Special to The Kennedy Beacon
It was a banner weekend. The hapless House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, triggered a veritable civil war within the GOP by surrendering to the bipartisan spenders’ caucus, while the scion of America’s most venerated political family stormed out of the Dems’ corruption-besotted encampment on the Potomac to continue his run for president as an independent candidate of the people.
So suddenly and thankfully, the malefic Washington Uniparty is on the ropes. Imperial Washington is under siege. America’s long nightmare of war, welfare, debt, financialization, bureaucratic tyranny, cancel culture and crony capitalist corruption may finally be coming to at least the beginning of the end.
History will show that the inflection point was the cold turkey demise of the Uniparty’s bootless Ukrainian project. The fact is, RFK Jr’s independent candidacy is the political death knell for its current sponsors—that is, “Joe Biden” and the beltway War Party careerists, who have saddled America with this pointless, shameful, financially-ruinous incarnation of yet another Forever War. And the coming House GOP fratricide virtually guarantees that the open-ended $115 billion ratline to Kiev will abruptly run dry for want of Congressional action.
Then the dominoes will fall—in a good way. The Ukrainian government and military—which is being funded down to the last civilian fireman and military MRE kit from Uncle Sam’s depleted bank account—will collapse in chaos, possibly even before this season’s freeze of the Pontic steppes is over.
Thereafter will follow a hasty peace conference and partition of the Ukrainian state. Hooray!
The latter was a historical aberration that had never been built to last, anyway, and which had been tyrannically assembled by Lenin, Stalin and Khruschev for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with either the past history or the contemporary welfare of the disparate peoples who lived there. Ukraine’s imminent demise means that the four provinces (Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson) of historic Novorossiya will join Crimea in a return to their historic conjugal affiliation with Mother Russia, while the rump state in the center and west will gain the independence from all things Russian that its mainly Ukrainian nationalist populace has stubbornly sought.
Even more importantly, the collapse of the Ukrainian project triggered by this weekend’s events will baldly expose and blatantly discredit the Big Lie on which the unspeakable destruction and death occasioned by Washington’s proxy war against Russia was predicated. To wit, this ghastly war never, ever had anything remotely to do with America’s homeland safety and security. It was not a 60/40 mistake of policy judgement, but a 100% wrong call—a needless abomination fostered by the Uniparty’s camarilla of warmongers, which infests the highest reaches of power within the entire length and breadth of the beltway.
The shocking next chapter is that Zelensky will soon be hiding out in Costa Rica and the Kiev caretakers will sue for peace, yet America’s homeland security will be no worse for the wear. When it comes to the latter, the impending partition of the Russian- and non-Russian- speaking peoples of this woebegone land will prove to be of no more moment than the 1993 divorce of the nearby Slovaks and Czechs.
Indeed, the above map of the former Czechoslovakia is a cogent reminder of the path not taken in Ukraine, owing to Washington’s endless imperial meddling on Russia’s doorstep. But fortunately for the 16 million people who live in today’s Czech Republic and the nation of Slovakia, as well as the peace of Europe and the world, Washington’s neocon buttinsky’s didn’t have time to stir up the drums of war there when the Soviet Empire disappeared into the dustbin of history in 1991.
To be sure, Czechoslovakia was every bit as much an artificial state as Ukraine. Like Ukraine, it had been assembled late in history out of the ashes of World War I. At Versailles, the megalomaniacal Woodrow Wilson had virtually decreed its existence—with one myopic eye on his historical legacy and the other more clear-sighted one focused on the Czech-populated election precincts in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio and Nebraska.
But Wilson’s concoction of “Czechoslovakia”, which encompassed a dog’s breakfast of nationalities, including 6.5 million Czechs, 3.1 million Germans, 2 million Slovaks, 700,000 Hungarians, and 600,000 Ukrainians, had not been built to last. During its short-lived history, it became the proximate catalyst for WWII, when the Sudeten Germans, who were concentrated on the mountain borders of what had been Bohemia and Moravia, voted overwhelmingly (99%) in December 1938 to exit Wilson’s stockade of nationalities.
During the cold war years thereafter, of course, Czechoslovakia was held together only by the iron fist of communist rulers. Yet before the Soviet corpse was barely cold in January 1993 these incompatible peoples went their separate ways in a “velvet” divorce, with nary a pint of blood spilled or single Czech crown wasted.
Needless to say, the Czechoslovakia solution was implicit in the Soviet-sired relic of Ukraine, as well. Its very name means “borderlands” in Russian—with most of its extent having been an integral territory or vassal of Greater Russia for centuries. The only modern borders it had ever known, in fact, were those established by three of history’s greatest tyrants after Czarist Russia collapsed in 1917 and the bloody Bolsheviks seized power in the region.
As it happened, the Russian Czars had assembled the yellow area of the map, below, through conquest and purchase, as they had the light blue area under Catherine the Great, which became known as Novorossiya (New Russia). Subsequently, Lenin assigned “New Russia” to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, apparently for no better reason than administrative convenience, at the end of the civil war in 1922.
The other appendages had no better rationale, as they were the spoils of war and Kremlin intrigue. The historic area of Galicia (green area) centered in Lviv was seized by Stalin when Poland was dismembered duringin WWII. And Crimea (purple area), which was thoroughly Russian from the time of its purchase by Catherine the Great in 1783, was seconded to Khruschev’s Ukrainian compatriots in 1954 as a door prize in return for their support in the struggle for succession after Stalin.
So what will happen in the months ahead is that the peace conference partition along these electoral lines will starkly reveal that the Ukrainian war carnage—the worst since the bloody trenches of WWI—could have been ended in a veritable heartbeat. It will become crystal clear that the Washington Uniparty flat-out lied about what was at stake and brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, in order to play god with populations which would have gladly gone their separate ways.
Ukraine Election Map, 1994
Ukraine Election Map, 2010
Likewise, the false Uniparty narrative will be repudiated even more decisively by the fact that, apart from the Ukrainian partition, the map of eastern Europe will not have changed. The whole idea that Putin means to resurrect the Soviet Empire and that Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and destinations west are next in line for invasion was made of whole cloth. Its malign purpose was to give NATO a reason for expanding even further east to Russia’s very doorstep and to justify Washington’s call to war in a territory that makes not one damn bit of difference to America’s homeland security.
For crying out loud. The archives of American post-Soviet diplomacy are also crystal clear on this matter. Bush the Elder and his Secretary of State James Baker explicitly promised Gorbachev that, in return for the dismantling of the Warsaw Pact and the unification of Germany, that NATO would not move “one inch” to the east.
And that pledge was made for screamingly obvious reasons: The Soviet Empire was gone, and the threat of the massive Red Army had vanished. Its troops weren’t even being paid and its tanks and artillery were being melted down and sold for scrap. So ex-paratrooper George H. W. Bush should have parachuted into Ramstein Air Base in Germany during 1992, declared victory and consigned NATO to a newly created museum of world peace.
Indeed, at the time the very astute “father” of the containment doctrine and the 1949 NATO alliance, Professor George F. Kennan, warned that the perpetuation and expansion of NATO under these circumstances would be folly. When in 1998 the Senate nevertheless voted to extend NATO to include Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, he clairvoyantly observed,
“I think it is the beginning of a new cold war,” said Mr. Kennan from his Princeton home. “I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever.”
“It shows so little understanding of Russian history and Soviet history. Of course, there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are — but this is just wrong.“
In a word, risking everything to get Ukraine into an obsolete NATO alliance that was and remains long past its “sell-by” date is surely one of the stupidest acts of foreign policy in all of American history. And now, on the back of the momentous events of this past weekend, the opportunity has finally come. That is, to name, blame, shame and drive from the seats of power the Uniparty wreckers of American democracy, prosperity and liberty who brought the nation to its present precarious estate.
That is Robert F. Kennedy’s history-changing mission at the present hour. He needs to make War & Peace the preponderant issue, just like his father did in the spring of 1968. And by articulating the matter broadly, he can decisively splinter the Uniparty, thereby gathering refugees from both sides of the aisle and turning the 2024 election into a once-in-a-generation referendum on the future of America, and to an even more fundamental extent than did Ronald Reagan in 1980.
As to the Democrat side, we believe that the Dem peace wing of the 1960s and 1970s has not vanished at all—its voice has just been crushed and hushed by the party’s Washington-based leadership that has sold out to Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamics, and Northrup Grumman, and has also been intellectually lobotomized by the national security state careerists domiciled among the bureaus, thinks tanks, NGOs, and lobbies inside the Washington beltway.
Even more crucially, Kennedy needs to explain, as only he can credibly do, that becoming afflicted with the Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) is not a sign of liberal virility or virtue, and that Vladimir Putin is not Donald Trump’s doppelganger. That is to say, attack the Donald for his thuggish persona and reckless politics until your heart’s content, but get over the groundless idea that Putin had anything at all to do with the Donald’s flukish election victory in 2016.
The latter was the product of a mere 77,000 vote margin in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that amounted to just o.056% of the 136.5 million votes cast. And this razor thin edge of voters did not pull the Trump lever owing to Russian propaganda on Facebook, but because they were madder than hell about the demise of their lives and livelihoods in Rust Belt America owing to policies emanating from Washington.
Yet the Washington Dems’ angry embrace of all things anti-Putin on the foreign policy front is self-evidently owing to TDS. With a GDP only 7% that of the US and no capacity to launch either an invasion of the New Jersey coast or a pre-emptive nuclear first strike, the national security facts of life do not even remotely warrant the Uniparty Dems’ mindless demonization of Putin and Russia.
Likewise, the Democrats were once the party of civil rights, civil liberties, constitutional rigor in the administration of justice and free speech without if, ands orand buts. But those items embody high principles of political philosophy and public morality—a treasure that has literally vanished from the ranks of Washington Dems. Instead, it has been supplanted by the tin-sounding opportunism of lawfare and the blatant and dangerous political weaponization of the justice system itself, in order to slay the ogre of Donald Trump.
Ironically, back in the spring of 1968 when your writer rang doorbells for Robert Kennedy Sr., we subsequently broke away from the Dems when warhawk Hubert Humphrey won the nomination amidst the uprisings in Chicago later that summer. In response, we had started a new party in Michigan under the banner of “Peace and Freedom”, which slogan would surely resonate among lapsed Democrats today as powerfully as it did back then.
As to lapsed Republicans, the policy agenda that RFK Jr. can actually promote goes right to the heart of the old-time GOP religion. That is, America is being drowned in public debt; its economic and civic vitality is being crushed by Big Government; small enterprise has been monkey-hammered by regulation, most recently by Dr. Fauci’s Virus Patrol; rampant printing press money emissions by the Fed have pleasured the 1% while shellacking main street workers, savers, entrepreneurs and retirees; crony capitalist corruption is now the main business of the beltway politicians and operators; and constitutional liberty and free speech are under assault, owing to an unholy alliance of Big Tech and government apparatchiks.
In one way or another, all of these ills link directly to the matter of War & Peace. As to the dollars and cents dimension of it, today’s (FY 2024) bloated Warfare State will cost $1.3 trillion when you include both national defense proper ($909 billion) plus international security aid and operations ($74 billion) and the deferred cost of the Forever Wars, embodied in the immense Veteran’s benefits and health care budget ($321 billion).
Indeed, “deferred cost” is exactly the right word for the Veterans Administration budget. In today’s dollars of purchasing power, it stood at just $50 billion in 1962 and was still only $70 billion by 1981 when Ronald Reagan pledged to shrink Big Government. So the six-fold growth of the VA budget since the 1962 peak of the Cold War is a cruel measure of the lives that have been marred and the limbs and faculties that have been lost since then in the pursuit of Forever Wars from Vietnam to Afghanistan, Iraq and Ukraine—none of which were necessary for the safety and security of America’s homeland.
Unfortunately, President Reagan was an ardent believers in Small Government only on the domestic side of the budget ledger. When it came to national security, he was unfortunately a sucker for ultra-big government on the Pentagon side of the Potomac.
Accordingly, today’s $1.3 trillion comprehensive national security budget, which had stood at just $580 billion in present purchasing power (FY 2024 $) in 1981, had ballooned by nearly 40% to $800 billion by the end of the Gipper’s eight years in office. And worse still, it included a massive increase in conventional air, land, and sea forces—the very capabilities that made all the subsequent unnecessary Forever Wars of invasion and occupation possible.
In a word, the small government Republicanism that RFK Jr. needs to revive must reach back to the pre-Reagan times, and to the far more consistent philosophy of Senator Robert Taft. The latter had forcefully advocated for small government on both sides of the Potomac in the post-war years, and incidentally was one of the eight “Profiles in Courage” that RFK’ Jr.’s uncle, President John Kennedy, had famously written about in his Pulitzer Prize winning book in the 1950s.
Alas, and also not incidentally, the pithy phrase that Taft had used to describe his national security posture was “Fortress America”, which was a viewpoint that he happened to share with RFK Jr.’s grandfather, Joseph P. Kennedy. The latter’s biographer, historian David Nasaw, once explained Joe Kennedy’s alleged isolationism during the run-up to WWII in a manner that captures the essence of Fortress America about as well as can be done:
DAVID NASAW: Joseph Kennedy was an appeaser and an isolationist. But that did not mean that he was against the military or defense. To be an isolationist meant that you keep the military budget way up, but you use all of it to protect the United States, to create a Fortress America. During World War II, he didn’t want to send any destroyers to Britain; he wanted the entire military budget to be used to protect the Western Hemisphere. He wanted ships, he wanted planes, he wanted everything he possibly could get to guard the Atlantic from any attempt of the Germans, ever, to come in this direction.
Ironically, post-Soviet history has proved that Joe Kennedy was on to something. In today’s world, America’s security is best maintained by an unassailable nuclear deterrent, the great ocean moats of the Atlantic and Pacific, and overwhelming conventional power to protect the North American airspace and shoreline.
But, as we have amplified at length elsewhere, this updated version of Fortress America would easily cost $500 billion per year less than the current tumescent $1.3 trillion. But suffice it here to say that, at the time the great General Dwight Eisenhower famously warmed about the dangers of the military-industrial complex in his 1961 Farewell Address, the above referenced comprehensive national security budget in today’s dollars (FY 2024$) totaled $550 billion—58% less than today’s monstrous spending level.
Moreover, that was at the peak of the Cold War when the Soviet Union possessed a decent quotient of industrial vigor, thousands of warheads pointed at the United States and 50,000 tanks lined-up on the central front that still had working parts and fuel. Yet after cutting the defense budget he inherited by upwards of 30% in real terms, Ike judged his outgoing national security budget of $550 billion to be enough even in those precarious times.
By contrast, the US today is faced by no industrial superpower with either the means or motivation to attack the American homeland. The fact is, neither Russia nor China have the economic capacity—say $50 trillion of GDP—or motivation to attack the American homeland with conventional military means. The vast invasionary armada of land and air forces, air and sealift capacity, and massive logistics supply pipelines that would be needed to bridge the two ocean moats is virtually beyond rational imagination.
So what ultimately keeps America safe is its nuclear deterrent. As long as that is intact and effective, there is no conceivable form of nuclear blackmail that could be used to jeopardize the security and liberty of the American homeland.
Yet according to CBO’s latest study the current cost of the strategic deterrent is just $52 billion per year. This includes $13 billion for the ballistic missile submarine force, $7 billion for the land-based ICBMs and $6 billion for the strategic bomber force. On top of that there is also $13 billion to maintain the nuclear weapons stockpiles, infrastructure and supporting services, and $11 billion for strategic nuclear command and control, communications and early warnings systems.
In all and after allowing for normal inflation and new weapons development costs, CBO’s 10-year estimate for the strategic nuclear deterrent is just $756 billion. That happens to be only 7.0% of the $10 trillion baseline for the total cost of defense proper over the next decade and only 5.0% of the $15 trillion national security baseline when you include international operations and veterans.
Accordingly, a return to the Eisenhower Minimum of over the next decade would save in excess of $4 trillion. And that would surely be more than feasible from the $14 trillion+ CBO baseline for comprehensive national security spending excluding the strategic forces.
For instance, under a Fortress America defense strategy there would be no need for 11 carrier battle groups including their air-wings, escort and support ships and supporting infrastructure. Those forces are sitting ducks in this day and age anyway and are only necessary for force projection abroad and wars of invasion and occupation. The American coastline and interior, by contrast, can be protected by land-based air.
Yet according to another CBO study the 10-year baseline cost for the Navy’s 11 carrier battle groups will approach $1 trillion alone. Likewise, the land forces of the US Army will cost $2 trillion and that’s again mainly for the purpose of force projection abroad.
As Senator Taft and his original Fortress America supporters long ago recognized, overwhelming air superiority over the North American continent is what is actually necessary for homeland security. But even that would require only a small part of the current $1.5 trillion 10-year cost of US Air Force operations, which are heavily driven by global force projection capacities.
The rest of Washington’s national security palaver about defending allies and supporting alliances is just a cover story that does not add an iota of national security. What it does provide, however, is an excuse for a fulsome feeding trough for military and national security contractors—the avarice of which the world has never previously seen.
Needless to say, a radical shrinkage of the bloated national security establishment would open the doors to fiscal retrenchment on the domestic side of the budget, too—something that has been politically impossible ever since the Reagan defense build-up laid the basis for today’s Uniparty log-rolling deal. To wit, nobody touches entitlements and domestic pork, and in return the neocons, hawks and warmongers of both parties get the full measure of the hideous bloat now spilling out of the nation’s $1.3 trillion national security budget.
But the resulting potential for a return to fiscal sanity would be only half the prize. With the US Treasury’s sharp elbows out of the bond pits, the pressure on the Fed to falsify interest rates and monetize the public debt would abate sharply. And a return to sound money at the Eccles Building, in turn, would quickly pave the way for bringing inflation not only back to the Fed’s fatuous 2.00% target, but to zero or less so that America’s main street economy could divest its inflationary bloat, become far more competitive in global goods and services markets, and bring well-paying productive jobs back to the main street economy.
It could also do something even more crucial. Namely, sever Wall Street’s baleful grip on central bank policy. Without the massive borrowing by Uncle Sam, there would be no excuse for large-scale debt purchases by the Fed or for the crony capitalist bailouts that have been so egregiously undertaken during the last three decades.
Getting the Warfare State, the nation’s debt and fiscal accounts, and the central bank’s printing press under control would enable other policy changes that should appeal to lapsed traditional Republican’s as well, such as a revival of Federalism and entitlement reform.
We will address these items in Part 2, but it needs be summarized here that a broader approach to War & Peace, as suggested above, could be the basis for an RFK Jr. platform that would attract sufficient refugees from both parties as to make RFK Jr.’s third party candidacy unprecedently competitive in the electoral college. That is to say, make him either the winner or the kingmaker—and outcome which is actually the only hope for arresting America’s tragic drift toward disaster.
So, hey, RFK Jr. Bring it on!
Reprinted with the author’s permission.