For America, perhaps now is the time for neutrality

Among the most striking aspects of the current debate over U.S. foreign policy is the almost complete lack of perception among Americans about their country’s actual economic and military capabilities and its international influence. Whether it is Ukraine and Russia, the intensifying Islamist offensive on several continents, or the blatantly Potemkin Middle East peace talks, U.S. political leaders, academics, pundits, and most of the media speak as if today’s America is the America of 1945, 1984, or 1991, times when the United States was a nation of almost unlimited military and economic power and telling international influence.

Today, we are barely a shadow of that powerful nation. Indeed, while Washington under either party speaks as if it is the world’s voice of power and all-knowing authority, we are really the very picture of an overused, late-middle age Madam who eagerly displays her sagging wares but doesn’t seem to realize that she has lost her looks, allure, and persuasiveness, and is much more laughed at than lusted over. When an American president speaks on foreign policy, the world and Americans hear meaningless bravado, absurd prating about freedom and other universal values — quite obviously the only universal value is power — and an endless, self-righteous hectoring that orders all peoples in all countries to abandon their heathen ways and improve themselves according to Washington’s dictates.

And what sort of power is available to back-up the words of recent American presidents. Well, today, there is not much power to crow about.

–America is bankrupt with a debt of nearly $17 trillion and apparently damned to eventual economic catastrophe by an oblivious governing elite that will not control its spending and values office more than country. Our rivals and enemies rest comfortably knowing that America will keep spending and thereby keep degrading its ability to generate economic and/or military power. The absurdity of this situation is apparent in the reality that Washington could not fight a war against China unless Beijing was willing to lend us the money we need to attack her. It also clear in the decision to cut the U.S. Army — to save funds for use in building the Democratic base — to 440,000 soldiers. Knowing that, at best, only 1 of 3 soldiers is a shooter, our rivals and enemies — even if they are as stupid as Washington arrogantly claims they are — know that an army of less than 150,000 combat soldiers is not even remotely akin to a formidable deterring or war-fighting force.

–And speaking of war, we must keep in view that the United States has not won a war since that September day in 1945 when Japan surrendered. Next to the Chicago Cubs, the U.S. military has the longest losing record of any organization in North America. Our recent lost wars, of course, must be attributed to the same politicians in both parties who today are spending us into oblivion. Americans have paid their taxes to support their military, and have sent their kids to join the services. In turn, courageous men and women have given their lives or been maimed fighting often unnecessary but always losing and unconstitutional wars. In truth, these taxes and young citizens have been wasted by politicians who are eager to start wars, but do not care if they win them. Putin’s confidence in moving into Crimea, for example, was in part based on his observation of the callous and cowardly leadership and policies of the Bush and Obama administrations that produced war-losing performances by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

–Finally, we lack the independence of action necessary to protect genuine U.S. national interests — which must be defined as life-and-death issues — and that allows us to decide for ourselves when and when not to go to war. We are, for example, still tied tight to the NATO alliance twenty-three years after the sole reason for its existence dissolved. We are therefore obligated to automatically wage war in defense of Estonia, Poland, and dozens of other countries in which we have no national interest. America is likewise bound to Israel in a way that is even more laughable and humiliating than the scenario Swift created in which the mighty Gulliver was tied down by the Lilliputians. In both these cases — NATO and Israel — America has given away her independence and sovereignty; other much lesser and often irrelevant nations can now decide when she goes to war.

Thus the substantive hand Washington has to play in foreign policy is far weaker than the threatening rhetoric thundering forth from the lips of Obama and Kerry, as well as from those of the again noisy, bipartisan Neocon war-mongers like McCain, Graham, Giuliani, Bolton, Krauthammer, Kristol, and Hillary Clinton. Because they are Democrats, Obama and Kerry now they are lying; the war-loving Neocons, however, actually seem to believe that today’s America still wields the power it held in 1945. And if you want to measure America’s weakness and lack of influence in the near term, watch this just-mentioned bipartisan group and see if they free the incarcerated traitor Jonathan Pollard and send him to Israel as a bribe to keep in motion the never-to-be-successful Israel-Palestinian peace talks. If that happens, the Lilliputians will once again have humiliated and hamstrung Gulliver, and America’s Gullivers once again will have sold out their country.

As always, the Founding Fathers were far better than contemporary U.S. leaders when it came to gauging the extent and limits of American power and then formulating appropriate national-security policy. In the 1790s, for example, George Washington knew that the new United States was — as it is today — broke, militarily weak, and vulnerable to manipulation and domestic subversion by foreign powers. His successful recipe for handling such a situation was called neutrality, and it is just as pertinent today as it was then.

Until (if?) we can recover economically, prevent our presidents from starting wars, rest and refit our military, and rid ourselves of war-causing alliances that eliminate our independence and freedom of action, we should, unless attacked, seek to be a bemused and neutral observer of the world’s broils. We desperately require a prolonged respite because Americans are, as Washington said long ago, “a people … already deeply in debt, and in a convalescent state from the struggle[s] in which we have engaged in ourselves.”

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Russia annexing Crimea is the cost of U.S.-EU intervention in Ukraine

One wonders how deep a hole the United States and the EU are going to dig for themselves in Ukraine. It was, of course, U.S. and EU leaders — and their media acolytes — who caused the problem we face today by intervening on behalf of self-styled “democrats” in Kiev who without foreign intervention could not have overthrown the Ukrainian president. It is getting to be that any half-baked gaggle of protestors at any location on the planet need only to chant the word “democracy” and the West will come running to their aid with diplomatic assistance, money, and a fierce disregard for either the target nation’s sovereignty or regional stability. Indeed, it may well be that the whole Ukraine protest movement was primed for action by funds, advisers, and computer systems paid for by Hillary Clinton’s State Department in a program similar to those she ran in several Arab countries.

The difference in the Ukraine intervention from others the West has conducted is that the terminally adolescent political leaders who run the West have run smack dab into a decisive, realistic, and nationalistic adult, in the person of Vladimir Putin, and they do not know what to do. They are learning that the Ukraine is not Libya or Egypt in that Putin will not to let the West make of Ukraine — or at least of Crimea — the same unholy mess its earlier unwarranted interventions made of Egypt and Libya. Putin has a very clear view of Russia’s genuine national interests, and reliable access to the Crimean base of the Black Sea fleet is one of them, it has been for centuries, and it will remain so in the future.

Western leaders, on the other hand, have not a clue about what constitutes a genuine national interest. In this regard, their intervention in Ukraine speaks volumes. Neither the U.S. nor the EU can point to a national interest in Ukraine; their obsession with spreading “democracy” is childish, ahistorical, destabilizing, and potentially war causing.

Washington and its EU partners increasingly behave like the wildmen who ran the French Revolution. Those miscreants took that revolution’s cant — liberty, equality, and fraternity — and sought to use it to change governments in Europe and the United States if they did not bow to the demands of the French revolutionaries. They fomented insurrection across Europe and did so with incendiary propaganda printed in all the appropriate languages, as well as with covert action operations — like that conducted by Citizen Genet, with Jefferson’s acquiescence, in the United States. In the end, the practice of revolutionary French interventionism ignited what can be seen as world war that lasted most of fifteen years.

This French model — but today using the term “democracy” as its mantra — is now regularly applied by the United States and the EU around the world — Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Cuba, Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Iran, Sri Lanka, North Korea, and now Ukraine — and it amounts to throwing gasoline on smoldering fires which tend to leap into flames that destroy governments and often regional stability. Such intervention-to-promote democracy is an arrogant, reckless, sophomoric, and war-causing method of conducting international relations, and it is a Satan that has spawned two other war-promoting interventionist causes — human rights and women’s rights. The U.S. and the EU commitment to endless intervention for unobtainable abstract ideals that have nothing to do with their legitimate national security concerns are today the greatest motivation for much of hatred and violence directed by non-Westerners at American and European citizens and interests.

Such intervention also is an additional drain on the already bankrupt treasuries of the United States and the EU. The democracy-addled U.S. congress and president threw a billion dollars into the hands of the amateurs now running affairs in Kiev, and the EU seems intent on providing those Potemkin democrats with $15 billion. For what purpose? Ukraine has one of the world’s worst fifty or so economies, so the money will not right the economy and there will be no way to account for how Western monies are spent — the Afghanistan and Iraq models of feckless U.S.-EU waste all over again. The only things certain in this Western policy are that the 16-plus billion dollars that Washington and the EU take from taxpayers will make their citizens poorer, will drive the donators’ economies further into debt, and will disappear into a well-developed maw of corruption, theft, and waste in Kiev.

Overall, U.S. and Western leaders should be lining up to thank Vladimir Putin for a painful but thorough lesson in how the adult leader of a nation protects his country’s genuine national interests. And, it must be noted, Putin is not teaching rocket science. Had Western leaders received a decent education — especially in the fields of history and human nature — they would have been absolutely certain from the start that any destabilizing Western intervention in Ukraine that even remotely threatened Russia’s assured access to its Crimean naval bases would provoke precisely the kind of Russian response that occurred. They also would have known that West and the UN could bleat forever about the requirements of various treaties and international law, but that a nation acting to protect what it perceives to be life-or-death national interests — as is Putin’s Russia — is both insane and suicidal if it refrains from acting because of a raft of documents designed to address Cold War conditions that no longer exist.

The lesson of the Ukraine crisis — if it ends without war — for the U.S. and the EU will be crystal clear: Hoe your own row, and mind your own business. If it ends in a civil or European war, they will have only themselves to blame.

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In Ukraine, EU and U.S. interventionists nearing the civil war they caused

“The pretext of propagating liberty can make no difference. Every nation has a right to carve out its own happiness in its own way, and it is the height of presumption in another to attempt to fashion its political creed.” Alex. Hamilton to George Washington, 2 May 1793.

It always seems to start with the BBC. Months ago when the Ukrainian president patiently explained that his country’s economic and energy realities — which Vladimir Putin underscored — required that it stay close to Russia and not yet enter into a closer relationship with the EU, the BBC flooded Kiev with correspondents. These “independent” journalists began covering every angle of the crisis, or at least the angles that coincided with the view of pro-EU Ukrainian demonstrators and the BBC’s own, now thoroughly institutionalized, worship of the divinity known as the EU. As one rule of thumb, any non-EU government that is dealing with domestic unrest ought to immediately close all BBC facilities in its country and issue no visas for BBC correspondents who want to enter the country and “cover” — a word that always means “support” — the demonstrations. The BBC — except for five minutes at the top and bottom of the hour — has long since ceased being a news organization. It is now better seen as a “campaign group,” the name the BBC itself uses for reckless, irresponsible, and violence-and-anarchy causing international groups like Amnesty International and other components of the human-rights mafia.

With the BBC positioned and intending to make Ukrainian matters worse, the EU Commission and individual EU states began to send their senior officials to sympathize with and support the anti-government forces in Kiev, as well as to threaten, belittle, and ridicule the Ukrainian president, his government, and their decision about what was economically best for the Ukraine. The prize ass of this herd of incendiary EU officials was without question the Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. On numerous visits to Kiev, Bildt openly supported the demonstrators, damned the Ukrainian president and his government, and threatened EC sanctions if the Ukrainian regime did not surrender to the rabble in the street.

Two points come immediately to mind on this issue. First, why would any Europeans in their right mind listen to anything that a senior Swedish official had to say? Sweden’s 20th century behavior speaks for itself. In two world wars it stayed neutral so that it could make enormous profits by selling nickel ore, iron ore, and other strategic minerals to Imperial Germany and Hitler’s Reich, entities which in turn used the metals to kill millions of other Europeans. This simple fact alone, one would think, should be enough to ensure no Swedish official gets a hearing anywhere in Europe, ever.

The second point is another rule of thumb. Any non-EC government that is dealing with domestic unrest ought never to issue visas for EU or U.S. diplomats to visit their protesting citizens. Such a government also should not allow resident EU and U.S. diplomats to involve themselves with the demonstrators, and should expel those who seek to do so. These EU and U.S. official visitors and resident diplomats do not intend to negotiate an even-handed end to the government-protestors confrontation. They mean to force the government to surrender, and, if that does not occur, to foment increased resistance among the demonstrators, even if such encouragement leads to violence. No matter. EU and U.S. diplomats will easily get away with recklessly stoking violence because whatever happens in Kiev’s streets will be reported by the BBC as the Ukrainian regime’s fault.

In the past two weeks, a new dimension of the West’s civil war-stimulating intervention in Ukraine has appeared in the form of those self-proclaimed if clearly addled avenging angels of freedom — Joe Biden and Barack Obama. Although late to the intervention party, Biden and Obama have made up for lost time by starting to beat the drums of economic war against Ukraine, a country that probably neither could find on a map. Obama also has threatened that the Ukrainian president would be “held responsible” by Washington for the violence in his country; this from the first U.S. president who is responsible for absolutely nothing that occurs on his watch.

If it was not clear that their words and threats are already getting Ukrainians killed, these two dilettante American diplomatists would be hilarious. Indeed, the Biden-and-Obama team could be the next Laurel and Hardy, except that neither is smart enough to make up for the other’s hopeless arrogance, historical ignorance, and naiveté. In this regard, the death-causing propensities of the Biden-Obama team in conducting U.S. foreign policy mirrors that of the other well-know team of U.S. war-causers, McCain and Graham.

As civil war inches closer in the Ukraine — with an outside chance of an European war — it is clear that its arrival will be the responsibility of the EU and the United States who, through their intervention in Ukraine in the name of democracy, have ensured many dead Ukrainians, much less democracy and a ruined economy there, and greater influence for Russia in Kiev. What Alexander Hamilton called the “height of presumption” is the standing operating procedure for U.S. and EU political leaders and diplomats, men and women who are out to teach the world’s nations how to be behave — as long as they are weak nations — and who absolutely know that no nation can solve its problems without their brilliant assistance and close instruction.

There is nothing Americans can do to stop the EU empire-builders and their BBC cheerleaders from causing war in the Ukraine, but Washington must not help them. For the sake of U.S. security, as the ever-reliable Dr. Ron Paul has said, Americans should just shut up and watch because the United States has no genuine national interest at stake in the Ukraine that would require any involvement whatsoever by our government. “That’s their [the Ukrainians’] business, and it certainly isn’t ours,” Dr. Paul said. “We’ve tried it for too long [to tell others what to do], and the American people are sick and tired of it, and we’re also out of money.”

Cogent and ardently patriotic as always, Dr. Paul is a too-long under-appreciated national treasure, except among some citizens and most U.S. military personnel, men and women who know that he would defend America but not waste their lives in unnecessary wars fought for unsavory allies. Indeed, Dr. Paul stands forthrightly in the tradition of America’s greatest citizen, whose birthday happens to be today.

Always the deadly foe of U.S. interventionism, General Washington fathered the non-interventionist path that Dr. Paul and his admirers and supporters follow. “I have always given it as my decided opinion that no nation has the right to inter-meddle in the internal affairs of another …,” Washington told James Monroe, who wanted U.S. intervention to aid French revolutionaries who would cause a world war, in July 1794, “and that, if this country could, consistent with its engagements, maintain a strict neutrality and thereby preserve peace, it was bound to do so by motives of policy, interest, and every other consideration.” That is the path of sanity and security for the United States, and it mandates no U.S. involvement in the Ukraine.

Finally, a Well Done to Dr. Paul, a great American, and a Happy Birthday to General Washington, the greatest American.

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Mr. Obama: Do you and your colleagues know the severity of the historical fire you are rekindling?

Most decent people always feel some sympathy and perhaps even pity for those who make mistakes because they are not aware of their own ignorance of issues, people, and history and therefore cannot gauge the calamity their actions are courting. For those who consciously know the mistakes they are making, and so the fires of rebellion they are stoking, a decent person can only have a well-justified contempt as he or she prepares to resist. Today, Virginians are having to decide which of these is the proper emotion to assume in the face of recent events. It appears the latter will win hands down.

Last week in Virginia, two federal judges did the biding of President Obama and Attorney General Holder and ruled unconstitutional a properly adopted amendment to the state’s constitution in which Virginians defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, not one between two people of the same gender. Obama, Holder, and the federal judges told Virginians, in essence, that the Constitution’s guarantee of republican government does not apply to them; that their Christian faith is nothing less than flagrant, archaic bigotry and that their Savior too is a bigot; that their state government exists to follow the national government‘s orders; and that from now on they will be told what to believe about religion, as well as how to behave and speak about it, by those who rule in Washington.

This sort of direct, degrading, and enslaving national-level assault on the right of Virginians to (a) govern themselves; (b) apply as they see fit the faith they have believed since childhood; and (c) decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong, is a much more ominous and palpable threat than anything their fellow Virginians faced in the spring of 1861.

One great and enduring tragedy of America’s Civil War is that eleven southern states left the union in 1860-61 because they were afraid of what Mr. Lincoln and his newly elected administration might do to the South, not because of what he and it had done. Notwithstanding Mr. Lincoln’s pledge not to interfere in the southern states’ internal affairs, the South had no patience and would not go slow until Lincoln‘s word could be tested. The southern states left the Union because they were fearful for their future, and thereafter more than 620,000 Americans died in our country’s worst and bloodiest war.

Virginians of today face a much different and much harsher reality. Unlike the Virginians of 1861, no contemporary Virginian has to wonder what is coming from the national government. They all have seen what Mr. Obama and Mr. Holder intend to do, which is, moreover, probably a pale imitation — recall these are the he-men who attacked the Little Sisters of the Poor — of what Mrs. Clinton intends if she succeed to the present tyrant’s throne and pen.

The intentions of Obama’s Washington are crystal clear, and Virginians are seeing for themselves how it intends to “reform” their faith, their lifestyle, and their society by installing a religion of worshiping the all-knowing national government. They themselves are to be subjects on which Democratic social theorists experiment. What Virginians are seeing is what Mr. Jefferson described as the danger to religious liberty that would always emanate from

“the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others.…” (1)

Since 2009, Obama and his lieutenants — flush with “impious” assumptions — have sought to impose their supposedly secular but really national-government-worshiping religion on all of America. Here in the Old Dominion, Virginians have seen their absolute 1st Amendment right to religious liberty, and their right to live their lives and order their society accordingly, mocked and undermined by the all-knowing Democrat boys and girls from the Ivy League. They have been told what doctor they can see, and what their children can and cannot be taught in school. They have seen determined White House efforts to destroy conservative political groups and media outlets, and they have heard the president okay the use of drugs by children. They also have seen hundreds of thousands of unborn Virginians murdered in the name of “women’s rights,” and they have been told by New York’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo that pro-life, pro-Constitution, and Christian citizens are “extremists” who have no place in New York State and, by implication, in the United States.

They also have seen the Democratic Party repeatedly try to destroy the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment so that Virginians and all Americans cannot — if elections do not remove despotism — defend themselves against the national government’s clear intention to destroy Christianity’s role in U.S. society, the traditional American family, the right of Americans to arm, and the ability of Americans to keep what they earn through hard work and not have the national government forcibly “share” it with slackers, those poor creatures too discouraged to seek work, Holder’s reconstructed felons, illegal aliens, and foreign nations.

As they press ahead, Obama and his operatives seem to think that Virginians and other Americans will forever sit still and accept whatever the national government designates as their mute supporting role in its plan for an areligious, libertine, multicultural, and multiethnic America. In this, they are most mistaken. Virginians, at least, will fight for what they believe is morally right, as well as for what they know are their inalienable constitutional rights.

With some Virginia Republicans, for example, the Roman Catholic bishops of Arlington and Richmond are pushing a legal challenge to the federal judges’ savage negation of Virginia’s sovereignty and their abuse of the 1st Amendment and of our Savior. What an unexpected but welcome sight to see Catholic prelates stand up for what they believe and, more important, for what the Lord teaches. Perhaps there is some fight left in the old church, even after seeing Notre Dame’s obsequious clergy welcome the abortion-crazed Obama to their campus; Georgetown’s appeasing Jesuits remove religious icons from a room so Obama would agree to speak at the university; and the foolish, publicity-seeking Cardinal of New York sit on the same dais with Obama on the eve of the 2012 election.

Encouraging though it is, the bishops’ challenge is not certain to overturn the decision of the national government’s judges that negates the rights of Virginians to self-government and to the free practice and application of their faith. How far will Obama and his fellow Ivy-League social theorists push Virginians toward slavery and resistance? How far will Virginians allow them to do so?

In one of the startling ironies often encountered in history, one of America’s greatest men, and by far its greatest and most successful traitor, General Robert Edward Lee, pretty accurately outlined in 1866 the substantive threat Virginians are witnessing today and the turning point it presents.

In the year after Appomattox, Lee, having surrendered the remnants of his magnificent army and begun working tirelessly to mend the South and the Union, reflected that there was no reason to believe that the result of the just concluded rebellion meant that Southerners or any other Americans would stand aside silently and allow the national government to do as it pleased in the future. “I can only say,” Lee wrote,

“”that while I have considered the preservation of the constitutional power of the General Government to be the foundation of peace and safety at home and abroad, I yet believe that the maintenance of the rights and authorities reserved to the states and to the people, not only essential to the adjustment and balance of the general system, but the safeguard to the continuance of free government. I consider it as the chief source of stability to our political system, whereas the consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor to that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that preceded it.” (2)

The decision of the above-noted federal judges, and the actions and words of Obama, Holder, Cuomo, and others in the increasingly hot-for-tyranny Democratic Party fit exactly the pattern Lee feared would eventually appear, a pattern that features liberty-killing “administrative centralization” and leads to despotism. A quarter-century earlier, Alexis De Tocqueville also warned Americans of the danger to liberty posed by administrative centralization, and predicted it would be the tool of any politician aiming to install a despotism in the United States because it “contribute[s] admirably to the passing greatness of one man, [but] not to the lasting prosperity of the people.” (3)

And nearly as troubling as the illegal actions of Obama, his team, and most Democrats are their words, which are now, and for most of my sixty years have been intentionally demeaning toward those Americans who live by their faith; love their families, their country and its history; treasure the uniqueness and traditions of their region and locality; and believe that hard work, family, church, and a distant, barely active national government are the keys to a life well lived. Indeed, these are the Americans that Obama must suppress and eventually break because they are individuals “who resent being governed by anyone at all, and who are fully convinced that they are best equipped to manage their own affairs and control their own lives.” (4)

Listen to the words of Obama, Cuomo, Holder, Hillary Clinton and dozens of their arrogant Ivy League chums when they speak about “reforming” America, and what do you hear? Well, you hear male and female theorists of statism who have never worked a day in their life, who despise those who do, and who simply do not care what Americans think or want because they know — Harvard, Darwin, and Marx told them — what is best for all Americans. What these Democratic leaders cannot see is that Virginians and all other Americans who resist their tyranny already possess what matters most to them — liberty — and need nothing more from them; indeed, they want much less from such arrogant, soulless, and liberty-denying ideologues. “The big guys can hire armed men to defend their interests, lawyers to protect their wealth, and priests to sanctify it,” wrote the incisive and hard-edged Lee Harris in his indispensable book, The Next American Revolution.

“They can even retain philosophers to explain that it is eternally right and just that their interests should prevail over the paltry and trifling interests of the little guys. That is why the only way the little guys can resist being bullied by the big guys is if they are willing to get down and personal, to make the fight not about ideals, but about the realest of all things in their eyes, namely, their own lives, their own liberty, their own things, their own pursuit of happiness. … When the little guys rebel against the big guys, they are forwarding the cause of liberty and dignity in the only way they know how.” (5)

For America’s sake, then, Obama and his secularizing, libertine statists ought to be silent for a while and listen and understand what their opponents are saying, which is basically: stay in Washington and keep out of our hair; stop constraining our liberties, trying to run our families, and defaming all we hold dear; and — for the Union’s sake and your own health and longevity — let us govern ourselves. If Obama, et. al keep talking and hectoring as they have — as is likely — these highly educated and oh so sophisticated folks may soon find their hands full of a rebellion being conducted by Americans who will no longer listen to those who have for decades preened as their betters.

This scenario has occurred at least once before in American history. “The heart of the matter,” wrote Judah P. Benjamin, a brilliant Jewish-American lawyer, a U.S. Senator from Louisiana, and later a Confederate cabinet member, “was not so much what the abolitionists and the Republicans had done or might do to the South, as it was the things they had said about the South — and the moral arrogance with which they had said them.” (6) Benjamin’s words explain why Lincoln’s 1860-61 pledge of non-interference was never heard by Southerners. They had stopped listening and begun arming, and, as Mr. Lincoln later said, “the war came.”

Will history repeat itself? Who knows. But what seems certain is that Obama and his fellow statists have not a clue that here in Virginia, as well as in many other states, there are ever-growing amounts of what the always acute and acerbic localist Bill Kauffman calls “the two essential ingredients of any successful secession movement — love of place and resentment of the [national] capital….” (7) They also clearly have never read De Tocqueville’s warning to any U.S. political leader bent on ruling rather than governing. “One can therefore say,” argued the Frenchman, “that in America man never obeys man, but justice and law. Thus he [the American] has conceived an often exaggerated but almost always salutary opinion of himself. He trusts fearlessly in his own forces, which appear to him to suffice for everything.” (8)

Thus, Obama, Clinton, Holder, their trained-seal-like judges, and the rest of our “enlightened elite” may yet find, as did America’s Founders, that they live in a country “overflowing with natural libertarians.” (9) It was this fact, Lee Harris writes,

“that led the Founding Fathers to devise a severely limited government for their new nation. They did not choose to have a limited to government — they simply recognized that this was the only form of government that would be tolerated by America’s natural libertarians, who instinctively resented any kind of interference in their own affairs by outsiders.” (10)

So please keep an ear close to the ground, Mr. President. And when you begin to faintly hear a Virginian’s soft drawl, a Mainer’s clipped accent, a Texan’s western twang, or a Mid-Westerner’s flat tones singing …

We are a band of brothers, native to the soil
fighting for our liberty with treasure, blood and toil
And when our rights were threatened, the cry rose near and far;
hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag, that bears a single star.

… you had better wake up in one big hurry and focus on the same reality Mr. Lincoln encountered. Then you should quickly read a book or two about America — probably your first — describing the glories and errors of your country‘s history and the indelible, irascible, and fearless characteristics of her people. For this task, you could do no better than Walter McDougall’s brilliant, honest, and witty, Freedom Round the Corner, 1585-1828 (New York, 2005) and Throes of Democracy, 1829-1877 (New York, 2009).

With respect, Mr. President, because you did not get the straight skinny about America by listening to the scurrilous, America-hating Rev. Jeremiah Wright for twenty years, you are today headed straight toward a hell you are making for yourself and your country. Why not read Dr. McDougall’s books and begin to understand America? Better late than never … for all of us.

Notes:
–1.) Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, 1786, http://religious.freedom.lib.virginia.edu/sacred/vaact.html
–2.) Robert E. Lee to Lord Acton, 15 December 1866, http://archive.lewrockwell.com/orig3/acton-lee.html
–3.) Mansfield and Withtrop, eds., Democracy in America, (Chicago, 2000), p. 83.
–4.) Lee Harris, The Next American Revolution, (New York, 2010), p. 88
–5. Ibid., p. 222
–6.) Quoted in Don E. Fehrenbacher, Sectional Crisis and Southern Constitutionalism (Baton Rogue, 1995) p. 31
–7.) Bill Kauffman, Bye, Bye, Miss American Empire, (White River Junction, Vermont, 2010), p. 91
–8.) Mansfield and Withtrop, eds., Democracy in America, (Chicago, 2000), p. 90.
–9.) Harris, op. cit., p. 50
–10.) Ibid.

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Having ignored the Founders on war, U.S. forces will return to Afghanistan unless Americans begin to think for themselves

One of the few things all the Founders agreed on was that the conduct of America’s very few necessary wars would be the responsibility of the national government, with the assistance of state militias. (NB: By the way, has anyone found the Constitutional amendment negating the 2nd Amendment’s guarantee of state militias? Me neither.) And it is important to note that when the Founders spoke of war, they all spoke — Federalists and the increasingly relevant anti-Federalists alike — of unavoidable “defensive wars,” none of them envisioned unnecessary offensive wars, on this their silence is deafening.

On reflection, this makes perfect sense. The national government alone could provide the leadership, resources, and direction needed in wartime. The Founders also believed that if wars had to be fought, they had to be won and had to be won quickly. Why? First because any war their America would fight would be a matter of life and death; if you lose, you die as nation, therefore winning is the only option no matter the cost. Second, the Founders knew that all wars but especially long wars frayed public support for the government, headed the country toward bankruptcy, and opened the door wide for the Executive Branch to expand its powers, constrict civil liberties, and take the first strides along the high road to tyranny. Therefore, not only victory, but speedy victory were key essentials of American war making.

If they were able to look down the long road from 1787 to 2013 and see U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, the Founders, I believe, would be raising their wigs to scratch their heads and wonder how such an easy task could have been botched so badly, and at such a tremendous cost in lives, treasure, national prestige and influence, and civil liberties at home. Attacked by al-Qaeda on 9/11, and multiple times before that, the goal, as the Founders would have seen it, was to destroy as quickly as possible those who attacked America, their allies, and their supporters, and immediately return home. The Founders hated war, but they were largely Old Testament men who when forced to fight brought to their waging of a necessary war a very clear eye-for-an-eye methodology. This is true even for Jefferson, if you gauge his maniacal hatred for Britain; his genuine, enthusiastic, and never recanted applause for the Jacobins’ charnel house; and his bloodthirstiness toward the Barbary pirates.

In several of my recent writings I have been chastised — to say the least — for speaking of the Founders and those Protestant ministers and English republicans who instructed the Founders’ minds, as if they still had relevance today. Well, I suppose my answer to that could be lengthy and snarling — I am too prone to invective, I do love it and the rancorous debate it engenders — but in this case reality suffices.

–After 13 years of war in Afghanistan, the United States of America is withdrawing, utterly defeated in what was a necessary war. Not one of our war aims has been accomplished: The Taleban is stronger than ever and will retake national power, probably after a civil war; al-Qaeda, quite clearly, is flourishing on several continents and its influence is growing in Europe and North America, Syria is the Gulf Arab-funded seedbed that is growing the warriors who will bring havoc to those locales; bin Laden died a complete success and his legend remains vibrant and motivating; and Pakistan is destabilized and in a few years will be the first nuclear-armed Sunni Islamist state.

–After 13 years of war in Afghanistan, every U.S. soldier, Marine, airman, or sailor who died there amounts to a life deliberately wasted by his or her government. Everyone of them who was maimed there was crippled without reason. No war aim was achieved; America is broke and its leaders are eager to deepen that fatal abyss of debt; America is more vulnerable to al-Qaeda and its allies in more places in the world — including places with natural resources on which much of our economy depends — than it was in 2001; and the end of the ongoing war we still have with the Islamists — one they started and will press relentlessly — is so far over the horizon that it cannot be sensed let alone seen.

–And, after 13 years of war in Afghanistan, the willingness of American people to fight a war they must win to survive as a nation is, to say the least, flagging; really, they seem to have no understanding of that reality. Moreover, the 1st and, especially, the 4th Amendments of their Constitution have been shredded; their last two president’s have skillfully exploited the wartime environment to make and amend laws by decree and to make the Executive Branch the clear enemy of all Americans’ civil liberties; and their government and its military now stand as a laughing stocks, unable to stop ruinous over-spending; unable to defeat Islamists often armed with less-than-modern weapons, and absolutely unable to influence a mentally unbalanced Afghan leader dressed in cape leftover from a 1930’s Hollywood adventure film.

Afghanistan has been an unmitigated disaster for the United States that has left it extraordinarily more vulnerable to the al-Qaeda-led Islamists. But the foregoing is not a recommendation to continue to fight there. I have argued repeatedly and rather strongly since the national government announced its intention to lose in Afghanistan in 2010 that we should pull out immediately and not spend another life or another dollar there. Waging and winning the Afghan war a quick and easy task botched beyond recall by leaders — political, military, media, and clerical — whose knowledge, talent, patriotism, and, yes, intentions must now be considered suspect. (NB: If any reader wants to see how easy it was to predict what would happen in Afghanistan and avoid it, see my Imperial Hubris, pp. 47-58. Written in 2001-2002, those pages are exactly on the mark; are based on materials available in most public libraries; and are the work of man who Republicans and Democrats alike have described as dunce, an America-hater, an appeaser, a fat dufus, an anti-Semite, and a bigot. I prefer the adjectives honest ,commonsensical, and, dare I say, America First.)

While getting out of Afghanistan — totally, not leaving behind 10,000 troops in soon-to-be surrounded and attacked fire bases — is the right thing to do for U.S. interests and our worn-out military, Americans must recognize that this is an intermission, not the end of the play. The national government’s failure to follow the Founders’ advice for war-making has left our Islamist enemy intact and growing, and Afghanistan, two or three years after we have fled, will have returned to its 2001 status as the world’s premier base for the training, funding, and deployment of Islamist mujahedin to insurgencies around the world, and for the planning of attacks on the United States and its allies.

When all is said and done, Americans must ignore the theories and lies of presidents, pundits, and generals. If they think for themselves and read their nation’s history, Americans will know that their country is far worse off today than it was in 2001; their Islamist enemies are much stronger and more widely deployed around the world; their taxes are much higher and growing; and their civil liberties are far fewer. With such preparation and study, they also will not be surprised when the current situation markedly deteriorates in the years ahead and yields a new era that will be marked by significant attacks and combat in North America. When this occurs, U.S. land forces will be fighting at home and will return to Afghanistan — and perhaps before then be sent to Africa and the Levant — to do the job the politicians prevented them from doing between 2001 and 2014, namely, defeat the Islamists utterly.

Unless Americans read and understand their history, and begin to elect men and women willing — nay, eager — to abide by the Founders’ advice and the Constitution they wrote, this will be their future: wars abroad and increasingly war at home. And as always, these wars will be unnecessary wars that our political elites cultivate by ignoring the Founders’ advice and intervening in the affairs of other nations and peoples.

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