Right Web

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

An AEI President? Plus: The President’s Reading List

Print Friendly

An AEI President?

When George W. Bush took office in 2001, many commentators noted the high degree of influence in the administration of one particular rightist faction—the neoconservatives. A sign of the group’s clout was the large number of "scholars" from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) who were tapped to serve in the administration, a point highlighted by President Bush during a January 2003 speech at AEI celebrating the life and work of neocon progenitor Irving Kristol. After commending the institute for having "some of the finest minds in our nation," the president added: "You do such good work that my administration has borrowed 20 such minds."

The folks at AEI, however, don’t seem content with merely having their "minds" fill mid-level posts, as the early campaign for the 2008 presidency reveals. Three potential Republican candidates closely tied to the institute have been heavily promoted by neoconservatives, including Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who championed, along with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), an AEI-supported "surge" strategy during a speech at the institute in early 2007. McCain has been closely affiliated with many neoconservative leading lights like William Kristol and supported a number of neocon-led advocacy campaigns, including the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. In a late 2006 article for Foreign Policy, AEI fellow Joshua Muravchik promoted McCain’s candidacy, arguing that he was the sort of leader "who could prosecute the war on terror vigorously." He added: "As for vice presidential candidates, how about Condoleezza Rice or even Joe Lieberman? Lieberman says he’s still a Democrat. But there is no place for him in that party. Like every one of us, he is a refugee."

Then there is Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House who is currently a fellow at AEI. His hints that he might run have many neocons salivating, including writers at the Weekly Standard. In a glowing review of a speech Gingrich gave last September in which he argued that the United States was fighting World War III, the Standard opined: "His rivals should take note. The first speech of the 2008 presidential campaign was delivered on the fifth anniversary of September 11, 2001."

More recently, Fred Thompson—former senator from Tennessee, TV actor known for his role in Law and Order, and visiting fellow at AEI specializing in national security issues—has hinted that he too might run. As Tom Barry points out in a recent Right Web analysis, "The Conservative Credibility Test," many AEI-types have long been excited about Thompson’s political potential, with outlets like the Standard pushing him as a replacement for John Bolton at the United Nations and discussing at length what a Thompson presidency would look like.

The Conservative Credibility Test
By Tom Barry | April 3, 2007

The Republicans may have found a leading man for the presidential run in lawyer/thespian/senator Fred Thompson, but his ties to Corporate America and the neoconservatives may dissuade many grassroots conservatives from giving him their vote. Read full story.


Right Web Profile: Sen. John McCain
During a recent trip to Baghdad, Senator McCain saw a serene open market that he argued proved the "surge" was working; merchants there saw something different—one abnormal day of heavy security in the form of hovering attack choppers, U.S. sharpshooters on rooftops, armored Humvees, and an entire company of U.S. soldiers.

Right Web Profile: Newt Gingrich
The former Speaker of the House and current senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Gingrich has been threatening for months to officially enter the presidential race. Few but the neocons seem excited about such a possibility.

Reading on the Right
By Jim Lobe | April 5, 2007

A slew of right-wing books have turned up on the nightstands of Bush administration officials. What is remarkable about these books is—much like the cherry-picked and manipulated intelligence stove-piped to Bush in the run-up to the Iraq War—both their extraordinary ideological narrowness and their utility in the pursuit of a neoconservative agenda, especially in the Middle East. Read full story.

Right Web Profile: Bernard Lewis
Princeton University professor Bernard Lewis’ book What Went Wrong?, which details the "decline" of Muslim civilization, is regarded by some as a kind of handbook to the war against Islamic terrorism. And his "Lewis Doctrine," the idea of imposing a secular society on Islamic countries, became a key idée fixe of the Bush administration and its neocon allies, helping spur the disastrous Iraq War and dreams of remaking the Middle East.

Right Web Profile: Eliot Cohen
In his 2002 book Supreme Command, Eliot Cohen, counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and a high-profile neoconservative academic based at Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, argued that civilian leaders make better strategic decisions than military leaders. The book, which was paraded about publicly by the likes of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney during the lead up to the Iraq War, seemed intended to preempt efforts by military brass to intervene in administration war plans.


The Bluster Offensive
By Gareth Porter | April 10, 2007

Bush’s tough talk on Iran now looks much more like a cover for a decision to reverse his earlier policy of disdaining the need to reach an understanding with Tehran. Read full story.

Right Web Profile: Tom Tancredo
It’s official—Tancredo, the rabidly anti-immigration representative from Colorado, is running for president. His chances of success might be slim, but his culture-war rhetoric could push the presidential race to the right.


IRC encourages feedback and comments. Send letters to rightweb@irc-online.org. IRC reserves the right to edit comments for clarity and brevity. Be sure to include your full name. Thank you.

IRC Global Good Neighbor Initiative

The initiative to promote a global good neighbor ethic as the guiding vision of U.S. foreign policy was launched by the International Relations Center (IRC) in May 2005 with events in New York City and Washington, DC. Consider adding your voice to the cause. And check out this new GGN video.

If you would like to see our variety of free ezines and listservs, please go to: http://www.irc-online.org/lists/.
To be removed from this list, please email rightweb@irc-online.org with “unsubscribe Right Web.”

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), President Trump’s nominee for secretary of state to replace Rex Tillerson, is a “tea party” Republican who previously served as director of the CIA.

Richard Goldberg is a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who served as a foreign policy aide to former Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL).

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has been advocating regime change in Iran since even before 9/11.

John Hannah, Dick Cheney’s national security adviser, is now a leading advocate for regime change in both Iran and Syria based at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Dennis Ross, a U.S. diplomat who served in the Obama administration, is a fellow at the “pro-Israel” Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Sheldon Adelson is a wealthy casino magnate known for his large, influential political contributions, his efforts to impact U.S. foreign policy discourse particularly among Republicans, and his ownership and ideological direction of media outlets.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is known for his hawkish views on foreign policy and close ties to prominent neoconservatives.

For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly

North Korea and Iran both understand the lesson of Libya: Muammar Qaddafi, a horrifyingly brutal dictator, gave up his nuclear weapons, was eventually ousted from power with large-scale US assistance, and was killed. However, while Iran has a long and bitter history with the United States, North Korea’s outlook is shaped by its near-total destruction by forces led by the United States in the Korean War.

Print Friendly

Europe loathes having to choose between Tehran and Washington, and thus it will spare no efforts to avoid the choice. It might therefore opt for a middle road, trying to please both parties by persuading Trump to retain the accord and Iran to limit missile ballistic programs and regional activities.

Print Friendly

Key members of Trump’s cabinet should recognize the realism behind encouraging a Saudi- and Iranian-backed regional security agreement because the success of such an agreement would not only serve long-term U.S. interests, it could also have a positive impact on numerous conflicts in the Middle East.

Print Friendly

Given that Israel failed to defeat Hezbollah in its war in Lebanon in 2006, it’s difficult to imagine Israel succeeding in a war against both Hezbollah and its newfound regional network of Shiite allies. And at the same time not only is Hezbollah’s missile arsenal a lot larger and more dangerous than it was in 2006, but it has also gained vast experience alongside its allies in offensive operations against IS and similar groups.

Print Friendly

Donald Trump should never be excused of responsibility for tearing down the respect for truth, but a foundation for his flagrant falsifying is the fact that many people would rather be entertained, no matter how false is the source of their entertainment, than to confront truth that is boring or unsatisfying or that requires effort to understand.

Print Friendly

It would be a welcome change in twenty-first-century America if the reckless decision to throw yet more unbelievable sums of money at a Pentagon already vastly overfunded sparked a serious discussion about America’s hyper-militarized foreign policy.

Print Friendly

President Trump and his advisers ought to ask themselves whether it is in the U.S. interest to run the risk of Iranian withdrawal from the nuclear agreement. Seen from the other side of the Atlantic, running that risk looks dumb.