Category Archives: Europe

California’s Hydromania

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media

Photo via PJMedia

Photo via PJMedia

Two events now characterize the California agrarian heartland, the richest and most productive farm belt in the world.

One, of course, is the third year of drought. I refer here to nature’s lack of rain and snow. But also factor in the state’s additional man-made drought, through diversions of precious stored reservoir water from agriculture and community use to environmental causes that demand more river water must flow out to the sea.

The state’s environmental fanatics over thirty years ago cancelled the critical tertiary phases of the California Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. I guess those in the Bay Area whose lives rest on Hetch Hetchy [1] delivered reservoir water deemed reservoirs for all others passé and so 19th century [2].

The result is that a brilliantly engineered water transfer system — 80% of Californians live where 20% of the state’s rain and snow fall — designed to incrementally expand as population grew, became frozen in amber. We had a wonderful water storage system for 23 million people in 1980. But it proved completely inadequate for the 40 million plus of 2014, who assumed household and drinking water, irrigation supplies, and clean hydroelectric power came out of thin air [3]

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The Bergdahl Release Is Just the Beginning

by Victor Davis Hanson // The Corner (National Review Online)

Photo of Bergdahl via Wikicommons

Photo of Bergdahl via Wikicommons

There has been a lot to think about during these years of Obama’s foreign policy. But the problem is not just the existential issues, from reset to Benghazi, but also the less heralded developments, such as young non-high-school graduate Edward Snowden’s trotting off with the most sensitive secrets of the NSA, the “stuff happens” outing of a CIA station chief in Afghanistan, and the failure to destroy the downed drone that ended up in Iran.

In the latter category falls the mysterious prisoner swap of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five top Taliban inmates, given that even at this early juncture there are lots of disturbing questions: Why not as the law demanded consult Congress on the releases from Guantanamo, or at least the congressional leadership? Why swap some of the most dangerous and important members of the Taliban hierarchy? What exactly were the circumstances of the original departure of Bergdahl (in 2009 two military officials told the AP that Bergdahl “had just walked off” with three other Afghans), and why were other soldiers requested not to disclose what they knew about the nature of his departure or the costly efforts to find Bergdahl? What exactly is the present U.S. position on trading captives for prisoners/hostages? Do we really believe that the released terrorists will be kept another year in the Middle East?

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The New Regressives

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media

Photo via PJ Media. Photo by EdDriscoll.com

Photo via PJ Media. Photo by EdDriscoll.com

Today’s liberalism is about as liberal as the Hellenistic world was Hellenic — a glossy veneer over a rotten core.

In the old days, liberalism was about the means to an end, not the end itself. Since the days of Socrates, liberalism enshrined free inquiry, guided by inductive thinking and empirical use of data. Its enemies were not necessary organized religion — some of the Church fathers sought to find their salvation through the means of neo-Platonic cosmology and Aristotelian logic — or government or traditional custom and practice, but rather deductive thinking anywhere it was found.

Yet today liberalism itself is deductive. It has descended into a constructed end that requires any means necessary to achieve it. Take any hot-button liberal issue: censorship, abortion, global warming, affirmative action, or illegal immigration. Note the liberal reaction.

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Russia: Weaker than What?

VDH commentary on the ‘CAN OR SHOULD THE WEST TRY TO STOP VLADIMIR PUTIN’S ATTEMPTS TO REABSORB PORTIONS OF THE OLD SOVIET UNION?’ issue 13 of Strategika

Our elites often diagnose Vladimir Putin as acting from “weakness” in his many aggressions.

A list of Russia’s symptoms of feebleness follows: demographic crises, alcoholism, declining longevity, a one-dimensional economy, corruption, environmental damage, etc. But weakness is a relative concept in matters of high-stakes aggression.

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Egalitarian Grandees 

If you’re loudly green, you can have a carbon footprint the size of Godzilla’s.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Photo by Chris Jackson via Getty Images

Photo by Chris Jackson via Getty Images

Charting liberal hypocrisy is now old hat. From academia to the Sierra Club, elite progressives expect to live lives that are quite different from what they envision for the less sophisticated. No one believes that Elizabeth Warren would wish affirmative action to work for everyone in the way that she herself subverted it. Nor would we expect Warren not to be in the 1 percent that she so scolds — any more than we would assume that Al Gore would not leave a carbon footprint as large as those of thousands of the less environmentally sensitive put together.

First lady Michelle Obama recently lamented that “many young people are going to schools with kids who look just like them.” And she added: “And too often those schools aren’t equal, especially ones attended by students of color, which too often lag behind.” But that anguish should not mean that the Obamas have put or would put their children in the inner-city public schools the way President and Mrs. Carter did with Amy.

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Victor Davis Hanson on the Bill Martinez Show (VDH interview begins at 27:10)

Click Here to Listen to the Interview now! 

VDH interview begins at 27:10 (Begins again after the break at 41:30)

VDH discusses his article What Drives Vladimir Putin?

He also discusses his latest article Tweets Won’t Stop Modern Barbarians 

billmartinez

Lessons Learned from the ‘Brave German Woman’

by Raymond Ibrahim //  RaymondIbrahim.com // CBN News

Context: On November 10, 2013, a Muslim imam was invited to give the Islamic call to prayer inside the Memorial Church of the Reformation in the city of Speyer, Germany—a church dedicated to honoring Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation.Several are the important lessons learned from last year’s “Brave German Woman” incident.

Raymond Ibrahim speaks about the “Brave German Woman” incident with CBN Newshttp://bcove.me/03vbscr2

800px-Allahoakbar

Photo by Wikicommons

“When the brave German woman, whose real name is Heidi Mund, heard about the event, she prayed,” reports CBN News.  Not sure what she would do upon arrival, she grabbed her German flag emblazoned with the words “Jesus Christ is Lord” and headed for the concert:  Read more →

What Drives Vladimir Putin?

Aggressors often attack weaker neighbors to restore a sense of pride. 

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

Vladimir Putin’s Russia is a disaster of a declining population, corruption, authoritarianism, a warped economy, and a high rate of alcoholism.

Photo by:  www.kremlin.ru.

Photo by: www.kremlin.ru.

Why, then, would Putin want to ruin additional territory in Crimea and Ukraine the way that he has wrecked most of Russia?

 Doesn’t Russia have enough land for its diminishing population? Are there not enough minerals, timber, gas, and oil for Putin’s kleptocrats?

In the modern age, especially since Karl Marx, we rationalize the causes of wars as understandable fights over real things, like access to ports, oil fields, good farmland, and the like. Yet in the last 2,500 years of Western history, nations have just as often invaded and attacked each other for intangibles. The historian Thucydides wrote that the classical Athenians had won and kept their empire mostly out of “fear, honor, and self-interest.”

Maybe that was why most battles in ancient Greece broke out over rocky and mountainous borderlands. Possession of these largely worthless corridors did not add to the material riches of the Spartans, Thebans, or Athenians. But dying for such victories did wonders for their national pride and collective sense of self.

Why did the Argentine dictatorship invade the British Falkland Islands in 1982? The great Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges dismissed the entire Argentine–British dispute over the isolated, windswept rocks as a pathetic fight between “two bald men over a comb.”

Taking the “Malvinas” apparently was critical to restoring the Argentine dictatorship’s lost pride. In contrast, the descendants of Lord Nelson were not about to allow a few peacock generals to insult the honor of the British Royal Navy.

Doesn’t China have enough land without starting a beef with Japan over the uninhabited Senkaku Islands? While there may be some oil in the vicinity, apparently both sides see these desolate mountainous islets as symbols of more important issues of national prestige and will. Lose the Senkaku Islands and what larger island goes next? Read more →

Obama’s Enlightened Foolery

He views Putin, the 21st century, and himself as in a fun-house mirror.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

President Obama talks about Vladimir Putin as if he were a Pennsylvania “clinger” who operates on outdated principles, who is driven by fear, and whom unfortunately the post-Enlightenment mind of even Barack Obama

Mykl Roventine  via Flickr

Mykl Roventine via Flickr

cannot always reach. Deconstruct a recent CBS News interview with President Obama, and the limitations of his now-routine psychoanalyses are all too clear. Consider the following presidential assertions:

Obama said in the CBS interview that Vladimir Putin was “willing to show a deeply held grievance about what he considers to be the loss of the Soviet Union.”

Is that any surprise? Why would Putin not “show a deeply held grievance” — given that Russians enjoyed far more pride and influence when they had far more territory and power than they do now? Just because elites in the West might consider Denmark and Luxembourg model societies, given their per capita incomes, ample social services, high-speed mass transit, and climate-change sensitivities, does not necessarily mean that the grandchildren of Stalingrad and Leningrad would agree.   Read more →

Loud + Weak = War

China and Russia are no more impressed with empty bluster today than Japan was in 1941.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

The Roosevelt administration once talked loudly of pivoting to Asia to thwart a rising Japan. As a token of its seriousness, in May 1940 it moved the home port of the Seventh Fleet from San Diego to Pearl Harbor — but without beefing up the fleet’s strength.477px-Franklin_Roosevelt_signing_declaration_of_war_against_Japan

The then-commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral James O. Richardson, an expert on the Japanese Imperial Navy, protested vehemently over such a reckless redeployment. He felt that the move might invite, but could not guard against, surprise attack.

Richardson was eventually relieved of his command and his career was ruined — even as he was later proved right when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Britain at the same time promoted a loud Singapore Strategy, trumpeting its Malaysian base as the “Gibraltar of the Pacific.” But London did not send out up-to-date planes, carriers, or gunnery to the Pacific.

Japan was not impressed. It surprise-attacked the base right after Pearl Harbor. The British surrendered Singapore in February 1942, in the most ignominious defeat in British military history.

By 1949, the U.S. was pledged to containing the expansion of Communism in Asia — even as Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson (who had been chief fundraiser for Truman’s 1948 campaign) declared that the Navy and Marines were obsolete. He began to slash both their budgets. Read more →

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