The Rise of the Generals

By Pat Buchanan

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The Rise of the Generals
Pat Buchanan
Patrick J .Buchanan

USA –  -( Has President Donald Trump outsourced foreign policy to the generals?

So it would seem. Candidate Trump held out his hand to Vladimir Putin. He rejected further U.S. intervention in Syria other than to smash ISIS.

He spoke of getting out and staying out of the misbegotten Middle East wars into which Presidents Bush II and Obama had plunged the country.

President Trump's seeming renunciation of an anti-interventionist foreign policy is the great surprise of the first 100 days, and the most ominous. For any new war could vitiate the Trump mandate and consume his presidency.

Trump no longer calls NATO “obsolete,” but moves U.S. troops toward Russia in the Baltic and eastern Balkans. Rex Tillerson, holder of Russia's Order of Friendship, now warns that the U.S. will not lift sanctions on Russia until she gets out of Ukraine.

If Tillerson is not bluffing, that would rule out any rapprochement in the Trump presidency. For neither Putin, nor any successor, could surrender Crimea and survive.

What happened to the Trump of 2016?

When did Kiev's claim to Crimea become more crucial to us than a cooperative relationship with a nuclear-armed Russia? In 1991, Bush I and Secretary of State James Baker thought the very idea of Ukraine's independence was the product of a “suicidal nationalism.”

Where do we think this demonization of Putin and ostracism of Russia is going to lead?

To get Xi Jinping to help with our Pyongyang problem, Trump has dropped all talk of befriending Taiwan, backed off Tillerson's warning to Beijing to vacate its fortified reefs in the South China Sea, and held out promises of major concessions to Beijing in future trade deals.

“I like (Xi Jinping) and I believe he likes me a lot,” Trump said this week. One recalls FDR admonishing Churchill, “I think I can personally handle Stalin better than … your Foreign Office … Stalin hates the guts of all your people. He thinks he likes me better.”

FDR did not live to see what a fool Stalin had made of him.

Among the achievements celebrated in Trump's first 100 days are the 59 cruise missiles launched at the Syrian airfield from which the gas attack on civilians allegedly came, and the dropping of the 22,000-pound MOAB bomb in Afghanistan.

But what did these bombings accomplish?

The War Party seems again ascendant. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are happy campers. In Afghanistan, the U.S. commander is calling for thousands more U.S. troops to assist the 8,500 still there, to stabilize an Afghan regime and army that is steadily losing ground to the Taliban.

Iran is back on the front burner. While Tillerson concedes that Tehran is in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, Trump says it is violating “the spirit of the agreement.”

How so? Says Tillerson, Iran is “destabilizing” the region, and threatening U.S. interests in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon.

But Iran is an ally of Syria and was invited in to help the U.N.-recognized government put down an insurrection that contains elements of al-Qaida and ISIS. It is we, the Turks, Saudis and Gulf Arabs who have been backing the rebels seeking to overthrow the regime.

In Yemen, Houthi rebels overthrew and expelled a Saudi satrap. The bombing, blockading and intervention with troops is being done by Saudi and Sunni Arabs, assisted by the U.S. Navy and Air Force.

It is we and the Saudis who are talking of closing the Yemeni port of Hodeida, which could bring on widespread starvation.

It was not Iran, but the U.S. that invaded Iraq, overthrew the Baghdad regime and occupied the country. It was not Iran that overthrew Col. Gadhafi and created the current disaster in Libya.

Monday, the USS Mahan fired a flare to warn off an Iranian patrol boat, 1,000 meters away. Supposedly, this was a provocation. But Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif had a point when he tweeted:

“Breaking: Our Navy operates in — yes, correct — the Persian Gulf, not the Gulf of Mexico. Question is what US Navy doing 7,500 miles from home.”

Who is behind the seeming conversion of Trump to hawk?

The generals, Bibi Netanyahu and the neocons, Congressional hawks with Cold War mindsets, the Saudi royal family and the Gulf Arabs — they are winning the battle for the president's mind.

And their agenda for America?

We are to recognize that our true enemy in the Mideast is not al-Qaida or ISIS, but Shiite Iran and Hezbollah, Assad's Syria and his patron, Putin. And until Hezbollah is eviscerated, Assad is gone, and Iran is smashed the way we did Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen, the flowering of Middle East democracy that we all seek cannot truly begin.

But before President Trump proceeds along the path laid out for him by his generals, brave and patriotic men that they are, he should discover if any of them opposed any of the idiotic wars of the last 15 years, beginning with that greatest of strategic blunders — George Bush's invasion of Iraq.


Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.

  • 21 thoughts on “The Rise of the Generals

    1. I agree with Bill. The US Navy has ,since WWII taken the role of ensuring the freedom of ALL nations to sail the high seas without interference. The worlds free trade has U.S. to thank for that freedom. It is perhaps time they pay tribute to U.S. for the costs in our blood and treasure.

    2. I have worked for many GOs and they are pretty bright, and dedicated people. On average GOs have three times as many advanced degrees as their counterparts in business. And as to Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif’s question about our Navy, I would answer: “Our Navy is keeping the see lanes safe from Iranian attack and effecting events on land in that region.”

      1. Wild Bill, everything you’ve said is right on the mark, especially the savvy deal making of the GO’s. However, Iran has created mischief in the entire Middle East Region since 1979 and were delighted when we entered Kuwait to take out Sadam Hussein. They were further delighted that we were bogged down in Iraq and happy to supply fighters, shaped charged penetrators, and weapons of every type, — specifically to kill as many U.S. personnel as possible. The bottleneck of the Straits of Hormuz is and always has been, a cause for concern and heighten alert for our naval vessels each time they have passed through there because Iran has verbally and openly threatened to attack. Sooner or later, Iran will need to dealt with because they are constantly disrupting the peace of the region. They hate the West, especially the U.S. and Israel, with a passion that is beyond comprehension.

    3. Much as I despise the Iranians and their goals, I do believe their leader has a point: What ARE American warships doing 8,000 miles from home?

      WHY do we have to play the world’s policeman, or bouncer, when we fail/refuse to deal with signficant issues at home?

          1. No, the U.S. Navy does not charge anything for keeping the sea lanes open for the commerce among nations. The nations with natural resources for sale engage in commerce with other nations and delivery is made by sea. If the navigational sea lanes were blocked, natural resources would not flow, and demand would drive up prices. Global logistics, VPC Gill, are none of the VPC’s business, so I think that you are, now, revealing your own Anti-American view.

          2. Gil, have you ever even been to the Middle East? I have and it is a real s**t hole. Not just the living conditions either. The people there all hate each other. There has never been peace there. Read what the Lord said to Ishmael and then come back and spew your lack of knowledge.

      1. @Tionico: Not to criticize but, I wonder how young you might be. Did you go the school system after they quit teaching world history? Try researching the rise of the Nazi’s in world war ll in short the U. S. was indulging in isolationism. Many of the other countries thought that if they appeased Hitler he would be satisfied and stop his aggression. They let him over run Poland and others for example. They tried to ignore the axis powers but the stronger they got the more they wanted. Now compare Germany, Japan, and Italy to what is going on in North Korea, Iran, including isis. The longer you wait the stronger they get, the harder they will be to stop. Do you suggest we just let it all build? At what point do we open the doors to out country? When do we say stop?

    4. In spite of everything else, two or three more originalist SCOTUS Justices will be a win for me. If we had the Hill-n-Bill Traveling Grifter Show, the rise of warfare, welfare, and iniquity would be even worse. Oh, and further destruction of the 2A.

      1. Mike, total agreement on my part about the opportunity President Trump will , almost inevitably, have to nominate some very qualified judges to the high court. I wonder if , like an “ace in the hole”, these selections could/will be used as a “bargaining chip” to sway a portion of the congress to accomplish all or part of the list of goals ;tax reform , immigration reform ( implementation of “the wall”), healthcare reform, etc., that are as equally important to the majority of the American people?? The “Art of the Deal”? It seems little to nothing “gets done” ,sadly, at the Capital , without the “back scratching” and “palm greasing”.

        1. @BillyB President trump has demonstrated he does not to “deal” SCOTUS that is truly an ace in the hole. After the recent NRA convention speech sounds like he realizes the importance of these nominations.

      1. I worked on them for many years. Maintenance costs are in the $100,000 range annually, and that is probably a conservative figure. You wouldn’t want one. They ate finicky POS.

      2. @Cyber, you would be hard pressed to get the ammunition and wouldn’t want it anyway. I would like to recommend to you the half inch howitzer. See Barrett firearms.

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