Sobran Column -- One-Party Journalism
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One-Party Journalism

September 21, 1999

The Weekly Standard seems to have been created for the specific purpose of preventing Pat Buchanan from winning the Republican presidential nomination. Funded by the media mogul Rupert Murdoch, this skimpy magazine reads as if written by a group of clever grad students who regard ordinary conservatives as suckers. Its mission is to promote U.S. military intervention everywhere.

Naturally, then, the magazine hates Buchanan. The current issue devotes its cover and three articles to attacking him. An editorial by publisher-editor William Kristol contends that the Republican Party is “stupidly and cravenly” trying to keep him in the fold, when it would be better off without him. It should accept his “self-serving defection.” “This would be healthy for conservatism both substantively and politically.” A second article sneers at Buchanan for having lunch with a left-winger in the hope of forming a political alliance with her. Finally, a Vermont professor assails Buchanan’s new book on foreign policy, A Republic, Not an Empire: Reclaiming America’s Destiny (Regnery).

Whenever things seem to be getting a little too unanimous, you can count on Pat Buchanan. His book challenges the whole premise of the American establishment’s internationalism and interventionism. He boldly adopts the execrated slogan “America First,” contending (correctly) that so-called isolationism, a tendentious word for neutrality, was the philosophy of the Founding Fathers — whose hope, as Buchanan says, was not to “isolate” America from the world, but only from foreign war.

Buchanan’s worst heresy, in the eyes of reviewer Robert G. Kaufman and other liberals and neoconservatives, is his insistence that the United States should have stayed out of World War II. Buchanan says it was a fantasy to suppose that Hitler could or would have invaded the United States, especially when Germany had lost the Battle of Britain.

“If Goering’s Luffwaffe could not achieve air supremacy over the Channel,” writes Buchanan, “how was it going to achieve it over the Atlantic? If Hitler could not put a soldier in England in the fall of 1940, the notion that he could invade the Western Hemisphere ... was preposterous.”

Professor Kaufman makes one brief admission: “Franklin Roosevelt made mistakes, no doubt, particularly in his dealings with Stalin’s Soviet Union.” Yes, mistakes were made. Having won the presidency as Stalin was exterminating millions of Ukrainians, Roosevelt wasted no time in giving diplomatic recognition to the Soviet Union. He continued to coddle, praise, and aid “Uncle Joe” Stalin and the Soviets. “Of one thing I am certain,” Roosevelt told an aide at the Yalta conference, “Stalin is not an imperialist.” He even described Stalin as something of “a Christian gentleman.”

As a result of the war, and of Roosevelt’s partiality to “Uncle Joe,” the Soviet Union swallowed up a dozen traditionally Christian countries in Central Europe, comprising tens of millions of people, who were then subjected to the most ferocious persecution in Christian history. And the Soviets soon acquired nuclear weapons, posing a truly serious threat to the United States — in complete contrast to the supposed threat of Hitler’s Germany.

Professor Kaufman mentions none of these facts. They are no more likely to be cited in The Weekly Standard than in the New York Times and other liberal news media. The myth of the holy war against the Axis is as sacrosanct among neoconservatives as among leftists. All of them ignore the profound moral pollution of the U.S. alliance with a mass murderer whose crimes dwarfed Hitler’s.

Nevertheless, the scandalous fact is that American Christians in World War II were told they were fighting for freedom when they were actually fighting for the enslavement of their fellow Christians in Europe. One of Soviet Russia’s prizes was Catholic Poland — whose joint invasion by the Soviets and Germans had begun the war in the first place.

These little details long ago went down the Memory Hole and have remained there. The U.S. political establishment derives its legitimacy from its triumph in World War II, the “finest hour” of interventionism.

Buchanan describes that establishment as a “one-party system masquerading as a two-party system.” We have the same thing in journalism, with “conservative” magazines like The Weekly Standard masquerading as opponents of the liberal New York Times.

Joseph Sobran

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