|Moving to the ‘Bipartisan Center’
|President Clinton’s National Security Adviser Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger was driven in a bullet-proof White House limousine on November 4 to address the members of the Bilderberg Steering Committee who were dining at the Library of Congress. The Library’s magnificent Great Hall was an appropriate venue for a meeting of this 45-year-old elite group of Atlantic community movers and shakers. Democrats David Rockefeller and Vernon Jordan Jr. and Republican Henry Kissinger were on hand to greet the guests.
Berger’s speech was entitled “Strengthening the Bipartisan Center: An Internationalist Agenda for America.” He identified Clinton’s goal as an “internationalist agenda,” stated that “bipartisanism” is the road to take us there, and warned that “isolationism” is the dragon to be slain along the way.
“Bipartisanism” at the top level in both parties facilitates Clinton’s foreign policy objectives. Berger bragged that the Administration has worked with both Republicans and Democrats in Congress to enlarge NATO, to pass NAFTA which is now to be expanded by similar trade bills for Africa and the Caribbean Basin, to join the World Trade Organization, to ratify treaties such as the Chemical Weapons Convention, and to finance “engagements” in the Balkans and “a host of other international initiatives.”
Asserting that “global leadership is not divisible,” Berger said that treaties must be used to “establish standards of international conduct.” America must respond to local conflicts; not all of them, of course, just the ones that the internationalists choose.
Berger asserted that “the only acceptable position for the world’s wealthiest and most powerful nation” is to support these missions, not only with our UN vote but by paying the costs. He complained that Congress was “not meeting our obligations to the World Bank and IMF,” was conditioning the payment of UN dues on unrelated issues, and has cut our request for peacekeeping by 60%.
Pledging more U.S. handouts and interventions, Berger whined about “a small group of Senators” who are responsible for the steady decline in our international affairs budget. He particularly complained that Congress was “refusing to fund a historic debt relief initiative” which Clinton was demanding.
Clinton had been demanding that the American taxpayers pay the debt of 41 nations including 33 in Africa. Majority Leader Tom DeLay called this sending U.S. taxpayer dollars overseas “to subsidize the corruption and mismanagement of foreign countries” and robbing the Social Security surplus for “Ghana versus Grandma.”
Clinton vetoed the foreign aid bill on October 18 because its handouts were 14% less than he wanted, calling it “another sign of the new isolationism.” After some heated closed-door sessions with Administration negotiators threatening to close down the government, Congress added another $799 million to the $12.7 billion foreign aid bill. Rep. Sonny Callahan (R-AL) commented that “every time somebody walks in the White House with a turban on his head,” the President offers them money. Callahan said he was going to “buy me one of those turbans” and seek money for senior citizens.
Berger called opponents of Clinton’s agenda a “dominant minority,” a strange oxymoron. He ruefully recognized that these opponents have a “coherent philosophy” which sees “international spending as inherently disconnected to America’s interests, views most multilateral enterprises with suspicion and considers most difficult international endeavors . . . as likely to fail and therefore not worth trying.”
Berger urged his internationalist audience “to recognize when our beliefs are being threatened” and to “defend them together.”
The Clinton Administration has, indeed, had significant success in coopting Republicans to support its global agenda in the name of bipartisanship. On February 11, a long list of officials from the Ford and Bush Administrations joined with powerful CEOs, who are the source of soft money for the Republican Party, to co-sign a two-page ad in the New York Times demanding that Congress immediately vote for four of Clinton’s goals.
Attacking “isolationism” and the “drift toward disengagement from global leadership,” these dignitaries demanded (1) more tax handouts to the International Monetary Fund, (2) use of the Exchange Stabilization Fund to prop up foreign currencies, (3) $1 billion in “back dues” to the United Nations, and (4) Fast Track trade authority for Clinton. Republican signers of these demands included President Gerald Ford, former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Alexander Haig, former National Security Advisors Brent Scowcroft and Robert McFarlane, former U.S. Trade Representatives Bill Brock and Carla Hills, and the heads of scores of multinationals and bank corporations.
We also got a good look at the bipartisan corporate elite on September 27 when they assembled in Shanghai on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Chairman Mao’s Communist Party takeover of mainland China. The U.S. delegation was awesome: the CEOs of hundreds of Fortune 500 corporations including Time-Warner, General Motors, Ford, AT&T, Procter & Gamble, Boeing, Rockwell and Cargill. On hand to provide helpful tips were experienced world travelers: Republicans Henry Kissinger and Carla Hills, Democrats Robert Rubin and Mickey Kantor.
It would be a mistake to think that Clinton’s foreign policy is merely the result of improvisations or “wag the dog” coverups. Clinton has repeatedly enunciated his vision of where he is trying to take America. In a speech to the United Nations on September 22, 1997, he said he wants to take us into a “web of institutions and arrangements” for the 21st century. On CBS Morning News on July 30, 1999, he said he wants “to promote the integration of all the democracies.”
That’s where the “bipartisan center” is taking us. The question for Americans is, is that where we want to go? Is it where Texas Governor George W. Bush wants to take us? On November 28 on ABC’s This Week, his foreign policy guru Condoleezza Rice said, “He will bring a new Bipartisan Center to foreign policy.”
Bipartisanship Hits Bump in the Road
When the Republican Senate defeated the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty on October 13, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and the media all staged tantrums. Clinton accused Republicans of “partisan politics” and “a new isolationism,” and Gore chimed in by calling Republicans “right-wing extremist” and “breathtakingly irresponsible.”
Now we know what those epithets mean. If Republicans acquiesce in Clinton’s policies, they are praised as “bipartisan” and “responsible,” while if they oppose his policies they are “partisan,” “isolationist,” “irresponsible,” and part of a “right-wing conspiracy.”
It was Clinton, not Republicans, who tried to turn the Test Ban Treaty from a national security issue into partisan politics. Clinton substituted name-calling because he lacked rational arguments to rebut the six former Secretaries of Defense and two former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs who opposed this dangerous treaty. When the Democrats even attacked three certified internationalists, Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN) and John McCain (R-AZ) and Henry Kissinger, as “isolationist,” it’s clear that this word is not a rational argument but a partisan smear epithet.
The phoniness of the “isolationist” charge is also shown by the way the Clinton Administration uses the term to attack Republicans who oppose Clinton’s policies on Kosovo and the Test Ban Treaty, while the Clintonistas are totally isolationist about Communist China’s activities in Panama. The protection of the great Panama Canal from Communist China is exactly where the United States should be “engaged,” but the “Bipartisan Center” spokesmen are greeting the problem of the Chinese leases at each end of the Canal with stony silence.
The media blamed Republicans for setting a trap in the vote about the Test Ban Treaty. But the Democratic leadership had threatened to shut down the Senate and prevent it from transacting any other business unless Majority Leader Trent Lott scheduled a vote; so Lott gave them their vote and the Democrats crashed.
Contrary to the torrents of outrage pouring forth from Clinton lackeys, the world isn’t coming to an end because the Senate exercised its constitutional “advice and consent” power to reject one of Clinton’s flawed, foolish and unverifiable agreements that would put U.S. sovereignty and security in the noose of foreign control. The world did not stop turning when the Senate refused to ratify Jimmy Carter’s SALT II treaty, and we would be a lot safer today if the Senate had rejected Carter’s giveaway Panama Canal treaties.
Bipartisanship is not the answer to foreign policy challenges. Our Constitution wasn’t designed for Senators to “get along” or “work together” in bipartisan happy-talk, and it’s a perversion of the system when both parties support the same policies. Our Constitution was designed for constant controversy because that is the way we can maintain our freedom and independence,
Self-government demands vigorous advocacy of different points of view on foreign as well as domestic policies. After both parties make their policy recommendations, the people can make known their decision.
Bipartisanship has betrayed the American taxpayers and our armed services again and again. The leadership of both parties supported a long list of crucial policies that never enjoyed majority support among the voters.
Bipartisanship used enormous sums of taxpayers’ money to bail out corrupt foreign regimes, including Mexico, South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia. Billions went through the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to Russia where mob-style politicians pocketed our tax dollars in their secret bank accounts.
Bipartisanship rams through big appropriations every year for all those unaccountable international lending agencies, including the IMF, the World Bank, and the ripoff called the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).
Bipartisanship is paralyzing all efforts to deal with our problems with China, probably our biggest enemy in the coming decades. Neither party wants to talk about China’s human rights violations, espionage, political contributions to Clinton, or $60 billion trade surplus that is financing its military-industrial complex.
Bipartisan folly prevents the Republican leadership from telling the American people the truth about the humanitarian disaster and foreign-policy failure of Clinton’s wars and peacekeeping operations in Kosovo, Bosnia, Somalia and Haiti.
We can see a good example of how foolish bipartisanship is funded when we note that former Republican National Chairman Haley Barbour became a paid lobbyist for Ted Turner’s campaign to persuade Republicans in Congress to vote $1 billion in alleged unpaid dues to the United Nations. Barbour even ran a full-page ad in the conservative Weekly Standard in support of this goal.
Bipartisanship has built a fence around extravagant federal spending programs so none is being reduced. The bipartisan leadership couldn’t even bring itself to cut the National Endowment for the Arts despite its current blasphemies at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
Clinton’s treaties are dangerous and costly for America. Bipartisanship is a Clinton ploy to coopt Republicans into becoming a party to his mistakes. The voters are looking for leaders who will stand tall for American national security, and the vote against the Test Ban Treaty is a step in the right direction.
The Truth Leaks Out About Kosovo
The embarrassing truth is starting to come out that the Clinton Administration lied to us about Kosovo atrocities which were supposed to justify the bombing of Yugoslavia. In five months of investigation and exhumation of the dead in Kosovo, United Nations war crimes investigators have found only 2,108 bodies. That’s the figure confirmed and reported to the UN Security Council by the chief prosecutor for the UN war crimes tribunal, Carla Del Ponte. (New York Times, 11-11-99)
Before the bombing, Clinton and Defense Secretary William Cohen repeatedly tossed out figures of 100,000 dead, and the State Department even claimed that up to 500,000 Kosovars were feared dead. (Ibid.)
Pathologist Emilio Perez Pujol, who led a Spanish forensic team looking for bodies, found only 187, mostly in individual graves. He calculated that “the final figure of dead in Kosovo will be 2,500 at the most. This includes lots of strange deaths that can’t be blamed on anyone in particular.” (London Sunday Times, 10-31-99)
The British, who seem to be more interested in getting to the truth than Congress, are pressuring Foreign Secretary Robin Cook to answer claims that Tony Blair’s government misled the public over the scale of deaths in order to justify NATO’s bombing of Belgrade. Alice Mahon, the Labor MP who chairs the Balkans committee, said that the Kosovo deaths were tragic but did not justify the killing of Belgrade civilians by NATO’s bombing. (Ibid.)
Lacking a constitutional or national security basis for his Yugoslav adventure, Clinton relied wholly on the humanitarian argument. That rationale has fallen apart because the numbers of Milosevic’s crimes in Kososo were so grossly inflated, the indiscriminate damage done by the Clinton/NATO bombing raids was so vast, and all the people he said he was helping are far worse off than before the bombing started.
The Clinton/NATO bombing was carried on for 78 days with total disregard for human life. The bombs killed thousands of innocent civilians and even destroyed hospitals and schools. (New York Times, 4-14-99, 4-16-99, 4-20-99)
The Clinton/NATO bombing decimated Yugoslavia’s economic infrastructure and created an environmental nightmare. Not only are water and power systems destroyed, but the lifeline of the region, the Danube River, is polluted and largely impassable because of destroyed bridges.
Repeated air strikes on the Serbian town of Pancevo enveloped the area in clouds of black smoke and flames for ten days and unleashed tons of chemicals into the air, water and soil. The fish, produce and water are all contaminated. (New York Times, 7-14-99)
What was advertised as an air war against Yugoslavia’s military capabilities was really a war directed against the Serbian people. Dropping cluster bombs from 15,000 feet and firing missiles from many miles away guaranteed “mistakes” and “collateral damage” and prove that the targets were civilian as well as military. U.S. Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Michael Short admitted that the goal was to break the will of the Serbs and make them so miserable that they would force Milosevic to pull out of Kosovo. (London Daily Telegraph, 5-25-99, quoted in Cato Institute’s Policy Analysis, 10-25-99)
Estimates of the cost to rebuild the damage range up to $100 billion (you can bet that American taxpayers will ultimately be called upon to pay this bill), and the costs in human misery are incalculable.
The situation in Kosovo, the province Clinton was supposed to be protecting, is even worse. The danger from unexploded British and American cluster bombs and mines is at alarming levels, according to international aid agencies. (New York Times, 8-6-99) Before the bombing began, there was no humanitarian crisis in Kosovo. It was only after the U.S. and NATO air strikes began that the Serbs started to expel Albanians from Kosovo.
The NATO “peacekeeping” force in Kosovo is completely unable to restrain the revenge-seeking Albanians who are beating and murdering the Serbs, even targeting grandmothers (Washington Times, 8-13-99), and burning their homes and churches. (New York Times, 8-2-99, 11-22-99) More Serb civilians have been slaughtered in Kosovo than ethnic Albanians before the bombing began. (David Hackworth column, 8-24-99)
The daily violence continues even though there are now more NATO troops in Kosovo than Serbs. According to Human Rights Watch, 164,000 Serb civilians have been driven out of Kosovo. (New York Times, 8-2-99, 8-5-99, 9-13-99, 10-29-99, 11-22-99)
The Clinton-Albright policy is based on the absurd fantasy that America and NATO can force the Serbs and Albanians to live together in a multiethnic society. Neither side wants that, and the attempt to impose our will means that U.S. troops will play the costly roles of global cop and social worker indefinitely into the future.
The only people happy about the Yugoslavia debacle are the globalists who want America to be perpetually engaged in foreign conflicts. In a speech to the Canadian Parliament, Czech leader Vaclav Havel praised the Yugoslav war as “an important precedent for the future,” saying that “state sovereignty must inevitably dissolve” and that nation-states will be transformed into “civil administrative units.” (The Responsive Community, Summer 1999)
When Clinton’s National Security Adviser Sandy Berger spoke to the Council on Foreign Relations on October 21, he described Clinton’s foreign policy as grounded in the policy of “engagement.” America will now be “engaged” in Yugoslavia for the rest of our lives.
Full-page newspaper ads this fall advertised a fake product called “Binge Beer.” There’s no such beer; the ads were an attention-grabbing device to warn college students of the danger from a popular campus diversion called binge drinking.
It’s not just college students who are foolish enough to destroy themselves by binging. The Clinton Administration and the Congress cooperate to indulge in binge banking, a frivolity that is very unhealthy for U.S. taxpayers’ pocketbooks.
With the Clinton Administration’s encouragement, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has loaned Russia $20 billion since 1992. The IMF lent $11.2 billion to Russia in July 1998 shortly before the ruble was devalued. Russia is eligible for another $4.5 billion from the IMF over the next year and a half, plus half a billion dollars from the Export-Import Bank.
Corrupt Russian government officials and their pals have reportedly sent $10 billion to safe havens outside of Russia. Some of the money was laundered through U.S. banks, some deposited in Swiss bank accounts, and some hidden in secret off-shore companies.
The IMF claims that it doesn’t know whether its funds were improperly diverted because it doesn’t monitor how the money is disbursed after it is transferred to the Russian central bank, and because IMF funds are immediately commingled with other funds. When your business arranges a loan with your local friendly banker, try telling him it’s none of his business what you do with the money.
In a racket misrepresented to Americans as “privatization,” whole oil and gas companies were “sold” to Russian government insiders, such as associates of Viktor Chernomyrdin. Russian officials with inside knowledge sold their government securities in 1998, locking in their profits just before the ruble was devalued.
Commentators are now trying to call the Russian economic collapse “crony capitalism,” but that’s an unfair slur on capitalism. Russian money is controlled by organized crime and corrupt government officials who are grabbing the industries, the banks, and the flow of funds from the United States and international lending agencies.
The New York Times described Russian money laundering through U.S. banks, and how the Russian economy is in the throes of wholesale gangsterism, graft, embezzlement, government insiders stealing major industries, and ruthless manipulation of global monetary mechanisms. The Times published an analysis piece titled “What Makes Nations Turn Corrupt?” (8-28-99, 9-02-99) Most people have known the answer to that question since Lord Acton discovered that “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
The rush toward the Bipartisan Center, Clinton’s global goals and treaties, Clinton’s “engagement” and “humanitarian warfare” in Yugoslavia/Kosovo, and the racket of taxpayer handouts to corrupt foreign governments are all issues that ought to be fully debated during the 2000 election campaign. Which presidential candidates will come out against all these disastrous policies and for defending the sovereignty of the United States of America?
Phyllis Schlafly is the author of 16 books, including five books on national defense and foreign policy: The Gravediggers (1964), Strike From Space (1965), and The Betrayers (1968) covering the McNamara years; and Kissinger on the Couch (1975) and Ambush at Vladivostok (1976) covering the Kissinger years. She was a member of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution (1985-1991), by appointment of President Reagan. She is a lawyer, a syndicated columnist, a radio commentator, and the president of Eagle Forum.