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.

Victor Davis Hanson: Chaos in Europe – It’s tricky being world’s largest importer of gas, oil and critic, too

Victor Davis Hanson // Fox News

Despite its cool Green parties and ambitious wind and solar agendas, Europe remains by far the world’s largest importer of oil and natural gas.

Oil output in the North Sea and off the coast of Norway is declining, and the European Union is quietly looking for fossil fuel energy anywhere it can find it.

Europe itself is naturally rich in fossil fuels. It likely has more reserves of shale gas than the United States, currently the world’s largest producer of both oil and natural gas. Yet in most European countries, horizontal drilling and fracking to extract gas and oil are either illegal or face so many court challenges and popular protests that they are neither culturally nor economically feasible.

The result is that Europe is almost entirely dependent on Russian, Middle Eastern and African sources of energy.

The American-Iranian standoff in the Middle East, coupled with radical drop-offs in Iranian and Venezuelan oil production, has terrified Europe — and for understandable reasons.

Read the full article here

Strategika Issue 62: Is the Mediterranean Still Geo-strategically Essential?

Is The Mediterranean Still Geo-Strategically Essential?

Please read a new essay by my colleague, Barry Strauss in Strategika.

The Mediterranean Sea is today, as it has always been, a crossroads. The name itself testifies to that, as it means “the sea in the middle of the earth,” a Latin term reflecting an earlier Greek belief. We know better, or do we? From Syria to Libya and on the high seas, and with outside players including China, Iran, Russia, and the United States, the Mediterranean has re-emerged of late as a cockpit of conflict. 

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The Wrong Side Of The Pillars Of Hercules: The Mediterranean Just Doesn’t Matter Much Anymore

Please read a new essay by my colleague, Ralph Peters in Strategika.

The United States is an Atlantic and Pacific power by virtue of geography, strategic necessity, and economic opportunity. A forward defense of the far littorals—Europe and the East-Asian barrier states facing China—is the essential requirement for our security. All else is not only secondary or tertiary, but often an ill-advised and grossly costly drain on our resources.

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Europe’s Mediterranean Frontier

Please read a new essay by my colleague, Angelo M. Codevilla in Strategika.

The Mediterranean abruptly separates Europe’s civilization from those of Africa and the Middle East. On one side, reaching North to Scandinavia and East to the Bering Strait, some seven hundred million mostly prosperous people live according to principles derived from Judeo-Christianity, Greek philosophy, and Roman law. Their number is shrinking. 

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The New Post-Trump Constitution

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The Left sees Donald Trump’s comportment, rallies, and tweets as a new low in presidential behavior that justifies extraordinary countermeasures. But Trump’s personal characteristics are idiosyncratic and may or may not become institutionalized by subsequent presidents. And it is not as if liberal icons such as FDR, LBJ, JFK, and Bill Clinton suddenly became saintly in office.

What is far scarier is the reaction to Trump, in both the constitutional and political sense. What follows are likely the new norms for the next generation of presidents, and they will probably be equally applied to Democrats who implemented them in the Trump era.

1) Private presidential phone calls with foreign leaders will be leaked and printed in the major media. The point will be not so much to air breaking news as to embarrass the president or to use such disclosures to stymie his foreign policy. Those who leak such information will be canonized as part of a “resistance.” Prominent officials in government will publish anonymous op-eds in the New York Times bragging about how they are daily undermining a new president’s administration.

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American citizenship is eroding

Victor Davis Hanson // Highland County Press

Today, many condemn the idea of nationalism by connecting it to race hatred (e.g., white nationalism). But historically, the modern nation-state has proven uniquely suitable to preserving individual rights. The American nation in particular was successful in uniting individuals of different races, ethnic backgrounds and creeds into one people based on shared principles, a unique physical space, and a common national story. Our nation is the best example in human history of positive nationalism.

The key to this benign nationalism is American citizenship, based on an understanding of American exceptionalism and formed by the American melting pot. But today, our citizenship is eroding and, along with it, American nationalism in the positive sense is disappearing.

American citizenship is eroding in three ways.

First, we are blurring the line between mere residents and citizens. We have between 45-50 million non-native-born residents in the U.S. today—the largest absolute number we’ve ever had. There’s no legal problem with the 30 million of them who have green cards or have acquired citizenship—although even 30 million is a challenge for the American melting pot to assimilate and integrate.

But we also have, according to a recent Yale and MIT study, about 20 million people who are here illegally. In regard to them, the classical ingredients of American citizenship—the right to leave or enter the country as one pleases, for example, or to vote in elections, or to reside here as long as one pleases—are being blurred.

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Remembering the Farming Way

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Almost all the pragmatic agricultural wisdom that my grandparents taught me has long ago been superseded by technology. I don’t anymore calibrate, as I once did when farming in the 1980s, the trajectory of an incoming late summer storm by watching the patterns of nesting birds, or the shifting directions and feel of the wind, or the calendar date or the phases of the moon. Instead, I go online and consult radar photos of storms far out at sea. Meteorology is mostly an exact science now.

Even the agrarian’s socio-scientific arts of observation that I learned from my family are seldom employed in my farming anymore. Back in the day, when a local farmer’s wife died, I was told things like, “Elmer will go pretty soon, too. His color isn’t good and he’s not used to living without her”—and tragically the neighbor usually died within months. Now I guess I would ask Elmer whether his blood tests came back OK, and the sort of blood pressure medicine he takes. I don’t think we believe that superficial facial color supersedes lab work. Farmers did because in an age of limited technology they saw people as plants, and knew that the look and color of a tree or vine—in comparison to others in the orchard or vineyard—was a sign of their viability.

I grew up with an entire local network of clubs and get-togethers, and ferried my grandparents to periodic meetings of the Walnut Improvement Club, Eastern Star, the Odd Fellows, Masons, the Grange, and Sun-Maid growers. They exchanged gossip, of course, but also vital folk and empirical information on irrigation, fertilizers, and machines.

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What Is the Middle East In the Middle Of Anymore?

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Since World War II, the United States has been involved in a series of crises and wars in the Middle East on the premise of protecting U.S., Western, or global interests, or purportedly all three combined. Since antiquity, the Middle East has been the hub of three continents, and of three great religions, and the maritime intersection between East and West.

In modern times American strategic concerns in no particular order were usually the following:

1) Guaranteeing reliable oil supplies for the U.S. economy.

2) Ensuring that no hostile power—most notably the Soviet Union between 1946-1989 and local Arab or Iranian strongmen thereafter—gained control of the Middle East and used its wealth and oil power to disrupt the economies and security of the Western world, Europe in particular.

3) Preventing radical Islamic terrorists from carving out sanctuaries and bases of operations to attack the United States or its close allies.

4) Aiding Israel to survive in a hostile neighborhood.

5) Keeping shipping lanes in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Suez Canal, and the Persian Gulf open and accessible to world commerce at the historical nexus of three continents.

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Angry Reader 01-09-2020

From An Angry Reader:

Subject: The Dangers of…YOU

Mr. Hanson,

It appears that they let just about anyone submit an opinion even a Stanford grad. I guess you didn’t have what it takes to get into Harvard. You are obviously a Republican and that is not a good thing right now. Republicans right now are deaf, blind and stupid! It is the ignorant and uneducated schmucks like you that have all the Republican believing that party is more important than country. You may have a degree but far from being educated. Educate yourself on the facts and stop spinning the truth to make yourself look relevant. Talk about misleading your audience. Like all Republicans, you are blind to what Trump has done to your country. I’m not saying he hasn’t done anything. I mean Mexico did pay for wall right? You are an embarrassment and a traitor. You love your bullshit party over your country! I say you are a fraud. Better start to learn Russian.

You have a great future at Fox and Friends.

Howard Selcer

Howard Selcer & Associates

302 Briston Private

Ottawa, ON K1G 5R1

Ottawa/Montreal/Toronto/Vancouver/Las Vegas/Chicago

———————————————————————————————————————

Dear Angry Reader Howard Selcer,

You hit almost all the Angry Reader buttons: personal invective and ad hominem attacks (e.g., “traitor,” “ignorant and uneducated schmucks like you,” etc.), potty language (“bullshit”), personal arrogance (the pretentious titles and affiliations that remind us that you and your “associates” are pan-North-American and that a Harvard or Stanford pedigree equates with authority), the puerile grammatical incoherence (“that have all the Republican (sic) believing”; “You may have a degree but far from being (sic) educated”), the absence of a single example or fact to support your invective, and general ignorance about the target of your rant: I have never been a registered Republican, but currently am an Independent—after over thirty years of being a registered Democrat. Like most angry readers, you seem to deplore disunity even as your own harangues are clear evidence of why it exists.

Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson & Associates

The Hoover Institution, Stanford University, National Review, American Greatness, Tribune Publishing Company, Hillsdale College

Stanford/New York/Chicago/Hillsdale/Selma

Iran’s Options in a Showdown with America Are All Bad

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

After losing its top strategist, military commander, and arch-terrorist, Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian theocracy is weighing responses.

One, Iran can quiet down and cease military provocations.

After attacking tankers off its coast, destroying an oil refinery in Saudi Arabia, shooting down a U.S. drone, and being responsible for the killing and wounding of Americans in Iraq, Iran could now keep quiet.

It might accept that its strategy of escalation has failed to lead to any quantifiable advantage. Trump did not prove a passive “Twitter tiger,” as his critics mocked. Instead, he upped the stakes to Iran’s disadvantage and existential danger.

The chances, however, for such a logical and passive readjustment by Iran are nil.

Iran believes that Trump’s beefed-up sanctions have all but destroyed its economy and could now extend to secondary boycotts of nations trading with Iran. U.S. sanctions have also squeezed Iranian expeditionary efforts to forge a permanent hegemony and a Shiite crescent extending to the Mediterranean.

Read the full article here

Iranian Analytics

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

For all the current furor over the death of Qasem Soleimani, it is Iran, not the U.S. and the Trump administration, that is in a dilemma. Given the death and destruction wrought by Soleimani, and his agendas to come, he will not be missed.

Tehran has misjudged the U.S. administration’s doctrine of strategic realism rather than vice versa. The theocracy apparently calculated that prior U.S. patience and restraint in the face of its aggression was proof of an unwillingness or inability to respond. More likely, the administration was earlier prepping for a possible more dramatic, deadly, and politically justifiable response when and if Iran soon overreached.

To retain domestic and foreign credibility, Iran would now like to escalate in hopes of creating some sort of U.S. quagmire comparable to Afghanistan, or, more germanely, to a long Serbian-like bombing campaign mess, or the ennui that eventually overtook the endless no-fly zones over Iraq, or the creepy misadventure in Libya, or even something like an enervating 1979-80 hostage situation. The history of the strategies of our Middle East opponents has always been to lure us into situations that have no strategic endgame, do not play to U.S. strengths in firepower, are costly without a time limit, and create Vietnam War–like tensions at home.

But those wished-for landscapes are not what Iran has got itself into. Trump, after showing patience and restraint to prior Iranian escalations, can respond to Iranian tit-for-tat without getting near Iran, without commitments to any formal campaign, and without seeming to be a provocateur itching for war, but in theory doing a lot more damage to an already damaged Iranian economy either through drones, missiles, and bombing, or even more sanctions and boycotts to come. If Iran turns to terrorism and cyber-attacks, it would likely only lose more political support and risk airborne responses to its infrastructure at home.

Iran deeply erred in thinking that Trump’s restraint was permanent, that his impeachment meant he had lost political viability, that he would go dormant in an election year, that the stature of his left-wing opponents would surge in such tensions, and that his base would abandon him if he dared to use military force.

There are several Iranian choices, but they are apparently deemed unattractive by the regime.

Read the full article here

The Steele Dossier Bacillus

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

In 2016, Hillary Clinton presidential candidate hired an ex-intelligence officer and foreign national, British subject Christopher Steele, to use Russian sources to find dirt (“opposition research”) on her then political opponent Donald Trump. So much for the worry about “foreign interference” in U.S. elections.

The public would take years to learn of the funding sources of Steele, because Clinton camouflaged her role through three firewalls: the Democratic National Committee; the Perkins-Coie legal firm; and Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS opposition-research firm.

Steele had collected rumor and gossip from mostly Russian sources in an effort to tar Trump as a Russian colluder and asset. We know now that his sources were either bogus or deliberately warped by Steele himself.

Almost everything in the dossier was unverified and later was proved fanciful. Yet with the help of high Obama administration and elected officials, the dossier’s gossip and rumor were leaked throughout the top echelons of Washington politics and the media. Its lies spread because its chief message — Donald J. Trump was a fool, dangerous, should never be elected, and once elected had no business as president — was exactly what the establishment wished to hear. In other words, the dossier was infectious because it was deemed both welcome and useful.

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