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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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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.