops are moving into
position, the War Party does not dare to make its move,
wherever that might be. In this sense, Buchanan becomes the
instrument of something higher than mere politics, or so it
seems to me. It is, indeed, almost enough to make me believe
ON A WHIM
I'll spare you the online religious conversion, and get on
to the main point of today's column: how the Buchanan campaign
is having a huge impact on US foreign policy in the latter
days of the Clinton administration. A President in the last
days of his second term is always dangerously trigger-happy
after all, he can pass the mess on to his successor.
In the case of Clinton, he doesn't have to worry about his
legacy, since it is irretrievably soiled: a little more bloodshed
wouldn't make much difference. Not only that, but our ex-peacenik
President is the biggest warmonger of the modern era, whose
record of a military intervention of some sort every couple
of months can only be expected to continue. The de facto nullification
of our Constitution means that, theoretically, the President
can take us into war on a whim. But in practice, however,
it isn't as easy as all that. Since wars are expensive and
Congress has so far jealously guarded the power of the purse,
eventually the President must go to them and ask their approval.
Although this is almost never withheld in the sense of cutting
off funds while our troops are in the field that would
be "unpatriotic" this is one risk the War
Party would rather not take.
CURIOUS CASE OF THE DISAPPEARING "GENOCIDE"
were all supposed to be so convinced of the moral and political
legitimacy of the Kosovo war, with the Establishment media
unashamedly blaring a constant barrage of pro-Albanian propaganda,
and the pundits hailing Clinton's great "victory."
But the aftermath isn't very pretty, and the rationale for
the war, in retrospect, is even less convincing as the truth
about the so-called "genocide" supposedly committed
against the Albanian Kosovars comes out. From half a million
alleged victims, the numbers descended with astonishing rapidity
almost as soon as the war officially ended, to 50,000, then
to 10,000, and on down to the hundreds. Some "genocide"!
Does this mean that the wanton slaughter of over 80 victims
of a military assault at Waco is a war crime, or a crime against
humanity? If it means putting Clinton and Reno in the dock,
then I say let the Senate approve the UN's proposed International
Court of Justice if only long enough to prosecute that
particular duo. After all, we can always revoke the treaty
SPECTER IS HAUNTING THE ESTABLISHMENT
President can launch a war at a moment's notice, but usually
needs time to prepare the public and rehearse the elites in
their job of articulating the rationale for mass murder. This
administration, almost constantly at war with some foreign
"enemy" since day one, is perpetually "spinning"
to justify its policy of global meddling. But Sandy Berger,
the President's National Security Advisor, has really outdone
himself this time, with a
speech to the Council on Foreign Relations that launched
the recent Clintonian campaign against "isolationism"
(which I discussed in my
last column). Although Buchanan's name did not pass Berger's
lips, Pat's ideas dominated the speech: indeed, Berger's message
to the elite gathering of the CFR could be reduced to a single
phrase: A specter is haunting America the specter of
used the word "isolationism," which he said was
making a big comeback Hurrah! and in
American politics this is synonymous with Buchananism, especially
in this political season when Pat is so much in the news.
Berger opened his speech with a surprisingly honest appraisal
of the political atmosphere, from the point of view of the
ruling elites, and the news is not good. Berger told
a self-deprecating joke that speaks volumes about the elite's
loss of nerve in the face of growing opposition. "The President,"
been asking his senior foreign policy team to take the case
for American engagement and leadership to the heartland of
America, to all the places where hard working Americans meet
to talk about the issues that matter to their daily lives.
We tried that at Ohio State. That's why I'm so glad to have
this chance to speak here in the Rockefeller Room to the Council
on Foreign Relations."
War Party is still smarting over what happened at Ohio State,
when their Clinton News Network "town hall meeting"
called to "discuss" their murderous policies in
Iraq turned into a speak-out against war, as ordinary citizens
stood up to the puffed-up Albright and her entourage of eunuchs
and demanded answers. Humiliated by the depth and vehemence
of the opposition to interventionism, they didn't dare even
try it during the conquest of Kosovo, but Berger realizes
they must regain the momentum. Fleeing to the relative safety
of a friendly audience, Berger confesses at the outset the
unpopularity of their mutual cause (interventionism), but
he has come up with a quick fix solution to this growing problem
it is time for a crusade against "isolationism."
more disingenuous speech was never given, and the most astonishing
stuff was blurted out right out at the beginning: "It
is perplexing," averred Berger, "that America finds
itself today being accused of both hegemony and isolationism."
But who, exactly, is accusing America of isolationism
with troops (and, up until recently, nuclear weapons) on virtually
every continent with or without the permission of the
"host" country how could any rational person
describe such a foreign policy as "isolationist"? Ask the
Somalians, the Iraqis, and the Serbs how "isolationist"
the Americans are becoming. They will laugh, and bitterly.
Or perhaps, by now, they have lost the capacity to laugh:
their silent bitterness will be answer enough.
speech sets up the dichotomy between navel-gazing reactionary
"isolationists" on the one hand, and the forward-looking
champions of the interventionist future, who are associated
throughout the speech with all the trappings of modernity:
computers, the Internet, globalization, and the march of Science
(capitalize that S!) I won't go into the more theoretical
implications of these ritual invocations, except to refer
my readers to today's
Spotlight, a mind-opening essay by Serge Trifkovic, of
the Lord Byron Foundation, who explores this subject with
far more authority than I can possibly muster.
the rest of America is marching into the glorious Clintonian
future a Wired World ruled over by the biggest and
most benevolent ISP of them all: Uncle Sam "there are
those in our country who do not look to the world or
our ability to thrive within it with confidence,"
said Berger to the assembled elders of the War Party. "In
fact, they are distinctly defeatist. America may be at the
height of its power and prosperity, yet they see America in
constant peril of losing our freedom of action."
YOU KNOW THERE'S A WAR ON?
is a very interesting choice of words: "defeatist."
Now, what, exactly, is a "defeatest" especially
in peacetime? What can this choice of words
and you can be sure that the Clintonians, like their leader,
all parse their words very carefully possibly
mean? Are we at war? But the Cold War is looooong over, the
Evil Empire is fallen and aren't we being constantly
reminded that the US is the World's Only Superpower? Of course,
the War Party is always at war, in the sense that they
are always planning one, or at least busy sowing the seeds
of the next one. By labeling someone's views as "defeatist,"
the vocabulary of warmongers is meant to marginalize and eventually
criminalize all dissent. Just like the last great interventionist
crusade against "isolationism," the War Party means
to imply that opponents of their policies are guilty of intellectual
sedition. That we are living in an era in which it is possible
to have patriots smeared as seditionists, and worse, may be
just one indication that we are living in the modern-day equivalent
of the late Roman Empire a society so corrupted that
it no longer deserves to be saved.
the good news is that isolationism is back! If that doesn't
perk up the readers of Antiwar.com a bit, perhaps it is because
they don't quite believe it. Are all those Republicans who
continually vote to increase a military budget already bigger
than that of all other countries combined can these
guys, who don't believe in treaties, especially peace
treaties, simultaneously be militarists and "isolationists"?
A legitimate question, partially answered by Berger when he
concedes that "it's not the majority view. There are
leaders in both political parties who reject it. But we must
face the reality that it no longer is a fringe view. In fact,
it is the view of a dominant minority in the Congress."
And about time!
UP WITH THAT?
wait a minute. We can imagine a dominant majority: that is,
a group that dominates the political discussion because of
its overwhelming popular support. But what are we to make
of a "dominant minority"? What's up with that?
up is that the rulers of this country are facing a growing
rebellion at home against their increasingly reckless adventurism
abroad. The scolding of Sandy Berger and the tut-tutting of
the editorialists who are joining the anti-"isolationist"
crusade, is not really directed at the "dominant minority"
within the ranks of congressional Republicans, but at the
overwhelming majority of Americans who simply want
us to stay out of foreign wars. Although it thrills the foreign
policy elite, most ordinary Americans are not impressed with
the prospect of being a "superpower": the idea of
an American Empire seems, to them, profoundly un-American.
The real target of Berger's ire and the President's
is not the Senate Republicans, but the American people,
who have always had to be dragged, kicking and screaming,
into foreign wars.
THE FIRST AND ONLY "HYPERPOWER"
asserting that everyone wants us to be "engaged"
in the world from the Kosovars to the Philipinos
we are, Berger admits, increasingly resented by our alleged
"allies." The French have the annoying habit of
describing the US as a "hyperpower" a kind
of rogue superpower that is fast metastasizing into an American
invasion of Europe, achieving cultural penetration as well
as military domination. So which is it: do they hate us, or
do they love us? Berger seems unsure.
the heart of Berger's argument is a defense against the "perception
among some that the United States has become a hectoring hegemon.
since perceptions do matter, this is a problem we must do
what we can to resolve. Let's begin by understanding the various
strands of the criticism we face. At one extreme, we are accused
of trying to dominate others, of seeing the world in zero
sum terms in which any other country's gain must be our loss.
But that is an utterly mistaken view. It's not just because
we are the first global power in history that is not an imperial
power. It's because for years, we have consciously tried to
define and pursue our interests in a way that is consistent
with the common good rising prosperity, expanding freedom,
MEANING OF BIPARTISANSHIP
"hectoring hegemon" a perfect description
of the Clintonian foreign policy, and a preview of what Al
Gore has in store for us if given the chance. With the Democrats,
the emphasis is on the hectoring, while the Republicans are
more concerned with the hegemonic part of the equation
and that is what is meant by our bipartisan foreign
Berger imagines that the US is "the first global power
that is not an imperial power." What he means is that
we practice an odd form of imperialism, one in which there
is a price of empire but, supposedly, no profit; one in which,
as the conservative writer Garet Garrett put it, "everything
goes out and nothing comes in." But this is not strictly
true: plenty of people, companies, financial interests, hyphenated
Americans, and their foreign lobbyist friends, all of these
groups in addition to those old reliables, the War
Trust and the munitions-makers profit from the policy
of global intervention, in terms not only of money but of
prestige and power.
we are asked to believe that the American Hegemon is "the
first global power in history that is not an imperial power."
The howling ghosts of the Roman, British, and Russian empires
are convulsed with laughter. How fitting that the President's
National Security Advisor should call them forth just in time
finally gets around to defining what he means by isolationism
by attributing three planks to the isolationist platform;
"First: Any treaty others embrace, we won't join. The
new isolationists are convinced that treaties pretty
much all treaties are a threat to our sovereignty and
continued superiority." But what benefit is there to
being the World's Only Superpower if we have to go around
getting the consent of other countries for each and every
action we take in the international arena and/or at home?
And I'll bet I could come up with a treaty that the "isolationist"
Republicans could get behind. How about a treaty signed
by as many as will sign it pledging not to sponge off
the American taxpayers as of that moment? How about a pledge
that we won't "have to" send our boys and girls
over there to pick up the pieces every time they decide to
start butchering each other? How about a pledge for a moratorium,
not only on nuclear weapons, but on the international gravy
train and welfare scheme known as "foreign aid"?
Now there is a treaty that even the doughtiest old
isolationist could embrace with real enthusiasm but
I don't expect the Clintonians (or the Republicans) to propose
it any time soon.
brings us to what Berger calls "the second plank of the
new isolationism" which " is this: Burden sharing
is a one way street." Here the argument goes as follows:
if we are going to prevent US intervention, and not
play the role of the world's policeman, the US must pay
(i.e bribe) others into policing themselves. In short,
we are asked to pay ransom to various governments who, due
to the alleged virtues of "collective security,"
(i.e. entangling alliances), can plunge the world into a global
conflict. From the Wye Accords to our UN "dues"
we must pay, pay, pay for the privilege of our thankless
hegemony. Good lord, no wonder the internationalists are losing
ground politically to us isolationists with a program
like that, they have every reason to be worried.
caricatures the anti-war and anti-imperialist Right by attacking
what he calls the third thesis of the new isolationism: "If
it's over there, it's not our fight. Foreign wars may hurt
our conscience, but not our interests, and we should let them
take their course. That is what many said about the war in
Bosnia let it go on until they get tired of killing
themselves. A part of the Congress would have let the brutal
onslaught in Kosovo rage until it spread." Berger radically
understates the conservative critique of that war: not only
was it not our fight, but the US was clearly the aggressor,
which violated, along with its NATO allies, the sovereignty
of a nation which had not attacked us or any of the NATO countries.
Anyone who listened to the passionate opposition of John McLaughlin,
who used his weekly television program to expose the profound
immorality of the war against Serbia, or the speeches in the
Congress, especially those of antiwar leaders like Rep. Ron
Paul, can only conclude that they opposed that war precisely
because of the dictates of conscience.
is wrong with an administration that can look at what
is happening in Kosovo today reverse ethnic cleansing
and the consolidation of a Kosovar Albanian dictatorship
and deny that they are spreading the Balkan contagion,
threatening the entire region with instability and the prospect
of civil war?
but hardly least, we are given a history lesson, in which
Professor Berger lectures to the class on how and why "the
new isolationism of 1999 fails to understand precisely what
the old isolationism of 60 years ago failed to understand
that local conflicts can have global consequences.
In an era of worldwide communication, we cannot choose not
to see; we can only choose not to act. Sometimes that's right.
But not acting must be a conclusion, not a conviction. We
have learned the hard way that when the spread of conflict
threatens our interests and our values, often the only realistic
choice we have is between acting sooner and acting later."
HAZARDS OF "COLLECTIVE SECURITY"
is the doctrine of "collective security," and not
noninterventionism, that involves us in foreign wars. For
if we are entangled in a plethora of alliances and "defense"
pacts, with virtually every nation on earth except
a few non-co-opted "rogue nations" then virtually
every regional war has the potential to draw in everyone
else in the general vicinity and beyond. This tendency
leads inevitably to the evolution of rival power blocs; a
system of rival alliances whose every border skirmish has
the capacity to ignite a worldwide conflagration. In a nuclearized
world, the risks of such a policy far outweigh the dubious
benefits. The new isolationists, while remembering the achievements
and insights of their intellectual ancestors, are determined
to avoid the mistakes of their forefathers. They will not
underestimate the resources and determination of their enemies
to make all discussion of foreign policy a "hate crime"
punishable by political death not this time around.
FOURTH PLANK: LOOK WHO'S TALKING!
the time he gets around to the fourth plank of isolationism,
his audience was no doubt quite restless, and so no one paid
much attention when he made the point that "We can't
be a great country without a great adversary. Since the Cold
War ended, the proponents of this vision have been nostalgic
for the good old days when friends were friends and enemies
were enemies. We've seen lately how easily Russo-phobia can
be revived. But for the role of new enemy number one, China
is most popular with some, with its growing economy, its nuclear
program, its missiles aimed at Taiwan."
is where us real isolationists and us hardcore
types know who we are can agree with Berger, and wonder
why it is the administration is now attacking "Russophobia"
even as Madeleine Albright incites it over Chechnya?
is right, also, about the power and growing influence of the
Taiwan lobby, but fails to mention its influence on the Democratic
party, which is considerable, especially on the West coast.
With all talk of a Chinese "fifth column" in the
US serving Beijing's interests, what is forgotten is the existence
of a very active and well-funded Taiwanese lobby, the old
China Lobby, which has taken on new life after all these years
of dormancy. But the Clintonians are continuously meddling
in China's internal affairs, from trying to dictate her trade
policies to lecturing her on "human rights" and
interfering in a decades-long civil war. This bears such an
eerie resemblance to the conditions prevailing in prewar Kosovo
that the Chinese have made overtures to the Russians. It looks
like the "nostalgia" for the Cold War that Berger
bemoans is coming back with a vengeance thanks to the
arrogance and gunboat diplomacy of the Clinton administration's
won't burden you with any more long quotations from Berger's
turgid prose, or with the subject, any longer than to point
out that the Republican enemies of Pat Buchanan have now been
joined by their natural allies, the Democrats, in a stunning
display of Establishment unanimity against what all recognize
is the one major and meaningful challenge to their dominance.
A man is known by his friends, but also and perhaps
even more importantly by his enemies. That the politicians
of both "major" parties are in a panic, and scrambling
to defend their policies against a public they perceive as
basically isolationist, means that the War Party is in retreat
and that is the news, the good news, this morning.