T Nation

Betrayed by Bush

Curious what some of the old line conservatives in here think, vs. some of the Bush supporting repubs in here. This is a really good summary of our situation.

Betrayed by Bush
Patrick Buchanan says there is no conservative party in Washington. Instead there is a Republican party of big business, big government and big war Washington, DC

Not even the British empire at its zenith dominated the world in the way the United States does today. US forces are deployed in lands the soldiers of Victoria never saw. Our warships make port calls on all continents. Our military technology is generations ahead of any other nation?s. Our GDP is 30 per cent of the global economy. Brand names like Coca-Cola, McDonald?s and Levi?s are household words from Kathmandu to Kurdistan. The music the young listen to around the world is American or an imitation thereof. Americans annually claim the lion?s share of the Nobel prizes in science, medicine and economics. Hollywood films are the world?s most watched. The dollar is the world?s reserve currency. The International Monetary Fund that keeps scores of nations from bankruptcy has its headquarters in Washington. The American language, English, is the lingua franca of the Internet and the international elite. By almost any measure ? military and economic power, technology, standard of living, cultural dominance, social and political freedom ? America is the gold standard, the ?hyperpower? of the Quai d?Orsay?s resentment.

Yet all republics, all empires, all civilisations pass away. For the United States the invasion of Iraq and the war to impose democracy upon that Arab and Islamic nation may yet prove a textbook example of the imperial overstretch that brought down so many empires of the past. Fallujah, where US marines were withdrawn before completing their mission to eradicate the guerrillas and terrorists who had murdered four Americans and desecrated their bodies, may prove the high tide of an American empire that has begun its long retreat.

If we were to name one cause of the fall of Britain, it would be war. The Boer war was Britain?s Vietnam. With it came a loss of faith in the superiority of British civilisation and the spread of the heretical idea that a British empire that denied self-determination to peoples of colour was no longer morally defensible. Then, for ten years between 1914 and 1918 and 1939 and 1945, Britain was locked in mortal battle with the mightiest land power in Europe. Britain alone fought both world wars from the first day to the last.

In the first world war, 720,000 Britons died, in the second another 400,000. America, however, stayed out of the world wars longer than any other power and thus suffered fewer losses. Not until four years after the British, French, Germans and Russians had started slaughtering one another at a rate of 6,000 a day did the doughboys arrive to turn the tide on the Western Front, only six months before the Armistice. Not until four years after Hitler overran France did the Higgins boats appear off Normandy, just 11 months before VE Day. In both world wars, we played Fortinbras in Hamlet, coming upon the carnage in the final scene in the bloodstained throne-room to take charge of affairs.

During the Cold War, America avoided a war with a Soviet Union that could have wreaked far greater havoc on us than was visited on Britain in two world wars. We are the last superpower because we stayed out of the great wars of the 20th century longer than any of the other powers, and we suffered and lost less than any of them. Since the end of the Cold War, however, all the blunders of Britain?s ruling class in its march to folly have been replicated by our elites, from the arrogance of power to the alienation of allies to the waging of imperial wars where no vital US interests were at risk.

Spurning the counsel of John Quincy Adams, America now goes abroad in search of monsters to destroy. We have treaty guarantees with 50 nations on five continents and troops in 100 countries. Some 150,000 US soldiers are tied down in seemingly endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Should the United States confront another crisis anywhere on earth, the bankruptcy of our foreign policy would be transparent to the world.

President Bush has declared it to be US policy to launch pre-emptive war on any rogue regime that seeks weapons of mass destruction, a policy today being defied by North Korea and Iran, both of which have programmes to produce nuclear weapons. The President has also declared it to be US policy to go to war to prevent any other nation from acquiring the power to challenge US hegemony in any region of the world. It is called the ?Bush Doctrine?. It is a prescription for permanent war for permanent peace, though wars are the death of republics.

In 2003, the United States invaded a country that did not threaten us, had not attacked us and did not want war with us, to disarm it of weapons we have since discovered it did not have. His war cabinet assured President Bush that weapons of mass destruction would be found, that US forces would be welcomed with garlands of flowers, that democracy would flourish in Iraq and spread across the Middle East, that our triumph would convince Israelis and Palestinians to sit down and make peace.

None of this happened. Those of us who were called unpatriotic for opposing an invasion of Iraq and who warned we would inherit our own Lebanon of 25 million Iraqis were proved right. Now our nation is tied down and our army is being daily bled in a war to create a democracy in a country where it has never before existed.

With the guerrilla war, US prestige has plummeted. The hatred of President Bush is pandemic from Marrakesh to Mosul. Volunteers to fight the Americans have been trickling into Iraq from Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran. In the spring of this year revelations of the sadistic abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison sent US prestige sinking to its lowest levels ever in the Arab world. We may have ignited the war of civilisations that it was in our vital interest to avoid. Never has America been more resented and reviled in an Islamic world of one billion people.

At home, the budget surpluses of the 1990s have vanished as the cost of the Afghan and Iraq wars has soared beyond the projections of the most pessimistic of the President?s economic advisers. The US budget deficit is above 4 per cent of GDP. With a trade deficit in goods nearing 6 per cent of GDP, the dollar has lost a third of its value against the euro in three years. One in six manufacturing jobs has disappeared since President Bush took the oath. By mid-2004, the President had failed to abolish a single significant agency, programme or department of a Leviathan government that consumes a fifth of our economy. Nor had he vetoed a single Bill.

America?s native-born population has ceased to grow. Its birth rate has fallen below replacement levels. US population growth now comes from immigrants, legal and illegal, from Asia, Africa and Latin America. The religious, ethnic and racial composition of the country, a child of Europe, is changing more rapidly than that of any other great nation in history in an era when race, religion and ethnicity are tearing countries apart. The melting pot no longer works its magic. Newcomers are not assimilating. We are becoming what Theodore Roosevelt warned against our ever becoming ? ?a polyglot boardinghouse for the world?.

US primary and secondary education is a disaster area. Test scores have been falling for decades and are below those of almost every other developed nation. In our universities, ignorance of American history has reached scandalous proportions, and rising percentages of students in the hard sciences come from foreign lands.

The Republican party, which had presided over America?s rise to manufacturing pre-eminence, has acquiesced in the deindustrialisation of the nation to gratify transnational corporations whose oligarchs are the party?s financiers. US corporations are shutting factories here, opening them in China, ?outsourcing? back-office work to India, importing Asians to take white-collar jobs from Americans, and hiring illegal aliens for their service jobs. The Republican party has signed off on economic treason.

Then there are the ominous analogies to the Rome we read about in school: the decline of religion and morality, corruption of the commercial class, a debased and decadent culture. Many of America?s oldest churches are emptying. The Catholic Church, the nation?s largest, is riven with heresy, scandal, dissent and disbelief.

Historically, Republicans have been the party of the conservative virtues of balanced budgets, of a healthy scepticism towards foreign wars, of a commitment to traditional values and fierce resistance to the growth of government power and world empire. No more. There is no conservative party left in Washington. The GOP may be Reaganite in its tax policy, but it is Wilsonian in its foreign policy, FDR in its trade policy, and LBJ all the way in its spending policies. Pragmatism is the order of the day. The Republican philosophy might be summarised thus: ?To hell with principle; what matters is power, and that we have it, and they do not.?

But principles do matter. For history teaches that if we indulge in the vices of republics and surrender to the temptation to buy votes with public money, to distract the populace with bread and circuses, to conduct imperial wars, we will destroy the last best hope of earth. And just as there came a day of reckoning for Lyndon Johnson, who delivered guns and butter in wartime, so, too, are the chickens coming home to roost for George W. Bush.

From the book ‘Where the Right Went Wrong’ by Patrick J. Buchanan. Copyright ? by the author. Reprinted by permission of St Martin?s Press, LLC.

Great article. What a coincidence you saw it too and posted it.

I don’t agree with everything Buchanan says here, for example his concern that the “native born” poulation is dwindling. America is a country of immigrants. America’s strength is in it’s diversity. I’m not for totally lax immigration policies, but the way Buchanan puts it sounds a bit xenophobic.

Otherwise, lots of interesting points, several of them underscoring the concept that George Bush is NOT a conservative.

Interesting point that you bring up Lumpy… That was my own assessment. I was surprised to find myself nodding to an article written by Buchanan, but other than that one aspect, I thought he hit the nail on the head.

How about some of our resident “conservatives”? (I put that in quotes because, as PB very effectively points out, GWB is really NOT a conservative, but many of his supporters claim to be). What are your views on this article and PB in general.

Hi guys,

It’s rare that I agree with either of you, much less both of you at the same time, at least in part.

The problem is we have a situation where we have one candidate who is not as fiscally conservative as I would like, running against another candidate who is in fact far more liberal than I would like.

The choice is easy for me! President Bush while not the perfect conservative, is far superior to John Kerry, whom I would consider the perfect liberal!

[quote]Roy Batty wrote:
Interesting point that you bring up Lumpy… That was my own assessment. I was surprised to find myself nodding to an article written by Buchanan, but other than that one aspect, I thought he hit the nail on the head.

How about some of our resident “conservatives”? (I put that in quotes because, as PB very effectively points out, GWB is really NOT a conservative, but many of his supporters claim to be). What are your views on this article and PB in general.[/quote]

Interesting. I have been saying that for a long time. Bush is a liberal.

There has been a push to the left. This has caused the Republicans to become a generally liberal party, and to differentiate themselves the Democrats have moved even further to the left.

Personally I have never been fond of Buchanan. He wants the United States completely shut off from the rest of the world. But the world is now interdependent. One of the important events of this century is getting the world to work together better.

As much as it annoys the Republicans, the world is moving toward globalization. We have to be involved in making sure it works out. That the world moves in the right direction. And closing us off from the rest of the world is foolish. These were his opinions before he left the Republican Party.

Buchanan is the conservative version of Nader. (Except I believe Nader is a little more humble, and isn’t as full of himself.) Just a voice on the edge that doesn’t deal with reality.

Also I disagree with his assessment of our country falling apart from this war. Actually it’s biggest risk is from within. There are groups trying to tear this country apart, and “knock it down to size.” Have us change to fit the global community so we can be more like the countries pushing those toilets that make men sit to pee.

You don’t get rid of cancer by ignoring it. And there has been a cancer growing in the Mid-East for a long time. Unfortunately this cancer is starting to spread. Why? Because we foolishly thought it was “their problem.”

Lumpy and others,

“Otherwise, lots of interesting points, several of them underscoring the concept that George Bush is NOT a conservative.”

While I don’t believe this is absolute, that’s something that conservatives have been saying for some time.

It’s a bit of a paradox that so many liberals detest Bush because he is such a extreme right wing conservative.

The evidence, even if you don’t like Bush’s policies, simply don’t bear that out.

His domestic programs - education, Medicare entitelements, I’d throw AIDS spending in there, too, even though it’s designed to go to Africa - looks like it’s from a moderate left-of-center playbook.

Bush certainly is, at his core, a politically and socially conservative man, I believe, but not nearly as extreme as some of his critics suggest.

Let’s remember a few things,

Many traditional conservatives have voiced displeasure with President Bush. Jobs continue to be outsourced. The borders are swiss cheese at best. We are well into the early stages of a total socialized medicine society. English is still not a national language. The president even said he would have signed an extension to the assault weapon ban.

However, most of us still believe he is a good man and if you put George Bush and John Kerry on a political scale from traditional conservative to socialist liberal, who falls much closer on the conservative side?

Buchanan has some very valid points and he is a bright guy. He also is an outcast from the Republican party and we must always consider a person’s motivation. The comparisons to Rome and the British empire came up during Vietnam too. We emerged the sole world power roughly two decades later.

If I have a problem with the situation in Iraq, it is this…it has not been prosecuted aggressively enough. Would the country still be as precarious if the Iraqi borders had been closed, attempts made to curb negative journalistic influence, and we used massive US air power to crush areas of resistance? Perhaps if the military were freed to pursue a military campaign like military campaigns have been fought throughout history, we wouldn’t be at this point. Damnit we court marshal people now for pointing a gun at a vicious enemy’s head to get him to give up a planned ambush site. We court marshal people for putting panties on the head of a POW. We court marshal people for taking an SUV in combat. That is no way to fight a war. The Russians would show us how it should be done if they were interested and we would let them.

On the hand, the Ostrichs who say we should bury our heads in the sand or beg the terrorist-and-dictator-run UN for help are simply out of their minds. Sure they want us to shut up and sit down…many of them don’t want to be next.

I really don’t know where all of this is going. The only thing I really hope for out of all of it is that we never see
another 9-11 and we reach some state of peace.

The thing I think people have to realize, is that whatever ills are in the world, this cancer so to speak, any president you elect will be able to continue fighting it.

Just as things are very rarely black and white, you also won’t find that only one method or strategy can be effective. Reagan wasn’t effective against the USSR via combat, but simply buried them through spending.

I expect there will be intelligent strategies that prove much more effective than head to head combat. However, they might not be realized until after the fact, whenever that may be.

While the US is certainly militarily strong, that is not the true measure strength of the US. What other strengths are available to be applied to current challenges? There are plenty.

I don’t know, vroom. I think JD has it right. We should have conquered the living shizzle out of Iraq instead of playing around with inadequate troops on the ground. You gotta admit that an extremist Muslim isn’t going to be open to American culture and diplomacy when he’s brandishing weapons and trained to think that we are the infidel come to erase his religion. This conflict can’t be resolved without bloodshed, pure and simple.

“Please, Mr Al-queda, we don’t mean you harm. Just put down your Kalishnikov and let’s talk over a cup of tea…”

Sounds nice, but it won’t work. Not in a million years. The Iraqis that we are fighting are frightfully uneducated to anything besides violent Muslim doctrine, and they are not going to put down their weapons in the name of peace or diplomacy.

Loth, I’m not arguing that violence shouldn’t be used in any case. I’m far from a peacenik if you’ve been following along.

I do believe we have to draw a distinction between the general muslim population and the brainwashed islamofacist. These are very different groups.

I’d like to see serious steps taken to drive wedges between the muslim populace and the islamofacists. I’d like to see serious steps taken to change the message that young men in that part of the world hear when they are growing up.

I’d like to see islamofacism fizzle out due to a lack of new recruits. Currently, we aren’t doing well in this regard. In the longer term, until we can get this to happen, we’ll have to face the end result with military resources.

Again, I’m not against the use of the military where needed, but lets find a way to not need it.

Is this clear? Does anyone really think I am suggesting we sit down with the terrorists, drink tea, and sing happy fucking songs? I am so sick of that tired argument being raised every time someone suggests we have other things we have to be doing.

Stop being so unidimensional folks.

[quote]lothario1132 wrote:
This conflict can’t be resolved without bloodshed, pure and simple.

The Iraqis that we are fighting are frightfully uneducated to anything besides violent Muslim doctrine, and they are not going to put down their weapons in the name of peace or diplomacy.[/quote]

It is not just going to be THEIR blood shed. OURS and YOURS will be too. More of their blood, more of our blood. Great solution! Plus there is no guarantee that we won’t lose. After all anyone willing to die for his or her cause is going to be a good fighter.

The Iraqis that are fighting are most likely fighting because it is their country. For them it is a nationalist war not a religious war. How would you feel if the shoe was on the other foot?

Al-Quadea is basically a club for rich western educated/western living Saudis, Arabs and Malays. So much for frightfully uneducated and poor brain washed Islamofacists in far off places that just need to be liberated. Hmmm Iraq had what to do with Al-queada again?

Re: PB other than not being able to go see the Pyramids what would be the problem?

[quote]lothario1132 wrote:

“Please, Mr Al-queda, we don’t mean you harm. Just put down your Kalishnikov and let’s talk over a cup of tea…”

[/quote]

What’s the range on a Kalishnikov? If you keep Mr Al-queda and his the Kalishnikov further away than the range of his Kalishnikov problem solved.

Same for box cutters, truck bombs, suicide vest bombs and other short range weapons favoured by Mr Al-queda.

Conservatives have many differences with Bush. I believe a few were highlighted on RSU’s thread asking people to list their problems with Bush.

However, Pat Buchanan is a populist, not a conservative. He’s also an isolationist. Buchanan’s positions on trade are a classic example, especially that much demogogued issue of outsourcing.

As Mage said, Bush has basically been a liberal on spending issues, but has received little to no credit for it - at least in the MSM (which highlights the futility of a Republican trying to spend to appease liberals - he gets the worst of both worlds, in that he annoys his base and gets no credit from the opposition - maybe he will score some points with those who don’t know much on the issues, but I doubt even that).

But, even though that’s true, for conservatives it’s as I’ve said a lot of times: On areas of agreement with Bush, such as tax cuts, or prosecuting Iraq and the rest of the War on Terror, conservatives view Kerry as an anethema; On areas of disagreement with Bush, such as domestic spending and some of his trade policies, Kerry would almost certainly be worse (Pot, meet Kettle, as far as Kerry trying to criticize Bush on the deficit). This is why Bush has such a strong hold on his base: Because Kerry was a horrible choice as an alternative to Bush, even if he was a better person for the establishment Democrats to back than Dr. Dean.

BB, I would apply the reverse logic where it concerns Kerry. Even if Kerry did a better job on the budget than Bush, he won’t get credit for it from the conservatives.

It’s a simple reflection of the issues you raise if Bush acts outside of his realm.

You need to apply the same criteria and reactions to both parties in order for us to believe that your original claims have any chance of being correct.

Fiscal irresponsibility is not a Liberal trait. It’s not limited to any ideology.

Conservative and Right Wing are two different things. Bush is not conservative, but he is certainly Right Wing. He is an extremist.

The underlying goal of the Right Wing is to eliminate all “entitlement” spending, and to eventually privatize everything, including all government services.

The high spending of the current federal government (controlled at all levels by the GOP) is basically an attempt to create a crisis by bankrupting the government.

Once the government is in enough debt, then all “entitlement” programs will be on the table, and subject to being drastically cut or eliminated.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:

However, Pat Buchanan is a populist, not a conservative. [/quote]

When being a populist is a dirty word and source of derision democracy is finished.

Populist ? by the people

[quote]bluey wrote:
BostonBarrister wrote:

However, Pat Buchanan is a populist, not a conservative.

When being a populist is a dirty word and source of derision democracy is finished.

Populist ? by the people[/quote]

Populists generally aren’t restrained by any sort of logical coherence to their positions. It’s kind of a catch-all term, and it generally catches the demogogue positions of the moment. Now one can see all the populists lining up to criticize outsourcing. A lot of working-class social conservatives are basically populists, which is why Ross Perot connected with them so well back in 1992 and 1996. They like to talk about limited government as an abstract principle, but they like monkeying with the tax code for Child Tax Credits and other things that benefit them, and woe betide anyone who would criticize the farm subsidies in many a Red State.

I’ve always considered Naziism to be sort of a populist movement, as it had no ideological consistency – BTW, I say that not to tar people I would currently describe as “populists” as Nazis, but simply as a critique of Naziism for its incoherence as being socialist when it felt like it, nationalistic when it felt like it, and authoritarian most of the time.

But you did it agian. By placing the word NAZI in close association with for example people who object to OUTSOURCING you create a link between the two. If you do it enough (which is what the political media is all about) people start to think that people who oject to OUTSOURCING are NAZI’S. Its a classic Pavlovs dog tactic.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/bhpavl.html

Bluey, he’s resorting to such tactics because of the recent resurgence of support for Kerry after the debate… :wink:

Hehehe bluey! You’re awesome!

By taking BB’s remarks out of context, and criticizing the structure of his wording, your claim that BB associated “outsourcing” with “nazi” holds water. However:

You did it too, G-money. The words “nazi” and “outsourcing” appear in the same sentence not once, but twice in your post. And look! I did it too!

NAZI OUTSOURCING NAZI OUTSOURCING

Now I did it four times. Unless you count my copy of your post, which would make it six. Have I successfully reprogrammed your brain yet? Hehehe… sorry, I’m a smartass!