Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Trump Has Become the Democrats’ Great White Whale

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

One way of envisioning the Democratic obsessions with Donald Trump is as an addiction. We have seen the initial impeachment efforts; the attempt to get him under the emoluments clause, the Logan Act and the 25th Amendment; the Russian collusion hoax; the Mueller investigation; the demand for his tax returns; and the psychodramas involving Michael Avenatti, Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels. Relentless progressives have needed a new Get Trump fix about every two months.

More practically, their fixation also substitutes for a collective poverty of ideas. The Democratic Party has no plan to secure the borders other than to be against whatever Trump is for. They would not build a wall, deport illegal entrants, end sanctuary cities, fine employers or do much of anything but allow almost anyone to enter the U.S.

The homeless crisis is reaching epidemic proportions in our cities, almost all of them run by progressive mayors and city councils. None have any workable plan to clean the sidewalks of needles and human excrement. None know what do with the hundreds of thousands who have camped out in public spaces, endangering their own health and everyone around them due to drug addiction and inadequate sanitation and waste removal.

On abortion, the new Democratic position seems to be that the unborn can be aborted at any time the mother chooses, up to and including the moment of birth.

Read the full article here.

Strategika Issue 58: Current U.S.-Israel Relations

Trump And Israel

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

The Trump Administration has changed course in various ways from its predecessor when it comes to relations with Israel. Among other things, the current American government has moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and reduced aid to the Palestinians. In addition, the administration is on the verge of unveiling the so-called Deal of the Century, a new proposal for an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

Read the full article here.

Israel’s Narrow Path to Peace

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

Pitilessly, the past quarter century’s events have dismissed the hopes for peace with the Arabs that Israeli diplomats, often accompanied by U.S. counterparts, detailed to the world in 1993 as they explained the concessions they had finalized in Oslo. Previously, they had treated Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization as a terrorist organization to be marginalized if not destroyed. The list of its outrages, from bombing school buses and airports to murdering Olympic athletes, spoke for itself. In 1982, the U.S. saved the PLO from imminent destruction by an Israeli and Lebanese alliance, and sustained it in supervised exile in Tunisia. 

Read the full article here.

Trump and the Israeli-Palestinian Standoff

Please read a new essay by my colleague, Paul Rahe in Strategika.

In his inimitable way, Donald Trump has gored yet another sacred cow—this one in the Levant. First, consider this. For nearly seventy years, the United States was the principal source of funds for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)—an outfit which not only provided (and still provides) support for Palestinians who fled from their homes in 1948 and found, after the first Arab-Israeli War, that they could not return, but which also provides for those of their patrilineal descendants who still reside in the refugee camps situated in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. 

Read the full article here.

Trump’s High-Wire Act of Reestablishing Deterrence without War

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Donald Trump inherited a superficially stable world from Barack Obama that, in fact, was quite volatile. There had been no tense standoffs with North Korea, but also apparent intercontinental ballistic missiles with possible nuclear warheads now pointed at the United States. Obama more or less punted on North Korea, by declaring it a problem — and hoping that Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear testing did not get too out of hand before 2017.

Then there was the “Iran deal.” It was an appeasing agreement that almost surely guaranteed that Iran would soon have nuclear weapons, along with a revived economy liberated from sanctions and empowered with American cash. Iran’s terrorist surrogates were the greatest beneficiaries of U.S. naïveté. At best, Obama assumed that when Iran went nuclear, it would be on someone else’s presidential watch and therefore not his fault. At worst, Obama, in delusional fashion, believed that empowering Iran would balance Sunni states and bring justice to historically oppressed Shiite and Persian minorities who would take their rightful place in the Islamic world.

Everyone knew that China violated almost every aspect of world commerce. Everyone knew that China would never allow the U.S. to trade with China the same way that Beijing traded with America. Everyone knew that 1.3-billion-person China was a neo-imperialist Communist dictatorship that was headed on an announced trajectory of world hegemony. Obama in particular thought that stopping China’s agenda would be medicine that was more painful than the disease.

Like the proverbial medieval mice who voted to warn of a marauding carnivorous house cat by putting a bell around his neck, the prognosis of Chinese mercantilism and aggression — and the need to confront Beijing — was right-on. But no one wished to do the messy, dangerous work of belling the Chinese cat.

Read the full article here.

Colluders, Obstructionists, Leakers, and Other Projectionists

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Before the defeat of Hillary Clinton, the idea that the Russians or anyone else could warp or tamper with our elections in any serious manner was laughed off by President Obama. “There is no serious person out there who would suggest that you could even rig America’s elections,” Obama said in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election.

Obama was anxious that the sure-to-be-sore-loser Trump would not blame his defeat on voting impropriety in a fashion that might call into question Clinton’s victory. After Clinton’s stunning defeat, Russian “collusion”—thanks initially to efforts by Obama holdover Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates to go after Michael Flynn and the successful attempts of the CIA and FBI to seed the bogus Steele dossier among the government elite—became a club to destroy the incoming Trump Administration.

Colluders, Inc.
How ironic that Russian “collusion” was used as a preemptive charge from those who actually had colluded with Russians for all sorts for financial and careerist advantages.

The entire so-called Uranium One caper had hinged on ex-President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and their Clinton Foundation uniting with Russian or Russian-affiliated oligarchs to ease restrictions on the sale of North American uranium reserves to a Russian company with close ties to Vladimir Putin. Coincidentally what followed were massive donations from concerned Russian parties to the foundation, as well as a $500,000 honorarium to Bill Clinton for a brief Moscow speech. Note that no more money has been forthcoming from Russia to either of the Clintons or their foundation.

Read the full article here.

Federal Rats Are Fleeing the Sinking Collusion Ship

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

The entire Trump-Russia collusion narrative was always implausible.

One, the Washington swamp of fixers such as Paul Manafort and John and Tony Podesta was mostly bipartisan and predated Trump.

Two, the Trump administration’s Russia policies were far tougher on Vladimir Putin than were those of Barack Obama. Trump confronted Russia in Syria, upped defense spending, increased sanctions and kept the price of oil down through massive new U.S. energy production. He did not engineer a Russian “reset” or get caught on a hot mic offering a self-interested hiatus in tensions with Russia in order to help his own re-election bid.

Three, Russia has a long history of trying to warp U.S. elections that both predated Trump and earned only prior lukewarm pushback from the Obama administration.

Read the full article here.

Victor Davis Hanson: US-China Confrontation Will Define Global Order

The United States is at a crossroads with an increasingly aggressive China, which could define America’s security and the international order for decades to come, Hoover scholar Victor Davis Hanson says.

Hanson, the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, studies military history and the classics. Last year, Hanson won the Edmund Burke Award, which honors people who have made major contributions to the defense of Western civilization. He is the author of the 2019 book The Case for Trump, and 2017’s The Second World Wars. He was recently interviewed on US policy toward China:

What is the Trump strategy behind these tariffs, short term and long term?

Hanson: Short term, Trump feels that he can take the hit of reciprocal Chinese tariffs, given that quietly his opposition, the Democrats, have been raging about Chinese cheating for decades, and, second, that the US economy is so huge and diverse that China simply cannot cause serious damage. 

Read the full article here.

The Epidemic of Electronic Deletions

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

There are lots of ways to adjudicate the present political divide over the collusion hoax.

One method might be to see whether those targeted by Robert Mueller had ever begun accusing each other of “collusion” to save their own skins. That did not happen.

Even the perjurer Michael Cohen, who accused Trump of all sorts of improper business practices in an effort to negotiate a lighter sentence, never claimed that the president had colluded with the Russians — the Holy Grail search of the Mueller “all-stars.”

Yet John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, and Andrew McCabe are suddenly alleging that someone other than themselves is the guilty instigator in seeding the dossier into a presidential intelligence report, is the guilty party that deceived a FISA court, and is the guilty culprit who was leaking to the media. So apparently the new climate is now no longer “There was no crime committed” but rather “He did it, not me.”

Yet another calibration might be who exactly is deleting documents and who is not. So far Robert Mueller has not accused Donald Trump or his subordinates of deleting Trump’s emails. Indeed, Trump’s campaign and administration reportedly turned over 1.4 million documents to Special Counsel Mueller. Again, no one has claimed that they have been destroyed.

Read the full article here.

He Did It, Not Me!

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

There is something Kafkaesque about the current round of investigating possible FBI, CIA, National Security Agency, Justice Department, and National Security Council wrongdoing during the 2016 election, Trump transition, and early presidency.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller had been permitted to range well beyond his mandate of “Russian collusion.” He outsourced much of the selection of his “dream team” and “all-star” staff of attorneys to his deputy, Andrew Weissman. In turn, Weissman—who commiserated with Hillary Clinton at her ill-fated “victory” party on the evening of her defeat—stocked the team with Trump-haters, liberals and progressives, Clinton donors, a few who had previously served as attorneys for the Clinton Foundation, and Clinton or Obama aides. Most of these were themselves briefed during the early dissemination of the fraudulent Steele dossier.

Yet after all the bias, prosecutorial leveraging, the process crimes, the perjury traps, and after 22 months, $34 million, and a 440-plus page report, Mueller’s “hunter-killer” team did not establish that President Trump colluded with the Russians to warp the 2016 election.

In fact, Mueller could not find prosecutable “obstruction” of justice by Trump to impair the investigation of what Mueller concluded was not a crime.

Read the full article here.

Our Modern ‘Satyricon’

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Sometime around A.D. 60, in the age of Emperor Nero, a Roman court insider named Gaius Petronius wrote a satirical Latin novel, “The Satyricon,” about moral corruption in Imperial Rome. The novel’s general landscape was Rome’s transition from an agrarian republic to a globalized multicultural superpower.

The novel survives only in a series of extended fragments. But there are enough chapters for critics to agree that the high-living Petronius, nicknamed the “Judge of Elegance,” was a brilliant cynic. He often mocked the cultural consequences of the sudden and disruptive influx of money and strangers from elsewhere in the Mediterranean region into a once-traditional Roman society.

The novel plots the wandering odyssey of three lazy, overeducated and mostly underemployed single young Greeks: Encolpius, Ascyltos and Giton. They aimlessly mosey around southern Italy. They panhandle and mooch off the nouveau riche. They mock traditional Roman customs. The three and their friends live it up amid the culinary, cultural and sexual excesses in the age of Nero.

Certain themes in “The Satyricon” are timeless and still resonate today.

Read the full article here.

China’s Brilliant, Insidious Strategy

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The Chinese Communist government does not have so much a strategy to translate its economic ascendance into global hegemony as several strategies. All of them are brilliantly insidious.

On matters of trade, China is always flexible in responding to critics of its asymmetrical, 30-year mercantilism. In the initial stages of Westernization, China was exempted from criticism over serial copyright and patent infringement, dumping, and espionage. Western elites assumed that these improprieties were just speed bumps on the eventual Chinese freeway to liberalism. Supposedly the richer China got, the more progressive it would become. Huge trade deficits or military technological appropriation were small prices to pay for an evolving billion-person Palo Alto or Upper West Side.

After a time, the now-worrisome huge trade deficits and Chinese cheating were further contextualized as “our fault.” The Tom Friedman school of journalism chided our clumsy republican government as lacking Chinese authoritarian efficiency that could by fiat connect new planned utopias by high-speed rail and power them with solar-panel farms. The Wall Street–investor version of this school saw flabby, pampered Americans getting their just deserts as more productive and deserving Chinese workers outhustled and outproduced us. In such tough-love sermonizing, the more Michigan or Pennsylvania rusted, the quicker culpable Americans would either emulate China or die. China of course again agreed.

Then there came a third phase of Chinese contextualization — one of Western arrogance that confused China’s emulation with supposed admiration. We were not to worry about China, because they love buying our rich homes, visiting Stanford, and going to Disneyland. In short, they love being us.

Read the full article here.

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