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

Joe Lieberman the Neocon

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Joe Lieberman
The former senator from Connecticut has joined the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he co-chairs with former Sen. Jon Kyl the American Internationalism Project. As one commentator put it, Lieberman “should feel right at home there…. His tenure at AEI will allow him to continue to pontificate to a sympathetic audience about why he regards even mild opposition to his intransigent bellicosity as benighted obstructionism.”

Michael Goldfarb
Michael Goldfarb is a neoconservative pundit, activist, and consultant who has proven adept at funneling anonymous Republican donations into high-profile advocacy efforts. Sensationalistic reports published by the Washington Free Beacon—a conservative blog of Goldfarb's Center for American Freedom—have cemented his reputation as a self-styled provocateur with little regard for the facts.

Institute for the Study of War
Founded in 2007, the Institute for the Study of War is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that has supported long-term U.S. military intervention abroad, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. Led by Kimberly Kagan, the group has increasingly attracted the support of military contractors with active stakes in the wars the group supports prolonging.

Charles Krauthammer
Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer is a trailblazing “pro-Israel” ideologue and an unapologetic advocate for U.S. overseas military intervention—but don’t call him a “neoconservative.” At a recent event hosted by the right-wing National Review, Krauthammer dismissed the neoconservative label as an “epithet” for “Jewish conservative,” suggesting that affording any scrutiny to neoconservative foreign policy was tantamount to anti-Semitism.

Gatestone Institute
The Gatestone Institute is a New York-based advocacy organization that is tied to neoconservative and other right-wing networks in the United States and Europe. The brainchild of Sears-Roebuck heiress Nina Rosenwald, Gatestone has played host to far-right anti-Islamic ideologues like Geert Wilders and produced a slew of commentaries railing against the purported influence of Sharia law in Europe and North America, the alleged nuclear ambitions of Iran, and the supposed malfeasances of Palestinians.

Nina Rosenwald
An heir to the Sears Roebuck fortune, Nina Rosenwald has been dubbed “the sugar mama of anti-Muslim hate” for her philanthropy supporting right-wing and anti-Islamic groups in the United States. She is the founder of the Gatestone Institute, an offshoot of the neoconservative Hudson Institute that has rolled out the red carpet for anti-Islamic polemicists like Geert Wilders and produced a slew of commentaries inveighing against Iran, Palestinians, and the purported creep of Sharia law.

Kimberly Kagan
Kimberly Kagan is founder and president of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a hawkish counterinsurgency think tank. With her husband Frederick—an American Enterprise Institute fellow often credited with helping to conceive the Iraq “surge”—Kagan has proven an influential advocate for a protracted counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan, receiving extraordinary accommodations from General David Petraeus during his tenure in the country. While she was advising Petraeus, Kagan continued to receive a paycheck from ISW, which is funded by military contractors with active interests in Afghanistan.

From the Wires

U.S. “Rebalancing” to Asia/Pacific Still a Priority
Amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula and a brewing dispute over Chinese hacking, the Pentagon insists that the Obama administration's "pivot" to the Asia-Pacific region will not be derailed by defense cuts.

AIPAC on the Defensive
While its base remains active and invested, AIPAC is increasingly confronting a political landscape in which its membership seems more out of touch with Americans—Jewish or otherwise—than ever.

U.S. Wasted Billions of Dollars on Iraqi Reconstruction
A report by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has concluded that the U.S. wasted billions of dollars rebuilding Iraq by farming projects out to unreliable contractors and failing to account for local needs and circumstances in planning projects.

What Went Right at Almaty
Iran and the P5+1 powers are finally negotiating instead of just talking.

Obama and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: It’s Time to Act
As President Barack Obama travels to Israel and Palestine in the spring, Washington’s unconditional backing of Israel could soon begin to harm U.S. interests and security in Arab Muslim countries.

After Unprecedented Fight, Hagel Confirmed as Obama’s Pentagon Chief
Despite a massive effort by “pro-Israel” neoconservatives to derail his nomination, the Senate has voted to confirm Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of defense.

Former Hostages Call for Broadened Dialogue with Iran
On the eve of renewed P5+1 negotiations in Kazakhstan, at least two former hostages of the U.S. embassy crisis in Iran have called on the United States to engage with more direct dialogue with Iran.

Saudi Arabia Seen Unlikely to Seek Nukes If Iran Gets One
A new report suggests that, due to a combination of factors, countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey would be unlikely to seek nuclear weapons in the event that Iran develops one.

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Although sometimes characterized as a Republican “maverick” for his bipartisan forays into domestic policy, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is one of the Senate’s more vocal hawks.


Former CIA director Michael Hayden, a stalwart advocate of the Bush-era policies on torture and warrantless wiretapping, has been a vocal critic of Donald Trump


The former GOP presidential candidate and Speaker of the House has been a vociferous proponent of the idea that the America faces an existential threat from “Islamofascists.”


David Albright is the founder of the Institute for Science and International Security, a non-proliferation think tank whose influential analyses of nuclear proliferation issues in the Middle East have been the source of intense disagreement and debate.


A right-wing Christian and governor of Kansas, Brownback previously served in the U.S. Senate, where he gained a reputation as a leading social conservative as well as an outspoken “pro-Israel” hawk on U.S. Middle East policy.


Steve Forbes, head of the Forbes magazine empire, is an active supporter of a number of militarist policy organizations that have pushed for aggressive U.S. foreign policies.


Stephen Hadley, an Iraq War hawk and former national security adviser to President George W. Bush, now chairs the U.S. Institute for Peace.


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From the Wires

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The Trump administration appears to have been surprised by this breach among its friends in the critical Gulf strategic area. But it is difficult to envision an effective U.S. role in rebuilding this Humpty-Dumpty.


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A recent vote in the European Parliament shows how President Trump’s relentless hostility to Iran is likely to isolate Washington more than Tehran.


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The head of the Institute for Science and International Security—aka “the Good ISIS”—recently demonstrated again his penchant for using sloppy analysis as a basis for politically explosive charges about Iran, in this case using a faulty translation from Persian to misleadingly question whether Tehran is “mass producing advanced gas centrifuges.”


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Trump has exhibited a general preference for authoritarians over democrats, and that preference already has had impact on his foreign policy. Such an inclination has no more to do with realism than does a general preference for democrats over authoritarians.


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The President went to the region as a deal maker and a salesman for American weapon manufacturing. He talked about Islam, terrorism, Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without the benefit of expert advice in any of these areas. After great showmanship in Riyadh, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem, he and his family left the region without much to show for or to benefit the people of that war-torn region.


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Although the Comey memo scandal may well turn out to be what brings Trump down, this breach of trust may have had more lasting effect than any of Trump’s other numerous misadventures. It was an unprecedented betrayal of Israel’s confidence. Ironically, Trump has now done what even Barack Obama’s biggest detractors never accused him of: seriously compromised Israel’s security relationship with the United States.


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Congress and the public acquiesce in another military intervention or a sharp escalation of one of the U.S. wars already under way, perhaps it’s time to finally consider the true costs of war, American-style — in lives lost, dollars spent, and opportunities squandered. It’s a reasonable bet that never in history has a society spent more on war and gotten less bang for its copious bucks.


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