creators.com opinion web
Liberal Opinion General Opinion
Patrick Buchanan
Pat Buchanan
19 Dec 2014
Obama Throws Fidel a Rope

The celebrations in Havana and the sullen silence in Miami tell you all you need to know about who won this … Read More.

16 Dec 2014
The Rise of Putinism

"Abe tightens grip on power as Japanese shun election." So ran the page one headline of the Financial Times … Read More.

12 Dec 2014
Jonathan Gruber: Honest Liberal

Brought before a House inquisition, MIT professor and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber burbled a … Read More.

Brave New World

Comment

The first reports in early May of 1960 were that a U.S. weather plane, flying out of Turkey, had gone missing.

A silent Moscow knew better. After letting the Americans crawl out on a limb, expatiating on their cover story, Russia sawed it off.

Actually, said Nikita Khrushchev, we shot down a U.S. spy plane 1000 miles inside our country flying over a restricted zone.

We have the pilot, we have the camera, we have the pictures. We have the hollow silver dollar containing the poisoned-tipped needle CIA pilot Francis Gary Powers declined to use.

Two weeks later, Khrushchev used the U-2 incident and Ike's refusal to apologize to dynamite the Paris summit and the gauzy Spirit of Camp David that had come out of his ten-day visit to the USA.

Eisenhower's reciprocal trip to Russia was now dead.

A year later, President Kennedy would be berated by Khrushchev in Vienna. The Berlin Wall would go up. And Khrushchev would begin secretly to install nuclear missiles in Cuba, 90 miles from Key West.

Had there been no U-2 incident, would the history of the Cold War have been different? Perhaps.

Yet, while there were critics of launching Power's U-2 flight so close to the summit, Americans understood the need for espionage. Like us, the Soviets were installing ballistic missiles, every single one of which could incinerate an American city.

Post 9/11, too, Americans accepted the necessity for the National Security Agency to retrieve and sift through phone calls and emails to keep us secure from terror attacks. Many have come to accept today's risks of an invasion of their privacy — for greater security for their family.

And there remains a deposit of trust among Americans that the NSA, the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency are not only working for us, they are defending us.

How long Americans will continue to repose this trust, however, is starting to come into question.

Last week, we learned that a high official of the U.S. government turned 200 private phone numbers of 35 friendly foreign leaders, basically the Rolodex of the president, over to the NSA for tapping and taping.

Allied leaders, with whom America works toward common goals, have for years apparently had their private conversations listened to, transcribed and passed around by their supposed U.S. friends.

Angela Merkel has apparently been the subject of phone taps since before she rose to the leadership of Germany and Europe.

A victim of the East German Stasi, Ms. Merkel is not amused.

We are told not to be na‹ve; everyone does it. Spying, not only between enemies but among allies, is commonplace.

This is how the world works. Deal with it.

But why are we doing this? Is it all really about coping with the terrorist threat? Or is it because we have the ability to do it, and the more information we have, even stolen surreptitiously from friends and allies, the better? Gives us a leg up in the great game of nations.

U.S. diplomats say that one of their assignments abroad is to know what the host government is thinking and planning politically, economically, strategically. That this is an aspect of diplomacy.

But relations among friendly nations are not unlike the NFL. While films are taken of rival teams' games and studied, scouts observe practices, and rumors are picked up of injuries, there are lines that most opposing NFL teams do not cross.

The lines of unethical conduct and criminality.

To learn that an owner or coach of one NFL franchise had wiretapped the home phones of coaches and players of a Super Bowl rival would, if revealed, be regarded as rotten business.

What kind of camaraderie, cooperation or friendship can endure in an environment where constant snooping on one's closest friends is accepted practice?

In the Nixon White House, there were serious leaks that revealed our secret bombing of Communist sanctuaries in Cambodia to protect our troops, and of our fallback position in the strategic arms talks.

Wiretaps were planted on aides to Henry Kissinger and White House staffers who had no knowledge of what had been leaked.

Relationships were altered, some poisoned for a lifetime.

Why should we not expect a similar reaction among foreign friends who discover their personal and political secrets have been daily scooped up and filed by their American friends, and found their way into the president's daily intelligence brief?

The Cold War was a clash of ideologies and empires for the future of the world. Men took drastic measures to preserve what they had. At the end of the Cold War, the old tactics and measures were not set aside, but improved upon, and now are no longer restricted for use against the likes of al-Qaida, but against allies.

At the Cold War's end, the late Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick talked hopefully of America becoming again "a normal country in a normal time." Seems as though the normal times are never coming back.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?" To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM



Comments

3 Comments | Post Comment
It's just the boys playing with their toys. Hook up the leads and prevent 9/11? Or prevent Boston? BORING. Much more fun to use all of this fancy stuff financed with our tax dollars and of course, Chinese owned debt, to play voyeur and peeping Tom with Merkel and other fun targets, not to mention us, the stupid citizens who can be sold any bridge the high-flying feds choose to put up for sale.

And Obama and his Democrat apologists call Snowden is the traitor? Give me a break. If Romney had been elected and caught trying to excuse this disgusting display of incompetence, indifference, and utter arrogance, he would have been impeached on the spot.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Masako
Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:41 PM
At present, it seems like a good possibility that the “War on Terror” is simply a substitute for the military and industrial subsidies put in place during the Cold War.

If we are to extract any major lessons from the Cold War, it should include these: first, if, during the Cold War, the world had two powerful, ideologically-motivated governments each struggling for the global dominance of its ideology, and each was willing to destroy the entire planet with weapons of mass destruction for the sake of that struggle, it is a dubious “victory” for humanity that either side should come out on top. Second, we should remember that, despite the “duck and cover” drills and media propaganda about Soviet nuclear attack, the only radiation to which Americans were exposed during the Cold War came from the American government itself: atmospheric tests in the Southwest and over the Pacific Ocean, a cloud of strontium-90 floating over the US in the late 1950′s, soldiers used as guinea pigs, prison inmates and the mentally ill deliberately and secretly injected with radioactive material…

Guns are abundant in the United States, and easy to acquire; yet, there have been no terrorist shooting sprees. If a terrorist were willing to die for his or her cause, it would not be hard to take out several Americans too. Former “Freedom Fighters” in Afghanistan seem to have little difficulty constructing improvised explosive devices, but jihadis stateside seem wholly incapable of this feat when removed from an impoverished desert environment swarming with US military personnel. A terrorist could drive a car into a crowd, or sit in a boat by an airport with a high-powered rifle; if a terrorist wanted to disrupt American life, that terrorist could drive cross-country in the middle of the night attacking high-tension power lines without being caught. If any of these things were happening with the regularity that would justify something like the PATRIOT ACT or a new bureaucracy the size of the Department of Homeland Security, “state secrets” wouldn't be able to keep it out of the news for very long. And yet, for over a decade now, we've remained under the same state of emergency declared by George W. Bush. President Obama has repeatedly extended this state of national emergency. Congress is required under the 1976 National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601-1651) to review presidential emergencies every six months; this oversight, however, does not appear to be much of a priority, and Congress has not been actively reviewing this emergency declaration.

In the US, terror is spread almost exclusively by the media. Most people traumatized on 911 were traumatized by watching TV in their kitchen or school classroom. Whereas terrorists have killed around 3000 Americans in the past decade, in the same period, automobiles have been responsible for some 400,000 deaths. The typical American is astronomically more likely to be killed or injured in a car accident than in a terrorist attack; yet, rather than treat effective mass transit as a life-saving national priority, politicians like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker make a show of turning down $1 billion in Federal funds for commuter rail.

In an important sense, we are our own worst enemy: Congress and the President have done more to disrupt the American Way of Life than any terrorist could have hoped to accomplish. As the media obsesses over dramatic fictions, as the federalization of local law enforcement continues, as local police procure military hardware, as civil liberties are swept aside, as drones and dirigibles with high-resolution cameras appear over major urban centers, keep in mind that it is not just Muslims that are targeted: during the recent G-20 summit in Toronto, police have been accused of profiling protestors with “black backpacks” and women with “hairy legs.” A Canadian police watchdog group calls these claims “substantiated.” Over 1,000 protesters were arrested — mostly without charge — and only around 40 were successfully prosecuted. Police profiling isn't strictly a religious or an ethnic issue: control freaks don't discriminate. If they don't come to lock you up in person, be sure that they'll come for your heart and your mind.
Comment: #2
Posted by: morgan
Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:54 PM
Re: morgan:

Is your compulsively theoretical mind flying a little too far away from gravity?

Are you neglecting to think about and feel what an insult it is to all those who were directly affected by the take-down of the Twin Towers to equate their trauma and grief with somebody watching from a safe distance on TV and internet? Just thought I'd ask that question.

Your thinking is impressive as a first flush, but you need to get a little reality under your belt to make it worth anything other than get-it-off-your-chest therapy for yourself.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Masako
Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:22 PM
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
Pat Buchanan
Dec. `14
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
30 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31 1 2 3
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Author’s Podcast
Patrick Buchanan
Pat BuchananUpdated 19 Dec 2014
Michelle Malkin
Michelle MalkinUpdated 19 Dec 2014
David Limbaugh
David LimbaughUpdated 19 Dec 2014

19 Sep 2014 What Will Victory Look Like?

27 Sep 2011 Subdividing America -- to Win

11 Feb 2011 Bush's New 'Axis of Evil