Pat Buchanan - U.S. foregin commitments are not sustainable

Toward the end of the presidency of George H.W. Bush, America stood alone at the top of the world — the sole superpower.

After five weeks of "shock and awe" and 100 hours of combat, Saddam's army had fled Kuwait back up the road to Basra and Bagdad.

Our Cold War adversary was breaking apart into 15 countries. The Berlin Wall had fallen. Germany was reunited. The captive nations of Central and Eastern Europe were breaking free.

Bush I had mended fences with Beijing after the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square. Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin were friends. The president declared the coming of a "new world order." And neocons were chattering about a new "unipolar world" and the "benevolent global hegemony" of the United States.

Consider now the world our next president will inherit.

North Korea, now a nuclear power ruled by a 30-something megalomaniac, is fitting ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads.

China has emerged as the great power in Asia, entered claims to all seas around her, and is building naval and air forces to bring an end to a U.S. dominance of the western Pacific dating to 1945.

Vladimir Putin is modernizing Russian missiles, sending ships and planes into NATO waters and air space, and supporting secessionists in Eastern Ukraine.

The great work of Nixon and Reagan — to split China from Russia in the "Heartland" of Halford Mackinder's "World Island," then to make partners of both — has been undone. China and Russia are closer to each other and more antagonistic toward us than at any time since the Cold War.

Terrorists from al-Qaida and its offspring and the Islamic Front run wild in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Nigeria and Somalia. Egypt is ruled by a dictatorship that came to power in a military coup.

Japan is moving to rearm to meet the menace of North Korea and China, while NAT0 is but a shadow of its former self. Only four of 28 member nations now invest 2 percent of their GDP in defense.

With the exception of the Soviet Union, some geostrategists contend, no nation, not defeated in war, has ever suffered so rapid a decline in relative power as the United States.

What are the causes of American decline? Hubris, ideology, bellicosity and stupidity all played parts.

Toward Russia, which had lost an empire and seen its territory cut by a third and its population cut in half, we exhibited imperial contempt, shoving NATO right up into Moscow's face and engineering "color-coded" revolutions in nations that had been part of the Soviet Union and its near-abroad. Blowback came in the form of an ex-KGB chief who rose to power promising to restore the national greatness of Mother Russia, protect Russians wherever they were, and stand up to the arrogant Americans.

Our folly with China was in deluding ourselves into believing that by throwing open U.S. markets to goods made in China, we would create a partner in prosperity. What we got, after $4 billion in trade deficits with Beijing, was a gutted U.S. manufacturing base and a nationalistic rival eager to pay back the West for past humiliations. China wants this to be the Chinese Century, not the Second American Century. Is that too difficult to understand?

But it was in the Middle East that the most costly blunders were committed. Believing liberal democracy to be the wave of the future, that all peoples, given the chance, would embrace it, we invaded Iraq, occupied Afghanistan and overthrew the dictator of Libya.

So doing, we unleashed the demons of Islamic fanaticism, tribalism, and a Sunni-Shiite sectarian war now raging from North Africa to the Near East.

Yet though America's relative economic and military power today is not what it was in 1992, our commitments are greater.

We are now obligated to defend Eastern Europe and the Baltic republics against a resurgent Russia, South Korea against the North, Japan and the Philippines against a surging China. We bomb jihadists daily in Iraq and Syria, support a Saudi air war in Yemen, and sustain Kabul with 10,000 U.S. troops in its war with the Taliban. Our special forces are all over the Middle East and Africa.

And if the neocons get back into power in 2017, U.S. arms will start flowing to Kiev, that war will explode, and the Tomahawks and B-2s will be on the way to Iran.

Since 1992, the U.S. has been swamped with Third World immigrants, here legally and illegally, many of whom have moved onto welfare rolls. Our national debt has grown larger than our GDP. And we have run $11 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I went home to Kennebunkport.

Thousands of U.S. soldiers have died, tens of thousands have been wounded, trillions of dollars have been expended in these interventions and wars.

Our present commitments are unsustainable. Retrenchment is an imperative.

(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)

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Sanborn — Getting ready for bike week

We are coming right up to the Laconia Motorcycle Week. This is the 92nd running of the event and it kind of marks the start of summer for many bikers. I always think this is a good time to talk about garages. You know, big ones. Garages that will hold a whole bunch of Harleys. The Garage Mahal. It's a guy thing. After all, the lady of the house will decide what goes on inside the residence and the King of the Road is relegated to the basement and garage, right? So that's where we focus our attention. Here are a few with four or more stalls that are worthy of the coveted Hog Pen status.

First up, how about a super sized 26' x 30' garage with high ceilings that will hold all your toys including a boat ? And, you can put that boat on the deeded dock that comes with the property. Sound good? Then check out 2 Spring Street in Sanbornton. There's even a 14' x 30' shed for overflow if you have extra stuff. And, if that isn't enough, there's a house, too! This cozy 1,069 square foot, two bedroom, one bath home has been nicely updated with new flooring, windows with custom blinds, new plumbing and electric, plus it has new exterior paint job. Even the driveway has new blacktop. Sit on the enclosed porch or by the back patio and enjoy the fire pit. The association beach and dock is just down the street so you can take a dip after a long bike ride. This home is offered at $279,900. This is man heaven.

Over at 133 Mile Hill Road in Belmont you'll find another oversize, heated four car garage with storage above plus a 5 stall horse barn for other kinds of horses that burn hay and not gasoline. There's even an automobile lift available if you want to negotiate for it... and you do want it, don't you? This garage and barn sits on 17.5 acres of fields and woods and comes with a great 2,100 square foot ranch house as an added bonus. The custom built house was constructed in 2005 and has three bedrooms, two baths, oak flooring, a hickory kitchen with a Viking gas stove, a great open floor plan, a beautiful stone fireplace in the 19' x 22' living room, and wraparound porch. You can heat with oil or wood pellets to save more money for accessories for your bike. This great property is offered at $399,000. I guarantee your horses, iron or otherwise, will be happy here.

This next house is a true man town property. If you need lots of man space, the property at 41 Christy Lane in Belmont checks all the boxes. This 3,000 square foot log cabin was built in 2004 and has a two car garage under, a detached three bay garage with potential in-law quarters above, and another large heated barn/garage for additional storage or work space. There's even a man cave in the basement! Want to hear about the house or are you sold yet? Well, it has three bedrooms on the main level including the master suite, three baths, a spacious kitchen, a see through gas fireplace separating the sitting and living room, a loft, farmers porch, in-floor heat provided by an outdoor wood furnace or the (indoor) oil furnace. This house sits on 7.33 acres of wonderful privacy. This great log home is offered at $419,000.

My last pick for Garage Mahal garage space is at 3 Beattie Road in Meredith which is across the road from Moulton Farms on a nice five acre lot. You'll never run out of fresh vegetables here, but I digress from the five heated bays located under the main living quarters. What a perfect spot for your bikes, cars, or boats. And the living space above is pretty perfect, too! It has 1,704 square feet of stunning living space with four bedrooms, three full baths, cherry kitchen with granite counter tops and high end appliances, huge 32' x 20' master suite, whole house generator, cedar shingle exterior and two huge decks with mountain views. This property is being offered at $449,900 or just about $89,900 per bay. Seems like a deal to me.

As of June 1, 2015 there were 1,158 homes on the market in the twelve Lakes Region communities covered by this report. The average asking price of homes in the area was $590,590 and the median price point came in at $274,940. That means half of the homes listed for sale were under that $274,950 price point. The current inventory level represents about a 14 month supply of homes on the market. We need a few bikers to come with some extra cash this year to whittle down the inventory...

P​ease feel free to visitwww.lakesregionhome.comto learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. ​Data compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 6/1/15. ​Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012.

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Bob Meade - Ignorning history's lessons

History is like a blueprint to the future. In many ways it repeats itself and, in doing so, provides us with countless indicators that tell us how to fail or how to succeed. The adage, "those who don't know history are bound to repeat it" is lesson number one in how to learn from one's successes or failures. Today, we are witnessing what happens when history's lessons are ignored.

World War II took a devastating toll on the countries of Europe and Asia, but the Allied forces, the west, won the battles. Europe was left with a beaten people and an infrastructure that was in shambles. The United States could have come home and left Europe to fend for itself, and we really don't know what would have happened. We do know, that even with our continued presence, Russia was throwing its weight around and did its best to isolate West Berlin.

When Russia prevented normal road and rail traffic to travel through its controlled portion of Germany into West Berlin, President Truman initiated the Berlin Airlift. For eleven months, United States and British flight crews flew round the clock into Berlin, bringing in tons of essential food and medical supplies and a host of other essentials every single day. The entire operation was a logistical masterpiece. And, our "occupation" forces prevented Russia or others from interfering with the rebuilding of the country.

After Japan's surrender, the United States forged an alliance with that country, even to the point of strongly influencing the development of their Constitution. That bond continues to this day as does our military presence there. That presence is essential to maintaining the peace in Southeast Asia as our country has a long standing treaty with Taiwan (Formosa), where General Chang Kai Shek separated himself and his followers from the mainland Communist Chinese. As of late, China has been making huge investments in its military and has been staking claims in the South China Sea. If they decide to reclaim Taiwan or other islands in that sea, our military presence becomes essential.

Through those rebuilding efforts, and our on-going military presence throughout Germany, Europe, and Japan, those nations have had relative peace for 70 years. To this day, the United States has maintained a military presence, with several hundred military installations around the world.

The examples of Europe and Japan are in contrast to what has happened in the Middle East. Success was achieved in Iraq, with the ouster of Saddam Hussein and the installation of a democratically-elected government. That success however, did not mean that the country was one big happy family. Hussein was a Sunni Muslim, a minority in the country where 63 percent of the population is Shia Muslim. That divide is incredibly significant. On one side of Iraq is Iran, a Shia Muslim nation. On the other side of Iraq is Saudi Arabia, a Sunni Muslim nation. There is a spiritual divided between the two sects as each seeks to rule all of Islam. When our military presence was removed from Iran, it removed any chance of stability in that critical region of the world. As we have seen, the rest of the Middle East is in flames as there is no stable military presence ready, willing, and able to keep each of the factions from trying to dominate the other.

A critical piece of this puzzle is that our true ally, the State of Israel, has the most religiously diverse population in the Middle East; with its Jewish population numbering about six million and its non-Jewish population around two million. Israel is surrounded by Muslim countries that overwhelmingly outnumber its small Jewish population. The issue becomes one of, if they were in a war and "won", would they have enough military to occupy the losing country in order to maintain stability? Obviously, Israel could not provide a sufficient number of troops to control Iran's population of almost 78 million people, or Iraq's over 33 million, or Saudi Arabia's 29 million.

While we maintained a presence in Iraq, a democratically-elected government was installed, consisting of both Sunni and Shia. That didn't mean that the two factions decided to hug each other but, as long as we maintained a presence, things were working. However, when President Obama declared victory and removed our occupying force from Iraq, Shia dominated Iran moved in to gain influence and control over Iraq, a largely Shia country that had been ruled by a Sunni — Saddam Hussein. Now, both Sunni and Shia are plagued by the expansion of the ruthless and savage ISIL terrorist organization.

Those who believe the Middle East will stabilize, and/or that ISIL and other terrorist armies will not continue to expand but will become complacent and non-threatening, are ignoring history's lessons. The United States is the only powerful, stabilizing force in the world and, without its "occupation", no lasting victory can be achieved. Think of Germany and Europe, Japan, Korea, and our military presence in locations from as remote as Iceland to Guam.

Before it comes to your doorstep . . . Think!

(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)

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Pat Buchanan - Cleansing history of Christian males

The culture war against Christianity is picking up speed.

Last week came word that Saint Louis University will remove a heroic-sized statue of Fr. Pierre-Jean De Smet S.J. from the front of Fusz Hall, where it has stood for 60 years.

The statue depicts Fr. De Smet holding aloft a crucifix as he ministers to two American Indians, one of whom is kneeling.

Historically, the statue is accurate. Fr. De Smet, "Blackrobe," as he was known, was a 19th-century missionary to Indian tribes who converted thousands. A friend of Sitting Bull, he spent his last years in St. Louis.

And as the mission of this Jesuit university is, presumably, to instruct the Catholic young in their faith and send them out into the world to bring the good news of Jesus Christ as Lord and savior to nonbelievers, what exactly is the problem here?

According to SLU Assistant Vice President for Communications Clayton Berry, "some faculty and staff ... raised questions about whether the sculpture is culturally sensitive." Senior Ryan McKinley is more specific: "The statue of De Smet depicts a history of colonialism, imperialism, racism and of Christian and white supremacy."

But if the founder of Christianity is the Son of God, then Christianity is a superior religion. What Ryan and those faculty and staff seem to be ashamed of, uncomfortable with, or unable to defend, is the truth for which Saint Louis University was supposed to stand.

But simply because they are cowardly, or politically correct, why should that statue be going into the SLU art museum? Why should not they themselves depart for another institution where their sensitivities will not be assaulted by artistic expressions of religious truths?

The message the SLU president should have given the dissenters is simple: We are a Catholic university that welcomes students and faculty not of the faith. But if you find our identity objectionable, then go somewhere else. We are not changing who we are.

Yet another missionary to the Indians is now becoming a figure of controversy. On his September visit to Washington, D.C., Pope Francis plans to canonize Fr. Junipero Serra, the Spanish Franciscan whom John Paul II beatified in 1988, who converted thousands of Indians in California in the 18th century, when it still belonged to Mexico. Fr. Serra established nine missions up the coast, among them missions that would grow into San Diego, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Barbara and San Francisco. Not only is Fr. Serra's name famous in California, his statue has stood since 1931 in the U.S. Capitol in one of two places set aside for the Golden State. The other statue representing California is that of President Ronald Reagan, unveiled in 2009, which replaced a statue of the preacher Thomas Starr King.
With the pope coming here to canonize Fr. Serra, the war drums have begun. It is said the priest accompanied Spanish soldiers who brutalized the Indians, and Fr. Serra helped to eradicate their religion and culture, replacing it with his own.

Now a move is afoot to remove Fr. Serra's statue. According to the Religion New Service, "State Sen. Ricardo Lara, an openly gay Los Angeles Democrat, wants to replace a bronze statue of Serra with a monument honoring Sally Ride, the nation's first female astronaut. Lara said Ride would become 'the first member of the LGBT community' to be honored in Statuary Hall."

Another drive is underway by feminists to remove the visage of Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill and replace it with that of a woman, preferably a minority woman. Jackson, it is said, was responsible for the ethnic cleansing of the Cherokees in the Trail of Tears.

Yet, Jackson, slashed across the head by a British soldier in the last days of the Revolution for refusing to polish his boots, was also arguably the greatest soldier-statesman in American history.

Gen. Jackson led the 1815 defense of New Orleans against the British invasion force, and crushed the Indian marauders in Florida, drove out the Spanish governor, and cleared the path for annexation. Twice elected president, Jackson is, with Jefferson, a father of the Democratic Party, and he and his proteges Sam Houston and James K. Polk virtually doubled the size of the United States.

One Internet poll advanced four leading candidates to replace Jackson: Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Wilma Mankiller and Harriet Tubman.

But when we look at who is currently on America's currency — George Washington on the $1 bill, Abe Lincoln on the $5, Hamilton on the $10, Jackson on the $20, Ulysses S. Grant on the $50, Ben Franklin on the $100 — do any of these women really compete in terms of historic achievement with what those great men accomplished?

Aren't we carrying this affirmative action business a bit too far?

What all these arguments are at bottom all about, however, is a deep divide among us over the question: Was the European Christian conquest of America, given its flaws and failings, on balance, a great and good thing. Or not?

(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)


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Susan Estrich - The Jimmy Carter myth

Does George Pataki really think he can win the nomination? Rand Paul? Rick Santorum? Whoever announced this morning? Yes. How can they possibly think this, you ask (unless you are one of their ardent supporters)? I mean, a first-term senator, a former printing executive, whatever, who, frankly, no one has ever heard of is going to get elected president? How are they going to raise the $300 million or however much it will take to win the nomination?

Back in 1974, there was a termed-out one-term Georgia governor with these two very smart 20-something aides (who also were sort of termed out if he was), and one of them, the late Hamilton Jordan, wrote one of those famous memos that become symbols in politics. The gist of it was: Iowa is a caucus state. You could meet every person who goes to a caucus. Do. If you win Iowa, it becomes a huge national story, and they put you on the covers of the magazines (a big deal in those days), and the money rolls in on your way to New Hampshire. And if you win New Hampshire — my goodness, the famous first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary — or even do better than expected, you're all of a sudden the national frontrunner, and all you need is one Southern state tucked right up there, and you've got what you need to prove that you are the overwhelming choice of the nation.

Three states. Pretty good. Actually, it's pretty much still the only strategy that works if you're one of the people whose decision to run for president is something we hear about in the car radio but can't quite remember by the time we get in the house.

The joke in Iowa — and it's actually happened to me and everyone else — is that you bring your candidate to a small event at someone's farm at some incredibly early hour of the morning, and at the end of his promising every form of agricultural subsidy you could reasonably request, you ask one of the guests whether he's ready to support your candidate, and he looks at you like you're absolutely crazy and says, "But I've only met him once."

Now, you could argue that the ability to survive years of living-room grilling is a good test of presidential skills, although I'm not sure why, since it has absolutely nothing to do with winning general elections, much less governing. But it has a great deal to do with how the presidential races get played out.
While it's true that Jimmy Carter went on to win the presidency, Iowa caucus voters are rarely so accurate in their predictions. President Huckabee? Or was that President Santorum? They were the last two Iowa "winners."

No, predicting presidents is hardly the purpose of Iowa, so much as propelling insurgents. I will never forget one Iowa caucus night, driving around and literally seeing what seemed to be every church bus in the state on the highways. And thus was the birth of the Christian Coalition. Who, after all, has buses other than schools (teachers are always much sought after by Democrats) and churches?

In the years since, Iowa's Republican caucus has become the weeding-out ground for all the candidates whose names you can't remember, especially on the right. Jeb Bush will survive Iowa; a lot of the other folks getting up early to hit the farms won't. But the one or two who do the best, especially if they can follow up with a strong showing in New Hampshire, win the right to challenge Bush or whoever the mainstream establishment such as it is has resigned itself to. As for everybody else, enjoy the chicken fries.

(Susan Estrich is a professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California Law Center. A best-selling author, lawyer and politician, as well as a teacher, she first gained national prominence as national campaign manager for Dukakis for President in 1988.)

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