The Corner

The Vocabulary of ‘Concern’

Iran thinks it has a sort of blue-water navy. North Korea thinks it sort of has a nuclear ballistic-missile arsenal. The Taliban and the Islamists sort of think they can retake Afghanistan and topple Pakistan. Wannabe al-Qaedists in New York think they can sort of copy Islamic terrorists.

I think most can make two easy predictions about these sort of rumblings and far more to come: At some date very soon Obama will cease with the “it’s our fault,” ‘reset’ button, “Bush did it” apologetics and realize that the world cares not about the past, but only how much things can be redefined under his administration.

And, two, very soon our vocabulary of “grave concern,” “totally unacceptable,” “deepening its own isolation,” “in violation of UN resolutions,” and “inviting stronger international pressure” will become exhausted, and, as in the case of “man-caused disasters” and “overseas contingency operations,” we will have to come up with new words and phraseologies for the new mood of the times — e.g., “really grave concern,” “absolutely totally unacceptable,” “greatly deepening its own isolation,” “in extreme violation of UN resolution,” “inviting especially stronger international pressure,” etc. and on and on and on.

Victor Davis Hanson — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.

Most Popular


The Inquisitor Has No Clothes

This is a column about impeachment, but first, a confession: I think I might be guilty of insider trading. At this point, I would like to assure my dear friends at the SEC that I do not mean this in any actionable legal sense, but only in principle. Some time ago, I was considering making an investment in a ... Read More

The Present American Revolution

The revolution of 1776 sought to turn a colony of Great Britain into a new independent republic based on constitutionally protected freedom. It succeeded with the creation of the United States. The failed revolution of 1861, by a slave-owning South declaring its independence from the Union, sought to bifurcate ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Shaming Women Who Vote Right

Some progressives have decided that rather than convincing women that their candidates and policy proposals are better than those of conservatives, they will shame women who fail to vote for the Left by defining them all as racist and self-loathing tools of the patriarchy. Think I’m exaggerating? See this ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Way Forward from the Midterms

With the 2018 midterm elections now in the rearview mirror, Republicans have been awakened to a simple fact: The laws of political gravity apply to President Trump. Democrats won sweeping victories in the House, kept their Senate losses to a near-minimum despite a brutal map, and took down-ballot races with ... Read More