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.

Goodbye — Sort of — to Germany?

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

President Trump recently ordered a 12,000-troop reduction in American military personnel stationed in Germany. That leaves about 24,000 American soldiers still in the country.

A little more than half of the troops being withdrawn will return home. The rest will be redeployed to other NATO member nations, such as Belgium, Italy, and perhaps Baltic and Eastern European countries.

German chancellor Angela Merkel is said to be furious. She claims that the redeployments will “weaken the [NATO] alliance.” German commercial interests chimed in that the troop withdrawals will hurt their decades-old businesses serving U.S. bases.

Perhaps, but Merkel surely cannot be surprised. Six years ago, all NATO members pledged to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense. Yet only eight of 29 so far have kept their word.

Read the full article here

Ten 2020 Issues, Policies, Personalities — and Chance

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The nation has never seen an election like this. A mysterious virus from China has terrified the country, killed perhaps 180,000 Americans, and is now weaponized as a political asset to neuter the president. Half the country is still in de facto quarantine. Governments — national, state, and  local — for the first time have induced an artificial but severe recession.

The country is convulsed by riots, looting, and urban violence, but with the novelty that many governors and mayors have either turned a blind eye to the anarchy or contextualized it as a legitimate reaction to social injustice.

Joe Biden has been incommunicado for nearly four months, so much so that the Democratic Party believes that his vice-presidential running mate may well be the next president much sooner than later. And the media seek to shield Biden from himself by aborting normal journalistic scrutiny — on the unspoken surety that he is not cogitatively able to conduct a normal campaign and, indeed, in one unguarded moment of confusion and bewilderment, might well sink the entire 2020 progressive agenda.

The result is a virtual candidate, with virtual issues, and a virtual campaign. How then can we adjudicate what issues will matter?

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Hanson: Michelle Obama told Dems to ‘go high’ after her husband ‘tried to destroy a political campaign’

Yael Halon // Fox News

Michelle Obama urged Democrats to take the high road at the virtual Democratic National Convention Monday night amid an ongoing investigation into her husband’s “corrupt” administration, Hoover Institution senior fellow Victor Davis Hanson told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Tuesday.

“When she says ‘We go high when they go low,’ she’s talking right now when her husband’s administration has weaponized the IRS, the FBI, the DOJ, the CIA, and is the subject of a massive investigation by [Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham],” Hanson said.

Watch the interview here

Trumpism—A Look Backward and Forward to November

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Perhaps 70 percent of Trumpism remains a hodgepodge of Reaganism: strong defense, realist foreign policy, deregulation, smaller government, big deficits, tax cuts, energy growth, and stars-and-stripes traditionalism.

But it is the other unorthodox 30 percent that excited his base, terrified conservative apostates, and won Trump the 2016 election by energizing between 4 million and 6 million voters in swing states who had either given up on Republicans, or on elections altogether. NeverTrumpers talk of Trump’s demise and their own resurrection as Phoenixes to rebirth the GOP. They have no idea that those who despise them had ensured their Beltway-preferred candidates could rarely win; nothing has changed since.

Trumpist conservatism is usually defined as not free, but fair trade, strict enforcement of immigration laws, an end to optional interventions that will not likely, in a cost-to-benefit analysis, result in U.S. interests or strategic calm for a purported troubled region, and a belief that industry and manufacturing are not brick-and-mortar anachronisms, but the creators of what we cook on, sit on, live in, drive, and work in; our non-virtual world that everyone relies on and yet takes for granted as so passé. 

Read the full article here

Victor Davis Hanson warns protest leaders: ‘Today’s revolutionary becomes tomorrow’s counter-revolutionary’

Hoover Institution senior fellow Victor Davis Hanson told “The Ingraham Angle” Monday that the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement has parallels to other mass movements throughout history, including the French Revolution and the Cultural Revolution in Communist China.

Watch the interview on Fox here

Taking a Second Look at WWII with Victor Davis Hanson’s ‘The Second World Wars’

Ed Driscoll // PJ Media

Most people today assume that our understanding of WWII is largely complete, thanks to the enormous quantity of books, TV series such as ITV’s classic 1970s documentary The World at War, the myriad of documentaries that aired in the early days of the History Channel cable TV network, and the unending series of movies produced by Hollywood, particularly when compared to its predecessor, WWI. But classicist historian and fellow PJM columnist Victor Davis Hanson does yeoman’s work unpacking the events of 1939-1945.

Starting with the plurality in the title, Hanson’s 2017 book, The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won emphasizes the disparate nature of the War’s myriad battles. Hanson also explores the enormous difference in mindsets between the leaders of the Axis and Allied powers. He makes plain their difference in desired outcomes right on page three, when he notes, “The Axis losers killed or starved to death about 80 percent of all those who died during the war. The Allied victors largely killed Axis soldiers; the defeated Axis, mostly civilians.”

Curtis LeMay Repurposes the B-29

The Allies were also able to improvise and adjust tactics far more easily than the Axis, Hanson writes:

The same asymmetry was true at sea, especially in the Battle of the Atlantic. The Allied leadership made operational changes and technological improvements of surface ships and planes far more rapidly than could the U-boats of the Kriegsmarine. America adapted to repair and produce aircraft carriers and train new crews at a pace inconceivable in Japan. The Allies—including the Soviet Union on most occasions—usually avoided starting theater wars that ended in multiyear infantry quagmires. In contrast, Japan, Germany, and Italy respectively bogged down in China, the Soviet Union, and North Africa and the Balkans.

Read the full book review here

Victor Davis Hanson: US Constitution and traditions are under attack by Democrats

Victor Davis Hanson // Fox News

Democrats are waging war against traditions and the Constitution.

Several of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidates favored the abolishment of the Electoral College. Or, as once-confident candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren put it, “I plan to be the last American president to be elected by the Electoral College.”

Furor over the Electoral College among the left arose from the 2000 and 2016 elections. Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, respectively, won the popular votes. But, like three earlier presidents, they lost the Electoral College voting — and with it the presidency.

The Founding Fathers saw a purpose in the Electoral College. It ensured that small, rural states would retain importance in national elections.

Read the full article here

Strategika Issue #65: The Status of the EU

The State of This Union is (Remarkably) Strong

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

For years, I was a guest commentator on a business-news show whose host was surprisingly literate. We covered global affairs and shared useful exchanges. But this well-schooled, worldly man had a massive blind spot he shared with a significant number of conservatives: He detested the European Union (EU) obsessively and leapt on every shred of negative data from Brussels as proof that the EU was, finally, this time, at last, truly and belatedly doomed.

Read the full article here.

The Status of the EU: A Frustrated Empire Built on the Wrong Assumption

Please read a new essay by my colleague, Jakub Grygiel in Strategika.

As the Preamble to the 1957 Treaty of Rome stated, the purpose of the then European Economic Community was to “lay the foundations of an ever-closer union” among Europeans. This phrase became interpreted as a call for a progressively tighter political merger of the member states, with the European Union as the latest embodiment of this purpose. The problem with this progressive vision, however, is twofold: first, it is never fully achieved as the final objective remains always on the horizon and, second, it is grounded in the belief that a common market can create a unified polity. 

Read the full article here.

The Moribund EU

Please read a new essay by my colleagues, Andrew Roberts in Strategika.

What is the point of the European Union? Only a few years ago such a question, especially coming from a British Brexiteer such as me, might have been written off as simply provocative rudeness from an ideological foe. Today, however, in the light of the EU’s incapacity to meet the strategic challenges posed by China’s aggressive foreign policy, the health challenges posed by COVID-19, the economic challenges caused by the global lockdown, and the budgetary challenges posed by Britain (its second-largest net contributor) leaving, it is legitimate to ask what the EU is really for at this stage of the 21st century.

Read the full article here.

Who or What Exactly Is Running Against Trump?

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

As we enter the final 90 days of the November presidential campaign, a few truths are crystalizing about the “Biden problem,” or the inability of a 77-year-old Joe Biden to conduct a “normal” campaign.

Biden’s cognitive challenges are increasing geometrically, whether as a result of months of relative inactivity and lack of stimulation or just consistent with the medical trajectory of his affliction. His lot is increasingly similar to historical figures such as 67-year-old President William Henry Harrison, William Gladstone’s last tenure as prime minister, Chancellor Hindenburg, or Franklin Roosevelt in late 1944—age and physical infirmities signaling to the concerned that a subordinate might assume power sooner than later.

In the past, it was to Biden’s advantage to postpone his selection of his female-mandated vice presidential running mate, given the lose-lose choice of either picking a woke young African American female who may polarize swing voters while spending the next three months being vetted in the fashion of California Representative Karen Bass’s Scientology and Fidel Castro issues, or selecting a vetted, but off-putting former National Security Advisor Susan Rice or Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who does not especially like Biden and would be seen as hovering and rummaging about as an impatient president-in-waiting.

Biden, remember, is one of the few primary candidates in history who promised in advance to pick a running mate on the basis of gender and, as events would dictate, and by inference, race as well.

Read the full article here

The Thin Veneer of American Civilization

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Nine months ago, New York was a thriving, though poorly governed, metropolis. It was coasting on the more or less good governance of its prior two mayors and on its ancestral role as the global nexus of finance and capital.

The city is now something out of a postmodern apocalyptic movie, reeling from the effects of a neutron bomb. Ditto in varying degrees Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco — the anti-broken-windows metropolises of America. Walking in San Francisco today reminds me of visiting Old Cairo in 1973, although the latter lacked the needles and feces of the former.

At the present increasing rate of police defunding, homeless encampments, the emptying of jails and prisons, the green-lighting of rioting and vandalism, the flight of the wealthy, the revolutionary change to Skype/Zoom tele-working, and the exodus of upper-middle-class liberal families to safe houses in the New York and New England countryside, once beautiful New York City is in danger of becoming the nation’s aneurysm. That is, after the “recovery,” it and other blue cities may be seen as permanent weak veins and arteries prone to sudden fatal hemorrhaging that could implode at any moment, and thus may become metaphorically tied off, as the country reroutes around them.

In the old days of 2019, tolerant Americans more or less accepted that finely crafted statues of sometimes less than inspiring and formerly illustrious (to some) heroes were part of our history. For example, integral to California’s rich historical culture were its missions, acknowledged by Father Serra’s numerous eponymous streets and statues. No one in his right mind believed that renaming a mall named Serra at Stanford University would help mitigate the weekend murder rate in Chicago or the endemic poverty of illegal aliens in my own neighborhood.

Read the full article here

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