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01/12/16

From an Angry Reader:

Dear Mr Hanson:

I would like to comment on your Room for Debate in the Daily Southtown regarding treatment of Israel. Where does the Prime Minister of Israel, with a population of 8 million, get off slamming President Obama of the United States with a population of 325 million, accusing President Obama of a “shameful” ambush at the United Nations over West Bank settlements? Netanyahu’s comments came after the United States allowed the U.N. Security Council to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

As an American taxpayer, I would like to remind Mr. Netanyahu that $3 billion in direct foreign assistance from American taxpayers goes to Israel each year. This is 20% of the United States Foreign Aid Budget to a nation populated with only 8 million people. Mr. Netanyahu and Israel have ridden the American gravy train long enough. Many Americans take umbrage with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s flagrant disrespect of the elected President of 325 million Americans.

 Sincerely,

Jerry Lawler

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader Jerry Lawler,

Thank your for your angry reader note, which is civil and serious.

First, the unfortunate Obama-Netanyahu feud was started by the U.S. Obama’s aides were on record (anonymously of course) declaring that the war veteran Netanyahu was a “coward” and a “Chickensh*t.” This was a coordinated effort to hammer Israel early on, from the Gaza/Turkish flotilla incident to the settlements to the outreach to Iran and radicals such as Hamas. Obama in his open mic (a bad habit of his: cf. his Putin reference) comment to President Sarkozy of France trashed Netanyahu and reportedly has walked out of meetings with the Israeli leader and kept him waiting for others. Read more →

The Trump Rumors

“The Corner”

by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review

The breaking intelligence disclosures about Trump are so bizarre and self-contradictory that it seems wise not to speculate about anything until the entire story is properly sourced, especially since the documents were for-hire hit-pieces and have been peddled around for some time, are not in a style comparable with intelligence reports, contain likely impossible scenarios (certain people in places that they have never been). And given the strange role of Senators John McCain and Charles Schumer, the one supposedly passing on to the FBI the contracted report, the other recently warning Trump that intelligence agencies have ways to get even with their critics, we should all wait at least 24 hours before fueling speculations.
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From an Angry Reader:

Your opinions are about as nutty as the incoming administration and fake news as well as Trump’s constant spins/basic lies. Let mainstream media and journalism in general do their job and ask the hard questions that need to be answered. We are just plain lucky the 4th estate is around to keep Trump and his cronies under the microscope.

 Jim Kirk

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader Jim Kirk,

Why does the Left always begin with invective and slurs rather than an argument? It is hard to answer your incoherence given that there are not examples or logic.

RE: Mainstream media?

Are you serious?

Where have you been the last eight years? Have you tuned into an Obama news conference which is usually a rivalry of reporters trying to outdo the next in obsequiousness? Read more →

What Exactly Is Trumpism?

By Victor Davis Hanson//National Review
First sketches of a list, starting with tradition, populism, and American greatness

Donald Trump is hated by liberal Democrats because, among other things, he is likely to reverse the entire Obama project. And, far worse, he probably will seek fundamental ways of obstructing its future resurgence — even perhaps by peeling off traditional Democratic constituencies.

The proverbial mainstream media despise Trump. Culturally, he has become a totem of their fears: coarseness, ostentatiousness, flamboyance, and the equation of big money with taste and success. His new approach to the media may make them irrelevant, and they fear their downfall could be well earned.

The Republican Washington–to–New York establishment is alienated by Trump. It finds his behavior reckless and his ideology unpredictable — especially given his cruel destruction of in-house Republican candidates in the primaries and his past flirtations with liberal ideas and politicians. That he has now brought them more opportunity for conservative political change than any Republican candidate in a century only adds insult to their sense of injury. Read more →

Why the Anti-Israel Sentiment?

by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review

World opinion against Israel comes from a great many factors — especially a certain ancient one.

Secretary of State John Kerry, echoing other policymakers in the Obama administration, blasted Israel last week in a 70-minute rant about its supposedly self-destructive policies.

Why does the world — including now the U.S. — single out liberal and lawful Israel but refrain from chastising truly illiberal countries?

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Obama’s Legacy of Deceit

by Victor Davis Hanson// Defining Ideas

In its remaining days in power, the Obama administration suddenly punished Vladimir Putin’s Russia for allegedly interfering in the U.S. presidential election. It claimed that Russian or Russian-hired hackers tapped into the records of the Democratic National Committee as well as the correspondence of John Podesta, a Clinton advisor.But what the Obama administration did not say was that such cyber-crimes are by now old hat. Both the Russian and Chinese governments have been hacking into far more important U.S. records and government archives for years without earning retaliation. Read more →

The Resilience of Israel

by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review

Despite the mess around it, Israel is in its best geostrategic position in decades.

Israel would seem to be in a disastrous position, given the inevitable nuclear capabilities of Iran and the recent deterioration of its relationship with the United States, its former patron and continued financial benefactor.

Immediately upon entering office, President Obama hectored Israel on so-called settlements. Obama promised to put “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel — and delivered on that promise. Read more →

Fifteen Easy Ways to Ruin the Middle East

by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review on “The Corner”

President Obama had lots of choices in Middle East. Unfortunately he made all the wrong ones, guided by pop ideology rather than unwelcome facts on the ground. The result is chaos at best and millions dead or displaced at worst. It didn’t have to be this way. Here are 15 turning points since 2009. There is one common theme: bombastic self-serving declarations coupled with weak or nonexistent concrete follow-ups — all in a weird landscape of punishing friends and empowering enemies.

Had Obama only:

1. Cut out all the trash-talking of Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu, which ranged from off-the-record slights (“coward,” “chickens**t”) to public snubs to hot-mic ridicule, to constant ankle-biting of Israeli policy in pursuit of “daylight” between democratic Israel and the U.S. Read more →

It’s Still a Mad, Mad California

by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review

Coastal elites set rules for others, exempt themselves, and tolerate rampant lawlessness from illegal aliens.

One reason for the emergence of outsider Donald Trump is the old outrage that elites seldom experience the consequences of their own ideologically driven agendas.

Hypocrisy, when coupled with sanctimoniousness, grates people like few other human transgressions: Barack Obama opposing charter schools for the inner city as he puts his own children in Washington’s toniest prep schools, or Bay Area greens suing to stop contracted irrigation water from Sierra reservoirs, even as they count on the Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy project to deliver crystal-clear mountain water to their San Francisco taps. Read more →

The Ancient Foreign Policy

 by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review
Nations are collections of human beings, and human nature has not changed, despite Obama’s pleadings.
For the last eight years, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Samantha Power, Ben Rhodes, and Susan Rice have sought to rewrite the traditional approach to foreign policy. In various ways, they have warned us about the dangers that a reactionary Trump presidency would pose, on the assumption that their new world order now operates more along the lines of an Ivy League conference than according to the machinations and self-interests of the dog-eat-dog Manhattan real-estate cosmos.
It would be nice if the international order had safe spaces, prohibitions against micro-aggressions, and trigger warnings that warn of hurtful speech, but is the world really one big Harvard or Stanford that runs on loud assertions of sensitivity, guilt, apologies, or even the cynical progressive pieties found in WikiLeaks?
The tempo abroad in the last eight years would suggest that the answer is no: half a million dead in Syria, over a million young Muslim men flooding into Europe, an Iraq in ruins (though Biden once bragged it would be the Obama administration’s “greatest achievement”), the Benghazi catastrophe, North Africa a wasteland and terrorist incubator, Israel and the Gulf states estranged from America, Iran empowered and soon to be nuclear, Russia hell-bent on humiliating the U.S., China quietly forming its own updated Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, an impoverished Cuba and much of Latin America gnawing the limp wrist of U.S. outreach, and the European Union gradually imploding.
Obama’s lead-from-behind foreign policy has becoming something like the seduction of an old house. Its wiring, plumbing, and foundation are shot, but the majestic structure, when given a thin coat of new paint by the seller, proudly goes on the market as “restored” — at least until the new buyer discovers that the Potemkin façade is about to collapse from lax maintenance and deliberate indifference. In other words, Obama’s periodic declamations, Nobel Prize, and adulation from a toady press are all veneers of shiny paint; the Middle East, Russia, China, Iran, and ISIS terrorism are the insidious frayed wiring, corroded pipes, and termites that are about to take down the entire structure from the inside out. Note that the unrepentant seller is always loudly petulant that the new owner, as he makes endless vital repairs, did not appreciate the paint job he inherited.

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