Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Target Trump Forever

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

The Left has shown that the collusion exoneration last year by the heralded Robert Mueller investigation—all 22-months, the “dream team,” and $34 million of it—meant absolutely nothing.

Nor did it matter that Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz found no justification of “collusion” in the Steele dossier to justify the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants it issued to spy on Carter Page.

Both the Mueller and Horowitz investigations confirmed that even the partisan and warped FBI “Crossfire Hurricane” intrigues could find no Russian-Trump collusion.

And yet the House impeachment managers cannot finish a sentence without exclaiming “Russian collusion,” as if it has now transmogrified into some exotic foundational myth.

Remember, no sooner had Mueller found no collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Kremlin and no actionable obstruction than the progressives narrative was recalibrated into Ukrainian quid pro quo—albeit after brief detours in “Recession!” and “Racism!”

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Must America Be in the Middle East?

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Since World War II, the United States has identified a number of national interests in the Greater Middle East, a region often defined quite loosely as the Arab nations (including those of North Africa), Israel, and sometimes Turkey, as well as Iran, the Horn of Africa countries, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

During the Cold War period, from 1946 to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union, American bipartisan foreign policy identified a strategic need for the region’s petroleum. Gulf oil was seen as critical in augmenting America’s own seemingly finite supply or ensuring the free world’s access to it. Thus was born the post-war U.S. realist interest in the Middle East — a region that after the 15th-century discovery of the New World lost the strategic global position it had held since classical antiquity.

The United States backed most prominently the House of Saud and neighboring Persian Gulf monarchies and dictatorships on the rationale that they would endlessly pump oil and sell it to the West at a fair price. British Petroleum enjoyed a more or less controlling oil interest in Iran, and U.S. oil companies had a free hand in Saudi Arabia; both nations maneuvered with other regimes to develop oil-exporting industries. The ensuing conspiracy theories, coups, and succession scraps of Arab and Persian strongmen fueled a half century of “Great Satan” chanting and the burning of American flags on the Middle East street.

At various times, U.S. presidents sought to deny the Soviet Union the ability to harness the region’s resources and thereby leverage Western oil-dependent economies. Most notable was Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s success, in the aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in flipping Anwar Sadat’s Egypt from being a Russian client to being a de facto American ally. For all practical purposes, the Russians stayed ostracized from the Middle East until Secretary of State John Kerry in 2012 naïvely invited them back in after a roughly 40-year hiatus — supposedly to help monitor Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian depot of weapons of mass destruction. Huge new finds of Russian gas and oil in the 1980s and 1990s had made the Middle East less important to Russia, although regional chaos that spiked oil prices and hurt Western economies was always welcome to Moscow, both before and after the fall of the Soviet Union.

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Government in the Shadows

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The frenetic opposition to Donald Trump by the Washington establishment, the new progressive, hard-left Democratic party, and in particular the veterans of the Obama administration has led to the ruination of a number of hallowed protocols and customs.

Impeachment has been redefined as a mere vote of no confidence and will become a rank political ploy for years to come once an opposition party gains a majority in the House. It is taking on the flavor of a preemptory device, a vaccination, rather than a medicine, as if to prevent future hypothetical crimes in the absence of current impeachable offenses.

Whistleblowers are now mere political operatives, who work with the opposition party to disseminate second- and third-hand rumor to prompt impeachment frenzies.

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Progressive Petards

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Since at least 2016, CNN has mostly ceased being a news agency, but that hasn’t stopped it from being an active participant in #TheResistance. The network is so caught up in the fervor of this movement that many of its guests and regular hosts have been fired, reprimanded, or apologized for threats to the president or general obscene references (e.g., Reza Aslan, the late Anthony Bourdain, Kathy Griffin).

Many of its marquee reporters have resigned, were fired, or reassigned for fake-news bias (e.g., Thomas Frank, Eric Lichtblau, and Lex Haris), or came under fire for false reporting (Jim Sciutto, Marshall Cohen, and Carl Bernstein) or have had to offer retractions and/or apologies (Gloria Borger, Eric Lichtblau, Jake Tapper, and Brian Rokus.)

Its anchors have apologized for obscenity (Anderson Cooper) or simply making up false statements (Chris Cuomo), while analysts have been caught in a number of contradictions about their own role in on-going scandals (James Clapper).

The common denominator has been the new journalistic ethos that aborting the Trump presidency justifies any means necessary to achieve such noble ends. Throughout CNN’s descent into parody, progressives still smiled at the usefulness of CNN for the larger project of delegitimizing the Trump presidency. Few understood the Thucydidean concept that once nihilists destroy norms and protocols of ethical behavior for perceived short-term advantage, they usually rue the loss when they themselves become victims of their own biased zealotry and are in dire need of the civilizational help they recently ruined.

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The Israel–U.S. Model Has Been a Resounding Success

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Whether by accident or by deliberate osmosis, Israel and the U.S. have adopted similar solutions to their existential problems.

Before 2002, during the various Palestinian intifadas, Israel suffered hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries from suicide bombers freely crossing from the West Bank and Gaza into Israel.

In response, Israel planned a vast border barrier. The international community was outraged. The Israeli left called the idea nothing short of “apartheid.”

However, after the completion of the 440-mile border barrier — part concrete well, part wire fencing — suicide bombings and terrorist incursions into Israel declined to almost nil.

The wall was not entirely responsible for enhanced Israeli security. But it freed up border manpower to patrol more vigorously. The barrier also was integrated with electronic surveillance and tougher laws against illegal immigration.

The wall also brought strategic and political clarity. Those who damned Israel but freely crossed its borders sounded incoherent when they became furious that the barrier prevented access to the hated Zionist entity.

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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.

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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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