Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Strategika #67: U.S. Troop Deployments in Germany

America—A European Power No More? Shifting Tectonics, Changing Interests, And The Shrinking Size Of U.S. Troops In Europe

Please read a new essay by my colleague, Josef Joffe in Strategika.

The Trump drawdown of U.S. troops in Europe is not the end of the alliance, but part of a familiar story. America’s military presence has been contested from Week 1—make that February 4–11, 1945. At Yalta, Franklin D. Roosevelt assured Joseph Stalin that the United States would soon depart from Europe. Its troops—three million at the peak—would all be gone in two years.

Read the full article here.

Is It Wise To Pull Out And Redeploy 12,000 U.S. Troops From Germany?

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

President Trump’s decision to return the U.S 2nd Cavalry Regiment currently stationed in Germany to American soil (6,500 troops), as well as to redeploy mostly Air Force units from Germany to Italy and command headquarters to Belgium and Poland (another 5,600), will have mostly modest positive military consequences and has already benefited America diplomatically. The military consequences are modest because U.S forces in Europe have long since ceased to be potential combatants.  

Read the full article here.

Return Of Forces From Germany?

Please read a new essay by my colleagues, Peter R. Mansoor in Strategika.

On September 11, 1944, a patrol led by Staff Sergeant Warner L. Holzinger of Troop B, 85th Reconnaissance Squadron, 5th Armored Division, crossed the Our River from Luxembourg into Germany. Those five soldiers were the vanguard of a mighty Allied force that would within eight months conquer the Third Reich, thereby ending World War II in Europe.

Read the full article here.

Biden, ‘The Great and Powerful’

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Media bias is not new.

In addition to the Russian collusion hoax and the phone-call impeachment farce, who can forget the marquee media toadies of JournoList and the release of John Podesta’s email trove? 

Or the moderator Donna Brazile’s primary debate questions, leaked through CNN, or Candy Crowley’s hijacking of a debate as moderator-turned-real-time-hack “fact-checker”? 

Nothing then is new to the media’s fusion and collusion with the “progressive party.” 

Yet never in American history have mainstream journalists not merely promoted a candidate but actively fused with his political candidacy to the point of warping, fabricating, and Trotskyizing the news and indeed history itself. 

The trope of a vast charade to create an illusionary powerful figure out of nothing is an old one in fiction, Hollywood and television. We remember “The Great and Powerful” Wizard of Oz fakery, a formidable screen image created backstage by gears and levers operated by a tiny man “behind the curtain.” Similar is the famous scene in an episode of the old Star Trek series, depicting a near comatose on-air John Gill used as a televised prop by his puppeteers, in a utopian federation project gone haywire.

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Victor Davis Hanson: Greek-Turkish rivalry again near the boiling point

Victor Davis Hanson // Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Almost daily, Greek and Turkish aircraft and ships fight mock battles over disputed oil and gas rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

Since the loss of much of the Christian Balkans to the Ottomans in the 15th century, Greece and what would later become modern Turkey have been rivals, outright enemies and often at war.

Mutual NATO membership and shared Cold War fears of Soviet Russia did not stop the two from almost going to war after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.

Still, the current escalation seems weird. Most territorial claims and disputes over borders were settled almost a century ago, and the two countries have had mass population exchanges.

Why, then, does the divide still run so deep?

Read the full article here

Trump, Race, and Class

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

There are some stunning indications that the supposedly satanic racist Donald Trump could be polling in some surveys around a 35-40 approval rate among Latinos and 20–30 percent among African Americans. Other polls are more equivocal but suggest an unexpected Trump surge among minority voters.

If those polls are accurate and predict November voting patterns, then Joe Biden could lose the popular vote as well as the key swing states by larger margins than Hillary Clinton’s Electoral College losses in 2016.

Indeed, some state polls by CNN and Trafalgar already show Trump to be near even in these purple states. The polling also suggests that, contrary to stereotypical exegeses, nonwhites of the large cities in the Midwest are not necessarily a monolithic voting bloc. So how can this be — given the Obama verdict that Trump is our generation’s Bull Connor, and the Never Trump assurances that the divisive Trump lacks the empathy and appeal of a “coalition building” John McCain or a BLM-sympathizer such as a marching Mitt Romney, and lacks as well the natural resonance the Bush family enjoys with Hispanics?

A number of things are going on that may explain some of these apparent mysteries.

Read the full article here

Don’t expect Europe to hold Putin accountable in Navalny poisoning

The following article is from my colleague, Paul Roderick Gregory, in The Hill

Vladimir Putin is a notorious risk-taker. Many of his ventures have paid off for him, but did his luck run out when a suspected plot to take out opposition leader Aleksei Navalny veered wildly off course? Instead of being pronounced dead from “natural causes” upon arriving on a flight to Moscow, as was purportedly planned, Navalny lies in a coma in a Berlin hospital, full of a poison accessible only to the Russian military and its Kremlin-successor security service, the FSB.

Here was Putin’s original plan, as pieced together by Navalny’s team:

Navalny’s political organizing in Russia’s Far East and the Belarus periphery was threatening to create a real opposition force in Russia’s parliament and regional governorships. Out of this concern, the Kremlin allegedly charged the FSB with poisoning Navalny in Tomsk shortly before his five-hour flight to Moscow. Most likely, Navalny ingested the poison; otherwise his travel companions would also have been exposed, too. Navalny was supposed to die en route. This appears not to be an attempt to frighten but an intent to murder. 

The plan went awry when the airliner’s pilot made an emergency landing in Omsk, ignoring a reported bomb threat. Once Navalny was hospitalized in Omsk, foreign leaders raised concerns about his safety. Under intense pressure, FSB officers (reportedly dressed as civilians) allowed Navalny to be flown to Berlin, where German doctors detected poisoning with Novichok – a deadly nerve agent used by Russian agents in other poisonings.

Putin widely touts his “power vertical.” By this, he means the extreme concentration of authority under his genial guidance. The “power vertical” rules out maverick forces that, say, might poison a prominent opposition figure without approval from the vertical’s top gun. In Putin’s power vertical, access to the world’s deadliest poisons, like Novichok, could be granted only by the person at the top.

Read the full article here

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Increasingly volatile voters

Victor Davis Hanson // Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Joe Biden and his handlers know that he should be out and about, weighing in daily on the issues of the campaign.

In impromptu interviews, Biden should be offering alternative plans for dealing with the virus, the lockdown, the economic recovery, the violence and the looting, and racial tensions.

Yet Biden’s handlers seem to assume that if he were to leave his basement and fully enter the fray, he could be capable of losing the election in moments of gaffes, lapses or prolonged silences.

So wisely, Team Biden relied on the fact that the commander-in-chief is always blamed for bad news–and there has been plenty of bad news worldwide this year.

That reality was reflected in the spring and early summer polls that showed growing discontent with the incumbent Trump, as if he were solely responsible for one of the most depressing years in U.S. history.

Read the full article here

Silence About the Violence

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

It is not just conservatives at the recent Republican National Convention who wonder why the Democratic Party and its media appendages have not without qualification decried the looting, arson, violence, and occasional killing that have swept the nation’s cities.

Recently even left-wing CNN’s incendiary Don Lemon wondered out loud why Joe Biden and the Democratic powers have not at least tried to square the circle of deploring police overreach while at the same time going through the motions of condemning the utter lawlessness that often breaks out at dusk in Chicago, Portland, and Seattle, and now in smaller cities such as Kenosha, Wis. What Lemon praised in June, he now seems terrified about in August. But for that matter, most retired generals and media anchors who assured us in June that there were only a “small” number of violent protesters have long grown silent after the occupation of Seattle and the Alamo siege of the police precinct in Portland.

This fight of voter backlash about crime has infected the entire Democratic elite — glued to volatile internal polls that do not lie — whether it is Nancy Pelosi’s demanding no debates, Michelle Obama’s obsessing with “Vote! Vote! And Vote!” or Hillary Clinton’s urging Biden to never “under any circumstances” concede the election that apparently she now believes he could well lose.

Read the full article here

Cultural Suicide Is Painless

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

In February, New York was the world’s most dynamic metropolis. By August, the city was more like the ruins of Ephesus. It is not all that hard to blow up a culture. You can do it in a summer if you haven’t much worry about others.

When you loot and burn a Target in an hour, it takes months to realize there are no more neighborhood Target-stocked groceries, toilet paper, and Advil to buy this winter.

You can in a night assault the police, spit at them, hope to infect them with the coronavirus, and even burn them alive. But when you call 911 in a few weeks after your car is vandalized, your wallet is stolen, and your spouse is violent, and no one comes, only then do you sense that you earlier were voting for a pre-civilized wilderness.

You can burn down a Burger King in half an hour. But it will take years to find anyone at Burger King, Inc., who would ever be dumb enough to rebuild atop the charred ruins—to prepare for the next round of arson in 2021 or 2023.

Read the full article here

Victor Davis Hanson: The cowards of ‘cancel culture’

Victor Davis Hanson // The Hill

Each generation deals with its own manifestations of age-old mob frenzies, bullying and public shaming. Salem, Mass., had its witch trials in the 1690s. The 1950s endured its McCarthyism. And we now are enduring our “cancel culture.” 

But 21st-century public shaming reaches not thousands but tens of millions. And it does so instantaneously on the internet and on social media — too often, all under the cloak of masked Twitter handles.

Our generation’s bane is a many-headed hydra of doxing, revenge porn and canceling out the careers of public figures. Smears are predicated on the assumption that those targeted will panic; they will apologize and seek penance, reducing themselves to timid careerists and fawning toadies. The aim is electronic Trotskyization — making one disappear from computer screens as if they had never existed.

Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson is now the mob’s latest target. 

Read the full article here

Angry Reader 08-30-2020

From An Angry Reader:

Hello Professor Hanson,

First let me say, I am a regular reader and viewer of yours. I relish your take on the important issues.

This evening on Tucker Carlson Tonight with Brian Kilmeade 7/16/2020 you used some imprecise language that caused both me and my bride of many years great distress because she is currently teaching and I taught briefly a few years ago.

The subject was Teacher’s Unions demands for among other things defunding the police, Medicare for all, blah blah, and not working until their demands are met. What specifically offended us was the imprecise language you used in saying that it was the Teachers making these demands as opposed to the Teacher’s Unions.

Please differentiate between the Teachers and the Teachers Unions in the future because not all teachers agree with the liberal democrat party line toed by the unions. It sounded to my wife as if you were saying the Teachers were getting paid for not working and want to keep it that way. That is the furthest thing from her mind. She is called to teach and even at a point approaching retirement rather than phone it in, she expends a great deal of imagination and creativity to provide a challenging educational experience for her students daily.

Your attention to this matter will be greatly appreciated.

Respectfully,

Joe Cox

Dear Not So Angry Reader Joe Cox,

I think it is permissible in a brief 3-minute interview to reference “teachers,” as a generic in the manner we do “steel workers,” “administrators,” the “military,” etc. without adding specifications—with the understanding that most realize that not everyone fits into that category. But they are useful generalities: most teachers are in liberal unions, at least until recent court cases, and most tend to be more liberal than conservative. Most professors are too. Most auto workers believe in strong union agendas. And most military, at least among the enlisted and mid-officer ranks, are more conservative.

I am a teacher; my son is a teacher; my son-in-law is a teacher; my father was a teacher. All of us at various times were / are represented by teacher or professor unions, and all probably were at odds with the official union messaging, and our views were probably in a minority among their union peers. When I say “academics,” and I do use that term, I assume most think that I am an academic who does not agree with the majority of the profession, and that there exist also voices out there who don’t either. Obviously, if most teachers felt like your spouse, then the unions would reflect that common-sense perspective; but they are overwhelmingly leftwing, either because teachers are too, or because too many teachers shrug and are not interested in showing up for union voting, or do not have time for the hassle of opposing such a monolithic and well-funded force.

Thank you for your well-written and professional note.

Respectfully,

Victor Hanson

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