Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Tag Archives: Vietnam

A New Obama Doctrine?

With his presidency in tailspin, Carter radically changed course. Will Obama do the same?

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

By the beginning of 1980, Jimmy Carter was in big trouble. Almost everything he had said or done in foreign policy over the prior three years had failed — and he was running for reelection.388px-JimmyCarterPortrait

Carter had come into office in 1977 promising a new American stance abroad predicated on human rights. He bragged of an end to our supposedly inordinate fear of Soviet-inspired Communism. He entertained the hope of not losing a single American soldier in combat during his tenure. And he rejected the realpolitik of the Nixon-Kissinger years.

The State Department would end the excessive influence of the bellicose National Security Council. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance would put a kinder, gentler face on American diplomacy. We championed Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe over more moderate black reformers. We broke with the Shah of Iran, who fled his country in January 1979. We for a while praised the Ayatollah Khomeini and sought ways to reach out to him. Carter’s U.N. ambassador, Andrew Young, called Khomeini “some kind of saint.” Young met secretly with PLO representatives in Kuwait. In an interview, he falsely alleged of his own country that “We still have hundreds of people that I would categorize as political prisoners in our prisons.” Read more →

Facts, Democrats and the JFK Legend

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine 

The mythologizing of John F. Kennedy in the 50 years since his death has verified the adage in John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” The JFK legend recycled all these years is of a liberal icon, the glamorous martyr470px-John_F._Kennedy,_White_House_photo_portrait,_looking_up whose violent death has validated and sanctified big government, redistributive economic polices, and quasi-pacifist internationalism. The facts, however, belie this myth, which also obscures the true significance of JFK’s brief administration.

In reality, Kennedy was not a liberal in today’s sense of the word, but a conservative Democrat, a Cold-War warrior and tax-cutter, as documented by Ira Stoll in JFK, Conservative. Far from the civil rights saint portrayed in the legend, his support for civil rights legislation was lukewarm, driven by the momentum for desegregation started before him by Truman’s desegregation of the armed forces, and codified by Eisenhower in the 1957 and 1960 Civil Rights acts, the first civil rights legislation since 1875. In fact, Kennedy believed that over-hasty progress on civil rights would alienate the conservative Southern wing of the Democrats. That’s why he advised Martin Luther King against his groundbreaking March on Washington in August of 1963, and put little effort into passing additional civil rights legislation. Read more →

Syria In Historical Context

What lessons does the past have for President Obama’s policy?

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

President Obama’s on-and-off-again planned American attack on Syria is nothing new. Besides its five declared wars, America has a habit of intervening all over the world. Read more →

A Brief History of Media Bias

Who said that newspapers are supposed to report the news in an objective and fact-based way?

by Bruce S. Thornton

Defining Ideas

The revelation that the Department of Justice acquired and read the phone records of Associated Press editors and reporters does not change the obvious fact that the mainstream media have been reliable supporters of the Democratic Party, even if they are unappreciated by the administration. Read more →

Winning Battles, Losing Wars

by Victor Davis Hanson

PJ Media

Can We Still Win Wars?

Given that the United States fields the costliest, most sophisticated, and most lethal military in the history of civilization, that should be a silly question. Read more →

More Rubble, Less Trouble

by Victor Davis Hanson

Defining Ideas

Western Warfare, as originated by the Greeks and systematized by the Romans, took various forms over the ensuing two millennia. European militaries put greater emphasis on decisive battles such as Gaugamela or Kursk. They focused on collective discipline, the importance of staying in rank, superior technology, and logistics. Read more →

Cutting the Military Is a Bad Idea

by Victor Davis Hanson

Ricochet.com

After World War II, Harry Truman and Louis Johnson wanted to cut the Marine Corps; by winter 1950 what was left of it almost single-handedly saved the reputation of the collapsing US military in Korea. Read more →

What Does Romney Really Think About Vietnam?

by Bruce S. Thornton

FrontPage Magazine

Mitt Romney recently said something on Fox News Sunday that raises questions about his understanding of history and its pertinence for foreign policy. In the course of talking about the war in Iraq and the “lessons learned” from that conflict and its “errors,” Romney responded to a question about an incident from his father’s brief 1967-68 run for the Republican nomination. Read more →

The Fannie and Freddie University

by Victor Davis Hanson

PJ Media

It’s More than Just PC

The traditionalist critique of the university — I made it myself over thirteen years ago in the co-authored Who Killed Homer? — was that somewhere around the time of the Vietnam War, higher education changed radically for the worse. Read more →

The American Way of War

by Victor Davis Hanson

Defining Ideas

William Shawcross, the British journalist, historian, and human rights advocate — once a fierce critic of the Nixon-Kissinger years, now a defender of the West’s struggle against radical Islam — has written the best book yet on the dilemmas Western governments face in dealing with Islamic terrorists.1 Read more →

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