VICTOR DAVIS HANSON AND JEAN-FRANCOIS REVELVictor Davis Hanson
writes with muscular prose and has been a provocative and successful historian, comfortable in going against the academic grain. I confess to rather liking many of the things he has to say in his books about the ancient world, not that I am any kind of an expert in the classics. On the other hand, as a pundit, Hanson has a tendency to make rhetorical leaps based upon assumptions that I would argue he has not thought through very well.
VDH's comments on new developments in military theory
, for example, showed him to be poorly informed about 4GW and NCW, though it would have been simple enough to do some basic reading before going off on a tangent. Similarly, today's pessimistic post "Will the West Stumble?
" shows a certain analytical hastiness and factual sketchiness in Hanson's rush to gloom. His heart is in the right place; Hanson worries about all the right things to be worried about in the Terror War but I'm not inclined to believe, even with the extent to which we have bungled Iraq, that everything is going to come out exactly wrong for us in the end.
Hanson reminds me a lot of Jean-Francois Revel
, the brilliant, anti-communist, French intellectual who thumbed his nose at European opinion and fearlessly penned How Democracies Perish
in 1983, a searing look at the West's faltering confrontation with Soviet Communism. The only problem with Revel's deeply thoughtful but despairing analysis was that he wrote it but two years before Gorbachev would introduce glasnost
, six years before the fall of the Berlin Wall and eight years before the USSR itself ceased to exist.
The Soviets were not ten feet tall. Our Islamist enemies today are even shorter. We will take knocks along the way but pessemism be damned, America is going to win.