Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

The Progressive Medusa

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

There was once a tradition of Democratic liberalism. But that wing of the Democratic Party no longer exists and died sometime in the 1990s. Old-style liberalism has been absorbed by Progressivism at best and unapologetic socialism at worst—in a journey on the supposedly predetermined arc of history that bends toward 1984.

The new-old leftist aim is not to operate within either the existing parameters of the Constitution as written or the customs and traditions of America—a 150-year-long nine-justice Supreme Court, the Electoral College, a 50-state nation, a Senate filibuster, two senators per state, and a secure border. All are obstructions to the drive for power. 

Given its redistributionist creed, socialism cannot afford to be patent and honest. If socialism were transparent, it never would gain majority support. Joe Biden cannot talk about the Electoral College or court packing, unequivocally condemn the violence in our urban centers, discuss the Green New Deal, name his likely Supreme Court appointments, be honest about his plans for fracking, or explain his views on the borders, because he is now owned lock, stock and barrel by the hard Left whose agendas were rejected even in his own Democratic primaries.

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Civilization Requires Collective Common Sense

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

After the summer protests and rioting in many large cities, activists demanded a defunding, or at least radical pullbacks, of the police. So-called crime experts often concurred. So some city governments ignored public warnings and diminished their police presence despite a sharp rise in crime in many cities. Looting and arson were often ignored.

If you call 911 in a large American city, there is no guarantee that anyone will answer promptly and send out police to aid the endangered. So gun sales have soared. Some people who never before owned weapons, or who even opposed the use of firearms, are now terrified to remain unarmed. Self-protection often outweighs abstract ideology.

According to a recent Gallup poll, most black Americans favor maintaining or increasing police presence. Often, city officials who support cutting back on law enforcement still expect their own homes and property to be constantly policed. The same is often true of activist elites who live far from the inner city.

Large swaths of the American West are now charred by out-of-control wildfires. Some governors and many federal bureaucrats blame the conflagrations on climate change. But those who actually live within forests, or on mountains and foothills, that are historically vulnerable to wildfires know that the epic droughts of 2013–15 killed or dried out millions of acres of trees and vegetation.

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Navalny Poisoning Just A Bump In The Road For Nord Stream 2

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

Trying to figure whither Nord Stream 2 (hereafter NS2) – the undersea gas pipeline from Russia to Germany – is akin to solving five complicated jigsaw puzzles at once. Competing interests, changing legal foundations, and momentum all make it difficult to either start or stop. One thing is certain: Russia is playing a long game from which it will not retreat until NS2 becomes operational.

At 95% complete and 11 billion Euros out of pocket, the NS2 consortium, comprised of Russia’s state-owned natural gas monopoly (Gazprom) and German, Austrian, and Dutch utility giants, seemed poised to enter into service by early 2021. The Trump administration had already played its sanction card to the limit, and there were just a few regulatory issues to be ironed out.

That was before the “attempted murder” (to use Angela Merkel’s characterization) of Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny on August 20 over East Siberian skies. The Navalny case, piled on top of Russian hacking of the German Bundestag and a blatant political assassination on the streets of Berlin, raised German voices in favor of stopping NS2.

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When Conventional Wisdom Gets Downright Dangerous

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The problem with conventional wisdom is not that it is always wrong. The rub is that the majority of “experts” unthinkingly and habitually mouth its validity until they ensure that it becomes static, unchanging, and immune from reexamination and dissent — an intolerant religious orthodoxy that finally become dangerous.

The recent Middle East breakthroughs are a perfect example. Both the Obama and Trump administrations sought quite different ways of navigating through the nearly 75-year-old “Middle East problem,” usually framed as the Israeli–“Palestinian” question.

Obama, in radical fashion, sought to empower and elevate Iran. The so-called Iran deal, the dropping of sanctions, the nocturnal infusions of cash, the exemptions for clear violations of the deal’s protocols, the nefarious work of Hezbollah — all that and more was excused on the theory that a growing Persian Shiite Iranian nexus from Tehran to the Mediterranean was inevitable and would “balance” both Israel and the so-called moderate Sunni Arab states. That realignment might prevent a Middle East war and end the leverage of America’s former Arab allies and Israel over us.

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How American Journalism Died

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

In 2017, the liberal Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University found that 93 percent of CNN’s coverage of the Trump administration was negative. The center found similarly negative Trump coverage at other major news outlets.

The election year 2020 has only accelerated that asymmetrical bias — to the point that major newspapers and network and cable-news organizations are now fused with the Joe Biden campaign.

Sometimes stories are covered only in terms of political agendas. Take COVID-19.

The media assure us that the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic has been a disaster. But their conclusions are not supported by any evidence.

In the United States, the coronavirus death rate per million people is similar to, or lower than, most major European countries except Germany.

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The Same Old, Same Old California Suicide

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Fall is almost here in California. So we know the annual script.

A few ostracized voices will again warn in vain of the need to remove millions of dead trees withered from the 2013–14 drought and subsequent infestations, clean up tinderbox hillsides, and beef up the fire services. They will all be ignored as right-wing nuts or worse.

Environmentalists will sneer that the new forestry sees fires as medicinal and natural, and global warming as inevitable because of “climate deniers.”

Late-summer fires will then consume our foothills, mountains, and forests. Long-dead trees from the drought will explode and send their pitch bombs to shower the forest with flames.

Lives, livelihoods, homes, and cabins will be lost — the lamentable collateral damage of our green future. Billions of dollars will go up in smoke. The billowing haze and ash will cloud and pollute the state for weeks if not months. Tens of thousands will be evacuated and their lives disrupted — and those are the lucky.

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Strategika #67: U.S. Troop Deployments in Germany

America—A European Power No More? Shifting Tectonics, Changing Interests, And The Shrinking Size Of U.S. Troops In Europe

Please read a new essay by my colleague, Josef Joffe in Strategika.

The Trump drawdown of U.S. troops in Europe is not the end of the alliance, but part of a familiar story. America’s military presence has been contested from Week 1—make that February 4–11, 1945. At Yalta, Franklin D. Roosevelt assured Joseph Stalin that the United States would soon depart from Europe. Its troops—three million at the peak—would all be gone in two years.

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Is It Wise To Pull Out And Redeploy 12,000 U.S. Troops From Germany?

Please read a new essay by my colleague, Angelo M. Codevilla in Strategika.

President Trump’s decision to return the U.S 2nd Cavalry Regiment currently stationed in Germany to American soil (6,500 troops), as well as to redeploy mostly Air Force units from Germany to Italy and command headquarters to Belgium and Poland (another 5,600), will have mostly modest positive military consequences and has already benefited America diplomatically. The military consequences are modest because U.S forces in Europe have long since ceased to be potential combatants.  

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Return Of Forces From Germany?

Please read a new essay by my colleagues, Peter R. Mansoor in Strategika.

On September 11, 1944, a patrol led by Staff Sergeant Warner L. Holzinger of Troop B, 85th Reconnaissance Squadron, 5th Armored Division, crossed the Our River from Luxembourg into Germany. Those five soldiers were the vanguard of a mighty Allied force that would within eight months conquer the Third Reich, thereby ending World War II in Europe.

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Biden, ‘The Great and Powerful’

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Media bias is not new.

In addition to the Russian collusion hoax and the phone-call impeachment farce, who can forget the marquee media toadies of JournoList and the release of John Podesta’s email trove? 

Or the moderator Donna Brazile’s primary debate questions, leaked through CNN, or Candy Crowley’s hijacking of a debate as moderator-turned-real-time-hack “fact-checker”? 

Nothing then is new to the media’s fusion and collusion with the “progressive party.” 

Yet never in American history have mainstream journalists not merely promoted a candidate but actively fused with his political candidacy to the point of warping, fabricating, and Trotskyizing the news and indeed history itself. 

The trope of a vast charade to create an illusionary powerful figure out of nothing is an old one in fiction, Hollywood and television. We remember “The Great and Powerful” Wizard of Oz fakery, a formidable screen image created backstage by gears and levers operated by a tiny man “behind the curtain.” Similar is the famous scene in an episode of the old Star Trek series, depicting a near comatose on-air John Gill used as a televised prop by his puppeteers, in a utopian federation project gone haywire.

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Victor Davis Hanson: Greek-Turkish rivalry again near the boiling point

Victor Davis Hanson // Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Almost daily, Greek and Turkish aircraft and ships fight mock battles over disputed oil and gas rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

Since the loss of much of the Christian Balkans to the Ottomans in the 15th century, Greece and what would later become modern Turkey have been rivals, outright enemies and often at war.

Mutual NATO membership and shared Cold War fears of Soviet Russia did not stop the two from almost going to war after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.

Still, the current escalation seems weird. Most territorial claims and disputes over borders were settled almost a century ago, and the two countries have had mass population exchanges.

Why, then, does the divide still run so deep?

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Trump, Race, and Class

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

There are some stunning indications that the supposedly satanic racist Donald Trump could be polling in some surveys around a 35-40 approval rate among Latinos and 20–30 percent among African Americans. Other polls are more equivocal but suggest an unexpected Trump surge among minority voters.

If those polls are accurate and predict November voting patterns, then Joe Biden could lose the popular vote as well as the key swing states by larger margins than Hillary Clinton’s Electoral College losses in 2016.

Indeed, some state polls by CNN and Trafalgar already show Trump to be near even in these purple states. The polling also suggests that, contrary to stereotypical exegeses, nonwhites of the large cities in the Midwest are not necessarily a monolithic voting bloc. So how can this be — given the Obama verdict that Trump is our generation’s Bull Connor, and the Never Trump assurances that the divisive Trump lacks the empathy and appeal of a “coalition building” John McCain or a BLM-sympathizer such as a marching Mitt Romney, and lacks as well the natural resonance the Bush family enjoys with Hispanics?

A number of things are going on that may explain some of these apparent mysteries.

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