Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Wolves in Wolves’ Clothing

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

If the New Democratic Party was smart, it would do what the old Democratic Party did long ago: always sound centrist if not conservative in the last weeks of a campaign, get elected, then revert to form and pursue a left-wing agenda for a year or two—and then repeat the chameleon cycle every two to four years.

But although many Democrats in Trump states still dance the old bipartisan two-step, lots of blinkered progressive wolves don’t even bother to put on the sheep’s clothing.

Evidently, the new progressive and radical Democratic Party is far more honest—or perhaps far more hubristic—than in the past. So what now looks and sounds like a wolf is a wolf. Democrats have learned nothing and forgotten nothing from 2016. Or rather, they still believe it is 2008 all over again, with a host of wannabe Obamas on the 2020 horizon, all appealing to identity politics, Maenad feminism, and neo-socialism. The hipster theory is that 30 percent of the present electorate will always vote en masse for unapologetic progressives, and that bloc number, due to changing demography and persuasive street theatrics, soon will grow to 50 percent of all voters.

More to the point, the strategy of hating Trump 24/7 and fueling the 90 percent negative media coverage of the president had seemed to be a winning hand—given that Trump has usually below 45 percent approval in most polls, and pundits promised a huge blue wave neutering what certainly would be Trump’s last two years in the White House.

Read the full article here.

Yes, Be Very Worried Over Growing Polarization

Victor Davis Hanson // Hoover Institution

My Hoover Institution colleague Morris Fiorina has recently written that I am unduly pessimistic in my appraisals of a currently divided America. He cited two essays I wrote, one a Tribune Media Services syndicated column, the other a National Reviewonline essay. Both were published before the recent national hysteria over Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

In those essays, I had indicated that the polarization within the United States is growing ominous. Given relatively new force-multipliers—such as the asymmetrical consequences of globalization, the rise of social media and instant global communications, red-blue-state geographical self-selection, the Obama and Trump presidencies, and massive illegal immigration—I suggested that we may be on a dangerous trajectory. In my view, the resulting escalation could exceed the factional differences that were ultimately resolved peacefully in the 1930s and 1960s, and instead might approach those of 1860–61.

Before answering Fiorina’s counter-arguments that I am too gloomy, I first would like to address, sine ira et studio, a few of his initial assumptions. First, he locates our disagreement in my own supposed role as an “active combatant in today’s political wars.” And thus, apparently, my “impressions” should be placed in just that partisan and politicized context. In contrast, Fiorina is self-described as a “data guy” and a “noncombatant.” I take that to mean that the disinterested social scientist Fiorina can better assure us of “grounds for feeling much more sanguine about the state of our country.”

Read the full article here.

US Strategy On China, Great Powers

Victor Davis Hanson // Hoover Institution

The United States should use a strategy of power, alliances, and triangulation to best navigate the emerging world of “great power” rivalries, Hoover scholar Victor Davis Hanson says.

The post-Cold War global order is in flux with the ascendency of an economically-driven China and its foreign policy of global hegemony, said Hanson in an interview.

Hanson, the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, studies and writes about the classics and military history. He is the chair of the Hoover Institution’s Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict, which met in early October to discuss whether the United States is entering a new great power landscape. A great power is a sovereign state that exerts influence on a global scale, whether through military, economic, diplomatic or so-called “soft” power methods.

“Calibrated and Planned”

Hanson describes China’s rise as “calibrated and planned” in the areas of economics and national security. As such, this puts the United States and the international system it led after World War II in the crosshairs of an increasingly assertive China, which now has the world’s second largest economy.

Read the full article here.

A Reminder of What Binds Us

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

In these divisive times, one constant for all Americans has been the hallowed work of the American Battle Monuments Commission, the small and sometimes unheralded federal agency created in 1923 to establish, operate, and oversee foreign cemeteries of American war dead, largely from the First and Second World Wars, as well as a number of commemorative sites.

I was a board member of the commission in 2008 and learned of its remarkable history and the American icons (John J. Pershing, George C. Marshall, Jacob Devers, Mark Clark, etc.) who have directed the commission. Now, Thomas Conner, the well-known military historian at Hillsdale College, has written the first history and comprehensive account of the commission — War and Remembrance: The Story of the American Battle Monuments Commission — how it originated, grew, and now cares for the graves of American war dead abroad. The result is a superb scholarly account that is riveting and again reminds us how much we owe to past generations, who envisioned and developed the unique commission, and who left to us, the current generation, to continue their sacred work.

Could Trump Win 20 Percent of the African-American Vote in 2020?

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The provocative Donald Trump certainly seems to be disliked by a majority of African-American professional athletes, cable-news hosts, academics, and the Congressional Black Caucus. Yet there are subtle but increasing indications that his approval among other African Americans may be reaching historic highs for a modern Republican president.

Some polls have indicated that Trump’s approval rating among black voters is close to 20 percent. That is far higher than the 8 percent of the African-American vote that Trump received on Election Day 2016.

Even 20 percent African-American support for Trump would all but dismantle Democratic-party presidential hopes for 2020. Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election with 88 percent of the black vote. That was about a six-point falloff from Barack Obama’s share of the black vote in 2012.

Read the full article here.

World Economic Forum confirms the US is great again under Trump

Please read this piece by my colleague Paul Roderick Gregory in The Hill

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2018 World Competitiveness Report ranks the United States No. 1 in global competitiveness, up from No. 3 in the past few years and its first top ranking in a decade. A high ranking matters.

As the WEF reports: “Global competitiveness is determined by the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country … And productivity leads to growth … and improved well-being.” The U.S.’s top ranking therefore suggests a lot of growth and prosperity to come.

According to the Davos elite (who are no fans of Donald Trump), the U.S. is indeed “great again,” to borrow a Trumpian slogan. It is the country, according to the WEF, that should best prosper in Davos’ “fourth industrial revolution.”

As the world’s most innovative economy, America is well positioned to take advantage of the new competitive environment. This should be welcome news for the Trump administration and a Republican Party fighting to retain control of Congress.

Read the full article here.

Strategika Issue 54: Space Force and Warfare in Space

Winning the Space Race

Please read a new essay by my colleague, John Yoo in Strategika.

President Donald Trump’s National Security Strategy set a new course by focusing on rebuilding the domestic economy as central to national security and aiming at “rival powers, Russia and China, that seek to challenge American influence, values, and wealth.” Critics observed that the White House seemed to reverse past presidents’ emphasis on advancing democracy and liberal values and elevating American sovereignty over international cooperation.

Read the full article here.


The Space Force’s Value

Please read a new essay by my colleague from the Military History Working Group, Angelo M. Codevilla in Strategika.

Imagine what power would accrue to the nation were its military—on the ground, at sea, and in the air—to be backed by a force able to decide whether or how any other country might benefit from objects in orbital space; if that nation were to control access to orbit, securing such objects and benefits for itself. Today, who can do what to whom in or by using orbital space makes a big difference. The world’s significant militaries live by information from and communications through objects in orbital space. Inevitably, sooner or later, one will bid for the comprehensive capacity to control that space. Better that America be first. Establishing the U.S. Space Force will endow people with the mission—the goal, the will, and the interest—to make U.S. control of space happen.

Read the full article here.


A New Space Service! Hurrah!!

Please read a new essay by my colleague from the Military History Working Group, Williamson Murray in Strategika.

The talk among some commentators on America’s defense, furthered by the comments of the president of the United States, is that America needs a new military service, entirely devoted to wartime and peaceful operations in space. It is a brilliant idea which possesses all sorts of possibilities. What a wonderful opportunity this would present in a time in which entitlements are increasingly siphoning funds away from other federal expenditures. A whole new service, my goodness, the opportunities seem extraordinary!

Read the full article here.

The Origins of Progressive Agony

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

What has transformed the Democratic party into an anguished progressive movement that incorporates the tactics of the street, embraces maenadism, reverts to Sixties carnival barking, and is radicalized by a new young socialist movement? Even party chairman Tom Perez concedes that there are “no moderate Democrats left,” and lately the rantings of Cory Booker, Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez confirm that diagnosis.

Obama, the Fallen God

Paradoxically, Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008 and 2012 and yet helped to erode the old Democratic party in the process. He ended up in opulent retirement while ceding state legislatures, governorships, the House, the Senate, the presidency, and the Supreme Court to conservative Republicans.

Obama had promised leftists — in his prior brief tenure in the Senate he had compiled the most partisan record of his 99 colleagues — that his social-justice methods and agendas would lead to a proverbial “permanent Democratic majority.” Do we remember the February 2009 Newsweekobsequious cover story “We Are All Socialists Now”?

Supposedly, changing demography, massive illegal immigration, and identity politics had preordained a permanent 51 percent “Other” whose minority statuses, as defined by gender and race, had now become a majority, given the destined demise of the white working classes. If Obama had not existed, someone like Corey Booker, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, or Kirsten Gillibrand was supposedly foreordained to be president anyway.

Read the full article here.

Who and What Threaten the Constitution?

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Donald Trump on occasion can talk recklessly. He is certainly trying to “fundamentally transform” the United States in exactly the opposite direction from which Barack Obama promised to do the same sort of massive recalibration. According to polls (such as they are), half the country fears Trump. The media despises him. Yet Trump poses no threat to the U.S. Constitution. Those who since 2016 have tried to destroy his candidacy and then his presidency most certainly do.

When, and if, we ever lose our freedoms, it will not likely be due to a boisterous Donald Trump, damning “fake news” at popular rallies, or even by being greeted with jarring “lock her up” chants—Trump, whom the popular culture loves to hate and whose every gesture and, indeed, every inch of his body, is now analyzed, critiqued, caricatured, and damned on the national news.

In general, free societies more often become unfree with a whimper, not a bang—and usually due to self-righteous pious movements that always claim the higher moral ground, and justify their extreme means by their self-sacrificing struggle for supposedly noble ends of social justice, equality, and fairness.

Read the full article here.

A New Era for the China-Russia-U.S. Triangle

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Nearly a half-century ago, President Richard Nixon’s secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, established a successful U.S. strategy for dealing with America’s two most dangerous rivals. He sought closer ties to both the Soviet Union, with its more than 7,000 nuclear weapons, and Communist China, with the world’s largest population.

Kissinger’s approach was sometimes called “triangulation.” But distilled down to its essence, the phrase meant ensuring that China and Russia were not friendlier to each other than each was to the United States.

Given that the Soviet Union was much stronger than China at the time, Kissinger especially courted Beijing.

The idea was similar to British and French policy in the mid-1930s of discouraging Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich from becoming the partner of Josef Stalin’s equally powerful and dangerous Soviet Union. Unfortunately, that effort failed, and Nazi-Soviet cooperation led to their joint invasion of Poland in 1939 and the outbreak of World War II.

We forgot Kissinger’s wisdom during the Obama administration’s coddling of China and the schizophrenic Russian “reset.”

Read the full article here.

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