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

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The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a neoconservative think tank and advocacy group based in Washington, has endeavored to undermine the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran. FDD executive director Mark Dubowitz recently voiced support for measures by hawkish members of Congress that seek to give Congress a greater role in the negotiations, such as getting an “up or down vote on” any deal. Dubowitz has also suggested that Congress “defend the sanctions architecture” on Iran even if an agreement is reached. 


The Center for Security Policy (CSP), run by notorious Islamophobe Frank Gaffney, has rabidly opposed negotiating with Iran over its country’s nuclear program. With the deadline to reach an agreement fast approaching, CSP fellows have argued that it would pose “an existential threat to Israel” and a “deadly threat to U.S. national security.” They have also urged Congress to “repudiate the nuclear talks and any agreement resulting from them.”


AIPAC, “America’s pro-Israel lobby,” has attempted to influence the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 by supporting hawkish congressional measures that many analysts say could derail the diplomatic process. The lobby has strongly endorsed a letter from Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) pressuring Secretary of State John Kerry to broaden the scope of demands in a potential agreement, which many observers have criticized as containing “distortions of the truth.”


Although largely dormant in recent years, the Committee on the Present Danger—the Cold War-era pressure group that was re-launched after 9/11 with support from  leading neoconservatives—continues to use it website to plug fear-mongering media stories and op-eds, focusing mainly on Iran. One recent article, written by a CPD member, rails against efforts to reach a diplomatic compromise over Iran’s nuclear program, claiming: “It is hard to rationalize the past history of this fanatical Muslim regime’s secret nuclear efforts and any hope that it would abide by such an agreement, or, indeed, that UN or other surveillance would be more effective than in the past.”


The Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), a leading neoconservative think tank, sought to frame the 2014 midterm elections as a “foreign policy election,” even though only 13 percent of voters listed foreign policy as a top issue in exit polls. FPI nevertheless hopes that the Republican-controlled Senate will “actively lead on foreign policy issues” and has prioritized passing Sen. Robert Menendez’s controversial Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act. The bill would impose additional sanctions on Iran and would likely scuttle on-going negotiations with Iran.




Thomas Donnelly, a fellow at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute, is a longstanding proponent of U.S. military intervention overseas. Recently, he evoked America’s supposed “Jacksonian honor culture” in arguing for the use of U.S. ground forces in the fight against ISIS, saying that “war-weariness was never as broadly or deeply felt in the country as supposed” and that “if you’re serious about ‘eradicating’ ISIS…you must be prepared to commit U.S. land forces beyond special operating forces with laser designators and satellite radios.”



Douglas Feith, the controversial former Pentagon official and current fellow at the neoconservative Hudson Institute, thinks that the United States should impose more sanctions on Iran, even though most observers agree such a move would effectively kill negotiations. Discounting the possibility of reaching a sustainable agreement with Iran, Feith wrote recently: “If Mr. Obama can justify his deal with Iran only by promising to ‘crank up’ the relaxed sanctions if and when the Iranian regime cheats, no one should buy it.”


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From the Wires

November 18, 2014

Israel’s chief fear in a possible nuclear deal with Iran is that it will lose an enemy that it shares in common with the United States, and thus Washington’s commitment to its security.

November 17, 2014

A Republican-controlled Senate could leave a huge imprint on President Obama’s foreign policy agenda during his last two years in office.

November 11, 2014

George W. Bush and Barack Obama both sought to convince former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s to keep U.S. troops being in Iraq. Both failed.

November 08, 2014

As the November 24 deadline for reaching a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran approaches, the different sides are scrambling to ensure all bases are covered before the official resumption of talks in Vienna on November 18.

November 06, 2014

Once a taboo topic in Washington, leading members of the foreign policy establishment now increasingly scrutinize Israel’s actions.

November 03, 2014

A recently launched website unveils U.S. security and military assistance to countries around the world.

October 31, 2014

Recent name-calling notwithstanding, US-Israel relations are not at a point of crisis, but could be in the near future.

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