In this era of Democratic domination of the executive and legislative branches of the federal government, who is the new go-to man for counsel with regard to wise foreign policy strategies?
The former aide to presidents Nixon and Reagan who bid without success for the Republican presidential nod in 1992, 1996 and 2000 has long been a critic of U.S. interventionism — especially in the Middle East and southern Asia. An “old-right” conservative whose views on international affairs bow to the memory of former Ohio Senator Robert Taft Sr., Buchanan is a stalwart critic of foreign adventures. As such, Buchanan has battled the neo-conservative impulse in his own party and beyond its borders, as a commentator and with his contributions to the intellectually-adventurous American Conservative magazine.
So when President Obama shied away from joining other world leaders who have aggressively criticized Iran’s disputed election and condemned post-election violence — an approach The Hill newspaper describes as “hands-off” — he got high marks from Buchanan.
While most Republicans, led by the ever-bombastic John McCain (in alliance with the ever-bloviating Joe Lieberman), have been pillorying Obama for not doing enough, the paleoconservative commentator is hailing Obama as a savvy player on the international stage.
On Friday, Buchanan wrote:
It is impossible to believe a denunciation of the regime by Obama will cause it to stay its hand if it believes its power is imperiled. But it is certain that if Obama denounces Tehran, those demonstrators will be portrayed as dupes and agents of America before and after they meet their fate.
If standing up and denouncing the Ayatollah and Ahmadinejad from 7,000 miles away is moral heroism, it is moral heroism at other people’s expense.
That got Democrats all excited.
Declared Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, about as close an Obama ally as you will find in Congress: “It’s an ironic moment in history when I say I agree with Pat Buchanan, but I agree with Pat Buchanan. The president is being very smart and strategic here. Sometimes it’s more important to use a velvet glove than to pound your chest and in this instance the reformers are going to be more effective if no one senses they’re being driven by the west.”