Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

The Fire And Fury Of Presidents

 

Image credit:Barbara Kelley

We could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals.” —Barack Obama, April 2016

The media recently went ballistic over President Trump’s impromptu promises of “fire and fury” in reply to the latest North Korean threats—and even more so when he later doubled down under criticism and claimed he had not been tough enough. But American leaders have always resorted to such blunt talk in exacerbating circumstances such as the current one.

Recall Bill Clinton’s now widely quoted remark that it would be “pointless” for North Korea to develop nuclear weapons because using them would mean “the end of their country.” Likewise, President Harry Truman once promised Japan a “rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth” after dropping the bomb on Hiroshima. Japan apparently got the message that there was no way out but unconditional surrender. President John F. Kennedy referred publicly to an “abyss of destruction” during the Cuban crisis.

To read more: http://www.hoover.org/research/fire-and-fury-presidents

 

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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