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Patrick Buchanan
Pat Buchanan
21 Nov 2014
Rogue President

Asserting a legal and constitutional authority he himself said he did not have, President Obama is going rogue,… Read More.

18 Nov 2014
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In July of 1941, after Japan occupied French Indochina, the Roosevelt administration froze Japan's assets in … Read More.

Can Uncle Sam Ever Let Go?

Comment

"In 1877, Lord Salisbury, commenting on Great Britain's policy on the Eastern Question, noted that 'the commonest error in politics is sticking to the carcass of dead policies.'

"Salisbury was bemoaning the fact that many influential members of the British ruling class could not recognize that history had moved on; they continued to cling to policies and institutions that were relics of another era."

"Relics of another era" — thus did Stephen Meyer, in Parameters in 2003, begin his essay "Carcass of Dead Policies: The Irrelevance of NATO."

NATO has been irrelevant for two decades, since its raison d'etre — to keep the Red Army from driving to the Rhine — disappeared. Yet Obama is headed to Brussels to celebrate France's return and the 60th birthday of the alliance. But why is NATO still soldiering on?

In 1989, the Wall fell. Germany was reunited. The Captive Nations cast off communism. The Red Army went home. The USSR broke apart into 15 nations. But, having triumphed in the Cold War, it seems the United States could not bear giving up its role as Defender of the West, could not accept that the curtain had fallen and the play was closing after a 40-year run.

So, what did we do? In a spirit of "triumphalism," NATO "nearly doubled its size and rolled itself right up to Russia's door," writes Richard Betts in The National Interest.

Breaking our word to Mikhail Gorbachev, we invited into NATO six former member states of the Warsaw Pact and three former republics of the Soviet Union. George W. Bush was disconsolate he could not bring in Georgia and Ukraine.

Why did we expand NATO to within a few miles of St. Petersburg when NATO is not a social club but a military alliance? At its heart is Article V, a declaration that an armed attack on any one member is an attack on all.

America is now honor-bound to go to war against a nuclear-armed Russia for Estonia, which was part of the Russian Empire under the czars.

After the Russia-Georgia clash last August, Bush declared, "It's important for the people of Lithuania to know that when the United States makes a commitment — we mean it."

But "mean" what? That a Russian move on Vilnius will be met by U.S. strikes on Mother Russia? Are we insane?

Let us thank Divine Providence Russia has not tested the pledge.

For can anyone believe that, to keep Moscow from re-establishing its hegemony over a tiny Baltic republic, we would sink Russian ships, blockade Russian ports, bomb Russian airfields, attack Russian troop concentrations? That would risk having some Russian general respond with atomic weapons on U.S.

air, sea and ground forces.

Great powers do not go to war against other great powers unless vital interests are imperiled. Throughout the Cold War, that was true of both America and Russia.

Though he had an atomic monopoly, Harry Truman did not use force to break the Berlin blockade. Nor did Ike intervene to save the Hungarians, whose 1956 revolution Moscow drowned in blood.

John F. Kennedy did not use force to stop the building of the Berlin Wall. Lyndon Johnson fired not a shot to halt the crushing of Prague Spring by Soviet tanks. When Solidarity was snuffed out on Moscow's orders in 1981, Ronald Reagan would not even put the Polish regime in default.

In August 1991, George Bush I, in Kiev, poured ice water on Ukraine's dream of independence: "Americans will not support those who seek independence in order to replace a far-off tyranny with a local despotism. They will not aid those who promote a suicidal nationalism based upon ethnic hatred."

Many Americans were outraged. But outrage does not translate into an endorsement of Bush's 43's plan to bring Ukraine into NATO and risk war with Russia over the Crimea.

Bush 43 bellowed at Moscow last summer to keep hands off the Baltic states. But his father barely protested when Gorbachev sent special forces into all three in 1991.

Bush I's secretary of state, Jim Baker, said it was U.S. policy not to see Yugoslavia break up. Bush 43 was handing out NATO war guarantees to the breakaway republics.

"Washington ... succumbed to victory disease and kept kicking Russia while it was down," writes Betts. "Two decades of humiliation were a potent incentive for Russia to push back. Indeed this is why many realists opposed NATO expansion in the first place."

Few Americans under 30 recall the Cold War. Yet can anyone name a single tripwire for war put down in the time of Dean Acheson or John Foster Dulles that we have pulled up?

Dwight Eisenhower, writes Richard Reeves, in his first meeting with the new president-elect, told JFK, "'America is carrying far more than her share of the free world defense.' It was time for the other nations of NATO to take on more of the cost of their own defense."

Half a century later, we are still stuck "to the carcass of dead policies."

Patrick Buchanan is the author of the new book "Churchill, Hitler and 'The Unnecessary War." To find out more about Patrick Buchanan, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2009 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.



Comments

1 Comments | Post Comment
Sir;...If you are suggesting that madness is behind our foreign policy; I would have to agree...The madness behind that madness is the failed ideology of capitalism.... The madness behind that madness is Protestant Christianity which has justified every injustice pain, and exploitation as pre-ordained.... No one has justified capitalism so much as they, and no one has stood by and watched crime and misery follow in the wake of capital with such piety.... The ideology makes the policies, and the policy justifies all that follows... People do not think... They let their ideologies think for them...They cannot act pragmatically, but act automatically.... They cannot think critically... They cannot think rationally, -weighing drawbacks and dangers against advantages... The rationalism which once characterized protestantism when they were building factories which had to work, has left them when they are building political alliances, or economies that do not have to work...Look at the world, or our country as a system where what is produced must be bought; where economies must support entire populations...Can we do that and continue to give 90% of our produce to ten percent of the population??? And can we dare do this when that wealth gives them absolute power over our foreign and domestic affairs???We want Lithuania, and every othe part of the world as a market... So do they, and we must understand how military threats are taken by those people...What do those markets do for us??? What will war do for us... So far; the rich can get the poor to pay for wars from which the rich alone benefit, but we are reaching a point where poverty is seen to be the final product of capitalism, for people, and for governments alike...I assure you, that many people here in the wasteland are looking at the rich, and the government, and asking why we are putting up with this nonsense.... A lesson is being learned by those people who cannot afford to live by principals and ideologies, but must act rationally, even if that means disposing of ideologies that no longer work -no matter how well advertized... We are learning that when our economy cannot be made to work, that the rich inevitably drag us into wars which we are expected to blindly support... We are learning that we are ruled by a government which absolutly refuses on point of principal to govern the economy.... We are finding that the govenment has money by the truck load for the wealthy when it is forever showing empty pockets to the poor, and to the tax payers...We cannot get good out of government...One of these days the government will try to lead us into war, and look back into the barrels of many guns..I have been there, and it is not funny....It is the government we should war upon... It is the rich we should war upon... If we want world peace we should support world democracy beginning with this land... Until we have it here we will always be led, and mis-led by failed ideologies...Thanks...Sweeney
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Fri Mar 27, 2009 5:04 AM
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