Can America Fight Two Cold Wars at Once?

How did the U.S. reach the point where we’re looking at cold wars on two fronts, and for how long can we maintain this tension?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Kim Jong Un, angered by the newest U.S. sanctions, is warning that North Korea’s commitment to denuclearization could be imperiled and we could be headed for “exchanges of fire.”

Iran, warns Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is testing ballistic missiles that are forbidden to them by the UN Security Council.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that, within days, he will launch a military thrust against U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in northern Syria, regarding them as allies of the PKK terrorist organization inside Turkey.

Vladimir Putin just flew two Tu-160 nuclear capable bombers to Venezuela. Ukraine claims Russia is amassing tanks on its border.

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How did the United States, triumphant in the Cold War, find itself beset on so many fronts?

First, by intervening militarily and repeatedly in a Mideast where no vital U.S. interest was imperiled, and thereby ensnaring ourselves in that Muslim region’s forever war.

Second, by extending our NATO alliance deep into Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the Baltics, thereby igniting a Cold War II with Russia.

Third, by nurturing China for decades before recognizing she was becoming a malevolent superpower whose Asian-Pacific ambitions could be realized only at the expense of friends of the United States.

The question, then, for our time is this: Can the U.S. pursue a Cold War policy of containment against both of the other great military powers, even as we maintain our Cold War commitments to defend scores of countries around the globe?

And, if so, for how long can we continue to do this, and at what cost?

Belatedly, the U.S. establishment has recognized the historic folly of having chaperoned China onto the world stage and seeking to buy her lasting friendship with $4 trillion in trade surpluses at our expense since Bush 41.

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Consider how China has reciprocated America’s courtship.

She has annexed the South China Sea, built air and missile bases on half a dozen disputed islets, and told U.S. ships and planes to stay clear.

She has built and leased ports and bases from the Indian Ocean to Africa. She has lent billions to poor Asian and African countries like the Maldives, and then demanded basing concessions when these nations default on the debts owed for building their facilities.

She has sent hundreds of thousands of students to U.S. colleges and universities, where many have allegedly engaged in espionage.

She kept her currency below market value to maintain her trade advantage and entice U.S. corporations to China where they are shaken down to transfer their technology secrets.

China has engaged in cyber theft of the personnel files of 20 million U.S. federal applicants and employees. She apparently thieved the credit card and passport numbers of 500 million guests at Marriott hotels over the years.

She has sought to steal the secrets of America’s defense contractors, especially those working with the Navy whose 7th Fleet patrols the Western Pacific off China’s coast.

She is believed to be behind the cybersecurity breaches that facilitated the theft of data on the U.S. F-22 and F-35, information now suspected of having played a role in Beijing’s development of its fifth-generation stealth fighters.

Christians are persecuted in China. And Beijing has established internment camps for the Uighur minority, where these Turkic Muslim peoples are subjected to brainwashing with Chinese propaganda.

China’s interests, as manifest in her behavior, are thus in conflict with U.S. interests. And the notion that we should continue to cede her an annual trade surplus at our expense of $400 billion seems an absurdity.

We have, for decades, been financing the buildup of a Communist China whose ambition is to expel us from East Asia and the Western Pacific, achieve dominance over peoples we have regarded as friends and allies since World War II, and to displace us as the world’s first power.

Yet if engagement with China has failed and left us facing a new adversary with 10 times Russia’s population, and an economy nearly 10 times Russia’s size, what should be our policy?

Can we, should we, pursue a Cold War with Russia and China, using Kennan’s containment policy and threatening war if U.S. red lines are crossed by either or both?

Should we cut back on our treaty commitments, terminating U.S. war guarantees until they comport with what are true vital U.S. interests?

Should we, faced with two great power adversaries, do as Nixon did and seek to separate them?

If, however, we conclude, as this city seems to be concluding, that the long-term threat to U.S. interests is China, not Putin’s Russia, President Trump cannot continue a trade relationship that provides the Communist Party of Xi Jinping with a yearly $400 billion trade surplus.

For that would constitute a policy of almost suicidal appeasement.

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever and previous titles including The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority, Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? and Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War, all available from the AFP Online Store.

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Trump Pushes for POW/MIA Recovery from North Korea

A positive outcome of the Singapore Summit between President Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un was Kim’s agreement to return to the U.S. remains of some of the 7,700 American servicemen listed as missing in action since the Korean conflict. Kim made good on his promise—initially transferred to UN control in South Korea, the remains were then sent to Hawaii, where V.P. Mike Pence received the 55 cases on July 31. The DOD POW/MIA Accounting Agency confirms these are “likely” U.S. Army soldiers who fought in the November 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, a battle that left 1,024 Americans missing, and will begin DNA testing to determine the soldiers’ identities.

By S. T. Patrick

While the rancorous debate of partisanship and the ideologies of war and peace have dominated the political environment throughout the last century, Americans have remained generally united around the plight of their prisoners of war (POWs) and those missing in action (MIA). The gains that President Donald Trump and American diplomats can make now will be mostly symbolic. Over 70 years have passed since World War II, 60 years since the Korean War, and over 40 years have gone by since American forces left Vietnam. Yet the Trump White House has made gains with North Korea and seeks to further their efforts to clarify POW/MIA information elsewhere.

In April, Trump declared a national prisoner-of-war recognition day. Critics had not forgotten that, while campaigning in Iowa in 2015, Trump negatively responded to the labeling of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) as a “war hero.”

“He’s not a hero,” Trump said. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, okay? I hate to tell you that.”

Despite the verbal gaffe, Trump just weeks ago secured the remains of approximately 200 POWs and MIAs missing after the Korean War. The continuing effort to account for the human effects of the Korean War is part of improving relations between both Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as well as between North and South Korea. The recent Singapore summit between Trump and Kim has been credited with the thaw in relations, but there is much work still to be done.

THOUSANDS LEFT BEHIND

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U.S. military data show that the remains of around 5,300 Americans who fought in the Korean War could still be in North Korea. The other 2,400 POWs and MIAs from the war could be located in South Korea or China, or their remains may have been unrecovered. The North Korean government had already given back the remains of 340 Americans since 1990.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) shows that over 82,000 Americans are still missing from World War II through the Gulf Wars. According to the DPAA, over 41,000 of those missing are considered lost at sea.

While what will mostly ever be recovered are remains of dead POWs and MIAs, a declassified intelligence report obtained by Mark Sauter and John Zimmerlee, authors of American Trophies: How American POWs Were Surrendered to North Korea, China, and Russia by Washington’s “Cynical Attitude,” show that as recently as the 1990s, Americans were being held captive in China, North Korea, and the former Soviet Union.

“When most Americans think of pressing issues with Beijing, Moscow, and Pyongyang, topics such as cybersecurity, trade, and arms proliferation come to mind,” wrote Sauter and Zimmerlee. “But for families across the nation, the most important issue is one rarely discussed by government and media—the fate of Americans left, dead or alive, in North Korea, China, and the former Soviet Union.”

China has been less cooperative than North Korea. A 2008 U.S.-China agreement to open Chinese military archives was supposed to provide answers regarding POWs and MIAs. It has not. China cites “classification issues” that have prevented the sharing of POW and MIA information with the United States. China refused to share the information, and American diplomats have not risked the potential backlash that could occur by pressing them on the issue.

When the Pentagon studied its own Defense Department’s POW search efforts, what it found was troubling.

“The Pentagon’s effort to account for tens of thousands of Americans missing in action from foreign wars is so inept, mismanaged, and wasteful that it risks descending from ‘dysfunction to total failure,’ ” the internal Pentagon study said.

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Any remains returned to the U.S. will be flown to a laboratory near Hickman Air Force Base in Hawaii, where they will undergo extensive forensic anthropology, odontology, and DNA testing.

Families have not yet been notified regarding specifics of the recent recovery of remains. Robert Downes, the president of the Coalition of Families of Korean and Cold War POW/MIAs, echoes the sentiments of many POW and MIA families who are hopeful, yet cautious.

“But we’ve seen this before,” Downes told Reuters. “And that was words on a paper and promises made, so now we have to see action.”

Closure is the final step of grief, and, for many of those families who saw their sons and brothers go to war in Korea, they have waited decades for a closure that can only come with answers.

S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent ten years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News Show.” His email is [email protected]




A Trump Doctrine for Singapore and Beyond

The upcoming Singapore Summit offers an opportunity to significantly decrease the world’s threat of nuclear disaster and end decades of “frozen conflict” on the Korean Peninsula. Buchanan suggests President Trump would do best to have a backup plan to include some concessions, as will be expected by Kim, and to not push the typical John Bolton war mongering “all-or-nothing” mantra if he wishes to succeed. 

By Patrick J. Buchanan

After Pyongyang railed this week that the U.S.-South Korean Max Thunder military drills were a rehearsal for an invasion of the North, and imperiled the Singapore summit, the Pentagon dialed them back.

The B-52 exercises alongside F-22 stealth fighters were canceled.

But Pyongyang had other objections.

Sunday, NSC adviser John Bolton spoke of a “Libyan model” for the North’s disarmament, referring to Moammar Gadhafi’s surrender of all his weapons of mass destruction in 2004. The U.S. was invited into Libya to pick them up and cart them off, whereupon sanctions were lifted.

As Libya was subsequently attacked by NATO and Gadhafi lynched, North Korea denounced Bolton and all this talk of the “Libyan model” of unilateral disarmament.

North Korea wants a step-by-step approach, each concession by Pyongyang to be met by a U.S. concession. And Bolton sitting beside Trump, and across the table from Kim Jong Un in Singapore, may be inhibiting.

What was predictable and predicted has come to pass.

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If we expected Kim to commit at Singapore to Bolton’s demand for “complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization,” and a swift follow-through, we were deluding ourselves.

At Singapore, both sides will have demands, and both will have to offer concessions, if there is to be a deal.

What does Kim Jong Un want?

An end to U.S. and South Korean military exercises and sanctions on the North, trade and investment, U.S. recognition of his regime, a peace treaty, and the eventual removal of U.S. bases and troops.

He is likely to offer an end to the testing of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, no transfer of nuclear weapons or strategic missiles to third powers, a drawdown of troops on the DMZ, and the opening of North Korea’s borders to trade and travel.

As for his nuclear weapons and the facilities to produce them, these are Kim’s crown jewels. These brought him to the attention of the world and the Americans to the table. These are why President Trump is flying 10,000 miles to meet and talk with him.

And, unlike Gadhafi, Kim is not going to give them up.

Assuming the summit comes off June 12, this is the reality Trump will face in Singapore: a North Korea willing to halt the testing of nukes and ICBMs and to engage diplomatically and economically.

As for having Americans come into his country, pick up his nuclear weapons, remove them, and begin intrusive inspections to ensure he has neither nuclear bombs nor the means to produce, deliver or hide them, that would be tantamount to a surrender by Kim.

Trump is not going to get that. And if he adopts a Bolton policy of “all or nothing,” he is likely to get nothing at all.

Yet, thanks to Trump’s threats and refusal to accept a “frozen conflict” on the Korean peninsula, the makings of a real deal are present, if Trump does not make the perfect the enemy of the good.

For there is nothing North Korea is likely to demand that cannot be granted, as long as the security of South Korea is assured to the degree that it can be assured, while living alongside a nuclear-armed North.

Hence, when Kim cavils or balks in Singapore, as he almost surely will, at any demand for a pre-emptive surrender of his nuclear arsenal, Trump should have a fallback position.

If we cannot have everything we want, what can we live with?

Moreover, while we are running a risk today, an intransigent North Korea that walks out would be running a risk as well.

A collapse in talks between Kim and the United States and Kim and South Korea would raise the possibility that he and his Chinese patrons could face an East Asia Cold War where South Korea and Japan also have acquired nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.

In the last analysis, the United States should be willing to accept both the concessions to the North that the South is willing to make and the risks from the North that the South is willing to take.

For, ultimately, they are the one who are going to have to live on the same peninsula with Kim and his nukes.

Trump ran on a foreign policy that may fairly be described as a Trump Doctrine: In the post-post-Cold War era, the United States will start looking out for America first.

This does not mean isolationism or the abandonment of our allies. It does mean a review and reassessment of all the guarantees we have issued to go to war on behalf of other countries, and the eventual transfer of responsibility for the defense of our friends over to our friends.

In the future, the U.S. will stop futilely imploring allies to do more for their own defense and will begin telling them that their defense is primarily their own responsibility. Our allies must cease to be our dependents.

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever and previous titles including The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority. Both are available from the AFP Online Store.

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America’s Unsustainable Empire

How long can America continue to expend our blood and treasure to sustain security commitments around the world? And how long should we keep trying to do so? Many would argue we should never have entered into many of these arrangements in the first place. President Trump is facing some very significant foreign policy decisions right now, and one could hope Donald-Trump-the-candidate will resurface soon—the one that promised to clean up rather than join with the neoconservative swamp.

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Before President Trump trashes the Iran nuclear deal, he might consider: If he could negotiate an identical deal with Kim Jong Un, it would astonish the world and win him the Nobel Peace Prize.

For Iran has no nuclear bomb or ICBM and has never tested either. It has never enriched uranium to bomb grade. It has shipped 98% of its uranium out of the country. It has cameras inside and inspectors crawling all over its nuclear facilities.

And North Korea? It has atom bombs and has tested an H-bomb. It has intermediate-range ballistic missiles that can hit Guam and an ICBM that, fully operational, could hit the West Coast. It has shorter-range missiles that could put nukes on South Korea and Japan.

Hard to believe Kim Jong Un will surrender these weapons, his ticket of admission to the table of great powers.

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Yet the White House position is that the Iran nuclear deal should be scrapped, and no deal with Kim Jong Un signed that does not result in the “denuclearization” of the peninsula.

If denuclearization means Kim gives up all his nukes and strategic missiles, ceases testing, and allows inspectors into all his nuclear facilities, we may be waiting a long time.

Trump decides on the Iran deal by May 12. And we will likely know what Kim is prepared to do, and not prepared to do, equally soon.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron is in D.C. to persuade Trump not to walk away from the Iran deal and to keep U.S. troops in Syria. Chancellor Angela Merkel will be arriving at week’s end with a similar message.

On the White House front burner then are these options:

Will North Korea agree to surrender its nuclear arsenal, or is it back to confrontation and possible war?

Will we stick with the nuclear deal with Iran, or walk away, issue new demands on Tehran, and prepare for a military clash if rebuffed?

Do we pull U.S. troops out of Syria as Trump promised, or keep U.S. troops there to resist the reconquest of his country by Bashar Assad and his Russian, Iranian, Hezbollah, and Shiite allies?

Beyond, the larger question looms: How long can we keep this up?

How long can this country, with its shrinking share of global GDP, sustain its expanding commitments to confront and fight all over the world?

U.S. planes and ships now bump up against Russians in the Baltic and Black seas. We are sending Javelin anti-tank missiles to Kiev, while NATO allies implore us to bring Ukraine and Georgia into the alliance.

This would mean a U.S. guarantee to fight an alienated, angered and nuclear-armed Russia in Crimea and the Caucasus.

Sixteen years after 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan, we are still there, assisting Afghan troops against a Taliban we thought we had defeated.

We are now fighting what is left of ISIS in Syria alongside our Kurd allies, who tug us toward conflict with Turkey.

U.S. forces and advisers are in Niger, Djibouti, Somalia. We are aiding the Saudis in their air war and naval blockade of Yemen.

The last Korean War, which cost 33,000 U.S. lives, began in the June before this writer entered 7th grade. Why is the defense of a powerful South Korea, with an economy 40 times that of the North, still a U.S. responsibility?

We are committed, by 60-year-old treaties, to defend Japan, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand. Voices are being heard to have us renew the war guarantee to Taiwan that Jimmy Carter canceled in 1979.

National security elites are pushing for new naval and military ties to Vietnam and India, to challenge Beijing in the South China Sea, Indian Ocean, and Arabian Sea.

How long can we sustain a worldwide empire of dependencies?

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How many wars of this century—Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen—turned out to have been worth the blood shed and the treasure lost? And what have all the “color-coded revolutions” we have instigated to advance “democracy” done for America?

In a New York Times essay, “Adapting to American Decline,” Christopher Preble writes: “America’s share of global wealth is shrinking. By some estimates, the United States accounted for roughly 50% of global output at the end of World War II. . . . It has fallen to 15.1% today.”

Preble continues: “Admitting that the United States is incapable of effectively adjudicating every territorial dispute or of thwarting every security threat in every part of the world is hardly tantamount to surrender. It is rather a wise admission of the limits of American power.”

It is imperative, wrote Walter Lippmann, that U.S. commitments be brought into balance with U.S. power. This “forgotten principle . . . must be recovered and returned to the first place in American thought.”

That was 1943, at the height of a war that found us unprepared.

We are hugely overextended today. And conservatives have no higher duty than to seek to bring U.S. war guarantees into conformity with U.S. vital interests and U.S. power.

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Foreverand previous titles including The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority. Both are available from the AFP Online Store.

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North Korea Nuke Threat Is Multifold

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, the world’s leading expert on EMPs, says an electromagnetic pulse attack by North Korea could kill power grids, devastating the U.S. and its allies. 

By Dave Gahary

Nearly 25 years of minimizing and ignoring the nuclear threat from North Korea has left the United States with few options to deal with the escalating danger emanating from the East Asian dictatorship, most visibly illustrated by President Donald J. Trump’s prepared remarks delivered to the United Nations General Assembly—his first address as president to that body—on Sept. 19.

“The United States has great strength and patience,” Trump stated, “but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

Such bellicose language delivered to a global institution, whose stated goal is world peace, might seem entirely out-of-place, but when viewed against the failure of a string of U.S. presidents and their administrations to adequately confront North Korean threats, Trump’s choice of words may be exactly what’s needed to deal with the situation.

On the heels of recent successful satellite launches, North Korea has shocked the world by launching ICBMs and claiming to have detonated a hydrogen bomb on Sept. 2, a thermonuclear weapon with a yield (the amount of energy released) of over 50 kilotons of TNT, over three times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. North Korea claimed its bomb had a yield of 100 kilotons.

Perhaps more alarming than a confrontation with the 2-million-strong Korean People’s Army—the world’s largest military—is the possibility that the North Korean regime may launch a nuclear-armed satellite for use in an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the United States. When detonated at a high enough altitude, the nuclear blast creates an electric shock wave—similar to lightning—that can potentially knock out the entire electric grid of North America, and all electronics. The July 9, 1962 high-altitude nuclear test conducted in outer space by the U.S. called Starfish Prime verified the existence and effects of man-made EMPs.

Significantly, North Korea’s state news agency boldly stated that this weapon “is a multifunctional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP attack.”

In order to gain a fuller understanding of this matter, American Free Press conducted an exclusive interview with Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, the world’s leading expert on EMPs, the executive director of the Congressional Advisory Board’s Task Force on National and Homeland Security, and the chief of staff of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack, or the Congressional EMP Commission. Pry is also a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer and the author of numerous books on national security issues.*

Incredibly, even in the face of North Korea’s September threat to launch an EMP attack against the U.S., D.C. has plans to let the EMP Commission’s charter expire.

“Only in Washington,” said Pry, “would it be possible to have something like this happen, where the EMP threat is looming larger than ever, and Pyongyang is actually threatening EMP attacks against us now, and Washington’s response to this is to let the EMP Commission go out of business.”

Pry explained why an EMP attack is so dangerous.

“If you took a Hiroshima-type bomb and detonated it in a city,” he said, “it might kill 200,000 people, but that same weapon, let’s say you used it to black out the Eastern grid, [which] supports most of our population and generates 75% of our electricity. The EMP Commission estimated that we would lose 90% of the population within a year from starvation, disease, and societal collapse. We can’t survive as a civilization without the Eastern grid. There’d be no coming back from that. And North Korea only needs one weapon like this in order to destroy our whole society.”

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Pry explained how we arrived at this point.

“We knew in 1994 when [CIA Director] Jim Woolsey went and testified and told the Senate Armed Services Committee that North Korea had the bomb,” Peter explained. “And that created this crisis, so Bill Clinton had to think about abandoning his whole agenda. And so for about six months it was actually contemplated by the Clinton administration about going to war to stop North Korea from getting the bomb.”

Pry was on the professional staff at the time, and instead of war, the Clinton administration negotiated an agreed framework with North Korea.

“I was on the North Korea Advisory Group all through the eight years of the Clinton administration,” he said, “and they were cheating on that agreed framework, and we knew it.”

Pry tried to tell the press, but they weren’t interested.

“It’s almost like there’s a whole cottage industry out there of non-expert people from academia,” he said, “who seem to make their living lowballing the North Korean threat. . . . Clinton wanted to kick the North Korean threat down the road so he wouldn’t get blamed for it, and that’s what he did.”

Pry explained that the North Korean nuclear threat has been kicked from the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations right to Trump, whose administration is doing the same.

“The reason they’re doing it under the Trump administration,” Pry explained, “[is that] Trump has not cleaned house. This is still the Obama administration. Most of these people—both in the Department of Defense and in the intelligence community—are Obama analysts and Obamanites who are now deeply embedded in the federal bureaucracy. These people need to be fired or they need to be moved out. He’s gotta get his own team in there, and this kind of thing is gonna continue until he replaces these people.”

*Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms, by Arthur T. Bradley, Ph.D. (softcover, 117 pages, $15 plus $4 S&H in the U.S.), is available from the American Free Press bookstore.

Dave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, prevailed in a suit brought by the New York Stock Exchange in an attempt to silence him. Dave is the producer of an upcoming full-length feature film about the attack on the USS Liberty. See erasingtheliberty.com for more information and to get the new book on which the movie will be based, Erasing the Liberty.