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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Featured Profiles:

Donald Trump

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Donald Trump is a billionaire real estate mogul, the former host of the TV game show “The Apprentice,” and the 45th president of the United States. Although Trump’s views on foreign policy and national security are frequently criticized as inconsistent and ad hoc, he has staked out a largely hawkish agenda that contrasts sharply with that of his predecessor, could overturn long-standing U.S. policies, and lead to increased instability in U.S. relations with the rest of the world. He has spoken out against the Iran nuclear agreement, brushed aside concerns about Russian overseas aggression, spoken favorably of the use of torture, promised a more direct military response on ISIS, questioned the value of NATO, called for boosting the U.S. nuclear arsenal, threatened to undermine the status quo in U.S.-China relations, and embraced a one-sided view of relations with Israel that includes moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, a move that critics warn could provoke violence across the Middle East.

 

James Mattis

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A host of neoconservative figures have vocally supported the nomination of James Mattis to head the Pentagon. Trump critic Eliot Cohen, professor at the School of Advanced International Studies and longtime proponent of overseas military intervention, says that Mattis “would be a stabilizing and moderating force, preventing wildly stupid, dangerous and illegal things.” However, in contrast to most neocons as well as other Trump nominees like Mike Pompeo, Mattis appears committed to honoring the Iran nuclear deal, which he reaffirmed during his nomination hearings.

Mike Pompeo

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Rep. Mike Pompeo is a “tea party” Republican and Trump-nominee to head the CIA. A vocal Iran critic, Pompeo has called for preemptive bombing of Iranian nuclear sites, introduced legislation that would block U.S. collaboration in the Iran nuclear deal, requested a visa from Iran to “monitor” its elections, and joined neoconservative congressional figures like Sen. Tom Cotton in misleadingly claiming that there were “secret side deals” that the Obama administration kept from the public to get the Iran deal through. Commentators have noted how Pompeo’s Religious Right outlook has led him to develop close associations with anti-Islam zealots like the Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney, who once called Pompeo “one of the most intelligent men I know in public life.”

Rudy Giuliani

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Overlooked for a cabinet post, Rudy Giuliani has been appointed to advise Donald Trump on cybersecurity matters. During the 2016 election campaign, Giuliani often justified many of Trump’s more wild campaign talking points in media interviews, including agreeing with Trump that President Obama “founded ISIS.”

 

 

 

Michael Flynn

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Trump’s National Security Adviser is facing intense scrutiny for promoting conspiracy theories and fake news items, his consistent attacks on Islam, and–most recently–his cosy relations with Russia. His positions on Russia have come under scrutiny in the wake recent U.S. intelligence reports on Russian hacking, which have presented “an especially awkward development for Mr. Flynn by indirectly casting a harsh spotlight on his relationship” with the RT Russian English-language news organization, characterized by intelligence agencies as “the Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet.”

 

Rick Perry

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Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas who was chosen by Donald Trump to head the Energy Department, once argued the department should be eliminated. Observers have expressed concern over Perry’s refusal to accept the scientific consensus on the importance of reducing carbon emissions to slow the impact of human-induced climate change. On foreign policy, Perry has defended the use of torture, said that that he would back out of the Iran agreement, and ridiculed detente with Cuba.

 

Elaine Chao

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Elaine Chao, Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of transportation, previously served as secretary of labor under George W. Bush administration, where she gained notoriety for citing Bush’s “war on terror” rhetoric as a rationale for pressing conservative policy on labor. A longtime associate of the Heritage Foundation, Chao has most recently worked as a distinguished fellow at the neoconservative Hudson Institute.

 

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From the Wires

Two eminent foreign policy analysts, historian Andrew Bacevich of Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies and political scientist John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, discuss fundamental problems with American foreign policy and the Obama legacy, particularly with respect to Israel-Palestine.


Not only is Monica Crowley, Donald Trump’s pick to head communications for the National Security Council, the subject of a wide-ranging plagiarism scandal, she pushed fringe conspiracy theories about “Islamist infiltration in the U.S.”


From a territorial perspective the Security Council resolution 2334, stating that Israel′s settlement activity constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law, represents an escalation in the way the international community relates to Israel’s borders and its settlements in the West Bank.


On Oct. 27, 2016, the UN adopted a resolution to launch negotiations in 2017 on a treaty outlawing nuclear weapon. Two weeks later the US elected Donald Trump, who subsequently argued that the US must “greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability.”


As Trump supporters gear up for a fight to weaken or destroy the Iran nuclear deal, a new poll has found that nearly two-thirds of the U.S. public opposes withdrawing from the agreement.


For all of its faults, the Obama administration was acutely aware of the limits to the use of American military force, whether it was struggling with terrorist organizations or contemplating the impact the use of force would have on achieving U.S. national security objectives.


A senior Israeli government minister has announced that he will introduce legislation to effectively annex Israel’s third-largest settlement, part of a plan to incrementally annex parts of the West Bank .


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