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

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Donald Trump

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In his victory speech after the April 26 primaries, Trump focused on what he called the Obama administration’s “weakness, confusion, an disarray” on foreign policy, claiming that he would pursue instead an “America first” policy. He argued that U.S. allies “must pay for the cost” of U.S. defense, that “containing the spread of radical Islam” was a key U.S. goal, and that he would “fix our relations with China,” arguing that Beijing “respects strength, and by letting them take advantage of us economically like they are doing, we are losing all their respect.”

Frank Gaffney

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Cruz Campaign Adviser #9: Frank Gaffney, the Islamophobic ideologue who heads the neoconservative Center for Security Policy, is one of a host of right-wing hawks who are serving as foreign policy advisers to Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign. Gaffney received widespread public attention after the deadly attack in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015 when Donald Trump’s cited a widely criticized CSP poll in demanding “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

 

Ilan Berman

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Cruz Campaign Adviser #8: Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council, is a frequent commentator on U.S. Iran policy who is known for making exaggerated claims about Iran and other Middle East countries. Berman characterized the historic 2015 Iran nuclear deal “as nothing less than a Marshall Plan for the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.”

Randall Fort

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Cruz Campaign Adviser #7: Randall Fort, assistant secretary for intelligence and research in the State Department during President George W. Bush’s second term, helped direct State’s in-house intelligence unit, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). After leaving State in 2009, Fort joined the Raytheon Corporation, a major defense contractor, as a director of programs security.

Andrew C. McCarthy

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Cruz Campaign Adviser #6: Andrew McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor who is known for his extreme anti-Islamic views and wild conspiracy theories. He has argued that President Obama is a “bridge figure between the Left and the Islamists” and that it is the nature of Islam to radicalize its adherents. He has also long held that Iran had a role in the 9/11 attacks.

Jim Talent

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Cruz Campaign Adviser #5: Former Senator Jim Talent is a stalwart advocate of Pentagon spending, war in the Middle East, and one-sided U.S. support for Israel, all of which explains why he was tapped by the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute to serve as a fellow. A foreign policy adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, Talent says he would have voted for the Iraq War even if he had known the Bush administration’s claims about WMDs were false. He also says that Donald Trump is wrong for urging Washington to be a “neutral broker” in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Michael Ledeen

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Cruz Campaign Adviser #4: Michael Ledeen is a long-standing neoconservative activist based at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. An adviser to the Ted Cruz presidential campaign, Ledeen is also part of the campaign’s “Jewish leadership coalition.” He claims that the United States faces a new “Axis of Evil,” which he says is comprised of the usual suspects Iran and North Korea, as well as “Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and other countries, and terrorist groups including al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and the Islamic State.” He says that there is “no escape” from war with this axis.

 

 

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From the Wires

Is Hillary Clinton’s hawkishness on foreign policy due to core principles or political calculation?


In minimizing U.S. resort to violence, President Obama has brought conflict resolution to the Oval Office.


Whatever influence the United States seeks from sanctions depends on demonstrating that those targeted will get relief if they take the required actions, otherwise there is no incentive for change.


From spending $150 million on private villas for a handful of personnel in Afghanistan to blowing $2.7 billion on an air surveillance balloon that doesn’t work, the latest revelations of waste at the Pentagon are just the most recent howlers in a long line of similar stories stretching back at least five decades.


We need a peaceful international environment to rebuild our country. To achieve this, we must erase our strategy deficit. To do that, the next administration must fix the broken policymaking apparatus in Washington.


A recent “open-letter” to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and signed by a diverse group of U.S. foreign policy figures highlights neoconservative efforts to gain respectability within the foreign-policy establishment by persuading prominent experts to sign on to letters they circulate around Washington on specific issues of concern to them.


Polls Indicate that Iranian public is losing confidence that the United States will abide by the terms of the landmark nuclear deal.


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