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

Hyping the EMP Threat; New Profiles of John Nagl, United Against Iran, Seth Cropsey and more

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The EMP Threat: Lots of Hype, Little Traction

By Robert Farley

In September, a network of hawks from the Christian Right to the neocons held a conference aimed at raising alarm about a purely theoretical threat. Titled “Protecting America Against Permanent Continental Shutdown From Electromagnetic Pulse,” the conference featured speakers who argued that “rogue” states like North Korea and Iran, as well as terrorists, are poised to wreak havoc on the United States by blasting nuclear weapons above the country, releasing an electromagnetic pulse that would shut down much of its infrastructure. That there is little evidence of EMP’s ostensibly far-reaching impact—or that anyone has developed EMP-optimized weapons—has not stopped hawks from making outlandish claims, like that within a year of an EMP attack, 9 out of 10 Americans would be dead. Despite the hype, it appears that only zealots take the threat seriously. Read full story.

See also:

  • Right Web Profile: The EMP Commission
    Despite challenges to its credibility, the work of this congressional commission continues be cited by hardliners to revive Cold War-era fears of nuclear annihilation and justify aggressive policies toward Iran and North Korea.



John Nagl
One of the foremost U.S. experts on counterinsurgency, Nagl is president of the Center for a New American Security, an influential inside-the-beltway think tank with close ties to the Obama administration and neoconservatives.

Seth Cropsey
The former head of the Bush administration’s International Broadcasting Bureau, Cropsey has moved to the neocon-led Hudson Institute, where he writes screeds accusing President Obama of “appeasing” the Russians and attacking his efforts at rapprochement with the Muslim world.

Henry Sokolski
This longtime foreign policy hardliner is one of a chorus of rightist voices criticizing the recent agreement between Iran and the U.N. Security Council’s five permanent members (plus Germany) regarding its nuclear program.

United Against Nuclear Iran
While highlighting on its website that State Department heavyweights Richard Holbrooke and Dennis Ross are cofounders, this right-leaning advocacy group recently ran a TV commercial implicitly criticizing the Obama administration’s Iran policy.

Thomas McInerney
Tightly connected to military contractors and to several militarist advocacy groups, this retired general argues that President Obama is naïve about the threat from “radical Islam” and should increase troops in Afghanistan.

Jon Kyl
One of the Senate’s key foreign policy hawks, Senator Kyl recently advocated using U.S. muscle to force “regime change” in Iran.

Irving Kristol (1920-2009)
The “godfather” of neoconservatism passed away in mid-September.



Pro-War Officials Play Up Taliban-al Qaeda Ties

Experts claim that new intel reports alleging closer ties between al Qaeda and the Taliban, which have been used to promote a full-fledged U.S. counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan, are misleading. 

Foreign Policy Hawks Launch New Campaign Against Obama

Days after Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel, two of Washington’s prominent hawks launched a new campaign aimed at depicting the president as weak and pushing militarist foreign policies. 

U.S. Public Skeptical and Hawkish on Iran

Despite strong support for diplomatic engagement with Iran, most U.S. citizens believe such efforts will ultimately fail.

Obama Weighs Options as Afghan War Enters Ninth Year

On the eighth anniversary of the launch of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, President Obama spent much of his time deliberating with top advisers on what is likely to be one of the most momentous decisions of his tenure: the future of U.S. involvement in that war.

More AID for Pakistan

While much of the foreign policy debate has focused on Afghanistan and Iran recently, Washington has been moving to tighten ties with a key neighbor of both countries, Pakistan.

Breakthrough on Iran?

Observers are cautiously optimistic that talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany could lay the basis for a long-sought diplomatic breakthrough.

U.S. Story on Iran Nuke Facility Doesn’t Add Up

Did the United States really catch Iran trying to conceal its “secret” nuclear facility?



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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.

John Bolton, senior fellow at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute and the controversial former ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, has been considered for a variety of positions in the Trump administration, including most recently as national security adviser.

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).

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has been advocating regime change in Iran since even before 9/11.

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