Nikki Haley, who announced her resignation as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in October 2018, is a former governor of South Carolina, and has long been considered a rising star in the Republican Party. Her tenure at the U.N. was described by one observer as “an unmitigated disaster for the cause of human rights and international law.” A staunch supporter of right-wing “pro-Israel” policies, Haley notoriously warned that the U.S. was “taking names” of those opposed to U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
A mentor and staunch ally of controversial Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. District Judge Laurence Silberman has been an outspoken advocate of numerous right-wing-driven foreign and domestic agendas, including notably the campaign to invade Iraq after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A senior justice on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Silberman has harshly denounced accusations that President George W. Bush lied about the reasons for going to war and brazenly compared such claims to the rise of the Nazis. Calling accusations that the Bush administration deceived the public a “horrendous charge,” Silverman has said that such claims remind him of a “similarly baseless accusation that helped the Nazis come to power in Germany: that the German army had not really lost World War I, that the soldiers instead had been 'stabbed in the back' by politicians."
The People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, a militant organization that advocates the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran, recently gained attention due to its well-publicized connections to key figures in the Trump administration, like John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani. Supporters have also included liberal figures like Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. Previously listed as a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department, the MEK was de-listed in 2012 after a long campaign. Journalist Mehdi Hassan wrote that the MEK “lacks support inside of the Islamic Republic, where it has been disowned by the opposition Green Movement and is loathed by ordinary Iranians for having fought on Saddam Hussein’s side during the Iran-Iraq war.”
Neoconservative columnist Eli Lake has a long history of promoting aggressive U.S. policies in the Middle East and defending right-wing Israeli policies. An advocate for regime change in Iran, Lake often paints his advocacy as “support for the Iranian people,” recently writing that he wants to “help Iranians take their country back.” One journalist said of Lake that he has a “career pattern of credulously planting dubious stories from sources with strong political agendas.” An early advocate of the invasion of Iraq, Lake continued to support the decision to go to war far longer than many other like-minded ideologues.
The contradictions in Donald Trump’s foreign policy create opportunities for both rivals and long-standing (if irritated) US allies to challenge American influence. But Trump’s immediate priority is political survival, and his actions in the international arena are of little concern to his domestic supporters.
While the notion that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic is decades old, it has been bolstered in recent years, by the campaign to add to the definition of anti-Semitism any criticism that singles Israel out and doesn’t apply the same standard to other countries. The bottom line is that this entire effort is designed not to combat anti-Semitism but to silence criticism.
Trump is not the problem. Think of him instead as a summons to address the real problem, which in a nation ostensibly of, by, and for the people is the collective responsibility of the people themselves. For Americans to shirk that responsibility further will almost surely pave the way for more Trumps — or someone worse — to come.
In many ways, Donald Trump’s bellicosity, his militarism, his hectoring cant about American exceptionalism and national greatness, his bullying of allies—all of it makes him not an opponent of neoconservatism but its apotheosis. Trump is a logical culmination of the Bush era as consolidated by Obama.