Is Trump's Agenda Being Eclipsed?

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via,

“I have not become the King’s First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire,” said Winston Churchill to cheers at the Lord Mayor’s luncheon in London in November 1942.

True to his word, the great man did not begin the liquidation.

When his countrymen threw him out in July 1945, that role fell to Clement Attlee, who began the liquidation. Churchill, during his second premiership from 1951-1955, would continue the process, as would his successor, Harold Macmillan, until the greatest empire the world had ever seen had vanished.

While its demise was inevitable, the death of the empire was hastened and made more humiliating by the wars into which Churchill had helped to plunge Britain, wars that bled and bankrupted his nation.

At Yalta in 1945, Stalin and FDR treated the old imperialist with something approaching bemused contempt.

War is the health of the state, but the death of empires.

The German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman empires all fell in World War I. World War II ended the Japanese and Italian empires — with the British and French following soon after. The Soviet Empire collapsed in 1989. Afghanistan delivered the coup de grace.

Is it now the turn of the Americans?

Persuaded by his generals — Mattis at Defense, McMasters on the National Security Council, Kelly as chief of staff — President Trump is sending some 4,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan to augment the 8,500 already there.

Like Presidents Obama and Bush, he does not intend to preside over a U.S. defeat in its longest war. Nor do his generals. Yet how can we defeat the Taliban with 13,000 troops when we failed to do so with the 100,000 Obama sent?

The new troops are to train the Afghan army to take over the war, to continue eradicating the terrorist elements like ISIS, and to prevent Kabul and other cities from falling to a Taliban now dominant in 40 percent of the country.

Yet what did the great general, whom Trump so admires, Douglas MacArthur, say of such a strategy?

“War’s very object is victory, not prolonged indecision.”

Is not “prolonged indecision” what the Trump strategy promises? Is not “prolonged indecision” what the war policies of Obama and Bush produced in the last 17 years?

Understandably, Americans feel they cannot walk away from this war. For there is the certainty as to what will follow when we leave.

When the British left Delhi in 1947, millions of former subjects died during the partition of the territory into Pakistan and India and the mutual slaughter of Muslims and Hindus.


When the French departed Algeria in 1962, the “Harkis” they left behind paid the price of being loyal to the Mother Country.


When we abandoned our allies in South Vietnam, the result was mass murder in the streets, concentration camps and hundreds of thousands of boat people in the South China Sea, a final resting place for many. In Cambodia, it was a holocaust.

Trump, however, was elected to end America’s involvement in Middle East wars. And if he has been persuaded that he simply cannot liquidate these wars — Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan — he will likely end up sacrificing his presidency, trying to rescue the failures of those who worked hardest to keep him out of the White House.

Consider the wars, active and potential, Trump faces.

Writes Bob Merry in the fall issue of The National Interest:

“War between Russia and the West seems nearly inevitable. No self-respecting nation facing inexorable encirclement by an alliance of hostile neighbors can allow such pressures and forces to continue indefinitely. Eventually (Russia) must protect its interests through military action.”

If Pyongyang tests another atom bomb or ICBM, some national security aides to Trump are not ruling out preventive war.

Trump himself seems hell-bent on tearing up the nuclear deal with Iran. This would lead inexorably to a U.S. ultimatum, where Iran would be expected to back down or face a war that would set the Persian Gulf ablaze.

Yet the country did not vote for confrontation or war.

America voted for Trump’s promise to improve ties with Russia, to make Europe shoulder more of the cost of its defense, to annihilate ISIS and extricate us from Mideast wars, to stay out of future wars.


America voted for economic nationalism and an end to the mammoth trade deficits with the NAFTA nations, EU, Japan and China.


America voted to halt the invasion across our Southern border and to reduce legal immigration to ease the downward pressure on American wages and the competition for working-class jobs.

Yet today we hear talk of upping and extending the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, of confronting Iran, of sending anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine to battle pro-Russia rebels in the east.

Can the new custodians of Trump’s populist-nationalist and America First agenda, the generals and the Goldman Sachs alumni association, be entrusted to carry it out?


Jim in MN BennyBoy Tue, 08/22/2017 - 15:23 Permalink

Liquidation sales are awesome.Poorly wired shower stalls at ROCK-BOTTOM prices!!!!BOGO on MOABs!!!Let's do it!Also, USA OUT OF EURASIAFor fuck's sake.We have no vital national interests there now that we have Western Hemispheric energy independence.Let them sort it out.  Time for China to grow up, fucking puppies. 

In reply to by BennyBoy

land_of_the_few Jim in MN Tue, 08/22/2017 - 17:02 Permalink

Respectfully, the part about the Soviets seems incorrect, and just parrots the feelgood lies-to-children we were told at the time. The Soviet Union voted itself out of existence for moral and political reasons. That is why no-one predicted its end, because it specifically did not have any showstopping problems to do with its economy or wars."the cost of the Afghan war itself was hardly crushing: Estimated at $4 billion to $5 billion in 1985, it was an insignificant portion of the Soviet GDP."Perhaps the same kind of thing is happening to the US, not particularly losses in war, because the US doesn't really do war, in a direct sense, and it can always print more dollars, but more to do with the moral disconnect between the empire-maintainers and the mood of the public.I.E. the majority is increasingly disgusted in the West right now, just like in the Soviet Union towards the end, despite no actual collapse going on - that happens afterwards, later, during the period of "correction" after the "big policy change". Then the re-organising, client states disconnecting, central state rebuilding.For a prediction - the end will be to do with the direction of voting, and it will not end at all like we expect. It will be nothing to do with status-quo parties.Everything You Think You Know About the Collapse of the Soviet Union Is Wrong… 

In reply to by Jim in MN

HRClinton skbull44 Tue, 08/22/2017 - 16:30 Permalink

B?  Generous. Deserves a C.Buchanan's article is weak, because its very premise is false. Everything that follows, is therefore becomes unproductive. The REAL reason that the US invasion if Afghanistan had been 100% effective in reaching its TRUE Objective:Deny China:   A. Deny China and Iran to run a pipeline via Afghanistan. The Taliban (the creation of the CIA, to fight Russia) had turned on its masters and opted for an independent policy, that included its neighbors, and not American money or oil interests. This wasn't just heresy. It was Treason to the US rulers.    B. Deny China the New Silk Road to Europe, via a Southern and Northern route. The Northern route via Russia and Eastern Europe, and the Southern route, via Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey.  If the US cannot stop a rise of China and a Eurasian economy, the US gets demoted to a Regional power and its currency to a regional hegemon. Thus we get back to... "All wars are Bankers' wars". 

In reply to by skbull44

Crazy Or Not Tue, 08/22/2017 - 15:36 Permalink

I don't know what's happened to the quality of ZH of late? New Owners? Holiday season!!!Essentially this , Afghan' is Putin's backdoor. Khaz,Taz,Turk,Ubek and any other Stan's in the area are the last unexploited GAS and Oilfields on Earth. As the shift towards LPG and LNG for Auto's and Trucks accelerates (Thanks Volkwagen Asshats) Gas is increasingly vital. So it's a 3 way race to get this shit out of the ground, and once it does it's either going to China Russia or "The West" to add a thick fat Cocaine mainline to someone's economy. Coups, scisms, Rouge Generals and border clashes are order of the day as are ex SF CPP crews and armoured motorcades. The checks lead back to the usual suspects. All the rest is window dressing.And This.… 

Creative_Destruct Money Boo Boo Tue, 08/22/2017 - 16:36 Permalink

Yet how can we defeat the Taliban with 13,000 troops when we failed to do so with the 100,000 Obama sent?Goooooood question. And oh, by-the by, O and B before him also "put pressure" on Pakistan to root out the Taliban, like Tillerson is talking. Nothing new, SOS, just less troops this time, which, even if employed in a smarter way, don't stand a chance of a fart in a whirlwind of forming a viable sustainable counter to the Taliban that will enable the government to function longer term.This is a continuing fools errand in a part of the world that has handed every empire its head on a platter.Trump is playing the chump.

In reply to by Money Boo Boo

AurorusBorealus Tue, 08/22/2017 - 15:20 Permalink

This would be a good article, had it been written 6 months ago.  The answer has already been given to all of these questions.  There is no "Trump" agenda any longer.  He has become Clinton-Bush-Obama-Clinton.  There is no substantive change in any U.S. policy.

Mustafa Kemal AurorusBorealus Tue, 08/22/2017 - 15:39 Permalink

"There is no substantive change in any U.S. policy."Certainly not for the better. But for the worse, there is substantial change. Under Trump the agressiveness has really ramped up.When i think of the looming conflcts with NK, Russian, Iran, China, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Venezuela, it makes me pine for the good ole days when we were only in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Lybia, Somalia, Gerogia, Ukraine .........Well, at least we have friends in Saudi Arabia and Israel.

In reply to by AurorusBorealus

JBilyj Tue, 08/22/2017 - 15:23 Permalink

No, tye guys a neocon goldman sachs douche. Zerohedge needs to drop Trump right away and cease the circle-jerking.Drudge has blood on his hands now for promoting this doofus to potus...

Sparkey Tue, 08/22/2017 - 15:24 Permalink

Pat Buchannan, one of the greats, but, too smart for his own good, go with the flow Pat, pen screeds in favor of the flavor of the day, get invited to dinner at the White House don't blame President Trump for failing to follow his unrealistic campaign promises no person could resist the pressure, the pressure to go with the flow! We will, in future, all go with the flow as best we are able!

chunga Tue, 08/22/2017 - 15:25 Permalink

Pat, who are these Americans that are understandably afraid to walk away from this war? Two things Trumps said that were good. He called out the Pakis, and he cozied up to India insisting those in the area step it up. The problem with staying there, with any amount of troops, is it just isn't gonna work. History says it never does, better off walking away.  

two hoots chunga Tue, 08/22/2017 - 15:37 Permalink

Wonder why the Afghan's that fought/fight for their freedom (?) didn't learn the history from the Russian invasion and tried it again with the US?  Maybe it's something lost on the new generations that history has no control over, a man war need or something?   Think we should phase ourselves out of there but in a covert way as not to announce our intentions, maybe that is some of what we are doing while giving the Afghan's one more shot at getting their stuff together?  We will have to finance their military, forever......and hope we get a peice of the mineral rich pie.

In reply to by chunga

Deep Snorkeler Tue, 08/22/2017 - 15:43 Permalink

The American Empire 1945 - 2001Follows the decline of the British Empire in lock-step:1. bankrupt2. morally bankrupt3. intellectually bankrupt4. economic collapse5. failure of leadership6. always on the wrong side of asymmetric warfare7. unable to face the forces of history

GreatUncle Deep Snorkeler Tue, 08/22/2017 - 20:05 Permalink

Failed in the first step the others just follow on.When you create artificial value out of thin air and the British were doing it nationally long before 1913 you set in place a sequence of events and this iswas exactly what Diocletian (Roman) ended up with before that empire collapsed 2 millennia aga.Elites / Globalists / Aristocracy / Kings just cannot stop thieving and using the economic system for personal gain because that is what they do. If the Keynes rate is 2%, you know they were taking more, say 5% intead while the dumb population said nothing. That compound interest of 3% over and above is the stagnation of them owning everything in a finite period of time and the economy dies.Happens every time and this time is no different 70's it died, they learned new tricks but same system, same rules and the same outcome will be observed.

In reply to by Deep Snorkeler