America • Congress • Defense of the West • Donald Trump • EU • Europe • Foreign Policy • Germany • Post • Russia • Trump White House

Beltway Ducks Grand Strategy Debate Over Europe

This month marks the 100th anniversary of President Woodrow Wilson’s “14 Points”—the document that arguably formed the basis of a rule-based international order. There were debates about Wilson’s idealism, right after it was published, and there continues to be a disagreement over whether there ever was a rule-based order, or whether the aspiration of a rule-based order is feasible or achievable, given the current geopolitical climate. The arguments also come at a time when we see the revanchism of Russia and rise of China as global powers, with relative American retrenchment under Donald Trump after a quarter century of activist and utopian foreign policy.

The new American National Security Strategy highlights the new direction American grand strategy is headed, one of “Principled Realism.” It also reminds the world that this rule-based international order that liberals like to yammer on about was essentially a Pax Americana, only possible because the United States had the military muscle to back it up. That technically makes it a hegemonic peace, rather than liberal peace. It was also unsustainable in the long run.

“We will continue to prosecute the campaign against terrorists, but great power competition—not terrorism—is now the primary focus of U.S. national security,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said last week at Johns Hopkins University. His quote was later tweeted out by the Pentagon.

Logically, however, that leads to the most fundamental questions we are  avoiding, which should be urgently debated in D.C. foreign policy circles. First, how to characterize the European Union’s drive to undermine NATO and actively oppose American interests regarding Nord Stream, Iran, and Jerusalem? And second, what about the renewed nation-building pledge by Secretary Rex Tillerson in Syria? Why this disconnect between a rational, narrow, realist rhetoric, and an idealist utopian aspiration, when there is empirical evidence that liberal institutionalism isn’t necessary for a successful counterinsurgency or regional stabilization?

Going by history, nation-building in the Middle East is a failure. Style of government depends on culture, society, geography, tradition, and history—something often forgotten by modern day internationalists with sense of history only running as far back as 1989. There are no qualitative differences between anyone espousing any internationalist ideology, whether Trotskyist internationalism or liberal internationalism, as both are based on an idealistic aspiration of what the world ought to be like, rather than based on the evidence of what the world is.

Geopolitically it doesn’t make sense either. If Russia and Iran are rival powers, surely the smarter strategy is to pass the security burden of a toxic cancerous region to peer rivals and let them have their own bloody imperial overstretch and quagmire? And yet, here we are. Americans soldiers are now currently in theatre level conflicts in both Syria and Iraq. Is it mandated by Congress or by international laws, and are American taxpayers at all interested in spending money to promote democracy in Middle East?

The European Theater

In the context of great power rivalry, it is baffling that the question of Europe is not being discussed in Beltway circles. If renewed great power rivalry is indeed back, and if Russia is genuinely the greatest geopolitical adversary, then surely none is more important that the European theater, which needs to be debated urgently.

Consider the case of PESCO—or in common parlance, a European Army—that is on its way. Like everything related to the European Union, it is starting as a volunteer force, but if history is any indication, it won’t remain voluntary in the future. The council states:

…establishing PESCO sets out: the list of participating member states the list of ambitious and more binding common commitments undertaken by the participating member states, including ‘regularly increasing defence budgets in real terms in order to reach agreed objectives’, the PESCO governance, with an overarching level maintaining the coherence and the ambition of the PESCO, complemented by specific governance procedures at projects level administrative arrangements, including the secretariat functions for PESCO at project level and financing.

Denmark, Malta, and Britain refused to join this block, with Britain maintaining the only European security infrastructure that London plans to remain involved with is NATO. But PESCO is a continuation of a long-term German plan of having a joint European army.

Liberals are whitewashing this new idea, saying that first, PESCO is an impotent organization lacking any teeth, and second, Americans should welcome it with open arms as Europe is arguably spending for its own security. But questions remain. If it is genuinely lacking teeth, then what is the point of spending double the amount of money on a meaningless bureaucratic expansion? Surely that money is better spent in NATO, which would reduce the European freeriding on American taxpayers.

And if it has teeth, then the question is as to whether this will be a continuation of a century-and-a-half old German grand strategy, and whether it will hamper NATO defense. The aim seems to be independence from the United States, which also means that in the long arc of history, the United States and the European Union will have a difference of opinion with regard to Euro-Atlantic security. After all, it was America that continued British strategy of offshore balancing in Europe, throughout the Cold War. The idea of a single overarching hegemon in Europe is not a happy thought for any great power, whether it be a land power like Russia or maritime powers like the United States or the United Kingdom.

As EU takes an imperial character, it is imperative that the United States debate the implications. As per theories of international relations, great powers (whether empires, nation-states, or political unions) can never be sure of the intention of an empire, block, or neighbouring great power and it is always prudent to count on peace through strength. As American policymakers continue to ignore that wisdom, at their peril during this crucial time, let this be a warning. The arc of history is long, and a quarter century back, immediately post-Cold War, few barring genuine old-fashioned conservatives like Margaret Thatcher, and foreign policy realists like George Kennan, John Mearsheimer, and James Baker thought great power rivalry would be back. With the increasing differences between the EU and the United States, it is time to have a another look.

The geostrategic logic behind it is simple: any single country, empire, or institution—if it controls the vast European landmass—will have the resources to be a hegemon. And there cannot be two hegemons in the Western Hemisphere, without their interests clashing in the long run. To quote Peter Hitchens, “Pessimism is a very good way of staying cheerful. You mustn’t assume that having a sensible, realistic estimate of what’s going on makes you miserable, what makes you miserable is being ludicrously optimistic and ill-informed and then being slapped in the face by reality.”

America • Americanism • Big Media • Center for American Greatness • Defense of the West • Department of Homeland Security • Deterrence • Germany • History • Intelligence Community • Post • Religion of Peace • Terrorism • The Culture • The Left

Reflections on Terrorism: Idiots in Paradise

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Every time some Muslim bombs, beheads, shoots, runs over, and otherwise terrorizes the likes of us in New York, Paris, London, Madrid, Boston, Barcelona, San Bernardino, or any other Western city, the Euro-American ruling class asks whether he acted in concert with international organizations. Decades ago, it asked about connections with states. It breathes a collective sigh of relief when, most of the time, it learns the terrorist had “self-radicalized,” mostly through the internet.

Part four of a special four-part series. Read part one, part two, and part three.

Thinking of such terrorists as “idiots”—unorganized, capable only of small harm—gives a false sense of safety. Why? Contemporary Euro-American society protects terrorists from those upon whom they prey, and provides all they need to kill and multiply. Given such a paradisiacal environment, terrorists need neither genius nor organization to wreak havoc. The idiots are not the “self-radicalized” terrorists, but the ones who think that their lack of obvious connections to international organizations makes us, somehow, less endangered.

To understand why the ubiquitous “terrorism-by-idiots” that we are now experiencing is inherently more dangerous than episodic acts on behalf of smart states, realize how this form of terrorism evolved from previous ones.

The Old, State-Sponsored Terror
When one state wages war on another by terrorism, it challenges the victim and focuses its collective response. Prudent practitioners of terrorism—the Soviet Union, Egypt under Gamal Nasser, Syria, contemporary Iran—have kept their sponsorship within the bounds of their Euro-American and Israeli victims’ tolerance. The Saudi government protects itself by touting opposition to terrorism, even as countless princelings are the world’s biggest financiers of violent Islamist ideology.

Over the past half-century, as the bounds of western societies’ tolerance stretched and the number of anti-Western terrorists multiplied, anti-Western terrorism acquired its own dynamic—what had been a tool of states, more or less calibrated to concrete state interests, morphed into a field of endeavor for groups ever more diverse and less dependent.

Then, as the bounds stretched further and the victims showed impotence, it became a diffuse mode of war by one civilization upon another. This kind of conflict is proving deadlier than the earlier, more organized ones.

Consider how much professionalism it took to put together the 9/11 attacks. But these attacks, far from dispiriting the American people, united them. On the evening of 9/11, as Americans mourned, there was dancing in the streets of Muslim cities. Had the U.S. ruling class been responsive to popular sentiment, the U.S. government would have turned these celebrations into mourning parties. Yasser Arafat feared al-nakba, “the disaster.”

Uncomforting Assurances
By contrast, today only ordinary Americans and Europeans have reason to fear their governments’ reactions to so-called “idiot” terrorism.

Following a logic alien to the public, the Euro-American ruling class has responded to mounting troubles from Muslims by further currying their favor. On both sides of the Atlantic, government officials and cultural leaders, including the current pope, routinely follow each terrorist’s cry of “Allahu Akbar!” with assurances that Islam is irrelevant to the perpetrator’s “extremism.” Every U.S president since George W. Bush has assured Americans that Islam is “the religion of peace.”

Since 2001, the United States, along with every western European government, has acted to increase the inflow of Muslims. The term “recruitment” is not much of an exaggeration. In 2001, Muslims made up some 0.2 percent of the U.S population. In 2016, they were 1 percent. In Western Europe’s major countries, the growing proportions range from 2-3 percent in Spain and Italy, to 5 percent in Britain and Germany, and upwards of 10 percent in France.

Euro-America’s ruling class admonishes the public that whatever discomforts if feels vis à vis the Muslims is due to a newly discovered psychological disorder called “Islamophobia.” In the United States, efforts to accommodate the alien cultures of Muslims include religious dispensation from dealing with customers who carry alcohol. By contrast, Christians who refuse to deal with customers on religious grounds are ruined. In Germany, Norway, and Sweden, the government reacts to Muslim men’s customs regarding women (reports of rapes are suppressed) by distributing handbooks and offering classes on how to have sex more gently—complete with diagrams.

Who are the Real “Idiots”?
Ruling class reactions to “idiot” terrorism are convincing the Euro-American populations of their governments’ incapacity and/or unwillingness to protect them. Every “idiot” who bombs, shoots, crushes, etc., turns out to have been a wolf not so much of the “lone” as the “known” variety. Without exception, all have been noticed as dangerous by ordinary citizens and scrutinized by various police forces. But, again without exception, they have been allowed to strike because detaining or expelling them on mere suspicion contravenes the ruling class view of itself. The ruling class’s reactions are idiocies more idiotic than those of “idiot” terrorists.

The ranks of these terrorists continue to expand. Decades ago, Islamic terrorism attracted only persons deeply schooled in religious texts. As politics and Islam merged—by way of the Iranian revolution and its imitators, Wahhabism, and the Muslim Brotherhood—and outright secularists adopted Islamic language (Saddam Hussein and Arafat’s PLO, to name two notable examples) a smaller admixture of religion meant an increase in the number of would-be killers. Western societies’ accommodation of Muslim ways, and its general retreat, increased the number further. We are now at the point in which just about anyone who has a grievance may try endowing it with transcendent meaning by shouting “Allahu Akhbar.”

In short, “idiot” terrorists are pushing against societal walls that are already crumbling.

The Euro-American public’s natural aversion to being told things that it feels in its bones not to be true, its lack of confidence in its rulers’ capacity to protect, added onto other reasons for dissatisfaction with how it is being ruled, have helped convince people that revolting against the ruling class is a precondition to confronting terrorism—or any other problem.

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America • Americanism • civic culture/friendship • Cultural Marxism • Defense of the West • Europe • Germany • Immigration • Post • Progressivism • Religion and Society • Religion of Peace • The Culture • The Left • The Resistance (Snicker)

Deadly Frenemies: Cultural Marxism, Islam, and the War Against the West

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At first glance, there seems to be little in common between the modern “progressives” of the culturally Marxist Left and the regressive cultural, political and religious force of recrudescent Islam. One prizes social license while the other enforces a punitive “moral” code; one claims to celebrate eccentric individuality while the other, both literally and figuratively, dresses in a dour uniform of orthodoxy. One extols homosexuality, transgenderism, and all forms of sexual license; the other throws gays off buildings and murders teenage girls in what they grotesquely dub “honor” killings.

And yet, they have become de facto allies in the war against the civilization and culture of the West. How can this be?

The answer is simple: operating on the old adage that the enemy of my enemy is (at least temporarily) my friend, the international Marxist Left and Islam share not only a common enemy—us—but also a common goal: to get us to submit to their unabashedly coercive globalist ambitions. For what satisfaction is there in merely defeating an existential enemy when you can also have the satisfaction of seeing him before you, on his knees, head bowed, waiting for the chop and knowing he has it coming?

It is this shared purpose—the very name “Islam” means submission—that currently unites these ostensibly opposed ideological foes. Islam, of course, has been at violent, bloody war with every non-Islamic land with which it comes into contact, and has been since it swept out of the Arabian desert in the seventh century, hell-bent on conquest. Along its way, it destroyed the indigenous peoples and cultures it conquered, including the Jews of North Africa, the Christians of Asia Minor, the Zoroastrian Persians and the Hindus of what today is called Pakistan. By turns, it was once regarded as both a Jewish and a Christian heresy, as it borrows liberally from both faiths, but unchecked it quickly morphed into the most destructive force in world history, and one that continues to pose a mortal threat to the West to this day.

Although what used to be called Christendom repeatedly turned back the Islamic hordes, defeating them decisively starting with the First Crusade and continuing through Lepanto and Vienna, Mohammedan attempts at conquest continue to this day via the anodyne route of “immigration” and the “refugee” crisis currently plaguing front-line states such as Hungary, Austria, Greece, Italy and now—thanks to Angela Merkel’s inexplicable and culturally suicidal decision to admit upwards of a million “refugees” from the Middle East and other Muslim lands—Germany. This stupefying act of treachery, couched in the usual Leftist terms of “inclusion,” “anti-racism,” and the “welcoming culture,” will go down in history as one of the West’s greatest blunders, an unforced error of incalculable proportions.

But was it? The Marxist Left has been in open and outright war with Western society since the mid-19th century, and one its hallmarks is its insidious weaponizing of Judeo-Christian societies’ best instincts and using them to undermine it. Having failed to realize Marx’s vision of the classless society and the workers’ paradise—his crude, reductionist view of the Industrial Revolution makes for risible reading today, should one wish to slog through Das Kapital—Marxism then molted into the tenets of the Frankfurt School, which gave us critical theory, political correctness, and the excesses of the sexual revolution. It is now in full reformation mode, the cultural Catherine Wheel having turned once more, crushing the Harvey Weinsteins of the world beneath it. (For a full discussion of the Frankfurt School, please read my book, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace, as well as its forthcoming sequel, The Fiery Angel.)

Merkel has no visible love for the West. Although born across the line in Hamburg in what was then West Germany, she was raised near occupied Berlin in the Communist system of the German Democratic Republic, learned to speak fluent Russian while also instructed daily in the evils of capitalism and religion. When the GDR collapsed in 1989 she naturally but opportunistically switched sides and rose within the main center-right party in unified Germany, the CDU/CSU. Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who had shepherded the country through reunification, brought her into his cabinet. When he was deposed, Merkel was there to succeed him, first as party leader and later, in 2005, when she defeated then-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. She’s been in charge ever since.

That she fully absorbed her early lessons is evident by her actions. She is a fierce proponent of the European Union, and has been pressuring the front-line member states not only to absorb the first influx of “refugees” and allow them to continue on to Germany, Scandinavia, and Britain, but to resettle them in the same lands that knew the Musselman yoke for centuries, such as Hungary. She’s counted on the culturally dispirited Germans—who, in the aftermath of two world wars, really have had all the fight beaten out of them—not to put up much of a fuss as they bid wilkommen to their replacements from the ummah.

Merkel—lumpy, unlovely, childless—makes a fitting image for modern Europe: a bureaucrat imposing the terms of surrender on a defeated land while quietly shuffling its original inhabitants (Germany’s birthrate is 1.5) into the ether of nonexistence. Her welcoming of Islam indicates her complete indifference to religion, and to the distinctions between them. Her insistence that the lesser countries of the EU conform to her autocratic wishes is entirely indicative of her upbringing in Marxism-Leninism, as is her pique with Hungary and Poland—two countries with long, negative experience with both Soviet communism and Islam. It is impossible to see Merkel as anything other than one of the Soviets’ greatest posthumous triumphs—a stealth “conservative” on a mission to rebirth the idea of the USSR with a capitalist, social-welfare patina obscuring its fundamentally socialist objectives.

Which brings us back to cultural Marxism, which will be my chief focus in these weekly essays here at American Greatness.

Just as anyone with any experience of Islam understands how dangerous it is to Western values, so should we all be alert to the goals of cultural Marxism, which, like Islam, is a parody of Christianity. As Ludwig von Mises wrote in Bureaucracy:

The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office. Every man but one a subordinate clerk in a bureau. What an alluring utopia! What a noble cause to fight for!

As free peoples of the West—at least for now—this is the choice before us. Do we wish to be autonomous individuals, the architects of our own destinies, the heroes of our own movies, in the manner of all the great heroic narratives of the West, from the Greeks on? Or do we wish to be a cog in the machine, a human battery cell in “The Matrix,” living an illusion and dreaming of freedom? On these two choices will the struggle be fought.

Which side are you on?

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Cultural Marxism • Defense of the West • EU • Europe • Germany • History • Identity Politics • Immigration • Post • Russia • The Culture • The Left

Europe’s Imperial Dilemma

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Europe has an imperial problem. Put simply, the European Union, formed as a political union to prevent war on the continent, is slowly morphing into a liberal utopian empire, undermining Westphalian nation-states with its open migration policy and fiscal meddling. Inevitably, this has resulted in the rise of pre-Westphalian ethno-nationalist sentiments. The imperial character of the EU has long term ramifications for great maritime powers such as the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as for revanchist land powers like Russia. Put simply, the EU imperium, which started as a prospective solution to the problems of a continent ravaged by centuries of war, is now turning out to be the cause of new and predictable troubles.

As Catalonia stands on the brink of secession from Spain after a controversial referendum, with Spain poised to send in troops to restore “constitutional order,” and terrorism and migration on mass scale result in ethno-nationalist backlashes, their is an increasing and urgent need in for  policymakers in the United States and the United Kingdom, to engage in a serious reflection upon and  reassessment of  the character of EU.

The Forces of Ethno-Nationalism

Historically, Europe was never united, either culturally, linguistically, or tribally. The only way Europe was unified, in temporal phases, was through imperium. But those forced attempts at imperium also resulted in nationalist reaction and inevitable backlash. The Romans fell prey to imperial overstretch, which resulted in differing ethnic tribes waging war against the central authority and, eventually, the dissolution of the Roman empire. From Bonaparte to the Habsburgs, Kaiser to Hitler, all of them tried to dominate continental Europe through sheer strength of arms. Similarly, during the last days of the Cold War, contrary to what liberal historians preached for the last quarter century, it was not liberalism that saw off the Soviet empire, but conservative nationalism in Eastern Europe against Soviet imperium. There’s a reason some countries like Poland are skeptical of a European superstate run from Brussels and similar attempts at social engineering through forced migration and settlements. They hear echoes of the past in this attempt to create a new and benign EU-SSR.

The European Union, however, seemed a necessary idea when it started, after years of conflict ravaging the continent. As Churchill wrote, the aim of British foreign policy for 500 years has been to see that there’s no single dominating hegemony or empire in Europe. After the fall of the British empire, the United States carried on the same balancing principle, which resulted in the United States confronting the Soviet Union. The geopolitical logic behind that was simple. Any single hegemon that controls the entire European landmass is bound to be powerful enough, militarily and economically, to dominate other great powers across the globe.

Just recently, for example, the EU threatened the United States with punitive trade deals, and fined Apple and Google for breaking competition rules. It is not hard to imagine a United States of Europe, with a joint army, independent nuclear deterrence, and ever increasing economic might. The elites in Brussels already are displaying a markedly different set of interests from those of the United States, or, for that matter, those of the United Kingdom.

Utopian, as Opposed to Liberal

We need to distinguish “liberals” in the domestic sense from “utopian Liberal hegemony” in the foreign policy sense. This always follows every time a conservative or a political realist questions liberal hypocrisy, and it is important to clear it up at this stage. Liberals in this sense are not the ones who believe in private property, free speech, and self-determination. Rather,  the liberals in question are foreign policy liberal internationalists, the sort of utopian idealists who prophesied the end of history in 1991. These radicals believe in global institutionalism and rule by technocrats, mass migration and open borders, foreign interventionism and selective usage of human rights rhetoric to justify completely arbitrary foreign policy. Nationalism and sovereignty are poisonous concepts to these liberal ideologues, who refuse to believe that different parts of the globe are culturally very different. In a sense, they are qualitatively no different from Trotskyite internationalists or even neoconservatives. Unfortunately, although these ideas of global governance seem good in theory, research has proven time and again that there is no global order that will follow any norm or rule of law as nation-states and great powers will do whatever they want. Hard power is the only variable that genuinely matters.

The Imperial Paradox

Which brings us to the remarkable similarity between Brexit and the current Catalonian crisis. The British exit and the Spanish crackdown are both a direct consequence of the EU shaping up as an empire, without having the requisite will or capability to manage order across the continent or control the backlash resulting from its idealist and incoherent policies. Undermining state sovereignty has only empowered differing forces within EU. The culturally Catholic conservative Central Europeans, for example, are opposed to Brussels and Berlin meddling in their domestic affairs with  unchecked migration or energy deals with the United States. Britain, on the other hand, left the EU due simply to a rational fear of Germany’s Angela Merkel opening the whole of Europe to millions of migrants. Now, ethnic groups like the Catalans have decided if they are going to be ruled by Brussels anyway, why bother listening to the middle man in Madrid? Also, there’s no logical coherence in the policy of EU supporting humanitarian interventions in Libya, and self-determination of other ethnic groups like the Kurds and Irish, while simultaneously and hypocritically opposing Catalonian independence.

A great Machiavellian paradox now tests Europe.  It is too diverse, differing in language and culture, and never united before other than through forced imperium, to be bound together in the way the EU has envisioned. An empire, or its modern jargon-oriented equivalent, ultimately cannot be sustained, or defended without using brute force. After all, Westphalian nation-states came into existence as the old empires faded. That led to imperial colonial powers, which then ruled the world for centuries, before being dismantled by other regional nationalists. The last empire to fall was the Soviet Union, which kept the Warsaw pact countries under their power not by the strength of Marxist ideology, but by sheer military force. As soon as Soviet economic power collapsed, so too did the strength of their military, resulting in an opening for a nationalist tide. If the EU tries to morph into a full empire, the result would be more nationalistic backlash and chaos—to say nothing of heightened wariness and tensions with the United States, the UK, and Russia. If the EU doesn’t act like an empire, the regional ethnic groups will rebel against their national states.

And that’s the dilemma for humanity’s greatest liberal utopian project. The EU’s imperial obsession with cheap migrant labor from Asia and Africa, imposing liberal mores, human rights for terrorists and migrants, and transgender rights across the continent, sowed the seeds of its own destruction as history in the Hegelian sense proved to be cyclical and continued to repeat itself, as both tragedy and farce.

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civic culture/friendship • Defense of the West • EU • Europe • Germany • Greatness Agenda • Identity Politics • Immigration • Post • Religion of Peace • Terrorism • The Culture • The Left

Migration: The Straw That’s Breaking Europe’s Back

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The issue of immigration has become the occasion for deciding the most practical and perennial of issues: who rules? Americans know that Europe’s un-sustainable socio-economic model—bureaucratized economies, social welfare, and demographic decline—is a warning to us.

Increasingly, we have imitated that model, assuming that the decline would be slow and graceful. But Europe’s crisis, and ours, has always been far less socio-economic than civilizational. That is why mass migration into Euro-American civilization—especially people from the Muslim world who neither share in nor sympathize with that civilization—is accelerating the crisis. Confidence in the future is being replaced by the sense that living as before will be impossible.

More and more, people have reacted by voting against the elites responsible for socio-economic management and for migration. But elites on both sides of the Atlantic have not changed course. They justify their resistance to popular sentiment by applying invidious labels to the voters who reject them. Each side’s denial of the other’s legitimacy is collapsing the socio-political legitimacy of modern democracy. This ensures that whatever changes in Euro-American civilization may take hold will include revolutionary political events.

A Snapshot
What follows is a snapshot of Europe’s problems taken from a small city in northern Italy with which I have been intimately familiar all my 74 years. Far from identical, the place is not wholly dissimilar from the rest of Old Europe.

Traditionally a center of agriculture, smokestack industry, and railroading, by the 1950s the city had bounced back from the bombing of World War II. Crowds filled streets lined with cafes. By the 1990s, the few big factories had been replaced by countless small and mid-sized businesses doing high-quality manufacturing in the suburbs. The city had also become something of a bedroom community for metropolitan Milan. Year after year, the supermarkets approached and then surpassed the opulence of those in such places as Palo Alto, California and Weston, Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, economic hope was draining away. As the ratio of working-age people to retirees was falling and the government was running out of room to finance its deficits by borrowing, it resorted to raising taxes in myriad ways, and to making sure that every last Euro was paid. This crimped businesses. Many closed.

By the late ’90s, the hiring of young people had slowed to a crawl. Individuals, their lives further complicated, used up family resources to finance their lifestyles. The middle class suffered about a 50 percent loss of accumulated wealth. Fewer new families formed, fewer children were born. Fewer people are in the streets and cafes. For those well established, life is comfortable, but ever more somber.

People had never expected political leaders to raise life’s moral tone. But since the 1960s, political leaders have depressed it—first by their corruption and then by the repudiation of Christianity as European civilization’s core, as well as through the promotion of a vision of the good life that consists largely of obedience to squalid bureaucracy.

The churches themselves seem to have abdicated their role as civilizational guides. In Italy, some 84 percent of high school students choose to receive religious instruction. Nevertheless, church attendance has collapsed among the young. Overall, weekly attendance is down to about 7 percent. That is also the case in Germany, where the churches are financed by a special tax. Like established political leaders, the churches have been more keen to accommodate the customs and sentiments of Muslim migrants than those of practicing Christians.

Muslims and other Africans had neither asked nor (with the exception of prostitutes recruited by the Mafia) been asked to come. They came through the European Union’s porous borders with neither the means nor the intention of taking part in a crumbling civilization. The people among whom the migrants live hear from their leaders—in whose midst the migrants do not live—that their concerns are evidence of racism.

This little city is gripped not by any abstract fear of terrorism but by the changes that the Muslims and the Africans are imposing on daily life. On September 24, the local news carried yet another story from the security cameras about life on the commuter rail line. A number of young Africans had boarded the train and, when the conductor demanded that they pay the fare and refused to be intimidated, they beat him senseless. The passengers waited, intimidated, until it was over.

Muslims and other Africans had neither asked nor (with the exception of prostitutes recruited by the Mafia) been asked to come. They came through the European Union’s porous borders with neither the means nor the intention of taking part in a crumbling civilization. The people among whom the migrants live hear from their leaders—in whose midst the migrants do not live—that their concerns are evidence of racism.

A friend who has ridden that train to work for the past 20 years had seen it before. Though incidents such as these happen only sporadically, it remains that every day, she and many others must now walk across the tracks, going around the station’s underpass, because the underpass is now a sleeping area and toilet for such people. Back in town, the city paved over the little fountains that had served neighborhoods as sources of water for three centuries, because the migrants had appropriated them as campsites, garbage dumps, and toilets. Only a few migrants are violent, most acting as insistent peddlers. But all are intimidating, and take evident pleasure in intimidation.

What will become of us? We can’t go on like this. Who will put a stop to this? Such questions are well-nigh universal—as are the answers from above: Pope Francis speaks of the migrants as “the warriors of hope.”

The locals ask: Against whom are the migrants are fighting if not us? What have we done to deserve having this war waged against us? Meanwhile, Italy’s ruling Left coalition signals its superior virtue by sponsoring a law to grant citizenship—and voting rights—to the migrants. That is one reason why the polls show it losing the 2018 elections—badly.

Who Rules?
But, in Italy as elsewhere, what difference do elections make? In 2013, Italian voters had given the Left only 33 percent at the polls. But the old-line conservative party of Silvio Berlusconi broke its campaign promises and governs as the Left’s junior partner. Thus, like just about everywhere else in Europe—and in the United States as well—the traditional Right and Left function as a uniparty in contempt of the voters. Hence, throughout Europe—and the United States—voters look for vehicles to escape the uniparty’s grip, while the establishment hangs on to slipping power by hook, crook, and inertia.

Consider the elections in 2017, and the Catalan referendum on October 1 in particular. In France, the populist alternatives on both right and left, and the disgusted no-shows dwarfed the numbers who united behind Macron only to stanch popular disaffection one more time. In Germany, the voters reduced both establishment parties to historic lows, fleeing to the fringe Libertarian and anti-immigrant parties. But as in France, the establishment let it be known that changes in words would suffice to deal with the voters’ dissatisfaction. The same happened in the Netherlands and Sweden. In Austria, the populists of the Right won outright, as they had in Poland and Hungary, and are about to do in the Czech Republic. The European Union’s unelected leaders, however, by hectoring voters lest they elect people whom they dislike, as well as by using their powers to thwart them, arguably have become the European establishment’s last redoubt against democracy.

Thus, like just about everywhere else in Europe—and in the United States as well—the traditional Right and Left function as a uniparty in contempt of the voters. Hence, throughout Europe—and the United States—voters look for vehicles to escape the uniparty’s grip, while the establishment hangs on to slipping power by hook, crook, and inertia.

Which is why the referendum in Catalonia was so interesting. Barcelona and vicinity are Spain’s most productive region, are exceptionally attached to their distinctive language, and appreciate the difference between their culture and way of life and anybody else’s. Muslim and African immigration are a small part of the Catalans’ complaints. They want to assert control over their own lives, and live the way they want to live, period. Both of Spain’s establishment parties have been deaf to their concerns. The Catalans decided to express their commitment to themselves by peaceful referendum. An overwhelming majority voted for independence.

Spain’s traditional parties of the Right and Left said this resort to the ballot box was “undemocratic,” and answered with administrative and police violence. The European Union and the governments of Europe that chose to speak supported Spain’s interpretation of “democracy.” President Trump was advised to call the Catalan vote “foolish.” In short, the Euro-American ruling class will not loosen its deadening grip until it is utterly broken.

In the United States, red states and blue states differ increasingly about immigration as well as everything else. Perhaps salvaging civilization is possible only as pieces that care to do it win autonomy from others that do not.

Throughout Europe, and America as well, the desire to break out of that grip is unevenly spread and manifests itself in different ways.

In Germany, Catholic Bavaria voted differently from the secular east, where the extreme Right and Left rose.

In Italy, the only part of the body politic that is committed unequivocally to cultural identity is the Northern League, which tries to represent the regions north of the Apennines.

In the United States, red states and blue states differ increasingly about immigration as well as everything else. Perhaps salvaging civilization is possible only as pieces that care to do it win autonomy from others that do not.

The issue of immigration is the quintessentially democratic issue because it is all about “who we are, who we want to be, and how we want to live.” Though the choice of who shall and shall not be among us, in what number, never mind of who shall and shall not be part of our body politic, is far from the only one that affects a civilization’s viability, it has become the proxy for all the other choices that do.

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America • Americanism • Center for American Greatness • Declaration of Independence • Defense of the West • Donald Trump • EU • Europe • Featured Article • Foreign Policy • Germany • History • political philosophy • Post • Russia • self-government • The Constitution • Trump White House

To Be Great the U.N. Must Defend Democratic Sovereignty

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“I’ve listened to countless speeches in this hall, but I can say this: None were bolder, none more courageous and forthright than the one delivered by President Trump today” –Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

 The wisdom of President Trump’s United Nations speech last week was nothing less than a demonstration to that dubious organization of how it might adopt the timeless political principles of the American founding—and a proclamation, in fact, that the international body must do so if it is to retain any interest at all for Americans. Against the sophism known as international law, Trump advocated the reality of the democratic politics of sovereign nations.

Trump’s stinging political language—e.g., Venezuela’s “socialist dictatorship,” “radical Islamic terrorism,” and of course “Rocket Man”—drew appropriate attention, but Trump went well beyond those jibes to expose the series of misconceptions upon which the U.N. is mistakenly  based.

For decades, the U.N. has presented the spectacle of its member dictatorships claiming to protect human rights or terrorist regimes speaking for supposed shared goals of a common humanity. It is a farce. Trump’s attacks, with his American alternative, exposed the twisted logic that led to these absurdities. They are the creation of Woodrow Wilson, who was both the prominent political scientist of his day and 28th U.S. president, a theorist who—unfortunately—was afforded the opportunity to put his ideas into practice.

In keeping with his distortion of American domestic politics, Wilson is also behind the fault in our foreign policy. The foundation of Wilsonian political science is  a repudiation of the principles of the Declaration of Independence and a counter-declaration that the only hope for reforming America is in abandoning equal natural rights. According to Wilson, America had to be deconstructed—a task Wilson assigned to the rule of experts in an administrative state the objective of which was to replace constitutional government.

In foreign policy Wilsonianism attempts to replace low and unexceptional American national interest with the supposedly noble interests of “humanity.” His idea for a League of Nations was advanced to pursue this goal. Lurking behind the push for and support of this object  are the academic musings of the young scholar  Wilson, who argued that socialism was really the perfection of democracy.

Socialism denies that individual rights produce a private sphere safe from the control of government—so private property is always at risk, as is the individual conscience.

This corruption of democracy and lowering of the meaning of humanity sets the stage for the thuggish third world regimes who—without surprising those who understand the corrosive roots of the U.N.—seem to dominate it. This relativism is keeping, too, with Franklin Roosevelt’s conception that the U.N. would make Stalin’s Soviet Union a key member. Progressive political philosophy and economics saw increasing international order—irrespective of the means used to produce that order—as the inescapable goal of world history.

Eventually humanity would see a global administrative state that would produce human security by banishing famine, disease, and war. Of course, the elimination of war by a global entity would mean the snuffing out of “rebellions” (such as that of the Americans against the British Empire)  and the establishment of what amounts to a global tyranny. It would be the sole possessor of weapons and the master of the force required to use them.

In place of this parade of horrors, President Trump’s U.N. remarks recommended America’s unique version of sovereignty, a sovereignty of the people, all created equal, against arbitrary government.

Trump’s proposed reconstituting of the U.N. has the same purpose as his ambition to reconstitute American politics: to prevent tyranny and protect individual freedom. Trump repudiates the Wilson-FDR view of globalist order to reclaim the exceptional character of American sovereignty:

The greatest in the United States Constitution is its first three beautiful words.  They are:  “We the people.”

Generations of Americans have sacrificed to maintain the promise of those words, the promise of our country, and of our great history.  In America, the people govern, the people rule, and the people are sovereign.  I was elected not to take power, but to give power to the American people, where it belongs.

Trump thus repudiated the language of the globalist foreign policy elites, both Left and Right, with their talk of “realism” and “idealism” and “the end of history.” Globalism affirms the Hegelian insistence that only the “rational is real,” making transnational rules—independent of citizen consent—the sovereign ones. Such rules, we are told, would serve to replace the “anarchy of freedom”—a power diminishing thing globalists appear to fear much more than straight up tyranny—as we see attempted in socialist dictatorships:

The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented. From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure.

Here, Trump was denouncing not only the Maduro dictatorship in Venezuela but also the reigning Wilsonianism in the United States.

In place of European distortions of Western Civilization, Trump wants Americans to appreciate the heritage of their revolution, both its religious and philosophic bases, which should be the model of the democratic revolutions throughout the world. One of the greatest American patriots, John Adams, wrote that the American Revolution was “effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people.”

In other words, Trump brought to the world stage what he gave to America: blunt speech about political reality that defies the elites who blindly support international order over the national interest.

The U.N. speech makes clear that Trump’s version of sovereignty requires fundamental principles of natural rights in the formation of a social contract among citizens—equality, liberty, consent of the governed, and constitutional government. In deconstructing the administrative state at home, Trump is restoring borders, emphasizing political economy over international economics, and reestablishing American military power. As this promotes the common good, so all nations, each in its diverse ways, can promote the good of all nations by striving to be their own best version of themselves:

The United States of America has been among the greatest forces for good in the history of the world, and the greatest defenders of sovereignty, security, and prosperity for all.

Now we are calling for a great reawakening of nations, for the revival of their spirits, their pride, their people, and their patriotism.

The “first bond” of a nation, Trump noted, is to its own people: “This bond is the source of America’s strength and that of every responsible nation represented here today.” We do not advance the cause of “humanity” by surrendering our sovereignty to the amorphous goals of theoretic politicians governing Utopias that have never and will never exist. A sovereign nation has a duty to its actual citizens in the here and now if it seeks to preserve a future of peace and prosperity going forward. That is what Trump explained, in plain language, to the denizens of the U.N. and to their partisans at home.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

 

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America • Center for American Greatness • Deterrence • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Germany • History • Russia • The Media

The Sound of Statesmanship

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The most nationalist speech given by an American to an international audience was—and remains—John F. Kennedy’s “Ich Bin Ein Berliner” speech.

In it, Kennedy threatened the Soviet Union, an enemy of the United States. The Soviet Union menaced the United States with a massive arsenal of thermonuclear weapons. Mutually assured destruction made the use of nuclear weapons an uncertain proposition. As Winston Churchill had said: “…safety will be the sturdy child of terror, and survival the twin brother of annihilation.”

Still, safety was not secured. The Soviets continued to pursue dangerous aggression around the globe, inspired by the perverted ethic that all morality is subordinate to the march of History, ending in communist world domination.

But there was something the Soviet Union feared more than mutually assured destruction. Kennedy understood it and threatened it.

“What is true of this city,” he said, “is true of Germany: Real, lasting peace in Europe can never be assured as long as one German out of four is denied the elementary right of free men, and that is to make a free choice. In 18 years of peace and good faith, this generation of Germans has earned the right to be free, including the right to unite their families and their nation in lasting peace, with goodwill to all people.”

Less than two decades after Germany laid waste to European Russia, Kennedy had uttered the unthinkable. He threatened Russia with a unified Germany. The effect was immediate. The German crowd’s wild reaction unsettled some observers. That was the sound of statesmanship. The other sound heard was the sound of Russians changing their underpants.

Tuesday, in an act of statesmanship paralleling Kennedy’s, President Trump curbed the ambitions of a vicious tyrant armed with nuclear weapons. Threatening North Korea with annihilation, Trump made clear that he would think the unthinkable, as Kennedy had 54 years before.

Like Kennedy, who wordsmithed his message into the line “Ich bin Ein Berliner,” Trump too reduced his message to an unforgettable phrase: “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission.”

This is the sound of statesmanship. The other sound heard is the sound of Rocket Man and company changing their underpants.

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Cultural Marxism • Defense of the West • Donald Trump • Education • EU • Europe • Germany • History • political philosophy • The Culture

What’s the Matter with Germany? (Part II)

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In my recent article, “What’s the Matter with Germany?” I argued that under the leadership of Germany, “Europe is committing ‘suicide by Islam.’” Adolf Hitler imagined a Thousand-Year Reich, with Germany dominating Europe and the globe. Today, Germany’s rulers imagine a multicultural world, where Germany and other European nations no longer exist.

This does not represent an about-face from Germany’s imperial tendencies. It is, rather, just a new expression of it. The Germans tried to destroy Europe twice in recent history. Is it so surprising that Germans are welcoming an invasion that is on track to accomplish what Germany failed to do?

It’s very strange. Western history began with the account by Herodotus of the Greeks’ heroic resistance to the invading Persians. Today, Germany is bullying Europe to yield to an ongoing Muslim invasion. The Germans are welcoming the invaders, and Europe is abandoning its 2,500 year project of defending itself from Eastern conquerors.

Though strange, this is understandable, if one first understands Germany. I believe most Americans assume Germany is a Western nation like any other. The narrative would go something like this: Hitler was an unfortunate and tragic anomaly. He was a spellbinder with fantastical rhetorical powers that played on Germany’s historical resentments, and during his time he actually did manage to “fundamentally transform” Germany, changing it into the Hitler nightmare. Since Hitler has exited the scene, however, and the ravages of the Cold War are in the rearview mirror, Germany has returned to being a more-or-less normal Western nation.

But if this version of Germany’s story is true, why is Germany again bullying Europe, this time to yield to the Muslim invasion?

In my previous article I wrote that the Germans emerged from the Enlightenment era as the counter-Enlightenment people. This is not to deny any of the intellectual achievements of the German people. German music during the Enlightenment era, the time of Bach and Mozart, reached a peak which may never be equalled. And Germany’s achievements in science, mathematics, and technology have been of the first order. But in philosophy and especially political philosophy, the definite break between Germany and the rest of the West cannot be denied. Instead of being a part of the ongoing Enlightenment concerning the natural and political rights of man—a project started in England and taken up by America (with much success) and by France (with mixed results)—Germany was the heartland of the rejection of these ideas.

Romanticism, the 19th-century intellectual movement that gave the era after the Enlightenment its name, may be understood in shorthand as a rejection of Enlightenment thinking. And it started in Germany. The German thinkers who opposed the Enlightenment project loomed over 19th and 20th centuries. Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche are perhaps the most influential of these thinkers.

As I have argued, politically, the Enlightenment project was all about rights. But German intellectuals would have none of it. Hegel rejected individual rights and exalted the state. Marx rejected private property and the free market. Nietzsche exalted the will to power.

Unfortunately, German professors read—and worse yet, revered—those German thinkers and taught that reverence to their students. No one understood better than F. A. Hayek how this played out. Hayek, who won the Nobel Prize in economics, was one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century. Here is what he wrote about the situation in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century:

For more than seventy years the German professors of political science, history, law, geography and philosophy eagerly imbued their disciples with a hysterical hatred of capitalism, and preached the war of “liberation” against the capitalistic West…At the turn of the century the immense majority of Germans were already radical supporters of socialism and aggressive nationalism. They were then already firmly committed to the principles of Naziism [before the term itself was invented].

German professors prepared the way for that charismatic leader who emerged after World War I to fill the role in German society made ready for him by the German intellectuals of the Romantic era.

​This raises an obvious question: how far down this same path has the United States traveled? The American Left applauds Merkel, and loathes Trump for his insistence that America must regain control of its borders, instead of following Merkel’s example and taking all comers. American professors of political science, history, law, geography, and philosophy have been preaching contempt for America and hatred of capitalism for quite some time. Although American students have not yet taken up the Nazi ritual of book-burning, they have been rioting to prevent authors from speaking, and, of course, attacking statues and monuments.

Perhaps the reason Germany no longer feels it necessary to actively seek to conquer Europe is that intellectually (through their influence on Western thought) and politically (through the EU) it already controls it. They’ve already won. What is left for them, then, is to advance their phalanx in America and other holdouts.

Generals enlisted in this fight include American professors committed to a way of thinking rooted in those same German intellectuals. They have been hard at work in America to make sure the rejection of the American idea continues to gain strength. It’s working. According to a recent poll, for example, a majority of Millennials reject capitalism.

Consequently, it makes sense to say that American politics is no longer a political contest between an American Left and an American Right. It has turned into a twilight struggle between Americans still committed to the American idea of self-government and an anti-American Left intent on “fundamentally transforming” the nation.

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Donald Trump • Germany • Podcast • Political Parties • Section 2 • Sports

Buskirk and Boychuk on the Germany Problem

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American Greatness Managing Editor, Ben Boychuk joined Publisher, Chris Buskirk on his radio show to discuss the progress of the site and some of the highlights from last week including Robert Curry’s excellent and well-received piece, “What’s the Matter with Germany?

Chris Buskirk:  I am Chris Buskirk. He is Seth Leibsohn. Welcome back to the ultimate hour of the Seth and Chris Show on this fine Thursday, ultimate being the one that comes after the penultimate hour of the Seth and Chris show, meaning the final hour. We are joined, as promised, by Ben Boychuk. He is friend, colleague, and managing editor of American Greatness. Welcome, Ben. How you doing?

Ben Boychuk:   Doing great. Thanks for having me back on. Is Seth ducking me again? I think he’s ducking me again.

Chris Buskirk:  He actually is, yes, but unlike last time, I didn’t know that that would be happening when I invited you, but he feeling a little under the weather.

Ben Boychuk:  Oh, all right. I thought it might have been the money that he owes me.

Chris Buskirk:  He thought if he wasn’t in the studio you wouldn’t bring it up on air.

Ben Boychuk:  Right. Well, anyway, thanks again for having me back.

Chris Buskirk:   Most awesome show, or not awesome show, but most awesome news item today, “Taco Bell Employees Fatally Shoot Armed Robber.”

Ben Boychuk:  Oh, nice. Where was this?

Chris Buskirk:   This is the story that keeps on giving. It says police say three employees of a Cleveland Taco Bell opened fire on two armed robbers, killing one. I mean-

Ben Boychuk:  Oh, wow.

Chris Buskirk:   I know your inclination was to think that it was in Florida, though, right?

Ben Boychuk:   Well, yes. Yes, but given the hurricane preparations, maybe not, but wow. Wow.

Chris Buskirk:   I mean I wouldn’t even be surprised to hear that maybe in Arizona, but not one of the Taco Bell employees opens fire on the armed robber, three of them open fire on the armed robbers.

Ben Boychuk:  See, I would have guessed Texas.

Chris Buskirk:  Sure. Texas makes sense. Yeah.

Ben Boychuk:  Yeah, yeah.

Chris Buskirk:  Texas makes sense, but I love it. I saw this this morning, it’s been posted on Drudge all day, and just started laughing. It’s almost too good to be true. If you read the story … I won’t bore you with the whole thing, but there are many, many punchlines in this story.

Ben Boychuk:  My only concern is that now Taco Bell will fire those employees because they’re-

Chris Buskirk:  Oh, probably. Probably. Actually, that’s a great point, Ben. It’s coming. This will be a good case for the NRA.

Ben Boychuk:   Right, right, because there have been several of these type of things, right, where somebody … I mean they haven’t even had to open fire. They maybe chased down a robber into a parking lot or they’ve helped somebody getting mugged or something, and because a lot of these chains have-

Chris Buskirk:   No-gun policies.

Ben Boychuk:   Right, and they’re deathly afraid of liability and so on and so forth, they just cashier these employees who are acting like citizens, good citizens.

Chris Buskirk:   Can’t have that.

Ben Boychuk:   No, we can’t have that.

Chris Buskirk:  No, certainly. Then you know what the corporate response always is, right? This is when you know you’re getting the runaround. Insurance reasons.

Ben Boychuk:   Oh, sure. Yeah.

Chris Buskirk:   That means nothing, right?

Ben Boychuk:   Right.

Chris Buskirk:  I mean this is one of the frustrations of modern life. Somebody wants to tell you that you can’t do something that common sense dictates you ought to be doing or have a natural right to be doing, they just say, “Insurance reasons,” and that’s supposed to shut down the conversation.

Ben Boychuk:  Yeah, that’s right.

Chris Buskirk:   Okay, so we do have other business besides the shootings at fast food outlets to cover. Before we get on to some of the politics today, what should people be looking at at American Greatness? What’s the greatest hits for today or for this week?

Ben Boychuk:   Okay. Well, the feature piece today is essential reading, and it actually dovetails, I think, with some of what we’re going to be talking about this hour. It’s called ‘Party of Lincoln’ No More by Mike Sabo. He really details the way that establishment Republicans have really betrayed the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. A lot of establishment Republicans think, for example, of John Danforth or think of your senator in Arizona, Flake.

Chris Buskirk:    Oh, do I have to?

Ben Boychuk:   No, you don’t have to, but occasionally, I suppose. All of these guys getting on their soapboxes and their high horses and whatever other cliché you want to muster and saying that Trump is … he’s not a proper Republican. He’s a so on and so forth. Well, Sabo shows, in convincing fashion, that in fact, these guys have betrayed the legacy of the Party of Lincoln. Anyone listening, by all means, go to amgreatness.com. Check out the featured article, and you’ll see what he’s talking about.

We’ve had a great week, actually. We’ve had just loads of good stuff. I mean, just today, just to give people an idea of the kind of the mix of stories that we’re producing at American Greatness, just two stories that we had today in addition to that feature. Mac Owens has a really good piece on Colin Kaepernick and his crazy girlfriend and the sort of the cultural politics of the NFL.

Chris Buskirk:  Yeah. It’s a very good piece. Ben, just for people, maybe, who don’t know the story … Of course, everybody knows Colin Kaepernick is famous for three things. One is going to the Super Bowl very early in his career. Number two, growing his hair out to Herculean lengths. And number three for leading this completely, I think, offensive and misguided effort inside the NFL to not to stand during the National Anthem. What people don’t know, maybe, is the latest is is his contract was not renewed, so he is without a job in the NFL. He was apparently very, very close to signing with the Baltimore Ravens, as in they were negotiating the final terms of his contract, at which point his girlfriend took to Twitter to post pictures and comments that made it quite clear that she viewed the management of the Baltimore Ravens as being slave owners-

Ben Boychuk:  Slave owners.

Chris Buskirk:  … and her boyfriend, Colin Kaepernick, as if he was going to go work for them to being a slave.

Ben Boychuk:  Right, right. No, that’s right.

Chris Buskirk:  While he’s trying to get a job.

Ben Boychuk:  Yeah. Somebody maybe need to read Art of the Deal. I don’t know, but yeah. Kaepernick’s girlfriend is this woman Nessa. I don’t know how to pronounce her last name. Diab, I guess?

Chris Buskirk:  Your guess is as good as mine.

Ben Boychuk:  Right. To tell you the truth, I’d never heard of her before this whole thing. I maybe heard her name two or three weeks ago when I came across one of these Kaepernick stories. She’s a Bay Area DJ. She’s a host on MTV, and she’s a Black Lives Matter activist. I guess folks are kind of crediting or blaming her for Kaepernick’s recent sort of activism, sort of hard-left activism. Yeah, she’s going about … We have the picture in the story, in Mac’s story, and she directed this picture at Ray Lewis who is the former Ravens linebacker. He’s an NFL network commentator, and he was kind of Kaepernick’s advocate with Baltimore management.

Chris Buskirk:  A legend in the NFL.

Ben Boychuk:  Right.

Chris Buskirk:  I mean Ray Lewis is in sort of that pantheon of NFL greats.

Ben Boychuk:  Right. She directs this picture of Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio from Django Unchained. Sam Jackson, in that movie, plays the house slave who’s one of the main villains in that story. She puts the pictures together, and so lo and behold, he gets no deal.

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Cultural Marxism • Germany • political philosophy

What’s the Matter with Germany?

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Germany is making trouble again. This time it is not sending young men in uniform swarming across its borders to conquer Europe. Instead, it is using its position of economic dominance to cause young Muslim men from outside Europe to swarm across Europe’s borders. In World War II, Germany’s conquest of Europe and subsequent defeat left the continent in ruins. This time, however, Germany’s actions seem designed to bring about Europe’s destruction by inviting conquest rather than by initiating it.

First the Kaiser, then Hitler, now Angela Merkel. Over and over again and in different ways, Germany’s hubris has invented ways to take Europe down. How can we possibly be here again?

If you take a moment to ponder the title of Gertrude Himmelfarb’s book, The Roads to Modernity: The British, French, and American Enlightenments, you will notice that Germany is conspicuously absent from Himmelfarb’s subtitle and her book. This is an important clue about the shape of the West today. After all, the story of Germany comes close to defining the conflicts and agonies of the 20th century and gives clues about our present crises. It is a remarkable fact that twice in the 20th century Germany fought the three nations in Himmelfarb’s list in two enormously destructive wars. Those conflicts strongly suggest that Germany was the enemy, not just of those nation states, but also of the Enlightenment traditions those nations represent.

The Enlightenment was a period of political revolutions in Britain, America, and France. Those revolutions resulted from a radical change in thinking in those three countries.

Britain’s revolution came first, in 1688. It replaced the divine right of kings with rule by the king (or queen) in Parliament, a regime that is still recognizable in Britain today. The radically new American idea was forged in the American Enlightenment and recognizes the sovereignty of the people (the subject of my book, Common Sense Nation: Unlocking the Forgotten Power of the American Idea). America’s original constitutional design is also still recognizable, though America in recent years has been living under an increasingly post-constitutional regime. France keeps trying to make its version of the Enlightenment project work politically, reflecting its inherent problems. France’s current attempt, the Fifth Republic, was established only very recently, in 1958.

During the Enlightenment era there was a crucial parting of the ways between Germany, on the one hand, and Britain, America, and France on the other. Here is Stephen Hicks in his fine book on postmodernism:

Anglo-American culture and German culture split decisively from each other, one following a broadly Enlightenment program, the other a Counter-Enlightenment one.

How would the 20th century have played out if Germany had belonged in Himmelfarb’s subtitle such that war between a 20th century France and Germany would have been as unlikely as war between 20th century France and Britain? That, it seems, would have averted both world wars and saved lives by the tens of millions.

Instead of being part of the Enlightenment project, Germany was the heartland of Romanticism, the 19th-century movement that followed the Enlightenment era. Romanticism was the rejection of Enlightenment thinking, and it started in Germany.

The 20th-century thinker who did the most to shape thinking about the history of ideas during and after the Enlightenment era was almost certainly Isaiah Berlin, professor of social and political theory at Oxford. In The Roots of Romanticism, here is how Berlin described the new consciousness of the people who were participants in and champions of Romanticism:

…common sense, moderation, was very far from their thoughts…there was a great turning towards emotionalism…an outbreak of craving for the infinite…admiration of wild genius, outlaws, heroes, aestheticism, self-destruction.

The Germans emerged from the Enlightenment era as the counter-Enlightenment people.

Berlin wrote that somewhere between the end of the 1760s and the beginning of the 1780s the idea of the romantic hero was taking hold of the German imagination. Note that this is precisely the period during which the American Founders were inventing America. During this period, heroic martyrdom became in Germany “a quality to be worshipped for its own sake.” Berlin described the romantic hero as “satanic”:

This is the beginning of…the Nietzschean figure who wishes to raze to the ground a society whose system of values is such that a superior person…cannot operate in terms of it, and therefore prefers to destroy it…[who] prefers self-destruction, suicide…

Why “satanic”? Berlin’s description of the romantic hero evokes the figure of Satan. Satan’s sin is pride. Propelled by a feeling of injured pride, he led a rebellion against Heaven. It also describes Hitler. He stirred up the Germans’ injured pride over their defeat in World War I, and led Germany into a war of unimaginable destructiveness which ended with the destruction of Germany and Hitler’s suicide. Once again, the Germans while seeking to salve a wounded pride through self-destructive means, seem poised to take the rest of Europe down with them.

For about a century after the Germans set out on their anti-Enlightenment path, the threat they posed to the West was limited because Germany did not exist as a single country. Before 1871, the area that would become Germany in that year consisted of a number of independent states varying in size and power, ranging from kingdoms and grand duchies to principalities, cities and ecclesiastical states. Although the number of German states had declined throughout the centuries, reduced by deaths of royal lines, annexation, and conquest, there were still around 300 German states by 1800. The new state, by unifying the Germans, soon acquired the power to threaten the West. When the Allies divided Germany after its defeat in World War II, it was again no threat–though certainly an unhappy place for those stuck living in the Eastern part of the divide. Now reunited, it is no coincidence that Germany is a problem again.

It is important to realize how much the Germans’ rejection of Enlightenment thinking, already strong, was intensified by their experience of the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon ravaged and humiliated the German states. For Germans, Napoleon represented not just the French Enlightenment, but the Enlightenment overall. The Germans hated Napoleonic France and rejected the Enlightenment along with it.

The emergence of the United States, modern Britain, and modern France during the Enlightenment era, and Germany’s rejection of the Enlightenment provide the basis for understanding why Germany has been and continues to be a problem for the West.

If the West wishes to avoid a repetition of the destruction and disasters of the last century, it would do well to consult its own Enlightenment tradition and to marginalize the thinking of German Romantics, like Merkel, who recall an intellectual tradition that can demonstrate no positive historical achievement.

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American Conservatism • Conservatives • Europe • Germany • History • Hollywood • self-government • The Culture

The Triumph of ‘Dunkirk’

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PISTOL

….Well, bawd I’ll turn,

And something lean to cutpurse of quick hand.

To England will I steal, and there I’ll steal:

And patches will I get unto these cudgell’d scars,

And swear I got them in the Gallia wars.

“Henry V” (v.i.88-92)

 

In Shakespeare’s “Henry V,” Pistol and his late lamented friend Bardolph are among the common folk who accompanied their former Prince Hal (now King Henry V) in his glorious victories in France. But their low character abides. They exploit as they can the triumph of their aristocratic betters.

Contrast these would-be royal court low-lifes with the democratic soldiers portrayed in “Dunkirk.” In spite of the obvious differences, one critic claims the movie is “both an astonishing filmmaking achievement and an epic narrative failure.” John Podhoretz is certainly right on the first count; “Dunkirk” has made the pantheon of war movies. Yet his off-base attack on the film’s supposed lack of history is nothing compared with the astonishing dismissal by Dorothy Rabinowitz in “The Dumbing Down of Dunkirk.” The otherwise prescient media critic distorts the film, claiming it ignores the historical context and Winston Churchill. Snatches of dialogue make very clear what the consequences of a failed rescue are. And while Churchill the man does not appear in the film, his all-important logos does, in the movie’s most powerful moment, at the end.

Somehow these and other critics—some of whom are so ridiculously low-minded as to contend that director Christopher Nolan’s exclusion of women and minorities is problematic—miss the universal themes of war and warriors, and, most important, the souls of soldiers: why men fight. “[P]atriotic ciphers” sniffs the New Yorker. (The most sublime review focusing on the question of a warrior’s soul is the podcast of Titus Techera.) The film’s soldiers, airmen, and civilian boat owners fight the four constituent elements of the cosmos—earth, air, fire, and water—plus “the enemy” (no Nazis, no Hitler) striking like gods at any moment, turning sanctuary into a tomb.

The soldiers in “Dunkirk” are neither ciphers nor gods but humans, who can display cowardice and even treason as well as self-sacrifice, nobility, and love of country. They remain aware of the difference between mere survival and living honorably, even when they disregard it. One critic epitomizes the obtuseness: he discovered only in the closing credits that the otherwise anonymous soldier we follow is named “Tommy”! Maybe that is a count in favor of providing greater historical content, though the movie does use “Jerry” quite naturally.

In a scene comparable to the disguised Henry V speaking with Bates and Williams on the eve of Agincourt, we see our eponymous “Tommy” hiding beneath a wharf, having left the safety of a rescue ship, while above Kenneth Branagh (of “Henry V” fame and who here portrays an admiral overseeing the evacuation) reviews the grim situation of the army with a colleague: There aren’t enough destroyers, air cover is wanting, and the enemy is advancing.

But the heroes, the British private navy, come, like gods. From Martin Gilbert’s The Second World War (itself a compilation from his multi-volume Churchill biography):

At midnight on 2 June the last 3,000 British and French troops had been evacuated from Dunkirk, bringing the total to 338,226 men in seven days…. In all 222 naval vessels and 665 civilian raft had ferried between Dunkirk and the British coast. Six destroyers and twenty-four smaller vessels had been lost. Thirty-eight British destroyers, never built to carry a mass of men, had brought away 91,624. Minesweepers had brought back 30,942. Thirty Dutch motor vessels had carried 20,624. French destroyers had lifted 7,623. Hundreds of merchant vessels, troop transports and sloops brought back tens of thousands more.

Now here’s a cinematographic task for “historical narrative” critics! Though the British won a three-one victory over German planes, in the “first substantial victory of the allied air [war]” nonetheless the British Army lost 34,000 POWs to the Germans. Gilbert delivers the real history lesson:

But in many ways the most remarkable feat of all was performed by the little ships: trawlers, coasters tug boats, open boats, ship’s lifeboats, fishing vessels, river cruisers, paddle steamers, and more than six hundred small pleasure craft, which between them brought off more than 80,000 men, in groups from several hundred to half a dozen.

The film’s synecdoche for this miracle is a small pleasure craft, now become a war vessel, manned by two boys and its fiercely determined owner. They barely escape the British navy’s hamfisted attempt to commandeer it, preferring their own republicanism to its bureaucracy, and motor off to Dunkirk on their own. Dressed in tie and vest, the captain defies internal and external enemies in his dauntless mission. How, in light of this dedication, any critic could assert that the film overlooks the moral virtue of fighting a war against odds leaves one gob-smacked. To use more elegant English, and paraphrasing Churchill: Some cipher, some soul.

In all the “a-moral ‘Dunkirk’” criticism, perhaps the most revealing is that of the sometimes insightful liberal pundit Richard Cohen, who declared “It’s a war film for the Trump era. It is deaf to history.” Far from ignoring history and Churchill, as Cohen and others charge, the film in fact gives Churchill the all-powerful conclusion of these dizzying days. The statesman brings order out of what might have been viewed as random, chaotic events. “Tommy” feels this, upon reading Churchill’s Dunkirk speech (“we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender”).

In their reviews, the NeverTrump mentality of Rabinowitz, Podhoretz, and Cohen exposes itself as blindness to the struggle of our times. They view politics essentially as the activity of a royal court, as though inserting more Churchill here and there would somehow elevate the movie beyond what mere citizens can offer. Yet a lesson of “Henry V” for our times, over 500 years later, is the need for patriotic virtue in the common folk. As “Dunkirk” further shows, political success presupposes republican spirit in fighting tyranny in all forms foreign and domestic.

 

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America • Americanism • Big Media • Conservatives • Cultural Marxism • Defense of the West • Education • EU • Foreign Policy • Free Speech • Germany • Greatness Agenda • Immigration • political philosophy • Russia • self-government • Steve Bannon • The Culture • The Left

Donald Trump vs. the Post-West

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Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, our civilization and to set free suffering humanity . . . and we know that by thy grace, and the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.”

Who wrote those words? Someone from the alt-Right? A white nationalist, perhaps?

In fact, they were composed personally by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a D-Day prayer and read to the nation in a radio address on the evening of June 6, 1944. They exemplify the high-water mark of a confident mid-20th-century American liberalism that did not hesitate to attach the possessive pronoun “our” to concepts such as nation, religion, civilization, culture, and freedom.

The conceptual core of liberalism has been drastically altered since the halcyon days of FDR, Truman, and JFK. The reaction of mainstream 21st-century liberalism to President Trump’s historic Warsaw speech clearly reveals what today’s progressives value and what they debase. Thus, the president’s speech (besides presenting a clear vision of democratic sovereignty and a broad understanding of what constitutes the West), has the added advantage of having flushed out, for all to see, what progressive liberals really think of the institutions and ideals that have for centuries been at the center of any decent society.

When President Trump concluded his speech stating, “Our freedom, our civilization, and our survival depend upon [the] bonds of history, culture, and memory” and forthrightly declared “let us all fight like the Poles—for family, for freedom, for country, and for God”—the proponents of mainstream liberalism reacted with dismay and disgust. They bristle against all that “God and Country” talk and with unabashedly positive references to Western Civilization.

And so they came after the president’s conception of the West—not only from the fringes of the Far Left, but from the mainstream of American liberalism—“news” stories in the New York Times; Peter Beinart and James Fallows at the Atlantic; Jeet Heer from The New Republic; Lawrence Summers, E.J. Dionne, Anne Applebaum, Richard Cohen, Eugene Robinson, and the editorial board of the Washington Post; William Galston, the Wall Street Journal‘s token liberal commentator; and many others.

We were told, the president’s speech was “dark,” “negative,” and “nativist.” For Peter Beinart, Trump’s “West is a racial and religious term” and “His white nationalist supporters will understand exactly what he means.” James Fallows sees echoes of the Nuremberg rallies and is reminded of the Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl. Richard Cohen declares that on the plane to Warsaw, “President Trump opened the door and threw out American values.” Jeet Heer fulminates that Trump’s rhetoric “is meant to conjure blood-soil-nationalism.” Eugene Robinson thought Trump’s speech “might have been appropriate” for a time when “Europe’s great powers held dominion for ‘lesser’ peoples around the globe.” Lawrence Summers agrees with “the fears of those” who believe that the President’s “conduct” in Europe “is currently the greatest threat to American national security.”

What a Simple Google Search Would Show
Perhaps the silliest critique of Trump’s speech comes from Molly McKew (formerly with the Podesta group, the American Enterprise Institute, and an advisor to Georgian President Saakashvili.) Writing in Politico, McKew insists that Trump’s references to defending “civilization,” “history and religion,” “traditional values” and “sovereignty” parallel Putin’s worldview. Trump, she writes with contempt, “repeatedly spoke of souls and God.”

Further, McKew criticizes Trump “[going] so far as to say, ‘We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy at the center of our lives.’” According to McKew, this is just like “Putin [who] frequently refers to spiritual tradition as a core part of identity . . . [and lauds] the ‘ideals of the family.’” Apparently, if Putin says 2 plus 2 equals 4, an American president is supposed to say it’s really five. If Putin claims to be for God and Country, we must endorse the devil and treason.

Behind McKew’s smears there is the real issue of Putin making inroads with social conservatives in the West by appearing to champion traditional institutions and values against leftist activism in the EU. The situation was made worse by the Obama administration’s actions, promoting initiatives and groups working against traditional conservative European social and family policy and by collaborating closely with George Soros and leftist NGOs on these “progressive” cultural issues (e.g., abortion, LGBT, radical feminism, etc.)

If McKew had done so much as a Google search, she would have found one of the earliest and clearest responses to Putin’s challenge on the social values front came from Stephen K. Bannon in his (widely available) Vatican conference speech in the summer of 2014. Bannon noted that Putin was attempting to influence social conservatives by claiming to support traditional values and that “we have to be very much on guard” against Putin’s machinations. “Because at the end of the day, I think Putin and his cronies are really a kleptocracy, that are really an imperialist power that wants to expand,” Bannon said. 

Given Bannon’s prescient understanding of Putin’s anti-Western goals, it is absurd to suggest that the Warsaw foreign policy vision that he apparently had some role in developing was in tune with Putin’s governing philosophy.

Trump Presents an Inclusive West
Interestingly (and, for many, ironically) the West outlined by Trump in the Warsaw speech is broader and more inclusive than the pinched secular and exclusionist West presented by Western progressives. The Trumpian version includes Christianity, the Judeo-Christian ethical tradition, and our classical patrimony of Socratic questioning, as well as the Enlightenment and modernity.

On the other hand, the progressive version of the West, or more preferably for liberals, the post-Western “global community,” often pits a militant and narrow secularism against traditional Christian and Orthodox Jewish faiths and long accepted cultural and family values (although progressive secularism often makes an exception for Islamic practices).

Indeed, the once almost universal concept of a “Judeo-Christian West” is put into scare quotes and mocked as a Bannon trope by E.J. Dionne (a practicing Catholic) as he excoriates Trump’s Warsaw framework in the Washington Post. Like Tocqueville (and Leo Strauss), but unlike Voltaire (and American liberals and EU elites), Trump’s speech portrays traditional religious belief as fully compatible, and indeed complementary, with modern liberal democracy.

Perhaps, not surprisingly then, the establishment center-right almost unanimously praised Trump’s speech.  The day after the speech the editors of the Wall Street Journal lauded the president for “taking a clear stand against the kind of gauzy globalism and vague multiculturalism represented by the worldview of, say, Barack Obama and most contemporary Western intellectuals.” Charles Krauthammer declared, “this is the best speech he’s given. It was very Reaganesque.” Michael Barone found similarities to the great presidential speeches in Berlin of Reagan in 1987 and John F. Kennedy in 1962. The editors of National Review praised Trump’s defense of the West, noting, “This is not about race. It is one of the obvious achievements of Western civilization that its values and norms . . . have spread throughout the world, and wherever they have taken hold have contributed to the advance of human liberty and welfare.”

Democratic Sovereignty vs. Post-Democratic Bureaucracy
The 21st century Left in Europe, and to an extent in the United States, is often described as post-national and postmodern, seeking to move beyond the nation-state and the rational norms of modernism towards a more global and antinomian future.

The Left could also be considered Post-Western, as its elites have “deconstructed” the idea of the West using the ideological tools of postmodernism and multiculturalism. This deconstruction has made Western leaders for the past decade or so hesitant explicitly to articulate a public defense of our civilization. Twenty years ago, foreign policy scholar and Swarthmore professor James Kurth predicted in The National Interest, “The real clash of civilizations will not be between the West, and one or more of the Rest. It will be between the West and the Post-West, within the West itself.”

We see this clash being played out today between EU elites attempting to expand their supranational bureaucratic authority and independent nation-states within the EU, such as Poland who are fighting to preserve their democratic sovereignty. In other words, the Poles are insisting on the right of a free people to rule themselves. And Trump to his credit has given them aid and comfort. This desire for independence and sovereignty was the impetus for the British people’s decision to withdraw from the European Union.

Trump’s speech was criticized by a former Clinton State Department official for not endorsing the EU. For years, the U.S. position has been on autopilot, mindlessly advocating more European integration meaning more power to the Brussels bureaucracy and less to the nation-states. Todd Huizinga, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service, has written the definitive work for understanding the European Union. In The New Totalitarian Temptation, Huizinga captures the essence of the EU as “a soft utopia,” a proposed secular heaven on earth, based on the ideology of “global governance.” This means it is inherently at odds with the concept of democratic sovereignty and, thus, not surprisingly, often in tension with nations that take self-government seriously such as the United States, Poland, and Israel.

“After sixty-five years,” Huizinga writes, “the EU has conclusively shown itself to be inherently undemocratic, unaccountable and unresponsive to the voters.” Put otherwise, the framework of the EU is post-democratic.

Restoring “Government by Consent of the Governed”
The time for the United States to promote more EU integration is long past, and it appears the Trump administration may have put an end to this policy. There are, after all, competing visions of a free, prosperous Europe. While the Merkel-Macron framework promotes more centralization in Brussels, both Margaret Thatcher and Charles de Gaulle advocated a more decentralized Europe of democratic nation-states. Significantly, Trump did reassure the Poles and warn the Russians by strongly endorsing NATO, which is an intergovernmental alliance of nation-states, not a transnational pan-European institution like the EU.

The chief organs of the EU constitute an administrative state that rules without the consent of the different peoples of Europe. A perfect example of this problem is the EU’s migration policy. The EU leadership backed by the governments (but not necessarily the people) of Germany and France have insisted that all EU member-states take a fixed quote of migrants/refugees from the developing world.

The Visegrad nations of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic (now Czechia) are resisting this EU diktat. The stakes for liberal democracy could not be higher. What is at issue is that old Lockean liberal notion of “government by consent of the governed.” Clearly, if democratic sovereignty (that is democratic self-government) means anything at all, it is the right of a free people to determine for themselves who may be residents and citizens in their own country.

EU elites, Merkel, and their transnational progressive allies are attempting to strip government by consent of the governed from the peoples of Central Europe and force new populations upon them without their consent.  This is a moral argument and Trump, the Poles, the Hungarians, the Slovaks, and the Czechs are on the side of the angels—the side of “Philadelphian Sovereignty,” that is, the side of the republican principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

In short, “We, the People” decide who we shall admit within our borders. These fundamental issues are not decided for us—and against our consent—by foreign leaders and institutions.

William Galston wrote in the Wall Street Journal that “along with Hungary’s Victor Orban, the current Polish government is Europe’s leading threat to liberal democracy.” Galston could not be more wrong. The threat to democracy comes from the transnational EU elites and the enforcers of the EU administrative state in Germany and France.  These are the same nations, after all, that several years ago, forced the ouster of democratically elected leaders in Italy and Greece.

Trump’s Warsaw speech has given hope to the peoples of Central Europe and crucially reiterated the core Enlightenment doctrine of “government by consent of the governed.” If Steve Bannon and Steven Miller had anything to do with formulating this new strategic outlook of democratic sovereignty, consensual government, and affirmation of the Judeo-Christian-Enlightenment basis of Western Civilization, then perhaps those persistent conservative critics of Bannon and Miller ought to rethink their Pavlovian carping about these two gentlemen.

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America • Center for American Greatness • Defense of the West • Deterrence • Donald Trump • EU • Europe • Germany • Greatness Agenda • Immigration • Middle East • NATO • Religion of Peace • Russia • The ME Agenda • Trump White House

What Is NATO Good For Today?

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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has lost its purpose. Created following the devastation of the Second World War, NATO was intended to “keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” Throughout the Cold War, NATO proved to be an effective cudgel stunting the revolutionary push of Soviet Communism into Western Europe. Yet, following the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO became a defensive alliance with no clear enemy from which to defend itself. It became listless. Even as it expanded into former Soviet-occupied states, NATO became a purposeless, multilateral, intergovernmental bureaucracy.

Charles Krauthammer recently excoriated President Donald Trump for not explicitly stating his Administration’s commitment to upholding Article V of the NATO Charter. Article V simply states that an attack on one NATO member constitutes an attack on all of NATO. Krauthammer takes the view that by publicly humiliating America’s European partners and then refusing to reaffirm America’s commitment to Article V, NATO’s deterrent capability has been weakened. In turn, Krauthammer believes that, “deterrence weakened is an invitation to instability, miscalculation, provocation and worse.”

To be fair, Krauthammer’s assessment of the delicacy of deterrence and the threat that President Trump’s statements may pose to NATO’s deterrence capacity is not necessarily wrong. Krauthammer’s assertion that “deterrence is a barely believable bluff,” however, is absurd and illustrates the moral bankruptcy of maintaining the NATO alliance as it currently exists.

Fact is, NATO’s deterrent capabilities could be very believable if fundamental changes to the structure of the alliance are made. After all, if NATO’s deterrent factor during the Cold War was “barely believable” then its deterrent factor today is totally unbelievable. Don’t take my word for it, just look at the entirety of the post-Cold War period for proof.

From the Balkans to Afghanistan; from Georgia to Ukraine, does anyone seriously buy into the notion that deterrence in Europe is still a thing? Really? In each case, the decisive factor was the presence of American forces (or the lack thereof).

Fact is, NATO’s deterrent capabilities could be very believable if fundamental changes to the structure of the alliance are made. After all, if NATO’s deterrent factor during the Cold War was “barely believable” then its deterrent factor today is totally unbelievable.

In the Balkans, it was not until the United States stepped up its military commitment that there was even any hope of resolving the seemingly intractable ethno-religious conflicts of the region. In the cases of Georgia and Ukraine, two countries who were up for NATO membership (Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014), it was the lack of American forces that permitted Russia’s military interventions there (ditto for Syria, but that’s another issue entirely). And NATO has done little to help America accomplish its mission in Afghanistan. If anything, NATO forces have hindered American forces in Afghanistan with restrictive Rules of Engagement and organization that have resulted in an inability to complete basic tasks,

The fact of the matter is that endless puffing up of our European friends is not a viable or sustainable foreign policy. It was “barely” viable during the Cold War, when most Europeans agreed (however nominally) that all were threatened by Soviet Communism. Today  no such consensus about the threat to the West exists (indeed, many even deny  that any threat exists).

For the Baltic and Nordic states of Eastern and Northern Europe, they are focused squarely on countering Russian irredentism. They care little for addressing the overwhelming (and apparently ceaseless) flow of refugees and immigrants coming into Europe from the Muslim world. Meanwhile, the Southern and Western European states wholeheartedly embrace the Russians and continue to lament their Faustian bargain of letting as many immigrants into their countries as possible (which had more to do with the economics of Western and Southern Europe than the morality of it). Frankly, the Western and Southern Europeans needed cheap labor and did not have enough native-born citizens to accomplish this goal, so they encouraged foreigners to come to Europe as workers. This is a primary reason behind Angela Merkel’s push for more refugees to come to Germany, despite the unpopularity of the decision.

Make no mistake: the old axiom that the only thing worse for American foreign policy than having NATO is not having NATO remains true today. Yet, NATO in its current form does little to further American strategic goals.


Thus, there is little consensus among Europeans about what constitutes a defense of the West. There is even less agreement on how best to counter those threats. There are only three things about which the Europeans seem to be able to reach agreement: 1) that Global Warming is the real threat to Europe; 2) that America must continue footing the bill for a relatively purposeless NATO; 3) that, whenever possible, America should always be painted as the villain in European politics.

Gee, thanks. With friends like these, right?

Make no mistake: the old axiom that the only thing worse for American foreign policy than having NATO is not having NATO remains true today. Yet, NATO in its current form does little to further American strategic goals. Apparently, NATO’s purpose is to perpetuate its own existence. A defensive alliance without an enemy to defend itself against is, by definition, a waste of resources (and could actually encourage the kind of aggression that NATO was meant to prevent). Should we discount everything the Russians have been saying about how NATO and EU “double expansion” (as the Russians call it) into their periphery has encouraged Russia to be more aggressive toward Europe? Most certainly not. Though, to be sure, Russia would always be a perpetual thorn in the West’s side simply because Russia does not share the West’s worldview.

Of course, there are real challenges that threaten both the United States and the Europeans. There is still a chance for a unity of purpose to exist between America and its European allies. Yet, that purpose is not all-encompassing and it can never be unifying on a regional level.

That’s why the United States should begin looking for new ways at the sub-regional level to further its interests. For the Eastern and Northern Europeans, who believe that Russia is their primary geostrategic threat, the United States should look at bolstering the preexisting Viségrad and Nordic Battle Groups. Together, at the sub-regional level, these two alliances can be used as the proverbial tip of the spear in stunting Russia’s push into Europe (after all, these states are on the frontline of Russian aggression).

As Angelo Codevilla wrote in 2016, Putin has been pushing up against “mostly open doors” in Europe; it would behoove the West to slam those doors shut. Since the Western and Southern Europeans disagree about the threat that Russia poses to Europe (and seem far more intent on humiliating America), the United States should simply go over their heads and stop trying to go through the NATO bureaucracy to achieve its goals of sealing Europe off to the Russians.

Writing in his recent book, “All Measures Short of War,” foreign policy expert, Thomas J. Wright, explains that, “Europe’s exposure to its southern neighborhood is, at its heart, a geopolitical problem. It is rooted in the collapse of the Middle East regional order. Russia’s intervention [in Syria] was one part of that drama. The changing stance of the United States [under Obama] in the Middle East was another.”

Wright’s statement echoes the great European historian and environmentalist, Fernand Baudel’s belief that Europe’s southern periphery ended not where the Mediterranean Sea began, but rather, where the Sahara Desert ended. Neither the United States nor Russia fully understood just how much their military interventions in the Mideast would impact Europe. For the United States, this has had a destabilizing effect on the European status quo ante that it traditionally preferred. For the Russians, as Wright explains in his book, it has been beneficial (by making Western and Southern Europeans look to Vladimir Putin as a bulwark against the rising Islamist tide in Europe).

Wright’s assessment is apt and troubling also, since both Italy and Greece, the two powerhouses of Southern Europe, are governed by Russophiles. For the Italians, they do a large portion of trade with Russia. For the Greeks, there are cultural and political affinities between themselves and Russia. Getting them to agree on a harder stance on Russia would be like pulling teeth.

Also, the Western Europeans (particularly the Germans and French) have close economic ties with Russia and favor increased migration flows into Europe from places like the Mideast, North Africa, and South Asia. Yet, these are the very same states that have been the hardest hit by jihadist terrorism in the last few years. Despite their support of immigration, the Western Europeans have started to recognize the threat and have begun calling for more stringent counterterrorism and immigration policies. So, while resisting Russian revanchism is not a priority for either the Western or Southern Europeans, they are more willing to address the issue of jihadist terror, which is a benefit for the United States.

The creation of Southern and Western European defensive blocs aimed at countering terrorism and stemming migration flows would be essential. What’s more, there is a chance to unify these two regions through France. You see, historically, France has always had influence over both Western and Southern Europe. It would not be hard to form a German-dominated Western European defensive bloc (with France as a member), and then form a French-dominated Southern European defensive bloc. This would serve two functions: It would buttress the militarily and economically weak Greece and Italy while  also curbing the growth of German power in Europe. It might also work to counter the increasing influence that Russia has over both Germany and France, by splitting the Franco-German alliance apart.

And, yes, while many ascribe the budding Franco-German alliance as a new unbreakable bond, we must remember that France and Germany have far longer histories of being competitive with one another than they do of being friendly. The deep-seated French distrust of Germany will likely become exacerbated, the stronger Germany becomes and the weaker France becomes over time. The United States should play these two forces off of each other by granting them their own sub-regional blocs to manage.

The Europeans must take the reins of their own defense. Since the disagreement over what threatens Europe is widespread, the United States should stop wasting its time and money being the “big daddy” in Europe. The children are unruly and America’s generous support makes them less inclined to take care of their own problems.

Taken together, the presence of four sub-regional defensive blocs would be far more useful for American foreign policy than continuing to support a mindless, multinational, centralized bureaucracy of the sort that exists at NATO headquarters today. Such American-backed sub-regional alliances would also be contingent on the indigenous forces not only providing for their own defense, but also, ultimately, becoming entirely self-sufficient over the next two decades. Hard power and national interests would unify these states together with America, as opposed to idealistic language and wishful thinking.

The Europeans must take the reins of their own defense. Since the disagreement over what threatens Europe is widespread, the United States should stop wasting its time and money being the “big daddy” in Europe. The children are unruly and America’s generous support makes them less inclined to take care of their own problems. It’s time for the Europeans to grow up and fully return to history. We can help them in this transition, but we will no longer shoulder the burden. Further, building up these four regional blocs while diffusing power and funds away from the bloated bureaucracy in Brussels and into the coffers of those states that will actually do what they’ve promised to do, will be far more beneficial to the United States in the long-run.

Dr. Krauthammer worried about the damage that President Trump’s remarks did to NATO’s deterrent capabilities. I, on the other hand, worry that America’s mindless commitment to propping up NATO since the fall of the Soviet Union has made Europe permanently weak and unable to defend itself. Such a weakened Europe is bad for everyone.

So, I ask you: What is NATO as currently constituted good for these days?

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EU • Europe • Foreign Policy • Germany • Greatness Agenda • Trump White House

Thinking the Unthinkable Regarding Germany

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Did the German Chancellor just rail at the United States of America and Great Britain from a beer hall in Munich?

In their obsession with Russia, the elite media and both political parties are missing potentially far reaching developments.

Without deploying a single division of panzers, today’s Germany has succeeded in what no previous German regime has done: unifying Europe into a single economic and political entity; one, moreover, dominated by Germany. In so doing she has extended her economic and social policies across the continent, from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, Baltic and Black Seas. With every incremental encroachment on their national sovereignty, other European nations have been compelled under threat of sanction to open their borders, to accept unprecedented and destabilizing refugee flows from the Middle East and to acquiesce to economic rules and restrictions dictated by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, under the increasing control of Berlin.

Today the United Kingdom is threatened with economic reprisals for daring to leave the European Union. What will happen, once the EU has its own army, to European nations who wish to leave in the future?

Until now, France’s political leadership has been heir to De Gaulle’s proud nationalism and jealously guarded its nuclear Force de Frappe. Today, however, France’s new president is the embodiment of globalism and a champion of conveying sovereignty to the European Union. We are permitted to ask whether his government entertain the idea of “Nuclear Anschluss” with Germany.

If this seems far fetched, who thought as late as 1990 that Germany would ever be re-united? Who thought, as late as last year, that Brussels bureaucrats would be considering a European Army? And who would have thunk it, as recently as last week, that Germany would even consider arming itself with a nuclear arsenal?

It bears recalling that the two devastating world wars of the Twentieth Century were started not by Russia, but by Germany.

Perhaps it’s time to connect the dots.

 

Dot #1: the Iron Lady’s warning   

“We beat the Germans twice, and now they’re back,” said Margaret Thatcher. She never wanted a unified Germany, and in 1989 told Mikhail Gorbachev that it “would lead to a change to postwar borders, and we cannot allow that because such a development would undermine the whole international situation and could endanger our security.”

In a long phone conversation with President Bush on February 24, 1990, Thatcher emphasized that Germany had to remain in NATO and that the Soviet Union must not be made to feel isolated. She saw how the balance of power in Europe might change overnight, and warned that “looking well into the future, only the Soviet Union―or its successor―could provide such a balance”. 

“I do not believe in collective guilt,” she said. “It is individuals who are morally accountable for their actions. But I do believe in national character, which is molded by a range of complex factors.”

 

Dot # 2: Germany rearms as the EU

‘We must fight for our future’ – Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other Europhile politicians have pushed forward with an aggressive campaign to militarize the European Union. These plans have at times been kept from European citizens in certain states. The new EU Army appears to be supplied at least in part by NATO, which currently is being affected by corruption scandals and the death of its Chief Auditor.

That’s the sense in which we’re to understand Merkel’s beer hall speech, in which she said Europe would have to look after itself, apart from America. “The era in which we could fully rely on others is over to some extent,” she said. “We have to know that we must fight for our future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans.” Merkel pointedly mentioned not only the United States but also Britain as friends now going their separate ways from Europe.

Until now steps towards a European defense and security union have been blocked by some member states, in particular the United Kingdom. Its looming EU departure, however, has seen renewed efforts by Berlin and Paris to revive the issue. We can now expect President Trump to demand that Brussels abandons plans for an EU Army if it wants the United States is to continue its support for NATO.

 

Dot # 3:  The French Connection

Merkel went out of her way to express her preference for Emmanuel Macron in the French election. “I don’t have the slightest doubt that Emmanuel Macron will be a strong president if he’s elected, which I would wish for,” said Merkel. The German-French partnership is “indispensable” for Europe.

 

Dot # 4:  A Fourth Reich with nukes?

The editors of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a conservative newspaper, opined that it was time to contemplate “the altogether unthinkable for a German brain, the question of a nuclear deterrence capability…” Roderich Kiesewetter, a foreign-policy expert in the Christian Democratic Union, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, chimed in to say there should be no “thought taboos” about nuclear weapons. The country’s respected weekly Die Zeit followed up with a stark warning that Germany could either ignore the changing times or quickly buy into the Force de Frappe, France’s nuclear force.

Although all this seems remote, it should be worrying for the rest of the world. Remember that this debate is happening in a country that set fire to the world twice in the last century. Since the devastating experience of the Third Reich, Germany has worked hard to recover a sense of moral credibility, asking for forgiveness from its many victims and seeking atonement. Given its history, it is miraculous that the country is so respected across the world today.

More dots will be forthcoming. Of that we can be sure.

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