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

It’s Not Really the Economy; Dealing with Damascus; John Ashcroft’s Payday; John Lehman, and more

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Bye, Bye Tora Bora; Hello Subprime Mortgages
Commentary by Leon Hadar | December 21, 2007

The serious economic problems facing America are closely intertwined with the country’s foreign policyfailures in Iraq and elsewhere. And as Americans begin to recognize that maintaining a gigantic welfare-warfarestate is a costly proposition, the political candidates who awaken to this reality will be best placedto succeed in 2008. Read full story.


John Ashcroft
The former attorney general has hit a post-government payday with a consulting firm and security-relatedboard positions.

John Lehman
A 9/11 commissioner and supporter of neoconservative outfits like the Project for the New AmericanCentury and the Center for Security Policy, Lehman’s most recent cause is to show the dangers of U.S.oil dependence.


Détente with Damascus?
By Khody Akhavi

While Annapolis may have opened the door to diplomacy, reality on the ground suggests that Syria willnot end its relationship with Iran, nor will it bend to international pressure regarding Lebanon. Read full story.

When Did He Know?
By Gareth Porter

The intelligence in the recent NIE on Iran’s nuclear program is anything but new, it seems, meaningthat President George W. Bush has likely known about it for some time. Read full story.


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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.

John Hannah, Dick Cheney’s national security adviser, is now a leading advocate for regime change in both Iran and Syria based at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Dennis Ross, a U.S. diplomat who served in the Obama administration, is a fellow at the “pro-Israel” Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Sheldon Adelson is a wealthy casino magnate known for his large, influential political contributions, his efforts to impact U.S. foreign policy discourse particularly among Republicans, and his ownership and ideological direction of media outlets.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is known for his hawkish views on foreign policy and close ties to prominent neoconservatives.

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From the Wires

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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.

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It would be a welcome change in twenty-first-century America if the reckless decision to throw yet more unbelievable sums of money at a Pentagon already vastly overfunded sparked a serious discussion about America’s hyper-militarized foreign policy.

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President Trump and his advisers ought to ask themselves whether it is in the U.S. interest to run the risk of Iranian withdrawal from the nuclear agreement. Seen from the other side of the Atlantic, running that risk looks dumb.