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

Election Post-Mortem

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FEATURED PROFILES

Sheldon Adelson

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, an important financial backer of right-wing “pro-Israel” groups in the United States and elsewhere in the world, donated tens of millions of dollars to super PACs supporting the campaigns of numerous Republican candidates, including the Mitt Romney campaign. In every case but one—that of Senator-elect Dean Heller in Nevada—Adelson’s candidate lost.

Rachel Abrams

Neoconservative blogger Rachel Abrams is notorious for her vindictive, hyperbolic rhetoric. After the re-election of President Obama, Abrams directed her invective at fellow Jews in the United States, who voted overwhelming for the president, writing: “We Jews have frequently enjoyed risking our own future in elections … and we’ve successfully done so once again.”

Karl Rove

GOP strategist and super PAC head Karl is renowned for being ruthless in trying to win elections. But after marshaling hundreds of millions of dollars in a failed bid to defeat President Obama and a slate of Democratic legislators—as well as an embarrassing meltdown on Fox News during election night—many observers are wondering whether Rove’s magic has worn off. His effort to explain away the debacle by arguing that Obama has “suppressed the vote” also failed to impress.

American Israel Public Affairs Committee

One of the most influential lobbying groups in Washington, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has been very successful at marshaling bipartisan support for an interventionist U.S. agenda in the Middle East—alongside staunch U.S. support for Israel. Although officially neutral in the 2012 presidential campaign, some observers argued that the group was quietly backing Mitt Romney, in part because of its advocacy of harsher measures against both Iran and Syria. AIPAC and the Romney campaign also shared personal connections: Dan Senor, the Bush spokesperson in Iraq and a key foreign policy adviser to the campaign, is a former AIPAC intern whose sister is the head of the lobby’s Israeli arm.

American Enterprise Institute

Among rightist beltway think tanks, the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute—with its mix of hardline free market advocacy and foreign policy militarism— arguably stood most to gain from a Romney victory. The last Republican occupant of the White House hired some two dozen AEI scholars to serve in high-level posts. Shortly after President Obama was projected to win on election night, AEI’s Michael Barone, who had predicted that Romney would win by a near landslide, penned a subdued commentary, deploring the great divide in the “Two Americas.” “One America listens to Rush Limbaugh,” simplified Barone, “the other to NPR.”

Jennifer Rubin

Jennifer Rubin, a prolific neoconservative blogger for the Washington Post, emerged during the 2012 campaign as an enthusiastic and largely uncritical supporter of the Mitt Romney campaign. “At every opportunity,” wrote the Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf, “Rubin wrote favorably about Romney and his campaign. And she didn't just get things wrong, sometimes absurdly, she always got them wrong in a way that redounded to Team Romney's benefit.


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Clare Lopez is a former CIA officer and rightwing activist who has argued that the Muslim Brotherhood and a shadowy “Iran Lobby” are working to shape Obama administration policy.


Michael Ledeen, a “Freedom Scholar” at the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has long been obsessed with getting the U.S. to force regime change in Tehran.


Michael Flynn is a former Trump administration National Security Advisor who was forced to step down only weeks on the job because of his controversial contacts with Russian officials before Trump took office.


The daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney has emerged as the most visible advocate of hardline security policies in the Cheney family.


Bret Stephens is a columnist for the New York Times who previously worked at the Wall Street Journal and the neoconservative flagship magazine Commentary.


Joe Lieberman, the neoconservative Democrat from Connecticut who retired from the Senate in 2013, co-chairs a foreign policy project at the American Enterprise Institute.


Former attorney general Edwin Meese, regarded as one of President Ronald Reagan’s closest advisers despite persistent allegations of influence peddling and bribery during his tenure, has been a consummate campaigner on behalf of rightist U.S. foreign and domestic policies. He currently serves as a distinguished visiting fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution.


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From the Wires

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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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Trump’s reorganization of the foreign policy bureaucracy is an ideologically driven agenda for undermining the power and effectiveness of government institutions that could lead to the State Department’s destruction.


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Spurred by anti-internationalist sentiment among conservative Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration, the US is headed for a new confrontation with the UN over who decides how much the US should pay for peacekeeping.


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Decent developments in the Trump administration indicate that the neoconservatives, at one point on the margins of Washington’s new power alignments, are now on the ascendent?


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As the end of Donald Trump’s first 100 days as president approaches, it seems that his version of an “America-first” foreign policy is in effect a military-first policy aimed at achieving global hegemony, which means it’s a potential doomsday machine.


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