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

Israeli Hawks Downplay Iranian Nukes; the New Arc of Crisis; Stifling Dissent; FreedomWorks; Emanuel

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Look Who’s Downplaying Iran’s Nuclear Threat
By Leon Hadar

In a series of recent statements, high-profile Israeli hawks have argued that an Iranian nuclear weapons program would not pose an existential threat to Israel, in part because they realize that the alternative could be regional war. So why is it that neoconservatives and other pro-Israel hardliners in the United States continue to press for decisive action against Tehran from the safety of their offices in the United States? Read full story.


Emanuele Ottolenghi
Ottolenghi, director of the Brussels-based Transatlantic Institute, keeps readers of the National Review, Commentary, and other rightist outlets up to date on whither the "war on terror" in Europe.

Will Marshall
Considered by some a neoconservative in Democrat’s clothing, Marshall helps run two rightist Democratic Party-aligned groups, the Democratic Leadership Council and the Progressive Policy Institute.

FreedomWorks (previously Empower America)
FreedomWorks is a rightist advocacy outfit created in 2004 out of the merger of Empower America and Citizens for a Sound Economy.

Marshall Wittmann
Senator Lieberman’s spokesperson, Wittmann has worked to put the Democratic Party on a hardline trail like the one blazed by Sen. "Scoop" Jackson.

Bruce Jackson
Bruce Jackson has founded several influential, hawkish advocacy groups, including the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a pressure group that worked to build public and congressional support for invading Iraq.


A New "Arc of Crisis"?
By Jim Lobe

The problems in Pakistan and the looming threat of a Turkish invasion of northern Iraq have come at an inconvenient moment for the Bush administration, which is trying to convince the public that it has finally turned the corner in the "war on terror." Read full story.

Stifling Dissent
By Gareth Porter

In a replay of the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration wants to prevent intelligence agencies from reporting inconvenient messages, in this case regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Read full story.


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Featured Profiles

John Bolton, the controversial former U.S. ambassador to the UN and dyed-in the-wool foreign policy hawk, has been selected by President Trump to replace National Security Adviser McMaster, marking a sharp move to the hawkish extreme by the administration.

The Institute for the Study of War is a D.C.-based counterinsurgency think tank that has supported long-term U.S. military intervention in the Greater Middle East, especially Iraq and Afghanistan.

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.

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).

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From the Wires

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New NSA John Bolton represents an existential threat to the Iran nuclear deal and any hopes for peace in the region.

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Hardliners at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies are working overtime to convince the Trump administration to “fix” the nuclear agreement with Iran on the pretext that it will give the US leverage in negotiations with North Korea.

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North Korea and Iran both understand the lesson of Libya: Muammar Qaddafi, a horrifyingly brutal dictator, gave up his nuclear weapons, was eventually ousted from power with large-scale US assistance, and was killed. However, while Iran has a long and bitter history with the United States, North Korea’s outlook is shaped by its near-total destruction by forces led by the United States in the Korean War.

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Europe loathes having to choose between Tehran and Washington, and thus it will spare no efforts to avoid the choice. It might therefore opt for a middle road, trying to please both parties by persuading Trump to retain the accord and Iran to limit missile ballistic programs and regional activities.

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Key members of Trump’s cabinet should recognize the realism behind encouraging a Saudi- and Iranian-backed regional security agreement because the success of such an agreement would not only serve long-term U.S. interests, it could also have a positive impact on numerous conflicts in the Middle East.

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Given that Israel failed to defeat Hezbollah in its war in Lebanon in 2006, it’s difficult to imagine Israel succeeding in a war against both Hezbollah and its newfound regional network of Shiite allies. And at the same time not only is Hezbollah’s missile arsenal a lot larger and more dangerous than it was in 2006, but it has also gained vast experience alongside its allies in offensive operations against IS and similar groups.

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Donald Trump should never be excused of responsibility for tearing down the respect for truth, but a foundation for his flagrant falsifying is the fact that many people would rather be entertained, no matter how false is the source of their entertainment, than to confront truth that is boring or unsatisfying or that requires effort to understand.