Right Web

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

Counterproductive Syria Policy; The Right on Georgia; Plus Profiles on the International Republican

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At A Crossroads with Syria
Interview by Daniel Luban

Middle East expert Joshua Landis describes U.S. policy on Syria as the “fulcrum between the remaining neoconservative influence in Washington and the rising tide of realists.” In an interview with Right Web, he talks about how opportunities for piloting peace in the Middle East are slipping by as the Bush administration watches from the sidelines, how the White House’s “stubborn, counterproductive” policy on Syria is endangering U.S. soldiers in Iraq, how the neoconservatives have “failed miserably”—and what the best way forward is. Read full story.


International Republican Institute
A key democracy-promotion organization connected to the Republican Party, the IRI—on whose board sit many lobbyists and conservative political advisers—has been involved in controversial interventions abroad.

Council for National Policy
This secretive group of influential right-wing figures has been wooed by Republican politicians for nearly three decades, including recently by Sen. John McCain.

American Enterprise Institute
Several so-called experts featured at a recent AEI event took a page from the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain in arguing that the “surge” has accomplished all its goals—and thus the United States needs to stay in Iraq.


U.S. Debates Russia’s Ambitions
Analysis by Daniel Luban (Inter Press Service)

In the recent conflict between Georgia and Russia, U.S. conservatives hear dangerous echoes of World War II. Read full story.

Success of Attack on Iran’s Nuclear Program Doubtful
By Jim Lobe (Inter Press Service)

Israeli or U.S. military action against Iran is unlikely to eliminate or seriously set back Tehran’s nuclear program, according to two new reports. Read full story.


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Featured Profiles

John Bolton, the controversial former U.S. ambassador to the UN and dyed-in the-wool foreign policy hawk, has been selected by President Trump to replace National Security Adviser McMaster, marking a sharp move to the hawkish extreme by the administration.

The Institute for the Study of War is a D.C.-based counterinsurgency think tank that has supported long-term U.S. military intervention in the Greater Middle East, especially Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) has been an outspoken proponent of militarist U.S. foreign polices and the use of torture, aping the views of her father, Dick Cheney.

United against Nuclear Iran is a pressure group that attacks companies doing business in Iran and disseminates alarmist reports about the country’s nuclear program.

Gina Haspel is a CIA officer who was nominated to head the agency by President Donald Trump in March 2018. She first came to prominence because of accusations that she oversaw the torture of prisoners and later destroyed video evidence of that torture.

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).

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From the Wires

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New NSA John Bolton represents an existential threat to the Iran nuclear deal and any hopes for peace in the region.

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Hardliners at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies are working overtime to convince the Trump administration to “fix” the nuclear agreement with Iran on the pretext that it will give the US leverage in negotiations with North Korea.

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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.