The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘News’ From Foggy Bottom

Posted on | July 11, 2020 | Comments Off on ‘News’ From Foggy Bottom

Back during the Cold War, anti-Communists believed — with ample reason — that the State Department was thoroughly infiltrated by Communist sympathizers, and more recently it has become obvious that Foggy Bottom is a hive of anti-Trump “resistance.” The U.S. foreign policy establishment quite generally is anti-American in its orientation, harboring Arab specialists who are objectively pro-Jihadi, European specialists who consider Brussels the sole legitimate arbiter of proper policy, and Asian specialists who consider it their duty to advance the interests of the Chinese Communist Party. Needless to say, the Latin American bureaus are staffed by enthusiastic advocates of unlimited immigration, and all the Africa specialists are Mau-Maus.

The idea that the United States has its own legitimate interests, which our diplomatic professionals ought to strive to advance, is anathema to the type of people hired by the State Department, who are educated at “elite” universities where patriotism is forbidden as racist. Consider the three-year-long “Russian collusion” hoax as an example of what the State Department, as operated by secretaries Hillary Clinton and John Kerry during the Obama administration, considered appropriate U.S. policy. During Obama’s second term, Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea, with key Black Sea ports and oil resources. What should be done to counter this aggression? Our European “allies” are militarily impotent, so that if NATO proposed to defend Ukraine, practically all the military equipment and manpower involved would be American. And this raises a fundamental question about U.S. policy in Europe: What use are “allies” who lack the ability — even if they had the courage, which they don’t — to wage war? Why are we obligated to defend this bunch of cowardly foreigners who can’t (or won’t) do anything to defend themselves?

Donald Trump and his advisers might not put their critique of U.S. policy in such terms, but such was the sum and essence of the “America First” position vis-a-vis the Ukraine conflict. While neoconservatives like the late John McCain engaged in a lot of saber-rattling toward Russia, a dissident school of conservatives asked, “Why is this our problem? Why can’t our European ‘allies’ step up, if they care so much?”

Keep in mind that the hawks were demanding U.S. military intervention in Ukraine at the same time — the exact same time — as Germany and other European countries were surrendering to an invasion of African and Middle Eastern “refugees.” How was it that Russia’s invasion of Crimea was a casus belli, whereas it was deemed “racist” to oppose the Third World invasion of the European heartland?

This line of thinking could be extended and elaborated, but my point is that there were objective reasons why Trump might pursue a policy that was more “pro-Russian” than what Hillary (or, for that matter, most establishment Republicans) would support. So a lot of Trump-haters — not all of them Democrats — were ready to believe that Trump and his campaign were secretly “colluding” with the Kremlin. Like all popular conspiracy theories, the “Russian collusion” hoax had some underlying factual basis (i.e., a genuine difference of opinion on foreign policy), and the “Deep State” resistance to Trump was neither entirely irrational nor entirely partisan. Defenders of the status quo in foreign policy had real reason to fear that Trump would upset the apple cart, altering our relationship with Europe to pursue a rapprochement with Moscow.

The “professionals” at Foggy Bottom have their own agendas, which explains a leak to the New York Times last year that turned out to be wrong, asserting that a lobbyist for military contractor Raytheon had influenced Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to override a congressional embargo on arms sales to Saudi Arabia:

The story was, of course, an attack on President Trump, headlined “Trump Vowed to ‘Drain the Swamp,’ but Lobbyists Are Helping Run His Campaign.”

(Hat-tip: Instapundit.) The point, you see, is not whether we should or should not sell arms to the Saudis. Rather, the point is that this leak from State Department bureaucrats was intended to undermine the Trump administration’s ability to pursue its own policy. We might ask whether a hypothetical Clinton administration, or a future Biden administration, would sell arms to the Saudis, but that would be missing the point. None of the bureaucrats at the State Department would leak information about lobbyists influencing a Democratic administration, and an establishment Republican administration might also expect cooperation from Foggy Bottom, so long as its policies were in accordance with the status quo favored by State Department professionals. Trump’s administration is constantly being sabotaged by leakers — the Ukraine “whistleblower” Alexander Vindman being an obvious example — precisely because Trump is willing to question the status quo, not just vis-a-vis Russia, but on a global basis. A close-minded certainty about certain matters unites the establishment, and Trump’s willingness to “think outside the box” of that policy consensus is what makes him a target of so much hostility.




 

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