Victor Davis Hanson

Category Archives: The Middle East

The Next President Unbound

There is reason to worry about both candidates abusing power as president, because Obama and the press normalized executive overreach.

By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

A Hard Rain Is Going to Fall

World events seem relatively calm, but repeated appeasement has built up pressure across the globe, and someone has to be there when crisis erupts.

By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Is Deference Really Safer than Deterrence?

Beware international affairs the next five months, a dangerous period for America.

By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review online

Why borders matter — and a borderless world is a fantasy

By Victor Davis Hanson // Los Angeles Times

Borders are in the news as never before. With Muslim refugees flooding into the European Union from the Middle East, and with terrorism on the rise, a popular revolt is taking shape against the so-called Schengen Area agreements, which give free rights of movement within Europe. The European masses are not racists, but they now apparently wish to accept Middle Eastern immigrants only to the degree that these newcomers arrive legally and promise to become European in values and outlook—protocols that the EU essentially discarded decades ago as intolerant. Europeans are relearning that the continent’s external borders mark off very different approaches to culture and society from what prevails in North Africa or the Middle East. Read more →

When a War Went Worldwide 75 Years Ago

The irrational aggressiveness of the Axis powers teaches us not to expect our enemies to be reasonable.


By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

The Dream of Muslim Outreach Has Become a Nightmare

Affirming Muslim grievances has only increased the Arab world’s sense that Obama is weak.


By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Enemies See America As Vulnerable Prey

Our domestic tensions embolden our enemies.

By Victor Davis Hanson//National Review Online


Here is a sampling of some recent news abroad:

A Russian guard attacked a U.S. diplomatic official at the door to the American Embassy in Moscow, even as NATO leaders met to galvanize against the next act of Russian aggression.

The Islamic State continued its global terrorist rampage with horrific attacks in Baghdad and Istanbul.

Iran rebuffed United Nations warnings and defiantly boasted that it will continue testing ballistic missiles. German intelligence believes that Iran, empowered by the release of $100 billion in impounded cash, is violating its recent American-led nonproliferation deal in an effort to import nuclear bomb-making technology.

North Korea conducted a test (unsuccessful, apparently) of a submarine-based guided missile.

There are various ways of interpreting these ominous events.
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The Highways To Orlando

We know what the recent terrorist attack in Orlando was not.

Forty-nine people were killed and fifty-three wounded not due to the violent outburst of a right-wing zealot. The shooter, Omar Mateen, was a second-generation Afghan-American, a registered Democrat, and a fierce critic of American politics and culture.

Nor were the killings caused by easy access to “assault weapons.” The vast majority of American terrorist casualties have not involved firearms. Box-cutters and planes, not rifles, led to the 9/11 attacks and some 3,000 deaths. The two Tsarnaev brothers used explosives to kill and maim during the Boston Marathon, a tactic that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab also tried in his attempt to blow up an Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight. The Oklahoma beheader and the UC Merced attacker Faisal Mohammad preferred knives to guns, as did the recent Paris terrorist who knifed to death a French law enforcement couple.
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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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Same Old, Same Old Horror

The Orlando massacre brings up familiar lessons that we never quite learn.

By Victor Davis Hanson // City Journal

The aftermath of Islamist Afghan-American Omar Mateen’s murderous rampage against American gays seems disturbingly familiar, an echo of past themes that never stop playing—and lessons that never get learned. The post-911 debate over “why do they hate us” should have been settled long ago with a resounding “because of who we are,” rather than the refrain from the blame-America crowd—voiced from the Ron Paul libertarian Right to the Michael Moore Left—that the answer is “because of what we do.” Mateen did not cite the usual ISIS foreign policy boilerplate so much as reportedly express his furor over gay men kissing—suggesting that, like Mohammed Atta et al., he despised the essence of Western liberality and popular culture, yet, like a moth to a flame, was both repelled by it and attracted to it.

Once again, as in the case of the Tsarnaevs and San Bernardino murderers, the shooter and his associations were on federal authorities’ radar—and again to no avail. Apparently, dozens of Americans must be massacred every so often so that the rest of us can avoid the politically incorrect charge of being “Islamophobic.” At some point, intelligence authorities will have to take seriously American-born Muslims who consume ISIS propaganda and espouse radical Islamic hatred.
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