February 28, 2006
When Bush-Worlds Collide
By Pat Buchanan
While the father remained ever skeptical of "the vision thing,"
the son has several visions to guide his presidency.
might be called Davos World.
It is a
globalist and utopian vision. In it, mankind, following the Bush
principles and policies of free trade and open borders, advances
inexorably to the new world of interconnectedness and interdependence.
It is a world where the old concerns about rust belts and trade
deficits do not matter. For it makes no difference where goods
are produced, as we are all integrating into a Global Economy.
vision is grimmer. It might be called Neocon World.
the world we entered on Sept. 11, a world of good versus evil,
where "Islamofascism" threatens us all and "Axis
of Evil" nations endlessly pursue weapons of mass destruction
to give al-Qaida to attack us. It is a world where a "mushroom
cloud" hangs over our cities and a "war president"
needs the Patriot Act and the right to eavesdrop on overseas phone
calls and e-mails to protect us from shoe bombers, subway bombers,
mall bombers. It is a world of color-coded terror alerts and eternal
vigilance, for we are in the "long war" that may last
70 years, the end of which must be "to end tyranny on the
earth." For only then can America be secure.
wrong with these visions is that neither is rooted wholly in reality.
Both are based in part on a preconceived ideology. Both are intellectual
constructs. Moreover, they collide. And there is no place where
they collide more directly than at America's borders.
World, it makes no difference if Dubai sheiks buy the British
business that runs U.S. ports. But to Middle Americans, who believe
all those warnings about mushroom clouds, the idea that U.S. ports
would be run by Arabs seems to border on insanity.
none but Americans stand guard tonight," said Washington
at Valley Forge. Americans understand that. And when Bush implies
it is sheer bigotry to prefer Brits to Arabs running U.S. ports,
Americans marinated in Neocon World wonder if the man they entrusted
with the nation's security has not lost his marbles.
collided when Bush stood beside Vicente Fox and denounced the
Minutemen, folks who had gone to Arizona to help spot illegal
aliens for the Border Patrol, as "vigilantes." They
thought they were patriots helping Bush defend the nation.
if we are in a "long war" against Islamofascism and
homeland security is our highest priority, why are U.S. troops
not defending a 2,000-mile border where a million aliens are caught
every year and the number of those from nations other than Mexico
has tripled to 150,000 in two years?
Bush shuttles back and forth between these two visions in conflict,
his foreign policy takes on an aspect of incoherence.
is the antithesis of conservatism, Russell Kirk wrote. The tragedy
of George W. Bush may be that he was converted by courtiers to
the ideologies that are failing as visibly now as the discredited
ideologies of yesterday: Wilsonianism and Marxism.
in free trade is not wholly misplaced. After all, the United States
is the greatest free-trade zone in history. But world trade has
always been an arena of power politics, with winners and losers,
rising and receding powers. And it is painfully evident China
is eating our lunch.
But to Bush,
it does not matter. That one in six manufacturing jobs has vanished
during his tenure, that real wages of working Americans are falling,
that trade deficits are reaching $800 billion, that dependency
on foreigners for vital necessities of our national life is growing
-- none of this matters, as he mutters on his prayer rug the mantra
he was taught: "Free trade good, protectionism bad."
has surely benefited America. But today's is of a different character
and magnitude than the old immigration, and the Melting Pot is
broken. Tens of millions of Hispanics are not assimilating. They
are congregating, as Washington warned us they must not. But Bush
will not call a time out, for ideology teaches that only racists,
xenophobes and nativists oppose open borders.
rules out second thoughts and course corrections.
Iraq, Bush was assured that peoples of a far different culture
and creed with a brutal history of subjugation and submission
would quickly adapt to democracy. Yet, it took the European Christians
that great antidote to ideology, could have taught Bush otherwise.
But the neocons told him we have reached "The End of History,"
that free-market democracy is the future everywhere.
we see elections advance Islamists to power in the Middle East,
Latin Americans revert to populism and socialism, Russia returning
to autocracy, China behaving even as the Kaiser's Germany did,
a century ago, we realize there is really nothing new under the
the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once
2006 Creators Syndicate