Right Web

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

Bush III?

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Jeb Bush

Shortly after President Obama won re-election, commentators began mentioning Jeb Bush as a possible contender for 2016, especially as the former Florida governor chastised members of his party for being out of step on some cultural and economic issues. Hindering his potential appeal, however, is Jeb’s pointed refusal to criticize the unpopular policies of his brother George W., leading many analysts to conclude that Jeb is unlikely to lead the Republican Party in the future. One ideological faction that may view him favorably are the neoconservatives, who successfully enlisted Jeb’s support in the launching of the Project for the New American Century in 1997.

Max Kampelman (1920-2013)

Max Kampelman, a Cold War-era arms control negotiator who often supported rightist “pro-Israel” policy groups, passed away in January 2013 at the age of 92. Like many of his neoconservative contemporaries, Kampelman's early politics leaned left. During World War II, Kampelman was a pacifist and conscientious objector. However, while working for Sen. Hubert Humphrey in the 1940s, Kampelman experienced a transformation in his politics, abandoning pacifism for a more aggressive view of national security. According to Kampelman, "The development of atomic and hydrogen bombs led me to doubt my earlier faith in the power of nonviolence to overcome evil in international relations.” Yet Kampelman’s views continued to evolve even late into life, as demonstrated by his efforts to promote global nuclear weapons abolition during his final years.

Harold Rhode

Harold Rhode is a retired Defense Department adviser based at the Gatestone Institute in New York, an activist group that promotes anti-Islamic ideas and policies. A proponent of a hawkish, "pro-Israel" U.S. agenda in the Middle East, Rhode used the occasion of Israel's recent apology to Turkey for killing unarmed Turkish activists in 2010 to accuse the Turkish government of aspiring to create a new "version of the Ottoman Empire." He argued that Israel would have to "remind its enemies who’s boss."

Hudson Institute

The Hudson Institute, part of a closely-knit group of neoconservative policy institutes that champion aggressive and Israel-centric U.S. foreign policies, has seen a number of its scholars in recent months press for regime change in Iran. Hudson’s “Scooter” Libby and Hillel Fradkin have worried in op-eds about nuclear-armed mullahs motived by the “religious obligation to create an Islamic new world order,” while Meyrav Wurmser has argued that because Iran’s purported nuclear program poses an “existential threat” to Israel, “Israel must possess the means to deter or defeat the realization of that threat."

Academi LLC (formerly Xe and Blackwater Worldwide)

The U.S. government has dropped most of its remaining weapons-trafficking charges against former executives from the military contractor Blackwater, now known as Academi. Reportedly, the company was able to prove that it had conducted dangerous missions, purchased weapons, and sold them overseas on behalf of the CIA itself, acting as a "virtual extension" of the intelligence agency at a time when its resources were strained. The case has shed new light on the increasing role that the U.S. government has given to private military contractors in conflict situations.

From the Wires

UN Greenlights Long-Awaited Arms Trade Treaty

Despite opposition from a tiny group of recalcitrant states as well as lobbies like the NRA, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to approve new controls on the international arms trade.

P5+1 Coalition Fraying on Eve of Second Almaty Talks with Iran

Tensions over Syria may undermine the unity of the P5+1 powers as they go back to Kazakhstan to negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program.

Iraq, Afghanistan Wars Will Cost Trillion Dollars: Report

Costs to U.S. taxpayers of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will run between four and six trillion dollars, making them the most expensive conflicts in U.S. history.

As Iraq Anniversary Fades, “Strategic Narcissism” Stands out

The fact that major media outlets invited virtually no Iraqis to comment on the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of their country suggests that Americans remain as uncurious as ever about the world their government so actively intervenes in.

Obama’s Subtle Message To Israel: You’re Not My Top Priority Anymore

The subtext of Obama’s recent trip to Israel suggests that the president has much bigger fish to fry than placating Prime Minister Netanyahu.


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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.

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From the Wires

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.