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

Hawks and Chickenhawks

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This Week on theRight

Nuclear Warrior Replaces John Bolton asArms Control Chief
By Tom Barry

(Excerpted from Right Web analysis, first published by InterPress Service and found in its entirety at: https://rightweb.irc-online.org/analysis/2005/0506joseph1.php.)

The top U.S. government official in chargeof arms control advocates the offensive use of nuclear weapons andhas deep roots in the militarist political camp.

Moving into the old job of John Bolton, the administration’shard-core unilateralist nominee to be the next U.S. ambassador tothe United Nations, Robert G. Joseph is the right-wing’s advanceman for counter-proliferation as the conceptual core of a new U.S.military policy.

Within the administration, he leads a band ofcounter-proliferationists who–working closely with suchmilitarist policy institutes as the National Institute for PublicPolicy (NIPP) and the Center for Security Policy (CSP)–haveplaced preemptive attacks and weapons of mass destruction at thecenter of U.S. national security strategy.

Joseph replaced John Bolton at the State Department as the newundersecretary of state for arms control and internationalsecurity affairs.

U.S. security strategy, according to the new arms controlchief, should “not include signing up for arms control forthe sake of arms control. At best that would be a needlessdiversion of effort when the real threat requires all of ourattention. At worst, as we discovered in the draft BWC (BiologicalWeapons Convention) Protocol that we inherited, an arms controlapproach would actually harm our ability to deal with the WMDthreat.”

Before the Sep. 11, 2001 attacks, proponents of nationalmissile defense and a more “flexible” nuclear defensestrategy focused almost exclusively on the WMD threat from“competitor” states such as Russia and especiallyChina, and from ”rogue” states such as Iran, Iraq,Libya, Syria, and North Korea.

Joseph and other hard-line strategists advocated largeincreases in military spending to counter these threats whilepaying little or no attention to the warnings that the most likelyattack on the United States and its armed forces abroad would comefrom non-state terrorist networks.

Instead of advocating improved intelligence on such terroristnetworks like al-Qaeda, which had an established record ofattacking the United States, militarist policy institutes such asNIPP and CSP focused almost exclusively on proposals forhigh-tech, high-priced items such as space weapons, missiledefense, and nuclear weapons development.

After 9/11 Joseph and other administration militarists quicklyplaced the threat from terrorism at the centre of their threatassessments without changing their recommendations for U.S.security strategy.

Joseph points to Iran and North Korea, as well as China, asthe leading post-Cold War missile threats to the U.S. homeland.Typical of strategists who identify with the neoconservativepolitical camp, Joseph continually raises the alarm about China,alleging that China is the “country that has been most proneto ballistic missile attacks on the United States.”

Arms control chief Joseph is a new breed of militarist whobelieves that in a world where weapons of mass destruction may beproliferating, it behooves the United States to bolster its ownWMD arsenal and then use it against other proliferators.

Tom Barry is policy director of the InternationalRelations Center (online at http://www.irc-online.org)and directs its Right Web program.

FeaturedProfiles

There are hawks, and then there are the crazed hawks–the oneswho get so carried away with their war scenarios that nuclearwarfare seems like a perfectly reasonable strategic response toperceived threats. Invariably, this type of hawk has neveractually fought in any war. A tightly knit circle of thesechickenhawks has nested in the Bush administration.

∙ Robert Joseph–theCounterproliferationist
Arms control chief Joseph is a new breed of militarist whobelieves that in a world where weapons of mass destruction may beproliferating it behooves the United States to bolster its own WMDarsenal and then use it against other proliferators.

Right Web Profile RobertJoseph

∙ Planning NuclearWar
The Deterrence Concepts Advisory Panel was established by the Bushadministration to oversee production of the president’s NuclearPosture Review, which is a classified study outlining thecountry’s plans and strategies vis-à-vis its nucleararsenal. Tapped to chair the panel was Keith Payne, a hawkishnuclear policy analyst who heads the National Institute for PublicPolicy (NIPP).

Right Web Profile DeterrenceConcepts Advisory Panel

∙ Bunker Busting Brain
Linton Brooks and the National Nuclear Security Administrationare involved in efforts to develop so-called bunker-bustingnuclear bombs, including the proposed Robust Nuclear EarthPenetrator Weapon–and, according to one respected critic,“coming up with all the crazy ideas” about how theU.S. military can use nuclear weapons.

Right Web Profile LintonBrooks

∙ Nuclear Enthusiast as Top NationalSecurity Official
J.D. Crouch, a virulent nationalist, enthusiast of nuclearweapons, and Christian-right adherent, has recently become theright-hand man of National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. Beforeserving as Ambassador to Romania, his previous job [in the Bushadministration], he was an assistant secretary of defense forinternational security policy. In this role, Crouch served as apoint person for Pentagon nuclear weapons programs.

Right Web Profile J.D.Crouch II

∙ Nuclear Think Tank
Since its creation in 1981, the National Institute on PublicPolicy (NIPP) has established itself as a key policy institute inthe firmament of the right’s ever-expanding constellation ofcounter-establishment groups. Leaving aside the question ofwhether it is possible to provide “high-quality” or“cogent” analysis about NIPP’s favoritesubjects–strategic use of nuclear weapons and the construction ofhypothetical missile shields–this small policy institute inFairfax, Virginia, has certainly had a significant impact on U.S.policy.

Right Web Profile NationalInstitute for Public Policy

Letters From Our Readers
(Editor’s Note: We encourage feedback and comments,which can be sent for publication through our feedback page, at:https://rightweb.irc-online.org/form_feedback.html.Thank you.)

Re: TheImmigration Debate

I am a leftist. American leftists–real American leftists, thatis–like taking money out of the pockets of rich people, businessowners and investors, and putting it in the pockets of workingAmerican citizens. That is a fundamental tenet of leftism. If youare against that, then you ain’t no leftist.

Mass immigration increases the supply of labor, and thereforedecreases wages. Period.

Thus, mass immigration takes money out of the pockets ofworking American citizens, especially blue-collar Americans, andputs it in the pockets of rich people, business owners, andinvestors–and non-American citizens. If you are FOR massimmigration, then you are AGAINST working American citizens. Andyou ain’t no leftist. End of story. And the race guilt thingain’t working on me. You faux-liberal elite are nothing butanother mask for neoliberal policies.

– Randy Smith

Re: TheImmigration Debate

It is disingenuous for you to call Arizonans racists forwanting to control their borders. You are using Americans’sensitivity to racial issues in an old political correctnesstactic to demonize and silence people that don’t agree with you.Your sweeping condemnations betray your agenda. Perhaps you shouldturn that judgmental microscope upon your own motives and feelingson race. That is if you have the honesty and courage to do so.

tcartner@concentric.net

Re: AmericanIsraeli Political Affairs Committee

There is no question that the pro-Israel lobby is perhaps themost powerful and interest group in Washington, and yourorganization is to be commended for pointing this out. The problemwith discussing the power of the pro-Israel lobby is that it hasanti-Semitic overtones: The political base of the pro-Israel lobbyis firmly rooted in the American Jewish community, and anyallusion to the power of organized American Jewry can easily to bemisconstrued as a reference to the alleged "excessiveinfluence" Jews exert over American policy in the MiddleEast.

Of course, the Jewish community is not politically monolithic,even on the issue of Middle East. There are any number of AmericanJews, not to mention Israelis, who are vehemently critical of theIsraeli position in the peace process; and there are any number ofGentiles who support the Israeli position. But the pro-Israellobby has been able to successfully represent itself as the voiceof the Jewish community, making any allusion to the power of theinterest group tantamount to feeding the anti-Semitic stereotypeof Jews having "excessive influence" over Americanpolicy in the Middle East . This makes any discussion of thepredominant role domestic politics plays in American policy in theMiddle East a politically sensitive issue, which prevents a fullcomprehension of the political dynamics of Middle Eastpolicymaking in the United States.

– Nicholas Laham

Re: The Anti-Christian, Christian Party

Howard Dean has received a great deal of unfair criticism forcalling the Republicans a “pretty much white Christianparty.” Dean was actually far too mild in his comments andhis description of the Republican Party in regards to their narrowdemographic and ideological base.

The Republicans calling themselves Christian are promoting anessentially anti-Christian agenda. While these so-called“Christian Right” political leaders claim to speak forthe Christians of America, they are actually speaking only for asmall minority of Christians who are placing Bush Republicanismabove the teachings of Jesus Christ.

I am a Southern, white, Christian male. I am a fairlyconservative Democrat. I completely oppose the entire Republicanagenda because my Christian faith and values are deeply offendedby the greed and intolerance of Bush Republicanism.

Dean should not give the Republicans the benefit of exclusiveuse of the Christian label for an essentially anti-Christianpolitical message. Real Christians love the poor and look down onanyone with a political agenda designed to benefit the wealthiestof the wealthy. The invasion of Iraq based on lying to the votersand deceiving our elected lawmakers is hardly the behavior of goodChristians.

The politicization of the Christian church has benefited theRepublican Party instead of the Christian church. It is an insultto many real Christians to call the attack on the Separation ofChurch and State a pro-Christian political agenda. Our FoundingFathers advocated this measure almost universally to protect boththe government and our Churches. Politics and money are corruptingmany churches–especially those led by so-called “ChristianRight” preachers.

– Stephen Crockett, co-host of Democratic Talk Radio

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Featured Profiles

Ron Dermer is the Israeli ambassador to the United States and has deep connections to the Republican Party and the neoconservative movement.


The Washington-based American Enterprise Institute is a rightist think tank with a broad mandate covering a range of foreign and domestic policy issues that is known for its strong connections to neoconservatism and overseas debacles like the Iraq War.


Max Boot, neoconservative military historian at the Council on Foreign Relations, on Trump and Russia: “At every turn Trump is undercutting the ‘get tough on Russia’ message because he just can’t help himself, he just loves Putin too much.”


Since taking office Donald Trump has revealed an erratic and extremely hawkish approach to U.S. foreign affairs, which has been marked by controversial actions like dropping out of the Iran nuclear agreement that have raised tensions across much of the world and threatened relations with key allies.


Mike Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas and an evangelical pastor, is a far-right pundit known for his hawkish policies and opposition to an Israeli peace deal with the Palestinians.


Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is known for her lock-step support for Israel and considered by some to be a future presidential candidate.


Former Vice President Dick Cheney was a leading framer of the “global war on terror” and a staunch supporter of aggressive U.S. military action around the world.


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From the Wires

The Trumpian new regional order in the Middle East is predicated on strongman rule, disregard for human rights, Sunni primacy over Iran and other Shia centers of power, continued military support for pro-American warring parties regardless of the unlawfulness of such wars, and Israeli hegemony.


A comparison of U.S. nuclear diplomacy with Iran and the current version with North Korea puts the former in a good light and makes the latter look disappointing. Those with an interest in curbing the dangers of proliferating nuclear weapons should hope that the North Korea picture will improve with time. But whether it does or not, the process has put into perspective how badly mistaken was the Trump administration’s trashing of the Iran nuclear agreement.


Numerous high profile Trump administration officials maintain close ties with anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists. In today’s America, disparaging Islam is acceptable in ways that disparaging other religions is not. Given the continuing well-funded campaigns by the Islamophobes and continuing support from their enablers in the Trump administration, starting with the president himself, it seems unlikely that this trend will be reversed any time soon.


The Trump administration’s nuclear proliferation policy is now in meltdown, one which no threat of “steely resolve”—in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s words—will easily contain. It is hemorrhaging in part because the administration has yet to forge a strategy that consistently and credibly signals a feasible bottom line that includes living with—rather than destroying—regimes it despises or fears. Political leaders on both sides of the aisle must call for a new model that has some reasonable hope of restraining America’s foes and bringing security to its Middle East allies.


Congressional midterm elections are just months away and another presidential election already looms. Who will be the political leader with the courage and presence of mind to declare: “Enough! Stop this madness!” Man or woman, straight or gay, black, brown, or white, that person will deserve the nation’s gratitude and the support of the electorate. Until that occurs, however, the American penchant for war will stretch on toward infinity.


To bolster the president’s arguments for cutting back immigration, the administration recently released a fear-mongering report about future terrorist threats. Among the potential threats: a Sudanese national who, in 2016, “pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to ISIS”; an Uzbek who “posted a threat on an Uzbek-language website to kill President Obama in an act of martyrdom on behalf of ISIS”; a Syrian who, in a plea agreement, “admitted that he knew a member of ISIS and that while in Syria he participated in a battle against the Syrian regime, including shooting at others, in coordination with Al Nusrah,” an al-Qaeda offshoot.


The recent appointment of purveyors of anti-Muslim rhetoric to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom exposes the cynical approach Republicans have taken in promoting religious freedom.


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