Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

CNN: Everything but the News

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

For a while, we thought MSNBC had temporarily usurped CNN as the font of fake news — although both networks had tied for the most negative coverage (93 percent of all their news reports) of President Trump’s first 100 days in office.

A cynic would argue that CNN had deliberately given Trump undue coverage during the Republican primary on the theory that he would be the weakest Republican in the general election and would therefore be the weakest challenger to Hillary Clinton. CNN president Jeffrey Zucker at one point had bragged that in the primaries, Trump made CNN money. Only later, after Trump’s nomination, did Zucker regret giving so much airtime to Trump and his boisterous rallies.

“If we made any mistake last year, it’s that we probably did put too many of his campaign rallies in those early months and let them run,” the contrite Zucker conceded in October 2016, at a talk at Harvard’s Kennedy School. Yet Zucker admitted that Trump had been a “publicity magnet” as a primary candidate, and, more important, “Trump delivered on PR; he delivered on big ratings.”

So CNN’s Zucker gave copious coverage to Apprentice-star Trump both to win ratings and to ensure the nomination of a candidate who was polling anemically against Hillary Clinton — with the intention of then reversing course and destroying Trump in the general election.

Read the full article here.

Trumped Out?

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

The new post-Mueller media narrative is “weariness” and “exhaustion” with President Trump’s tweets, his cul de sac Sharpie controversy, his ideas about buying Greenland, his unorthodox art-of-the-deal foreign policy that resulted in a plan to talk to Taliban leaders in the United States, and his firing of arch-conservative John Bolton.

The Drudge Report, once a go-to site for Trumpism, now seems unapologetically anti-Trump, in its often trademark snarky style.

Are Trump supporters then weary?

The August jobs report “unexpectedly” reminds us that never have so many Americans been at work. The 3.7 percent unemployment rate continues to be the lowest peacetime unemployment figure in 50 years. Black and Hispanic unemployment remain at record lows. Workers’ wages continue to rise. Talk of recession is belied by low interest, low inflation, low unemployment, and a strong stock market. The result is that millions of Americans enjoy far better lives than they had in 2016.

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Is England Still Part of Europe?

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

British prime minister Boris Johnson is desperate to translate the British public’s June 2016 vote to leave the European Union into a concrete Brexit.

But the real issue is far older and more important than whether 52 percent of Britain finally became understandably aggrieved by the increasingly anti-democratic and German-controlled European Union.

England is an island. Historically, politically, and linguistically, it was never permanently or fully integrated into European culture and traditions.

The story of Britain has mostly been about conflict with France, Germany, or Spain. The preeminence of the Royal Navy, in the defiant spirit of its sea lords, ensured that European dictators from Napoleon to Hitler could never set foot on British soil. As British admiral John Jervis reassured his superiors in 1801 amid rumors of an impending Napoleonic invasion, “I do not say, my lords, that the French will not come. I say only they will not come by sea.”

Britain’s sea power, imperialism, parliamentary government, and majority-Protestant religion set it apart from its European neighbors — and not just because of its geographical isolation.

Read the full article here

Biden or Bust?

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Pundits and politicos play the current parlor game of counting Joe Biden’s daily bloopers, signs of debility, or embarrassments.

Unlike former “Apprentice” host Donald Trump’s exaggerations and narcissisms, Biden’s fantasies are not baked into an outsider candidacy that by intent offers as a radical change of policy, a tough presidential tone, and unconventional political tactics. Trump is a renegade. Biden remains what he always was—a deep state fixture. And his brand is mainstream Democrat left-liberal orthodoxy, which supposedly does not include weird and wild La La Land pronouncements.

Also, Trump is hated by a media that is 90 percent negative in its coverage of his every word, deed, and sneeze. In contrast, the media is in the Biden tank.

So the reaction to the respective boilerplate gaffes and untruths of each is quite different: when Trump is caught mythologizing, his supporters blame the “fake news” media for taking things out of context—confusing his jest with seriousness, or conflating normal exaggeration and bombast with mortal-sin lying.

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Victor Davis Hanson: World War II rages on in minds of world leaders – It profoundly influences them today

Victor Davis Hanson // Fox News

World War II ended 74 years ago. But even in the 21st century, the lasting effects endure, both psychological and material. After all, the war took more than 60 million lives, redrew the map of Europe and ended with the Soviet Union and the United States locked in a Cold War of nuclear superpowers.

Japan and South Korea should logically remain natural allies. Both are booming capitalist constitutional states. Decades ago both nations emerged from devastating wars. And in pacifist fashion they vowed never to suffer such mass carnage again.

Both nations are staunch allies of the United States. They are likewise similarly suspicious of their neighbor, aggressive communist China, which threatens their economies and security. Yet Tokyo and Seoul are now more adversaries than democratic allies, and they are locked in a bitter fight. In their acrimony over trade and past war reparations, neither can forget World War II.

Read the full article here.

Strategika Issue 60: The Monroe Doctrine and Current U.S. Foreign Policy

The Monroe Doctrine: Guide to the Future

Please read a new essay by my colleague, Williamson Murray in Strategika.

The Monroe Doctrine, which purports to warn other states from interfering in the affairs of the Western Hemisphere, has supposedly remained a basic principle of American foreign policy since the first half of the nineteenth century. From the point when it was issued, its actual relevance has depended on the willingness to enforce it, or whether there was any real threat. President Monroe issued it during a period when all of the major Spanish colonies in the Western Hemisphere were in the process of gaining their independence from Spain. 

Read the full article here.

Principled Realism and the Monroe Doctrine

Please read a new essay by my colleague, Chris Gibson in Strategika.

With the publication of the December 2017 version of the National Security Strategy, the Trump administration changed the course of American grand strategy. With it, the U.S. made a conscious choice to leave behind President George W. Bush’s controversial neo-conservative inspired policy of “preemption” and Barack Obama’s convoluted “consequentialism,” embracing instead the more traditional approach of “principled realism,” first articulated by President George Washington. In this new era all previous policies and approaches are under review, including one of our oldest foreign policy statements—the Monroe Doctrine of 1823.

Read the full article here.

E Pluribus Plures

Please read a new essay by my colleague, Bing West in Strategika.

A doctrine is a set of guiding principles shared widely by an organization or a nation. The Monroe Doctrine of 1823 stated that any effort by a European nation to take control of any North or South American country would be viewed as “the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.” In 1962, the Doctrine was invoked during the Cuban Missile Crisis. With the support of the Organization of American States (OAS), President Kennedy established a naval quarantine around the island.

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From Icon to Just a Con

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Most of us who came of age in the 1970s revered the university—even as it was still reeling from 1960s protests and beginning a process that resulted in its present chaos and disrepute.

Americans of the G.I. Bill-era first enshrined the idea of upward mobility through the bachelor’s degree—the assumed gateway to career security—and the positive role of expanding colleges to grow the new suburban middle classes.

Despite student radicalism and demands for reform, professors had been trained in the postwar era by an older breed of prewar scholars and teachers. As stewards, they passed on their sense of professionalism about training future scholars and teachers—and just broadly educated citizens. In classics, I remember courses from scholars such as British subjects H.D. Kitto and Michael Grant, who lectured on Sophoclean tragedies or the late Roman emperors as the common inheritance of undergraduates.

Overwhelmingly liberal and often hippish in appearance, American faculty of the early 1970s still only rarely indoctrinated students or bullied them to mimic their own progressivism. Rather, in both the humanities and sciences, students were taught the inductive method of evaluating evidence in hopes of finding some common explanation of natural and human phenomena.

Read the full article here.

Israel’s Good and Bad New Realities

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

One of the most radical changes in the labyrinth of the Middle East is the near cessation of the old formal hostility of the Arab nations to Israel. That does not mean that the destruction of the Jewish state is not still a commandment among hundreds of millions of Arab speakers throughout the Middle East in general and on the proverbial West Bank in particular.

Rather, a number of currents has convinced most of the Gulf monarchies, frontline Arab states such as Jordan and Egypt, and the other North African nations that of all the existential crises in the world threatening their regimes, Israel is no longer perceived as their font.

Instead, elemental dangers to Israel arise mostly from Iran, Iranian-backed Hezbollah in the badlands of Syria and Lebanon, and Turkey. Why this fundamental realignment?

One reason, of course, is Iran’s likely soon-to-be nuclear status. Iran detests Israel. But such hatred is relatively recent and dates from 1979 — unlike the ancient schisms between Shiite and Sunni, Persian and Arab, and the Straits of Hormuz versus the Persian Gulf.

Arab nations believe that a nuclear Iran will threaten them explicitly. They assume that a messianic Tehran is quite capable of carrying out what would be serial nuclear threats. And they are certain that such constant tensions would embolden Shiite minorities in their own states, much like millions of Eastern European Germans of the 1930s were suddenly deemed oppressed, and believed that they could be liberated only by eventual protection from and incorporation into Hitler’s ascendant Third Reich.

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Victor Davis Hanson: Why are so many young people calling themselves socialists?

Victor Davis Hanson // Fox News

“Socialist!” is no longer a McCarthyite slur.

Rather, the fresh celebrity “Squad” of newly elected identity-politics congresswomen – Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.; and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; –  often either claim to be socialists or embrace socialist ideas.

A recent Harris poll showed that about half of so-called millennials would like to live in a socialist country.

Five years ago, septuagenarian Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was considered an irrelevant lone socialist in the U.S. Senate – Vermont’s trademark contribution to cranky quirkiness.

But in 2016 Sanders’ improbable Democratic primary run almost knocked off front-runner Hillary Clinton, even as socialist governments were either imploding or stagnating the world over.

After Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 general election, Sanders is back, running as a socialist warhorse, promising endless amounts of free stuff, with those promises suddenly being taken seriously.

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The Mythical Trump Hydra

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Many are the hissing heads of the polycephalic Donald Trump—at least according to the progressive Left and the NeverTrump Right, who see the president of the United States as some sort of mythical nightmare. Here are a few of his supposedly monstrous manifestations.

Trump, the Profiteer 

Candidate Trump never really wanted to be president. His entire amateurish and buffoonish candidacy was designed only to enhance his brand. Once he was unexpectedly elected, Trump was more shocked than anyone, and quickly sought to maximize his profits from the Oval Office. Thus, followed the constant progressive evocation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution to prevent chronic Trump profiteering.

In reality, the Trump empire reportedly has declined by nearly $1 billion in net value, aside from the tens of millions of his own money that Trump spent on the 2016 campaign. Trump’s business interests are the most thoroughly investigated of any recent president in memory. Obama and the Clintons made millions from their presidencies; Trump may well end up losing billions.

Trump, the Liberal 

NeverTrumpers insisted that the politically polymorphous Trump was lying about his hard conservative agendas during the 2016 primaries. In truth, they warned, Trump was a Manhattan liberal wolf in right-wing fleece clothing. 

Read the full article here

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