Alan Keyes
Two candidates similarly disposed – Where's the choice?
By Alan Keyes
October 4, 2016

A Dutch-led criminal investigation into the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 released Wednesday found evidence the airliner was struck by a Russian-made Buk missile that was moved into eastern Ukraine from Russia. (USA Today report, Sept. 28, 2016)

This underscores once again how wrongheaded the Obama administration's diplomatic outreach to Russia was, our editorial notes. Of course, Hillary Clinton led that outreach. "Clinton, like the man she hopes to succeed, has no plan to curb Putin's ambitions, which are likely to grow as his nation's economy shrinks.... Neither presidential candidate is remotely reassuring about how they will deal with Russia. Only one of them, though, has a track record. She is running on it and it does not suggest she has an assured grasp on one of the most important of our foreign relations." (Washington Examiner Newsletter, Sept. 29, 2016)

The findings of the Dutch Central Crime Investigation Department may or may not justify allegations that the Russian government bears responsibility for "the 2015 downing of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 over Ukraine." Be that as it may, the Washingon Examiner's editorial seizes upon the report's findings to fault Hillary Clinton for leading "the Obama administration's diplomatic outreach to Russia." In the next breath, they note Donald Trump has "repeatedly expressed admiration for Putin," accurately concluding that "Neither presidential candidate is remotely reassuring about how they will deal with Russia."

This all seems studiously even-handed. But then comes the remark that "only one of them has a track record." So Clinton has already done what Donald Trump seems disposed to continue doing, but the critical editorial conclusion implies that Clinton is more to be faulted for the disposition both candidates share. There may be some rationale for pretending that she is more to be faulted for what she has done than Trump for what he intends to do. But Trump's praise of Clinton's job performance as secretary of state makes that doubtful.

Yet, some version of the editorial's implied argument (Clinton is worse than Trump because she has done what he is disposed to do if he gets the opportunity) is what Trump's supporters are relying on to justify backing him. Is this reliance reasonable? Suppose a gang of burglars has been targeting neighborhoods in your town. Two candidates are running for mayor. One has served for a time on the town council, then left that elected position to accept appointment as the town's legal counsel. In the latter role, she championed an effort trying to negotiate with the gang's leader, ostensibly to induce him to curtail its criminal activities.

Challenging this experienced city official is a successful businessman, known to have been a friend and supporter of his opponent before the election. He has never held public office. He has had business dealings with the outwardly legitimate business conglomerate the gang uses to launder its ill-gotten gains. Because the gang's leader serves as chairman of the board for that conglomerate, he has status as a legitimate civic leader. Though the challenger knows of the gang leader's alleged criminal activities, during his campaign the challenger has repeatedly expressed admiration for the gang leader's decisive style of leadership.

Considering all these facts, would a reasonable person conclude that, when elected mayor, the challenger will radically depart from the town counselor's approach to dealing with the gang leader? Of course, in the face-off between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, this might be a special case. With this one exception, Trump's carefully manufactured image as an "outsider" challenging the Obama/GOP quislings' sellout of America's national security may be what it seems.

But the same policy congruence evident in their posture toward Putin haunts the supposed Clinton-Trump face-off in critical policy areas across the board. Trump uses intemperate rhetoric to pose as one who challenges the elitist faction's surrender of America's interests, national identity, and sovereignty, but beneath the cloud of often self-contradictory declamations, there is little or nothing to substantiate his challenging ways.

Trump praises Putin the way he praises Planned Parenthood; the way he welcomes Caitlyn Jenner to use the women's bathroom in Trump towers; the way he praises socialist, government-controlled health care in places like Canada and Great Britain. Putin is obviously not the only critical subject matter on which Donald Trump is disposed to agree with Hillary Clinton. On account of their well justified anger and resentment against Hillary Clinton, Obama, and the GOP's quisling leaders, Trump's supporters are driven by Trump's words to ignore the fact that, in the very areas of policy that justify their passion, Trump shares the disposition of the clique they love to hate.

Passion is a great motivator, but a lousy adviser. It interferes with the clear and foresighted thinking required to achieve corresponding results. Because herd animals respond to the pricks and goads of immediate passion, they are easily led, even to their own destruction. In this respect, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton represent what may be the greatest skill of America's present elites. America's heroes have always included cowboys. We celebrate them as strong individuals, but in fact cowboys were professional herders, the greatest of whom turned their skill into land empires that would have been the envy of many of human history's tribal overlords, tyrants, and kings.

But because America's founders rejected tyranny in principle, America's would-be tyrants found themselves in competition with an ethos that respected the need to constrain power within bounds that respected every individual's God-endowed potential. So long as individuals realized their potential in a way consistent with the "laws of nature and of Nature's God," they were to be left free to do so.

Is it just a coincidence that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are disposed to agree on policies that reject the premises of God-endowed natural law that led America's founders to reject tyrannical governance? In what sense will America be "great" if that greatness includes the "great control" one such has Putin has exerted in Russia, in ways America's founders rejected as despotism, which it is the people's duty to alter or abolish. Compliance with that duty is essential, in principle, to the identity of the America people. With either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, it becomes a thing of the past; and with it goes any prospect of sustaining our God-endowed, and therefore rightful, liberty as a sovereign people.

The blue pill is poison. The red pill is poison, with a pleasant tasting glaze – or vice-versa. The fatal outcome is the same, either way. They are right who say we have no choice. But what choice can we make where there is none?

To see more articles by Dr. Keyes, visit his blog at and his commentary at and

© Alan Keyes


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Alan Keyes

Dr. Keyes holds the distinction of being the only person ever to run against Barack Obama in a truly contested election – featuring authentic moral conservatism vs. progressive liberalism – when they challenged each other for the open U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 2004... (more)


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