Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers


From an Angry Reader:

Mr. Hanson –

In your truly myopic article about the Russian/Trump connections you point out the Democrats’ contacts with Russians but you fail to make an apples and apples comparison. You don’t mention BUSINESS and MONEY. You don’t mention Trump making $50 million on a house worth much less in FL from the Russians. You don’t mention Trump’s bashing of everyone else on the planet but Putin. You don’t mention that most every person in this White House has contact with Russians, and I mean everyone… his son-in-law, his daughter, Everyone! The list is endless – Do some homework and start with Christopher Steele’s dossier. Most everything on there is turning out to be true. The traitors in the White House will be totally exposed soon and The of us Americans will say “we told you so.”

Patrick Chaney

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader Patrick Chaney,

I think your conspiracy theory (“traitors in the White House”) is a bit out of date, given the recent Trump strike against Russian interests in Syria, and Russian media assaults on the Trump administration.

In contrast, Barack Obama and Susan Rice assured us that a supposedly trustworthy Putin had ensured the end of Syrian WMD. So far Trump has not had an Obama open mic moment assuring the Russians that he will be flexible after the next election. Read more →

Hall of Mirrors in Syria

The Corner
The one and only.

by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review


Syria is weird for reasons that transcend even the bizarre situation of bombing an abhorrent Bashar al-Assad who was bombing an abhorrent ISIS — as we de facto ally with Iran, the greater strategic threat, to defeat the more odious, but less long-term strategic threat, ISIS.


Trump apparently hit a Syrian airfield to express Western outrage over the likely Syrian use of chemical weapons. Just as likely, he also sought to remind China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea that he is unpredictable and not restrained by self-imposed cultural, political, and ethical bridles that seemed to ensure that Obama would never do much over Chinese and Russian cyber-warfare, or Iranian interception of a U.S. warship or the ISIS terror campaign in the West or North Korea’s increasingly creepy and dangerous behavior.
Read more →

A Multi-Front War

The Corner
The one and only.
by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review
The House Intelligence Committee fights, the Susan Rice revelations, the stale Russian collusion story, the Gorsuch battle, the Bannon battles, the end of the filibuster, etc. are all different fronts of the same existential struggle: the unlikely Trump victory is unpalatable for the Left and its dangerous ramifications for the entire progressive project must be stopped by any means necessary.
I think it was understandable (though I might disagree with that decision) — after acting on whistleblower information and bringing the non-Russian-related intercepts, unmasking, and leaking to the attention of the committee and the country that otherwise likely would never have seen the light of day — that Chairman Devin Nunes both stays on as chair on the Intelligence Committee, but like Jeff Sessions in the matter of the Justice Department, temporarily recuses himself from directly investigating the various charges. In this entire hysteria, Nunes has acted ethically and was done an injustice by those who acted unethically and who will now only be emboldened.
The opposition is still desperately trying to make messengers and process the messages rather than the facts, and for obvious reasons — and they will never forgive Nunes for bringing to light the information from whistleblowers that has proven explosive and changed the entire course of the investigations. Representative Schiff, who has stated without evidence that he has seen information that warrants a grand-jury investigation about Russian collusion, and then has not followed up on those explosive charges, should do likewise in recusing himself from the Russian collusion/improper intercepting and leaking investigations.
At some point, an outside body may have to come in. Special prosecutors are an anathema, given their sordid history of overreach and politicization, but this entire scandal in the public mind is becoming a binary narrative of Russian collusion vs. improper intercepts/unmasking/leaking, with the two sides aligned accordingly — a replay of FBI Director Comey’s politicized schizophrenia of last year predicated on the campaign cycle, which finally led to the fate of Hillary Clinton’s improper behavior being settled politically rather than legally.
Which story then is likely to gain traction — Russian collusion, improper surveillance/illegal leaking, both, or neither?
So far an enormous amount of media attention and investigations about direct Russian collusion with Trump have found no evidence, but for now very little attention has been given to improper unmasking of surveillance and leaking, and yet has already far more credibility — given the strange contradictory statements of Susan Rice, the reported data on unmasking, the expansion of access to intercepts, and the stranger behavior of journalists at the New York Times, Washington Post, and major media who must have been relying on classified information illegally leaked to them for months to advance a narrative that was deemed advantageous for both the Obama administration and sympathetic media but otherwise never caught on because it was unproven.
After the Lawrence Walsh and Patrick Fitzgerald abuses, Republicans are certainly right to resist an outside investigator, but they might discover that ironically their Democrat opponents privately oppose a third-party investigation in fact even more than Republicans do in theory — and for obvious reasons that, if done professionally, the results will not be welcome.

Ancient Laws, Modern Wars

by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review
After eight years of withdrawal, what rules should the U.S. follow to effectively reassert itself in world affairs?
The most dangerous moments in foreign affairs often come after a major power seeks to reassert its lost deterrence.
The United States may be entering just such a perilous transitional period.
Rightly or wrongly, China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Middle East-based terrorists concluded after 2009 that the U.S. saw itself in decline and preferred a recession from world affairs.
In that void, rival states were emboldened, assuming that America thought it could not — or should not — any longer exercise the sort of political and military leadership it had demonstrated in the past.
Enemies thought the U.S. was more focused on climate change, United Nations initiatives, resets, goodwill gestures to enemies such as Iran and Cuba, and soft-power race, class, and gender agendas than on protecting and upholding longtime U.S. alliances and global rules.

Read more →

The Millstones of the Gods Grind Late, but They Grind Fine . . .

The Corner: The one and only.

By Victor Davis Hanson// National Review

The latest disclosures that former Obama national-security adviser Susan Rice may have requested that intelligence agencies reveal or “unmask” those from the Trump team who were surveilled in purportedly normal intelligence gathering — and that such requests may have extended over an apparently considerable period of time — remind us that at some point there is always an accounting.

Rice’s past serial and shameless untruths about the tragic deaths at Benghazi (a 2012 Obama re-election “al-Qaeda on the run” narrative, with a supposedly spontaneous riot over a YouTube video as the cause of the attack) were contextualized by the media and eventually vaporized. Her sad “honor and distinction” narrative about the Bowe Bergdahl betrayal of his comrades — the infamous purported “prisoner of war” “captured on the battlefield” fabrication — was intended to mask what was otherwise a dishonest and terrible hostage swap for someone who had endangered the lives of his fellow soldiers. Recently, she has denied all knowledge of what House Intelligence chairman Devin Nunes had been fighting to uncover, and has even tweeted periodically to criticize the purported ethical lapses and unprofessionalism of the Trump administration.

All that is a lot for even the gods to grind. If, as likely, she had access to, or requested, such raw data, and sent it, with names illegally unmasked, to primary players of the Obama administration (e.g., Clapper, Brennan, Rhodes, etc.), that fact would blow up some heretofore denials of any knowledge of such skullduggery and perhaps become the greatest presidential scandal of the last half century.

The Rice revelation might also put into the proper landscape the following: a) the astounding self-confessionals of Hillary adviser Evelyn Farkas about her frantic efforts to convince Obama operatives to increase intelligence gathering and to leak the information to the press (what gave a former mid-level Department of Defense employee the presumption that she could influence the intelligence operations of the U.S. government?), b) the unprecedented eleventh-hour Obama effort to broaden access to classified data to spread and leak such unmasked individuals, c) the political and media landmines that Representative Nunes (facing “kill the messenger” efforts to kill the message) had to navigate around and the character assassination to which he has been subjected, d) why the Russian-collusion narrative, denied by intelligence chiefs, has become the necessary distraction — first, to steer attention away from the improper leaking and surveillance, and, second, to be used to offer pseudo-moral equivalence to stop further investigation: as if Russian collusion is the bookend to unmasking Trump; as if Nunes is the mirror-image of Representative Adam Schiff, to achieve an impasse of “so let’s just call it even and quit the entire mess and ‘move on.’” e) the relative silence of former president and “constitutional law professor” Barack Obama.

What will be most interesting will be two corollary inquiries: 1) We need to know when, why, and how the White House put such unmasked data illegally into the hands of the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, etc. perhaps initially to smear the Trump campaign (will the same reporters who ran with the “Trump frolicking in Moscow” collusion narratives now reboot and run with the true story?), and later the Trump transition and presidency; and 2) were these unmasked individuals really incidentally picked up data from surveilled foreigners — or, in fact, were they the primary targets of monitoring all along, with supposedly preplanned surveillance of foreign operators acting as cover?

Journey to the Center of the Country

By Victor Davis Hanson// National Review

Trump seems radical only to the radicals who aim to take America far, far left.

There have been roughly two sorts of Democratic presidents over the last century. A few were revolutionaries who sought to take the country leftward with them. They were masters of “never letting a serious crisis go to waste” transformations and came to power after the chaos of national crises and near collapse. Read more →

Nunes etc.

The Corner: The one and only
By Victor Davis Hanson// National Review

When the feeding frenzy abates and moves on to the next target, among the flotsam and jetsam we may learn two things from the Nunes affair: One, intelligence-committee chairmen in the past have routinely gone over to various executive-branch locations, such as in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, to confirm information by evaluating secured raw data, and have also communicated with and met with NSC staffers to assist them to do that. Read more →

The Yanks over There — 100 Years Ago

By Victor Davis Hanson// National Review

American intervention saved Western Europe in World War I, but the result was a failed armistice.

One hundred years ago, on April 6, 1917, the United States entered World War I. The ongoing conflict ended just 19 months later with an Allied victory.

The United States did not win the war alone, given the far earlier and greater sacrifices of Great Britain, France, Italy, and czarist Russia.

But America’s late arrival, with some 2 million doughboys who landed in France less than three years after the start of the war, saved the teetering Allied cause.

Read more →

Nunes Affair

A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.
by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review

The beleaguered Intelligence Committee chairman is the latest target in a partisan smear campaign. He must not step down.

Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) will not step down from the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee. He is the new target in an already long line of those targeted by the media for forced resignations — Stephen Bannon, the purported anti-Semite; Sebastian Gorka, the alleged closet Nazi; Jeff Sessions, the supposed Russian patsy; and now Devin Nunes, the purported partisan naïf.

Nor should he resign — especially given the wider and bewildering landscape of the politicization and corruption of the intelligence community over the last months and the dangerous state in which we all find ourselves vis-à-vis the intelligence agencies and the transition of presidential power.

Read more →


From an Angry Reader:

Do you mean educated people who worked hard to better themselves? Let’s all just stay in the old steel mill towns and coal mining towns gripping about how unfair the world is to us. You know, the good old days when blacks knew their place and we didn’t have no Mexicans around. You are right I guess they were ready for a Trump and the left was unprepared but it does not make them correct. Carol Hoyt, Big Lake Ak. And Las Vegas Nv.

Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader Carol Hoyt,

How you managed to cram such a stream of confusion into just four sentences is in a way impressive.

Sentence one: I did not conflate elites with educated people, but rather with a subset of urban, powerful people in politics, academia, the media, and entertainment who exercise influence and power without any discernible display of competence. These are not neurosurgeons or engineers but the architects of $20 trillion in debt, stereotyped and dull Hollywood movies, and inaccurate and undependable news accounts of the Dan Rather/Brian Williams sort. Read more →

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