A Republic, Not an Empire Reclaiming America's Destiny

Patrick J. Buchanan, Author
Patrick J. Buchanan, Author Regnery Publishing $29.95 (437p) ISBN 978-0-89526-272-1
Reviewed on: 08/02/1999
Release date: 08/01/1999
Paperback - 437 pages - 978-0-89526-159-5
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Claiming to rescue history from the clutches of revisionists who not only slander the idea of isolationism but also get their history wrong, Buchanan (The Great Betrayal, etc.) offers a ringing defense of isolationism--though he doesn't call it that. Instead, Buchanan calls his foreign policy one of national interest. It is rooted in an outlook that is not just politically conservative but metaphysically conservative: ""The fatal flaw in the globalist vision is that it is utopian. It envisions a world that has never existed and can never exist, because it is contrary to fallen human nature."" Scoffing at dreamy internationalism (e.g., Woodrow Wilson's na ve desire to make the world ""safe for democracy"" and George Bush's trumpeting of a ""new world order""), he invokes George Washington's Farewell Address warning against foreign entanglements and John Quincy Adams's dictum that it is not America's destiny ""to go abroad in search of monsters to destroy."" At issue, argues Buchanan, is America's sovereignty: the country should not make commitments to the U.N. or even NATO that will exact a price of blood and treasure where no vital national interest is at stake. As Buchanan ranges widely through American history, historians will find ample opportunity to sling analytical darts. But readers who can stomach the author's more outrageous fits of polemical bile (e.g., claiming that Joseph McCarthy ""did nothing to... compare to what was done to the patriots of America First"") will have to admit that Buchanan makes a stirring and entertaining argument--even if, as U.S. intervention in Kosovo and NATO expansion illustrate, it is, for the foreseeable future, a losing argument. (Sept.)
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