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

Blackwater and Erik Prince; Plus Profiles of Regnery Publishing, John Lehman, and Paul Wolfowitz

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FEATURED ARTICLE

Blackwater: The Real “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy”?
By Ali Gharib

Businessmen with ties to the GOP and right-wing ideologies and pedigrees are not uncommon. What makes Erik Prince special is the confluence of his core beliefs—militarism, right-wing Christianity, and privatization—in his controversial mercenary business, Blackwater Worldwide. At the center of a heated scandal over abuses committed by private military contractors in Iraq and elsewhere, Blackwater has begun to expand its business into intelligence gathering and a host of other security-related services. Its success is helping fill the coffers of some of the country’s most influential conservative political figures and prompting some observers to call it the “future of war.” Read full story.

FEATURED PROFILES

Regnery Publishing
A conservative publishing house that has been an important disseminator of pro-“war on terror” materials and played a key role in attacking John Kerry as "unfit for command" is now preparing to give the same treatment to Barack Obama.

John Lehman
A former member of the 9/11 Commission and secretary of the Navy, Lehman is a prominent surrogate for the McCain campaign on defense issues.

Paul Wolfowitz
The former deputy secretary of defense and former World Bank president is the new chair of a U.S.-Taiwan business consortium.

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

Unrest Resurfaces in Fallujah
By Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail

Local militias and police in Iraq are losing popularity—as the U.S. forces did long ago. Read full story.

The Shadow of the U.S. Footprint
By Khody Akhavi

A new book of essays from blogger Tom Engelhardt serves as an effective rebuttal to neoconservative arguments for unilateral action. Read full story.

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Featured Profiles

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and two-time failed presidential candidate, is a foreign policy hawk with neoconservative leanings who appears set to become the next senator from Utah.


Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman and longtime “superlobbyist” who has supported numerous neoconservative advocacy campaigns, has become embroiled in the special prosecutor’s investigation into the Donald Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.


Jon Lerner is a conservative political strategist and top adviser to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. He was a key figure in the “Never Trump” Campaign, which appears to have led to his being ousted as Vice President Mike Pence’s national security adviser.


Pamela Geller is a controversial anti-Islam activist who has founded several “hate groups” and likes to repeat debunked myths, including about the alleged existence of “no-go” Muslim zones in Europe.


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.”


Although overlooked by President Trump for cabinet post, Gingrich has tried to shape affairs in the administration, including by conspiring with government officials to “purge the State Department of staffers they viewed as insufficiently loyal” to the president.


Former Sen Mark Kirk (R-IL) is an advisor for United Against Nuclear Iran. He is an outspoken advocate for aggressive action against Iran and a fierce defender of right-wing Israeli policies.


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From the Wires

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Other than the cynical political interests in Moscow and Tehran, there is no conceivable rationale for wanting Bashar al-Assad to stay in power. But the simple fact is, he has won the war. And while Donald Trump has reveled in positive press coverage of the recent attacks on the country, it is clear that they were little more than a symbolic act.


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The reality is that the Assad regime is winning the Syrian civil war, and this matters far less to U.S. interests than it does to that regime or its allies in Russia and Iran, who see Syria as their strongest and most consistent entrée into the Arab world. Those incontrovertible facts undermine any notion of using U.S. military force as leverage to gain a better deal for the Syrian people.


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An effective rhetorical tool to normalize military build-ups is to characterize spending increases “modernization.”


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The Pentagon has officially announced that that “long war” against terrorism is drawing to a close — even as many counterinsurgency conflicts  rage across the Greater Middle East — and a new long war has begun, a permanent campaign to contain China and Russia in Eurasia.


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Revelations that data-consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used ill-gotten personal information from Facebook for the Trump campaign masks the more scandalous reality that the company is firmly ensconced in the U.S. military-industrial complex. It should come as no surprise then that the scandal has been linked to Erik Prince, co-founder of Blackwater.


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As the United States enters the second spring of the Trump era, it’s creeping ever closer to more war. McMaster and Mattis may have written the National Defense Strategy that over-hyped the threats on this planet, but Bolton and Pompeo will have the opportunity to address these inflated threats in the worst way possible: by force of arms.


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We meet Donald Trump in the media every hour of every day, which blots out much of the rest of the world and much of what’s meaningful in it.  Such largely unexamined, never-ending coverage of his doings represents a triumph of the first order both for him and for an American cult of personality.


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