A Jacksonian Manifesto

Administrations by law must publish strategic manifestoes.

Indeed, the GoldwaterNichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of October 4, 1986 required every subsequent government to issue periodic and formal national strategic strategy blueprints.

Most of these documents dating from the Reagan Administration are blah-blah boilerplate announcements of the obvious. They offer platitudinous promises of a sober internationalist United States leading the world in promoting global institutions while using its preeminent strength to partner with allies to counter perceived rising threats, such as rogue nations or terrorism. And so on.

The Trump Administration has just released its first national security strategy.

But to be frank, it is unlike most all prior manifestoes. The contrast with the 2015 Obama doctrine is stunning—the disconnect emblematic in its unabashed preamble that “This National Security Strategy puts America first.”

What’s Different
The Obama Administration doctrine’s emphases on global institutions and liberal values also marked a clear departure from past norms. It tended to redefine existential dangers not so much as hostile military powers, but rather as global natural threats (e.g., global warming, AIDS, and Ebola) and innate human prejudices (demeaning the Other, and biases against minority and LGBT communities). In the 2015 document, the words “jihad” or “jihadism” never appear (it pops up nearly 30 times in the twice-as-long Trump outline), but “violent extremism” showed up often in the widest sense of “root causes” and “home-grown” varieties.

The theme of the Trump document is American restoration. In Reaganesque fashion, the administration sees itself as similarly overturning an era of strategic stagnation, analogous to the self-doubt, self-imposed sense of decline, and thematic malaise of the Carter era. Instead, the “strategic confidence” and “principled realism” of the Trump Administration will purportedly snap America back out its Obama recessional in the same manner that Ronald Reagan did in the 1980s.

If the United States is not strong, then the world order will weaken: “America first is the duty of our government and the foundation for U.S. leadership in the world. A strong America is in the vital interests of not only the American people, but also those around the world who want to partner with the United States in pursuit of shared interests, values, and aspirations.”

The document gives short shrift to the idea of a utopian global community of fellow nations seeking to follow similar progressive agendas. (The United Nations is mentioned briefly in passing just twice). Instead, there is a Manichean subtext that the beleaguered Western-inspired world is, and will always be, under assault by its antitheses. The proverbial free world cannot survive such an existential struggle if a United States—plagued by self-doubt and hollowed out economically and spiritually—proves wanting.

Yet the Trump national security strategy—likely the work mostly of H. R. McMaster and his deputies Nadia Schadlow and Dina Powell—is just as antithetical to the 2002 George W. Bush vision that called for preemptive measures to stop regimes that posed threats on the horizon to the U.S. world order. And the Trump doctrine says little or nothing about nation-building or seeking to remake the world in the image of a consensual, free-market democracy like the United States, which then would spend blood and treasure in liberating the unfree and poor, and thereby lessening world tensions.

Strategic Confidence, Principled Realism, and Hard-Power
Neither soft-power globalists nor nation-building interventionists will like this hybrid manifesto of hard-power restrained only by careful calibration of what is perceived to be in America’s national interest.

Trumpism here is pitched in realistic but not cynical terms. The United States cannot partner with, or lead, anyone if it is not preeminently strong—strength being defined as economic robustness, military wherewithal, strategic confidence, and spiritual renewal. There is neither a notion here of strategic patience and lead-from-behind hesitance nor of taking out a strongman in a Libyan-style optional attack.

American “don’t-tread on-me” strength that alone deters bad actors can only originate at home. But it is hardly preordained that America will always remain the preeminent power on the planet. Rather exceptional strength rests first on protecting the homeland. Here the Trump administration is not shy about doubling down on its efforts to secure borders and to recalibrate a sane immigration policy to preclude terrorists from failed states of the Middle East entering the United States. Legal and measured immigration is obviously also seen as helpful to U.S. economic recovery and the rule of law.

Much of the doctrine, also unlike most previous documents, focuses on economic robustness, defined as a restoration of American industrial growth emanating from not just free, but fair trade, rebuilding U.S. infrastructure, creating jobs, and barreling ahead with fossil fuel production. The latter gains prominence not just as a source of wealth, but also as a guarantee of American independence from energy producers in unfriendly regions of the globe. Trade deals, military sales, and two-way-street strategic alliances are factored into rebuilding American strength in a manner, again, never quite so explicitly delineated before in national security blueprints. China is the obvious beneficiary when the United States has boxed itself into agreements that retard economic growth and thus require military retrenchment.

There is none of the frequent American shyness in understating our enormous influence in the world. Yet the Jacksonianism of the Trump doctrine is not bluster, rather it is confidence couched in fear of losing what we are—with eleventh-hour warnings to snap out of our lethargy and re-enter the great game of global competition.

The doctrine unapologetically promises to restore both the quality and quantity of American weaponry, conventional and nuclear, and to increase the numbers of U.S. military personnel. How such huge new military outlays will be possible in an age of tax cuts, infrastructure investments, and an existing $20 trillion in debt is not spelled out in detail, but apparently assumed in supply-side visions of radically increased economic growth. Good luck with that calculus.

From those three foundations—securing the homeland, renewing economic vitality, and beefing-up the armed forces—supposedly Trump’s America can once again exercise real global leadership, implicitly defined by helping our similarly minded allies and deterring or indeed hurting our enemies.

New Energy
Another way of appreciating the radical departure from the foreign policy of 2009-16 is to appreciate what is not in the Trump Doctrine. The 2015 Obama document focused on climate change (e.g., “and the ground-breaking commitment we made with China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”). In contrast, the Trump doctrine makes not a single mention of “climate change.” Instead, the document pledges U.S. leadership to counter “an anti-growth energy agenda that is detrimental to U.S. economic and energy security interests.”

It adds, “Given future global energy demand, much of the developing world will require fossil fuels, as well as other forms of energy, to power their economies and lift their people out of poverty. The United States will continue to advance an approach that balances energy security, economic development, and environmental protection. The United States will remain a global leader in reducing traditional pollution, as well as greenhouse gases, while expanding its economy.”

Translated, that means fracking, the Keystone and Dakota pipelines, and new drilling on federal lands will enrich the U.S., weaken energy exporting rivals like Iran and Russia, and free up American strategic options from dependence on foreign energy sources. It assumes without comment that American energy producers are the most environmentally sensitive in the world.

The Obama document was a progressive American manifesto that reflected an assumed globalist consensus. In such a worldview, the real threats were again protectionism rather than asymmetrical partnerships like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), insensitivities toward the LGBT community, a warming planet, and race/class/gender oppression.

The Trump document does not assume a shared global agenda worth emulating. And while it is not an illiberal document, the 2017 national security strategy assumes that Thucydidean fear, honor, and perceived self-interest will always drive rival powers to dethrone the postwar order of consensual government, consumer capitalism, and individual liberty that are protected not by the United Nations, but only by the United States and its loyal allies of like mind: “We learned the difficult lesson that when America does not lead, malign actors fill the void to the disadvantage of the United States. When America does lead, however, from a position of strength and confidence and in accordance with our interests and values, all benefit.”

Assuaging Americans’ Fears
In sum, the Trump NSS takes a tragic rather than therapeutic view of human nature, and assumes that all nations gravitate to powerful states with principles, and retract from weaker and bullying powers.

The ultimate purpose of all strategy is to advance a nation’s self-interest in the broadest military, social, and economic sense, which ultimately translates into first keeping it safe. If you were to ask average Americans what scares them the most in today’s frightening world, they might likely answer that open borders allow almost anyone to enter the United States without audit. An unhinged North Korea could soon send a nuclear bomb into an American city. Cyber-attacks might wipe out everyone’s computer data. A rising China seems poised to displace the United States as the world’s economic leader. And relentless terrorists could pull off another 9/11-like attack.

The Trump Administration seeks to reassure Americans by offering answers to those fears. It will secure the borders of the United States. It will treat cyber warfare like age-old conflict and thus seek to deter and to punish with like attacks any would be cyber enemies. It will build a reliable missile defense system and recalibrate our strategic nuclear arsenal. It will redefine trade and economic policy to maintain American financial and industrial preeminence. And it will take the gloves off in retaliating against jihadists abroad.

What will Trump’s army of critics, here and abroad, make of the document? No doubt, they will see it as a relic of big power rivalries, ignorant of real threats such as unsustainable Western consumerism and industrialism, and without allegiance to global values of diversity and tolerance. Trump, in their view, does not get it that the insidious dangers to the world are Westernized lifestyles that heat the planet while seeing problems through exclusively Western lenses.

Finally, how might the Trump national security architects reply to that criticism? That before one can spread such values to the world and encourage ecumenical ecology and morality, one first must stop savages like ISIS from incinerating the innocent, keep Portland safe from an incoming North Korean missile, ensure that Iran does not get a bomb, and prevent oil from being a weapon of our enemies, China from bullying its neighbors into a Pan-Asian alliance aimed at the United States, and the next generation of Mohamed Attas from entering the United States.

The 2017 NSS first sees the world as it is rather than as it should be someday—a realism without which there can be no idealism.

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Hanson is also a farmer (growing raisin grapes on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author most recently of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, The Case for Trump and the newly released The Dying Citizen.

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95 responses to “A Jacksonian Manifesto”

  1. In other words, the apology era is behind us. And that’s a real good thing.

  2. “America first is the duty of our government and the foundation for U.S. leadership in the world. A strong America is in the vital interests of not only the American people, but also those around the world who want to partner with the United States in pursuit of shared interests, values, and aspirations.”

    This ^^ is what the plaque on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty should say, because this is what the French intended to signify with that symbolic gift to our new Nation. As a pomp-and-circumstances moment accompanying this manifesto, I would have a ceremonial smashing of that damnable third-rate Lazarus poem that exists now. Intentionally or not, it serves to sell the canard that America’s highest moral duty is to be the world’s demographic garbage disposal.

    • Or create a overclass-underclass social model in which the two class are furthermore to a considerable degree ethnically distinct. Perhaps even phyletically distinct in some meaningful sense of that word. Even with eventually widespread ethnic intermarriage, the two classes could be phyletically distinct to the extent that they will have their descent from a different mix of populations. In sum, the upper caste will be to a greater extent of white, European descent and the lower caste significantly more of non-European descent, especially to a greater extent, of Black African descent. You can see the outlines of this future already in California, which even now has reached a terminal demographic condition. Sorry about all of this, but you can’t argue it. It’s on the ground already throughout America and the West. The present overclass of the West sees this but doesn’t care because their horizons extend out only over may be five generations. Beyond that lies only the oceanic, and the imaginary future of the people they call “we”.

      • I see that happening already. Only, the underclass will have to have the means to sustain itself at some point. The way technology is going, I don’t see what a mouth-breathing offspring of 100+ generations of (say) Somali goatherds and Oxacan peones could do to add economic value to society. Hence my dilemma between suck the overclass dry or become a menacing nuisance.

      • All the material is in place already in California. And probably in Great Britain too. Both are demographic Island which have reached what I term a “terminal demographic condition.”

        The underclass will be controlled through the allowance of anarcho-tyranny. In its present meaning, though not quite its original sense as meant by Samuel Francis, anarcho-tyranny template, by permitting anarchy to flourish in the lower castes of society, provides a paradoxical means of controlling these lower castes. This not entirely a new idea, but in America particularly the material for it is already on the ground and an early form of anarcho-tyranny already is in place.

      • Sad to say, I like the way you think, although it leads to a depressing conclusion!

      • I kind of have a cyclical view of history, the view that history is inevitably cyclical. The material reason, I suppose, is that each condition breed a certain type, when then permits a successive condition to develop. And so on, until the civilization slowly fails.

      • Whether or not there is a guaranteed income has little to do with the demographic condition or whether paradoxical anarchy is the tool used to control the lowest classes.

      • The recent acquittal of the illegal alien who shot the girl in the park in SF seems like pretty strong evidence that what you describe is in fact happening already.

        This goes in my “bucket list”. My bucket list is not a list of things which I want to do before I die but a list of things which I would like to be reminded of on my death bed, so that I will be happy I am dying. Thanks.

  3. What remains to be seen is if Trump can translate these policy goals into reality on the ground. He deserves credit for annunciating these goals, but that is just step 1 of many, many more…..

    So far, Trump has all America’s international rivals and adversaries, the entire DEM party, media, entertainment, tech, academia, Never Trumpers, NeoCons, and the apathetic, against him and his agenda. With him is perhaps 30% of American voters and the enormous power of the Office of POTUS.

    • Trump and 30% of America against everyone else—-seems about right. I’ll stick with Trump.

    • Since Day 1, TeamTrump has been conducting foreign policy on the “four main principles: protecting the U.S. homeland; advancing American prosperity and economic security; a stronger, more capable military, and advancing U.S. influence.” https://www.voanews.com/a/new-us-national-security-strategy…/4160972.html The
      media/punditocracy has deliberately NOT covered the more than thirty bilateral Official Visits, which have been structured on those four principles.

      It has been a bipartisan Wilsonian+Neo-Con campaign of obstruction, and worse, creation of alternate ‘news’, e.g. Tillerson rumors. I noticed, because all I follow is foreign policy. I could
      document here what has not been reported on India, since PM Modi’s visit on
      June 26, but, here is the Africa Ministerial on Nov. 17, which was a follow-up to UNGA week, Sept 19-21. Zero American media coverage of the Nov. 17 Africa Ministerial. There is a subset of the press corps who ONLY follow State. They knew, but chose to bury this news. Two weeks later, I commented at https://www.the-american-interest.com/2017/12/05/macrons-african-ambitions/ because the post at TAI was a ‘distraction’, about Macron’s neo-colonial visit to Africa…and the absence of a Trump counter-terror policy.

      Meanwhile, get a clue about President Trump’s policy priorities for Africa, and the rest of the world: prosperity is ALWAYS at the top of his strategy, his speeches, and team bilaterals. Usually, energy is key to the bilateral meets & action lists.
      How did Barnett miss this serious program: 11 17 2017 Ministerial on Trade, Security, and Governance in Africa
      TRANSCRIPT: https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2017/11/275755.htm
      Remarks at the Ministerial on Trade, Security, and Governance in Africa
      Rex W. Tillerson Secretary of State; Loy Henderson Conference Room Washington, DC speech in captions:
      Of the 10:50 minute, well written speech, in this order:
      2:50 promoting trade and investment
      2:33 encouraging good governance
      1:33 countering terrorism
      1:12 greater support re:North Korea
      […]Through Power Africa, for example, the United States and its partners have helped the private sector
      bring 82 power projects to Sub-Saharan Africa. [Minute 4:53]

      Our Goal To enable electricity access by adding New Electricity Connections 60 million with 30,000 Megawatts of new and cleaner power generation. Launched in June 2013: As of December, 2017: 60% of the MW achieved are from natural gas. 10.6 million connections reaching 50 mil people; 2,000 MW operational.
      Sept., 2017 Power Africa Annual Report:https://www.usaid.gov/powerafrica/annualreport
      Dec., 2017 Fact Sheet: https://www.usaid.gov/documents/1860/power-africa-fact-sheet-122017
      […]The Government of France signed a Declaration of Intent (DOI) with Power Africa that committed $2.15 billion, to be realized through its support to AREI.[…]

      https://www.usaid.gov/press-releases/dec-4-2017-united-states-and-israel-announce-partnership-increase-energy Monday, December 4, 2017 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
      Today, the Government of the United States and the Government of Israel entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to advance the common goals of reducing energy poverty and increasing access to
      energy in sub-Saharan Africa through innovative partnerships between private enterprise, African governments, and foreign assistance. The U.S. Government will implement this MOU through the Power Africa Coordinator’s Office, led by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)[…]

      Turned out the timing of the Israel MOU was linked to Israeli public diplomacy with several key African nations, and the Jerusalem Embassy announcement. No coincidence.

  4. Obama said over and over again ” this is not who we are as a people ”
    Trump said this is who we are as a people .
    Good for Trump .

    • This is who ignorant, hate filled rednecks are. Congratulations.

      • I quote Obama and paraphrase Trump and from that your analysis is I’m a hate filled redneck . Well O K fine . Hope you enjoy the holiday season with your family and friends if you have any .

      • This is who paid DNC trolls are – 34000 posts and counting – proof that it has no job, no life, and no brain.

      • I wonder if Soros provides those posters with full medical/dental/retirement? If not, they should strike.

      • As opposed to piss poor paid radical left wing trolls?

        I will be a redneck all day long.

      • Of course you will. You have no choice. You were born into it. Like the untouchables in India.

      • Ah. So you are admitting to prejudice against people of lower socio-economic class. Yes, that’s much better than the racism you accuse others of.

      • Yeah but you screw your mom AND your sister…so we add the proverbial grain of salt…

    • Yes indeed good for Trump, but the blessed difference is this president SHOWS who we are as a people by implementing policies consistent with the country’s time-honored principles and without ever once using that odious phrase continuously shoved down our throats by a clueless Obama.

      • POTUS did say it once, in the best context, the speech got wrongly spinned by American media/pundits as “(blood and soil) nationalism”:

        https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/07/06/remarks-president-trump-people-poland-july-6-2017 July 6, 2017, Krasiński Square, Warsaw, Poland, 1:16 P.M. CEST
        […] The triumph of the Polish spirit over centuries of hardship gives us all hope for a
        future in which good conquers evil, and peace achieves victory over war. […]

        One hundred years after the entry of American forces into World War I, […]

        We are confronted by another oppressive ideology — one that
        seeks to export terrorism and extremism all around the globe. […]

        We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at
        the center of our lives. And we debate everything. We challenge
        everything. We seek to know everything so that we can better know ourselves. (Applause.)

        And above all, we value the dignity of every human life, protect the rights of every person, and share the hope of every soul to live in freedom.
        That is who we are. […]

        As long as we know our history, we will know how to build our future. […]

        Our freedom, our civilization, and our survival depend on these bonds of history, culture, and memory. […]

      • Yes, that’s true. Trump’s speeches are consistently wonderful. Yesterday’s foreign policy speech was another magnificent example … and of course the establishment pundits are picking it apart.

    • In fairness, Obama had his head up his as$ – so his words rang true to his existential experience.

    • Adding Trumpism is NOT Jacksonianism, which VDH picked up from Walter Russell Mead. It is from the part of American presidential history that is not well described, but, this campaign poster from 1900 sure looked close, except no return to the gold standard. There are elements from McKinley, TR, Harding, and Coolidge in “Trumpism”, all as a correction to the 100 years of Wilson-FDR-LBJ-Obama.
      1900 reelection poster celebrates McKinley standing tall on the gold standard with support from soldiers, sailors, businessmen, factory workers and professionals. Northwestern Litho. Co, Milwaukee https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ccfdc9893d27f69405bdc35e7f53f563a3d3fe69292671dbf1b5e195fab8874b.jpg [Yes, I know, Too many white men!] McKinley announced a shift from protectionism to fair trade the week he was assassinated. TR’s progressivism was where America should have stopped; his speak softly/big stick is very misunderstood; Harding’s ‘Return to Normalcy’ expressed the revolt against Wilsonian scientific progressivism. Coolidge was the last American President to follow the U.S. Constitution, a legacy tainted by New Deal Historians.

  5. Nice words but ultimately meaningless as long as our university system is turning out graduates who have been taught to hate our country and everything it stands for. The past four decades at almost all levels of the educational system have weakened our national resolve enough to destroy the country from within if it is not turned dramatically and quickly 180 degrees.

    • Jack, civilizations form for collective security against elimination. War has always been a part of the human condition—the ultimate competition if you will. University teachings will become irrelevant within a few moments of the first shots (missiles) fired.

    • Just to assuage your fears a bit: I have about half a century’s experience as a professor teaching chemistry and some radiochemistry risk assessment, nuclear engineering, and environmental chemistry — in other words “hard science ” — even the enviro part, since i am a confirmed skeptic about the war on carbon dioxide. I have found that the science students by and large are too engaged in learning what they need to learn to pay much attention to “safe spaces,” etc.

      • That was also true half a century ago. While the SDS was busy demonstrating and burning draft cards, we science students did not have time to pay any attention to them. CMU EE 1971.

      • Spent more time in Hammerschlag Hall myself than I care to remember sometimes. I think that you’re right though that at the end the serious students are going to spend time worrying about finishing their degrees and moving onto something else. The tax plan that’s up for vote this week will be the first nail in the coffin of “progressive” higher education which should help reduce the number of protesters on campus.

      • Yes, hard sciences and engineering schools do not go in for such nonsense, but then again they know they will be gainfully employed after graduation while the others will be baristas at Starbucks. The problem that the left has with hard sciences and engineering is that there is a right answer in those sciences, and they thrive on ambiguity or just name calling.

      • Unfortunately, it is usually not scientists and engineers who shape public opinion and policy. I fear the Prof. Frankensteins who create social justice warriors with a thirst for power are out-producing you.

    • American colleges and universities are an existential threat to America. Odd BHO’s pronouncements did not identify that threat… oh, wait, existential threats to a continuing and thriving America were things to be nurtured and cultivated in the mind of that a***o*e.

    • I have asked this question several times and I have never received an answer! WHY do not the legislatures in at LEAST the red states demand massive changes in their university and educational systems? How is it that they allow a University to have over 90% of the professors and more to control what and how education is implemented? How is it possible when over half of the people who send their children to these universities and who pay the taxes and all the rest have no voice in the quality of the education they are paying 100K and more to “educate” their young adults? Can anyone answer that? Please.

      • The anti-white hate campaign flourishing in our universities is supported by the leftist democrats and msm. Have you ever seen Hillary, any democrat or anyone in the msm object to what’s going on in academia? They keep quiet about it because they support it and block any attempt to make changes. The left is insane.

      • Your answer is playing out right now at the University of Missouri.

      • I didn’t find any info on google. This should be something all people concerned with the quality of “higher” education should be complaining about to their state reps etc. It is a true disgrace. It is the biggest weapon the left has in indoctrinating young minds.

      • I was referring to the steep drop in applications and enrollment Mizzou has experienced since the football team and Melissa Click fiascoes of 2015. Hope that helps.

      • Thank you. That makes sense of course, but that is the parents sending their children elsewhere. Marginal improvement, but the disease exists pretty much everywhere. I still think that, AS USUSAL, the politicians in these states are asleep at the switch! I still just don’t understand why I have not seen or heard of any real outrage and actions taken to reverse the absurd imbalance in our educational system country wide. It is change needed on the most basic levels to move toward a more representative educational system, and that is nationwide.

  6. I’m trying to ascertain whether the “Jacksonian” refers to Andrew Jackson (who’s biography I’m currently reading) or the much maligned (Senator from Boeing) American hero “Scoop” Jackson? Either way, it’s all good!

  7. The Trump Doctrine shines forth like the sunshine of reason breaking through the Obama-era fog of obfuscation and denial. Watch as the pundits, on cue, start wailing and rending their garments over the “dark” and “dangerous” Trumpian national security strategy, just as they did over Trump’s honest and forthright Inaugural Address.

  8. Dr. Hanson appreciates Trump and his courageous annunciation about hard truths of human kind. That’s good enough for me!

  9. Carry a big stick and a big mouth so everybody knows it. Lead on, Mr President.

  10. Physician heal thyself! If we can’t make progress then how can we expect anyone else to? If we are not strong enough to resist the infections from terrorism, and criminals flooding our borders, how can we expect anyone else to? If we can’t do what is needed to pull our people out of poverty and improve their situation, how can we expect anyone else to?

    And no, UN resolutions do not help.

  11. Jacksonian?
    So, we are in favor of slavery again?
    So, we are going to have another Trail of Tears?

    • Lincoln had an equally bad record with regard to Native Americans and he had the same position as Jackson with regard to slavery.

  12. The US under Trump isn’t leading anyone. He can’t even lead his own people who my a majority despise and distrust him. There is nothing “principled” about him as a man or a leader. The biggest danger we face is that in a crisis the majority of Americans wouldn’t trust or support their president.

    • Apparently, you missed the last eight years. And, you also missed today’s story, at Politico, detailing how Obama ran interference for AlQaeda while they were running Cocaine into this country.

      “In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation.

      The campaign, dubbed Project Cassandra, was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed evidence that Hezbollah had transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.”

      You’re not very smart, are you?


      • Did I mention Obama? No. You don’t know a thing about my opinion on Obama. You just know that I think Trump is a vile human being that I wouldn’t support or trust under any circumstances.

      • So don’t support him.
        You get a vote again in 3 years.
        Meanwhile Trump is doing a pretty good job, against America’s enemies both foreign and domestic.

      • I don’t support him. Don’t trust him either. Don’t think he believes in our foundational principles of democracy and liberty, or has a moral compass or any human decency. In fact even in a time of crisis or war I wouldn’t trust or support him. That’s probably what is most dangerous is over 50% of Americans wouldn’t believe a word he said or support him in any sort of crisis.

  13. The challenge is that maintaining a strong and world-spanning military invites Presidential adventurism. No modern Congress has ever constrained a President from using the military that already exists. Once existing force is committed to some foreign adventure, Congress meekly provides the funding to continue or expand it. That is why we have not actually declared War (a power reserved to Congress) since 1941.

    The Founders were very suspicious of a “standing army”, and for good reason. A standing army is accountable in practice only to the commander-in-chief, not to the People or Congress.

  14. Jacksonian???
    The main thing that comes to mind is Andrew Jackson and the War of 1812 which went like this:
    -In 1791 the “Bank of the United States” was created with a 20 year charter-but in actuality it was a privately held bank owned by private banks
    -Due to Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson the charter was not renewed when it came up in 1811.
    -Nathan Rothschild issued an ultimatum “Either the application for the renewal of the charter is granted or the United States will find itself in a disastrous war”
    -Andrew Jackson replied “You are a den of thieves-vipers. I intend to rout you out and by the Eternal God, I will rout you out”
    -Nathan Rothschild replied “Teach these impudent Americans a lesson. Bring them back to colonial status”
    The British government launched the war of 1812 (a bankers war) and even though the US won this war by 1816 the charter was renewed. The intention of the Rothschild was to impoverish the US by this war. By 1834 a recession set in. The Bank demanded all loans paid immediately extending the recession.
    Jackson declared “the bank is trying to kill us -but I will kill it”
    -In 1835 the Rothschild family sent an assassin named Richard Lawrence who failed.
    -By 1913 the Federal Reserve was born which is neither “Federal” for it is made up of private banks, nor a “Reserve” for it has no reserves and finally it is not a national bank. We have none.

  15. Plenty of fancy words, but when he gets to the final section — there is just nothing specific to this Hacksonian plan. I don’t hear anything different that what previous administrations other than an attempt at tough guy talk. In the end it is just image politics and political swipes at imagined critics and criticism…

    • Putin wanted Trump because LNG requires years of diplomacy with Europe which Trump undermined.

  16. Trump 2017: “America first is the duty of our government and the foundation for U.S. leadership in the world. A strong America is in the vital interests of not only the American people, but also those around the world who want to partner with the United States in pursuit of shared interests, values, and aspirations.”

    Obama 2015: “Any successful strategy to ensure the safety of the American people and advance our national security
    interests must begin with an undeniable truth—America must lead. Strong and sustained American
    leadership is essential to a rules-based international order that promotes global security and prosperity as
    well as the dignity and human rights of all peoples. The question is never whether America should lead,
    but how we lead.”

    Huge difference. Huge.

  17. What I find most repulsive and grotesquely insane about the left is their anti-white bigotry. Chicago could explode in major race rioting at any time due to leftists constantly telling blacks that white people have “white privilege” and support “institutional racism” which is oppressing them.

    Leftists often tell me that Chicago is a uniquely bad situation. That’s obviously not true. Cities like Baltimore, Detroit, Memphis, Milwaukee and Ferguson are also powder kegs which could explode at any time. Actually, Ferguson has already exploded and is a ruin. Just imagine trying to sell your home in Ferguson so you could get away from that nightmare.

    Last year I read that millionaires are fleeing from Chicago because the fear crime and race riots. I told a Vietnamese friend at work ( in Chicago ) about this and he said if he was a rich white guy he’d go to Asia to live because white people are respected in Asia and they’re not here.

    I probably would go to Asia if I was rich. I sure wouldn’t stay on this sinking ship.

    • What does any of this have to do with Trump? Nothing. All of your comments are about the “hate whitey left” as if Trump were the one and only alternative. He is not.

      • If the deplorably evil hag Hillary had won she’d be using the federal government to grind working class whites, the “deplorables”, into the dirt and the hate whitey msm would be cheering her on for doing so.

        Regardless of his flaws, Trump is still infinitely better than anything on the left. Just imagine all federal agencies being run by partisan hacks like Lois Lerner or a leftist like her being appointed to the Supreme Court. That’s what we’d have if Hillary had won.

        The hate whitey fanaticism flourishing in our pigsty universities would also be promoted in our high schools, elementary schools and even kindergartens if the left had their way. I do not have the slightest particle of trust for your hate whitey left.

        I think you people are insane and you see people like me as deplorably evil racists who simply must be stopped. We lack a common reality which means we have no country. Can we coexist without a country? Probably not but we’ll find out for sure soon enough since our wonderfully progressive society is rapidly unraveling.

    • True Max you would do well in Asia. Europeans do well in Asia. They are treated with greater respect than Asians are in the West. I am a Sri Lankan just to let you know.

      • Just to let you know, the Vietnamese I work with do not see me as a white devil oppressor and they definitely do feel they are vastly better off here than in Vietnam.

        America has already ceased to exist as a country and is a low intensity race war of the left against white people. Am I surprised that you’re Asian? Not at all. Why would I be? I am quite aware that there are plenty of leftists in Asia and among Asians here. White people obviously do not have a monopoly on leftist ideology.

        God only knows how much longer this place can stagger along or what fate has in store for us but it sure has definitely ceased to exist as a country.

      • I mentioned me being Asian so that my reply is not seen as that from a non Asian. I am conservative, not left and I have no idea where you get it that you would be surprised I am Asian.
        “America has already ceased to exist as a country and is a low intensity race war of the left against white people”
        that ‘low intensity race war” includes Asians like myself. Whites are not the only victims. But do whites do better in Asia? yes. That was the crux of my reply.

      • Sorry Marathon. I just assumed you were a leftist who was attacking me. I think you should realize though that even if Trump really is a totally worthless person he’s still much better than what’s on the left.

        “Whites are not the only victims”. Actually, our whole society is a victim. The most horrifyingly destructive thing the left does is to constantly stir up racial grievance among blacks. Demonizing the police is an good example of that and it’s society in general and blacks in particular who pay the price for it.

        Leftists always work to create a divide between whites and “people of color” but the real divide is between blacks and non-blacks. Last January a Vietnamese friend at work ( the same one who said if he was a rich white guy he’d go to Asia to live ) sent me a horrifying YouTube video called “The lost streets of Chicago-BBC News” about the incredibly severe social breakdown on the south and west sides of Chicago. He lives on the southwest side and I live on the northwest side.

        The video is a good example of why the Vietnamese, Hispanics and a few Asian Indians I work with are appalled by black behavior and avoid black areas whenever possible. Earlier this year I was talking to an Asian Indian oral surgeon who voted for Trump ( the lesser of the evils, she said ). We first started talking about Chicago which always leads to crime which always leads to race. She said she’s not afraid of people like the Vietnamese, Hispanics or Muslims but she is afraid of blacks. Actually, even blacks are afraid of other blacks but you’ll never see any mention of that in our wonderfully progressive msm.

        My hope is that science will save us. I read earlier this year that there’s been more progress made in artificial intelligence in the last 3 years than in the last 3 decades and CRISPR, the new DNA editing technology is also moving very fast. There is no God who will save us so hopefully science will. Perhaps things like artificial intelligence and fiddling around with our DNA will just cause us to tumble out of the frying pan into the fire but at least it’s chance to change, hopefully for the better.

      • It is an understandable misunderstanding. Back in 2008 I had a fall out with some of my relatives because I refused to vote for Obama due to his platform, not his race. I voted for Trump again based on his platform, not race.
        I do not think technology is the answer to human relations. Simple things like common courtesy and good manners goes far. Religion helps a lot. In Ceylon no matter how heated arguments became between Burgers (Dutch/Portuguese decent) or Americans, English and native Ceylonese race and ethnicity were not used as weapons to hurt. It could be life back in 60’s Ceylon and I know it had a lot to do with Christian and Buddhist courtesies.
        I can understand that sense of fear and awkwardness towards low class blacks but not educated upper class blacks. At the same time American blacks suffer terribly due to many issues. A friend once told me that as a community they are “psychologically damaged” and I believe that stems from our society’s way of treating them.
        America’s society has gone down hill. Because of America’s wealth and power we have to compare our progress (or regress) to ourselves and our past, not so much with other nations. Going by that we were a more civil society in the 50’s and before that. Since then from family to community have fallen apart.

  18. Outstanding work, as usual Dr. Hanson, but I have one troubling question:

    As we transition to a majority non-white nation (and already are close if not there in the prime military age bracket), how will we maintain credible levels of military personnel when the ranks of those from which such personnel are drawn are composed of people we will be asking most likely to go to war with those who look like them? “What you mean ‘we’, kimo-sabe?”

    • I think you’re right, but the ethnic dimension alone might not be fatal if the new, non-white people were assimilated into the old, Euro-Christian, American culture. Sadly, all of the institutions that used to serve that purpose now are instruments of disintegration.

      Millions of soldiers in both world wars were ethnic Germans, yet they performed as well as anyone else when they were sent to fight German soldiers. Still, the government during WWII, not hobbled by the doctrine of “diversity,” was evidently mindful of the point you raised, because they sent the Nisei regiment (442d Regiment) to the European Theater, not the Pacific.

  19. “In sum, the Trump NSS takes a tragic rather than therapeutic view of human nature,”

    I’m assuming to a mind such as Dr. Hanson’s this is the ultimate put down to progressives and their army of unicorns.
    Most progressives won’t even know they’ve just been insulted. Carry on my good man, carry on.

  20. Bravo, VDH. Side Note: I did my War College paper on US Public Diplomacy. For background, I looked at the NSSs and NMSs since the 80s. I was shocked at the Clinton products, I defy anyone to make sense of them.

  21. This “new” Trump Doctrine is not new. It is the resurrection of foreign policy realism that had been suppressed for a quarter century by the
    neocon/liberal hawk monopoly on the policy levers in Washington. From Nixon through George HW Bush, realists like Bush, Baker and Scowcroft guided foreign policy in much the same channels that Trump, McMaster and Mattis are now outlining, based on realist principles developed by Machiavelli, Morgenthau, Mearsheimer, and (see article below) Harvard’s Kissinger and Stephen Walt, who must be high-fiving each other today.

    “What if realists were in charge of U.S. foreign policy?”

    By Dr. Stephen M. Walt April 30, 2012

    “Realists focus mostly on power and believe that the anarchic structure of world politics encourages powerful states to compete with each other for security. Not necessarily because they want to, of course, but because powerful states cannot take each other’s benevolent intentions for granted.

    “…liberal interventionists are just “kinder, gentler neocons,” while neocons just “liberal interventionists on steroids.” …The liberal/neoconservative alliance is responsible for most of America’s major military interventions of the past two decades….realists have been largely absent from the halls of power … It’s obviously impossible to know for sure, but here’s my Top Ten List of What Would Have Happened if Realists Had Been in Charge.

    #1. No war in Iraq.

    #2: No “Global War on Terror.”

    #3. Staying out of the nation-building business.

    #4. A restrained strategy of “Offshore Balancing.”

    #5. No NATO expansion.

    #6: No Balkan adventures.

    #7. A normal relationship with Israel.

    #8: A more sensible approach to nuclear weapons.

    #9. No Libyan intervention.

    #10. A growing focus on China.”

    To really understand the tidal shift in foreign policy that this “new” Trump Doctrine represents, Dr.Walt’s full article, although five years old, is still worth reading at:


    • Our biggest mistake was invading Iraq. I work with Assyrians from Iraq who say our invasion was like a huge tsunami that hit their country and destroyed everything. They say as bad as Saddam was he was still far better than what they’ve got now plus he did protect the Christians. One Assyrian recently said to me “All of Iraq is ruined”. They’re heartbroken over what happened to their country.

      So are the Vietnamese over what happened to Vietnam. They say it’s just a big, impoverished prison camp where the government tolerates no opposition or criticism. They’re smart and hard working people so if the south hadn’t fallen to the communists it’d probably be as prosperous and free as South Korea is. They are painfully aware of that.

      Hopefully fate will be kind to us and spare us from the dreadful nightmare which befell their former countries.

      • We invaded Iraq because Bush/Cheney accepted the conventional wisdom that we had hit “peak oil” and Iraq had the reserves to satisfy Chinese demand. Bush presented Iraq with a golden opportunity and unfortunately the Iraqis squandered that opportunity and $100 barrel oil.

  22. Obama not only gave Iran $150 billion and pushed Euros to do more business with the fanatical, genocidal regime–but he blocked U.S. investigations into criminal enterprises (including running drugs into the U.S.) run by Iran’s terror proxy Hezbollah. Obama mocked ISIS as the “JV squad” and did nothing as Russia and Iran moved into Syria and Assad crossed his “red line” by using chemical weapons. Obama gleefully gutted the military. God, what a mess Trump inherited.

    • What a mess we all inherited. Does America even still exist as a country?

  23. Barry Lynn argues rather convincingly that the Western nations are about to exit their time on the stage of history, to be replaced by China, which will rule the world perhaps until the end of time. Why? Because the Chinese accept eugenics as a positive good and are not hampered by Western liberal ethical concerns about population control and genetic manipulation. Lynn does hedge a little, saying that some cataclysmic socio-political upheaval in the West might prevent it, but his bet is on China. It is clear that he sees the Western concern for individual rights vs. the East Asian tendency to think in terms of value to the group as the straw that will eventually break the back of the West.

  24. Why? Were Washington, Adams, Hamilton and the other High Federalists a corrupt and incompetent elite destroying the country? You confuse our situation with theirs and misunderstand why we got where we are. Democracy is not the cure, it is the disease.

  25. Great essay. Just one small quibble…I do not envision, and think we should not even fantasize, a future global order where all countries are as one. At the root, it is this fantasy that created the Never Trump community who resist Trump because he wants to undo their globalist project. We should oppose globalist ideas in their entirety and focus on refining values we have inherited from 2000 yrs of western civilization. America has prospered and the world has benefitted enormously from these values. Yes, we’ve made mistakes, but we learn and improve with time. There is no need to abandon this long, proven heritage to chase after a dream of dubious practicality. We can sit in circles, hold hands, and sip Coke inside of America. Let the other countries do as they will.

  26. Even you recognize that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to improve our crumbling infrastructure, build our military, provide for the general welfare of our citizens, while giving this huge tax cut, mostly to those who already have them most wealth. Supply side reasoning has never been successful at anything other than raising the deficit.

    What this doctrine also totally fails to recognize, is that the world has changed drastically since Reagan. Building a military and threatening war is either self-destructive and/or makes us look like fools. What are Trump’s solutions: war with North Korea? War with Iran? Look at what he has done in Syria: drop one bomb and then yield to Russia.

    What Trump is doing is to make America appear afraid of every foreigner, every immigrant, and almost everyone who disagrees with him. Why do so many “conservatives” find it necessary to carry guns?

    Trump has attacked the institutions of democracy, and constantly lies to the country. He attacks everyone from football players to TV stars, but defends a man who stalks women, flouts the Constitution and openly hates Muslims.

    Yet, because the stock market went up for a while, and the tax cut goes to Republican donors, you all think he shows strength. The rest of the world thinks you all are either greedy and racist, or just plain fools, sucked in by a huckster who doesn’t even know what’s in the bills he supports.