OF THE DEBATE
the dismay of his enemies and the cheers of his friends, Pat
is everywhere: from This
Week to CSPAN
to the wires of Associated Press, bringing his message of
a peaceful and noninterventionist foreign policy to millions
of Americans. With not only Bush but also Clinton attacking
"isolationism," Buchanan has single-handedly managed
to focus the nation's attention on the looming danger of war
and provoke a national debate on a subject dear to my heart:
shall the US remain a republic, or will we take the path of
Empire? This, in itself, is a great victory, a singular achievement
that will earn Buchanan the gratitude of generations of conservatives
to come. His stature grows by the day especially in
comparison to his competitors.
a bit of cognitive dissonance, consider Dubya's
much-ballyhooed foreign policy speech which he
read with no enthusiasm and smirking all the way. Compared
address on the same subject, delivered a day later, Dubya's
seemed like the performance of some adolescent schoolboy forced
to stand up and recite in front of the class.
the other hand, Buchanan, when he addressed the Cato
Institute, was the teacher, not the pupil, as he derided
the Clintonian assault on what Sandy Berger called the "New
Isolationism." Agree or disagree with him, you can be
sure that here is a man who not only writes his own speeches
but actually believes in what he is saying: here is an authenticity
that cannot be faked (sorry, Al). Unlike the over-prepped
Boy Dubya, who read his speech off a teleprompter from the
relative safety of the Reagan Library, and took no questions,
Buchanan appeared on the turf of his sometime critics, the
auditorium of the libertarian Cato Institute, hardly a bastion
of Buchananism, and took a good forty-five minutes worth of
questions on every foreign policy subject from China to Serbia
to the WTO. While many at Cato are no doubt appreciative of
Pat's foreign policy views, the Buchananite heresy on the
trade question has drawn lots of libertarian fire, yet he
strode into this arena and engaged his audience in a way that
no other candidate seems willing or able to do.
AGAINST THE CENTER
of himself, and not afraid of a fight, Buchanan is boldly
reaching out to all sorts of disaffected and disenfranchised
constituencies: libertarians, conservative Republicans, radicalized
Middle Americans of all races and even disaffected
leftists who stand, aghast, as yesterday's peaceniks morph
into the militarists of the new millennium. No wonder the
globalists in both parties are in a panic, and have launched
the most vicious and prolonged smear campaign since the infamous
vilification of Barry Goldwater in 1964.
was a radical speech, and yet a prudent one: he called for
a complete reorientation of American foreign policy
in the name of a return to ancient principles. He invoked
the laws of nature and of God and outlined an eminently
practical program, firmly grounded in realism and informed
by a keen knowledge of history. And he rejected the "isolationist"
label in words that need to be underscored:
has never been an isolationist nation. 'No president or national
party in the entire history of the United States...ever advocated
isolating the United States from the rest of the world,' writes
historian Wayne Cole. Historian Walter McDougall calls the
term isolationist 'but a dirty word that interventionists,
especially since Pearl Harbor, hurl at anyone who questions
the context of having watched Bush deliver his address the
previous day, seeing Pat's speech on CSPAN was revelatory
experience. As he stood at the podium, outlining the parameters
of what he calls "a New Americanism," it was clear
that, compared to Boy Dubya and the rest of the presidential
Brat Pack, Patrick J. Buchanan is a statesman of the first
order. Instead of mindlessly repeating stock phrases put in
his mouth by unseen handlers, here is a man who has a theory
of foreign relations, who has thought long and hard
about America's place in the world. Next to him, the two "major
party" heirs presumptive seem like the over-rehearsed
actors in a high school play, nervous amateurs who mouth their
lines without cadence or conviction.
nearly everyone else is taking aim at the phantom threat of
"isolationism," Buchanan wastes no time defending
himself from the baseless accusation except to point out that
such a thing has never existed in America, and does not now;
instead, he goes on the offensive, and his first target is
the Democrats, especially one by the name of William Jefferson
Clinton. The Clintonian invasion of Somalia was a "bloody
debacle," the Haitian adventure was "ruinous"
to those it was intended to benefit, and the alleged good
intentions of the interventionists were unmasked when
divert attention from a personal scandal, the President fired
missiles at a poison gas factory in Sudan. It now appears
to have been an innocent pharmaceutical plant. Perhaps Mr.
Clinton, who was apologizing for yet another of his predecessors'
foreign policy sins, might wish to apologize for one of his
of the Republican presidential candidates, least of all Boy
Dubya, is remotely capable of speaking truth to power in quite
this way. While we hear much braying about how the GOP intends
to "restore dignity" to the office of the President,
only Pat seems to understand the nature and extent of this
administration's moral depravity. While the Republicans and
their neoconservative grand strategists are focused on l'affaire
Lewinsky per se, Buchanan is far more disgusted and
outraged by the act of wanton aggression which should
tell us something about the difference between Buchanan and
his neocon critics.
THE REAL "COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATIVE" PLEASE STAND
the past few months but doesn't it seem like years?
we have been hearing about "compassionate conservatism,"
which is supposed to be "inclusive," friendly to
minorities, and warm and cuddly in a way that the old-fashioned
hard-edged conservatism represented by Buchanan
could never be. But how come the "compassion" of
the Bushians doesn't extend to anyone beyond our borders?
If Buchanan is supposed to be a mean s.o.b., and a "xenophobe"
to boot, how come he is the only one talking about the suffering
of dark-skinned foreigners, the Iraqi people, under the cruel
US-enforced embargo? Why is Buchanan the only one raising
his voice in the name of tens of thousands of murdered Iraqi
children? Here's why:
the Christian conditions for a just war, the targeting of
innocent civilians is forbidden. But who is suffering, who
is dying from the sanctions we impose on Serbia and Iraq?
We read of tens of thousands of deaths among Iraqi children.
Is it moral to cause their deaths because these toddlers refused
to rise up and oust Saddam, which the mighty Army of Desert
Storm was itself reluctant to do? America is a good country;
she does not make war on children."
RAPE OF SERBIA
MUST IT CONTINUE?
speaks for the millions of Americans who watched, in horror,
as their President rained death on a people who had never
attacked the United States or threatened its interests:
smashed Serbia, it is now U.S. policy to deny fuel to the
Serb people, so they can suffer in the brutal Balkan winter.
This immoral policy shames us as a people. What are we doing
putting old men, women, and children under a sentence of death
for being unable to what NATO itself could not do-overthrow
NEW COLD WAR
understands all too clearly how the new cold war is unfolding:
Russia is the new enemy-designate, the villain of choice in
a new international morality play in which Chechnya is the
first act. As we have pointed out in the pages of Antiwar.com,
the oil-rich Caucasus region is the new locus of international
tensions, where ethnicity, religion, competing nationalisms
and the prospect of great wealth all combine to create a volatile
mixture. Buchanan, alone of all the presidential candidates,
seems to understand the gravity of the unfolding situation:
photo of the President in Istanbul, smiling broadly as the
oil treaty was toasted, while his Energy Secretary crowed
about our "victory," was a provocation. Be assured:
Russian nationalists are surely even now plotting to overturn
Mr. Clinton's "victory." Mr. Clinton's successes
have been in Northern Ireland and the Middle East, where America
assumed the role of peacemaker, rather than military interventionist.
That is the role the greatest nation on earth should play,
one ordained in the Sermon on the Mount."
Catholicism has much to do with his rise as the great nemesis
of the War Party. It is increasingly hard for the Smear Brigade
and the professional character assassins to depict him as
an admirer of Hitler and Franco when he sounds more like Dorothy
Day than Father Coughlin.
program makes sense and has popular appeal: Europe can defend
itself from a Russia that is smaller than under Peter the
Great. It is time to bring the troops home, and let the Europeans
take care of their own defense. Indeed, it appears to be the
Russians, and not the Europeans, who need to be defended
against the encroachments and intended encirclement of the
emboldened West. Buchanan attacks the Russophobia of the Republican
elites, calls for reaching an accord with the Arab world,
and generally seems to perceive the problems of American diplomacy
and strategy in civilizational terms. The great civilizations
of Russia and the Arabic world must not be our enemies, for
in that case another world war or a series of wars is inevitable,
as he points out in A
Republic, Not an Empire. Do we really want to go to
war with nuclear-armed Russia over the Baltic republics' right
to join NATO? The more Americans are told that even asking
such a question is "extremist," the more receptive
they are likely to be to Buchanan's message.
it comes to China, Buchanan's tone becomes considerably harsher,
yet he seems not to have forgotten his stance, as explicated
in his book, against going to war over Taiwan. He states
unequivocally: "We do not want a hot war or a Cold War
with China. Nor do we wish to contain China. She is already
contained by suspicious neighbors, north, south, east and
INDEPENDENT FOREIGN POLICY
foreign policy outlined by Buchanan in his Cato speech is
not an isolationist manifesto, but a program for an independent
foreign policy that puts America not only first but second
and third as well. Not in the grasping mercantile sense of
predatory imperialism and economic self-interest, the gunboat
diplomacy of the Big Oil Republicans on the make in the Caucasus
and the Middle East, but in the name of the legitimate
interests of a free republic that seeks commercial relations
with all nations, but, as Washington put it, "as little
political connection as possible."
LEFT AND RIGHT
the mushy center of American politics begins to resemble two
varieties of vanilla, all real thought and ideological innovation
is taking place "beyond the pale" on the
"far" left as well as the "far" right.
As the range of the politically permissible shrinks, and the
range of "respectable" views gets ever-narrower,
the interest in and populist appeal of Pat the Outsider can
only increase by leaps and bounds.
FOR THE JUGULAR
attacks on Buchanan will also increase, as we approach the
height of the campaign season, not only in quantity but also
in terms of sheer volume and we won't have any of this
nonsense about the Smear Brigade blunting its attack, as Forbes
is being asked to soften his attacks on Dubya. Expect the
sharp edge of the knife to lunge at Buchanan's political jugular,
with all kinds of proxies, such as Donald Trump and Jesse
Ventura, coming out of the woodwork to stop the GOP's worst
nightmare from happening: Buchanan in the debaters' arena
with Dubya and the Bore. Those who say it will never happen
are not saying how or why the Democrats would agree to such
an outrageous exclusion. Certainly it is an event we can all
look forward to, and hope for, if only to relieve the extreme
ennui that is otherwise the leitmotif of this campaign season.
"WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?"
somebody please tell me why Eric
Burns, a 19-year-old "hacker," is being given fifteen
months in prison for "hacking" the sacred
White House website? Yes, they are dead serious about
making an example of him, this "computer criminal,"
who dared deface the sacred cyber-symbols of American global
hegemony: the US Information Agency website, as well as that
of NATO, an unidentified US embassy site and those of several
unidentified consulates "and even Vice President
Al Gore," according to one horrified news report. Yes,
folks, even Al Gore, who might have been expected to
have some kind of computer defenses (him being the Inventor
of the Internet, and all). These people are so dumb and vindictive
that they don't even realize they should be thanking
young Eric for pointing out the vulnerabilities of US government
websites, which could come under attack from real terrorists.
But, oh no, instead Eric is being sent to jail,
ordered to pay "restitution," and is furthermore
forbidden to even go near a computer for three years after
his release from the pen! His real crime, of course, was "defacing"
the White House website with the ungrammatical but no doubt
sincere slogan: "Stop all the war." Will our felonious
President and Commander in chief feel this boy's pain enough
to pardon him? Don't hold your breath but, who knows,
a campaign to "Free Eric Burns" just might embarrass
even the shameless Clintonites into doing the right thing.