The views of Victor Davis Hanson place him among the “heretics” of the US academic establishment. A deep connoisseur of ancient Greece and philhellenes, he has been visiting our country regularly for the past five decades.
At the same time, he was one of President Trump’s most courageous supporters, with whom he kept in touch during his time in the White House. However, he changed his position after Trump’s refusal to recognize the 2020 election results. The UCLA professor of classical and military history and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University does not belong to the “classic Trump supporter” stereotype, but he makes arguments that might plausibly claim that some the positions of the American right are not without seriousness.
– Trump remains a leader in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, despite the poor performance of many of the candidates he supported in the midterms. Do you think he still has the potential to return to the White House? And what will this mean for the US and the West?
Biden, even before Garage Gate’s recent revelation that he kept secret government documents in his garage, had an approval rating of just 43%. Most polls show Biden leading Trump by 1-2%. But he loses to (Florida Governor) Ron DeSantis (if he runs) by 1%-2%. So it’s too early to take these polls seriously. From November to January, Trump made a series of mistakes while DeSantis skyrocketed. Biden will be 82 in 2024, which is serious, and Kamala Harris is too scary for Democrats.
Trump or DeSantis?
– About 50% of Republicans believe that DeSantis can continue the successful work of Trump, but without the circus atmosphere. Trump supporters counter that only a militant Trump can topple the bipartisan establishment that rules all presidents and is responsible for America’s decline. So right now our politics are in disarray and the country is torn between a traditional Republican America and a Democratic counterpart that wants to fundamentally change what America used to be. I would like to remind the Europeans that the agenda of the American Left is not some kind of general “green agenda”, but a deep disgust for Western traditions and an attempt to reorient the nation towards Latin America, Asia and Africa. The left believes that this kind of US reorientation is more compatible with the emerging interests of the 30% of the country’s population after the effects of two decades of open borders.
Is America determined to lead Ukraine to a final victory over Russia by the summer of 2023?
I think the laws of classical deterrence suggest that Putin was encouraged to invade Ukraine on February 23 after the humiliating withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in August 2021 (which was done without consulting our NATO allies in Kabul). He interpreted this as a sign that the West would not act decisively.
“But now America is supporting Ukraine more and more.
– In the US, there is a big split over Ukraine, upsetting the balance of traditional domestic politics: the former neo-isolationist left, usually opposed to foreign intervention, is adamant and wants to arm Ukraine at all costs in order to force out the last Russians and restore all borders before 2014 (who Putin broke under the Obama administration). The right largely supports Zelensky, but believes that a complete victory over a nuclear Russia is unlikely and that everything must be done to ensure a complete victory (US$300-400 billion in weapons along with attacks on its Russian Black Sea fleet, Russian bases and supply depots inside Russia are quite dangerous). After all, I believe most Americans would prefer a negotiated settlement, which could include ensuring that Ukraine is armed to the teeth but not a member of NATO. And there is hope that some kind of internationally sponsored referendum could decide the future of the Russian-majority regions annexed in 2014.
– And if all this does not happen, but instead the war continues?
– In this case, we could see by the end of the year:
- First, a total of 400,000 war dead, trillions of dollars in damage, and even more Russian nuclear threats.
- Secondly, EU will continue to have chronic energy problems.
- Third, the West is losing Russia’s traditional stance toward China.
- And fourthly, we are creating a dangerous new axis from Russia, China, Iran and possibly Turkey.
– If Turkey “comes overnight” to attack Greece, as Erdogan often publicly threatens, can Athens count on US support similar to that received by Ukraine in the fight against Russia?
– I would hope so, given that Greece, unlike Ukraine, is a NATO power, and its historical ties with the United States far exceed those of Ukraine, and over the past half century, Greek-American relations have never been stronger. You can ask this because since 1974 we have not seen a NATO member threaten the existence of another. This is a new level of Turkish escalation, far beyond its intimidation in Cyprus and its constant overflight and aggression in the eastern Aegean. The United States supports Greece mainly in two parties, and I believe that it is still strong. One of the ironies of the previous Trump administration, which was often unpopular abroad, was that it bolstered U.S. political support for both Israel and Greece, something we haven’t seen from previous administrations.
“Competition between the US and China is intensifying in all strategic areas. The US is called upon to prove whether it can defend and restore its position as the sole superpower. Will the US be up to this task despite its internal divisions?
“Unfortunately, the problem goes beyond politics. We have not invested enough in research and development. The “Jacobin” revolution in our universities, which preaches a policy of “woke” (i.e. vigilance against racial and all kinds of discrimination) is inherently anti-meritocracy and now extends to science, engineering and mathematics – that’s why the Chinese encourage it. And we are losing an entire generation of students who are either participating in ideology-driven diversity/equality/inclusion studies or being denied admission to top universities despite their excellent grades.
Since January 2021, 5 million illegal immigrants have appeared on our southern border, and we have voluntarily abandoned energy independence by canceling a number of oil and pipeline projects. In addition, many of America’s most powerful elites, bipartisan public and private business leaders, have given their change to China and are vulnerable. There are 370,000 Chinese students in the US. Unlike the Soviet Union during the Cold War, China is a far more insidious threat. However, I am optimistic only because these problems are self-created and therefore we can deal with them.
Translation Athens News