American Consequences - May 2020

our nation – there seems to be no stomach among the public for a war with China. But again, with the democracy crusades now repudiated, what is America’s cause? What is America’s mission in the world? “Preventing climate change,” say our liberal elites. Yet even before the pandemic, global warming ranked near the bottom of national concerns. The situation in which America will find herself after the virus passes and depression lifts will be almost unprecedented. We will have the same treaty obligations to go to war on behalf of dozens of nations in Europe and Asia and at the same time, we will be running deficits on the order of $3 trillion a year with a shrunken economic base. If Trump wins, borders will be tightened. The U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East will continue. U.S. manufacturing will begin to be repatriated. Transnational institutions will be downgraded, ignored, and superseded. The watchword will be what it has lately been: “America First.” In a second Trump presidency, there would likely be even less concern for how other nations rule themselves. Does it matter to us if Russia is led by an autocrat not unlike a Romanov czar? That Hindu nationalism wields the whip hand in India, or that Hungarians have rejected Earl Warren’s ideas about liberal democracy? In recent decades, the U.N. General Assembly has seemed to resemble the bar scene in “Star

Wars.” But is how other nations choose to rule themselves any business of ours, if those nations do not threaten us? In the 19th century, when the Hungarians had risen up against the Habsburg Empire and sought U.S. intervention, Henry Clay opposed it: “Far better is it for ourselves... and for the cause of liberty... that we should keep our lamp burning brightly on this western shore, as a light to all nations, than to hazard its utter extinction amid the ruins of falling or fallen republics in Europe.” Not only President Trump’s preferences, but also events seem to be driving us toward such a destiny. To borrow from the title of historian Walter A. McDougall’s classic work, America’s future is as a promised land, not a crusader state. © The Creators Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever . Even before COVID-19, Americans had begun to realize the folly of decades of mindless interventionism over matters irrelevant to our vital interests. "Unsustainable" was the word commonly associated with our foreign policy.

American Consequences


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