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Category Archives: Geopolitics

Setting the Record Straight on Britain, America, and World War II

By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

While in London last week, President Obama waded into the upcoming British referendum about whether the United Kingdom should stay in the European Union.

Controversy followed his lecture about the future of the Anglo-American relationship should Britain depart the EU. Obama also implied that without an EU, the United States might again be dragged into European squabbling, as it had been in the prior world wars.

Americans might take this occasion to reflect on Britain’s role in World War II.

Before the war, the League of Nations had done nothing to deter the future Axis powers from invading or annexing Albania, Austria, China, Czechoslovakia, and Ethiopia.
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World War II Amnesia

 

Seventy-seven years ago, Nazi Germany invaded Poland, triggering a declaration of war by Great Britain and its Empire and France. After Hitler’s serial aggressions in the Rhineland, the Anschluss with Austria, the Munich Agreement, and the carving up of Czechoslovakia, no one believed that a formal war over Poland would lead to anything greater than yet another German border grab. The invasion of Poland would likely be followed by loud but empty threats for Hitler to stop, and a phony war of inaction and grumbling.

But after dismembering Poland, and dividing its spoils with the Soviet Union, Hitler unexpectedly absorbed Denmark and Norway the next spring. Then in May 1940, he successfully invaded Belgium, France, Holland, and Luxembourg. He tried to bomb Britain into submission. The conflict eventually spread to the Mediterranean and became truly a “world war” in 1941 with the surprise Axis attacks on the Soviet Union and the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.
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Is NATO worth preserving?

Donald Trump recently ignited another controversy when he mused that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was obsolete. He hinted that it might no longer be worth the huge American investment.In typical Trump style, he hit a nerve, but he then offered few details about the consequences of either staying in or leaving NATO.NATO is certainly no longer aimed at keeping a huge Soviet land army out of democratic Western Europe, as was envisioned in 1949.

The alliance has been unwisely expanded from its original 12-nation membership to include 28 countries, absorbing many of the old communist Warsaw Pact nations and some former Soviet republics. NATO may have meant well to offer security to these vulnerable new alliance members. Yet it is hard to imagine Belgians and Italians dying on the battlefield to keep Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces out of Lithuania or Estonia.

Today’s NATO pledges to many of its newer participants are about as believable as British and French rhetorical guarantees in August 1939 to protect a far-away Poland from its Nazi and Soviet neighbors.
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The Next President Is Going to Be Hated

By Victor Davis Hanson // Works and Days by PJ Media

Everyone hates the sourpuss who says the party is over. The next president will have to tell the American people that a reckoning is on the horizon—and that it is not going to be pretty.

President Obama has created lots of mythoi about the landscape he inherited in January 2009: the Iraq war was lost and al Qaeda ascendant; the September 2008 meltdown had wrecked the economy; the immigration system “was” in shambles; and Obama would have to restore fiscal sobriety after George W. Bush (all “by his lonesome” with a “credit card from the Bank of China”) in “unpatriotic” fashion had alone piled up U.S. record debt. Read more →

The Politicization of the English Language

Victor Davis Hanson // Tribune Media Services

Last week, French President Francois Hollande met President Obama in Washington to discuss joint strategies for stopping the sort of radical Islamic terrorists who have killed dozens of innocents in Brussels, Paris and San Bernardino in recent months. Hollande at one point explicitly referred to the violence as “Islamist terrorism.”The White House initially deleted that phrase from the audio translation of the official video of the Hollande-Obama meeting, only to restore it when questioned. Did the Obama administration assume that if the public could not hear the translation of the French president saying “Islamist terrorism,” then perhaps Hollande did not really say it — and therefore perhaps Islamist terrorism does not really exist?The Obama administration must be aware that in the 1930s, the Soviet Union wiped clean all photos, recordings and films of Leon Trotsky on orders from Josef Stalin. Trotsky was deemed politically incorrect, and therefore his thoughts and photos simply vanished.
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How America Lost Its Groove

President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary of State Clinton all had a hand in it.

By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Deterrence is lost through lax foreign policy, an erosion of military readiness, and failed supreme command — often insidiously, over time, rather than dramatically, at once. The following random events over the seven years that Barack Obama has been in office have led to the idea abroad that the U.S. is no longer the world’s leader and that regional hegemonies have a golden opportunity to redraw regional maps and spheres of influence — to the disadvantage of the West — in the ten months remaining before the next president is inaugurated. Read more →

Trump’s Sloppy Populism

by Victor Davis Hanson // Defining Ideas

admin-ajax.phpDonald Trump’s success has been the most perplexing phenomenon of this election cycle. Why on earth has this New York vulgarian resonated with a full third of Republican voters? Trump’s appeal taps into a middle-class fear of American decline: crises from trade and immigration to debt and foreign policy are pulling down a once great America to the mediocre status of other flailing countries. Yet while Trump has proved Machiavellian in tapping into popular furor, his policy proposals are typically vague and at times preposterous. Read more →

Europe at the Edge of the Abyss

America can still avoid sharing Europe’s fate. But only if we take action.

By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

europe-terrorism-edge-abyssBecause of what Europe has become, it now has few viable choices in dealing with radical Islamic terrorism. Its dilemma is a warning to Americans that we should turn away from a similar path of national suicide.

After suffering serial terrorist attacks from foreign nationals and immigrants, a normal nation-state would be expected to make extraordinary efforts to close its borders and redefine its foreign policy in order to protect its national interests. But a France or a Belgium is not quite a sovereign nation any more, and thus does not have complete control over its national destiny or foreign relations. Read more →

The Apology Tour of Our Next President

By Victor Davis Hanson // Works and Days by PJ Media

obama_surrenders_mobile_4-5-15-1.sized-770x415xtIn Havana recently, President Obama talked of the similarities between Cuba and the United States, as if a constitutional republic of some 240 years and a thuggish and murderous communist dictatorship were kindred souls. In Argentina, Obama both tangoed and then apologized for the nth time for his country while abroad, this time supposedly for not opposing the brutal Argentine military dictatorship at the height of the Cold War. He also advised young people that there was not that much difference between communism and capitalism—without giving them a glimpse of his own retirement plans that will make the Obamas fabulously rich by following the hyper-capitalist post-presidential get-rich program of the Clintons. Read more →

Ten Commandments for Our Next President

A good rule of thumb is to look at what Obama has done, and then do the opposite.

By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

1. Do not deflect blame onto others. Take personal responsibility when foreign policies implode — and at least a few will. Read Churchill’s speech after the fall of Tobruk. Presidents do not scapegoat Congress, the opposite political party, the secretary of state, the last president, cable news, obscure video-makers — or the American people — for an intervention gone badly. Telling the truth is far easier and simpler than inventing a web of Sunday-morning-television talking points, excuses, lies, and pretexts. Read more →

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