Right Web | Posted: March 18, 2011
Commentary Magazine’s Contentions blog recently published an entry from Michael Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, in which he attacked Right Web for employing standards “embraced by conspiracy theorists like the LaRouchies, 9/11 revisionists, and Birthers.” He also criticized Right Web’s director and editor on the basis of a stark mischaracterization of a correspondence between the two from November 2009 and called on Congress to investigate PBS Frontline for publishing stories that provide links to Right Web material.
Charles Davis | Posted: March 13, 2011
Ties between Latin America and the Middle East have drawn renewed attention, in part spurred by the tepid reactions of Latin American leaders to the deteriorating situation in Libya. But the main concern, at least among rightwing observers, is what the American Enterprise Institute unimaginatively terms the “Mullah-Caudillo Axis.” The relationship between Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadenijad is causing extreme handwringing on the right, spurring pundits to conjure fantastical scenarios about Iran exploiting America’s “soft underbelly.” Clearly, neoconservatives haven't given up hope of attacking Iran—even if they have to go through Caracas to do it.
Jack Ross | Posted: March 01, 2011
During the recent upheavals across the Greater Middle East, the various iterations of the neoconservative line—the optimistic pro-democracy, the paranoid Islamophobic, or the brazen combination of both—have all tended to share a single major fallacy: That the opposition movement in Iran, the so-called Green movement, is a movement that seeks the same goals as the neoconservatives and their allies. However, this embrace of a fantastical Iranian opposition reveals more about its promoters’ pathological fears than it does about the realities in Iran.
Jim Lobe | Posted: February 28, 2011
In a distinct echo of the tactics they pursued to encourage U.S. intervention in the Balkans and Iraq, a familiar clutch of neoconservatives appealed last Friday for the United States and NATO to "immediately" prepare military action to help bring down the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Samer Araabi | Posted: February 16, 2011
Though the recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt were unprecedented in the history of the modern Arab world, they are not altogether new to the Middle East. Similar events occurred in Iran in the 1950s, and the subsequent overthrow of its democratically elected government by the United States provides a chilling example of how western involvement in Middle East social change can produce disastrous long-term consequences. As Wael Ghonim, the now-famous Google executive arrested for helping plan the initial demonstrations, has written: “Dear Western Governments, You’ve been silent for 30 years supporting the regime that was oppressing us. Please don’t get involved now.”
Jack Ross | Posted: February 01, 2011
The neoconservatives have repeatedly found themselves facing the discomforting reality that democratic change in the Middle East—which they have at times feverishly embraced—has led to governments that are opposed to Israel. Now, with the Egyptian street in upheaval, a stark divide has emerged in neocon discourse. The freedom crowd sees the uprising as vindication of Bush’s “global democratic revolution”; the Islamophobes have begun their predictable fear mongering about the Muslim Brotherhood and the threat of global Islamism.
Samer Araabi | Posted: January 18, 2011
The continuing influence of Syria, which has been reflected in the recent power struggles in Lebanon, clearly demonstrates that U.S. attempts to isolate Damascus have failed. Syria occupies an important strategic position in the Levant, and it sits at the crossroads of a number of U.S. interests. Despite efforts by rightwing “pro-Israel” groups in the United States to prevent rapprochement with Syria, direct and honest engagement is the only way to satisfy U.S. foreign policy goals, rein in violent extremism, and encourage political reforms.
Samer Araabi | Posted: December 18, 2010
Militarist advocacy organizations often employ exiles from Muslim countries to bolster their promotion of hardline U.S. policies. Individuals such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, and Nonie Darwish have used their perches at neoconservative think tanks to rise to prominence as “apostates” of Islam, speaking out against the religion for its purported backwardness and tendency to violence. Though making generalizations about the cultural predispositions of more than a billion people may be patently absurd, these individuals have provided considerable ammunition to efforts to justify military intervention and other hawkish U.S. policies in the region.
Samer Araabi | Posted: November 24, 2010
Right-wing supporters of Israel have countered complaints about the influence of the “Israel Lobby” by conjuring a multifarious boogeyman that supposedly has been swaying U.S. policy for decades—the “Arab Lobby.” Purportedly composed of a heady mélange of actors—including Palestinian activists, oil and weapons companies, Middle Eastern dictators, and Arab-Americans—this lobby shares a similar weakness with that of the Israeli version: It misleadingly groups together forces whose intentions are often opposed. The notion also disguises a deeper fault line over U.S. Mideast policy: The real battle is the one pitting the combined forces of hawkish “pro-Israeli” factions and Saudi-led oil interests—both of which advocate a steady flow of weapons and the perpetual presence of U.S. troops—against populist Middle East groups and their Western supporters.
Scott McConnell | Posted: November 09, 2010
The midterm elections have been hailed as a victory for the Tea Party, whose anti-establishment revolt seems to have captured the nation’s zeitgeist. However, while much has been written about the impact this new movement will have on U.S. domestic politics, much less has been said about the challenge the Tea Party poses to the militarist foreign policy wing of the conservative establishment. The neoconservatives, however, have taken notice, and they have been busy doing what they do best—endeavoring to co-opt a rival political faction before it becomes a threat. But will the neocons’ stratagems work this time around?
Alec Dubro | Posted: October 20, 2010
Siberia’s forbidden hinterlands have long been a source of friction between Russia and China. In recent years, the idea that a horde of Asian invaders stands ready to reclaim this land for the Middle Empire has inspired the fevered minds of both right-wing Americans and Russian nationalists. Nevertheless, tensions along the eastern Siberian frontier are just that—tensions. And there is nothing to indicate that Beijing sees a suicidal invasion as preferable to simply buying Siberian resources, and letting the Russians live with isolation, cold, and summer mosquitoes. But then again, conspiratorial minds will always discount the likely explanation in favor of an apocalyptic one.
Leon T. Hadar | Posted: September 21, 2010
There is little reason to think the recently revived Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations will result in success. Weakened leaders, growing instability in the Middle East, and rapidly changing international conditions will likely conspire to prevent a real and lasting peace. With U.S. geopolitical influence on the wane and the country’s domestic discourse taking a hard right turn, President Obama’s current peace processing could prove to be the last American diplomatic hurrah in the Middle East. What this spells for the future of the Holy Land is hard to predict, but neoconservatives and their Likud comrades will surely be pleased.
Ali Gharib & Eli Clifton | Posted: September 09, 2010
With their strategic goals discredited and their influence in policy circles on the wane, neoconservatives are making savvy use of the internet to promote their hawkish agenda on Iran, terrorism, and Middle East peace. A new generation of young neocons—bloggers and PR specialists—are employing slick websites and web videos to attract populist backing for their foreign policy agenda. The combination of a Democratic administration and growing disaffection among liberal Zionists for the right-wing policies of Israel’s Likud-led government has spurred neoconservatives to shift the focus of their activism from recruiting elite decision-makers to mobilizing the Republican Party’s ultra-conservative base. The implications of this shift, especially in a sooner-than-expected post-Obama era, could have significant repercussions in U.S. relations with the world.
David Miller | Posted: August 18, 2010
SpinProfiles, a UK-based website that monitors the European conservative movement, was recently forced to shut down after Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, a well connected neoconservative based in London who is the son of writer Christopher Hitchens, complained about his profile on the website. According to a director of SpinProfiles, Meleagrou-Hitchens provided no evidence that he was slandered; rather, says David Miller, the incident represents a clear case of spurious censorship that calls into question the state of public debate in Britain. It also highlights the growing neoconservative network across the Atlantic.
Robert Farley | Posted: August 04, 2010
Conservative acquiescence in the firing of Gen. Stanley McChrystal appears to be a surprising commitment to the principle of civilian control of the military by the American right-wing. On the other hand, it may have presaged a campaign to lay the blame of a failed war in Afghanistan at the feet of a Democratic president. Since 2001, conservatives have strongly supported civilian control, in part because of military queasiness about the war in Iraq.Today, conservatives are using the principle of civilian control to place full responsibility for difficulties in the Afghanistan War on the shoulders of President Obama.
Marsha B. Cohen | Posted: July 21, 2010
Once described as the “Everything Expert” by Time magazine, Amitai Etzioni, the renowned social scientist and public intellectual based at George Washington University, has in recent years turned his attention to U.S. foreign affairs. Offering at times contradictory views on how to handle perceived threats from North Korean, Russia, and elsewhere, Etzioni’s latest concern is Iran, which he claims will be impervious to nuclear deterrence and thus must be bombed. Mixing his controversial views on “nonrational” state behavior, Israeli security, and “muscular morality,” Etzioni’s discourse has found favor among Israel’s right-wing. But does it make any sense?
Michael Flynn | Posted: June 16, 2010
In recent years, there has been a growing tendency for think tanks and military brass to jointly pursue policy objectives, some of which are opposed by the public or the White House—take, for example, the campaigns to build support for the troop “surges” in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This trend, say critics, raises important questions about the appropriate role of the military in promoting particular policies and whether there is enough transparency and accountability in the work of policy groups. Should military brass be more circumspect in how they influence public debates? At what point do “non-partisan” wonks cease being non-partisan? And, just as importantly, will there be a new joint campaign aimed at pressuring the Obama administration to delay troop withdrawal from Afghanistan?
Robert Farley | Posted: June 02, 2010
The vehement attacks against President Obama’s arms control initiatives reveal the extent to which the militarist extreme in the Republican Party’s foreign policy establishment has remained deeply entrenched despite the significant setbacks hawks have suffered since helping drive the country into war with Iraq. Using language that conjures images from the heyday of the Cold War, neoconservatives and other right-wing nationalists have endeavored to paint the administration as willing to sacrifice national security to achieve international acclaim. They have also drowned out more moderate voices in the Republican Party, whose realist views, although more in line with the policies pushed by the Obama administration, are failing to have an impact on conservative discourse.
By Richard Javad Heydarian | Posted: May 11, 2010
China is rapidly expanding its influence in the Middle East. Side-lined during the Cold War, Beijing now has both the economic wherewithal and the military muscle to be a force to reckon with in the region. The country is busy deepening its ties with regional powers, including many of America’s Arab allies as well as its regional foes, and challenging U.S.-Israeli dominance. What impact could this have on efforts to forge Middle East peace? And could the region become a battleground for a twenty-first century conflict between a rising China and a stagnant United States?
By Leon Hadar | Posted: April 01, 2010
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to arrive in Washington just in time to witness the dénouement in the showdown over healthcare reform was no coincidence. An obsessive consumer of Washington news and gossip—much of it filtered through the lens of U.S. rightwing interlocutors—Netanyahu likely thought he would meet the president just as the Age of Obama was coming to an end. Instead, he confronted a recharged leader angry over Israeli intransigence on settlements. While it is unlikely that current U.S.-Israeli tensions will lead to a long-term split, it is clear that “Bibi” will have to reassess his failed strategy of counting on rightwing allies to counterbalance pressure from the administration.
Mario Loyola, a frequent contributor to the National Review, champions U.S. preemptive war, especially in the Middle East.
Former CIA director Michael Hayden has been a stalwart advocate of the Bush record on torture and warrantless wiretapping.
Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of the New Republic and a harsh critic of Obama administration’s Middle East policy, has frequently pushed for U.S. military intervention in the Middle East.
Rachel Abrams was a member of a well-established neoconservative family who blogged for the Weekly Standard and served as a board member of the Emergency Committee for Israel.
Jennifer Rubin is a blogger at the Washington Post who is notorious for her anti-liberal invective and “pro-Israel” advocacy.