Victor Davis Hanson

The summer of 2014 will go down in history as the season when America fell apart. Let's take a tour of the disasters.

Germany in 2008 enthusiastically hosted candidate Barack Obama for his so-called "Victory Column" speech. Now, Germans suddenly sound as if they are near-enemies of the U.S. Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly was furious that her cell phone was tapped by American intelligence agents. She just kicked the top CIA official out of Germany, further enraged that the U.S. had recruited at least one German official to provide intelligence on the German government. Polls show that Germans find Vladimir Putin's Russian tyranny almost as popular as Barack Obama's America.

Japan is becoming similarly frustrated with the U.S. It is rearming like crazy to confront an aggressive China. Both Asian powers apparently assume that Obama won't guarantee the security of the Japanese as America had in the past.

The Middle East is dissolving. Taking U.S. peacekeepers out of Iraq proved a disaster. The radical jihadists of ISIS are overrunning Syria and Iraq, as they extend their destruction even to the mute stones of religious sanctuaries.

War looms between Israel and the Palestinians as they exchange rockets and bombs. Older Americans had an idea of what Afghanistan will look like by 2016 after Obama announced a pullout of all U.S. troops. They remember Saigon of 1975 all too well.

Crimea has become a Russian satellite. The fate of the Ukraine hangs in the balance. In between his conquests, Russia's Putin openly ridicules the impotence of the U.S. He is often called to the Middle East on the perception that he can address problems that America runs away from.

From his sanctuary perch in Russia, National Security Agency turncoat Edward Snowden is once again releasing top-secret data that shreds the credibility of the Obama administration.

Foreign leaders don't trust the U.S. They are baffled as to whether America is guilty of incompetence in hiring such a roguish dropout snoop in the first place, or guilty of cynically spying on America's best friends -- or both.

The economy shrank last quarter. Record numbers of adult Americans are still not working. Zero interest rates have destroyed the tradition of passbook savings and the very idea of thrift.

No-interest financial policies ignited a stampede to the stock market that has further enriched the one-percenters -- an artificial boom that everyone believes will soon bust.


Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.