Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Trump’s Strategic Foresight Is Being Put to the Test

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

The ancient Greeks believed that true leadership in a crisis came down to what they called pronoia — the Greek word for “strategic foresight.”

Some statesmen, such as Pericles and Themistocles, had it. Most others, such as the often brilliant and charismatic but impulsive Alcibiades, usually did not.

“Foresight” in crisis means sizing up a nation’s assets and debits, then maximizing advantages and minimizing liabilities. The leader with foresight, especially in times of irrational despair, then charts a rational pathway to victory.

Such crisis leaders do not fall into panic and depression when the media shout “Catastrophe!” Nor do they preen when the same chorus screams “Genius!” in times of success.

The English poet Rudyard Kipling would have defined such a gift as: “If you can keep your head when all about you / Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,” or “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster / And treat those two impostors just the same.”

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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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