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

Attack of the Surrogates

FEATURED PROFILES

Richard Williamson

Richard Williamson, a former UN ambassador and undersecretary of state, has been an aggressive and sometimes controversial surrogate for the Mitt Romney campaign. He has argued that as president, Romney would put military force on “on the table” to prevent an Iranian “nuclear breakout,” that President Obama is to blame for declining “respect” for the United States abroad, and that the administration is effectively to blame for the attacks on U.S. embassies that erupted in reaction to the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims.

Farid Ghadry

Farid Ghadry, a Syrian-American defense contractor turned activist, is the founder of the “Reform Party of Syria,” a Washington-based regime change lobby made up primarily of Syrian emigrants based in Europe and the United States. Because of his efforts to promote U.S.-led regime change in Syria—which reportedly entailed collaborating with various neoconservative officials in the George W. Bush administration—Ghadry has been characterized as a Syrian Ahmed Chalabi. He regularly inveighs against the Syrian regime and its “appeasers” in the Obama administration on his personal blog.

Max Boot

Max Boot, a vocal proponent of U.S. military intervention abroad based at the Council on Foreign Relations, has served an adviser on defense policy to the Mitt Romney presidential campaign. He has endorsed Romney’s claim that Palestinian “culture”—rather than the Israeli occupation—is responsible for underdevelopment in the Palestinian territories. And although he concedes that a U.S. or Israeli bombing campaign on Iran could at best delay the alleged Iranian nuclear weapons program, he nonetheless argues that war is the “only credible option” for dealing with the country.

Dan Senor

Dan Senor, a venture capitalist and Bush administration spokesman during the Iraq War, is a key foreign policy adviser and spokesman for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Senor appears to have played a pivotal role in shifting the Romney camp’s foreign policy rhetoric to the neoconservative right. In an April 2012 statement he was later forced to walk back, Senor seemingly endorsed a unilateral Israeli strike on Iran on behalf of the Romney campaign. More recently, he attempted to help the campaign capitalize on violent protests at U.S. embassies in the Middle East, even though Romney himself had already been roundly criticized for politicizing the deaths of U.S. diplomats.

John Bolton

John Bolton, the notorious hardliner who served as President Bush’s UN ambassador, has been an attack dog for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, arguing—among other things—that President Obama is to blame for the assaults on U.S. embassies sparked by the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims. Ignoring the administration’s aggressive tactics to root out Al Qaeda members and other radical forces in the Greater Middle East, Bolton told Fox News that the embassy attacks were in “large measure caused by the weakness and fecklessness of the Obama administration's policies.”


MILITARIST MONITOR

Dogwhistling Past Libya

The Mitt Romney campaign’s effort to politically capitalize on the attacks on U.S. embassies spurred by the film Innocence of Muslims is the latest in a series of gaffs that raise questions about the former governor’s ability to adequately manage U.S. foreign affairs.


ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

Amid Tension in Islamic World, U.N. Chief Pleads for Harmony

Against a backdrop of international conflict and turmoil in the Middle East, UN officials are pleading for new investments in peacebuilding, a rollback in military spending, and a more democratic United Nations.

U.S., Israeli Attacks Unlikely to Destroy Iran’s Nuclear Programme

A new report by a bipartisan cast of former military and intelligence officials argues authoritatively that a U.S. or Israeli strike on alleged Iranian nuclear facilities—to say nothing of a full-fledged campaign for regime change—would be counterproductive and dangerous.


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Update was slow, but still no lag in the editor window, and footnotes are intact.     This has been updated – Bernard Lewis, who passed away in May 2018, was a renowned British-American historian of Islam and the Middle East. A former British intelligence officer, Foreign Office staffer, and Princeton University professor, Lewis was…


Bernard Lewis was a renowned historian of Islam and the Middle East who stirred controversy with his often chauvinistic attitude towards the Muslim world and his associations with high-profile neoconservatives and foreign policy hawks.


John Bolton, the controversial former U.S. ambassador to the UN and dyed-in the-wool foreign policy hawk, is President Trump’s National Security Adviser McMaster, reflecting a sharp move to the hawkish extreme by the administration.


Michael Joyce, who passed away in 2006, was once described by neoconservative guru Irving Kristol as the “godfather of modern philanthropy.”


Mike Pompeo, the Trump administration’s second secretary of state, is a long time foreign policy hawk and has led the public charge for an aggressive policy toward Iran.


Max Boot, neoconservative military historian at the Council on Foreign Relations, on Trump and Russia: “At every turn Trump is undercutting the ‘get tough on Russia’ message because he just can’t help himself, he just loves Putin too much.”


Michael Flynn is a former Trump administration National Security Advisor who was forced to step down only weeks on the job because of his controversial contacts with Russian officials before Trump took office.


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From the Wires

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.


The United Nations has once again turn into a battleground between the United States and Iran, which are experiencing one of the darkest moments in their bilateral relations.


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.


For the past few decades the vast majority of private security companies like Blackwater and DynCorp operating internationally have come from a relatively small number of countries: the United States, Great Britain and other European countries, and Russia. But that seeming monopoly is opening up to new players, like DeWe Group, China Security and Protection Group, and Huaxin Zhongan Group. What they all have in common is that they are from China.


The Trump administration’s massive sales of tanks, helicopters, and fighter aircraft are indeed a grim wonder of the modern world and never receive the attention they truly deserve. However, a potentially deadlier aspect of the U.S. weapons trade receives even less attention than the sale of big-ticket items: the export of firearms, ammunition, and related equipment.


Soon after a Saudi-led coalition strike on a bus killed 40 children on August 9, a CENTCOM spokesperson stated to Vox, “We may never know if the munition [used] was one that the U.S. sold to them.”


The West has dominated the post-war narrative with its doctrine of liberal values, arguing that not only were they right in themselves but that economic success itself depended on their application. Two developments have challenged those claims. The first was the West’s own betrayal of its principles: on too many occasions the self interest of the powerful, and disdain for the victims of collateral damage, has showed through. The second dates from more recently: the growth of Chinese capitalism owes nothing to a democratic system of government, let alone liberal values.


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