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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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FEATURED ARTICLE

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.

FEATURED PROFILES

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.

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

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.

LETTERS

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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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