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The California recall election turned out well for the Democrats.

With Gov. Gavin Newsom sinking in the summer polls, the party had been staring starkly at the prospect of losing the nation’s largest state and seeing its governor replaced by talk-show host Larry Elder, who had vaulted into the lead among the 46 candidates seeking to replace Newsom.

Elder had rallied Republicans and started to surge, which terrified the Democrats. Not only might they lose Newsom, but they could get in the governor’s mansion in Sacramento what leftists took to calling “the black face of white supremacy.”

Result: A panicked Democratic Party defeated the recall by nearly 2-1, with Californians voting to retain Newsom in roughly the same percentages as they had voted to elect Joe Biden president almost a year ago.

That leaves California securely in Democrat control.

Not in 15 years has a Republican won statewide office. Every elected governor and U.S. senator after 2006, every lieutenant governor and attorney general, has been a Democrat.

The Congressional delegation has 53 members, and the Democrats outnumber Republicans 42-11. Democrats also have 3-1 majorities in both houses of the state legislature.

Richard Nixon carried his home state on all five presidential tickets on which he ran, and Ronald Reagan never lost California. But the era that began when Barry Goldwater won the June 1964 primary against liberal Gov. Nelson Rockefeller is history.

Yet, everything is not coming up roses for Biden.

An Economist poll finds his approval rating underwater, with 49% disapproving of Biden’s performance in office to 46% in approval.

The latest Quinnipiac poll, out Tuesday, is more ominous. It has 50% of the country disapproving of the Biden presidency, with only 42% approving, the first time Biden’s rating has fallen into negative territory. More worrisome: Independents disapprove of Biden by 52-34.

When broken down by issues, the news is no better.

On his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Biden’s rating has plunged from 53-40 approval in August to 48% approving and 49% disapproving now. Fifty-five percent disapprove of his handling of his duties as commander in chief.

His mastery of foreign policy was supposed to be his strong suit. But here the numbers are even worse. Only a third of the nation, 34%, approves of his handling of foreign policy, while 59% disapprove.

On the economy, Biden also gets a negative rating, with 42% of the country approving of the job he is doing to 52% against.

With Biden’s numbers underwater overall and on the three major issues — the economy, foreign policy and his handling of the coronavirus — Democrats have to be looking nervously at November 2022.

“If there ever was a honeymoon for President Biden, it is clearly over,” says Quinnipiac polling analyst Tim Malloy. “This is, with few exceptions, a poll full of troubling negatives … from overall job approval, to foreign policy, to the economy.”

What makes this especially ominous for Democrats is that the recent negative news is likely to continue on many fronts, while the possibilities of positive achievements appear limited.

Biden conceivably could pull off twin victories this fall in Congress — with passage of both the \$1.2 trillion infrastructure package and the \$3.5 trillion family infrastructure bill. If so, this would put him in the history books as a transformative president alongside Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson.

But Biden faces problems on many fronts.

First among them is the return of inflation. The soaring price of food and fuel is beginning to be felt. There is new skittishness in the markets. And the jobs picture is not as rosy as was anticipated this summer.

While the country credits the president for ending America’s longest war, the future news out of Afghanistan is likely to be filled with stories of the Americans left behind and Afghan allies facing executions.

The invasion across our southern border is now producing 220,000 border crossers every month.

We are still in the fourth wave of the coronavirus, with the number of American dead, already over 670,000, rising at a rate of 2,000 a day.

If the wave does not break, this will depress the mood of a country that believed, just a few months back, that the worst was behind us and brighter days lay ahead.

And the poll numbers are not only the worst Biden has received. They are not all that good for the nation either.

Seventy percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the direction of the USA. The president’s disapproval exceeds his approval rating by eight points, just eight months in office. Republicans and Democrats in Congress both get negative ratings from the American people. And only 37% of registered voters approve of the Supreme Court’s handling of its role. Half the country disapproves.

If all three branches of the U.S. government have lost or are losing the confidence of their countrymen, what does that suggest is the future for our democratic republic?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Democratic Party, Joe Biden 

In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, former President George W. Bush’s theme was national unity — and how it has been lost over these past 20 years.

“In the weeks and months following the 9/11 attacks,” said Bush, “I was proud to lead an amazing, resilient, united people. When it comes to the unity of America, those days seem distant from our own. A malign force seems at work in our common life that turns every disagreement into an argument, and every argument into a clash of cultures.”

Though he surely did not realize it, Bush had himself, moments before, given us an example of how that unity was destroyed when he drew a parallel between the terrorists of 9/11 and the Trump protesters of Jan 6. Said Bush:

“There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home. But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit.”

What is Bush saying here?

That Ashli Babbitt, the Air Force veteran shot to death trying to enter the House chamber on Jan. 6, and Mohamed Atta, who drove an airliner into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in a massacre of close to 3,000 people, are “children of the same foul spirit.”

Query: Was not Bush himself here giving us an example of the “malign force” that “turns every disagreement … into a clash of cultures”?

Bush did not mention his own contribution to our national divide: his invasion of a country, Iraq, that did not threaten us, did not attack us, and did not want war with us — to disarm it of weapons it did not even have.

Which contributed more to the loss of America’s national unity?

The four hours of mob violence in the Capitol the afternoon of Jan. 6, 2021, or the 18-year war in Iraq that Bush launched in 2003?

“In those fateful hours” after 9/11, said Bush, “Many Americans struggled to understand why an enemy would hate us with such zeal.”

Yet, well before 9/11, Osama bin Laden, in his declaration of war on us, listed his grievances. Our sanctions were starving the children of Iraq. Our military presence on the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia, home to Mecca, was a national insult and a blasphemous outrage to Islam.

After 9/11, Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. President Barack Obama attacked Libya and plunged us into the Syrian and Yemeni civil wars.

Thus, over 20 years, we have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands — Afghans, Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis, soldiers and civilians alike — and driven hundreds of thousands more from their homes and their countries.

Are Americans really as oblivious, as Bush suggests, as to why it was that our enemies “hate us with such zeal”?

Many of these peoples want us out of their countries for the same reason that 18th- and 19th-century Americans wanted the French, British and Spanish out of our country and out of our hemisphere.

Yet, it is not only the Bush and Obama wars that have made us so many enemies abroad and so deeply divided us at home.

Our southern border is being overrun by illegal immigrants whose number, since President Joe Biden took office, has been running at close to 2 million a year, with 30,000 “get-aways” a month. These last are mostly males who never make contact with the Border Patrol as they move on to their chosen destinations. They are coming now not only from Mexico and the northern tier countries of Central America but also from some 100 countries around the world.

Americans fear they are losing their country to the uninvited and invading millions of the Global South coming to dispossess them of their patrimony. They never voted for this invasion and have wanted their chosen leaders to stop it.

Former President Donald Trump earned their trust because he tried and, to a great degree, succeeded.

Unlike previous generations, our 21st-century divisions are far broader — not just economic and political, but social, moral, cultural and racial.

Abortion, same-sex marriage and transgender rights divide us. Socialism and capitalism divide us. Affirmative action, Black Lives Matter, urban crime, gun violence and critical race theory divide us. Allegations of white privilege and white supremacy, and demands that equality of opportunity give way to equity of rewards, divide us. In the COVID-19 pandemic, the wearing of masks and vaccine mandates divide us.

Demands to tear down monuments and memorials to those who were, until lately, America’s greats — from Christopher Columbus to George Washington to Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, from Abraham Lincoln to Robert E. Lee to Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson — divide us.

We are even divided today on the most fundamental of questions:

Is America now, and has it always been, a good and great country, worthy of the loyalty and love of all its children, of all its citizens?

And are we Americans proceeding toward that “more perfect union” or heading for a reenactment of our previous violent disunion?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”


When the hijacked planes hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that first 9/11, the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan and providing sanctuary for al-Qaida.

Today, the Taliban are in control of Afghanistan and providing sanctuary to al-Qaida. What then did our longest war accomplish?

The Afghan army and government we stood up and sustained for decades has collapsed. The U.S. military has withdrawn. U.S. citizens and thousands of Afghans who fought alongside us have been left behind.

The triumphant Taliban of today are far stronger than were the Taliban of 2001 who fled at the approach of the Northern Alliance. Al-Qaida is now present in many more countries than it was when we first launched the Global War on Terror.

Nor is the America of 2021 the hubristic self-confident country of George W. Bush and the neocons who were going to convert the Middle East into something like our Middle West and advance from there “with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.”

Our country is a changed place from 2001. Gone are the unity, confidence and resolution. And how have all our interventions gone?

Call the roll.

Afghanistan is a lost cause, receding anew into the darkness.

There are reports the Chinese may be interested in establishing a residence at Bagram Air Force Base.

Saddam Hussein is long gone. But the Iraq we invaded to strip of weapons of mass destruction it did not have is now dominated by Iranian-backed Shiite militia. Only at the sufferance of the Baghdad regime are 2,500 “non-combat” U.S. troops permitted to hang on.

Syria, where we intervened to support anti-Assad rebels — and retain 900 U.S. troops — is a human rights hellhole.

Bashar Hafez al-Assad is victorious in his civil war thanks to Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah intervention on his behalf. The million Syrian refugees who fled west during that civil war have helped to turn Lebanon into a failed state.

In Libya, where Barack Obama’s air attacks helped bring down the regime of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, Russians, Turks and Egyptians battle for control. The Americans are nowhere to be found.

Despite our support for Saudi air strikes that turned Yemen into a second humanitarian disaster, Houthi rebels still control the north of the country and the capital, Sanaa.

Looking back at the half dozen Mideast wars in which we have engaged since that first 9/11, where are we better off now than we were then? Al-Qaida, ISIS, Boko Haram and their variants have established a presence in Arab, Asian and African countries far beyond Afghanistan.

Looking forward, where do we Americans go from here?

How do we sustain all the commitments that have bled and drained us for 20 years, when our adversaries and enemies appear to be growing stronger, while our own claim to being the world’s last superpower is increasingly subject to challenge?

Like Donald Trump before him, Joe Biden appears to be giving up on nation building, pulling our troops out of the Middle East, staying out of its future wars, and addressing the challenges of Russia and China?

But how long can we defend a Europe that refuses to defend itself from a Russia that is stronger and more assertive than it was two decades ago, when Vladimir Putin succeeded the feckless Boris Yeltsin.

In the Arctic, Baltic, Belarus, Ukraine and the Black Sea, Putin is more assertive and Russia less intimidated than it was in 2001.

Only one in three NATO countries meets the commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defense, as Europeans today identify immigration as the major threat to the continent.

Among the malingerers is the Germany of Angela Merkel, retiring chancellor who approved the Nord Stream II pipeline that will soon double Germany’s dependence on Russia for natural gas.

How long can the U.S. sustain its new policy of containment of Xi Jinping’s China? How long can we contain China’s expansion in the South and East China Sea at the expense of the Philippines, Japan and Taiwan?

In the year 2000, China’s economy was smaller than Italy’s. Today, it is a peer-competitor of the United States, with four times our population.

Beijing manufactures more than we do, has a growth rate that has exceeded ours for decades, and runs an annual trillion-dollar trade surplus with us in produced goods.

And the China of 2021 is more aggressive and confrontational than was the China of Y2K. How long can we keep 30,000 troops in South Korea and remain responsible for deterring Kim Jong Un’s North Korea from attacking the South?

In relative terms, America is not so dominant a power as it was 20 years ago, while her adversaries seem stronger and more united. Our most powerful rival, Xi Jinping’s China, seems belligerent and bellicose compared with the China we brought into the World Trade Organization.

Looking back, and looking ahead, the trend line is not good.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”


“He may be an SOB, but he’s our SOB.”

So said President Franklin D. Roosevelt of Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, and how very American. For, from its first days, America has colluded with autocrats when the national interest demanded it.

George Washington danced a jig in 1778 when he learned that our diplomats had effected an alliance with France’s King Louis XVI. The alliance, he knew, would be indispensable to an American victory.

In April 1917, the U.S. went to war “to make the world safe for democracy” in collusion with four of the world greatest empires: the British, French, Russian and Japanese. All four annexed new colonial lands and peoples from the victory for democracy we were decisive in winning.

In World War II, we gave massive military aid to Joseph Stalin’s USSR, which used it to crush, conquer and communize half of Europe.

Antonio Salazar, dictator of Portugal, was a founding member of NATO. During the Cold War, we allied with autocrats Syngman Rhee of South Korea, Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, the shah of Iran and Gen. Augusto Pinochet of Chile. The second largest army in NATO is under the autocratic rule of Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

Our major allies in the Arab world are Egypt’s Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who overthrew a democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, and the various kings, princes, sultans and emirs along the Persian Gulf.

Yet, President Joe Biden has defined the global struggle as between democracy and autocracy and said, “Democracy will and must prevail.”

“We agree with that strategic vision,” echoed The Washington Post.

But is this an accurate depiction of great power rivalry today?

If the autocratic-democratic divide is the fault line, on which side do Erdogan, Sisi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman fall?

Are we really in an ideological war with Vladimir Putin’s Russia today, as we were during the Cold War with Stalin’s USSR?

We have quarrels with Putin over Crimea and the Donbas, and he wants to keep Ukraine and Georgia from joining NATO. But where is the evidence that Putin seeks to change our democratic form of government into an autocracy?

Putin’s objections to us are to our policies, not our democracy.

Back in the 1950s, Nikita Khrushchev had boasted that America’s grandchildren would live under Communism. When has Putin proclaimed any such grand ideological Kremlin goal?

Is our quarrel with China ideological in character?

China is a great and growing economic and military power, with quarrels with most of its neighbors.

It has trade issues with Australia; a border dispute with India in the Himalayas; and differences with Vietnam, the Philippines and four other nations over who owns the islets in the South China Sea. China also claims Taiwan and the Senkaku Islands occupied by Japan.

But with the exceptions of Taiwan and Hong Kong, which it claims as sovereign Chinese territory, Beijing has not pressed any nation to adopt a political system similar to that of China’s Communist Party.

It coexists with Communist Vietnam, autocratic Myanmar, theocratic Afghanistan, and democratic India, Australia and Japan.

Beijing’s quarrel with us is not that America is “a democracy.” China’s objections are that we block its ambitions and back the nations of South Asia and Southeast Asia that thwart its strategic goals.

The quarrel is not ideological, but political and strategic.

Why, then, turn it into a war of systems? Where is the evidence that Beijing is trying to communize her neighbors, or change their political systems to conform to her own?

However, there is considerable evidence to demonstrate that the United States actively seeks to subvert the rule of Putin in Russia.

Though Putin’s Kremlin is accused of having hacked the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016, even if true, how would that compare with U.S. interference today in the internal affairs of Russia?

Are Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe objective and neutral in their coverage in Russia? Do the many nongovernmental organizations and the National Endowment for Democracy take a hands-off approach to the internal politics of Russia?

What did the Kremlin do to advance the political ambitions of Donald Trump to compare with what our diplomatic and governmental institutions and quasi-government agencies appear to be doing to undermine Putin and advance the candidacy of Alexei Navalny?

If American democracy is in an ideological war with Russia, who is on the offensive here? Who wishes to change whose political system?

“The U.S. national interest and the promotion of democracy, or at least political stability, abroad are not so easily separated,” writes The Washington Post.

But where did America acquire the right to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations to change them to conform to our own?

If our goal is to democratize Russia and China, i.e., change their political systems to conform more closely with our democratic one, is that not tantamount to a declaration of ideological war by us?

Is this not the essence of ideological warfare?

And who, then, is the aggressor in this new ideological war?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”


When President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed Congress on Dec. 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the country was united behind him.

The America First Committee, the largest anti-war movement in our history, which had the backing of President Herbert Hoover and future Presidents John F. Kennedy and Gerald Ford, was closing its doors and enlisting.

When President George W. Bush stood atop the ruins of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan after the attack of 9/11, the country was united behind him.

President Joe Biden, however, knows no such unity. Any foreign policy coalition he once had, any consensus he enjoyed, is gone.

Following the evacuation of 6,000 Americans and 118,000 Afghans from Kabul airport — a remarkable feat over two weeks by the U.S. military — Biden and his foreign policy team are taking fire from all sides.

Interventionists in both parties believe Biden’s decision to pull out all U.S. forces by Aug. 31 precipitated the collapse of the Afghan army and regime, which led to disaster and defeat in the “forever war.”

To the War Party, Biden “lost Afghanistan.”

Though the Trump wing of the GOP favored an earlier pullout, it has seized on the debacle of the withdrawal to inflict maximum damage on the president and party that “rigged” the vote and “stole” the election of 2020. Among the major media, Biden has sustained major defections.

Demands are being heard for the resignation or firing of his entire security team: Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

Their credibility is shot. Yet, as the country still supports the pullout from Afghanistan, what shattered the foreign policy consensus?

Answer: The initial panic at Karzai International Airport. Afghans clinging to the sides of departing planes. A teenage boy caught in the wheel well. Desperate Afghan friends trying to crash the gates. The U.S. reliance on the Taliban to vet our citizens and allies at the airport.

The ISIS massacre of 13 American soldiers and wounding of 20 others, and the deaths of 150 Afghans by a suicide bomber.

Video of Biden checking his watch as coffins of the fallen were carried out of the plane at Dover. The U.S. drone strike on ISIS-K that killed 10 members of an extended Afghan family.

Finally, the “left behinds” — hundreds of U.S. citizens and tens of thousands of Afghans, all now potential hostages of a triumphant Taliban, with the Afghans facing the prospect of torture and murder.

All these stories, photos and videos are indelibly fixed in America’s mind and inextricably linked to Joe Biden. They will forever define his legacy. And they have created a coalition of opponents and critics that may be sufficient to block or impede any bold foreign policy decision Biden chooses to take.

This coalition, and what lies ahead for America, could cripple Biden’s capacity to conduct foreign policy and so discredit his team as to make it unable to speak for America on the world stage.

Has the ongoing Afghan debacle, by shattering the consensus on which Biden depended, induced a foreign policy paralysis?

Consider. Should al-Qaida or ISIS, energized by the U.S. humiliation in Afghanistan, choose to attack the 900 U.S. troops in Syria, or the 2,500 in Iraq, what would Biden do?

Retaliate? Send in more troops as needed if the fighting escalates? Or get out and end the U.S. involvement in these other forever wars?

What decision would be acceptable to Biden and his critics?

The shock of the U.S. defeat and retreat in Afghanistan has surely shaken Ukraine and Taiwan, if they believed they had some guarantee from America to come to their defense.

But would the American people be prepared to intervene militarily and assist Ukraine in a war with Russia over the Donbas or Crimea?

Would we be willing to face down China over its claim to Taiwan?

We are not obligated by treaty to come to the defense of either of those nations. And many Americans do not believe either cause is worth the cost of a war with a nuclear power such as Russia or China.

Bottom line: If Joe Biden, as commander in chief, draws a red line, what reason is there to believe the country will back him up if it comes to enforcing it?

President Barack Obama drew a red line against Syria’s use of chemical weapons in its civil war. When Syrian President Bashar Assad appeared to cross it, Obama called on the country to back him up in enforcing his red line.

Country and Congress refused. They wanted no part of Syria’s civil war, no matter what Assad was doing while fighting it.

And Obama? He did nothing.

August in Afghanistan may have shattered irredeemably the foreign policy consensus and coalition Biden could rely upon.

There is no guarantee today that the country will back up its commander in chief in doing what he deems necessary to the national security.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”


“April is the cruelest month,” wrote T. S. Eliot in the opening line of what is regarded as his greatest poem, “The Waste Land.”

For President Joe Biden, the cruelest month is surely August of 2021, which is now mercifully ending.

When has a president had a worse month?

On the last Sunday in August, Biden watched solemnly, hand over heart, as the coffins of the American dead in the Kabul airport terrorist massacre of Thursday were carried off the plane at Dover.

The American dead had been carrying out an evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies from America’s lost war, a defeat dealt to us by the same Taliban we ejected from power in 2001 for providing sanctuary for the al-Qaida terrorists of 9/11.

We have lost our longest war, and the triumphant Taliban are now back in power and presiding over and assisting our departure from Kabul.

When the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is complete Tuesday, the fate of the hundreds of U.S. citizens and thousands of Afghan allies we leave behind will be decided by the jihadists we have been fighting for two decades.

Throughout the Biden presidency, we will be reading of, hearing of and being witness to the evidence of their fates.

That same noon hour on Sunday that Biden honored the fallen at Dover, Hurricane Ida was coming ashore. Ida’s 150-mile-an-hour winds were raking the same Louisiana coast that Hurricane Katrina hit 16 years ago.

By nightfall Sunday, a million residents in and around New Orleans had lost all power, for days and perhaps for weeks.

In this same August, the U.S. moved ever deeper into the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with new infections, new hospitalizations and new deaths approaching the numbers they had reached at their worst last winter.

August also brought hundreds of thousands more illegal aliens across our southern border in the largest peacetime migrant invasion in memory.

Most of these millions are coming for a better life. Yet, among their numbers are the criminals and rapists who have assaulted women and girls in the exodus, and not a few foreign enemies coming with the intent to bring the war on terror home to these United States.

So it was that, in the first August of the Biden presidency, the U.S. suffered defeat in its longest war, underwent a humiliating evacuation under the guns of its enemies, continued to endure the worst plague in 100 years, and saw an invasion of its southern border by illegal migrants that called into question whether we Americans retain the resolve to preserve our country.

Nor is this all. In this August of 2021, American politics seem at their most poisonous.

Race relations are as raw as they have been since the ’60s. In the wake of George Floyd’s death under the knee of a Minneapolis cop, an outpouring of hostility against police has brought record retirements and resignations by cops across the country. Result: an unprecedented surge in urban shootings and killings, with children prominent among the victims.

When President John F. Kennedy gave his approval for the invasion of Fidel Castro’s Cuba that ended in the Bay of Pigs debacle, Americans rallied behind Kennedy because, though he had blundered badly, he was our president, the personification of America’s nationhood. His support soared to 80%.

We were one nation then, and one people. And today? Demands are being heard for the impeachment or resignation of Biden.

This piling on of the president is surely in part payback for what the Democrats did to former President Donald Trump.

Two weeks before Biden took the oath, a mob had invaded the Capitol to protest his formal certification as president.

For that mob intrusion, Trump was impeached a second time for what was variously described as “inciting insurrection,” “an attempted coup,” “domestic terrorism,” “treason” and mounting a mortal threat to “our democracy.”

“There is a great deal of ruin in a nation,” Adam Smith’s observation after the British lost the decisive Battle of Saratoga, is often invoked these days.

And justifiably so. For how much ruin can a nation endure and remain a nation? How much of this can we sustain and survive — at a time when we are carrying the burden of the defense of our allies in Europe, the Middle East and East Asia against a gathering modern axis of Russia and China, which our own interventionist policies helped to bring into being?

Our media are as partisan as they have been in our lifetimes. Our cultural elites endlessly mock the traditional values and beliefs of Middle America. Our national parties appear ever at sword’s point.

Our goal, it is said, is to ever move “toward a more perfect union.”

Does it seem like that is the direction where we are heading?

Are the divisions between us becoming too great for us to remain one nation and one people?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Afghanistan, Joe Biden 

Say what you will about President Joe Biden, he has stuck to his guns on ending America’s 20-year involvement in Afghanistan’s forever war.

His decision not to delay our departure after Aug. 31 was fortified by hard intel that the terrorist ISIS-K was preparing attacks at Kabul airport.

Thursday evening, the two bomb attacks occurred.

It now seems inevitable that the withdrawal will be completed by Aug. 31, with all U.S. military forces following the last civilians out.

Before yesterday’s attacks, the airlift had been going far better than in its chaotic first days. Some 100,000 Americans and Afghans had gotten out of the country since Aug. 14.

Biden held his ground, refusing to be stampeded by Democratic critics, NATO allies, Republican hawks or media demanding he extend the deadline for departure until all Americans were out.

His adamancy testifies to the convictions Biden came by during decades at the apex of the U.S. government during our longest war.

Those convictions:

Even if the end result of a withdrawal is that Afghanistan falls to the Taliban, the cause is not worth a continuance of the U.S. commitment or the blood and treasure that four presidents have invested.

Better to accept a U.S. defeat and humiliation than re-commit to a war that is inevitably going to be lost.

Biden’s decision and the botched early days of the withdrawal have not been without political cost. Polls show the president’s approval rating sliding underwater. A Suffolk poll has him down to 41%.

Yet, on his basic decision to get out now and accept the costs and consequences, his country appears to be with him. After all, former President Donald Trump was prepared to depart earlier than Aug. 31, and a majority of Americans still support the decision to write off Afghanistan and get out.

Still, we need to realize what this means and what is coming.

According to the secretary of state, 6,000 Americans were still in Afghanistan when the Afghan army collapsed and Kabul fell. Some 4,500 of these have now been evacuated.

The State Department is in touch with 500 other U.S. citizens to effect their departure. As for the remaining 1,000, we do not know where they are.

What does this mean?

Hundreds of Americans are going to be left behind, along with scores of thousands of Afghan allies who worked with our military or contributed to the cause of crushing the Taliban. And many of those Afghans are going to pay the price of having cast their lot with the Americans.

After Aug. 31, the fate of those left behind will be determined by the Taliban, and we will be made witness to the fate the Taliban imposes.

This generation is about to learn what it means to lose a war.

When the war for Algerian independence ended in 1962, and the French pulled their troops out, scores of thousands of “Harkis,” Arab and Muslim Algerians who fought alongside the French, were left behind.

The atrocities against the Harkis ran into the tens of thousands. Such may be the fate of scores of thousands of Afghans who fought beside us.

Biden’s diplomats may be negotiating with the Taliban to prevent the war crime of using U.S. citizens left behind as hostages. But we are not going to be able to save all of our friends and allies who cast their lot with us and fought alongside us.

Yet, while the promises of the Taliban are not credible and ought not to be believed, we are not without leverage.

As The New York Times writes, the Afghan economy is “in free fall.”

“Cash is growing scarce, and food prices are rising. Fuel is becoming harder to find. Government services have stalled as civil servants avoid work, fearing retribution.”

The Taliban’s desperate need is for people to run the economy and for money from the international community to pay for imports of food and vital necessities of life.

What will also be needed from us, soon after the fall of Afghanistan, is a reappraisal of America’s commitments across the Middle East.

We have 900 U.S. troops in Syria who control the oil reserves of that country and serve as a shield for the Syrian Kurds.

How long should we keep them there?

We retain several thousand troops in Iraq. Why?

These are questions for which new answers are going to be needed.

Indeed, there will be a temptation to counter our defeat and humiliation with defiant gestures or precipitate action to restore our lost credibility. Henry Kissinger’s advice on any such action today seems wise:

“No dramatic strategic move is available in the immediate future to offset this self-inflicted setback, such as by making new formal commitments in other regions. American rashness would compound disappointment among allies, encourage adversaries, and sow confusion among observers.”

As for Afghanistan and the Kabul airport, there comes a time when even a great nation needs to accept the reality that Corregidor is lost.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Afghanistan, American Military, Taliban 

As President Lyndon Johnson and the best and brightest of the 1960s were broken on the wheel of Vietnam, the Biden presidency may well be broken on the wheel of the Taliban’s triumph in Afghanistan.

Less than a week into the chaotic U.S. withdrawal at Hamid Karzai International Airport, a CBS poll found that Americans, while still approving of President Joe Biden’s decision to get us out of this “forever war,” were stunned by how badly botched the withdrawal was being executed.

By 75-25, Americans believe the withdrawal is going badly. And those who believe it has gone “very badly” outnumber by 9-1 those who believe it has gone “very well.”

Biden’s own approval rating has plummeted to 50%, the lowest of his presidency. Yet, the disastrous debacle at Kabul airport is by no means played out. It may yet become worse, far worse.

For it is difficult to believe the United States can get all its citizens out by Biden’s deadline of Aug. 31, and impossible to believe we can withdraw all of our imperiled Afghan allies from that 20-year war who today live in terror for themselves and their families.

And there is a certainty — indeed, it is already happening — that some of those left behind will be subjected to atrocities by rogue elements of the Taliban, if not its leadership. Those atrocities will make for film and footage in the Western press, underscoring the failure of the United States to rescue allies it left behind.

And, with reports already emanating from Afghanistan about food shortages, the country could become a human rights hellhole by fall.

Consider. The Taliban may have been able to overrun 15 provincial capitals and Kabul in a week. But the government officials running those cities cannot readily be replaced by Taliban fighters whose vocation for the last two decades has been fighting a terrorist-guerrilla war.

While the triumphant Taliban have no interest in a renewed war with the United States, they do have an ideological interest in trumpeting their triumph over the superpower and rubbing America’s nose in its defeat.

What, then, are the consequences of America’s humiliation?

Biden’s reputation as a capable veteran of half a century at the highest levels of the U.S. government is being daily deconstructed.

The United States is being portrayed in the world’s media as “a pitiful, helpless giant,” in former President Richard Nixon’s phrase. And that is the America whose public face today is that of Joe Biden.

As for the American people’s appetite for intervention in future wars for democracy and nation building, that is almost surely gone.

Nations that have relied on the U.S. to come fight their wars for them should probably be raising their defense budgets.

Billions of dollars in U.S. military equipment — armored vehicles, Black Hawk helicopters, drones, artillery, mortars, thousands of rifles and thousands of tons of munitions — have been lost. Some of this will end up in Russia and China, with some of it transferred to ISIS and al-Qaida.

And, lest we forget, other dominos did fall in the wake of America’s strategic defeat in Vietnam. Cambodia fell to Pol Pot’s genocidal Khmer Rouge. Laos fell to the Communists.

Ethiopia fell to the Derg in East Africa. The former Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola fell to the Communist bloc. Marxists took over Grenada in the Caribbean. The Sandinistas took Nicaragua.

At the end of the 1970s, our Near East ally, the shah of Iran, was overthrown, and an anti-American Islamic republic led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was established.

In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.

Across the Atlantic, “Euro-communism” took root.

The perception that President Jimmy Carter did not understand the character and purpose of our Communist enemies, and that Ronald Reagan did, was high among the reasons the country took its gamble on the Gipper.

That another casualty of the Afghan fiasco is Biden’s credibility is his own doing. Repeatedly, in recent days, what Biden predicted would never happen did happen. And the president made statements seemingly disconnected to the events on the ground in Kabul.

Often last week, Biden gave off the image of a befuddled man who did not understand what was going on or know what he was doing. Nor are Republicans alone in making the point. Democrats and NATO allies are saying the same thing.

One of the principal casualties of Kabul is the establishment’s grand vision of a U.S. foreign policy for the new century — where liberalism and democratic capitalism have won the battle for the future, and the U.S., victorious in the Cold War, would lead the world in the realization of a new world order where we would write the rules and police the planet.

Biden depicted that new world struggle as between democracy and authoritarianism, and America as leading mankind toward the triumph of democracy.

The debacle in Kabul begins Biden’s leadership of that struggle with America’s worst humiliation in living memory.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

• Category: Foreign Policy, History • Tags: Afghanistan, Joe Biden, Taliban 

In Afghanistan, the mission failure appears complete.

The trillion-dollar project to plant Western democracy in a Muslim nation historically fabled for driving out imperial intruders has crashed and burned after 20 years, and the Taliban are suddenly back in power.

After investing scores of billions in training and arming a force of 350,000 Afghani troops, the U.S. could not stand up an army and a government that could survive our departure.

And the final U.S. departure from Hamid Karzai International Airport may become, like JFK’s Bay of Pigs, a synonym for American debacle.

Nor is the failure ours alone. Many of our principal allies were heavily invested. The British are now attempting to bring their people out of Kabul under the same conditions as ours.

The leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party and possibly the next chancellor of Germany, Armin Laschet, calls the withdrawal “the biggest debacle that NATO has suffered since its founding.”

Three decades ago, after the breakup of the USSR and the end of the Cold War, Republican Sen. Richard Lugar said that NATO, having lost the rationale for its existence — containment of the Soviet Union — would now have “to go out of area or go out of business.”

Cynics might say that, in Afghanistan, NATO did both.

After 9/11, “the most successful alliance in history” invoked Article 5 and backed the U.S. war to oust the Taliban and annihilate the Al Qaeda terrorists who had carried out 9/11. Many sent troops.

But there could be worse to come.

While there are about 4,000 U.S. troops at the Kabul airport, U.S. control does not extend beyond the airport perimeter.

When asked if U.S. troops could enter Kabul and extract American citizens, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin replied, “I don’t have the capability to go out and extend operations currently into Kabul.” Americans in Kabul and other cities must make their own way to the Kabul airport.

The U.S. thus depends today upon the sufferance of the Taliban to let the Americans through the gridlocked highway. Many Afghan allies are being impeded and turned back. Having aided our troops during the war, these Afghan allies face murderous reprisals and retribution.

There are other present perils.

A few mortar shells landing on the tarmac of the lone runway at HKIA, and no plane can fly in or out until the runway is repaired. The arrival of troops and supplies, and any daily departure of 5,000 to 9,000 people, would be halted.

If fighting is renewed, the Americans left in Kabul and other cities become hostages to the Taliban. And there are many more out there than the 52 Americans held by Iran in the hostage crisis that ended the presidency of Jimmy Carter.

The U.S. does, however, retain leverage. U.S. airpower can still do damage to the Taliban, and the U.S. can veto any International Monetary Fund money and cut the Taliban’s access to Afghanistan’s financial reserves in U.S. banks.

Without cash, the Taliban will have a hellish time providing for the necessities the country needs to stay viable.

Right now, the Americans and the Taliban need each other. The Taliban need time to consider their control, and the Americans need time to get their people and their Afghan allies out.

Thus, the Taliban are putting on a moderate face at the top level.

Yet, given the character of the Taliban, as revealed in its previous tenure, and the desire for revenge against those who have been killing Taliban comrades, the future looks grim for those left behind.

When Saigon fell in 1975, its armed forces went into re-education camps — concentration camps. Hundreds of thousands of civilians fled on rafts, many to their deaths in the South China Sea. The Cambodians who backed us underwent a genocide, with a fraction of the entire population annihilated by the Khmer Rouge of Pol Pot.

As for the damage done to Joe Biden’s presidency, it is significant and permanent. The collapse of the regime, and the botched withdrawal of U.S. troops, U.S. citizens and Afghan friends and allies, have tarnished any reputation for competence Biden had.

As for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley and Austin, it is hard to see either surviving long in their positions after learning they did not see coming the imminent and worst foreign policy debacle since the fall of Saigon.

Did the U.S. intelligence agencies see it coming? Did they fail to inform the Pentagon or White House?

After the Bay of Pigs in April 1961, former CIA Director Allen Dulles, who had a role in the failed invasion, was, after a decent interval of six months, cashiered.

One imagines that senior Biden officials’ heads will roll well before that date in the Biden administration. For in this disaster, it seems, no one saw it coming so soon, or becoming so sweeping.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

Copyright 2021

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Afghanistan, American Military, NATO, Taliban 

The first returns from the delayed census of 2020 are in, and they have made for celebratory headlines in the mainstream media.

Big takeaway: Between 2010 and 2021, the white American population declined in real and relative terms, with more deaths than live births, as the white share of the U.S. population fell from 63% to under 58%.

As The Washington Post reported, between 1990 and 2020:

Black Americans held at roughly 12% of the population. Hispanics doubled their share from 9% to almost 19%, and Asians went from less than 3% to more than 6%.

And white Americans? In those three decades, whites fell from three-fourths of the U.S. population to less than three-fifths.

Bottom line: Racially and ethnically, we are becoming an ever more diverse nation, which is causing general rejoicing among those who hold it as an article of faith that, “Our diversity is our strength.”

But is that cliche true? Where is the scientific, historical or empirical evidence for the proposition that the greater the religious, racial, tribal and ethnic diversity of a nation, the stronger it becomes?

To put it mildly, this is not a universally held belief.

Our great rival China, for example, obviously fears such diversity.

The ideology of China is communism, and rival belief systems such as Christianity and the Falun Gong are repressed, as are the democrats of Hong Kong. Conformity, not diversity, is the desired condition.

As for racial and ethnic diversity, Tibetans and Uyghurs are subjected to methods of forced assimilation that are regarded, and rightly so, as crimes against humanity and cultural and ethnic genocide.

But while China’s methods of suppressing diversity are often criminal, Beijing’s fears are not unjustified.

In Xinjiang, there are Uyghurs who seek to secede and establish a new nation of East Turkestan. Also, China saw up close what ethnic and tribal diversity did to its neighbor the Soviet Union.

Three decades ago, the USSR splintered along ethnic-national lines into 15 nations. Since then, Moscow has fought two wars to keep Chechnya from breaking free, battled Georgia to prevent its re-annexation of the ethnic enclaves of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and assisted a Russified minority in the Donbas in its drive to secede from Ukraine.

Last year, Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic, attacked and amputated the former Soviet republic of Armenia.

In Africa, tribal diversity has pulled Ethiopia apart again, with the Eritreans having seceded in 1993, and Tigray forces seeking to secede now.

Among the more diverse nations in the Middle East is Lebanon. Arab and Druze, Christian and Muslim, Sunni and Shia — its diversity has proven a factor in its disintegration and descent toward the status of a failed state.

But back to the USA.

Is America a stronger, better, more united nation and people than we were under Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, when 90% of the U.S. population was of European descent, almost all spoke English, and African Americans were the largest and indeed virtually the only major minority?

How have our deepening racial and ethnic divisions strengthened us?

Consider the causes and issues that have been tearing us apart for the last year: George Floyd, Black Lives Matter, Defund the Police, Portland, critical race theory, white privilege, systemic racism, “The 1619 Project,” Robert E. Lee statues, voter suppression, Jim Crow 2.0, anti-Asian hate crimes.

Crossing our southern border today, in an invasion almost unresisted by the Biden administration, are migrants coming not only from Latin America but from Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Undeniably, these migrants, entering illegally in July at the rate of 220,000 that month, add to our racial and ethnic diversity.

But do their numbers and presence here add to our strength? Does their presence help make us a more perfect union?

The more diverse we have become, it seems, the less united we have become, even about public manifestations of patriotism — the American flag, the national anthem, the pledge of alliance. Nor do our history, holidays and heroes unite us as once they did.

But if 2 million migrants from all over the world, the anticipated number in President Joe Biden’s first year, are good for America, why not open the floodgates and bring in still more?

Is Europe made stronger and better as it is made more diverse from the migration from Africa and the Arab and Islamic world from across the Med?

From the visceral recoil of Europe’s peoples, the opposite seems true.

Greece, Italy and Spain use whatever means they can devise to prevent the peoples of the global South from coming northward into Europe.

Indeed, it is hard to find a country where religious, racial and ethnic diversity contribute more to its strength and unity than they do to the forces of division, separation and secession. Which is one reason why the U.N. General Assembly that began with 51 nations now has 193.

Racial, ethnic, tribal, ideological and cultural diversity are history’s wedges of national division, separation and secession, as we are discovering.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

Pat Buchanan
About Pat Buchanan

Patrick J. Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three Presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and was the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000.

In his White House years, Mr. Buchanan wrote foreign policy speeches, and attended four summits, including Mr. Nixon’s historic opening to China in 1972, and Ronald Reagan’s Reykjavik summit in 1986 with Mikhail Gorbachev.

Mr. Buchanan has written ten books, including six straight New York Times best sellers A Republic, Not an Empire; The Death of the West; Where the Right Went Wrong; State of Emergency; Day of Reckoning and Churchill, Hitler and The Unnecessary War.

Mr. Buchanan is currently a columnist, political analyst for MSNBC, chairman of The American Cause foundation and an editor of The American Conservative. He is married to the former Shelley Ann Scarney, who was a member of the White House Staff from 1969 to 1975.

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