February 24, 2005

Pat Buchanan: A "Real" Conservative?

From everything I've ever heard about Patrick J. Buchanan, I understand that he is a really swell guy. Personally, I never had a problem with Buchanan but he seems to forget that modern American Conservatism is not a purebred political philsophy. To him, there are true conservatives and a collection of non-Leftist factions squeezing their way underneath the Conservative umbrella. In fact, his magazine, The American Conservative, is his response to National Review and The Weekly Standard.

As someone who generally considers himself a Conservative, I take exception with Pat's take on many issues, but especially on foreign policy. As he explains in his most recent article:

"Who and what converted a president who came to office with no knowledge of the world to the idea that only a global crusade for democracy could keep us secure? Answer: 9/11 and the neoconservatives.

In his inaugural address, Mr. Bush calls 9/11 the day "when freedom came under attack." This is sophomoric. Osama did not send fanatics to ram planes into the World Trade Center because he hates the Bill of Rights. He sent the terrorists here because he hates our presence and policies in the Middle East. He did it for the same reason FLN rebels blew up cafes in Paris and Hamas suicide bombers blow up pizza parlors in Jerusalem."

Now granted 9/11 changed the perspective of most Americans because it forced us to deal with the reality that we are not safe from those that wish us harm. But the idea that these threats would have gone away if we had simply folded our tents, recalled our ambassadors to the countries in the Middle East and severed all relations with Israel is preposterous. This view is very much like the one harbored by those on the Left. I've got news for Pat, that's not Conservatism, that's Isolationism. And an isolationist policy leaves our future security to the whims of other nations.

The attacks on the West in general and America in particular are aimed at one thing: to stem the influence of free societies on the fear societies of the Middle East and prevent it from encroaching on the iron grip of Wahhabi Islam over the people of that region. Do our past and current policies, including our actions in the War on Terror, intensify this aim? Absolutely. But guess what? It's there if we do nothing, too. And if we do nothing, then the power of terrorism to achieve this aim is guaranteed.

Buchanan derides the influence of the dreaded "neoconservatives" - who he calls the "anti-conservatives." And he brushes aside the premise of Natan Sharansky's Case For Democracy that human beings by nature will choose freedom over tyranny despite the evidence of his own eyes when 60% of registered Iraqi voters face threats of death to exercise their right to cast a ballot in a free election. And one cannot help detect an underlying sense of anti-Semitism as he uses the term "neocon" to refer directly to the group of foreign policy advisors in the Bush administration who all happen to be Jewish. Buchanan seems to insinuate that the President is being manipulated by Israel through its sinister agents in the Defense Department and on the National Security Council.

Buchanan fails to acknowledge that philosophies change with the times. The same strain of "America First" that drove Charles Lindbergh to publicly campaign against the U.S. getting involved in "Europe's War" in the late 1930's is even less of a realistic option today. In the 21st Century, U.S. interests and global interests are more intertwined than ever. And the United States has an opportunity to help those who live under tyranny to achieve the kind of freedom that we as Americans take for granted. This, in turn, makes the world a safer place.

Sorry Pat, but with Conservatives like you, we don't need Liberals.

Posted by: Gary at 10:26 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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