Review of Pat Buchanan’s latest book
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
October 13, 2011
Pat Buchanan’s latest book, Suicide of a Superpower, raises the question whether America will survive to 2025. The question might strike some readers as unduly pessimistic and others as optimistic. It is unclear whether the US, as we have known it, will survive its next presidential election.
Consider the candidates. Liberal law professor Jonathan Turley, who was likely to have been an early Obama supporter, now wonders if Obama is “the most disastrous president in our history.” Despite Obama’s failure, the Republicans can’t come up with anyone any better. One Republican candidate admires Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve chairman who gave us financial deregulation and the financial crisis. Another is ready for a preemptive strike on Iran. Yet another thinks the Soviet Union is a grave threat to the United States. None of these clueless dopes are capable of presiding over a government.
Anyone who has been paying attention knows that the “superpower” is over-extended financially and militarily. The US is currently involved in six conflicts with Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and Pakistan on the waiting list for full fledged military attacks and perhaps invasions. Russia is being encircled with missile bases, and war plans are being drawn up for China.
Where is the money going to come from when the country’s debt is bursting at the seams, the economy is in decline, and unemployment on the rise?
Washington thinks that the money can simply be printed. However, enough has already been printed that the rest of the world is already suspicious of the dollar and its role as reserve currency.
As John Williams has said, the world could begin dumping dollar assets at any time.
I don’t think we can dismiss Buchanan’s concern as pessimistic.
Buchanan documents his concern across a wide front. For example, the combination of mass immigration and its consequent demographics together with the “diversity cult” means the end of “white America” and the transformation of what once was the dominant population into a disadvantaged underclass.
Buchanan cites a Wall Street Journal article by Ron Unz published 12 years ago. Unz found that white American gentiles who would be considered Christian are dramatically under-represented in America’s elite universities, which provide the elites who dominate government, business, and the professions.
Unz reported that white Americans who comprised 70% of the US population made up only 25% of Harvard’s enrollment and that the composition of the student bodies at Yale Princeton Columbia, Berkeley, and Stanford was much the same.
Asians who comprised 3% of the US population comprised one-fifth of Harvard’s enrollment, and Jews, who comprised 2.5% of the population comprised between one-fourth and one-third of Harvard’s student body.
As Buchanan puts it, the country’s native-born majority has relegated its own progeny to the trash bin of history.
Buchanan doesn’t address the question whether the rest of the world will miss white America. Considering the endless wars and astounding hypocrisy and immorality associated with white America since the collapse of the Soviet Union two decades ago, the world is likely to cheer when power slips from the hands of what Leonard Jeffries termed the “ice people,” that is, people without souls or feelings for others. Americans are so wrapped up in the myth of their “exceptionalism” that they are oblivious to the world’s opinion.http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/10/11/the_myth_of_american_exceptionalism
American soft power, once a foundation of US influence, has been squandered, another reason the “superpower” status is crumbling.
Financial deregulation and the consequent financial crisis, collapse of the real estate market, and evictions of millions of Americans from their homes have greatly dimmed America’s economic prospects. However, as Buchanan points out, the offshoring of US jobs and industry under the guise of “free trade” has damaged the middle class, halted the growth in consumer purchasing power and left many college graduates without careers.
In the first decade of the 21st century, the Bush/Cheney years, America lost one-third of its manufacturing jobs. During this decade, Michigan lost 48% of its manufacturing jobs, New Jersey lost 39%, and New York and Ohio lost 38%.
During this decade, the US incurred trade deficits totaling $6.2 trillion, of which $3.8 trillion is in manufactured goods. In other words, imports of manufactured goods are a larger cause of the trade deficit than oil imports. Early in the decade the US lost its trade surplus in advanced technology products. In recent years the US has run up $300 billion in trade deficits in advanced technology products with China alone. As Macy Block’s site, Economy in Crisis, documents, foreigners have used their huge dollar earnings to buy up American companies, with the consequence that foreign earnings on US investments now exceed US earnings abroad, thus worsening the current account deficit.
Although Buchanan makes many points, this is not his best book. He becomes lost in old arguments that no longer make sense, such as the claim that the poor vote away the property of the rich, and he ignores the destruction of the US Constitution in the name of “the war on terror,” which has transformed the US into a police state.
Conservatives are stuck in the canard that democracy is a tool used by the poor to provide themselves with benefits at the expense of the rich. Buchanan cites statistics of those on welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, and so on as evidence that the rich are being plundered. Yet, the facts are the opposite. The distribution of income has completely reversed since the 1960s.
In the 1960s, the top 1 percent received 11% of the income gains, and the bottom 90% received 65%, leaving 24% of income gains for the 9% of richest Americans just below the top 1%. In the first decade of the 21st century, these figures have reversed. The top 1% receive 65% of the income gains and the bottom 90% receive 12%, leaving 23% for those rich Americans in the 91-99 percentile.
If recent history (Yugoslavia, Soviet Empire) is a guide, Buchanan is probably correct that a country whose population consists of diverse ethnic and racial groups is less likely to share a common interest and enjoy political stability. However real this threat, it is not comparable to the threat to American identity of a destroyed Constitution.
The Bush/Cheney/Obama regimes have shredded the constitutional protections that gave American citizens their liberty. By dictate alone, the executive branch has acquired the power, prohibited by the Constitution, to incarcerate citizens indefinitely without presenting evidence and obtaining conviction. According to the US government, a secret executive branch panel now exists that has acquired from somewhere the unaccountable power to put citizens on a list to be assassinated without due process of law merely on the basis of an unproven government assertion. How does this differ from Stalinist Russia and Gestapo Germany?
The transformation of the US into a police state has been achieved quickly and with scant protest. Congress and the courts are silent. The media is silent, as are the law schools and bar associations. Out of 535 US Senators and Representatives, only Ron Paul has protested the destruction of liberty.
Buchanan is concerned that America might not survive until 2025. Instead, shouldn’t we be concerned that the American police state could last that long? Shouldn’t we be worried that the police state will survive yet another presidential election, or even one more day?
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is the father of Reaganomics and the former head of policy at the Department of Treasury. He is a columnist and was previously an editor for the Wall Street Journal. His latest book, “How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds,” details why America is disintegrating.
This article was posted: Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 3:08 am