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Category Archives: The Eu

Anti-Brexit Elites Aren’t the Ones Who Suffer from Their Policies

by Victor Davis Hanson//National Review Online

Following the Brexit, Europe may witness even more plebiscites against the undemocratic European Union throughout the continent.

The furor of ignored Europeans against their union is not just directed against rich and powerful government elites per se, or against the flood of mostly young male migrants from the war-torn Middle East. The rage also arises from the hypocrisy of a governing elite that never seems to be subject to the ramifications of its own top-down policies. The bureaucratic class that runs Europe from Brussels and Strasbourg too often lectures European voters on climate change, immigration, politically correct attitudes about diversity, and the constant need for more bureaucracy, more regulations, and more redistributive taxes.
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America In Free Fall

By Victor Davis Hanson // Defining Ideas

 

Before the Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC), where Philip II of Macedon prevailed over a common Greek alliance, the city-states had been weakened by years of social and economic turmoil. To read the classical speeches in the Athenian assembly is to learn of the democracy’s constant struggles with declining revenues, insolvency, and expanding entitlements. Rome between the First Triumvirate (59 BC) and the ascension of Caesar Augustus’s autocracy (27 BC) was mostly defined by gang violence, chaos, and civil war, the common theme being a loss of trust in republican values. Russia was in a revolutionary spiral for nearly twenty years between 1905 and the final victory of the Bolsheviks in 1922, ending up with a cure worse than the disease. And Europe between 1930 and 1939 saw most of its democracies erode as fascists and communists gained power—eventually leading to the greater disaster of the outbreak of World War II.

The United States has seen periods of near fatal internal chaos—in the late 1850s leading up to the carnage of the Civil War, during the decade of the Great Depression between 1929 and 1939, and in the chaotic 1960s. Something similar is starting to plague America today on a variety of political, economic, social, and cultural fronts.

The contenders for president reflect the loss of confidence of the times. Bernie Sanders is an avowed socialist. Yet scan the record of big government redistributionism here and abroad—from Chicago and Detroit to the insolvent Mediterranean nations of the European Union and failed states like Venezuela—and there is no encouraging model of socialist success. Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination—if she is not the first nominee in American history to be indicted, on possible charges of violating federal intelligence laws, and perhaps perjury and obstruction of justice. Donald Trump has neither political experience nor a detailed agenda, but has charged ahead on the basis of his vague promise to “make America great again”—a Jacksonian version of Obama’s equally vacuous 2008 promise of “hope and change.”
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Walls and Immigration — Ancient and Modern

The Roman empire faced a challenge similar to what the EU faces.

By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

When standing today at Hadrian’s Wall in northern England, everything appears indistinguishably affluent and serene on both sides.

It was not nearly as calm some 1,900 years ago. In A.D. 122, the exasperated Roman emperor Hadrian ordered the construction of an 80-mile, 20-foot-high wall to protect Roman civilization in Britain from the Scottish tribes to the north.

We moderns often laugh at walls and fortified boundaries, dismissing them as hopelessly retrograde, ineffective, or unnecessary. Yet they still seem to fulfill their mission on the Israeli border, the 38th parallel in Korea, and the Saudi-Iraqi boundary: separating disparate states.

On the Roman side of Hadrian’s Wall there were codes of law, habeas corpus, aqueducts, and the literature of Cicero, Virgil, and Tacitus — and on the opposite side a violent, less sophisticated tribalism.
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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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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 →

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 →

Waging The War on ‘Terror,’ Vichy-style

The Failure of the E.U.

by Bruce S. Thornton // Defining Ideas

Image credit: Barbara Kelley

Image credit: Barbara Kelley

The European Union has long excited American progressives, who want the United States to model itself after the European body. As each year passes, it has become difficult to understand this admiration. These days the E.U. acts more and more like a bloated bureaucracy staffed with elites armed with intrusive regulatory power and insulated from citizen accountability. The success of Euroskeptic parties in this spring’s European Parliament elections casts doubt on the whole E.U. project.

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An Irrelevant Middle East

Thanks to oil discoveries elsewhere, the region is losing its geostrategic clout.

by Victor Davis Hanson

National Review Online

Since antiquity, the Middle East has been the trading nexus of three continents — Asia, Europe, and Africa — and the vibrant birthplace of three of the world’s great religions. Read more →

Europe’s Wishes Came True

by Victor Davis Hanson

Tribune Media Services

Almost a decade ago, Europeans and many progressive Americans were lamenting how the United States was going to miss out on the 21st-century paradigm symbolized by the robust European Union. Neanderthal Americans were importing ever more oil while waging a costly “war on terror” and fighting two conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our budget deficit in 2003 hit $374 billion.
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