Irving Horowitz assesses the implosion of Pat Buchanan-style conservatism:

THE WORLD of Pat Buchanan is one turned upside down. Cause and effect are reversed. The enemy is within. American efforts to enforce a plethora of resolutions to prevent nuclear proliferation in the Middle East become little more than naked display of American imperialism. Near complete Palestinian intransigence to any sort of peaceful solution that recognizes the sovereignty of a Jewish state becomes an Israeli warrior instinct.

A day will come, we are ominously informed, in which “we will settle accounts with those who sacrificed God’s Country on their pagan altar of empire.” If Buchanan’s is an oversimplified model of the universe, it is nonetheless makes for compelling rhetoric. It identifies an easy enemy: the imperial president, whose view of the world corrupts “God’s Country” by trying to tell other people how to live.

For Buchanan, the deeper we move into the first decade of the new century the more evident it becomes that the issue is not terrorism, but the presumption that such terror is brought about by the United States itself, by its voracious appetites to rule the world unilaterally. As a result, old categories like Right and Left, Conservative and Liberal, dissolve under the guise of a choice between a New World Order Party (which for Buchanan implies both the Democrats and Republicans for the most part) and an America First Party.

The latter is an amorphous group comprised of native-born Americans, dedicated to Christian fundamental values, for which the rest of the world is a cross between a cesspool and a diabolical conspiracy trying to engage a virtuous nation in its plots. That he is on to something is evident in his ability to round up a wide ranging group of contributors ranging from Scott McConnell from the traditional right to Nicholas von Hoffman from what used to be gratuitously called the New Left. They all sound the same theme of animus for Ariel Sharon, respect for Saddam Hussein. But the specific villains and heroes of the moment are less important than the ideological alliances that are clearly being formed.

Buchanan’s America isn’t one I would want to live in. And if Buchanan exemplifies “The American Conservative,” then I don’t want to be one.

(Hat tip: Reductio Ad Absurdum

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.