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The Buchanan Doctrine


It is hard to argue with the opinion, expressed over the last couple of years, by us and others, that Pat Buchanan feels much more comfortable addressing White-skinned audiences than Black. And that is why we expected the surprise (pleasant in most cases), expressed by many of our viewers, over Mr. Buchanan's position on American foreign policy, and its imperialist elements. Having not heard him before themselves, and having not known much of anything about his actual positions other than a list of quotes and statements of a cultural nature, attributed to, or made by Mr. Buchanan that Blacks have found to be offensive, it is not a shock to realize that few people are aware of what Mr. Buchanan has consistently argued in reference to his government's behavior around the world.

We ran Mr. Buchanan's views for two reasons, each of which was aimed at different groups within our viewing audience.

We ran Mr. Buchanan's two recent op-eds, which ran in the L.A. Times and USA Today for the benefit of our Black viewers who are beginning to see the diminishing returns of having a Black political establishment that is wed to the State via the Democratic Party in a manner that is, at times, unseemly. With the most visible exception of Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Ca.), Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) and a few others, it has been hard to find a Black elected official of national stature who has been willing to respectfully challenge and question the U.S. government in its movement to respond, militarily and otherwise, to the terrorist attacks of September 11th. It has even been more difficult to find a Black politician who is willing to raise such questions in the context of an evaluation of U.S. foreign policy in recent decades. We hoped that a review of Mr. Buchanan's arguments would be valuable to our Black viewers, those in particular who have been inundated with admonitions from the Black political establishment to wave the American flag, stand behind their President, and acquiesce to whatever military response is forthcoming from the U.S. government, in this new era of bipartisanship, that many believe more closely resembles a one-party political system (which stifles debate).

We also ran Mr. Buchanan's comments for the benefit of some of our White viewers in the hopes that many who can't seem to tolerate criticism of U.S. foreign policy coming from a Black man or woman, or any non-White, might reflect over a similar opinion, when expressed by a White man who many view as a patriot. It was a subtle nudge to some Whites, who even subconsciously don't think Blacks are qualified to lead them or publicly speak about anything but civil rights issues and domestic race relations.

It was our Black viewers who responded with the most interest, asking for more insight into the foundation and direct application of Mr. Buchanan's arguments and his motive for making them in public, at this tense hour.

In response to that interest we provide, today, an excerpt from Buchanan's 1999 book, A Republic, Not An Empire whose title aptly depicts the crux of Mr. Buchanan's thesis. The excerpt, written two years ago, has a direct application to the Middle East and the Islamic World and gives more of a glimpse into the worldview that underlies some of Mr. Buchanan's thinking.

We think that you will probably agree whole-heartedly with many of his arguments (some of which no Black politician has the courage to consistently make in public although several maintain such views in private), think carefully over a few, and dismiss still others.

But regardless to your reaction, the Buchanan Doctrine, as we refer to it, is food for thought for the Black electorate and its elected officials - whether or not that was Mr. Buchanan's original intention.

Here from pgs. 379 - 383 of A Republic, Not An Empire we quote:

The Gulf

America's interest in the Persian Gulf is, as former Secretary of State James Baker put it in a word, oil. The Gulf now has 25 percent of the world's supply and equal share of known reserves, and the U.S. dependency on imported oil is growing. Every day, America imports ten million barrels, more than half its daily consumption. Even at the relatively low price of $14 a barrel, this adds $50 billion annually to the current account deficit and is, autos and textiles-apparel aside, the largest item in our mammoth merchandise trade deficit. Of our $250 billion defense budget, the Gulf accounts for an estimated $50 billion. If the emir of Kuwait did not sit atop an ocean of oil, the United States would not have restored him to his throne.

Yet our present Gulf policy of dual containment of Iran and Iraq is unsustainable. American air power and naval power remain adequate to prevent Iran from closing the Gulf and to deter Iraq from reconquering Kuwait, but the balance is shifting. Saddam Hussein proved as much when he marched into the U.S. guaranteed "safe haven" in Kurdistan. Secretary of State Madeline Albright admitted as much when she secretly instructed UN weapons inspectors to make no challenge inspections that were likely to result in military confrontation.

Since 1991, moreover, America, France, and Britain have cut their defenses by as many soldiers, sailors, and airmen as fought in the Gulf War. As Western power contracts, Iran's grows. Saudi Arabia is also less stable than in 1991. The presence of five thousand American troops and fifty thousand civilians there calls to mind the huge U.S. presence in Iran prior to the revolution, and is resented deeply enough by some Saudi radicals to justify in their eyes acts of terrorism. Saudis see us making a protectorate of a nation that is supposed to protect the holy places of Islam. Even Saudi friends are wary of their country becoming a U.S. dependency. Thus, permission for the permanent positioning of U.S. weapons has been denied.

A revolution in Saudi Arabia would sweep away the West's position in the Gulf. But in preparing for any such catastrophe, the United States has some impressive resources. We still produce 40 percent of the oil we consume. We have secure access of Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, and West Africa to our own Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and to limitless deposits of natural gas and coal which would come on stream in an run-up of oil prices to $40 a barrel. Should an Islamic republic of Saudi Arabia join an embargo of the West, it might cause global recession; but it would trigger an oil boom in Canada, Mexico, the North Sea, Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Russia, the Caspian region, and the Far East, as well as in Texas, Louisiana, and Alaska. Other OPEC nations would rush to fill Western orders. The longer an embargo continued, the more independent the industrial democracies would become, and the more desperate would be the situation of the embargoing states. When it ended its creators would produce a global glut and a collapse in worldwide oil prices, as happened in the early 1980s. The oil weapon is a classic two-edged sword.

Yet America needs an insurance policy. Steps that might be taken to ensure U.S. energy independence include: (1) an end to draw-downs of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and topping it off; (2) opening up the Alaska Natural Wildlife Refuge to exploratory drilling;(3) reconsideration of the use of nuclear power to generate electricity;(4) rapid development of the oil resources of Russia, the Caspian, and Central Asia; (5) multiplication of pipelines from the Caspian and the Gulf; and (6) study of the potential of an oil import fee to stimulate conservation and new drilling, and to make clean coal and natural gas more competitive. Tax revenue from any fee could be rebated to states, citizens and companies that had to bear its cost.

Like the British Empire, the United States cannot police the Gulf forever. With the united States building only six warships each year, within three decades our navy will be one-third the size of Reagan's navy, which Bush used to triumph in Desert Storm. But as oil is worthless, even to hostile nations, unless they can sell it for cash, the United States does not need to guard the oil fields of the Near East to have access to their production.

It is time to abandon a sterile policy of dual containment for a more active diplomacy, especially with Iran. While the memory of the holding of American hostages twenty years ago remains fresh, and Iran has undoubtedly had a hand in terrorism, we ought not forget that, twenty years after the Chinese were killing Americans in Korea, Richard Nixon was in Bejing toasting Chairman Mao. Nothing Iran's regime has done, despicable as it may be, compares with what Mao's men did. As for Saddam, murderous though he may be, he is not a threat to America; should he use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. forces, or smuggle one into our country, his destruction would be total - and he knows it.

Israel And The Middle East

In the Middle East, the United States has a NATO ally in Turkey, Arab friends in Jordan and Egypt, and a commitment that America will not let Israel go down and will assure its access to the weapons needed for its self- defense. No U.S. government will renege on that commitment.

But Israel will not know peace as long as it occupies Arab land. Withdrawal from the Golan Heights, south Lebanon, and the West Bank, and the creation of a Palestinian homeland are, as almost all Israelis now concede, necessary conditions of peace. But they are not sufficient conditions. The Israelis must have guarantees that any territory given up is not used as a base for terrorist or military attacks.

In the Arab world there is the perception that America is not an honest broker, that we apply a double standard to the Arabs, that in any collision the United States will invariably side with Israel. Much of the prestige America had at the time of the Gulf War has been lost. When Arab nations boycotted a U.S.-promoted conference in Qatar, and attended an Islamic conference in Teheran in 1997, it was a reflection of the shifting sentiment in the region.

The way to restore that prestige is for the United States to preside over a just peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis. But there is another American interest here -- that is not to let this country become ensnared in this bitter and interminable quarrel by either imposing peace or policing it. We have already allowed ourselves to be drawn into the Balkan quagmire; to repeat this in the Middle East is to invite another Lebanon.

As the peace process moves forward, the United States should begin to disengage militarily from the Middle East. While we have friends and allies there, no vital U.S. interest is at risk in this volatile region - as there are no more Soviet client states there. As for the specter of Islamic fundamentalism, the huge U.S. military presence and the perception of American domination only exacerbates that problem.

Specifically, the United States should end foreign aid to Israel and Egypt, which runs to $5 billion yearly, and lay out what we believe to be the elements of an honorable peace: (1) return of the Golan Heights to Syria, and their demilitarization; (2) Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, with a right of return if Hezbollah uses the territory for attacks; (3) a flag and a land of their own for the Palestinians, with a Vatican enclave-capital in Arab East Jerusalem; any Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza should be demilitarized - i.e., no fighter aircraft, no artillery, no missiles, no mortars, no tanks; and (4) a permanent committment to Israel of access to U.S. weapons to enable it to maintain a security edge, with Israeli guarantees of no further transfers of U.S. weapons technology to China.

Would this make Israel invulnerable to terrorist attack? No, but the absence of a negotiated peace is a guarantee of future war. Ultimately, the choice is for Israelis and Arabs to make.

--- From A Republic, Not An Empire
pgs. 379-383

By Pat Buchanan


Thursday, October 4, 2001

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