Buchanan—appeaser of militant Islam

“[W]e must avoid war with militant Islam,” writes Patrick Buchanan, “lest we find ourselves at war with all Islam.” He offers many reasons why such a war should be eschewed: Militant jihadists only make up 0.1 percent of all Muslims. The Muslims are going through a phase and will evolve out of their current extremism. Muslim persecution of Christians today is no worse than Protestant persecution of Catholics in Elizabethan England. The Chechens and Palestinians have a just cause. And so on and so on.

In other words, Buchanan absurdly minimizes the number of the extremists, who according to the best informed estimates constitute 10 to 15 percent (not 0.1 percent!) of the worldwide Muslim population; he pretends the extremists will soon become benign if we just leave them alone; he relativizes the totalitarian genocidal tribalism of Islam by equating it with past religious persecution within our own, Christian civilization; and he claims that the suicide-bombing Palestinians, who responded to Israel’s offer of a Palestinian state with a terror war and thus showed that their only purpose is to destroy the state of Israel, have a “just cause.” Does the reader begin to notice a certain familiar pattern of thought here?

Buchanan further suggests that we think of our current difficulties with the Muslim world in terms of the Cold War. “In the last century, America was threatened by a global communist revolution. Avoiding all-out war, we outlasted it. And we can outlast this Islamist revolution. What we must avoid is a war of faiths, a war of civilizations between Islam and America. And those who propagandize for such a war are the unwitting or willful collaborators of Osama bin Laden.”

Coming from a man who once proudly stood at the side of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, Buchanan’s portrayal of and analogy to the Cold War are stunningly inapt. For America didn’t merely outlast Soviet Communism, it contained it; and it didn’t merely contain it but, under Reagan, it confronted it, subjecting it to moral, ideological, and military pressures that exacerbated its internal weakness and helped push it to its ultimate collapse. Buchanan forgets or betrays this tremendous historical achievement and the moral understanding of reality that underlay it. He has become to the Islamo-Fascist threat what the McGovernite liberals of old were to the Soviet threat—a splitter of differences, a searcher for moral equivalencies, an inveterate worrier about our own bellicosity.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 04, 2002 08:49 PM | Send


We can quibble about the numbers and their significance. Frankly the thought that 10-150 million people are religiously and ideologically motivated towards our destruction, and that a large percentage of these are perfectly happy to die for this, is terrifying.

Mr. Buchannan, in true Chamberlain fashion, refuses to confront this evil because he fears it. He understands its threat, but would rather pretend that it can be bought off by our running from it. “Let the Germans have the Rhineland”, if you will.

Buchannan refuses to come to grip with the fact that we are not dealing with some anti-colonialist or anti-corruption enterprise. We are dealing with a Religious ideology, whose follower wish to start by unifying the Ummah, the Muslim world, under a Caliphate. Buchannan should understand what will come next. He has written about the immigration invasion in “The Death of the West.” Does he not realise that the next step is to take over the west, one by demographics or invasion? Why does he refuse to take Bin Laden, the Muslim Brotherhood, or the Wahahbbis at their word? Has he forgotten the swift expansion of Islam the last time they were unified?

The Islamists declared war on us before they could defeat us militarily, because they fealt that they could do so politically. Just as the Ho Chi Mihn and General Jiap understood that the could win by sapping our will to fight and simply wait us out, the Islamists wish to terrorise us into cowering before them. Buchannan has become an unwitting Fifth columnist. The Islamists miscalculated. We are now at war with them and we must defeat them, before they grow too strong. It will not come overnight. We may have to go from country to country and institute the equivalent of the post-war De-Nazification programs. But the only other option is to surrender and hope tha the Islamists dont live up to their word.

Churchill said it best:

“If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may be even a worse fate. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”

Posted by: Ron Lewenberg on December 5, 2002 12:37 PM

Prof. Paul Gottfried’s implicit take on the Buchanan phenomenon:

“I have also opined that some paleos are passionately anti-Israeli [certainly this particular detail doesn’t apply to Buchanan, who is not passionately anti-Israel — but keep reading] because they are disgusted with Israel’s most visible advocates in the US and Europe. Such advocates, with few exceptions, do not concede to Western Christians the right to have *their* ethnic nations [to me, Abe Foxman exemplifies the archetype of this sort of hypocrisy among certain multi-culti-spouting Jewish Zionists], and they play on misguided Christian guilt over Nazi anti-Semitism to elicit support for their Middle Eastern interests.

“Understandably such Israel-critics on the right react negatively to these anti-Christian, anti-Western, and mendacious defenders of Israel. But it might be a good idea to view the Middle East independently of our feelings about Abe Foxman or Edward Said (actually I find Said marginally less nauseating than I do Foxman) and to ask what we, if we were Israelis, might do to establish a *safe* peace in our region.”


Does that Gottfried passage explain anything? Or not?

Posted by: Unadorned on December 5, 2002 5:36 PM

Maybe without strong leaders like Goldwater, Nixon, and Reagan, Pat has lost his political compass. Pat might lack the commitment to a cause that these leaders had. In other words, like most of us, Pat might excel at being a follower rather than a leader. He is a gifted thinker, writer, and debater that can quickly search his vast memory banks and come up with the appropriate rebuttal. But maybe he needs a cause that is lead by a steadfast, sincere conservative leader that can keep him on message. (Don’t we all want such a leader.)

In other words, maybe Pat is human like the rest of us. Maybe we expected him to be something he is not. After Reagan, he and many of us looked around and there was no one in the room standing. We knew George P. would run and be nominated (like the fraternity legacy who everyone knows will become a member). But I, and I suspect Pat and many other true conservatives, had zero confidence George P would be anything more than an effective enabler and leader of an organized retreat. George P, like the Republican Party for as many years as I can remember, took one fearful, trembling step forward and, met with the liberal media’s thrashing, two steps backward. (Reagan took a step forward and saved us from a communist invasion; but this spent him. He had no political strength and no time left to save us from the invading hordes of immigrants.)

Let me urge patience with and respect for Pat. At least he tried. He almost died trying to campaign in miserable physical condition. I met him when he was just a day or two out of a series of hospitalizations. He looked terrible, but he cheerfully shook my hand and the hands of many others. He sat down to try to eat with supporters around him constantly asking him questions. Certainly that was a lousy place in which to recover one’s health. I was worried about him.

It appears Pat might be trying to engage in a public academic debate not unlike what goes on here. I first had this idea when he released his book right at the start of his campaign. Of course it was an inappropriate time to further a debate about whether the U.S. should have entered WWII in Europe. I saw that as evidence he felt more at home in an academic environment than the ruthless political brawl he felt he had to enter.

I think he is a prime candidate for exposure to the ideas of Mr. Kalb and Mr. Auster. Their ideas might be the final pieces in the puzzles he has been trying to solve. At a minimum, he could serve as a valuable devil’s advocate. I will urge him to visit this Website (not that he would remember me in the slightest). Perhaps his ego will not permit such a reasoned debate. He is reputedly pugnacious; but from what I have observed, he does not hold a grudge. But then, I met him only once.

Posted by: P Murgos on December 5, 2002 9:38 PM

Another thought is perhaps we should not be debating Pat with the type of argument used here. Pat seems to argue with historical events, with long historical perspective. The commentators here seem to argue with logic and philosophy and refer to history to show where their ideas came from and thereby help their readers to understand their ideas.

So maybe the two debaters are like the rocket engineer and the mathematician. The rocket engineer is drawing pictures of rocket trajectories on the blackboard while the mathematician is drawing equations. Neither can prove the other wrong because they are not relying on the same kind of evidence and are not expert with one another’s evidence.

Still, I think there is a good chance Pat would be interested in Mr. Kalb’s and Mr. Auster’s ideas rather than just a criticism of his ideas.

Posted by: P Murgos on December 5, 2002 11:22 PM

It is heartening to me that Gottfried made that comment about the anti-Israel right being motivated by resentment against neocons. I’ve been saying the same thing all along, and had given up hope that anyone, let alone a paleocon, would agree with me. I think this is a very large part of the anti-Israel right’s motivation. They are angry at American Jews, especially neocons, for several reasons, and then when they see America’s involvement with Israel causing all kinds of trouble for the U.S., they can’t stand it, so they just say, the hell with Israel, and then they reactively side with whatever is against Israel. This is irrational and most unjust. If they have a problem with American Jews they should take it out on American Jews, not on Israeli Jews who have done nothing to them.

But that’s the way bigotry often works. It’s not rational. It’s a negative feeling that looks for an available outlet to express itself.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on December 6, 2002 1:10 AM

I know that I am angry with America’s Jews and, by association, with Israel. It is true I have lumped them together, and maybe I have been wrong. But I am doubtful that the lumping is wholly without basis. It is my understanding Israel is a radical leftist state. So if Israel miraculously makes peace with its neighbors, wouldn’t conservatives here have something to fear considering the extraordinary power of Israel? (At a minimum, we should be providing humanitarian aid to Israel, even if most Israelis disdain American conservatives. We must retain our mercy.)

Posted by: P Murgos on December 6, 2002 8:05 AM

I don’t know what Mr. Murgos means by Israel disdaining American conservatives. Politically the most conservative Americans are Christian conservatives, who are the strongest supporters of Israel of any group in the world; and the affection is mutual. I just saw a tv program about Christians visiting Israel, including a visit with Sharon. He said to them: “You love us, and we love you.” Their emotional response to him was palpable.

I have no idea what Mr. Murgos means when he writes, “So if Israel miraculously makes peace with its neighbors, wouldn’t conservatives here have something to fear considering the extraordinary power of Israel?”

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on December 6, 2002 8:17 AM

In my letter, I inserted a parenthetical comment which, because of the way it’s worded, might give the impression I’m against Zionism or Zionists. I’m not.

I wrote, “[to me, Abe Foxman exemplifies the archetype of this sort of hypocrisy among certain multi-culti-spouting Jewish Zionists].”

I’m not against Zionism or Zionists, and I strongly favor Israel’s existence being MILITARILY GUARANTEED by the United States. I happen to be (very weakly) Catholic but if I were Jewish I’d be a fervent Zionist, absolutely no question about it.

What I’d like to hope I WOULD NOT be if I were Jewish is (what many prominent members of the U.S. Jewish Community are) a Zionist who simultaneously worked hard to spread multi-culti poison for all other ethnic groups.

Or, no, it’s even worse — they favor multi-culti BS not for all other groups, only for white-Euro-Christian ones, their ancient rivals whom they find incredibly irritating, and envy in some ways, and also fear somewhat (whether any of that on their part is justified is another question).

Gee, somehow I just don’t recall reading where Harvard Prof. Dershowitz has gotten on TV lately and defended the right of whites to continue to own farms in Rhodesia, in the name of multiculturalism for Black African countries. All white Euro Christians may do by his lights is recede and keep on receding until they become extinct. He’s naught but Ignatiev-lite.

( http://www.vdare.com/roberts/harvard_genocide.htm )

( http://www.richardpoe.com/blog_single.php?rowID=18 ).

Abe Foxman is another prominent one who obnoxiously does this over and over again, and really ought to just shut his mouth until he finally develops an elementary sense of shame, of the kind all the rest of us had securely in place by the time we were in first grade. He and Prof. Dershowitz must think no one notices their hypocrisy, otherwise how could they show their faces in public?

The exemplar of those prominent Jewish-Americans who DON’T do this, of course, is Prof. Chomsky (Prof. Howard Zinn being another example). Prof. Chomsky does not favor ethnic nationalism for the Jews while opposing it for white-Euro-Christians. He opposes it for both, so he cannot be criticized on that score. Where he does come in for criticism, however, aside from being generally loony as David Horowitz has noticed, is exemplified by a comment he once made, to the effect that he “would never publicly criticize a socialist régime,” his exact words, if memory serves. (Think of it — he proudly declared in effect that he’d never publicly criticize the régimes of Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, Kim Jong-Il, or Fidel Castro … and as far as I know, he’s kept that promise!)

Pat Buchanan makes the same mistake Zionist multi-cultis do, but in reverse. While being an exemplar of ethno-cultural nationalism for his own people he is blind to that same motivation in such Israelis as Ariel Sharon.

Feeling it within himself, he should recognize it when he sees it in others. He doesn’t have to support every instance of it, since he may legitimately feel there are instances of it which the U.S. must oppose for the sake of its own interest. But he should at least acknowledge its legitimacy, whereof his public failure to do is, as I understand it, the basis of Mr. Auster’s difference with him.

Posted by: Unadorned on December 6, 2002 9:36 AM

I believe it was the radical attorney William Kunstler, not Noam Chomsky, who said he would never criticize a socialist regime. But Chomsky probably shares the same sentiment.

On Unadorned’s larger point, I agree. The mistake that many on the paleo right have made is that they see the hypocrisy of people who support ethnocultural nationhood for Israel but not for America, but, instead of opposing that unprincipled position with a principled position of their own, they adopt an equally unprincipled position of supporting ethnocultural nationalism for America but not for Israel.

This is analogous to the mistake made by many of the same people regarding political correctness. They see the hypocritical morality of PC, but instead of offering a real morality to oppose it, they say in effect: “All claims of morality are really PC hypocrisy. Therefore any moral criticism of us is nothing but PC. So we can say whatever we like.”

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on December 6, 2002 1:03 PM

If most Israelis are affectionate towards American conservatives, then I was mistaken for saying Israelis are disdainful of American conservatives. (I was in a rush.) In fact, since I have thought about it, I suspect that they are affectionate. Israel has a big incentive for being affectionate. The incentive includes billions of dollars in governmental and private aid, not to mention moral support. Another reason to believe in this affection is the affection Mr. Netanayu exhibits when he appears on TV.

I should also say that I supported the aid for many years, and I still am not ready to cut it off. But I am thinking about it; thus, my participation in this discussion.

The concern I have is about the possibility of a powerful leftist state (Israel) supporting leftists here in America and in other states that are enemies of America. While Israel is almost totally occupied with self-defense, Israel has little ability to support foreign leftists. But if Israel manages to make peace with its neighbors, it is possible Israel will support leftists here in America. My concern is not about Israel alone. I have similar concerns about Europe, to whom we have been extremely generous.

My concern has a rational basis. Birds of a feather flock together. Leftists help leftists as conservatives help conservatives. Americans and Russians were affectionate with one another while Russia and America needed (or at least wanted) one another’s help to defeat the Nazis. Russia was a powerful leftist state. Once the Nazis were defeated, America and Russia engaged in a cold war for 45 years. Russia supported America’s leftist enemies such as North Korea, North Vietnam, China, Cuba, and Sandinista Nicaragua. Most, if not all, of these leftist states, partly as a tool to strike America, supported other enemies of America such as Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Libya. China is meddling in Panama. France and Germany, leftist states, find it hard to hide their contempt for America. In the news sometime in the last few days was a European talking about the need for the European Union to serve as a counterweight to America.

Thanks for the opportunity to respond.

Posted by: P Murgos on December 6, 2002 7:01 PM

It’s now estimated that war with Iraq could cost nearly two trillion dollars. Is there another way — a cheaper (and perhaps better) way — to protect Israel fully and completely from her sworn mortal enemies?

Wars have brought increasingly centralized power to our originally largely decentralized country: the War of Northern Aggression of 1861-1865, World War I, World War II, and the Cold War, which included the two hot wars, Korea and Vietnam (both of which we lost thanks to a stab in the back from the influential pro-Red fifth column in this country, though we went on to win the Cold War itself, an outcome the fifth column couldn’t prevent despite its best efforts).

Now, just as some were hoping a part of that oppressive centralization could be undone during an anticipated long period of peace that began with the Soviet collapse, we are on the brink of a major war with Islam which not only could cost as much as, or more than, what this article (below) warns, but could last decades, just as the Cold War did. (And I don’t mean to put money above human lives and suffering — those, not dollars, would be the main cost, of course.)

If that happens, it would completely scotch any hope conservatives have of cutting Leviathan down to size, which, on top of the human suffering war brings, would really be a heartbreaking disappointment.

Israel’s protection against the forces that beset her is a must, and is more important, of course, than any prospect of heartbreak for conservatives over having to wait one more generation before whittling Leviathan down to size. If there is no way Israel can be protected other than by this war, then let the war begin and I will support it.

But IS THERE no other way?

This article, below, was linked-to from the AOL sign-on screen just now; I didn’t see any URL address for it:


“by Siobhan McDonough, c. Associated Press

“WASHINGTON (Dec. 6) - In the worst case, a war with Iraq could cost the United States almost as much as the government spent in the last budget year - nearly $2 trillion, according to new projections.

“Researchers concluded in a study released Thursday that war with Iraq could cost the United States from $99 billion to more than $1.9 trillion over a decade.

“The lower figure assumes a successful military, diplomatic and nation-building campaign; the higher figure assumes a prolonged war with a disruption of oil markets and a U.S. recession, the authors say in a study by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

“Both figures assume a U.S. involvement in the country for 10 years.

“White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said it was premature to comment on cost estimates.

” ‘War is the last resort,’ he said. ‘We’re hoping for a peaceful solution.’

“The 1991 Persian Gulf War cost America an estimated $61 billion, but allies reimbursed all but about $7 billion. By some accounting methods, the United States may have even made a profit.

“Direct military spending could range from $50 billion in a short campaign to $140 billion in a prolonged war with Iraq, said the study titled, ‘War With Iraq: Costs, Consequences and Alternatives.’ The study was done by the academy’s Committee on International Security Studies.

“The report cautioned that aside from the estimates of direct military costs, all the numbers should be ‘regarded as informed conjecture.’

“Occupation and peacekeeping costs could be $75 billion in the best case to $500 billion in the worst, the study said. Reconstruction and nation-building costs are estimated at $30 billion to $105 billion, and humanitarian aid at $1 billion to $10 billion.

“Economic ripples of war with Iraq are likely to spread beyond budgetary costs, with the prospect of raising the cost of imported oil, slowing productivity growth and possibly triggering a recession, the report said.

“A prolonged disruption of world oil markets could cost the U.S. economy up to $778 billion, the researchers estimated. On the other hand, Iraq’s huge oil resources could satisfy U.S. needs for imported oil at current levels for almost a century and otherwise benefit the economy by $40 billion.

“A short war could actually benefit the United States in terms of its macroeconomic impact, which includes employment, by $17 billion. A long war, in contrast, could have a $391 billion negative effect.

“The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, founded in 1780 and based in Cambridge, Mass., is an international society of scientists, scholars, artists, business people and political leaders.”

Posted by: Unadorned on December 6, 2002 7:05 PM

Ive been an observer of Islam for many years and in fear have pointed time and again at the hidden danger that Islamic militancy poses to the west.But then they made a FATAL mistake on 9/11 which quickly became the reveille trumpet that awakened us.They stupidly let their religon’s blood thirsty attitude toward us infidels loose in a very public way..Anger and revulsion are now the center of all western discussion of Islam and the topic is now the biggest media-blog-email- cottage industry the world has ever seen.We daily grow in knowledge about this killer-cult. I predict that it will take 20 to 30 years, eating them up piecemeal, one dictatorship at a time, but that in the end, whether quickly or slowly, there will be either wholesale destruction of Islam or a renaissance of secular states will emerge as they did in the west when militant Christianity threatened Europe.
Judaism’s Moses only viewed the promised land from afar and died. Christianity’s Jesus concluded his earthly mission in personal sacrifice and death.Not so Muhammed who was first and foremost a conqueror who never lost a fight and who ruled in Gods name till he died.Islam has little concept of secularism and no real civil law or codes.Like it or not they practice sacred terror as a means to their ends- the world subjugated.They know no other way.And their impatience will cause their destruction and their religion will survive only as a” respectable vestige” of its original savagery.

Posted by: Sandy on December 6, 2002 8:03 PM

I’ve never really understood where the idea that Israel is a leftist state origionates. It is a nation-state, defined by religion and ethnos, and governed based largely on English common law with traditions based on the bible.

Contrary to popular mythology, the origionators of modern political zionism were not socialists, but classical liberals. It took socialists decades to get involved and their goal was a binational socialist state.
the socialists never intended anytrhing like the current state. They wanted a binational socialist state. It is not coincidental that starting in 1951, when it became clear that the communists had lost and that the socialists could only govern b compromising with religious, nationalist, and classical liberal parties, that the Soviet Union and leftist opinion turned against Israel.
This supposedly leftist country has the freest citizens in the region and has fought an defeated Soviet proxies in 1956, 1967, 1973, and 1983.

The final component of early Zionists were religious nationalists, hardly a leftist group and oddly the current target of much vitriol by American “conservatives” like Charley Reese.

This is not to say that Israel is anywhere near as conservative as I would like. Israel was led by a socialist coalition for 3 decades and it shows. However since 1975, Israeli Jews have voted for conservative coalitions over leftist coalitions 6 of 7 times. (In 1992, the Labour party was put in power thanks to the Arab vote.)
While I am speaking of ironies, I would note that Pat Buchannan is a sycophant of the Israeli anti-nationalist left. This is an odd postion for a conservative.

It is my hope that the Likud party gets a significant plurality vote in February so that it can undertake its economic platfoorm or liberalization and end all aid from the US.

Let’s take a look at some objective numbers:

US rankings for 2000
Freedom House: 1,1,F
Fraisure Economic Freedom Network (http://www.freetheworld.com/)
8.5; 3 of 123 .

Israeli Rankings
Freedom House: 1,2,F (Same as Ireland and UK)
Fraisure Economic Freedom Network
6.8; 47 of 123
6.8 is not a great score, but equal to 1982 England and not much worse than US in 1970.

It seems to me that conservatives should support Israel and wish it the best in improving its economic system. The last thing intellectually honest paleo-cons should do is support Israeli socialists out of some hatred for American liberals.

Posted by: Ron Lewenberg on December 7, 2002 2:59 AM

Israel, so far, is the only nation-state immersed in a real time experience of the sacred terror that is Islam.Conservative leadership and Mossad have learned to develop a progressive response to Islamic terror,(like artificial inteligence,i.e. feedback that results in changes in behavior toward more effective response).Consequently we are seeing a lessening of the terror and an increase in suffering by those who initiate and support it.And Israel has done this despite a large percent of its population espousing the ever hopeful, eternally dopeful “peace at any price” message.Even the politically stupid liberals know that you must survive to thrive.

Posted by: Sandy on December 7, 2002 4:23 AM
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