Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Federal Rats Are Fleeing the Sinking Collusion Ship

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

The entire Trump-Russia collusion narrative was always implausible.

One, the Washington swamp of fixers such as Paul Manafort and John and Tony Podesta was mostly bipartisan and predated Trump.

Two, the Trump administration’s Russia policies were far tougher on Vladimir Putin than were those of Barack Obama. Trump confronted Russia in Syria, upped defense spending, increased sanctions and kept the price of oil down through massive new U.S. energy production. He did not engineer a Russian “reset” or get caught on a hot mic offering a self-interested hiatus in tensions with Russia in order to help his own re-election bid.

Three, Russia has a long history of trying to warp U.S. elections that both predated Trump and earned only prior lukewarm pushback from the Obama administration.

Read the full article here.

Victor Davis Hanson: US-China Confrontation Will Define Global Order

The United States is at a crossroads with an increasingly aggressive China, which could define America’s security and the international order for decades to come, Hoover scholar Victor Davis Hanson says.

Hanson, the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, studies military history and the classics. Last year, Hanson won the Edmund Burke Award, which honors people who have made major contributions to the defense of Western civilization. He is the author of the 2019 book The Case for Trump, and 2017’s The Second World Wars. He was recently interviewed on US policy toward China:

What is the Trump strategy behind these tariffs, short term and long term?

Hanson: Short term, Trump feels that he can take the hit of reciprocal Chinese tariffs, given that quietly his opposition, the Democrats, have been raging about Chinese cheating for decades, and, second, that the US economy is so huge and diverse that China simply cannot cause serious damage. 

Read the full article here.

The Epidemic of Electronic Deletions

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

There are lots of ways to adjudicate the present political divide over the collusion hoax.

One method might be to see whether those targeted by Robert Mueller had ever begun accusing each other of “collusion” to save their own skins. That did not happen.

Even the perjurer Michael Cohen, who accused Trump of all sorts of improper business practices in an effort to negotiate a lighter sentence, never claimed that the president had colluded with the Russians — the Holy Grail search of the Mueller “all-stars.”

Yet John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, and Andrew McCabe are suddenly alleging that someone other than themselves is the guilty instigator in seeding the dossier into a presidential intelligence report, is the guilty party that deceived a FISA court, and is the guilty culprit who was leaking to the media. So apparently the new climate is now no longer “There was no crime committed” but rather “He did it, not me.”

Yet another calibration might be who exactly is deleting documents and who is not. So far Robert Mueller has not accused Donald Trump or his subordinates of deleting Trump’s emails. Indeed, Trump’s campaign and administration reportedly turned over 1.4 million documents to Special Counsel Mueller. Again, no one has claimed that they have been destroyed.

Read the full article here.

He Did It, Not Me!

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

There is something Kafkaesque about the current round of investigating possible FBI, CIA, National Security Agency, Justice Department, and National Security Council wrongdoing during the 2016 election, Trump transition, and early presidency.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller had been permitted to range well beyond his mandate of “Russian collusion.” He outsourced much of the selection of his “dream team” and “all-star” staff of attorneys to his deputy, Andrew Weissman. In turn, Weissman—who commiserated with Hillary Clinton at her ill-fated “victory” party on the evening of her defeat—stocked the team with Trump-haters, liberals and progressives, Clinton donors, a few who had previously served as attorneys for the Clinton Foundation, and Clinton or Obama aides. Most of these were themselves briefed during the early dissemination of the fraudulent Steele dossier.

Yet after all the bias, prosecutorial leveraging, the process crimes, the perjury traps, and after 22 months, $34 million, and a 440-plus page report, Mueller’s “hunter-killer” team did not establish that President Trump colluded with the Russians to warp the 2016 election.

In fact, Mueller could not find prosecutable “obstruction” of justice by Trump to impair the investigation of what Mueller concluded was not a crime.

Read the full article here.

Our Modern ‘Satyricon’

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Sometime around A.D. 60, in the age of Emperor Nero, a Roman court insider named Gaius Petronius wrote a satirical Latin novel, “The Satyricon,” about moral corruption in Imperial Rome. The novel’s general landscape was Rome’s transition from an agrarian republic to a globalized multicultural superpower.

The novel survives only in a series of extended fragments. But there are enough chapters for critics to agree that the high-living Petronius, nicknamed the “Judge of Elegance,” was a brilliant cynic. He often mocked the cultural consequences of the sudden and disruptive influx of money and strangers from elsewhere in the Mediterranean region into a once-traditional Roman society.

The novel plots the wandering odyssey of three lazy, overeducated and mostly underemployed single young Greeks: Encolpius, Ascyltos and Giton. They aimlessly mosey around southern Italy. They panhandle and mooch off the nouveau riche. They mock traditional Roman customs. The three and their friends live it up amid the culinary, cultural and sexual excesses in the age of Nero.

Certain themes in “The Satyricon” are timeless and still resonate today.

Read the full article here.

China’s Brilliant, Insidious Strategy

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The Chinese Communist government does not have so much a strategy to translate its economic ascendance into global hegemony as several strategies. All of them are brilliantly insidious.

On matters of trade, China is always flexible in responding to critics of its asymmetrical, 30-year mercantilism. In the initial stages of Westernization, China was exempted from criticism over serial copyright and patent infringement, dumping, and espionage. Western elites assumed that these improprieties were just speed bumps on the eventual Chinese freeway to liberalism. Supposedly the richer China got, the more progressive it would become. Huge trade deficits or military technological appropriation were small prices to pay for an evolving billion-person Palo Alto or Upper West Side.

After a time, the now-worrisome huge trade deficits and Chinese cheating were further contextualized as “our fault.” The Tom Friedman school of journalism chided our clumsy republican government as lacking Chinese authoritarian efficiency that could by fiat connect new planned utopias by high-speed rail and power them with solar-panel farms. The Wall Street–investor version of this school saw flabby, pampered Americans getting their just deserts as more productive and deserving Chinese workers outhustled and outproduced us. In such tough-love sermonizing, the more Michigan or Pennsylvania rusted, the quicker culpable Americans would either emulate China or die. China of course again agreed.

Then there came a third phase of Chinese contextualization — one of Western arrogance that confused China’s emulation with supposed admiration. We were not to worry about China, because they love buying our rich homes, visiting Stanford, and going to Disneyland. In short, they love being us.

Read the full article here.

Is Russia Preparing A Gas Nuclear Option?

Please read this piece by my colleague Paul Roderick Gregory published by Forbes

Vladimir Putin is noted for taking surprise action, which confronts his victims with a fait accompli. They must then either accept the new unfavorable status quo or react in a way that they would consider too risky. Putin has employed this playbook in Georgia, Crimea, East Ukraine, Syria, on Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea and to prop up the Maduro regime in Venezuela.

Putin’s potential targets should put themselves inside Putin’s head to anticipate his next hostile move in order to avoid again being caught off guard with few good options.

Putin loves the unexpected; so beware. On paper, this would be the worst time for Russia to act up in its European gas market. Russia’s Gazprom just narrowly saved its key project – the undersea Nord Stream 2 pipeline directly to Germany – despite almost universal opposition in Europe. Gazprom faces new unfavorable (unacceptable) regulations: On April 5, 2019, The European Parliament and European Commission adopted a new gas directive that requires Gazprom to unbundle delivery from production. Moreover, Germany’s Angela Merkel has promised Ukraine that, Nord Stream 2 or not, Russian gas will continue to flow through Ukraine. That’s not all: With the threat of competition from American LNG, Russia would strive to emphasize the reliability of its deliveries to its massive European market. Finally, LNG competition would surely constrain Putin from taking hostile action that jeopardizes Russia’s European gas revenues.

Read the full article here.

Journalism is Dead—Long Live the Media!

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

There still exists a physical media in the sense of airing current events. But it is not journalism as we once understood the disinterested reporting of the news. Journalism is now dead. The media lives on.

Reporters today believe that their coverage serves higher agendas of social justice, identity politics, “equality,” and diversity. To the degree a news account is expanded or ignored, praised or blasted, depends on its supposed utility to the effort to fundamentally transform the country into something unlike its founding.

At the recent third president-less White House Correspondents’ Dinner, passive-aggressive journalists whined that they were victims, standing on the barricades against the all-powerful, all-evil—and all absent—Donald Trump. If the attempt was to return professionalism to the evening and eschew the pathological celebrity obsessions of the past, the result was only more confirmation of the self-referential and narcissistic culture of the Washington press corps.

Why should we believe reporters suddenly worried about ethics, free inquiry, and speech?

Read the full article here.

Progressives Face a Bleak Post-Mueller Landscape

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Democrats have grown infuriated by Attorney General William Barr’s indifference to their hysteria over the Trump-Russia collusion narrative.

Barr recently released a brief summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions that Donald Trump did not collude with the Russians to warp the 2016 election. Barr added that Mueller had not found enough evidence to recommend that Trump be indicted for obstruction of justice for the non-crime of collusion.

Progressives, who for 22 months had insisted that Trump was a Russian asset, were stunned. But only for a few hours.

Almost immediately, they redirected their fury toward Barr’s summation of the Mueller report. Yet few rational people contested Barr’s synopses about collusion and obstruction.

Both the Mueller report and Barr’s summation can be found on the internet. Anyone can read them to see whether Barr misrepresented Mueller’s conclusions.

Read the full article here.

Why Progressive Anti-Semitism — and Why Now?

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The New York Times International Edition recently published an anti-Semitic cartoon of a dachshund with the face of Benjamin Netanyahu. The composite animal was leading a hunched Donald Trump who had on dark sunglasses, as if blind, and a yarmulke.

Almost immediately, everyone pointed out that the theme of doglike Jews pulling along their clueless befuddled blinded “Aryan” masters was a favorite in Hitler’s Germany. The theme, style, and imagery of the cartoon might have trumped what was often published in Der Stürmer, the Nazi megaphone of propagandist Julius Streicher. The latter was hanged after the Nuremberg Trials for two decades of fomenting the Jew hatred that helped lead to the Holocaust.

Stranger still, at first the New York Times merely explained how the sick cartoon got published in its international edition, but without an apology for its publication. Its subsequent second-try mea culpa was rendered a pathetic joke when, a few days later, the paper published yet another incoherent anti-Semitic cartoon of a Benjamin Netanyahu, this time as some sort of blind Moses with selfie stick in one hand and a stone tablet with the Star of David in the other, as he descends from Mount Sinai.

It has been noted that the Times has had a long history of anti-Semitism, dating to before World War II, and, after that, of serial anti-Israel venom. Certainly, if the cartoon had similarly portrayed any other ethnic or religious group (except heterosexual white Christians), the Times would immediately have fired anyone remotely involved in running such trash. Was it any surprise that the Times recently referenced Jesus as a Palestinian rather than Jewish?

Read the full article here.

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