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National Review


  • Originally published 08/13/2013

    Victor Davis Hanson: Our Postmodern Angst

    NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His latest book is The Savior Generals, published this spring by Bloomsbury Books.In the globally connected and affluent world of the 21st century, we thankfully have evolved a long way from the elemental poverty, hunger, and ethnic, religious, and racial hatred that were mostly the norm of the world until the last century.Yet who would know of such progress — and the great sacrifices made to achieve it — from the howls of our postmodern oppressed? In fact, the better life has become, the more victimized modern affluent Westerners seem to act.

  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    Conrad Black: Tears and Nixon

    Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full, A Matter of Principle, and the recently published Flight of the Eagle: The Grand Strategies That Brought America from Colonial Dependence to World Leadership. He can be reached at cbletters@gmail.com.

  • Originally published 08/03/2013

    Daniel Pipes: On Closed Embassies, the Worldwide Travel Alert, and Wimpitude

    Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2013 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.In April, the city of Boston was effectively under military curfew because two terrorists were on the loose. Now, fears of al-Qaeda attacking has led the U.S. government to close 21 U.S. embassies in Muslim-majority countries and then issue a worldwide travel alert announcing that "Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests. U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure."The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, said that the two steps result from "a significant threat stream" and so the authorities "are taking it seriously."

  • Originally published 07/29/2013

    Daniel Pipes: What to Want in Egypt

    Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2013 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.In the aftermath of the coup d'état in Egypt, a consensus has emerged, to cite an anonymous Obama administration official, that "Trying to break the neck of the [Muslim] Brotherhood is not going to be good for Egypt or for the region."The thinking behind this view is that (1) it's better to have Islamists in the political process than violently rebelling and (2) participating in civil society has the potential to tame Islamists, making them see the benefits of democracy and turning them into just another interest group.May I vociferously disagree?Yes, we do indeed want to break the brotherhood's neck because that is good for Egypt, the region, and (not least) ourselves. Both the above assumptions are wrong. (1) Islamists can do more damage within the political process than outside it. To put it graphically, I worry more about a Turkey, with elected Islamists in charge, than Syria, where they are engaged in a civil war to attain power. (2) Islamists have a history of using the political process for their own ends, and not of being tamed by it: see Mohamed Morsi's year in power for one clear example.

  • Originally published 07/09/2013

    Victor Davis Hanson: Revolutionary Tribunals

    NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His latest book is The Savior Generals, published this spring by Bloomsbury Books. In ancient Athens, popular courts of paid jurors helped institutionalize fairness. If a troublemaker like Socrates was thought to be a danger to the popular will, then he was put on trial for inane charges like “corrupting the youth” or “introducing new gods.”Convicting gadflies would remind all Athenians of the dangers of questioning democratic majority sentiment. If Athenian families were angry that their sons had supposedly died unnecessarily in battle, then they might charge the generals with capital negligence — a warning to all commanders to watch their backs. As in the case of Socrates, a majority vote often led to conviction, and conviction to a death sentence, or at least ostracism or exile. The popular courts freelanced to ensure that “the people” would hold sway over the perceived powerful and elite.

  • Originally published 07/02/2013

    Allen C. Guezlo: Twilight of the Confederacy

    Allen C. Guelzo is the author of the New York Times bestseller Gettysburg: The Last Invasion. He teaches at Gettysburg College.Looking back 20 years after it was fought, Alexander Stewart Webb declared that the Battle of Gettysburg “was, and is now throughout the world, known to be the Waterloo of the Rebellion.” Certainly Webb had earned the right to judge. He was in command of the Union brigade that absorbed the spearpoint of the battle’s climax on July 3, 1863, the great charge of the Confederate divisions commanded by George E. Pickett. “This three days’ contest,” Webb said, “was a constant recurrence of scenes of self-sacrifice,” especially “on the part of all engaged on the third and last day.”One hundred fifty years later, one might imagine that Alexander Webb was suffering from a touch of middle-age myopia. The word “Gettysburg” is still powerful enough to be recognized by even the most indifferent grade-schooler as a big-box event in American history. But does it deserve to stand beside Waterloo?

  • Originally published 06/27/2013

    Victor Davis Hanson: We’re Like Rome, Circa A.D. 200.

    Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His new book, The Savior Generals, is just out from Bloomsbury Press.By a.d. 200, the Roman Republic was a distant memory. Few citizens of the global Roman Empire even knew of their illustrious ancestors like Scipio or Cicero. Millions no longer spoke Latin. Italian emperors were a rarity. There were no national elections.Yet Rome endured as a global power for three more centuries. What held it together?...As long as the sea was free of pirates, thieves were cleared from the roads, and merchants were allowed to profit, few cared whether the lawless Caracalla or the unhinged Elagabalus was emperor in distant Rome.Something likewise both depressing and encouraging is happening to the United States. Few Americans seem to worry that our present leaders have lied to or misled Congress and the American people without consequences....

  • Originally published 06/26/2013

    Conrad Black: Obama’s Failing Foreign Policy

    Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full, A Matter of Principle, and the recently published Flight of the Eagle: The Grand Strategies That Brought America from Colonial Dependence to World Leadership. He can be reached at cbletters@gmail.com.

  • Originally published 06/26/2013

    Victor Davis Hanson: The Mood of 1980

    NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His The Savior Generals is just out from Bloomsbury BooksNext year could be a frightening one, in the fashion of 1979–80.The developing circumstances of our withdrawal from Afghanistan conjure up Vietnam 1975, with all the refugees, reprisals, humiliation, and emboldened enemies on the horizon, though this time there is no coastline for a flotilla of boat people to launch from. The Obama administration is debating no-fly zones over Syria; more likely, it will have the same discussion over Afghanistan soon, once the Taliban drops the diplomatic veneer and comes back into town.Because of the failure to negotiate a single residual base in Iraq, Iran has appropriated a vast air corridor to the Middle East. John Kerry speaks sonorously to Russia and China, but apparently assumes that diplomacy follows gentlemanly New England yacht protocols, the right of way given to the more sober, judicious, and pontificating....

  • Originally published 06/07/2013

    Victor Davis Hanson: The Stagnant Mediterranean

    Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His new book, The Savior Generals, is just out from Bloomsbury Books. You can reach him by e-mailing author@victorhanson.com.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. Mare Nostrum, “our sea,” the Romans called the deep blue waters that allowed Rome to unite Asia, Africa, and Europe for half a millennium under a single, prosperous, globalized civilization.

  • Originally published 06/07/2013

    Rich Lowry: Lincoln Defended

    Rich Lowry is editor of National Review. Parts of this essay are drawn from his new book Lincoln Unbound: How an Ambitious Young Railsplitter Saved the American Dream — and How We Can Do It Again, coming out this month from Broadside Books.Decades ago, the distinguished Lincoln biographer David Herbert Donald coined the phrase “getting right with Lincoln” to describe the impulse people feel to appropriate Lincoln for their own political agendas. Anyone who has watched Barack Obama, who as a senator wrote an essay for Time magazine entitled “What I See in Lincoln’s Eyes” and swore the oath of office as president on Lincoln’s Bible, will be familiar with the phenomenon. Democrats like to claim Lincoln as, in effect, the first Big Government liberal, while Republicans tout him as the founder of their party.But the reflex identified by Donald isn’t universally felt. A portion of the Right has always hated Old Abe. It blames him for wielding dictatorial powers in an unnecessary war against the Confederacy and creating the predicate for the modern welfare state, among sundry other offenses against the constitutional order and liberty.

  • Originally published 06/07/2013

    Conrad Black: A Weak U.S.

    Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, Richard M.

  • Originally published 05/17/2013

    Conrad Black: No Impeachment on Benghazi

    Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full, and the recently published A Matter of Principle. He can be reached at cbletters@gmail.com.

  • Originally published 05/06/2013

    Victor Davis Hanson: An Irrelevant Middle East

    Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His new book, The Savior Generals, will appear this month from Bloomsbury Press. You can reach him by e-mailing author@victorhanson.com.Since antiquity, the Middle East has been the trading nexus of three continents — Asia, Europe, and Africa — and the vibrant birthplace of three of the world’s great religions.Middle Eastern influence rose again in the 19th century when the Suez Canal turned the once-dead-end eastern Mediterranean Sea into a sea highway from Europe to Asia.With the 20th-century development of large gas and oil supplies in the Persian Gulf and North Africa, an Arab-led OPEC more or less dictated the foreign policy of thirsty oil importers like the United States and Europe. No wonder U.S. Central Command has remained America’s military-command hot spot.

  • Originally published 05/02/2013

    Conrad Black: Democracy on the Way Out?

    Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full, and the recently published A Matter of Principle. He can be reached at cbletters@gmail.com.

  • Originally published 03/28/2013

    Victor Davis Hanson: Iraq -- A Convenient Scapegoat

    NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His The Savior Generals will appear in the spring from Bloomsbury Books. © 2013 Tribune Media Services, Inc.Bring up Iraq — and expect to end up in an argument. Conservatives are no different from liberals in rehashing the unpopular war, which has become a sort of whipping boy for all our subsequent problems.Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan recently enumerated countless pathologies that followed Iraq. Yet to examine her list is to learn just how misinformed we have become in our anguish over the intervention.Noonan writes of Republicans: “It [Iraq] ruined the party’s hard-earned reputation for foreign-affairs probity. They started a war and didn’t win it.”

  • Originally published 03/28/2013

    Conrad Black: The Truth about Bob Woodward

    Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full, and the recently published A Matter of Principle. He can be reached at cbletters@gmail.com.Gradually, inexorably, the great Watergate fraud is unraveling. The Knights of Revelation, 40 years onward, are being exposed, in the light of analysis unclouded by cant and emotionalism, as the myth-makers they always were. Bob Woodward, unable to resist the temptation to try again and again to be at the forefront of investigative journalism, is being steadily exposed as a chronically dishonest myth-maker. Carl Bernstein, his Watergate partner, is at least cautious enough not to tempt the fates with a regime of endless returns to the well of public gratitude for spurious and destructive exposés. Though there is no sign that he is conscious of the proportions of their original Mt. Rushmore–sized canard, he has been relatively uncontroversial these intervening decades, sheltering in the greasy slick Vanity Fair.

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    Conrad Black: Pope Francis, Say Yes to the Pill

    Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full, and the recently published A Matter of Principle. He can be reached at cbletters@gmail.com.

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    Michael Bowen: GOP "Autopsy" Reads Like It Was Written By Thomas Dewey

    Michael Bowen is the author of The Roots of Modern Conservatism.The Republican National Committee’s “autopsy” of the 2012 election, the work of the Growth and Opportunity Project, has received a great deal of criticism from conservatives since its release on Monday. Their general take seems to be that, as Brent Bozell put it, establishment Republicans are trying to “out-Democrat” the Democrats.While it remains to be seen how much buy-in the report will receive from the Right, it is worth noting that the proposed solutions parallel those offered by establishment Republicans immediately after World War II. Since the GOP had been in power when the economy collapsed in 1929, many voters equated it with the poverty and suffering of the Great Depression. Franklin D. Roosevelt did nothing to disabuse the public of this notion while he built the Democratic party into a liberal juggernaut.

  • Originally published 03/19/2013

    Victor Davis Hanson: Who Will Bell America?

    NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His The Savior Generals will appear in the spring from Bloomsbury Books.Remember the medieval fable about the mice that wanted their dangerous enemy, the cat, belled, but each preferred not to be the one to attempt the dangerous deed? Likewise, the world’s bad actors have long wanted America belled, but, like the mice, so far they have not been stupid or daring enough to test America’s teeth and claws — that is, until now.

  • Originally published 03/19/2013

    Mario Loyola: Lessons of the Anschluss

    Mario Loyola is former counsel for foreign and defense policy to the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee.Seventy-five years ago this week, Austria and Nazi Germany became united in the Anschluss. Thus, with celebration in the streets, passed the last point in time when Britain and France could have prevented World War II.The disastrous policy of appeasement is often attributed to foolish governments in London and Paris. But the truth is more complicated, and 75 years of hindsight have brought us no closer to understanding it.Simply put, France and Britain demonstrated in 1938 that the democratic system of government has a grave weakness: To a certain extent, it is structurally incapable of defending itself.Because democracy can generate vastly more military power than any other political system ever devised, it can win wars. The problem is that because of the constraints of democratic politics, it can’t always prevent them....

  • Originally published 03/14/2013

    Victor Davis Hanson: The New Affirmative Action

    NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His The Savior Generals will appear in the spring from Bloomsbury Books.Sometime in the first years of the new millennium, “global warming” evolved into “climate change.” Amid growing controversies over the planet’s past temperatures, Al Gore and other activists understood that human-induced “climate change” could explain almost any weather extremity — droughts or floods, temperatures too hot or too cold, hurricanes and tornadoes — better than “global warming” could.Similar verbal gymnastics have gradually turned “affirmative action” into “diversity” — a word ambiguous enough to avoid the innate contradictions of a liberal society affirming the illiberal granting of racial preferences.

  • Originally published 03/14/2013

    Clifford D. May: St. Patrick’s Day with Edmund Burke

    Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on national security.Perhaps because St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, I’ve found myself re-reading Edmund Burke and Conor Cruise O’Brien — and drinking Irish whiskey. I first became acquainted with these three sources of stimulation back in 1978. That was also my first brush with terrorism.I was a young foreign correspondent sent to Northern Ireland to cover the “Troubles,” the conflict between Catholics and Protestants, Republicans (Irish nationalists) and Loyalists (those favoring solidarity with the United Kingdom) that broke out in the 1960s and dissipated just before the turn of the century.I spent many hours in pubs, listening to those on both sides of the divide tell me what they believed, whom they despised, and what acts of violence they would countenance — and in some cases carry out — to achieve their objectives.

  • Originally published 03/14/2013

    Conrad Black: A Post-American World Order

    Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full, and the recently published A Matter of Principle. He can be reached at cbletters@gmail.com.

  • Originally published 02/28/2013

    Victor Davis Hanson: American Recessional

    NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His The Savior Generals will appear in the spring from Bloomsbury Books. © 2013 Tribune Media Services, Inc.Republicans and Democrats are blaming one another for impending cuts to the defense budget brought about by sequestration. But with serial annual deficits of $1 trillion–plus and an aggregate debt nearing $17 trillion, the United States — like the insolvent Rome and exhausted Great Britain of the past — was bound to reexamine its expensive overseas commitments and strategic profile.

  • Originally published 02/26/2013

    Holy Roman Reforming: Getting Down to the Business of the Future

    George Weigel’s new book, Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church (Basic Books), seems destined to be a reference point in the papal interregnum that begins at 2 p.m., New York time on February 28, and well into the new pontificate. I caught up with Weigel, who has been in Rome since Ash Wednesday, to pose some questions about the conclave, the state of the Church, and the analysis of Evangelical Catholicism:KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: By Pope Benedict XVI publicly acknowledging problems inside the Vatican is he giving guidance to the cardinals gathering in Rome this week?

  • Originally published 02/22/2013

    Conrad Black: Two Cheers for Obama

    Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full, and the recently published A Matter of Principle. He can be reached at cbletters@gmail.com.

  • Originally published 02/22/2013

    Victor Davis Hanson: Gilded Class Warriors

    NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His The Savior Generals will appear in the spring from Bloomsbury BooksIn his first term, President Obama was criticized for trash-talking the 1-percenters while enjoying the aristocracy of Martha’s Vineyard and the nation’s most exclusive golf courses.Obama never quite squared his accusations that “millionaires and billionaires” had not paid their fair share with his own obvious enjoyment of the perks of “corporate jet owners,” “fat cat bankers,” and Las Vegas junketeers.Now, that paradox has continued right off the bat in the second term. In the State of the Union, Obama once more went after “the few” and “the wealthiest and the most powerful,” whom he blasted as the “well-off and the well-connected” and the “billionaires with high-powered accountants.”...

  • Originally published 02/12/2013

    Amity Shlaes: The Small Presidency

    Amity Shlaes, who directs the George W. Bush Institute’s economic-growth program, is the author of the book Coolidge, forthcoming from HarperCollins.Action is something Americans of both parties demand of their presidents these days. This is natural for Democrats, whose heritage is all action, starting with Franklin Roosevelt and his Hundred Days. But Republicans like energy and a big executive as well. Over the course of the campaign this past year, any number of political stars, including Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, argued that only an energetic candidate would be up to the job of managing the U.S. fiscal crisis. Mitt Romney worked hard to let voters know his party could beat the Democrats in the legislative arena. He swore up and down that, à la Roosevelt, he would get off to a running start, sending five bills to Congress and signing five executive orders on his first day in the Oval Office.

  • Originally published 01/29/2013

    National Review lauds Timothy Messer-Kruse for Haymarket books

    George Leef writes for the National Review.In the current National Review, John J. Miller has a fascinating  piece about history professor Timothy Messer-Kruse. Messer-Kruse became interested in finding out all that he could about the famous Haymarket Incident, which is an important part of the left/progressive narrative about the plight of labor in 19th-century America. The presumption among historians has long been that the people put on trial were innocent victims of a repressive society. Messer-Kruse believed that himself, until a question from a student caused him to look into the transcript of the trial. He came to the conclusion that the defendants were not innocent after all. Of course, when he wrote about his findings, he was blasted by leftist historians for having the nerve to challenge the prevailing (and politically useful) view....

  • Originally published 01/28/2013

    Ron Radosh: Review of Anne Applebaum's "Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944–1956"

    Ron Radosh is a PJ Media columnist and Adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute.At the end of World War II, Eastern and Central Europe were “liberated” from Nazism only to see it replaced by a social order installed by the other great totalitarian nation, Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union. In his famous speech at Westminster College in March 1946, Winston Churchill told the world that “from Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an ‘iron curtain’ has descended across the continent.” The left wing at the time saw the charge as outrageous and as warmongering. Anne Applebaum’s book not only confirms the accuracy of Churchill’s understanding that Moscow was establishing regimes that would attempt to duplicate the Soviet system, but she shows that the Soviet-led rulers of those regimes would attempt to eradicate any independent civil society and build a new human being — “Homo Sovieticus,” the new Soviet man — who would accept his essential role as the builder of Communism.

  • Originally published 01/24/2013

    Conrad Black: The Henry Wallace Rewrite

    Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full, and the recently published A Matter of Principle. He can be reached at cbletters@gmail.com.

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