STOP. Before continuing, click here for important Internet security information about browsing this site.
If a web address is not clickable, copy and paste it into the address bar of a new tab.
Try to switch to using https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io if you find yourself visiting this site regularly.
News & Analysis > All
News & analysis from Proletarian Internationalist Notes—news, reviews and analysis from a global perspective
White nationalist Pat Buchanan is more anti-war than U.S. liberals and so-called leftists, because of Obama
April 12, 2017
As this writer anticipated he would,(1) Amerikan outspoken white-nationalist Patrick Buchanan has written a strong statement(2) against the United States’ direct, high-profile attack on a Syrian base on April 7.
An anti-Korea-war Buchanan blog post was published a week earlier. “Why is Kim Jong Un our problem?” has been been viewed far fewer times than the Syria column. Trump hasn’t yet launched a missile at Korea, though.
Considered a “paleoconservative” by many in the Amerikan political context, Buchanan disagrees with U.S. liberals on many cultural/social questions while supposedly believing Western culture is superior. With almost 150K views at the time of this writing according to buchanan.org, Buchanan’s latest post is his most-read in several weeks at least, read more than some of Buchanan’s articles with more problems.
Buchanan opposed the Iraq War no less than Barack Obama did when Obama was a senator and a political candidate, and Buchanan supported the Afghanistan war no more than Obama did. Obama ended up taking the U.S. troop level in Afghanistan to a record high and leading invasions of multiple countries. Though Buchanan has contributed and still contributes to warmongering in some ways, including some that aren’t obvious, Buchanan has opposed most of these invasions.
Whether they know and admit it or not, Obama, Bernie Sanders and most U.$. liberals, pseudo-feminists and pseudo-leftists also believe Western culture is superior. They aren’t always as obvious as Buchanan.
Buchanan is skeptical of migrants’ ability to assimilate into AmeriKKKa. On the other hand, Buchanan has criticized some aspects of Amerikan culture and Amerikan influence in other countries. Though Buchanan’s interest in the moral aspect of cultural purity and cohesion is arguably related to fascism, Buchanan isn’t enthusiastic about the idea of U.S. soldiers bringing pornography, strip clubs and abortion rights to Muslim countries, for example, countries that aren’t imperialist and so cannot be fascist on their own. Buchanan may want to return to an irretrievable or mythical past, but U.S. liberals often extol “American values” and support spreading them as they are.
Regardless of what one thinks about any of those things – pornography and the other items – it simply cannot be denied that former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week in New York supported destroying all of Syria’s airfields and then, in Texas, supported abortion rights and told Trump to follow through after he had already carried out the outrageous attack on the al-Shayrat air base. That is what Trump’s former election opponent, still viewed relatively favorably by liberals and even some supposed radical leftists, did. The day after Trump’s inauguration, thousands of Women’s Marchers supported abortion rights and opposed Trump on many different things but war.
It can’t be blamed on ISIS, because Trump’s views on the Iran nuclear agreement, for example – views leading to war against Iran – were well-known, and the United States came close to war on Iran under Bush with the help of liberal pseudo-feminists. Obama got the Iran nuclear deal after threatening Iran, but Buchanan has opposed an Iran war more than some supposed leftist feminists have opposed it.
Buchanan illustrates the inverse of the connection, between the “pro-choice” movement and warmongering, that exists at this time. Supporting war isn’t inherent in supporting abortion rights, but there is a sense in which this connection became necessary in the United States.
A connection between liberal positions and support for war against Muslim countries existed even during the George W. Bush presidency and shortly after 9/11, but an unprecedented coincidence of eight years of Democratic pro-choice presidency and two full terms of war have obviously made things worse. It has had a detrimental impact on the U.S. anti-war movement. Only the most delusional people are incapable of understanding that. Given this and the other comparisons or considerations mentioned, the question arises as to what really makes Buchanan different and the significance, if any, that Buchanan’s opposition to U.S. war in Syria has in terms of assessing prospects for anti-war movement growth and success going forward.
It seems the negative dynamic that developed during Obama’s presidency is unlikely to be reversed until Trump has done most of what pro-choice Democratic warmongers want him to do in Syria. U.S. abortion rights campaigns had anti-war potential when there was a Soviet Union less restrictive on abortion than the United States,(3) but in addition to the situation in Muslim countries we also have to consider the fact that Russian leaders are often portrayed in the West as extreme conservatives on gender and sexuality-related questions. For example, there are stories about alleged deadly gay-bashing in Russia in Amerikan media right now, which, though fighting for gay rights is necessary in other contexts, makes Buchanan’s skeptical remark about fighting for “LGBT rights” in Syria look good. Buchanan is opposing the misuse of LGBT rights rhetoric war for purposes more than most U.S. liberals are opposing such abuse.
Some congressional Republicans are unsurprisingly supporting the Republican president’s Syria strike order more than some Democrats are, after Syrian aircraft has already been destroyed, but Buchanan refers to “the war drums of John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio” as if Clinton hadn’t been supporting war against Syria, other Democrats hadn’t been leading anti-Russia warmongering, and the Democratic rank and file and liberals hadn’t been much more anti-Russia in their views lately than Republican and conservative Trump supporters prior to the Syria strike. That is the only major problem with Buchanan’s article. But, most of Buchanan’s readers may view even those neoconservative war hawk Republicans too favorably relative to Clinton. Buchanan may have had a particular need to focus on and oppose the idea of supporting pro-war Republicans. Democrats talk about driving out Trump as a fascist (something they never accused Obama of being) – without acknowledging that the Democrats may have the most responsibility for the Syria strike at least indirectly – but Buchanan has his own context.
Buchanan raises several lines of argument. One is about whether Amerikans really want to expand their already-extensive involvement in Syria regardless of other questions. The allegation that somebody launched a chemical attack from some area of land allegedly controlled by Syria could be true, and yet many Amerikans may have reasons to not want to attack Syria.
Another line of argument has to do with who is responsible for deaths of children in Syria in general. Syria is responsible for the deaths of babies, Buchanan says, but so are the United States and many other actors. Most of them are operating in Syria without Syria’s consent.
Buchanan raises the question of who carried out a chemical attack. Whereas “socialist” Bernie Sanders has generally supported chemical weapons use allegations against Syria, Buchanan suggests the Ghouta chemical attack in 2013 also could have been a false flag operation. Not too much unlike the Iraq WMD question, it’s a type of question that involves CIA, NSA etc. intelligence and could lead to war that must be opposed even if an allegation is true. No doubt there are people in the Washington, D.C., area who advise Buchanan on intelligence and foreign policy matters to the extent that can be done without divulging classified information. Buchanan sidesteps the question, however, by asking who benefits.
“For it makes no sense. Why would Assad, who is winning the war and had been told America was no longer demanding his removal, order a nerve gas attack on children, certain to ignite America’s rage, for no military gain?” It seems to Buchanan that, whoever benefited, it wasn’t Syria’s president.
Some have argued that somebody in the Syrian military or government had reasons to want a chemical attack, but Buchanan is talking about who ultimately benefits overall. Such a question can be answered independently of the U.S. government and independently of journalism that might be U.S.-government-influenced.
Sadly, many U.S. liberals and so-called leftists, including people calling themselves revolutionaries, have been quick to repeat U.S. claims about the alleged Syrian chemical attack or other justifications for the air base strike. They seem far away from the level even this motherfucking racist and evolution-skeptic Pat Buchanan is at in thinking about the Syria strike. While referring to Syrian officials’ self-interest and also taking for granted “that gas attack” and describing it as “a war crime” itself, not once does Buchanan in his April 10 post accuse al-Assad in particular of any crime, for example; yet, Buchanan’s article may be more influential than combined hundreds of opportunist posts failing to challenge, in fact encouraging, the assumptions of people who think Middle East countries are particularly dangerous to the world or think Arab and Muslim leaders are generally worse than Amerikan leaders.
As much as they claim to be against Goldman Sachs, the viewpoint of many U.$. liberals and supposed leftists is that of the most narrow interests of finance capital. That is why it is so easy for them to regurgitate the claims of huge spying, military and government apparatuses and support wars that reflect certain interests of Amerikans but endanger the world and exacerbate global crisis. They claim responsibility for world affairs and then rely on CIA-, DIA- etc. type knowledge for information and justification for their meddling in other countries.
Buchanan is interested in foreign affairs, obviously, and has regarded Amerikan-Russian cooperation – which would be imperialist cooperation against the Third World – positively, but Buchanan never claimed to have a central or large essential interest in revolution or in advancing societal progress in other countries. Buchanan thus has less need to denigrate non-Amerikan leaders relative to U.S. leaders many of whom Buchanan criticizes. (That is true though Buchanan’s focus on Amerikan leaders may be related to fascism in a way different from how others’ focus on non-Amerikan leaders or external threats is related to fascism.) The same cannot be said about many so-called leftist revolutionaries.
Last week, Clinton got away with vaguely referring to an abstract idea of the world being interconnected, and Amerikan responsibility, to justify the United States attacking Syria. Pseudo-leftists have their own rhetoric – including pseudo-Marxist rhetoric about international working class solidarity, laws of change, and global revolution – that they use to justify regurgitating White House and State Department narratives in front of Amerikans and encouraging global audiences to divide instead of seeking united fronts against the United States.
Syrians, under international law, have a right to destroy hostile foreign military forces invading and killing people in their country without Syria’s consent. The fact that Trump claims Syria’s president is responsible for the chemical attack doesn’t change this, and there has for a long time been reason to suspect the United States of supporting ISIS, more than there has been any reason to suspect Syria of doing so. Syria’s president should be criticized for doing anything that undermines resistance to the invaders. Buchanan is someone who can understand this, because Buchanan can imagine being in a similar situation. It’s not clear that many U.$. liberals and so-called leftists – who disdain the nation-state in general or are influenced by the triumphalist ideology of U.S. hegemony – can.
Syria also opposes forces’ coming to Syria supposedly to fight ISIS, but not coordinating with the Syrian government. You know things are fucked-up when Jake Gyllenhaal is going to star in a movie reportedly based on a Rolling Stone piece mentioning an Amerikan who read Lenin but ended up in Syria, and another Westerner in Syria wearing a Mao pin.(4) Point out that this kind of “internationalism” could involve eventually working with the CIA and the U.S. military against Syria, instead of supporting a united front with the Syrian government against the Amerikan invaders, that the alleged Syrian chemical attack benefited the Amerikans, or that the CIA could easily take advantage of a situation in which professions of Maoism seem to enable access to a battlefield on a certain side, and some of these people and others will ask for official pay stubs or CIA-type evidence. Some will have harsh things to say about left-wing Zionists opposing annexation of the West Bank, but see nothing wrong with non-Jewish Euro-Amerikans’ viewing U.S. aggression as an opportunity and traveling to Syria to build a socialist utopia there.
Forget the nauseating Instagram narcissism. Evidently, believing you are a Maoist, and that the Third World is where the revolution’s at, isn’t enough to prevent an Amerikan from doing something in Syria that would have been considered unacceptable for a Japanese to do in China several generations ago. Even an idea that there isn’t a revolutionary exploited working class in the United States – an idea even many Republicans and some Democrat urban professionals readily accept – doesn’t preclude all kinds of crazy results when there is no scientific understanding of the complex economic and political situation that has existed since the emergence of U.S. hegemony in the midst of capitalist counterrevolution and other developments. Nobody should forget that even Trotskyists are against socialism-in-one-country in the United States. The Trotskyists at World Socialist Web Site have admitted that openly Trotskyist organizations were involved in supporting U.S. aggression against Mideast countries and have addressed the most obvious manifestations of the labor aristocracy issue. Some may accuse the WSWS of sectarianism and it deserves that accusation in some contexts, but if anything WSWS understates the issues. Unfortunately, what some are saying now may be too little, too late.
Buchanan is an anti-communist who has defended the Apartheid government in Azania and might have supported allowing German fascism to defeat the Soviet Union if he had been an adult during World War II. Buchanan may have a racist idea – potentially useful in a certain anti-war context – about people in the Third World being unable to develop culture like the West’s. And no doubt Bashar al-Assad is responsible for the deaths of some real communists over the years. People who call themselves communist tend to be more correct than Buchanan on certain points or issues, but – given the situation in which U.S. hegemony is causing socialist revolution to stall – there is no point in being a communist if one supports U.S. militarism and U.S. wars. For that matter, accusing Buchanan of being a racist for opposing “nation-building” in the Middle East – as if people like Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton were correct – has nothing to do with real leftism. There is also no point in opposing Buchanan’s particular variety of white nationalism if you are worse than Buchanan on war questions.
That’s also true for immigration questions and police brutality specifically. There is no Chican@ or New Afrikan liberation movement that supports one U.S. invasion after another, not one that is legitimate or worth mentioning. The coupling of left-wing politics with war and jingoism has already proved to have disastrous consequences. Much of the criticism of Buchanan related to supporting integrationism, as opposed to Chican@ and New Afrikan (U.S. Black nation) nationalism, is wrong anyway.
Most of Trump’s critics who contributed to anti-Russia pressure, which almost certainly contributed to last week’s missile attack, supported war and also opposed Chican@ and New Afrikan nationalism.
At the same time, certain AmeriKKKans pretending to be leaders of a Chican@ or New Afrikan movement have been all but silent about the Syria strike and recent extremely serious U.S. provocations, but continue making flattering marks specifically about that leading Democratic warmonger Hillary Clinton, relative to Trump. They do so on social media with thousands of followers watching. It is tantamount to warmongering itself. In some cases, an idea – both simplistic and questionable – that Trump has proved to be so much worse than Clinton is involved in praising both Clinton and Republicans who at least appear to be pressuring Trump to go to war. Whether Trump is actually being pushed around or not more than popular Obama was, the appearance of non-white movements leaders’ praising warmongers who seem to be pressuring Trump – who has already attacked in multiple countries and has supported military spending increases – threatens to hold back the anti-war movement.
The point isn’t to sing the praises of people like Pat Buchanan or Buchanan in particular. Those with ideas similar to the present writer’s spent much energy over many years warning people about the dangers of pandering to white workers in the United States. That was before it became more fashionable in some groups to criticize the white trash during the Obama presidency. Genuine Maoists many years ago warned people not to make an issue out of trade agreements in the First World.(5) They condemned populism in the First World. They opposed U.S. economic nationalism. They warned about opposing bourgeois internationalism too much. They criticized those who sounded like Buchanan in opposing bankers especially. They also discussed the risks of raising the idea of Amerikan citizenship for undocumented migrants instead of just opposing repression of migrants. They supported a focus on opposing war instead of supporting citizenship projects and economic projects. They strongly condemned antisemitism, which many pseudo-leftists connive in while flattering Amerikans and failing to oppose the United States. None of this is new, and genuine Maoists were doing all of this years ago. They did so not to oppose just Republicans and conservatives, but to oppose the development of a tendency appearing in various demographics. Democrats, now criticizing Trump and a labor aristocracy political surge they helped produce, were doing the opposite and are still supporting reactionary nationalism seemingly obliviously, but without any non-interventionist aspect.
There were many years, arguably as long as a decade a half, of opportunities for a large strongly anti-war movement to emerge among Chican@s and New Afrikans. It didn’t happen. Paleoconservatives don’t march in the street to the extent some others do, but it seems there is an isolationist movement larger than any anti-war Chican@ movement, for example, at least in terms of absolute numbers.
It’s not that Buchanan represents some white proletariat struggling against imperialism as even some of Buchanan’s pseudo-Marxist critics might imagine, or that critics of Trump and the Syria strike represent a force more proletarian or revolutionary than the U.$. working class. AmeriKKKans are generally reactionary. They may even be fascist more often than not – among Democrats and liberals as well, not just as Republicans, neoconservatives, or paleoconservatives. Some U.S. liberals are more fascist than some conservatives. The idea that building an anti-war movement in the United States requires producing a large number of liberals, supposed leftists, ideologically pure people, or people who agree with certain bundles of ideas, is dubious at best.
Much of the criticism this writer would make of Buchanan would also apply to many of Buchanan’s Amerikan critics. The difference – the most important one right now – is that Buchanan is more anti-war, or at least more non-interventionist – than most of them.
The conclusion of some that there is no U.S. anti-war movement at all is inaccurate and in some cases politically self-serving. There is an anti-war movement in the United States with some structure. It just isn’t massive, and it may not be concentrated among liberals and alleged leftists at this time. Since growing anti-war organizations – even those opposing multiple wars – permissive on non-war questions have dynamics of their own, and certainly it would be strange for a real Marxist to lead an organization of paleoconservatives, the absence of clear strong alternatives to anti-war paleoconservative or isolationist pressure has significant consequences.
Paleoconservatives who are against war need to step up what they are doing on that front. If these paleocons are serious about opposing war, they need to pay attention to what some are admitting about the continuing absence of a massive anti-war movement. Opposing war only to the extent necessary to get some people elected in 2018 isn’t enough. There has been a crisis of leftist leadership for years now in the United States, and at this point in time liberals on their own might continue to support war until Trump has exceeded Obama in destruction. It is clear that some, claiming to be concerned about environmental disaster, also have a psychotic need to see Trump and Putin go to war against each other as retribution for perceived interference in the U.S. presidential election. ◊
• “Americans use the travel ban issue to support war,” 2017 April. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2017-04-11-news-travel-ban-Syria-warmongering.md
• “There is still no massive U.S. anti-war movement, thanks to Democrats,” 2017 March. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2017-03-20-news-US-antiwar-movement-Democrats-Korea-Russia.md
• “Not a population time bomb, but a revolutionary opportunity for the Third World: a series of MIM articles on the gender, national and class aspects of population growth,” 2004 September 10. https://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/gender/demographics2004.html
• “Buchanan steals phony Marxist thunder,” 1996 February. https://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/mn/mn.php?issue=109
1. “Liberal Democrats are complicit in the Syria strike,” 2017 April. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2017-04-09-news-2017-April-Syria-air-base-strike.md ““
2. “Is Trump enlisting in the War Party?” 2017 April 10. http://buchanan.org/blog/trump-enlisting-war-party-126799
3. “Pro-choice is pro-war at this time: Sterilize all men!” https://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/gender/choicewarmongers.html “In the 1980s, when the largest single enemy of the u.$. imperialists was the Soviet Union, it was a case where pro-choice rhetoric had a positive aspect for the peace movement. In the Soviet Union, a case was easy to make that the attitude toward reproductive rights was more progressive than in the united $tates.”
4. “Jake Gyllenhaal to play anarchist joining the fight against Isis,” 2017 March 24. https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/mar/24/jake-gyllenhaal-daniel-espinosa-isis-syria-film-drama
“On the front lines of Syria with the young American radicals fighting ISIS,” 2017 February 14. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/american-anarchists-ypg-kurdish-militia-syria-isis-islamic-state-w466069 “Franceschi was vague about his background, but wore a Mao pin, owned a fortune in Bitcoin and spoke seven languages, including Arabic and Kurmanji. With no military experience, he was sent to the front line, where Kurdish defenders were outnumbered perhaps five to one.”
5. “Buchanan reveals fissure in ruling class,” 1999 December 1. https://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/mn/mn199/fissure.txt “Buchanan stole the song of the social-democrats crying about free trade and the labor aristocracy in the dying industries. The capitalists and so-called workers from the distressed industries shared a common interest in protectionism and economic nationalism. / When Buchanan stole their song, the democratic socialists and social-democrats did not change their song. They kept singing it louder than before and some wrote influential columns praising Buchanan. Some people such as Lenora Fulani and Fred Newman of the defunct New Alliance Party have joined up with him in the Reform Party and meet with Buchanan over lunch.(2) / MIM warned about this in MIM Notes 111: “The social-democrats, phony communists and other labor aristocracy representatives would like to deny that they have anything in common with Buchanan. They don’t want to admit their responsibility for unleashing his movement because they see that the strongest movement against NAFTA and GATT and for ‘American jobs’ is also against immigrants, gays/lesbians, women and internal oppressed nations.””