Who lost the world Bush 41 left be­hind?

Pawtucket Times - - OPINION -

Ge­orge H.W. Bush was Amer­ica’s closer.

Called in to pitch the fi­nal in­nings of the Cold War, Bush 41 presided mas­ter­fully over the fall of the Ber­lin Wall, the uni­fi­ca­tion of Ger­many, the lib­er­a­tion of 100 mil­lion East­ern Euro­peans and the dis­so­lu­tion of the Soviet Union into 15 in­de­pen­dent na­tions.

History’s as­sign­ment com­plete, Bush 41 was re­tired.

And what hap­pened to the world he left be­hind?

What be­came of that world where Amer­ica was the lone su­per­power, which 41 be­lieved should lead in cre­ation of the New World Or­der?

The Rus­sia that back then was led by Boris Yeltsin, a man des­per­ate to be our friend and ally, is now ruled by an au­to­cratic na­tion­al­ist.

Was not Vladimir Putin an in­evitable re­ac­tion to our treat­ing Rus­sia like an un­trust­wor­thy and dan­ger­ous re­cidi­vist, by our ex­pan­sion of NATO into the Balkans, the east­ern Baltic and the Black Sea – the en­tire front porch of Mother Rus­sia?

Did the Amer­ica that in her early decades de­clared the Mon­roe Doc­trine be­lieve a great nation like Rus­sia would for­ever in­dulge the pres­ence of a hos­tile al­liance on her doorstep led by a dis­tant su­per­power?

In this same quar­ter cen­tury that we treated Rus­sia like a crim­i­nal sus­pect, we wel­comed China as the prodi­gal son. We threw open our mar­kets to Chi­nese goods, es­corted her into the WTO, smiled ap­prov­ingly as U. S. com­pa­nies shifted pro­duc­tion there.

Bei­jing re­cip­ro­cated – by ma­nip­u­lat­ing her cur­rency, run­ning up hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars in trade sur­pluses with us, and thiev­ing our tech­nol­ogy when she could not ex­tort it from our in­dus­tries in China. Bei­jing even sent stu­dent spies into Amer­i­can uni­ver­si­ties.

Now the mask has fallen. China is claim­ing all the wa­ters around her, build­ing is­land bases in the South China Sea and de­ploy­ing weapons to counter U.S. air­craft car­ri­ers. Cre­at­ing ports and bases in Asia and Africa, con­fronting Tai­wan – China clearly sees Amer­ica as a po­ten­tially hos­tile ri­val power and is reach­ing for hege­mony in the Western Pa­cific and East Asia.

And who pro­duced the poli­cies that led to the “unipo­lar power” of 1992 be­ing chal­lenged by th­ese two great pow­ers now col­lab­o­rat­ing against us? Was it not the three pres­i­dents who sat so un­com­fort­ably be­side Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump at the state funeral of 41?

Late in the 20th cen­tury, Osama bin Laden de­clared war on us for our hav­ing planted mil­i­tary bases on the sa­cred soil of Mecca and Me­d­ina; and, on Sept. 11, 2001, he made good on his dec­la­ra­tion.

Amer­ica re­coiled, in­vad- ed Afghanistan, over­threw the Tal­iban, and set out to build an Afghan regime on Amer­i­can prin­ci­ples. Bush 43, declar­ing that we were be­sieged by “an axis of evil,” at­tacked and oc­cu­pied Iraq.

We then helped ig­nite a civil war in Syria that be­came, with hun­dreds of thou­sands dead and mil­lions up­rooted, the great­est hu­man­i­tar­ian disas­ter of the cen­tury,

Then fol­lowed our at­tack on Libya and sup­port for Saudi Ara­bia’s war to crush the Houthi rebels in Ye­men, a war that many be­lieve has sur­passed Syria as the world’s worst hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis.

Where are the fruits of our for­ever war in the Mid­dle East that jus­tify the 7,000 U.S. dead, 60,000 wounded and untold tril­lions of dol­lars lost?

Since Ge­orge H.W. Bush left the White House, the U. S. has in­curred $ 12 tril­lion in trade deficits, lost scores of thou­sands of man­u­fac­tur­ing plants and 5 mil­lion man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs. Our eco­nomic in­de­pen­dence is an­cient history.

After 41 left, the Repub­li­can Party sup­ported an im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy that brought tens of mil­lions, mostly un­skilled and poor, half of them il­le­gal, into the coun­try. Re­sult: The Nixon-Rea­gan coali­tion that de­liv­ered two 49- state land­slides in the ‘ 70s and ‘ 80s is history, and the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee has lost the pop­u­lar vote in six of the last seven pres­i­den­tial elec­tions.

From 1992 to 2016, the Amer­i­can es­tab­lish­ment con­temp­tu­ously dis­missed as “iso­la­tion­ists” those who op­posed their wars for democ­racy in the Mid­dle East, and as “pro­tec­tion­ists” those who warned that by run­ning up th­ese mas­sive trade deficits we were ex­port­ing Amer­ica’s fu­ture.

The es­tab­lish­ment airily dis­missed those who said that push­ing NATO right up to Rus­sia’s bor­ders would en­rage and per­ma­nently an­tag­o­nize a mighty mil­i­tary power. They ridiculed skep­tics of our em­brace of the Chi­nese rulers who de­fended the Tianan­men mas­sacre.

The es­tab­lish­ment won the great po­lit­i­cal bat­tles be­fore 2016. But how did the democ­racy cru­saders, glob­al­ists, open bor­ders pro­gres­sives and in­ter­ven­tion­ists do by their coun­try in th­ese decades?

Did the for­mer pres­i­dents who sat be­side Trump at Na­tional Cathe­dral, and the es­tab­lish­ment seated in the pews be­hind them, re­al­ize that it was their poli­cies, their fail­ures, that gave birth to the new Amer­ica that rose up to throw them out, and put in Don­ald Trump?

Pa­trick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Bat­tles That Made and Broke a Pres­i­dent and Di­vided Amer­ica For­ever.”

PAT BUCHANAN

THE TIMES — Fri­day, De­cem­ber 7, 2018

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