Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Author Archives: Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

Crack-ups at the Crossroads of Intersectionality

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Progressives do not see the United States as an exceptional uniter of factions and tribes into a cohesive whole—each citizen subordinating his tribal, ethnic, and religious affinities to a shared Americanism, emblemized by our national motto e pluribus unum. Instead, they prefer e uno plures: out of one nation arise many innately different and separate peoples.

Progressivism’s signature brand is now tribalism: all of us in different ways are victims of a white male Christian heterosexual patriarchy—or a current 20 percent hierarchy that past and present has supposedly oppressed anyone not like themselves. In contrast, our differences define who we are, and are not incidental to the content of our characters. The salad bowl, not the melting pot, is the new national creed. America is to be a conglomeration of competing tribal parties in the fashion of the Balkans, Rwanda, or contemporary Iraq.

How does the relative victimhood work politically? Progressive elites (oddly often white, but “woke,” males) serve as umpires who adjudicate familial spats and intersectional fractures. Like good cowboys, they ride herd, directing the squabbling and snorting flock in the right direction without losing too many strays on the way to the election booth.

Is Mayor Pete Buttigieg, recently confronted as an unwoke white guy by Black Lives Matter activists, a white male elite, or an oppressed gay male victim who feels the Christian faithful, like his former working associate Mike Pence, supposedly oppress him to the degree he cannot ever be slurred as an oppressor of others who are nonwhite, not affluent, and non-male? In this world of collective woke stereotypes, are inner-city blacks and Catholic Hispanics victims of white males like Buttigieg, or disproportionately insensitive victimizers of such gays as Buttigieg?

Read the full article here.

We Hold All the Cards in the Showdown with Iran

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

In May 2018, the Donald Trump Administration withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, popularly known as the Iran nuclear deal.

The United States then ramped up sanctions on the Iranian theocracy to try to ensure that it stopped nuclear enrichment. The Trump administration also hoped a strapped Iran would become less capable of funding terrorist operations in the Middle East and beyond, proxy wars in the Persian Gulf, and the opportune harassment of ships transiting the Strait of Hormuz.

The sanctions are clearly destroying an already weak Iranian economy. Iran is now suffering from negative economic growth, massive unemployment and record inflation.

A desperate Iranian government is using surrogates to send missiles into Saudi Arabia while its forces attack ships in the Gulf of Oman.

Read the full article here.

The China-Iran-Border Matrix

Victor Davis Hanson // Nationals Review

President Trump and Secretary Pompeo have worked the U.S. into an advantageous position with a consistent policy toward bad actors.

We are now at a point that even left and right agree that China’s rogue trajectory had to be altered. And while progressive critics of Beijing now are coming out of the woodwork without ever uttering the T-word, nonetheless the subtext is that Trump has pulled back the Chinese curtain and what is exposed is pretty ugly — from reeducation camps and mass incarcerations to cheating Silicon Valley out of billions of dollars in research and development, currency manipulations, bullying allies, and international commercial roguery.

More to the point, the U.S. does not need China as much as it needs us, whether defined as trade and accounts surpluses, intellectual and technological transfers, the strange obsessions with buying U.S. properties or sending a third of a million students into the U.S. In all these areas, there are vast asymmetrical relations. The U.S. can find low-cost assembly plants elsewhere if that is its want, and American investors are not dying to buy Chinese properties or American companies to steal Chinese technological breakthroughs, or California parents to send tens of thousands of their teens to Chinese universities.

Read the full article here.

America’s First Third-World State

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

‘Third World” is now an anachronistic geographical term of the old Cold War. But after 1989, “Third World” was reinvented from a political noun into an adjective to mean more than just Asian, African, and Latin American nations nonaligned with either the West or the Soviet bloc.

Rather, the current modifier “Third World” has come to transcend geography, politics, and ethnicity. It simply denotes poor failed states all over the globe of all races and religions.

Third World symptomologies are predictably corrupt government, unequal or nonexistent applicability of the law, two rather than three classes, and the return of medieval diseases. Third World nations suffer from high taxes and poor social services, premodern infrastructure and utilities, poor transportation, tribalism, gangs, and lack of security.

Another chief characteristic of a Third World society is the official denial of all of the above, and a vindictive, almost hysterical state response to anyone who points out those obvious tragedies. Another is massive out-migration. Residents prefer almost any country other than their own. Think Somalia, Venezuela, Cuba, Libya, or Guatemala.

Does 21st-century California increasingly fit that definition — despite having the nation’s most amenable climate and most beautiful and diverse geography, with major natural ports facing the dynamic Asian economies, and being naturally rich in timber, agriculture, mining, and energy, and blessed with a prior century’s inheritance of effective local and state government?

Read the full article here.

When Normality Became Abnormal

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Donald Trump is many things. But one thing he is not is a defender of the 2009-2016 status quo and accepted progressive convention. Since 2017, everything has been in flux. Lots of past conventional assumptions of the Obama-Clinton-Romney-Bush generation were as unquestioned as they were suspect. No longer.

Everyone knew the Iran deal was a way for the mullahs to buy time and hoard their oil profits, to purchase or steal nuclear technology, to feign moderation, and to trade some hostages for millions in terrorist-seeding cash, and then in a few years spring an announcement that it had the bomb.

No one wished to say that. Trump did. He canceled the flawed deal without a second thought.

Iran is furious, but in a far weaker—and eroding—strategic position with no serious means of escaping devastating sanctions, general impoverishment, and social unrest. So a desperate Tehran knows that it must make some show of defiance. Yet it accepts that if it were to launch a missile at a U.S. ship, hijack an American boat, or shoot down an American plane, the ensuing tit-for-tat retaliation might target the point of Iranian origin (the port that launched the ship, the airbase from which the plane took off, the silo from which the missile was launched) rather than the mere point of contact—and signal a serial stand-off 10-1 disproportionate response to every Iranian attack without ever causing a Persian Gulf war.

Read the full article here.

Victor Davis Hanson: Why are the Western middle classes so angry?

Victor Davis Hanson // Bozeman Daily

What is going on with the unending Brexit drama, the aftershocks of Donald Trump’s election and the “yellow vests” protests in France? What drives the growing estrangement of southern and eastern Europe from the European Union establishment? What fuels the anti-EU themes of recent European elections and the stunning recent Australian re-election of conservatives?

Put simply, the middle classes are revolting against Western managerial elites. The latter group includes professional politicians, entrenched bureaucrats, condescending academics, corporate phonies and propagandistic journalists.

What are the popular gripes against them?

One, illegal immigration and open borders have led to chaos. Lax immigration policies have taxed social services and fueled multicultural identity politics, often to the benefit of boutique leftist political agendas.

Two, globalization enriched the cosmopolitan elites who found worldwide markets for their various services. New global markets and commerce meant Western nations outsourced, offshored and ignored their own industries and manufacturing (or anything dependent on muscular labor that could be replaced by cheaper workers abroad).

Read the full article here.

The 2020 News Cycle Will Look Very Different

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

The Russia collusion narrative and associated Robert Mueller hysteria are all but over.

Mueller’s obstruction of justice narrative involving the non-crime of collusion is ending, too.

Donald Trump’s tax-return psychodrama is going the way of the Emoluments Clause, the Logan Act, the 25th Amendment and the comical in-house coup attempt of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

What takes the place of Mueller and “the noose is tightening” bombshells? Perhaps the new narratives involving Inspector General Michael Horowitz and FISA abuse, or Attorney General William Barr’s investigation into the origins of the Russia collusion probe—far quieter, far more serious.00:00

The media for three years obsessed over a false “Trump did it” story. But in the next 17 months, the storyline may change from the myth of the “walls are closing in” on the president to the reality that Obama-era officials committed serial felonies—from perjury and lying to federal officials, to leaking classified documents, spying illegally on a political campaign, deceiving a FISA court, and obstructing justice.

Read the full article here.

The FBI Tragedy: Elites above the Law

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

We are told, however, that the FBI’s culture and institutions are exempt from the widespread wrongdoing at the top. Such caution is a fine and fitting thing, given the FBI’s more than a century of public service. Nonetheless, many of those caught up in the controversies over the Russian-collusion hoax were not recent career appointees. Rather, many came up through the ranks of the FBI. And that raises the question, for example, of where exactly Peter Strzok (22 years in the FBI) learned that he had a right to interfere in a U.S. election to damage a candidate that he opposed.

We are told, however, that the FBI’s culture and institutions are exempt from the widespread wrongdoing at the top. Such caution is a fine and fitting thing, given the FBI’s more than a century of public service. Nonetheless, many of those caught up in the controversies over the Russian-collusion hoax were not recent career appointees. Rather, many came up through the ranks of the FBI. And that raises the question, for example, of where exactly Peter Strzok (22 years in the FBI) learned that he had a right to interfere in a U.S. election to damage a candidate that he opposed.

And why would an Andrew McCabe (over 21 years in the FBI) think he had the duty to formulate an “insurance policy” to take out a presidential candidate? Or why would he even consider overseeing an FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s improper use of emails when his wife had been a recent recipient of Clinton-related PAC money? And why would McCabe contemplate leaking confidential FBI information to the press or even dream of setting up some sort of operation to remove a sitting president under the 25th Amendment? And how did someone like the old FBI vet Peter Strozk ever end up at the center of the entire mess — opening up the snooping on the Trump campaign while hiding that fact and while briefing the candidate on Russian interference in the election, interviewing Michael Flynn, preening as a top FBI investigator for Robert Mueller’s dream team, right-hand man of “Andy” McCabe, convincing Comey to change the wording of his writ in the Clinton-email-scandal investigation, softball coddling of Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, instrumental in the Papadopoulos investigation con — all the while conducting an affair with fellow FBI investigator and attorney Lisa Page and bragging about his assurance that the supposedly odious Trump would be prevented from being elected. If a group of Trump zealots were to call up the FBI tomorrow and allege that a member of Joe Biden’s family has had unethical ties with the Ukrainian or Chinese government, would that gambit “alarm” the FBI enough to prompt an investigation of Biden and his campaign? How many career-professional Peter Strozks are still at the agency?

Read the full article here.

Greece Finds New Footing as a Player on the World Stage

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

ATHENS—After Greece temporarily hosted a pair of U.S. military drones, Greek Defense Minister Panagiotis Kammenos said last fall that, “It’s very important for Greece that the United States deploy military assets in Greece on a more permanent base.”

Indeed, Greece just took delivery of some 70 military helicopters that it had purchased from the U.S., and there have been discussions about basing American drones, air tankers and other military aircraft on Greek soil.

COSCO, a state-owned Chinese shipping and logistics services company, has invested more than 3.5 billion euros in renovating the historic Greek port of Piraeus, which is now the second-largest port in the Mediterranean. The Chinese brag that it will soon become the busiest. The massive renovation is part of China’s 35-year lease of two of the port’s container terminals and the Chinese purchase of a majority stake in Piraeus’ port authority.

Despite recent spats, Vladimir Putin’s Russia remains a supposed ally of Greece, given historic religious ties and the envisioned completion of a natural-gas pipeline that will supply Russian gas to energy-starved Greece.

Read the full article here.

Is Germany Becoming Germany — Again?

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The more things change, well, the more they . . . So it is with the perpetual German resentments of the U.S.

Recently German chancellor Angela Merkel reminded us of that German fixation, when she made some astounding statements to the German media that revealed what many Americans had long ago surmised.

Merkel all but announced that Germany, or for that matter Europe itself, is no longer really an ally of the United States: “There is no doubt that Europe needs to reposition itself in a changed world. . . . The old certainties of the post-war order no longer apply.”

Read the full article here.

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