Russia · The best of Pat Buchanan

Is McCain Hijacking Trump’s Foreign Policy?

“Is McCain Hijacking Trump’s Foreign Policy”, Pat Buchanan, March 16, 2017:

“The senator from Kentucky,” said John McCain, speaking of his colleague Rand Paul, “is working for Vladimir Putin … and I do not say that lightly.”

What did Sen. Paul do to deserve being called a hireling of Vladimir Putin?

He declined to support McCain’s call for a unanimous Senate vote to bring Montenegro into NATO as the 29th member of a Cold War alliance President Trump has called “obsolete.”

Bordered by Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania, tiny Montenegro has a population roughly that of D.C., and sits on the western coast of the most volatile peninsula in Europe.

What strategic benefit would accrue from having Montenegro as an ally that would justify the risk of our having to go to war should some neighbor breach Montenegro’s borders?

Historically, the Balkans have been an incubator of war. In the 19th century, Otto van Bismarck predicted that when the Great War came, it would come out of “some damn fool thing in the Balkans.” And so it did when the Austrian archduke was assassinated in Sarajevo June 28, 1914 by Serbian ethnonationalist Gavrilo Princip.

Aflame with ethnic, civil and sectarian war in the 1990s, the western Balkans are again in political turmoil. Milo Djukanovic, the longtime Montenegrin prime minister who resigned on election day in October, claims that he was targeted for assassination by Russia to prevent Montenegro’s accession to NATO.

Russia denies it. But on the Senate floor, McCain raged at Rand Paul: “You are achieving the objectives of Vladimir Putin … trying to dismember this small country which has already been the subject of an attempted coup.”

But if Montenegro, awash in corruption and crime, is on the verge of an uprising or coup, why would the U.S. issue a war guarantee that could vault us into a confrontation with Russia — without a full Senate debate?

The vote that needs explaining here is not Rand Paul’s.

It is the votes of those senators who are handing out U.S.-NATO war guarantees to countries most Americans could not find on a map.

Is no one besides Sen. Paul asking the relevant questions here?

What vital U.S. interest is imperiled in who comes to power in Podgorica, Montenegro? Why cannot Europe handle this problem in its own back yard?

Has President Trump given McCain, who wanted President Bush to intervene in a Russia-Georgia war — over South Ossetia! — carte blanche to hand out war guarantees to unstable Balkan states?

Did Trump approve the expansion of NATO into all the successor states born of the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia?

Or is McCain hijacking U.S. foreign policy on NATO and Russia?

President Trump should tell the Senate: No more admissions to NATO, no more U.S. war guarantees, unless I have recommended or approved them. Foreign policy is made in the White House, not on the Senate floor.

Indeed, what happened to the foreign policy America voted for — rapprochement with Russia, an end to U.S. wars in the Middle East, and having rich allies share more of the cost of their own defense?

It is U.S., not NATO defense spending that is rising to more than $50 billion this year. And today we learn the Pentagon has drawn up plans for the insertion of 1,000 more U.S. troops into Syria. While the ISIS caliphate seems doomed, this six-year Syrian war is far from over.

An al-Qaida subsidiary, the Nusra Front, has become the most formidable rebel fighting group. Syria’s army, with the backing of Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Shiite militias from across the Middle East, has carved out most of the territory it needs.

The Turkish army is now in Syria, beside its rebel allies. Their main enemy: Syria’s Kurds, who are America’s allies.

From our longest war, Afghanistan, comes word from U.S. Gen. John Nicholson that we and our Afghan allies are in a “stalemate” with the Taliban, and he will need a “few thousand” more U.S. troops — to augment the 8,500 President Obama left behind when he left office.

Some 5,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq, helping to liberate Mosul from ISIS. In Kabul, Baghdad and Damascus, terrorist bombings are a weekly, if not a daily, occurrence.

Then there is the U.S. troop buildup in Poland and the Baltic, the U.S. deployment of a missile defense to South Korea after multiple missile tests in the North, and Russia and China talking of upgrading their nuclear arsenals to counter U.S. missile defenses in Poland, Romania and South Korea.

In and around the waters of the Persian Gulf, United States warships are harassed by Iranian patrol boats, as Tehran test-fires anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles to send the Americans a message: Attack us and it will not be a cakewalk war.

With the death of Communism, the end of the Cold War, and the collapse of the Bushite New World Order, America needs a new grand strategy, built upon the solid foundation of America First.

13 thoughts on “Is McCain Hijacking Trump’s Foreign Policy?

  1. I volunteer as an adviser to our campus’ Global Studies Institute to assist political refugees in adjusting to life in the US, and that is my experience, since our community is one of few State Department sanctioned relocation communities (we have a large Vietnamese American community here too, who were “boat people”). Growing up, I had many Iranian Muslim friends in San Diego who practiced their faith after fleeing the Ayatollah’s revolution, and were wholly modern in their outlook and American lifestyles (some were punk rockers; musicians; artists; bohemians; business people). That’s all I can relate here from my life experiences, and antimodernist religious movements pose a threat in any faith and any global region, since they mix politics with religion, and divide a given faith based on concepts of religious purity and practice, rather than accepting religious sectarianism.

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    1. No one likes religious/political militants that advocate for violence, it’s usually wealthy and well-educated men in their 20s and 30s that join these organizations, and lead their followers into false consciousness. Then its usually women and children, and the old, who suffer. Don’t forget to differentiate and be precise in your blanket statements, because the devil is always in the details.

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    2. I can differentiate and acknowledge that not all Muslims are terrorists. But unfortunately as I’ve explained again and again, the majority of Muslims are conducive to acting in a way that apologized, excuses, or legitimises the actions of Muslim extremists (to varying extents of course).

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  2. Probably because there was a plan, backed by Russia, to assassinate Montenegro’s prime minister by right-wing elements in that country. That seems to be enough reason to allow Montenegro into NATO. Does your site advocate policies that impinge on other country’s sovereignty and accept dictators that kill internal opponents? The content here seems like it follows Breitbart talking points, and there’s not much existential threat from Muslim fundamentalism, only from terrorism more generally. The understanding of the role of the US in the world on this site is marginal compared to how US military strategists, whom I know personally, assess threats and opportunities. The assessment here is akin to an adult playing the game Dungeons and Dragons, much like the worldview of Stephen Bannon.

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    1. Ok. I understand how Eastern European countries feel threatened by Russia given their history and how Russian aircraft frequently ventures into the airspace of these former soviet states. I had the pleasure of developing a good relationship with an Estonian and when discussing Russia he was certainly no fan. So while these state’s sovereignties are important, it is also hugely provacative for an old cold war alliance to look to add ex soviet states into its alliance. This was not part of the original plan: Gorbachev and Reagan agreed that this would not happen, but it has continued to occur nonetheless. So as the US wants Russia to stop infringing on Eastern European sovereignty, Russia wants the NATO out of countries along its border. With these 2 legitimate grievances, I believe the US and Russia could make a deal which would lead to lower confrontation in the region. The US could ask of Russia that if it fully stops interferring in Estonia, Montenegro etc, it will begin planning on withdrawing NATO from these countries. This seems a reasonable solution, and Russia breaking the deal would not be in its national interest, given the litany of warheads and militiary force it is corralled with on its western front in Europe, on the south east in turkey, and on its eastern front via Alaska.

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    2. Russia’s system is no model for developing economies, and this current concern goes back to the rise of Bismarck for Russia. Obama’s “weakness” in Putin’s eyes was his indecisiveness in Syria and the Ukraine, however, Obama dismissed NSC member Evelyn Farkas’ recommendation to US ground troops in Syria to assist the opposition, and to send advisors and arms to the Ukraine, thus averting US military incursions on three fronts (Iraq, Syria, Ukraine), while de-escalating the US presence in the Middle East because of Bush II’s costly war and humanitarian crisis in the region. Obama wasn’t a liberal hawk like HRC at State and some on the NSC. The saber-rattling against Russia by US hawks is alarming, however, Russia’s politicians are responsible and accountable for their repressive system and money-laundering kleptocracy. It’s a society of control and if it fails, there’s only Putin and his oligarchs to account for its demise. But I was waiting for the “peace dividend” around 1993-1996, and it never materialized. Cornelius Castoriadis wrote about a “one-system capitalist political economy” in the early 1950s and the consequences of one system of bureaucratic capitalism reigning over the world and how it would lead to less freedom and democracy, rather than more. All that’s transpired since 1989 proves his forecast to be correct. The tax-haven global elite and international corporations are starving democracies and other countries of critical social welfare and State-developmental tax revenue. If a country or alliance was smart, they would invade the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Singapore, and Switzerland……and seize assets until the requisite taxes had been determined and dispersed to nation-states based on corporate HQ-ing or residency.

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    3. There’s not really a threat from Russia, nor China or Islam in general. Most Muslims are modernity-oriented, and practice their faith peacefully, with secular/religious separation, and it’s an important historical religion in its connections to both Eastern Asian religions and also Christianity. The wars in the Middle East are religious civil wars between modernizers and nostalgists (which are the militia/terror oriented antimodernists), that’s why the US has thrown its support behind the modernizers, as has much of the West and also including Russia, ironically. There are religious terrorists everywhere, and we have them in the States, they are the white nationalists, Neo-Nazis, and white power Christians. Bannon, Gorka, Ward, Anton and other White House advisors and staffers are influenced by Nazi philosophers and marginal political theorists from the past that sit outside the canon of great philosophers and political theorists. In another era of American politics, those proclamations and connections would have automatically disqualified them from serving in government, as it should. That makes them incredibly dangerous as well. Bannon was speaking to French diplomats about a French Nazi (Vichy) philosopher, noted the French press, who was a marginal thinker and scholar, not even sub-canon material. It seems they believe these poor thinkers and analysts of their own eras are viable for rehabilitation for some reason, but they were marginal for a reason in their own time; because they were poor analysts of their eras. These are the types of people to worry about, not religious moderates.

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