Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Oh, What a Tangled Web

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The likely justification of the Republican majority for agreeing to a rehearing of the Kavanaugh nomination was political, not legal: Senate Republicans apparently worried that in-party potential No-voters on Kavanaugh, such as Senators Corker, Flake, or Collins, might become emboldened by an outright refusal to hear Professor Ford’s narratives or that independent women voters would be alienated by “silencing” the accuser.

Otherwise, a constitutional state with an independent judiciary, cannot long continue if it institutionalizes the idea that an accuser can raise charges of 36 years past, without current knowledge when or where the alleged crime took place, without consistent accounts of how many males were allegedly involved, without any witnesses that might contradict the denials of the accused, and without either physical evidence or any proof of a pattern of subsequent such violent behavior from Kavanaugh.

No district attorney would consider pursuing such charges, because to do so would mean that we no longer live in a lawful society but have so politicized the legal system that anyone at any time can prompt criminal investigations without any evidence other than one’s incomplete or indeed faulty memory of something that happened 36 prior.

Read the full article here.

Are We on the Verge of Civil War?

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Americans keep dividing into two hostile camps.

It seems the country is back to 1860 on the eve of the Civil War, rather than in 2018, during the greatest age of affluence, leisure, and freedom in the history of civilization.

The ancient historian Thucydides called the civil discord that tore apart the fifth-century b.c. Greek city-states “stasis.” He saw stasis as a bitter civil war between the revolutionary masses and the traditionalist middle and upper classes.

Something like that ancient divide is now infecting every aspect of American life.

Americans increasingly are either proud of past U.S. traditions, ongoing reform, and current American exceptionalism, or they insist that the country was hopelessly flawed at its birth and must be radically reinvented to rectify its original sins.

Read the full article here.

The Descent into Progressive Madness

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The progressive street is leading fossilized Democrats into a sort of collective madness.

The dinosaurs of the party desperately seek relevance by sounding crazier than the new unhinged base that disrupts Senate hearings, loudly pronounces a new socialist future, and envisions octogenarian Maxine Waters as more the future of the party than is septuagenarian Nancy Pelosi. The spectacle is right out of Euripides’s Bacchae, as the creaky old guard of the polis, Tiresias and Cadmus, dress up in trendy, ridiculous ritual costumes to stumble along after the racing and frenzied young maenads in their lethal courtship of suicidal Dionysian madness.  

Six-term senator Dianne Feinstein is running against a far more radical Democrat, Kevin de León, in California’s general election. (He added the accent and the “de” to his name in midlife, thereby enhancing his ethnic authenticity.) Feinstein’s current Senate colleague, the junior senator Kamala Harris, has been interrupting, sermonizing, and shouting at the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings in a fashion that generates the media buzz and attention usually reserved for supposedly sober and judicious old hands like Feinstein.

Read the full article here.

Trump Buries The Old-World Order

Victor Davis Hanson // Hoover Institution

The present continuance of institutions such as the EU, NATO, UN, and others suggests that the world goes on exactly as before. In fact, these alphabet organizations are becoming shadows of their former selves, more trouble to end than to allow to grow irrelevant. The conditions that created them after the end of World War II, and subsequently sustained them even after the fall of the Berlin Wall, no longer really exist.

The once grand bipartisan visions of American diplomats such as Dean Acheson, George Kennan, George Marshall and others long ago more than fulfilled their enlightened promises. The U.S. in 1945, unlike in 1918, rightly stayed engaged in Europe after another world war. America helped to rebuild what the old Axis powers had destroyed in Asia and Europe.

At great cost, and at times in both folly and wisdom, the U.S. and its allies faced down 300 Soviet and Warsaw Pact divisions. America contained communist aggression through messy surrogate wars, avoided a nuclear exchange, bankrupted an evil communist empire, and gave Eastern Europe and much of Asia the opportunity for self-determination. New postwar protocols enforced by the U.S. Navy made the idea of global free trade, commerce, travel, and communications a reality in a way never seen since the early Roman Empire.

Read the full article here.

The New Refuge of Scoundrels

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Just when observers had concluded the desperate progressive opposition to Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court could not stoop much lower, it most certainly did.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), in the news recently for somehow unknowingly employing a Chinese spy as her gofer and chauffeur for 20 years, passed on information to federal investigators that weeks ago had come to her attention from an unnamed, unidentified, and anonymous female who claimed she was a high school acquaintance of Kavanaugh’s. Apparently, we were to believe that the once-anonymous informant had harbored a long-simmering, but heretofore never-voiced complaint of sexual assault against Kavanaugh, which coincidentally reached a peak of unsustainable resentment at the time of his nomination to the highest court in the land.

After days of gossip and innuendo to the effect that the likely next Supreme Court Justice might just be some sort of pervert, Anonymous finally came forward and identified herself as a victim of a then 17-year-old inebriated Brett Kavanaugh who (she says) sexually manhandled her in 1982 when she was 15. More specifically, the woman now alleges that Kavanaugh and another student at a high-school party entered a room inebriated, pinned her to a bed, and then groped her while she was clothed. Young Kavanaugh then allegedly attempted to take her clothes off her while he and his classmate, Mark Judge, both laughed “maniacally.” She adds that she had sought “medical treatment” for her unspecified injuries.

Read the full article here.

Demonization of Nunes Is a Window Into Our Times

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Much of what we now know about the unethical and often illegal behavior of the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency, and Department of Justice emerged due to the efforts of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Its chairman during its stunning disclosures has been Representative Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), who in turn has been constantly demonized for his efforts.

Yet without the committee’s digging, Americans would not have known that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for an unsubstantiated 2016 dossier on Donald Trump compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.

Prior to the committee’s work, we did not know that the FBI and Justice Department used unverified information from the Steele dossier to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court allowing for the surveillance of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

Read the full article here.

The Circus of Resistance

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The resistance to Donald Trump was warring on all fronts last week.

Democratic senators vied with pop-up protestors in the U.S. Senate gallery to disrupt and, if possible, to derail the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) played Spartacus, but could not even get the script right as he claimed to be bravely releasing classified information that was already declassified. I cannot remember another example of a senator who wanted to break the law but could not figure out how to do it.

Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), former Harvard Law Professor who still insists she is of Native American heritage, called for the president to be removed by invoking the 25th Amendment. Apparently fabricating an ethnic identity is sane, and getting out of the Iran deal or the Paris Climate Accord is insanity and grounds for removal.

Read the full article here.

Is Chaos an Impeachable Offense?

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Trump is destabilizing the status quo, as he promised to do. The keepers of the status quo cry foul.

Until 2017, there were certain political assumptions that most people no longer really believed but also preferred not to question — given the likely animus from the so-called bipartisan establishment, a naked entity which, by convention, we all agreed was splendidly clothed.

China could freely cheat on trade, and the U.S. could take the commercial hit, because one day its misbegotten riches would force liberalization and thereby make China a member in good standing of the family of democratic nations. After 40 years, we are still waiting on the promised democratic transformation — at great cost to the industrial and manufacturing heartland of the United States.

Read the full article here.

When Funerals Become Politics

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Using funerals for political purposes has a long, but not distinguished, tradition. In 44 B.C. eulogist Mark Antony claimed to Roman mourners that he came to bury Caesar. But his speech created a frenzy and ended up ensuring a death warrant for the once “honorable” Brutus.

In contrast, aside from the commemoration of the deceased, Americans mostly have seen funerals as solemn reminders of how frail and transitory life is for all of us, and how our shared fates should unite even the bitterest of enemies.

Sixteen years ago, on the eve of the 2002 midterm election, and at a time when the United States was beginning to divide over the Afghanistan intervention and a looming Iraq war, Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) tragically died in a plane crash.

Wellstone’s Minnesota funeral was meant to be a commemoration of a life of public servant well lived. But the funeral service was soon hijacked by partisan speakers and ended up a loud and often grating political pep rally.

Read the full article here.

Strategika Issue 53: U.S. Engagement with Russia

Toe-to-Toe with the Russkis: Is Realistic Engagement with the Russians Still Possible?

Please read a new essay by my colleague from the Military History Working Group, Ralph Peters in Strategika.

In the greatest film ever made about the human dimensions of strategy, director Stanley Kubrick’s Cold-War masterpiece, Doctor Strangelove, an excited strategic bomber pilot speaks of “noo-cullar combat, toe-to-toe with the Russkis.” But the lengthy annals of Americans and Russians tramping on each other’s feet followed a brief interlude when we danced the light fantastic to our mutual benefit, with neither side’s dancing shoes scuffed.

Read the full article here.

 

The Way Forward with Putin and Russia

Please read a new essay by my colleague from the Military History Working Group, Chris Gibson in Strategika.

In late August 2016, I led a Congressional Delegation trip to Israel, Latvia, Poland, and Germany to gather information and build support for the POSTURE Act, a Bill to reverse the Obama administration’s drawdown of U.S. armed forces and deter further Russian aggression in eastern Europe. On day four of that trip we were in Latvia listening intently to Edgars Rinkevics, the Foreign Minister, explain his dismay with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s recent comments questioning the relevancy of NATO.

Read the full article here.

 

The United States and Russia: Opposite Personalities

Please read a new essay by my colleague from the Military History Working Group, Thomas Donnelly in Strategika.

In his famous 1947 “Long Telegram” and subsequent Foreign Affairs article, George Kennan described what he thought was the “political personality of Soviet power.” It was an effort at what he called a “task of psychological analysis” to discern a “pattern of thought” and the “nature of the mental world of the Soviet leaders.”

Read the full article here.

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