American Greatness contributing editor, Brandon Weichert joined another contributing editor, Seth Leibsohn last week on the Seth and Chris Show for a wide-ranging discussion of a number of topics from the growing threat of China, a potential alliance between the Saudis and Russia, missile defense, and even rock and roll. You can listen to their discussion by clicking on the audio below or read the transcript provided.
Seth Leibsohn: Welcome back. Thursday, October 12th, 2017. This is the Seth and Chris show. I am Seth Leibsohn, delighted to bring back one of my favorite foreign policy analysts, Brandon J. Weichert. He is a contributing editor to American Greatness, a former Republican Congressional staffer. He runs The Weichert Report, which you can check out theweichertreport.com easily enough. It’s spelled W-E-I-C-H-E-R-T. He is an associate member of the New College, Oxford University. Brandon, welcome back to the airwaves of Phoenix.
Brandon Weichert: Thank you so much for having me, Seth. It’s nice to finally be able to connect with you. Sorry about the phone tag we’ve been playing the last couple months.
Seth Leibsohn: Quite alright. You’re worth the wait. I appreciate it.
Brandon Weichert: Very kind. Very kind.
Seth Leibsohn: So don’t let me down.
Brandon Weichert: Okay.
Seth Leibsohn: The stakes are very high now.
Brandon Weichert: Alright. Alright.
Seth Leibsohn: We’re raised those stakes. Do you live in DC, by the way?
Brandon Weichert: Yeah, we live in Alexandria, which is right outside.
Seth Leibsohn: Does that restaurant still exist, Ray’s The Steaks, Ray’s Steakhouse?
Brandon Weichert: I don’t think … I don’t know actually.
Seth Leibsohn: I don’t think it does either. It was a great place, Ray’s The Steaks.
Brandon Weichert: I was just at a French bistro meeting the managing editor for American Greatness.
Seth Leibsohn: Oh were you?
Brandon Weichert: Yes, Ben. So that’s why actually we weren’t, I wasn’t able to respond to your email, because I didn’t have access, my Wi-Fi wasn’t working, but that’s … Small world. He came out here, and so we’re talking about getting a podcast going …
Seth Leibsohn: Either it’s a small world or he’s in trouble for abandoning ship and going on these trips to Washington, D.C. unauthorized.
Brandon Weichert: No.
Seth Leibsohn: One of the two.
Brandon Weichert: We were talking-
Seth Leibsohn: Eating at French bistros with the-
Brandon Weichert: We were talking about … It’s a little coffee shop. We were talking-
Seth Leibsohn: Eating at the French bistros on Gucci Gulch, okay, alright. Alright, I think you must have just gotten a demerit for him. Good work, Brandon. All in 30 seconds. I’m-
Brandon Weichert: We were talking about a foreign policy podcast I think would be very fun for American Greatness to do.
Seth Leibsohn: You know it would be, and it’s a really good idea for this reason. We seem to be distracted by a lot lately, and some of it is right, and some of it is too prolonged. I’m trying to make today’s show a basically Harvey Weinstein free experience.
Brandon Weichert: I appreciate that.
Seth Leibsohn: Yeah, you bet. But the world is-
Brandon Weichert: I can’t stand it. I don’t even care.
Seth Leibsohn: It was worth it in that it said a few things about the culture for a few days. I think we might have just jumped the shark on it, though.
Brandon Weichert: I think what it points to, very quickly …
Seth Leibsohn: Sure.
Brandon Weichert: … is the fact that there’s obviously more going on in Hollywood, and I have some family that work out there. I’m sure that there is a lot more behind the scenes going on, not just with Weinstein, but-
Seth Leibsohn: But don’t you think the media too?
Brandon Weichert: Well, yeah. They’re all, you know . . .
Seth Leibsohn: I mean, NBC spiking the story, and that sort of thing. New York Times covering up the story.
Brandon Weichert: Yeah there’s that, and then also it’s great press. You know, sex sells.
Seth Leibsohn: Yeah.
Brandon Weichert: It’s pathetic. Meanwhile, I’m sitting here in the transition into foreign policy. I’ve been analyzing what’s going on with Saudi Arabia and Russia, and what China’s doing right now. I wrote an article for American Greatness recently about how we should, basically don’t freak out over this new Russian, Saudi Arabia deal.
Seth Leibsohn: Yeah, I wanted to start there with you, if you want.
Brandon Weichert: What I should’ve said, though, was yet, because when you account for what China’s doing also, these combination of things could, I mean, as I said in the article, they will complicate America’s foreign policy, but we can still tweak things to work in our favor. But with China now attempting to put pressure on Saudi Arabia to basically start to switch from the petrol-dollar to a petrol-yuan, which is the yuan is the Chinese currency, this is pretty much, we’re witnessing the full on end of American hegemony, at least in the economic realm.
I was predicting this in ’09, years ago, when I was undergraduate. I was telling, people . . . people thought I had three heads. I’m walking around with three heads. I was saying that this is, when you have a country like the United States that has a debt that’s going up and up and up, at some point, and then you had loose monetary policy for all the years of the Obama administration, at some point, you’re going to hit a brick wall, especially when you have the United States starting to create its own natural gas and oil resources, and starting to look at investing in the alternative energy sources that are removing the need for Saudi oil. Saudi Arabia is going to have to pivot and go to the East, and that’s what they’re doing.
Seth Leibsohn: Right, so they are aligning a little bit more closely with Russia right now. As your article points out, it’s an odd thing given where, okay, they have an economic interest in there obviously, both countries do. Odd thing, given the military interests or the foreign policy interests, at which they seem to be cross purposes, whether it has to do with Syria, whether it has to do with other countries, Iran to be sure, right?
Brandon Weichert: Well, it does. You see, it’s interesting, because ever since Donald Trump took over … As you know, I supported this move on the Trump administration’s part to basically say, “Hey look, we’re not going to try to regime change in Syria.” That was the big push that Saudi Arabia was doing. They wanted to get rid of Assad, and for a period of time, Turkey did as well, until they cut a deal with the Russians.
So Saudi Arabia’s taking a page from Turkey’s book and making a deal with the Russians, I think, because they don’t want to get cut out of a potential partnership with such a fellow large oil and natural gas producer like Russia. It’s strange, but it’s not unwarranted given what’s going on in the region. After eight years of the Obama administration, where Saudis don’t know if they can rely on us, then before that, you had the eight years, to be fair, of the George W. Bush administration, where we basically went in and destabilized the whole region. So the Saudis are looking for stability, and Russia being the friend of autocrats around the world, Vladimir Putin is a stable person, in their eyes, to rely on.
There is a bonus, though, here in that we now have, because Saudi Arabia is going to become more important if this thing keeps going, they’ll become more important to Russia over time than I think Iran will, and that means that we, because Saudi Arabia doesn’t want to cut us out entirely, that means we have some abilities, I think, to put pressure on the Saudis, who also want to put pressure on the Russians to keep Iran at bay. So this actually could, I think, if we play our cards right, work to our favor.
Seth Leibsohn: That’s an interesting and good way to look at it. I want to come back to that in a second. I want to pause for a moment, though, or ask you to expand a little bit on something that initially worries me tremendously, and that was your sentence that this marks a part of the end of the American hegemony in the region. This should make us nervous, should it not?
Brandon Weichert: Yes, that should, yes.
Seth Leibsohn: I would rather, if there’s going to be a hegemon, I’d rather it be us than someone else.
Brandon Weichert: I agree, and what makes me worried, what I didn’t include in the article was I didn’t even think about it, and that’s my bad. Actually David Goldman over at Asia Times Online wrote me a little thing on Facebook, and he sent me some interesting charts that he’s been working with, is that I didn’t even think to incorporate the Chinese maneuvers that are going on.
When you factor the Chinese into how the Russian, Saudi alliance is playing out, that is an interesting thing, because China’s basically, they’re selling off all of our debt that they own. They’re getting rid of all that. Their economy has stabilized. They’re still a major growing economy now. All that talk last year of the end of China was completely overstated, as we found out. And now they’re, it seems, putting pressure on the Saudis to start getting rid of the petrol-dollar, and moving over to a petrol-yuan.
If you remember, Trump talked about this in the campaign, it’s been going on for years, though. China has not been floating their currency in order to keep it at a low rate, and so it really hurts the dollar at a time when, you know, let’s just look at the last eight years, a time when the dollar has been really taking a hit long term. We’ve been devaluing with printing of money and all that.
So it could be a long term negative trend, but again we have a lot of bad things happening to America over the last two decades in terms of economic decline, and you have the rise of the multipolar world, a world of many powers, not just one. This is going to happen. This was bound to happen at some point. It’s unfortunate it’s happening now. I think that if the Trump administration’s paying attention, they can slow it down and make the changes they need to make to keep us as a hegemon, but it seems to be that we’re on autopilot right now in this regard, and it looks like that China is really rising.
Seth Leibsohn: Brandon, we’re going to go to a break in a moment. You’re usually good for a while. You can stick around?
Brandon Weichert: Yeah, I’m here for a while. How long do you need me?
Seth Leibsohn: It takes a while to get you, but when we get you, we got you. We’re like the Hotel California. You can check in, but you can never leave.
Brandon Weichert: That’s another great rock song.
Seth Leibsohn: Yeah, it’s okay. It’s all right.
Brandon Weichert: But you know, I’m with the Big Lebowski, you know the Eagles, when he sit there, he goes, “I hate the Eagles.”
Seth Leibsohn: Hang up on him Llewellyn. Throw him out of the cab. Throw him out of the cab. This cannot go on. You hate the Eagles?
Brandon Weichert: No, I was joking.
Seth Leibsohn: It’s the only thing the dude got wrong.
Brandon Weichert: I was just-
Seth Leibsohn: Oh my goodness.
Brandon Weichert: I don’t hate the Eagles. No, I was just saying it reminds me of the show.
Seth Leibsohn: Oh, it reminds you of it? Okay.
Brandon Weichert: Yeah, I’m sorry.
Seth Leibsohn: Puts you in mind of a … Okay, so it was a negative index. I get you.
We’re talking to Brandon Weichert, all issues foreign policy. I want to come back on the China thing, particularly what our leverage can be with China given the debt situation, and in fact what you said also being true that they are starting to sell off some of our debt. And I want to come back to some other places too that we haven’t talked about. You think about all that has been left on this administration’s lap from the previous administration, it’s a lot. We’ll be right back with Brandon J. Weichert. I’m Seth Leibsohn. You have a question, he’s happy to take those too.
Welcome back to the Seth and Chris Show. I am Seth Leibsohn. We are delighted to be joined by foreign policy guru Brandon J. Weichert, contributing editor, America Greatness, editor and publisher The Weichert Report, and a man of parts.
While we’re doing foreign policy, I kind of stepped into some trouble, I think, in the last hour, Brandon, by proclaiming and declaiming on pop music and rock music. I think I might have said something not as good about the Beatles than someone wanted me to. You being a man of parts, you’re willing to entertain calls on music as well as foreign policy, are you not?
Brandon Weichert: Certainly, certainly.
Seth Leibsohn: Okay, in that case, we must go to Bob in Phoenix who wanted to weigh in on the Beatles. Bob, you’re on the show with Seth and Brandon.
Brandon Weichert: Hi Bob.
Bob: Hi. How you guys doing? Seth, I’m going to do a prelude to this long list I have for you.
Seth Leibsohn: Oh good gosh.
Bob: Please run for Kyrsten Sinema’s House seat.
Seth Leibsohn: Okay, thank you. I can’t talk about that on radio, but go on. Make your musical point, brother.
Bob: Okay. I’m not the Lone Ranger in thinking that.
Seth Leibsohn: Okay.
Bob: Okay. The Beatles song “Yesterday” was probably, and I don’t have exact figures, I tried to locate them somehow, of the actual money involved in that. They were on the charts forever. But just by recordings alone, every venue you can imagine, R&B, rock and roll, opera, jazz, blues, soul, classical, movie scores, symphonies, elevator music, commercials on radio and TV, all countries and languages, church services, funerals …
Seth Leibsohn: Okay. All right.
Bob: … Broadway, high school and college concerts, football, sports, et cetera, have utilized that song. Believe me, there’s nothing close to it. By the way, what was your preference?
Seth Leibsohn: “Southern Cross” by Crosby, Stills and Nash. Brandon, where are you on this?
Brandon Weichert: I gotta say, I’m a fan of The Who, if we’re talking classic rock.
Seth Leibsohn: Okay.
Brandon Weichert: I would say “Who Are You” or “Won’t Get Fooled Again” or “Behind Blue Eyes,” any of those are pretty fantastic.
Seth Leibsohn: “Pinball Wizard”? We do a little of that here.
Brandon Weichert: That’s right. That’s right, yeah.
Seth Leibsohn: All right. Bob, thank you. As you can see, Brandon can weigh in, and you can see what the American people care about here, Brandon. We’ll, I’m sure, entertain some more on this. I have an email I got to read you in a moment, but let me get back to foreign policy for just a moment.
Brandon Weichert: Sure.
Seth Leibsohn: You had mentioned China’s beginning to sell off some of our debt. One of the concerns we in America have had for decades now is what our leverage can be with China, because they own so much of our debt. What is the answer to that? Go ahead.
Brandon Weichert: That’s an excellent question. There’s nothing really I can think, because the way the market works, up front … And by the way, the thing about the, how this works is, they’re not doing this all at once. This is … So during the commercial break, I just did a quick cursory search on Google, and I found articles going back to 2007 in which China was already, at that point, starting to really try to keep their currency low. Then of course 2009, they were buying increasing levels of the U.S. debt.
So basically what it looks like, if you’re a conspiracy minded person, you would say it looks like they’re really on this long running plan to totally undermine and destabilize the dollar. I think it might be a little bit less conspiratorial and more just good politics on their part. They see that we’re making ourselves vulnerable, and they want to be the number one power. So they’re making moves, smartly, to both keep their economy rolling and to basically undermine and destabilize their number one rival, the United States. So they’re slowly doing this. But as of January of this year, the Chinese had gotten actually below, I believe they actually now own less debt, U.S. dollars, than Japan does.
Seth Leibsohn: Okay.
Brandon Weichert: So that means that they’re really offsetting a lot of the stuff that they were buying the last eight to ten years. They’re offloading it, rather. So to me, and now with the pressuring they’re putting on Saudi Arabia, and I think it’s only going to intensify over the next couple of years, it sounds to me like they’re really pushing on something they had proposed in 2009 with the Russians, which was to create an alternative world reserve currency. There’s a lot of these kind of, all aimed at taking out America’s economic might. So to me, there’s really little we can do other than trying to get other countries to buy back some of our debt, maybe trying to get Americas to buy. This is a very difficult thing to say, because this is all, it’s kind of in the clouds. It’s all over time, and so-
Seth Leibsohn: And somewhat virgin territory as well.
Brandon Weichert: Yeah. This is a whole new form of economic warfare, and they’ve been waging, and I wrote a three part series I’m thinking of converting into an e-book, on how the Chinese actually won the Cold War.
Seth Leibsohn: Oh, you need to. Oh, you need to, because I think one thing that I … Not one, I mean, there’re other things too. But one big thing I agree with Sebastian Gorka and Steve Bannon on is that we have ignored the China issue.
Brandon Weichert: Oh, there’s no doubt. I’ve been saying this . . . so. I mean Seb taught at the Institute of World Politics where I got my master’s from, and I was saying this, I remember I’ve been saying this for the three, four years I’ve known him, and we’ve talked about this. This is a common theme that we hear from people like myself, Seb, Bannon, but it’s something that is not very … It’s very rarely talked about in polite circles.
Seth Leibsohn: No, people don’t want to take it on, and when they do …
Brandon Weichert: No. They’re happy to talk about it with Russia though.
Seth Leibsohn: … when the journals and think tanks do, the China pushback is amazing.
Brandon Weichert: I know, because they brought up, the China lobby is back.
Seth Leibsohn: It’s huge.
Brandon Weichert: And it’s huge. It’s very sad to see, because they have been waging unremitting economic warfare on us, and I would argue that what they’re doing with the petrol-dollars, trying to get rid of that, get the Saudis to trade with the yuan, and I would argue what they’re doing with selling our debt in order to stabilize their currency even more, I really think this is part of a long running economic warfare strategy, and this is all part of Sun Tzu’s winning without fighting an actual war.
Seth Leibsohn: There it is. Yeah, no, I mean that’s right, and I think it raises a very serious question of people or two people who say we could leverage China to deal with North Korea, which I want to talk to you about in a moment, but I want to intersperse, perhaps something that might bring both of these issues together. Line two, you had a call about something about the Beatles and the Soviet Union, yes? Are you there?
Seth Leibsohn: Yes? Go ahead.
Seth Leibsohn: Go ahead. What do you got?
Caller: Yes. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen or heard of it, but there’s a great documentary called How the Beatles Defeated the Soviet Union. It’s about the 60s generation growing up in the Soviet Union being blocked from being able to hear Western music.
Seth Leibsohn: I’m familiar generally, we’re going to a break, a familiar generally with the thesis, and I know Khrushchev had banned the electric guitar. But I’ll pick up on this point. We’ll go back to Russia, we’ll go back to China, we’ll go back to North Korea, and we’ll go back to music with Brandon Weichert in just a moment. We’ll be right back.
Welcome back to the Seth and Chris Show. I am Seth Leibsohn, delighted to be joined by Brandon Weichert as we go around the world and talk a little foreign policy, a little culture, a little music, a little fun as well.
There are fewer places in the country that can be the opposite of the song “Hell is a Place on Earth,” North Korea being one of them, Brandon. That’s another big issue that was left on, big country, big problem, that was left on Donald Trump’s lap to deal with. Your take on where we are right now. I was talking with someone the other day saying, “He’d make the bet that we’re in a nuclear war in the next four years.” I’m not making that bet. I don’t believe that.
Brandon Weichert: I have a very good friend who works at the State Department, and I’m not going to say where, because people would figure out who he is, but we were at an event last week, and he sought me out at the gala, and he pulled me, my wife was with me, he pulled us both aside, and he said that the State Department right now is a disaster. “It’s a black hole,” is what he kept saying. “It’s a black hole.” They have a skeleton crew running the North Korea desk, and he said, “Thank God we have the guy who we have, because he’s the last experienced North Korea handler we have,” because everyone’s apparently leaving the State Department after the big budget cuts were enacted.
Seth Leibsohn: Yeah.
Brandon Weichert: There’s a problem right now with the foreign policy toward North Korea on the government side in terms of everybody but Donald Trump. Donald Trump has made excellent … I think he’s doing a great job with handling it. I think that he’s trying something new, which is what we need. I just wrote a long assessment on my website, The Weichert Report, for a friend in California, and basically the bottom line is I think that Trump is communicating with the North Korean leadership that he is amenable to a deal, and the North Koreans are going to accept the deal, but I think the problem is that Kim Jong-un is not a stable actor, and I think what Kim Jong-un is doing is he’s buying time.
The DIA reports that in 18 months maximum, Kim Jong-un will have an ICBM, intercontinental ballistic missile capability that can reliably reach the United States, the West Coast. So what I think Kim is doing is he’s going to make a deal with Trump, and buy time to make sure that his technicians and scientists can actually build enough of these missiles that they can put the miniaturized nuclear weapons on top and threaten the United States.
I think that Kim Jong-un, I’m of the minority opinion on this, but I actually think Kim Jong-un wants to succeed where his father and grandfather failed, and he wants to forcibly reunite the Korean Peninsula under his belt. So my prediction, if I may, is I do think there is going to be some type of deal, but that deal is going to be short term, and I don’t think we realize how short term it’s going to be. I think once Kim Jong-un realizes he has intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities that are reliable, he’s going to start getting very belligerent and aggressive, because he’s got a lot of issues with Daddy and Granddaddy, and he wants to succeed where they failed and be seen as the greatest of the three Kim rulers of Korea.
Seth Leibsohn: One of the great things about talking to you is every time you speak, you raise other questions. One of them that is concerning. There was a lot of talk last week about, you just talked a lot about what’s going on at the State Department. There was a lot of talk last week, a lot written last week about Rex Tillerson and possibly his tenure not looking long. Buskirk and I were talking about this, and I don’t carry any necessary or positive or negative brief for Rex Tillerson, but one of the things that Chris and I were worried about was, okay, if he goes, who do we got? Our foreign policy bench is just, it used to be very strong. It’s just not anymore.
Brandon Weichert: No, it’s not. Put it this way. I and several others from the Institute where I graduated from, we all assume that new administration, we’re all Republicans, we’ll have a good shot with our credentials to get in, and particularly the State Department, and this just did not happen. My friend who’s working there told me, “You don’t get it,” he said, “We are so understaffed, we don’t even have people to read the resume.”
Seth Leibsohn: Right.
Brandon Weichert: He said, “We need people, and we can’t get them because we don’t have enough people to even sift through the human resources side.” He said normally what they do is after six weeks, they just throw all the resumes out that they have, and they start over.
Seth Leibsohn: Oh my gosh, yeah. I get it. I can see that happening.
Brandon Weichert: Yeah, it’s government, so, yeah-
Seth Leibsohn: It’s like, okay let’s get rid of the old headache and start the new series of headaches.
Brandon Weichert: Yeah, exactly, exactly. I am worried and my friend is worried. He’s very worried actually. For him to be worried, I get a little concerned, because he is-
Seth Leibsohn: He’s not a worrier by nature.
Brandon Weichert: Well no, and he has access to information that I don’t. So obviously he didn’t tell me anything he wasn’t supposed to, but in terms of he made it clear that there are, that he does not feel safe right now.
Seth Leibsohn: Okay, wow.
Brandon Weichert: And in terms of the national security.
Seth Leibsohn: You got one more segment in you after this break?
Brandon Weichert: Oh yeah, as long as you need me. I’m at home, so yeah.
Seth Leibsohn: All right, brother. We’re going to do a … Because we haven’t talked about the big one, which I think Donald Trump is scheduled to give a talk on tomorrow, and that’s Iran. I want to get your take on what we’re doing there.
Also, I want to read you folks some emails on rock songs. Gosh, they’re hilarious. This emailer says … Can I read it? He says, “I just got back and now I have to coach football practice, but “Southern Cross” barely qualifies as a rock song, no less the best rock song ever. Tune is soft, no driving guitar or drums, you can’t crank it and press harder on the accelerator when it comes on the radio. In short, if it wouldn’t abhor Allan Bloom as playing to one’s animal instincts, it probably doesn’t qualify.” We’ll be right back.
Welcome back to the Seth and Chris show. I am Seth Leibsohn, delighted to have with us Brandon Weichert, foreign policy guru, and contributing editor at American Greatness. Of course, editor and publisher of The Weichert Report, critical reading and critical learning from Brandon on the foreign policy scene.
Brandon, before we get to Iran, I want to give you two more emails on music that you can feel free to either ignore or not. One of my listeners emails, his name is Glen, he says my song, “Southern Cross” is a great song, but it’s nowhere near anything like what Led Zeppelin did with “Stairway to Heaven” or “Ramble On,” or Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” or Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water,” or America’s “Horse With No Name,” or Rush’s “Spirit of the Radio,” or Kansas’s “Carry on Wayward Son.” He goes on and on-
Brandon Weichert: These are all great karaoke songs, by the way. I’m noticing that he’s got a theme here.
Seth Leibsohn: They are. Yes, no, they are. And then of course, the other guy was telling me “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” Meatloaf. Some of this is in our bumper, but when he was making fun of me as “Southern Cross” barely qualifying as a rock song, I was put in mind of that scene. Did you ever see the movie with Will Ferrell, “The Other Guys”?
Brandon Weichert: Oh yeah.
Seth Leibsohn: He has a Prius and he cranks the Little River Band in a high speed chase, and what’s his name says, “What are you doing?” And he goes, “LRB, dude.” LRB, as if it was a thing. LRB is what he cranked.
Brandon Weichert: You know, I do think you put yourself into a corner when you said that “Southern Cross” was the greatest rock song ever. I would’ve said there are really three or four stages of rock. Maybe that’s one of the best of that stage, but then you have another later stage with the 80s group, with the Rush and these other great 80s bands.
Seth Leibsohn: Yeah, no, you make a good point.
Brandon Weichert: Don’t forget the Scorpions. Don’t forget the Scorpions.
Seth Leibsohn: The Scorpions, yeah.
Brandon Weichert: Which we all laugh at, but they’re great. And Billy Idol, and you know.
Seth Leibsohn: No, I mean it does go on and on. There’s Southern rock. There’s bands like Led Zeppelin.
Brandon Weichert: They’re all different iterations.
Seth Leibsohn: Yeah, 70s rock is different from 80s rock.
Brandon Weichert: Then, of course, the 90s with the grunge stuff, and then-
Seth Leibsohn: See, that doesn’t … To me, there was no music after 1988.
Brandon Weichert: I happen to agree.
Seth Leibsohn: After ’88, it was all over.
Brandon Weichert: Yeah.
Seth Leibsohn: No good music was produced.
Brandon Weichert: Unfortunate for my generation.
Seth Leibsohn: Except the Shania Twain album. Except the Shania Twain album. Maybe Martina McBride.
Anyway, our graver business frowns on the levity, as Shakespeare said. Brandon, the big one we haven’t discussed yet, Iran. Lot of talk about that. JCPOA, renewing, not renewing. What do we got?
Brandon Weichert: I think that … First of all, let me just say that we cannot forget … I’ve written about this at my website. I’ve written about this at American Greatness. I’ve dubbed it the nuclear nexus, North Korea, Iran, with Russia and China kind of providing an umbrella. Pakistan was part of that for a while with A. Q. Khan. So was Saddam’s Iraq, and then of course Venezuela. This is a nexus of rogue states and rising states that are inimical to America interests.
So what happens with North Korea is linked to what happens in Iran, and vice versa. So we have to keep this in mind going forward. I have written, I am of the opinion that regardless of what people in the administration want, this is a bad deal with Iran. It’s a bad signal. Having said that though, the issue is neither us nor the Iranians want to be seen as the ones breaking the deal.
Seth Leibsohn: Yeah, that’s right.
Brandon Weichert: So this is the thing. I think that Trump, I hope he will break it and just make a statement. We’re not going to tolerate this anymore. But we’d better be prepared for the knock-on effects. I think it’s going to complicate our relationship with the Europeans, because all they want to do is sell stuff to Iran, regardless of the national security implications. It’s also going to put Russia and China on their heels, which will probably make China, especially, less likely to help us out with North Korea.
But unfortunately, the direct threat here is Iran. If Iran gets nukes, even if they don’t use those nukes, the issue is they’re going to have the ability to threaten, and then you’re going to have a mass proliferation. Saudi Arabia’s going to get their own nukes. They got, right now, minimal of 19 nukes on hold in Pakistan. They bought them in 2011, and they’re sitting there because the CIA intervened and asked them not to take possession of them, with the caveat, Saudi Arabia said, “We won’t, but if Iran does definitely get nukes and you’re not inclined to stop them, we as Saudi Arabia’s leadership have to defend our country.”
Seth Leibsohn: This is what we need, yeah, okay.
Brandon Weichert: So I would say that I do think the administration, I think, I know Trump wants to break the deal. The question is when. And the real question is will any of the advisors in the administration who are for the deal lose the battle, because the last two times, the deal has been upheld because of the natural security team wanting to buy time. There are no good options here, but if there’s one theme, unfortunately, in talking to me, it’s that there are no good options anymore for America. So we have to take the bitter with the better.
Second of all, another key theme of mine is we are, unfortunately, living in the multipolar world. That means that we need to start offshoring a lot of responsibilities for national self-defense to these countries that are directly threatened. In Europe, we should be offloading more to Poland to resist Russia. In the Middle East, Israel, the Sunni Arab states, and even, if the Turks ever get on board or not, whatever. But we need to start … Japan and South Korea and Asia. We can’t do the heavy lifting anymore.
Look to the language of the Nixon Doctrine. That is kind of where we are right now, and that needs to be our mission statement, that we will not be the only ones doing the heavy lifting. Our allies have the capabilities. We’ve given them the weapons. We’ve given them the abilities. They just have to have the will. If they don’t, well then they lose. Oh well. We’re protected by two oceans, and if we get space going, we’re going to have a great space defense system soon from what the announcement last week was with the Space Council. So we’ll be fine, ultimately. It’s going to be the rest of the world that’s going to have to deal with these new Chinese and Russian, Iranian and North Korean rising powers.
Seth Leibsohn: Yeah, I hope we’ll be fine. I think the first answer to any of these problems is missile defense. I think the second answer is missile defense, and the third one is missile defense. Talking to people like Brian Kennedy and some of the others in that crowd-
Brandon Weichert: I’m actually, I’m known at IWP, my initial work and research area was in space defense. I’m coming out to Silicon Valley next month to talk to some people about beefing up military defense investments, and developing a new way of doing satellite defense that does not rely on the international community, that relies on an independent American space force. And I read Brian Kennedy’s stuff too. I’m a big fan of his, and I think that this is where we need to be going, because we can’t operate the way we used to where America was the hegemon. We can get back to that over the next 10 years to 20 years, but it’s going to take investments in new technologies and new techniques, and one of those things is space. We just, we can’t do the way we used to anymore. We don’t have the money. We don’t have the resources.
Seth Leibsohn: Right. That’s right. And what’s incredible to me is when you look at what is needed for comprehensive missile defense. We only got about 20 seconds here. How little it would cost. It’s really the least expensive thing, and it’s amazing to me we haven’t done it.
Brandon Weichert: Oh yeah. It’s a political [crosstalk 00:31:30]. Our problems are politics. That’s the problem.
Seth Leibsohn: It’s absolutely. It’s about will, not ability.
Brandon Weichert: That’s right.
Seth Leibsohn: Brandon, I love spending time with you, man.
Brandon Weichert: I love it too. Thank you.
Seth Leibsohn: All right, we’ll be in touch shortly.
Brandon Weichert: Please, yes. You have a good one.
Seth Leibsohn: All right, brother. You too.
Thanks folks. You want to follow Brandon J. Weichert, you can do so at American Greatness, amgreatness.com, or of course you can go to his own website, The Weichert Report, which is theweichertreport.com. He spells his last name W-E-I-C-H-E-R-T.