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

Featured Profiles:

John Bolton

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John Bolton was briefly considered a top candidate to replace the controversial retired Gen. Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser. The idea of appointing Bolton, a divisive figure closely associated with neoconservative  activism, had divided Republicans, with the hawkish Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) pushing the candidacy and libertarian Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) calling him a “bad choice” who could end up promoting “secret wars.”

 

 

J.D. Crouch

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J.D. Crouch II is a former deputy national security adviser and assistant to President George W. Bush who helped develop the “troop surge” in Iraq and was considered one of the staunchest foreign policy hawks in the Bush administration. In the wake of the Michael Flynn debacle at the Trump administration’s National Security Council (NSC), Crouch was considered a likely candidate for a high level post in the NSC if retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward was chosen to replace Flynn. Harward, however, turned down Trump’s nomination, reportedly becauase of limits in his ability to choose his own staff.

Elliott Abrams

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Donald Trump’s decision to reject Elliott Abrams as number two at State because of his criticism during the election campaign upset many conservative foreign policy insiders. “The core point here is that this comes from Trump’s thin-skinnedness,” a top Republican strategist who supported Abrams told Politico. “He is the problem, this is all he cares about.” Added Eric Edelman, former undersecretary of defense in the George W. Bush administration: “It really speaks so poorly of Trump. … It robs him of somebody who could have helped him enormously.”

Michael Flynn

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Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser–already facing intense scrutiny for promoting conspiracy theories, fake news items, and attacks on Islam–was forced out of his White House job only weeks after starting. Flynn stepped down in mid-February after reports that he spoke about Obama-imposed sanctions with Russia’s ambassador before Trump’s inauguration. The reports also showed that Flynn contradicted members of Trump’s administration, including Vice President Pence, who had repeatedly rejected claims that Flynn had discussed sanctions with Russian officials. .

 

 

Victoria Coates

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Victoria Coates, a member of Donald Trump’s National Security Council and former adviser to  Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), has a long track record of working with hardline foreign policy hawks. Her neoconservative tendencies were clearly on display in early 2016 when Cruz announced his presidential campaign team, which included a host of “pro-Israel” ideologues, including Elliott Abrams,  Michael Ledeen, and Frank Gaffney. When asked about this team, Coates noted her role in assembling it: “Both Frank and Elliott are people I went out of my way to set up meetings with the Senator.”

 

Joe Lieberman

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Former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), an outspoken opponent of the Iran nuclear deal and longstanding neoconservative activitst, has been both critical and supportive of the Trump administration. While he has ridiculed Trump’s call to force Mexico to pay for the construction of a border wall, Lieberman has lauded his “sea change” on Iran policy. He recently urged Trump not to “tear up” the Iran agreement but to closely monitor Iran to see if they are not complying with the deal, “then we can break out of the agreement.”

 

 

 

Mike Pompeo

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Mike Pompeo is a “tea party” Republican was serves as CIA director in the administration. 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 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.”

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From the Wires

If, as reported, KT McFarland was allowed to choose John Bolton as her boss at the National Security Agency, it should scare the hell out of everyone.


Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with Donald Trump was overshadowed by unsettling events that preceded and followed their bizarre press conference.


The meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu provided the clearest indication yet that the United States will support Netanyahu in stepping back from the two-state solution.


Will President Donald Trump name Elliott Abrams deputy secretary of state? Although a knowledgeable and capable operator, Abrams is better known for being convicted on charges of withholding information from Congress about the Iran-Contra scandal, smearing those with whom he disagrees with charges of anti-Semitism, and defending perpetrators of mass human rights violations, including in particular people accused of genocide in the Central American conflicts of the 1980s.


Reports the the United States plans ti impose new sanctions on “Iranian entities” appears to indicate the the start of a systematic effort by the Trump administration to abrogate the Iran nuclear deal.


Trump’s support for a Muslim ban are connected to his embrace of an unscientific poll undertaken by one of his top advisors (who claims that she disseminates “alternative facts”) and commissioned by a renowned anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist.


The people who are expected to have the biggest impact on Donald Trump’s foreign policy collectively have no experience at all in this issue.


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