Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Mueller at the Crossroads

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel in May 2017 in reaction to a media still gripped by near hysteria over the inexplicable defeat of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

For nearly a year before Mueller’s appointment, leaks had spread about collusion between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign that supposedly cost Clinton a sure victory. Most of these collusion stories, as we now know, originated with Christopher Steele and his now-discredited anti-Trump opposition file.

Read the full article here.

Five Catastrophic Decisions

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

1) The Obama administration’s invitation to Vladimir Putin to come into Syria ostensibly to stop the use of weapons of mass destruction. The latter did not happen, but after an over 40-year Russian hiatus in the Middle East, Putin has recalibrated the region, and Russia will be far harder to expel than it was to invite in. John Kerry did not get rid of WMD; he ensured that he got more of it.

2) The Ben Rhodes/John Kerry/Barack Obama Iran Deal. It was a disaster precisely because a) it was unneeded, given the ongoing strangulation of the Iranian economy due to tardy but finally tough sanctions, and b) it was embedded within so many side deals and payoffs, mostly stealthy, that it became a caricature, from nocturnal hostage ransom payments that helped fuel terrorists to whole areas of the Iran nuclear project exempt from spot inspections.

Read the full article here.

The Ideology of Illegal Immigration

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Gang members next door and dead dogs dumped in your yard? Don’t complain, or you’ll be called racist.

Illegal immigration has become so deeply embedded for so long within contemporary power politics, demography, and cultural change, so charged with accusations of racism, nativism, and xenophobia, that we have forgotten its intrinsic contradictions.

We saw a glimpse of reality with the recent “caravan” of Central Americans. With a strong wink and nod from their Mexican hosts, the travelers assumed an intrinsic right to march northward into the United States. Had they done so, they would have confirmed the impression, advanced during the last administration, that the border is porous and that a sovereign United States and its citizenry have scant legal right to secure it.

Read the full article here.

 

The Limits of American Patience

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Not being willing any longer to be manipulated is not succumbing to isolationism. Wondering whether the United States can afford another liability is not mindless nationalism. Questioning whether America can afford the status quo here and abroad is not heresy. Assuming we can borrow our way out of any inconvenience is largely over.

What helped elect Trump was a collective weariness with demands put on a country $20 trillion in debt. America is currently running a $57 billion a month trade deficit.

The poverty of inner-city Detroit, or rural Central California, or West Virginia does not suggest an endlessly opulent nation, at least as a visitor might conclude from visiting Manhattan, Chevy Chase, or Presidio Heights.

Read the full article here.

A Response to Kevin Williamson

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

In the past, I have often enjoyed Kevin Williamson’s essays. Even when I found them occasionally incoherent and cruel, I thought it hardly my business to object to a colleague’s writing. But I gather, under changed circumstances, such deference no longer applies, given that in Williamson’s very first column at The Atlantic he attacks both me, and in a backhanded way, his former employer National Review for publishing a recent article I wrote.

Last week, my former National Review colleague Victor Davis Hanson published an essay calling for a stronger regulatory hand over high-tech companies, fondly recalling the “cultural revolution of muckraking and trust-busting” of the 19th century, and ending with a plea for “some sort of bipartisan national commission that might dispassionately and in disinterested fashion offer guidelines to legislators” about more tightly regulating these companies, perhaps on the public-utility model.

Read the full article here.

Trump Is Cutting Old Gordian Knots

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The proverbial knot of Gordium was impossible to untie. Anyone clever enough to untie it would supposedly become the king of Asia. Many princes tried; all failed.

When Alexander the Great arrived, he was challenged to unravel the impossible knot. Instead, he pulled out his sword and cut through it. Problem solved.

Donald Trump inherited an array of perennial crises when he was sworn in as president in 2017. He certainly did not possess the traditional diplomatic skills and temperament to deal with any of them.

In the last year of the Barack Obama administration, a lunatic North Korean regime purportedly had gained the ability to send nuclear-tipped missiles to the U.S. west coast.

Read the full article here.

The New Last Refuge Of Scoundrels

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

Samuel Johnson famously used that line in an attack on William Pitt for supposedly advancing his agenda under warped pretenses. During the McCarthy era and the 1960s anti-war movement against Vietnam, when leftists were called unpatriotic, they offered Johnson’s line as a riposte, quoting it ad nauseam, not as a serious counter-argument but as an accusation that the conservative establishment was smearing them.

When Harvey Weinstein was caught coercing female subordinates, assaulting actresses, and offering quid pro quo perks for quickie sex, he thought, in medieval fashion, that he could preserve his fortune and power by making politically correct offsets.

Read the full article here.

Strategika Issue 49: The Value of Economic Sanctions

Sanctions: The Record And The Rewards

Please read a new essay by my colleague from the Military History Working Group, Josef Joffe in Strategika

Why are sanctions so popular? Because “there is nothing else between words and military action to bring pressure upon a government,” explains Jeremy Greenstock, Britain’s long-term ambassador at the UN. It is bloodless—warfare on the cheap. Nonlethal means are the main attraction for democracies loath to go to war in remote places against states that do not pose an existential threat.

Read the full article in Strategika here.

 

Do Economic Sanctions Work?

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

Economic strictures are acts of war. Throughout history, the starvation and disease they have caused have killed more people than all other instruments of war. But like all other instruments, their effectiveness depends on the circumstances in which they are used and on the policies of which they are part.

Read the full article in Strategika here.

 

Do Economic Sanctions Work?

Please read a new essay by my colleague from the Military History Working Group, Thomas Donnelly in Strategika

Recently, the United States’ closest European allies, Britain, France, and Germany, proposed “fresh” economic sanctions on Iran as an effort to force Tehran to comply with both the letter and the spirit of the 2015 “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” meant to delay the Islamic Republic’s development of nuclear weapons.

Read the full article in Strategika here.

 

Washington’s Fantasies Are Not People’s Reality

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

The Beltway’s sober and judicious foreign-policy establishment laments Donald Trump’s purported dismantling of the postwar order. They apparently take the president’s words as deeds and their own innate dislike of him as disinterested analysis.

But is the world really imploding after 70 years of supposed “calm”? (Disregarding the Korean and Vietnam wars; Chinese, Cambodian, Rwandan, and Balkan genocides; at least six Middle East conflicts; 9/11; a dozen U.S. interventions; a nuclear Pakistan and North Korea; the Cuban and Berlin nuclear standoffs; 20 years of Palestinian terrorism followed by 20 years of radical Islamic successors; a European Union financial and border meltdown; the Russian absorption of eastern Ukraine and Crimea, to name just a few “hot spots.”)

Read more here

 

Our Unelected Officials’ Distortions

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

On March 17, former CIA director John Brennan tweeted about the current president of the United States: “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. . . . America will triumph over you.”

That outburst from the former head of the world’s premier spy agency seemed a near threat to a sitting president, and former U.N. ambassador Samantha Power tweeted that it probably was: “Not a good idea to piss off John Brennan.” 

If there is such a thing as a dangerous “deep state” of elite but unelected federal officials who feel that they are untouchable and unaccountable, then John Brennan is the poster boy.

Read more here

 

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