Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Obama: Earning Contempt, at Home and Abroad

From Thucydides’s Athens to 21st-century America, appeasement is not a winner.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

 

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About 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.

24 Thoughts on “Obama: Earning Contempt, at Home and Abroad

  1. Yes it is and what a terrific whirlwind he has brought.

    I can’t wait to see what came out of Obama & Bill Clinton’s meeting up in the Vineyard.

    If Bill attacks Obama and rallies the party to his side, it will be quite a show to watch, especially if it centers around the Iran deal debacle.

  2. Bob From Virginia on August 18, 2015 at 10:55 am said:

    Actually W.C. Fields summed up the approach tyrants and bullies take to appeasers succinctly, “never give a sucker a break”.

  3. Kudos to VDH; his powerful writings are so easy to read and understand that I look forward to them every day. RSL 8/18/2015

  4. Ron Lima on August 18, 2015 at 12:59 pm said:

    Excellent article. We need men like this advising presidents, not commentating on them.

  5. Fuel Filter on August 18, 2015 at 1:03 pm said:

    “That is not a credo to base a campaign on…”

    And why not? Dr. Hanson, I love your essays but this one makes the opposite case of the quote, above. I just don’t see how you got from the overwhelming body of this post to “That is not a credo…” Makes no sense to me.

    “The current attraction of Trump is not his consistent and detailed agenda (he has no such thing)…”

    Did you read his plan on immigration? Is that not detailed enough for you at tis early date in the campaign?  Has *any* other candidate come out with *anything* approaching this? Do you also discount Sen. Sessions’ work with him on this (not to mention his immediate endorsement of it)?

    BHO has been a disaster for our country, the RINOs have perpetuated and enabled it for going on seven years now. We need someone who is willing to put us and the U.S. first above all else.

    You disappoint me with this offering.

    • Yes, except Trump is on record as saying Democrats are better for the economy, holds many other views that are Progressive, and said in a Palyboy interview years ago that he feels a kinship with the Democrat Party that doesn’t exist with the Republicans. Beyond that, the man may say many things that are on the minds of many Americans, but he purposely says them in words that are meant to inflame rather than to inform. With Trump, as with any would-be leader, the slogan we should all remember is caveat emptor.

    • zygote314 on August 23, 2015 at 9:44 pm said:

      I would be careful what you wish for. Not all that glitters is gold.

      Trump’s white paper on immigration, which I doubt he wrote, has plenty of flaws. For example, he wants to deport U.S. citizens, i.e.: Anchor Babies, back to their parents’ country of origin. This is patently illegal and would never work. It would also needlessly inflame and alienate Hispanics. I like the fact that he’s serious about sealing off the border and ending the ongoing chaos of people smuggling and drug running, but if Mitt Romney only received 27% of the Hispanic vote for saying illegal aliens should ‘self deport’ then we shouldn’t expect Trump to do any better, and he would probably do a lot worse.

      Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, and Carly Fiorena are all conservative, smart, and well polished. And with Hillary’s campaign getting closer every day to self-destructing, the GOP has a golden opportunity to take the WH in 2016. Let’s not blow it by giving undue deference to a self-aggrandizing real estate mogul.

  6. Joan Sands on August 18, 2015 at 1:55 pm said:

    Don’t understand your statement about Mr. Trump not having a detailed agenda. He just came out with a detailed immigration policy and it has been applauded by many. Obama talked a lot several years ago about hope and change. I don’t recall anyone asking him what he meant.

  7. Robin W on August 18, 2015 at 2:25 pm said:

    Iconic VDH article. The world has no respect for America and her pandering, appeasing politicians.

    I’m yearning for a man’s man, a leader, someone who doesn’t apologize for standing up for what’s in the best for our country.

  8. Chamberlain was quite a hero after pulling off his “brave” negotiations with Hitler. If that comparison isn’t enough then look at our negotiations with North Korea. That was an epic failure.

    Obama condemned what he characterized as Bush’s lack of engagement with North Korea. He vowed “…the complete and verifiable elimination of all of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs, as well as its past proliferation activities…” So Obama negotiated a Clinton-like food deal with N Korea, but after the agreement N Korea acted like nothing changed and launched a provocative rocket test. This forced the Administration to cancel the food deal.

    Andrew Natsios, at Georgetown University, wrote a great op-ed in the Washington Post about Obama’s complete lack of focus. Check it out. This is Obama’s legacy…

  9. 2VictorDavisHanson 4ContemptOfObama
    The aura of contempt is not a one-way street when it comes to Pres. Obama and the voting public. His trading of terrorist for traitors in the Berghdahl affair was just one example of the contempt Pres. Obama holds against the American populace. As I emphasized on pp. 289 ff of my book, {http://www.friesenpress.com/bookstore/title/119734000001612306/Constancio-Sulapas-Asumen-Flirting-with-Misadventures} ~> President Obama’s ascendancy to the Oval Office was made possible mainly by a failure of the majority of the American electorate to recognize a multitude of patterns concerning Barack Hussein Obama, the individual, his modus operandi, and its cumulative impact to our national polity. These include, among others, his associations, his teleprompter enhanced eloquence, his penchant to obfuscate information obstinately, his flair for the dramatic and sensational, etc., in endless litany.

    Granted, there were countless enablers along the way. But the genius of Obama lies in his gambit that taken as a litany, or a laundry list of seemingly harmless lapses of judgment, his modus operandi could not harm him politically. He was in effect counting on the statistical certitude that the majority of the electorate could not muster a gestalt perception of himself as a politician. Therefore Americans as the electorate are inherently incapable of knowing how harmful Obama is to America.

    It is a certainty because the electorate as a collection of minds and individual conscience and consciousness, constitute a few drops of genius in a bucket of mediocrity. This is not to denigrate the intelligence of the American electorate. It is just to recognize the undeniable brutal reality that statistically, the nonchalant John and Jane Doe “cannot care less” amongst us do vastly outnumber the “you never can fool me” Einstein and Heisenberg amongst us.

  10. dupere on August 18, 2015 at 8:43 pm said:

    The Money which backs a career politician or squawking ideologue, easily banks wealth front-running what moves their candidate will predictably make—- better known as shooting fish in the Clinton barrel. Or, Obama’s pummel coal, subsidize green printing press. The money-backed candidate is basically a useful idiot, a goose laying golden eggs. Masquerading idiots are being rejected at the polls.

  11. Roy Digliani on August 18, 2015 at 9:33 pm said:

    It’s more than sad that Obama and the idiots who work for him have to learn these lessons on our dime.
    (though I doubt their arrogance lets even a modicum of understanding break through their egos)
    It’s all theory with them. Zero practical experience beyond maybe lying about everything.
    They know that works with true believing Zealots but that’s about all they know.
    If you’ve raised kids you know that a firm understanding hand conveys security to a child and that
    equivocating and indecisiveness does nothing but create instability.
    What you delineate is obvious even in children.
    Human nature is an actual thing folks. Some things work and some things don’t.
    Hillary’s hubris is finally putting her where she belongs and Obamas will eventually do the same with him.
    It would help us all if we had leaders who knew these things.

  12. Jared Carter on August 18, 2015 at 9:40 pm said:

    VDH,
    Obama’s staunch record is however subject to two qualifications of failure. I have a different exaggeration in regards to them. By all means both are inexcusable as you have noted. I feel you might have overlooked the valour of Churchill’s opposition as it was to government, but he was sometimes moderate by his desire to regain high office within. Could this be said of Obama? Obama is a politician with a party and a seat, but yet he is similar to Ronald Reagan. The presence of privilege is hardly tactful in your writings regarding Obama. Please remember just like in the case of Churchill and in annuals of histories antiquity prosperity of an empire and the country is inspired by class jealousy and the doctrines of envy, hatred and malice. Frustrations of tyranny seem to be Trump’s campaign message. Like him or not his promise of change is “the blaze of triumph.” It seems no different from Obamas’. A touch of perverse jealousy and private shadow of impetuous self-centered intentions provides little hope for the country and a humble and passive Thompson Raisin Farmer and history teacher like myself.
    Best,
    Jared William Carter (jwc) Caruthers, Ca

  13. Pingback: Obama: Earning Contempt, at Home and Abroad | Newport Mesa Tea Party Patriots

  14. The agreement with Iran is not a treaty requiring a 2/3 approval vote in the Senate before having the full force and effect of law but an executive agreement that requires only to be reported to the Congress. As for the deal itself, it is a done deal.

  15. David Park on August 20, 2015 at 8:55 am said:

    Interesting to note that now it suddenly seems so important to check Trump’s background as a base for voting decisions when Obama’s background was glossed over in a rush to judge his elective worth merely on slick mouthings.

  16. Anthony Mxyzptlk on August 21, 2015 at 12:33 pm said:

    As Benjamin Franklin said more than 250 years ago, “Anoint a thief and he will stab you. Stab a thief and he will anoint you.”

    The maxim is just as true today, although anointing is less popular than it used to be.

  17. John Lewis on August 22, 2015 at 11:49 am said:

    The rat Obama is of course despised by anyone who understands anything of governance – which most people do not. He has done much damage.

    I think it is erroneous, however, to exculpate rat Obama of malice, however. To me, an active and malignant malice against America and Americans is one of the determining factors of his “presidency.” He has done damage to many non-Americans; I am not sure if that is due to malice or to sadism.

  18. Dwight Monson on August 22, 2015 at 5:21 pm said:

    Amen! Thank you for your work.

  19. Jim Stead on August 22, 2015 at 7:10 pm said:

    Sure, it is possible that the Administration is “shocked” at the consequences of its actions. But its actions weaken our institutions and allies, and strengthen our enemies, consistently. More likely the consequences are the expected and desired result.

  20. Douglas Keller on August 23, 2015 at 1:51 pm said:

    This is a general comment..on the site as a whole…now that I’ve read several posts. WOW…how can one man believe that he can be so certain about so many complex things. Victor…you offer not a single glimpse of any intellectual humility. As a result, I have to dismiss all that you write as dangerous propaganda. WOW!

  21. SEALDOC on August 25, 2015 at 5:38 am said:

    “Obama: Earning Contempt, at Home and Abroad”!

    Clearly, that may be the only thing Obama ever truly “earned” in his miserable twisted life.

  22. Pingback: Must Read “Leftovers” | AUSTRIAN ECONOMICS ADDICT

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