While visiting Hillsdale College this week, I was unexpectedly bequeathed a gift. When I arrived at the house where I am staying I discovered on the buffet table in the kitchen a small collection of books on military history, grand strategy, and World War II. Among them was the bound galley of Victor Davis Hanson’s The Second World Wars, published Tuesday by Basic Books. Having heard advance praise for the book, I picked up the hefty galley. I have not put it down since.
President Trump is expected to announce today that he cannot certify Iran’s compliance with the terms of the agreement over its nuclear program that it entered into with the United States and five other nations in 2015. The president’s decision, according to the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, will commence a 60-day review period during which the Republican-controlled Congress may re-impose sanctions against the Islamic theocracy for its intransigence and belligerence. Sanctions, I might add, that should never have been lifted in the first place.
For years, reporters were content to obscure their ideological dogmas and partisan objectives behind the pretense of objectivity and detachment. Though the Washington Post, New York Times, and CNN practiced combat journalism against conservatives and Republicans, they did so while aspiring to professional standards of facticity and fairness, and applying, every now and then, scrutiny to liberals and Democrats worthy of investigation.
Roy Moore’s insurgent victory over incumbent Senator Luther Strange in Monday’s Alabama Republican primary has been hyped. Not least by Moore’s nation-state populist supporters online who see the defeat of the preferred candidate of Mitch McConnell and President Trump as a harbinger. Yet there are several reasons a Moore victory should not be a surprise.
“Why did we lose this war?” asked James Burnham of Vietnam in 1972. One reason, he wrote, was that “We failed—that is, our leadership failed—to comprehend this Indochina struggle as one campaign or sub-war in a global conflict. Since we did not set it within its global frame of reference, our leaders could neither develop a comprehensive strategy to win it nor make it comprehensible to the American people.”
On July 18, 2015, about a month into his long-shot campaign for president, Donald Trump famously attacked John McCain. “He’s not a war hero,” he said. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” Campaigning in Iowa that summer, Trump mocked Jeb Bush for being “low-energy.” In February 2016, Trump said Bush’s brother, the forty-third president, had lied in order to invade Iraq. When Mitt Romney attacked Trump the following month, Trump responded by calling the 2012 Republican nominee a “choke artist.” On his path to the 2016 GOP nomination and then the presidency, Donald Trump positioned himself at odds with the leadership of the party he sought to command.
I’ve spent the last two weeks teaching a course on the history of the conservative intellectual movement for the Hertog political studies program. This is the second year Hertog has offered the course, but the first time under President Trump. I like to think I offered the students, all of whom were intelligent, well spoken, and impressive, a complete story. There was a beginning and middle