While Buchanan sometimes gets something right, like a broken clock, he’s usually wrong. In his recent articles for HE, he has proven that he’s totally ignorant of history. He does know some basic facts, but he doesn’t understand in what context did they happen, why, and what were their consequences.
Buchanan involed Henry Clay and John Calhoun as opposing American intervention against Austria in Hungary, when Lajos Kossuth requested such intervention. But Clay was hardly a noninterventionist. In the 1810s, as House Speaker, he was one of the leading voices in favor of war with Britain, one of the guys who rushed the US into a war with Britain (the so-called War Hawks), the conflict that we now call the War of 1812.
So Henry Clay was the polar opposite of Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Doug Bandow.
Then, Buchanan wrote: “When Hungarian patriots rose up against the Soviet occupation in 1956, Khrushchev sent in hundreds of tanks to drown the revolution in blood.
Hungary was behind the Iron Curtain, the Yalta-Potsdam line to which FDR and Truman had agreed. There were no U.S. troops on any Hungarian border. So Eisenhower did — nothing.”
Indeed. And he was wrong to do nothing. He was wrong to appease Khrushchev. True, Hungary was behind the Iron Curtain, and there were no troops on Hungary’s borders, but the Soviet Union was America’s enemy, and every opportunity to fight it was good. Moreover, Hungarians were fighting for freedom and for their country, so Eisenhower should’ve helped them. He did not, thus sabotaging the cause of freedom and allowing the Soviet Union to score a victory. Intervening in Hungary was in America’s interest.
Then, Buchanan wrote: “Indeed, that same month, Ike ordered British, French and Israelis to end their intervention in Sinai and Suez and get their troops out or face sanctions, including the U.S. sinking of the British pound.
Was Ike an isolationist?”
Answer: no, he was either an idiot or a scoundrel who managed to betray three allied nations at the same time, with one decision. He was a false hero. No credible person respects him.
“Until the modern era, the idea of sending armed forces across oceans to kill and die for moral or humanitarian causes would have been seen as an insult to the Founding Fathers, an abandonment of a vital American tradition, and ruinous to the national interest.”
What about the War of 1898 with Spain? BTW, advancing freedom is in line with America’s national interest.
Buchanan also complained that:
“Since Bush I, we have intervened in Panama, Kuwait, Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya. Had Sens. John McCain and Joe Lieberman gotten their way, we would have been fighting Russians in Georgia and bombing Iran.
Add up all those we have killed, wounded, widowed, orphaned or uprooted, and the number runs into the millions. All these wars have helped mightily to bankrupt us.
Have they made us more secure?”
Depends which wars. The Interventions in Panama, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Pakistan – yes. Most of these interventions cost little. The two most costly post-1988 interventions to date have been the Iraqi war and the Afghan war, now being waged on the AfPak border area. Collectively, however, they cost only $1.09 trilion by the end of August 2010, and only 5600 American troopers (over 10 times fewer troopers than the Vietnamese War or the Korean War). And no, they didn’t help mightily to bankrupt America.
Buchanan got it right, though, on at least one issue: that this Libyan intervention is a mistake and that the DOD, led by Robert Gates, was right to do everything it could to discourage Obama from joining it. Says Buchanan:
“Moral, humanitarian and ideological reasons. Though Robert Gates and the Pentagon had thrown ice water on the idea of intervening in a third war in the Islamic world — in a sandbox on the northern coast of Africa — Obama somersaulted and ordered the attack, for three reasons.
The Arab League gave him permission to impose a no-fly zone. He feared that Moammar Gadhafi would do to Benghazi what Scipio Africanus did to Carthage. And Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power conveyed to Obama their terrible guilt feelings about America’s failure to stop what happened in Rwanda and Darfur. This is the three sisters’ war.”
Moreover, Buchanan was right to ask the following hard questions, which should be asked continually until answers are obtained:
“But why was it America’s moral duty to stop the Tutsi slaughter of Hutus in Burundi in 1972 or the Hutu counter-slaughter of Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994? Why was that not the duty of their closest African neighbors, Zaire (Congo), Uganda and Tanzania?
These African countries have been independent for a half-century. When are they going to man up?
The slaughter in Darfur is the work of an Arab League member, Sudan. Egypt, the largest and most powerful Arab nation, is just down the Nile. Why didn’t the Egyptian army march to Khartoum, a la Kitchener, throw that miserable regime out, and stop the genocide?
Why doesn’t Egypt, whose 450,000-man army has gotten billions from us, roll into Tobruk and Benghazi and protect those Arabs from being killed by fellow Arabs? Why is this America’s responsibility?”
Why is protecting the entire democratic world, solving every humanitarian crisis, and righting every wrong of this world, America’s responsibility? Why doesn’t the 450,000-man Egyptian military, armed with M1 Abrams tanks and co-financed by the DOS, march into Khartoum like Kitchener, throw the Sudanese regime out, and end the Darfur genocide?
America is not legally nor morally obliged to right every wrong of this world.
In an earlier Buchanan article, similar hard questions were asked:
“What caused Obama’s about-face from the Pentagon position that imposing a no-fly zone on Libya was an unwise act of war?
According to The New York Times, National Security Council aide Samantha Power, U.N. envoy Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton flipped him. The three sisters feel guilty about us not invading Rwanda when Hutu were butchering Tutsi.
They did not want to be seen as standing by when Gadhafi took Benghazi, which he would have done, ending the war in days, had we not intervened.
While Obama is no longer saying Gadhafi must go, Hillary insists that has to be the outcome. No question who wears the pants here.”
This intervention against Qaddafi is a mistake on Obama’s part. He’s fighting an anti-Al-Qaeda dictator with whom the West has been doing profitable business for years, and thus aiding al-Qaeda and other anti-American organizations. This is a mistake which should be ended immediately. And no more wars should be waged without a Declaration of War.