that Edsall is not suggesting that Buchanan himself has
any connection with these "groups." Nor is he
suggesting that Buchanan ever solicited their support. Nor,
indeed, is he suggesting that Buchanan ever consented to
anything these groups might have done on his behalf. Yet
Edsall deliberately leaves his readers with the impression
that Buchanan and "groups that are intensely anti-black,
anti-Jewish and anti-immigrant" are in cahoots together.
Interestingly enough, Edsall is also unable to offer any
evidence that these various fringe organizations that so
preoccupy him are exerting any influence whatsoever within
the Reform Party. In other words, this is a non-story. The
Washington Post ran it for no reason other than to
harsh critiques of the 'Israel lobby,' of third world immigration
and of such civil rights leaders as the Rev. Martin Luther
King Jr.," Edsall writes, "have resonated with
groups that see Jews as corrupters of American culture and
that see blacks and Hispanics as threats to white majority
rule of the United States." Again, has Buchanan ever
called Jews "corrupters of American culture"?
Of course not. Has Buchanan ever talked about "white
majority rule in the United States"? Of course not.
Buchanan has never even referred to something called "Third
World immigration." What Buchanan talks about is the
flood of immigrants that daily pours across the Mexican
border. Any other country in the world would regard this
as a serious matter, demanding urgent attention. Here merely
to raise the issue invites abuse. Other than Buchanan, no
other candidate has dared to broach the subject of illegal
for Buchanan's supposedly "harsh critique of the 'Israel
lobby'," it is scarcely from that of Harvard Professor
Samuel P. Huntington. In A
Republic, Not an Empire, Buchanan quotes approvingly
from a Huntington article of a few years back: "Economic
and ethnic particularism define the current American role
in the world. The institutions and capabilities…created
to serve a grand national purpose in the Cold War are now
being suborned and redirected to serve narrow subnational,
transnational, and even nonational purposes….For understanding
of American foreign policy it is necessary to study not
the interests of the American state in a world of competing
states but rather the play of economic and ethnic interests
in American domestic politics." If Edsall had been
interested in criticizing Buchanan, rather than simply slandering
him, he might have found a number of things to object to
in the Buchanan/Huntington analysis. Ethnic lobbies do not
have anything like the clout attributed to them. The United
States did not get to be the overwhelmingly dominant power
it is today by shackling itself to the fate of various diasporas.
It is inconceivable that the United States would have undertaken
a vast commitment like the one towards Israel on account
of the power of America's Jews. Jews comprise something
like two percent of the US population. Rich and influential
they may be, but they are still outnumbered by rich and
influential non-Jews. US policymakers decided many years
ago that Israel would serve American global strategic designs.
In 1956, following the Anglo-French-Israeli attack on Egypt,
the United States took diplomatic and economic action against
Britain and France, but none against Israel. Britain and
France were rivals to the US in the Middle East, while Israel
was a useful client-state.
the decision to expand NATO up to Russia's borders had nothing
to do with the supposed political influence of Americans
of East European origin. Nor did the decision to support
the Moslems of Bosnia or Kosovo have anything to do with
the lobbying of a tiny Moslem population in the United States.
Each of these commitments was based on a strategic decision,
taken by US policymakers, without any real debate at all,
and then sold to the American people by means of heartwarming
pap. Expansion of NATO was a good thing because it is bad
to exclude minorities from well-to-do clubs. Bombing Serbs
was a good thing because we were doing it on behalf of discriminated
and oppressed minorities. Israel needs to be supported because
it is the only democracy in the Middle East. None of these
rationalizations has anything to do with the real reasons
why the United States pursued the policies it did. They
are all about securing American dominance of very single
region in the world.
is almost the only public figure in the United States who
regards this as dangerous folly. Critics of empire have
never been popular. They are usually denounced for lack
of patriotism or nationalism or xenophobia. Edsall is an
interesting case, for recently he came up with an unusual
line of attack. In his response to Sunday's article, Buchanan
reminded the Washington Post of Edsall's onslaught
on him from a few months back: "Will you folks please
make up your minds as to whether I am turning the Reform
Party into a haven for Bolsheviks or a tree house for Nazis?
Your Tom Edsall has us confused." Buchanan is referring
here to a Post article in which Edsall wrote breathlessly
that a "once-marginal Marxist-Leninist group has become
a major force in the Reform Party, aligning itself with
Patrick J. Buchanan in what many members say is an effort
to take control of the party." The words are almost
the same "Marxist-Leninist" has simply been substituted
for "extreme right." The purpose is also the same:
the destruction of Pat Buchanan's reputation.
ferocity of the vituperation that continues to be directed
at Pat Buchanan is indeed extraordinary. It has nothing
whatsoever to do with his supposedly socially conservative
views. He has always held them and this did not stop CNN
or NBC from offering him lucrative contracts in the past.
Many people on the Right, including figures like Bob Dole
or Dick Cheney or Jack Kemp, who by and large enjoy favorable
media coverage, share his stance on abortion. Buchanan's
crime was to attack the American empire. By doing so, he
threatened the interests of media, academic, financial and
corporate elites. An American empire is very good for them.
They make lots of money and swagger round the world feeling
very important. It does not do much for the overwhelming
majority of Americans who do not move in elite circles.
But who cares about them?
is instructive to recall that the character assassination
of Buchanan only started after he came out in opposition
to the Gulf War. Up until then he was in very good standing
among "neo-conservatives," their fat Foundations
and their media allies. Now all of a sudden A. M. Rosenthal
discovered that Buchanan was "anti-Semitic." Rosenthal's
conclusion was based on a fraud that he deliberately perpetrated.
He took sentences from one Buchanan column, joined them
up with sentences from another column and made it seem as
if Buchanan was arguing that Jews were forcing war on the
United States in which the only casualties would be non-Jews.
The fraud worked and in no time it became conventional wisdom
that Buchanan was "anti-Semitic." No one seemed
to find it extraordinary that a man who had been speaking
out vociferously on every subject under the sun for almost
three decades could have hidden such terrible prejudices
"anti-Semitic" card trumps all others in US politics.
And it served to discredit from the start Buchanan's emerging
critique of the US-dominated global order. It is critical
to our imperial masters that there should be no discussion
of where their policy is leading America. As Buchanan
put it at the Second Annual Antiwar.com conference in March:
"Foreign policy, they tell us, is not an issue in this
election year. By that they mean it is off the table, a
matter already decided upon and settled by those who know
what is best for America. So they, and their media auxiliaries,
redirect our attention away from foreign policy to such
burning national issues as the dating policy at Bob Jones
University." Campaign trivia about who's in and who's
out, who has the best "spin doctor," who has won
the "image" game only these vexing issues
are to be debated.