Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Tag Archives: Arab Spring

Our Icarus-in-Chief

Obama’s global fantasies are falling to earth along with him.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

In the last two weeks, we learned that Bashar Assad has dismantled only 5 percent of his WMD arsenal, despite President Obama’s soaring rhetoric Emblema_CIVto the contrary. Russia violated a long-observed agreement with the U.S. about testing missiles. Iran’s take on the negotiations over its bomb program bears no resemblance to our interpretation. Chinese officials now happily leak fantastic stories about using their military to punish Japan. All that is trumped by veiled threats from the Sunni Gulf monarchies, terrified of Iran, to buy a bomb or two from Pakistan. We hear other rumors that even China thinks the new leadership in North Korea is unhinged and is not worried about friendly warnings from Beijing.

Whether all these incidents are minor or serious, and whether they are random or interconnected and perceived as proof of the loss of U.S. deterrence, depends on which particular bad actor is studying them to try to guess whether the Obama administration will do anything should a provocateur start a war or attempt to redraw a regional map.

In short, our Icarus-in-Chief, without much foreign-policy experience but with youthful zeal and good intentions, soared far too high for his flimsy waxen wings. Now they are melting, and as the American commander-in-chief careens back to earth, lots of those below are wondering what will come next. Still, there is a lot of irony as Obama freefalls to earth. Read more →

Is Obama Still President?

His cadences soar on, through scandal after fiasco after disaster.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

We are currently learning whether the United States really needs a president. Barack Obama has become a mere figurehead, who gives speeches few listen to any more, issues threats that scare fewer, and makes promises that almost no one believes he will keep. Yet America continues on, despite the fact that the foreign and domestic policies of Barack Obama are unraveling, in a manner unusual even for star-crossed presidential secondPhoto Credit: Whoopie Cat via Flickr terms.

Abroad, American policy in the Middle East is leaderless and in shambles after the Arab Spring — we’ve had the Syrian fiasco and bloodbath, leading from behind in Libya all the way to Benghazi, and the non-coup, non-junta in Egypt. This administration has managed to unite existential Shiite and Sunni enemies in a shared dislike of the United States. While Iran follows the Putin script from Syria, Israel seems ready to preempt its nuclear program, and Obama still mumbles empty “game changers” and “red line” threats of years past.

We have gone from reset with Russia to Putin as the playmaker of the Middle East. The Persian Gulf sheikhdoms are now mostly anti-American. The leaders of Germany and the people of France resent having their private communications tapped by Barack Obama — the constitutional lawyer and champion of universal human rights. Angela Merkel long ago grasped that President Obama would rather fly across the Atlantic to lobby for a Chicago Olympic Games — or tap her phone — than sit through a 20th-anniversary commemoration of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan are beginning to see that the U.S. is more a neutral than a friend, as Obama negotiates with Putin about reducing the nuclear umbrella that protects America’s key non-nuclear allies. Perhaps they will soon make the necessary adjustments. China, Brazil, and India care little that Barack Obama still insists he is not George W. Bush, or that he seems to be trying to do to America what they seek to undo in their own countries.

The world’s leaders do not any longer seem much impressed by the president’s cat-like walk down the steps of Air Force One, or the soaring cadences that rechannel hope-and=change themes onto the world scene. They acknowledge that their own publics may like the American president, and especially his equivocation about the traditional role of American power in the world. But otherwise, for the next three years, the world is in a holding pattern, wondering whether there is a president of the United States to reckon with or a mere teleprompted functionary. Certainly, the Obama Nobel Peace Prize is now the stuff of comedy. Read more →

Watching the Middle East Implode

Only when we recognize the fundamental role Islam plays in the region can we begin to craft sensible policies that put U.S. interests first.

by Bruce S. Thornton // Defining Ideas 

The revolutions against dictators in the Middle East dubbed the Arab Spring have degenerated into a complex, bloody mélange of coups and counter-coups, as have happened in Egypt; vicious civil wars, like the current conflict in Syria; a resurgence of jihadists gaining footholds in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Sinai; and a shifting and fracturing of alliances and enmities of the sort throwing Lebanon and Jordan into turmoil. Meanwhile, American foreign policy has been confused, incompetent, and feckless in insuring that the security and interests of the United States and its allies are protected. Read more →

Fifteen Minutes of Foreign Policy Malfeasance

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine 

On the eve of the 12thanniversary of the terrorist strikes on 9/11, President Obama last night addressed the nation and reprised every delusional and bankrupt internationalist idea that contributed to that disaster. The current Syrian crisis––merely the latest Middle Eastern example of Obama’s incompetence––exemplifies more thoroughly than the rest just how politicized, incoherent, hypocritical, and dangerous to this country’s security and interests Obama’s foreign policy has been. Read more →

The Israeli Spring

Israel’s enemies are doing more damage to each other than Israel ever could.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Israel could be forgiven for having a siege mentality — given that at any moment, old frontline enemies Syria and Egypt might spill their violence over common borders.

The Arab Spring has thrown Israel’s once-predictable adversaries into the chaotic state of a Sudan or Somalia. The old understandings between Jerusalem and the Assad and Mubarak kleptocracies seem in limbo.

Yet these tragic Arab revolutions swirling around Israel are paradoxically aiding it, both strategically and politically — well beyond just the erosion of conventional Arab military strength. Read more →

Is The War to Save Face or Save Lives?

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media

Click here to see the symposium of PJ columnists analyzing the pros and cons of an intervention in Syria.

Most of the arguments pro and con for an intervention in Syria have already been made. Read more →

What Is the Syria Plan?

by Victor Davis Hanson // NRO’s The Corner

We are on the verge of a war with Syria. Yet I don’t think the administration has as of yet articulated what its aims are and thus is confused about the means of obtaining them. Is the point of the impending military action to remove Assad, engage his opposition, and foster a consensual society in his place, as if the U.S. can at last do

what so far the Arab Spring has not? To destroy enough of his assets to allow the insurgents (but who exactly are they?) to rebound somewhat? To establish a new American-enforced global statute that WMD use is not permissible in a way that a Rwanda, Grozny, or the Sudan apparently was? To Read more →

The Stagnant Mediterranean

Socialism and Islamism don’t foster a climate of economic growth and security.

by Victor Davis Hanson

National Review Online

From the heights of Gibraltar you can see Africa about nine miles away to the south — and gaze eastward on the seemingly endless Mediterranean, which stretches 2,400 miles to Asia.  Read more →

Our Make No Mistake About It/ Let Me Be Perfectly Clear President

by Victor Davis Hanson

PJ Media

If only Barack Obama had something to say…

After all, we have never had a president who descended the steps of Air Force One with such catlike agility, hands almost as paws lightly bouncing in synchronization with each elfish footstep. Read more →

Hope for Change in Syria

Once again, Obama has proven more of an idealist than an implementer.

by Victor Davis Hanson

National Review Online

Remember when President Obama used to warn Syria’s Bashar al-Assad to stop his mass killing and step down? Read more →

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