Friday, April 17, 2015

Pat Buchanan

I heard Patrick Buchanan on the radio, and I have read his recent writings over at Unz, where he is called Mr. Paleoconservative.” He is in favor of the recently-negotiated deal with Iran, in contrast to most conservatives. His reasoning, if I understand correctly, is that many countries and leaders are indeed fanatic, corrupt, and dishonest, including Iran.  But they are not crazy in the sense of being oblivious to their own self-interest.  Whatever they spout about, threaten, and complain, they do not actually want war with the US. We can therefore trust them, not be honest and abide by terms – they will start in breaking faith immediately – but to be predictable about protecting their own butts.

There is a great deal of sense in this, and it’s not the worst approach we could take. It stems from one of Buchanan’s core ideas – that war always costs more and gives back less than we estimated, a sentiment it is always at least partly true, even when it is not the final truth.

Here is my objection.  One of Pat’s other core ideas is that we have allied ourselves far too deeply with Israel’s interests, and his response to that is almost reflexively to go in the opposite direction.  If Israel is for it, in all probability it is bad for us, he suspects. Additionally, I think his approach is one that works great until the day it doesn’t. More than once it has led to speculation that even WWII should have been artfully avoided, in the hopes that Germany and the Soviet Union, as well as China and Japan, could even more fully offset and exterminate each other and leave us out of it. That has always struck me as a possible but unlikely alternate history.


james said...

I don't think that "rely on them to seek their own interests" is a reliable rule. It seems that a lot of the time short-term optimization leads to long term catastrophe.

Sam L. said...

As I've read somewhere, when someone tells you he wants to kill you, believe him.

Texan99 said...

Pat Buchanan rubs me the wrong way, in ways I can't always explain. If he's right about most things, I guess I need to be wrong.