Here are some of the views expressed by American conservative political commentator and candidate Pat Buchanan
on global affairs.
Buchanan argues that the United States' ability to control its own affairs is under siege due to free trade ideology, globalism, globalization and other issues, discussed below. He once remarked, "we love the old republic, and when we hear phrases like 'new world order,' we release the safety catches on our revolvers.
For example, Buchanan once suggested that the U.S. remove the United Nations headquarters from New York City and send in the Marines to “help pack”. He supports withdrawal from the Kyoto Treaty, the Rome Treaty and most of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He also suggests that foreign aid be rolled back and that all US troops pull out of Europe. In The Great Betrayal, he wrote, "Like a shipwrecked, exhausted Gulliver on the beach of Lilliput, America is to be tied down with threads, strand by strand, until it cannot move when it awakens. Piece by piece, our sovereignty is being surrendered."
Buchanan proposes economic nationalism
based on the principles of the American School
. He says that "the country comes before the economy; and the economy exists for the people."
A critic of free trade
, he supports repealing the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) and raising tariffs
on imported goods to provide tax relief to domestic industry. Arguing that "you need imports to pay the taxes," he sees tariffs as a vehicle for allowing for tax relief for domestically made products, making them more competitive.
Buchanan does not view tariffs as something that should be set so high as to ensure the foreign product will not be bought (and the tariff hence uncollected), but something that should be adjusted to maximize tax flow. In 2004, he wrote, "Tariffs raise the prices of goods. True. But all taxes -- tariffs, incomes taxes, sales taxes, property taxes -- are factored into the final price of the goods we buy. When a nation puts a tariff on foreign goods coming into the country, it is able to cut taxes on goods produced inside the country. This is the way to give U.S. manufacturers and workers a 'home-field advantage.'"
Buchanan opposes placing economic sanctions on foreign countries, saying they only harm the impoverished and weak while giving tyrants a convenient scapegoat. He has consistently rejected as immoral and self-defeating the idea of imposing sanctions on Arab and Muslim countries, for example. Despite his anti-Communism, he now opposes sanctions on Cuba and criticized proposed sanctions on North Korea. Buchanan also opposed economic sanctions against South Africa during apartheid. (see South Africa, below)
In 1999, Buchanan announced his "Family Farm Bill of Rights." It called for:
- Elimination of all inheritance and capital gains taxes.
- Requiring that all countries that trade with the U.S. give American farmers open access to their markets absent tariffs and quotas.
- Abolition the IMF and end American aid to foreign competitors of U.S. farmers.
- Review of all embargoes and sanctions of foreign countries that "use food exports as a weapon."
- Enforcement of existing anti-trust laws to "prevent mega-mergers from forcing the vertical integration of American agriculture."
- Requiring price disclosure.
- Support for ethanol production as integral to a policy of national energy independence.
- Revision of the Endangered Species Act to require a vote of Congress on every species listed as endangered.
- Regulatory changes: exempting family farms from OSHA, imposing a moratorium on all new regulation, requiring a sunset provision of five years on all regulation, and instituting a defined annual cutback in regulatory paperwork.
- "Restore farmers' Fifth Amendment property rights and end the regulatory theft of property without just compensation."
In 1995, Buchanan announced his "Small Business Bill of Rights." It called for:
- A balanced budget amendment with a tax limitation provision.
- A line item veto for the president.
- Elimination of the federal income tax for small businesses and a 17 percent flat tax on large corporations.
- Slash the capital gains tax, indexing it for inflation and eliminating it for new risk capital invested in start-up businesses.
- End inheritance taxes on all family businesses and family farms.
- A moratorium on new regulation, a sunset provision of years on all regulations, and a defined annual cutback in paperwork for small businesses.
- A review and rollback of the unfunded mandates of the past and restrictions on future unfunded mandates.
- Elimination of all quotas, contract set asides and affirmative action from federal programs and federal law. The aspect of the 1991 quota bill that put the burden of proof on employers will be reversed. The government will have to prove deliberate discrimination on the part of the employer.
- Tort reform at both the state and local level. Punitive and compensatory damages should be related to actual harm done, and the loser should be made to pay the legal fees of the winner.
- The "restoration of property rights under the 5th Amendment."
War and peace
See also the foreign wars section under paleoconservatism.
Buchanan's entire career reflects staunch anti-communism. He called for a strong national defense during the Cold War
and supported the Vietnam War
, saying that communism
directly threatened the safety of the United States. He does not approve of the way the Vietnam War was fought or the initial decision to wage it
, but believes the United States could have won the war if it had been fought correctly. Today, he expresses concern about China as a threat to United States security. In Where the Right Went Wrong
, he claimed that "the Communist Chinese government has the secret loyalty of millions of 'overseas Chinese' from Singapore
to San Francisco
Buchanan opposes other U.S. military actions abroad, including the Persian Gulf and Iraq Wars. Buchanan opposes neo-conservative foreign policy, and has vocally opposed every major military campaign the U.S. has engaged in since the end of the Cold War except the United States invasion of Afghanistan. On The McLaughlin Group in December 2005, he referred to the current war in Iraq as the worst foreign policy disaster of his lifetime, and on "Scarborough Country" in December 2006 he called the war "The worst mistake in American history." Unlike many conservatives, he outspokenly opposed the invasion of Iraq when it was first proposed in 2002 He supports the tradition of 'neutrality' or 'non-interventionism' which was the policy of United States prior to the onset of the Cold War. He has said that "Unless American honor, vital interests or citizens were at risk or have been attacked, U.S. policy should be to stay out of war." He is credited with reviving the slogan "America First", which was the name of a group that opposed American intervention in World War II. In his 1999 book A Republic, Not an Empire, he applauds that organization's efforts and calls its supporters maligned patriots. He also argued that the committee deserves credit for the fact that Soviet casualties far outnumbered American ones on the European Front Buchanan's critics often describe him as an isolationist, which he denies.
He is in favor of ending treaties that he believes do not protect the interests of the United States, such as one-way defense treaties where the U.S. must militarily come to the defense of another country, but not vice versa. For example, he believes that the U.S. no longer has any legitimate reason to be a member of NATO ever since the fall of the Soviet Union and he strongly opposed American intervention in the Yugoslav Wars.
Islam, terror and conflict
Buchanan says George W. Bush
administration meddles in world affairs to the point of imperialism
. He believes that Islamic terrorist
attacks, such as the September 11, 2001 attacks
come as a result of intervening in foreign countries, saying "terrorists
hate us for what we do, not what we are." He says "Our war on terror should more properly be called a war on Al Qaeda
, the ones who attacked us. Terrorism is a weapon of war that has been used from before the destruction of Carthage
He believes it is pointless and dangerous for Americans to force their will on Muslim countries, because "anti-colonial and anti-imperial terror seems to be one of the few occupations at which Arab and Islamic peoples are proficient and successful. Turks, British, French, Israelis, Russians, and, yes, Americans (Lebanon in 1983), have been pushed out of these countries by terrorism and guerrilla war. Why do we want to go back?"
He also says:
Clearly, Islam is going through an upheaval with its incapacity to reconcile itself both with modernity and its militant faith. We should stay out of this revolution inside Islam, as Washington, Adams and Jefferson sought to keep us out of the wars that came out of the French Revolution and its Napoleonic aftermath. That revolution may hit our shores, and when it does, we have to defend ourselves and punish those who attack us. But wholesale military intervention in the Middle East and Islamic world is throwing rocks at bee hives.
Buchanan's social views sometimes contribute to his ideas about trade and foreign policy. For example, he claims that the American media contributes to an unnecessary war because "[m]any of the movies, books, magazines, TV shows, videos and much of the music we export to the world are as poisonous as the narcotics the Royal Navy forced on the Chinese people in the Opium Wars." While he considers Islam barbaric and inferior to Christianity , he also shows sympathy for modern Muslims' opposition to American pop culture today. He says that exporting the "imperial decadence" of "Pagan America" will only provoke Muslim wrath. He wrote:
If conservatives reject the "equality" preached by Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, NARAL and the National Organization for Women, why seek to impose it on the Islamic world? Why not stand beside Islam, and against Hollywood and Hillary? [...] If he [George W. Bush] intends to impose the values of MTV America on the Muslim world in the name of a "world democratic revolution," he will provoke and incite a war of civilizations America cannot win because Americans do not want to fight it. This may be the neocons' war. It is not our war.
Buchanan has gained notoriety for various controversial statements about Canada
. In particular, he coined the epithet Soviet Canuckistan
on an October 31
broadcast of Buchanan and Press
. Following a Canadian outcry responding to new U.S. regulations which allow border officials to photograph and fingerprint Canadian visitors of Middle Eastern descent, Buchanan called Canada a "haven for international terrorists" and "freeloading nation".
Buchanan claims the United States must review its policy toward China
, because it is ambiguous and could lead to war. He argues that America gives this nation "unrestricted" access to its markets – and deserves something back, "besides cheap consumer goods".
He also says that while the Chinese still live under Communist ideology
, they follow economic policies reminiscent of German nationalist Friedrich List
About contemporary China, Buchanan has written:
[The Chinese] are Hamiltonians – resolute and ruthless economic nationalists. They look out and see the same world our forefathers saw, a world of nation-states where the struggle for power and pre-eminence is eternal, where trade is not a game, but an arena of battle, where industrial and technological primacy eventually yield military and strategic supremacy, where those who sacrifice today rule the world tomorrow. They see the world as it is. We see the world as we would like it to be.
Buchanan says that although he supported his boss, President Nixon, when he opened toward China in the 1970s, the geopolitical situation has changed greatly since then. He says that the U.S. should contain, but neither aggravate nor appease, Beijing. He also supports providing Taiwan with defensive weapons and other material, but not troops.
Buchanan argues that Christianity created Europe, but Europe rejected Christianity. So without orthodox morality and ethics, it faces a crisis of legitimacy. He further says that democracy is merely a political process and insufficient for preventing decadence and tyranny.
Buchanan is also a Euroskeptic and opposed the 2005 EU “New Europe” constitution, yet also suggested that the EU offer Russia membership. He complains of an “atheist-socialist superstate rising in Europe” , which is "the prototype of the World Government to come." He also speculates that the "Mother Continent" is endangered by falling birthrates , so that it risks becoming “Islamicized” by immigrants. "For the de-Christianized European Union does not contain a single nation where the birth rate is sufficient to replace the population," he explains, "Europe has begun to die. In 20 nations, the native-born population has begun to shrink. The cohort of workers entering the labor force is not large enough to maintain the welfare benefits, pensions and health care for retirees and elderly."
Some critics equate Buchanan's right-wing nationalism with that of French nationalist Jean-Marie Le Pen, who was convicted and fined by a German court for remarks "minimizing the Holocaust". Buchanan himself contends that Le Pen "made radical and foolish statements", but is not a neo-Nazi. He also says the EU establishment violated the National Front leader's free speech rights. He wrote:
As it is often the criminal himself who is first to cry, "Thief!" so it is usually those who scream, "Fascist!" loudest who are the quickest to resort to anti-democratic tactics. Today, the greatest threat to the freedom and independence of the nations of Europe comes not from Le Pen and that 17 percent of French men and women who voted for him. It comes from an intolerant European Establishment that will accept no rollback of its powers or privileges, nor any reversal of policies it deems "progressive".
Buchanan believes the United States should consider post-Communist Russia
a strong ally and make attempts to bring that country closer to the West. He says, "Just as Russians have to put the Cold War behind them, so do we. America’s quarrel was never with the Russian people, it was with the Bolsheviks
who terrorized Russia and said to Americans when I was young, 'We will bury you
!'" He has called Vladimir Putin
a "patriot and a nationalist who puts Russia first, and who is a resolute guardian of Russian national interests."
He believes Putin is probably "being set up" for the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko
, and that Litvenko's death was likely either a suicide or the work of one of Putin's enemies trying to "put a cloud of suspicion over Putin and a chill over Russian relations with the West."
He has also accused the Bush Administration of harming American interests and endangering America's potential friendship with Russia by needlessly antagonizing the Russian president
"Our vital interest was always in maintaining strong U.S.-Russian ties," he writes, "which have been ravaged by the meddling of neoconservatives mired in Russophobia
In Buchanan's view, both Russia and the United States have a vital interest in resisting Islamic terrorism and the possibility of Chinese expansionism, and that "Of this generation of leaders, it may be said in epitaph: They were too small to see the larger world. They frittered away in a decade what others had won in a half-century of perseverance in the Cold War."
Buchanan says the 1953 Korean War armistice is a good example of a president ending a war that became unwise or unwinnable.
He calls North Korea "Stalinist", but dismisses President Bush's claim that it is part of an “Axis of Evil” with Iran and Iraq.
He says the U.S. should pull its troops out of Korea, letting the North and South should solve the unification problem as an internal issue.
He writes that "While a North Korean attack on the South would imperil U.S. troops on the DMZ
, this is not 1950," and it would make more sense to withdraw U.S. forces from South Korea and simply sell arms to that country, which has a population twice as large and an economy thirty times the size of its rival.
Buchanan believes the Bush administration was hypocritical to demand pre-emptive strikes and regime change for other nations, but not for North Korea. He says a "new generation" of South Koreans resents the U.S. military presence. He also predicts that a U.S. pullout would "moot America's quarrel with the Communist North."
Buchanan opposed economic sanctions designed to punish South Africa for apartheid, as did many other 1980s Republicans. Then he characterized such proposals as "collaborating in a United Nations conspiracy to ruin her with sanctions." He still defends that position, opposes sanctions in general (see Trade
, above) and praises President Reagan for vetoing them.
After Reagan left office, he wrote, "We helped ruin a nation that did us no harm, and that provides a better standard of living for blacks than any other in Africa. We injured an ally of two wars to advance an African National Congress that is shot through with terrorists, Marxists and socialist idiots of the sort who have brought ruin everywhere they have taken power.
Buchanan has also referred to Nelson Mandela as a former train-bomber.
He says that he and the African National Congress used terrorism to overthrow white rule, as did Robert Mugabe in Rhodesia. He uses them an example of how revolutionaries have fought European dominance.