Buchanan is a paleoconservative, he is a white nationalist, he is an artist of white racial grievance as a driver of white working class votes and white middle class votes, honestly; and he has been calling for revolutionary white nationalist politics on the right consistently and in the same way without evolving at all himself from the sixties until now, through his most recent books.
The far right has figured that out. His books are required reading in the pro-Trump right wing paramilitary groups, some of which are facing sedition charges now; but he’s the most consistent, lyrical Republican racist of the mid-twentieth century and the start of the twenty-first and that will be important for us understanding what happened to the right and to the Republican party in this century.
I think it helps to look at it from a broad historical perspective and just to realize that these impulses and these arguments and these ideas of racial grievance and racial reorganization, and racial oppression, they don’t go away and they don’t change very much. They get articulated with more or less flowery language over time but, when you build the Nixon-Agnew administration on the idea that the civil rights movement is a bunch of communists and it’s American patriotism to oppose communists and therefore to oppose civil rights; and that’s why anyone who calls you a racist is really a commie…
When that’s the politics of the sixties and seventies and there is no corrective for it, you just evolve through it. When the Reagan politics around race and welfare queens and this idea again of exploiting racial grievance, but with a smile, persists through those times. When the deep racial radicalism on the right is sort of kept alive, is continually stoked, those guys are continually fomenting what they foment and they fall in and out of favor depending on what the media environment and the electoral environment can tolerate.
What she is driving at there is the thing that put me off on Pat Buchanan from the very beginning:
The problem that I had with Pat Buchanan was always that the thing he was talking about wasn’t the thing he was talking about. What I expressed to Dan Carlin as bad actor or bad faith in relation to his interview of Pat Buchanan in episode 71 of his Common Sense podcast. Buchanan would never come right out and say that brown-skinned people were keeping white people from achieving their white nirvana, but it was behind every single thing he thought and said and it bled through in every thought that he tried to express. He always was a bad liar. Not nearly the confidence man that Caudito Trump is. Trump, who took the racist subtext behind politics in the US and made it the text again. Pat Buchanan helped make a Trump presidency inevitable.
This racial thinking comes out in his belief that Slavic countries belong to Russia, for example.
The title of that article? That is the framing that Pat Buchanan would use when talking about the war in Ukraine. Talking about it as if all Slavs must be under the same government. Racial framing. Just in case you think that Rachel Maddow is making all that shit up. She knows him, which is more than I can say about him.
The original thread for this episode on the bulletin board went way over sixty pages within hours of the podcast releasing. There was a flood of pointless back and forth about getting involved in Ukraine, and very little about whether or not it was the fault of the United States that Ukraine was in outright revolt.
…Which was the core assertion that Dan made in the episode, that the United States was to blame for the violence occurring in Ukraine. Directly at fault for it, if not actually conducting it ourselves.
I couldn’t get a word in edgewise to discuss the issue that I thought was more important than whether or not we could keep Ukraine away from Russia without destroying all of human civilization in the process. Whether or not the DCBBS-hated President Obama was to blame for Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.
Nor did I buy that the United States would be actively trying to undermine a government that it had contracted to fly into space with for the next four years:
NASA has signed a new deal that will keep American astronauts flying on Russian spacecraft through early 2017 at a cost of $70.7 million per seat — about $8 million more per astronaut than the previous going rate.
The $424 million deal, which was announced today (April 30), is good for six seats aboard Russia’s Soyuz space capsules. Under the agreement, Soyuz vehicles will now ferry NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station through 2016, with return and rescue services extending until June 2017. The previous contract provided Soyuz flights for NASA astronauts through 2015, at a cost of roughly $62.7 million per seat.
NASA has been dependent on the Soyuz since the retirement of its space shuttle fleet in July 2011. The agency is currently encouraging American private spaceflight firms to develop their own astronaut taxis under its Commercial Crew Program….because, you know, we’re always going to gen up hostilities with people we’re contracted to fly into space with for the next 4 years. Sorry, Dan. I’m simply not buying this one.
A common assertion on the DCBBS. I was simply not buying the argument. Any part of the argument. I’m not buying 9/10’s of the history of spying that spies relate, because they can’t offer proof until long, long after the events in question are over and done with. Dan’s main source for the episode was this newscast from Democracy Now. The last I checked Democracy Now wasn’t a legitimate news source. Until there is real news to relate, citing fringe sources makes Dan sound like the guy that the Estonian poster on the first page of the thread recollected:
…it is often very easy for me to agree with Dan and see the common sense in his arguments, because I’m not from US. So having no personal bias and being completely disengaged from the vast majority of issues he addresses, it is very easy for me to agree.
But today was little different. Today he touched some issues which also involve me a bit. And it wasn’t that the big picture view of potential US vs russia+china cold war didn’t make rational sense and isn’t worrying, it just felt odd hearing this american-centric view on things, where I know I’d also be involved in the equation(together with 10s of millions other people), yet not important enough in the big picture.
I’m speaking here about what was briefly mentioned, the NATO expanding it’s borders right next to russia and what potential problems it can cause. I’d like to put it out there, that there was/is actually 2 sides to that coin. With those countries, as much as it was probably NATO looking to expand east, it was as much about those counties running for their lives, as hard and fast as they could so they could get as far far away from russia as they could.
I live in Estonia and our entire foreign policy seems to be built up only on 1 thing – maintaining extremely good relations with US and advocating they would in fact get involved in situations like the one in Ukraina, in case when we get in trouble with russia ourselves. And what we also think like Dan does, that with russia getting stronger over time, is just matter of when, not if. For us, the US policy of playing the world policeman is the best we have going for us. So Dans nightmare scenarios of US being forced to involve itself against russia is our dream scenario in such situation. Cause if not, my country would probably done within days and I myself would be likely dead. Or actually the real dream scenario the perception of that looming threat of US getting involved keeps russians away in first place, high stakes game this. Anyways I guess it is much easier not to worry about global power balances stuff if things are very black and white for you personally
I just feel like this is a small niche perspective which went slightly ignored in todays show, justified or not, just wanted to get it off my chest.
The short answer is, Dan is assigning too much importance to the presence of the US in the region and downplaying the aspirations of Vladimir Putin and Russia, the actors present on the scene at the time.
There is real news out there to be commented on. We don’t have to go to fringe elements to get our news. Might I suggest surfing over to the BBC and watching As it happened: Ukraine turmoil for a little more level-headed view of what is happening in Ukraine right now. It’s too bad we don’t have real news agencies in the US.
If we’re going to talk about unwanted United States interference in Russia today, let’s talk about this interference:
IN NOVEMBER 2010, Russia’s Sanctity of Motherhood organization kicked off its first-ever national conference. The theme, according to its organizers, was urgent: solving “the crisis of traditional family values” in a modernizing Russia. The day opened with a sextet leading 1,000 swaying attendees in a prayer. Some made the sign of the cross, others bowed or raised their arms to the sky before settling into the plush red and gold seats of the conference hall at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral.
On the second morning of the conference, the only American in attendance, a tall, collected man, stepped up for his speech. Larry Jacobs, vice president of the Rockford, Illinois-based World Congress of Families (WCF), an umbrella organization for the US religious right’s heavy hitters, told the audience that American evangelicals had a 40-year track record of “defending life and family” and they hoped to be “true allies” in Russia’s traditional values crusade.
The gathering marked the beginning of the family values fervor that has swept Russia in recent years. Warning that low birth rates are a threat to the long-term survival of the Russian people, politicians have been pushing to restrict abortion and encourage bigger families. Among the movement’s successes is a law that passed last summer and garnered global outrage in the run-up to the Sochi Winter Olympics, banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors,” a vague term that has been seen as effectively criminalizing any public expression of same-sex relationships.
Interference that is coming straight out of Dan’s religious blind spot as per usual. I mean, if it matters that NGO’s are pushing American agendas in Ukraine, the crux of Dan’s complaints in the episode, then it should be a matter of great concern for Vladimir Putin that American evangelicals are exporting their religious beliefs to his people. But he doesn’t seem concerned about that. He only seems concerned about what happens in Ukraine. As if his real problem is controlling Ukraine and not the influence of the United States at all.
The discussion that I wanted to have on the DCBBS was getting lost amidst the wargaming scenarios that were taking over the Poking the Bear thread, so I created another thread. The title of this post was the title of that second thread. In the original post I simply observed that:
Since Nostradamus has never predicted anything with accuracy or precision, I’d grant Buchanan resides in that realm.
The entirety of the argument that Dan was relating in the Poking the Bear episode relied upon whether or not Pat Buchanan’s book A Republic Not an Empire (chapter two) was prescient in predicting that America’s meddling in Russian politics while it was weak after the USSR collapsed lead directly to Putin’s aggression on the world stage. Pat Buchanan is only accurate because Dan deems his predictions accurate, like Nostradamus fans deem Nostradamus accurate while they squint at disjointed phrases and try to apply them to modern events. What Buchanan’s predictions are proof of is that you can make generically vague predictions and then sit back and wait for their very vagueness to make them appear prescient. People will laud you for your foresight when something that looks almost like what you suggested comes true.
They do all the work, you get all the credit. That is what is wrong with opportunists like Pat Buchanan. Opportunists are just in it for the credit, they just want to look good while saying I told you so.
There are no honest actors on the conservative/neo-con side of the political spectrum today. No people willing to act in good faith. None of them can admit what their true agendas are because the public would not approve of the agenda. Maybe Bill O’Reilly would be that stupid. He’s politically clueless enough to air what he really thinks and has been subsequently embarrassed because of it. Honest actors do not conceal what their real motives are. You can find them in the pundit class because the pundit class doesn’t have to win election. They are almost unheard of in politics and Pat Buchanan has political aspirations. He’s going to lie and he’s not very good at it, either.
It was at that point in the thread on the DCBBS where I set about writing what would become this post:
…although I didn’t hit publish on the research that I started in the Poking the Bear thread until June, after Russia shot down a civilian airliner in Ukrainian airspace, and there was a subject that wasn’t being discussed elsewhere for me to comment on here on the blog. I know I started it then because I posted links that I use in that article in the thread at that point, and I saved them.
Kyiv was the original Russian capital. It was the original Russian/Slavic capital until it was sacked by the Mongols, and the people who survived fled North and established Moscow. That is a crude oversimplification of the facts, but it remains true that the population of Kyiv is more European than the more Northern Russian speakers are, because the city’s bones were refleshed by people who were not Slavic, even if Kyiv itself remains essentially a Russian city. As the good professor says in the Democracy Now interview:
And the longer-term outcome may be—and I want to emphasize this, because nobody in the United States seems to want to pay attention to it—the outcome may be the construction, the emergence of a new Cold War divide between West and East, not this time, as it was for our generation, in faraway Berlin, but right on the borders of Russia, right through the heart of Slavic civilization. And if that happens, if that’s the new Cold War divide, it’s permanent instability and permanent potential for real war for decades to come. That’s what’s at stake.
…even if every other thing he says in the interview was unsubstantiatable bullshit, that part remains true. It’s true because that is how events have played out since then, with no resolution.
I have to hand it to Smitty-48 who replied to my posts in the original Poking the Bear thread. He had it right. Russia and Putin were coming for us, and we weren’t ready. Just like he said. Talk about prophetic.
If Dan’s major point was that Pat Buchanan objected to efforts to democratize Ukraine, similar to the kinds of systems that the rest of Europe has adopted, if Pat Buchanan saw that as attempting to sway Ukraine and bring it under our influence, then Dan Carlin should have said that and illustrated why this activity wasn’t what it pretended to be on the surface, an attempt to make Ukraine more European and less oligarchic. Less like Putin’s Russia and the other countries still under his control. Less corrupt than it was. Dan never did that legwork and so consequently never got my buy-in on his and Buchanan’s supposition.
I was not going to spend a month reading a bullshit book authored by someone whose basic premises I disagreed with just to shoot down the mistaken hype of those premises by a podcaster that I only vaguely still agreed with anymore. Pat Buchanan and Vladimir Putin agree that the US is trying to take over Ukraine. History has proven that assertion to be the correct one. I’m not sure that proof is a convincing defense for either Pat Buchanan or Dan Carlin from a historical perspective. At best it is advice for future leaders dealing with Russia, and what they might take from that advice is completely open to question.
As I pointed out with my one example in the thread, there were hundreds of NGO’s working in all of the various former Republics of the Soviet Union including inside of Russia. Efforts that changed Russia and that Putin embraced as part of his power grab. The problem wasn’t the NGO’s, the problem was and is Vladimir Putin. If you don’t deal harshly with the aggressor in your midst you will come to rue the day that you didn’t act sooner. The regret will occur because the aggressor will not by stopped by appeasement.
In the culture war for the future of mankind, Putin is planting Russia’s flag firmly on the side of traditional Christianity.