During the 1980s, the „Human Events” magazine was the favorite magazine of Ronald Reagan and many other conservatives. It had been the chief publication platform for conservative articles. Sadly, this is no longer the case, thanks to a prominent pseudoconservative columnist, Patrick Buchanan, and HE chief editors, who tolerate him and publish his columns.
Patrick Buchanan, who falsely claims he’s a rightwinger, is a strident isolationist who, like other isolationists and American liberals, subscribes to the Blame America First philosophy. He believes that America is an evil country that occupies the world like Nazi Germany and imposes its policies on foreign countries.
His latest – and simoultaneously, his most ludicrous – column to date is titled „Liquidating the Empire”. In that article, based on the false premise that America has an empire (like the British Empire), Buchanan writes that America should withdraw its troops from foreign countries, force them to fend for themselves, and withdraw from world affairs like the US government did after WWI.
Buchanan falsely claimed that America has a combined military-foreign-policy budget of $1 trillion. Not only is that number false and fabricated, Buchanan even lumped together a number of different, unsimilar programs and agencies: the military, the GWOT, the foreign aid budget, the DOS, contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, and what he calls „castle-embassies” (which embassy is a castle? I’ve seen a US Embassy and it’s not a rampart). The real spending for the current fiscal year is: $534 billion for defense, $130 billion for the GWOT, $27B for the DOS, $10B for nuclear weapons. The total is merely $701 billion, a paltry 4.67% of GDP or 19.4% of the federal budget. The vast majority (80.6%) of federal spending is on domestic programs, not the military nor foreign policy.
Buchanan claims that America shouldn’t borrow money from China to defend Asia from China, and money from European countries, OPEC states and Japan to defend these states. But America doesn’t borrow cash from them for the DOD. America borrows money to finance its unnecessary domestic programs (which Buchanan did not protest against), which constitute 80.6% of the federal budget. The DOD accounts for merely 14.8% of that budget. Moreover, the primary function of the DOD is not to defend foreign countries, but protect America itself. And that’s what the DOD budget is spent on. It is ridiculous to claim that if America dumped its allies and started appeasing foreign dictatorships, threats to America would vanish.
Moreover, America is not borrowing much money from China. The federal government owes 71% of its debt to Americans or American institutions. 41% of the debt is owned by the federal government, e.g. the Fed (i.e. owed by one part of the government to another); 31% is owed to the American private sector. Only 29% is owed to foreign countries. China’s share of the federal debt is just 6.9%. It’s ludicrous to claim America is borrowing money from China to defend Asia from China.
Buchanan invoked James Madison, who said that „wars are the deaths of republics”. What Buchanan failed to mention was that for 2 years, Madison waged his own war against Britain, and that Madison – unlike him – wanted a strong US military.
The columnist also claimed that „our military presence, our endless wars and our support of despotic regimes have made America, once the most admired of nations, almost everywhere resented and even hated.”, thus betraying his Blame America First philosophy. If you go to countries liberated by the US military – whether France or Iraq – you will hear many people say they like, not hate, the US.
Buchanan also falsely claimed that Russia “shed its alliances” and that China is no longer an enemy of the US. Perhaps Buchanan has never heard of Putin, who is busy rebuilding the Soviet Empire, and Chinese attacks against the US (the continous cyber attacks, the undermining of the US economy, the bringdown of an EP-3 over Hainan, etc.).
When Buchanan says “Liquidation of this empire should have begun with the end of the Cold War.”, he means that in 1991, America should have dumped all of its allies and withdrawn from global affairs, like it did after WW1, when isolationists like him enjoyed the height of their influence. But President Truman warned the American people that:
“Think of the difference between our course now and our course 30 years ago. After the First World War we withdrew from world affairs — we failed to act in concert with other peoples against aggression, and we built up tariff barriers that strangled world trade. This time, we avoided those mistakes. (…) We have welded alliances that include the greater part of the free world. And we’ve gone ahead with other free countries to help build their economies and link us all together in a healthy world trade.
Think back for a moment to the 1930’s and you will see the difference. The Japanese moved into Manchuria, and free men did not act. The Fascists moved into Ethiopia, and we did not act. The Nazis marched into the Rhineland, into Austria, into Czechoslovakia, and free men were paralyzed for lack of strength and unity of will.
Think about those years of weakness and indecision, and the World War II which was their evil result.”
Buchanan decried the mythical “warfare state” and American interventions in Panama, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Somalia. He would’ve preferred that Ratko Mladic, Dmitry Rogozin, Milosevic and Saddam continued their genocidal schemes, and wished Bush had allowed AQ to have an Afghan sanctuary. His isolationist progenitors (e.g. Robert Taft) wished Roosevelt had allowed Hitler to continue his Final Solution plan and opposed the Nuremberg Trials.
Buchanan decried the US defense budget, ignorant of the fact that the prices of all things are more expensive in the US than in other countries, and the fact that Russia and China vastly understate their defense budgets and spend less on personnel than America does. The DOD does have a sizable budget – but that’s good! America needs a strong military!
Buchanan’s claims are totally false and his policies are utterly ridiculous, as every intelligent person knows. He’s the same person who claimed Hitler was right to invade Poland. Why does HE continue to publish his columns is a mystery, but by doing so, HE utterly discredits itself and its chief editors. If they want to save their reputation, they need to stop accepting Buchanan’s ludicrous, anti-American, isolationist columns.
Originally posted on TRC (http://www.therealitycheck.org/?p=11780).