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

Attack of the Surrogates

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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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Featured Profiles

Although sometimes characterized as a Republican “maverick” for his bipartisan forays into domestic policy, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is one of the Senate’s more vocal hawks.


Former CIA director Michael Hayden, a stalwart advocate of the Bush-era policies on torture and warrantless wiretapping, has been a vocal critic of Donald Trump


The former GOP presidential candidate and Speaker of the House has been a vociferous proponent of the idea that the America faces an existential threat from “Islamofascists.”


David Albright is the founder of the Institute for Science and International Security, a non-proliferation think tank whose influential analyses of nuclear proliferation issues in the Middle East have been the source of intense disagreement and debate.


A right-wing Christian and governor of Kansas, Brownback previously served in the U.S. Senate, where he gained a reputation as a leading social conservative as well as an outspoken “pro-Israel” hawk on U.S. Middle East policy.


Steve Forbes, head of the Forbes magazine empire, is an active supporter of a number of militarist policy organizations that have pushed for aggressive U.S. foreign policies.


Stephen Hadley, an Iraq War hawk and former national security adviser to President George W. Bush, now chairs the U.S. Institute for Peace.


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From the Wires

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The Trump administration appears to have been surprised by this breach among its friends in the critical Gulf strategic area. But it is difficult to envision an effective U.S. role in rebuilding this Humpty-Dumpty.


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A recent vote in the European Parliament shows how President Trump’s relentless hostility to Iran is likely to isolate Washington more than Tehran.


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The head of the Institute for Science and International Security—aka “the Good ISIS”—recently demonstrated again his penchant for using sloppy analysis as a basis for politically explosive charges about Iran, in this case using a faulty translation from Persian to misleadingly question whether Tehran is “mass producing advanced gas centrifuges.”


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Trump has exhibited a general preference for authoritarians over democrats, and that preference already has had impact on his foreign policy. Such an inclination has no more to do with realism than does a general preference for democrats over authoritarians.


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The President went to the region as a deal maker and a salesman for American weapon manufacturing. He talked about Islam, terrorism, Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without the benefit of expert advice in any of these areas. After great showmanship in Riyadh, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem, he and his family left the region without much to show for or to benefit the people of that war-torn region.


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Although the Comey memo scandal may well turn out to be what brings Trump down, this breach of trust may have had more lasting effect than any of Trump’s other numerous misadventures. It was an unprecedented betrayal of Israel’s confidence. Ironically, Trump has now done what even Barack Obama’s biggest detractors never accused him of: seriously compromised Israel’s security relationship with the United States.


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Congress and the public acquiesce in another military intervention or a sharp escalation of one of the U.S. wars already under way, perhaps it’s time to finally consider the true costs of war, American-style — in lives lost, dollars spent, and opportunities squandered. It’s a reasonable bet that never in history has a society spent more on war and gotten less bang for its copious bucks.


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