Obama’s “Bush Did It” Narrative – by Jamie Glazov


Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and historian at Stanford University”s Hoover Institution.


FP: Victor Davis Hanson, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

I’d like to talk to you today about radical Islam and the Obama administration’s ability and inclination, or lack thereof, to confront it.

What’s the best way to begin this discussion?

Hanson: Thanks Jamie.

The paradigm of discussing radical Islam is entirely different after January 20. Jihad has been institutionalized now as a benign personal odyssey rather than explicatory of the sort of murderous attacks we have seen since 1979 directed at the West, most recently with the four Islamic plots to kill Americans by radical Islamists since Obama has taken office.

Obama’s interview with al Arabiya and his Cairo speech had two clear themes: his own personal heritage makes him uniquely qualified to undo the Bush damage; and we in the West have been equally culpable for the strained relations.

This sort of moral equivalence is little concerned with any redress of pathologies that in fact led to 9/11: Western appeasement of, or indifference to, radical Islam, whose extremism was the natural dividend of a region torn by enormous oil wealth, and age old statism, tribalism, gender intolerance, and dictatorship. In the era of Obama, radical Islam and the West merely have different narratives, rather than a fascistic creed trying to destroy the notion of Western freedom and tolerance.

Abroad as both sides refocus on the Afghanistan theater, somehow Obama is more demoralized by our victory in Iraq than the Islamists are by their defeat; and we have forgotten in the Bush ‘reset’ button rhetoric that support for bin Laden and suicide bombing–given the terrible dividends they earned–had plummeted in polls in the Middle East. In addition, in the “Bush did it” Obama narrative there was no mention of the arrest of Dr. Khan, the Syrian exit from Lebanon,  the surrender of the Libyan WMD stockpiles, or the absence of another 9/11.

The result is that many in the radical Islamic world–especially after Obama’s serial trashing of the Bush-era security protocols like retaps, intercepts, and Guantanamo– may well be emboldened to think that either America questions its successful efforts at thwarting another attack since 9/11, or in some strange way sympathizes with some of the writs against itself.

FP: What explains the Obama administration’s behaviour and viewpoint in this context?

Hanson: a) Obama is a product of his education and early life, in which America being culpable for  a variety of sins was the gospel , as we see from his associates like Ayers, to his minister like Wright, to the general force of his community organizing in Chicago, to his most partisan voting record in the Senate;

b) Obama, like many elites on the left who thrived in the academic and organizing/grant-giving world, understood that his exotic name, his mixed heritage, his father’s Muslim roots could all be combined to present some sort of revolutionary aura within the confines of the university that would pay career dividends, and then among the general public, if packaged with a charismatic and conciliatory persona, could make one feel comfortable and good about one’s supposed liberality; he thrived on being a ‘revolutionary’ lite figure in a non-threatening manner, and it’s hard to give up a winning hand at this late stage;

c) Obama has almost no real experience with an America outside the victim politics of Chicago and the melodramas of the university. He has never run a business, never worked hard with his hands, never had to meet a budget, never understood how money is made, but instead essentially pleaded his cause to win fellowships and grants, dispensed someone else’s money as a board member, made claims against government (“organizing”), and written his autobiographies at a young age.

Life, in other words, was pretty easy, as the path from Harvard Review to Nobel Prize Winner was characterized by smoothing rhetoric and a host of people who, for a host of psychological reasons of their own, wished to give him something for something he didn’t earn. Now he oddly seems surprised that not all those abroad are as wowed as the 2008 American electorate.

FP: What is at stake if Obama continues along this path?

Hanson: We have an eerie resemblance to Carterism circa 1977: the sermons, the apologies, the trashing of predecessors, the moralizing, the transnational utopianism—all manifested in naiveté about Khomeini, the selling out of the Shah, the downplaying of a communist threat, which, in 1-2 year’s time (it takes a while for others to size up an American president), earned communist expansion in Central America, the Soviets in Afghanistan, the hostage taking in Teheran, uncertainty in Korea, the rise of radical Islam and a weakened US military.

In Obama’s terms that would mean earning a nuclear Iran, a Russia convinced that we will not object to corrections in its regional map, a China eyeing opportunities everywhere, South America reverting back to a sixties credo, Europe oddly remorseful that it got what it wanted (a soft-power, Europeanized America), Israel without an ally, and many in the Mideast convinced that America is now sympathetic to its expansive and non-ending grievances. We may well see a new era of nuclear proliferation as never before.

FP: How would you compare Obama to Clinton and Carter in terms of damaging American and Western security?

Hanson: It is still early, but the two are instructive. Carter’s self-righteousness ended in disaster and was corrected by Reagan. Clinton, for all his appeasement of radical Islam, the defense cuts, Mogadishu, Haiti, and dithering in the Balkans, at the end became finally somewhat Trumanesque: he removed Milosevic without a lot of bipartisan support, he enforced the no-fly-zones and called for regime change in Iraq, and he tried to project a centrist bipartisan foreign policy, albeit replete with the normal apologies and liberal flourishes. But he was not Jimmy Carter.

Obama? He has a choice; he can correct as Clinton did domestically in 1995 and save his presidency, or he can go the finger-wagging, sanctimonious route blaming the public and the “right” for not appreciating his moral genius. That will lead to political oblivion in 2012. It’s his choice at this point, and predicated on how large the midterm correction and what will be his attitude to political rebuke.

FP: And the American people stand where?

Hanson: Us in the meantime? The people will have to go through a period of national uncertainty and hope that the prior strength of the United States still offers a deterrent to would-be aggressors. I omit the foreign policy effects of borrowing $2 trillion per year to dispense on constituents, but when we hit $20 trillion in aggregate debt at a 8-10% service fee, the US then will have very few options at home or abroad. So, let us hope that either Obama or the voters, get wisdom in the meantime.

FP: Victor Davis Hanson, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.


Editor’s note: For the whole story on why the Obama administration is jeopardizing U.S. and Western security, read Jamie Glazov’s new book, United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror.

United in Hate cover

  • ktrosper

    “…but when we hit $20 trillion in aggregate debt at a 8-10% service fee, the US then will have very few options at home or abroad. “

    I'd love to know what he means by that… There's obviously a debt-bomb ticking. I wonder how VDH sees it playing out.

  • godrick

    its hard to argue with victor…anybody who does not see his logic and intellect just isnt worth the time ..

  • stevenudraco

    Very nice interview.

    Thank you Jamie for bringing Mr. Hanson to frontpagemag.


  • Robert Wargas

    Victor David Hanson is a great scholar and we need to see more of him both on this site and in the media in general.

  • LindaRivera

    Obama Says U.S. Long-Term Debt Load ‘Unsustainable’
    By Roger Runningen and Hans Nichols

    May 14 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama, calling current deficit spending “unsustainable,” warned of skyrocketing interest rates for consumers if the U.S. continues to finance government by borrowing from other countries.

    “We can’t keep on just borrowing from China,” Obama said at a town-hall meeting in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, outside Albuquerque. “We have to pay interest on that debt, and that means we are mortgaging our children’s future with more and more debt.”

    Holders of U.S. debt will eventually “get tired” of buying it, causing interest rates on everything from auto loans to home mortgages to increase, Obama said. “It will have a dampening effect on our economy.”…

    Obama admits the terrible financial destruction wrought against Americans. WHY THEN DOES OBAMA NOT IMMEDIATELY REVERSE THIS TRAGEDY?

    A major investor states America is going to reach Zimbabwe hyperinflation.

    Billions of dollars urgently needed for America's defense is instead gifted to Islam. Nuclear Iran and nuclear North Korea both state they intend to destroy America. They are not idle threats. The same venomous hate for the U.S. is shared by other nations and Muslim terrorist organizations. The treasonous response of the U.S. government to America's increasing danger, is to drastically reduce our defenses facilitating America's annihilation.

    See: Aloha, “Star Wars” By: Washington Times Editorial
    Washington Times | Monday, June 29, 2009

  • Raymond in DC

    Obama claims to be a “student of history”. But compared to Hanson, Obama is still in grade school. Heaven help us.

  • Nash

    That cover to Jamie Glazov's book is perfect! Whoever chose the cover art is a communicating genius. Good job just on the cover!

    And p.s. – great seeing Victor Davis Hanson on so many sites. More Hanson!

  • LindaRivera

    Hanson: 'Clinton…dithering in the Balkans, at the end became finally somewhat Trumanesque'

    1999 U.S./NATO WAR On Christians: RETURN TO BARBARISM
    U.S./NATO took the side of the KLA Muslim terrorist organization and waged ruthless war on Christian Serb innocents.

    Alija Izetbegovic stated in the ISLAMIC DECLARATION that:
    - “there can be neither peace nor coexistence between the Islamic faith and non-Islamic social and political institutions”;

    For National Post, May 31, 1999.

    For 69 days the democratic countries of the West have been systematically smashing to pieces a modern European state… The air strikes have degenerated into a war of annihilation against the Serbian people.

    Even before the bombing, its economy had collapsed as a result of economic sanctions. …

    It was a country that presented no threat either to its neighbors or to European security. Prior to the NATO air attack it was balancing on the edge of survival.

    Despite this, our NATO leaders — without consulting their parliaments or their people — have chosen to bomb Yugoslavia into submission.

    NATO has judged Serbian people to be collectively guilty of daring to defy an ultimatum, which no sovereign nation could have accepted.

    The civilized world is now standing by witnessing the destruction of a country and annihilation of its people.

    NATO is using the most dreadful weapons of modern warfare: cluster bombs and cruise missiles. Many of the weapons being used contain depleted uranium, which will spread deadly radioactive dust throughout the region, contaminating for generations water, soil and crops.

    NATO's unprovoked attack is a blatant violation of every precept of international law.

    To their everlasting shame, our NATO leaders have chosen war over peace in Kosovo. They have abandoned diplomacy in favor of bloodshed. .. They have smashed the framework of world security. They have guaranteed that we will start the new century as we did this one, with killing and carnage. They have left us with a terrible legacy. With six months to go before the millennium, they have taken us back to barbarism.

    Cruel global jihad is waged against the world's non-Muslim innocents – Western ruling elites help and empower Muslim jihadist supremacists in their goal of world conquest.

  • LindaRivera

    Allies with Muslim Terrorists-U.S./NATO Merciless WAR on Serb Christians

    NATO War Crimes and links to Al Qaeda confirmed former UN Commander in the Balkans

    We bombed the wrong side?
    by Lewis MacKenzie

    National Post, 6 April 2004

    Five years ago our television screens were dominated by pictures of Kosovo-Albanian refugees escaping across Kosovo's borders to the sanctuaries of Macedonia and Albania. Shrill reports indicated that Slobodan Milosevic's security forces were conducting a campaign of genocide and that at least 100,000 Kosovo-Albanians had been exterminated and buried in mass graves throughout the Serbian province.

    NATO sprung into action and, in spite of the fact no member nation of the alliance was threatened, commenced bombing not only Kosovo, but the infrastructure and population of Serbia itself…

    Those of us who warned that the West was being sucked in on the side of an extremist, militant, Kosovo-Albanian independence movement were dismissed as appeasers.

    The fact that the lead organization spearheading the fight for independence, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), was universally designated a terrorist organization and known to be receiving support from Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda was conveniently ignored.

    …Those Serbs forced to leave joined the 200,000 who had been cleansed from the province since NATO's “humanitarian” bombing in 1999…

    Since the NATO/UN intervention in 1999, Kosovo has become the crime capital of Europe. The sex slave trade is flourishing. The province has become an invaluable transit point for drugs…

    The objective of the Albanians is to purge all non-Albanians…from Kosovo The campaign started with their attacks on Serbian security forces in the early 1990s…

    There was no genocide as claimed by the West — the 100,000 allegedly buried in mass graves turned out to be around 2,000, of all ethnic origins, including those killed in combat during the war itself.

    The Kosovo-Albanians have played us like a Stradivarius. We have subsidized and indirectly supported their violent campaign for an ethnically pure and independent Kosovo…

    When they achieve independence with the help of our tax dollars combined with those of bin Laden and al-Qaeda, just consider the message of encouragement this sends to other terrorist-supported independence movements around the world.

    Maj-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie, now retired, commanded UN troops during the Bosnian civil war of 1992.

    U.S./NATO showed the world that you have reason to fear if you are not Muslim-but it is not always the Muslims who are to be feared.

  • Musicvideos123

    its economy had collapsed as a result of economic sanctions.
    Music Videos

  • pictures

    The same venomous hate for the U.S. is shared by other nations and Muslim terrorist organizations.
    Celebrity Pictures

  • WestWright

    Thanks LindaR….I find what you say about the EU/ German/ US/NATO attack on Serbia to be exactly as discribed in your postings, a contrived attack on a Christian nation to the advantage of Islamic conquest at the doorstep of Europe. The fact that even an Historian/Pundit such as VDH would propagate this Big Lie makes me very squeamish about what else VDH has covered up. IIR, he was a so-so supporter of BHO but finally came around to understanding the reality. I like most of his work, but VDH sends a mild tinkle of Lefty thinking into his work….

  • StewartIII

    NewsBusters: Did Gen. David Petreaus Utter the Forbidden Word?