" />

Right Web

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

One War Is Not Enough for GOP Candidates

The GOP presidential candidates, almost without exception, have displayed remarkably tone-deaf attitudes regarding the imminent U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, while revealing a near-unanimous desire to make Iran the next target of U.S. military intervention, doubtless making their myriad neoconservative Machiavellis proud.

 

In a chorus described by Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen as “completely tone deaf,” the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential contenders have unanimously criticized the Obama administration’s announcement that the last U.S. combat troops would leave Iraq by the end of 2011.

 

Among the highlights in a recent National Review round up of the candidates’ responses: Mitt Romney’s argument that the withdrawal amounts to an “astonishing failure to secure an orderly transition in Iraq”; Michele Bachmann statement that “President Obama’s decision represents the end of the era of America’s influence in Iraq and the strengthening of Iran’s influence in Iraq with no plan to counter that influence”; Jon Huntsman claim that “the president’s inability to reach a security agreement leaves Iraq vulnerable to backsliding, thus putting our interests in the region at risk”; and Rick Perry’s hand-wringing about being “deeply concerned that President Obama is putting political expediency ahead of sound military and security judgment.”

 

Elsewhere, Newt Gingrich flip-flopped between claiming that the “the president is right” and lamenting that the announcement “will be seen by historians as a decisive defeat for the U.S. in Iraq.” Rick Santorum, who also accused Obama of having "tacitly supported … Ahmadinejad and the mullahs” during the 2009 protests in Iran, lamented that “the Iranians now have more sway over the Iraqi government than the United States.” Herman Cain, meanwhile, left unchanged his assessment that “withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan were ‘a dumb thing to do.’”

 

But if the candidates were concerned about Iran’s influence in the Middle East—a development hardly new to the Obama administration—they nevertheless seem to have a (military) solution. “Option A,” Herman Cain has said, “is, 'Folks, we are not going to allow [Iran] to attack Israel.’ If they call my bluff, they already know—they will know—what Option B is.” Cain has also called for placing U.S. weapons systems in the Persian Gulf, encouraging Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to “make my day.” In more tempered language, Mitt Romney has proposed something arguably more aggressive, advocating the placement of a U.S. naval carrier force in the eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf “to deter would-be aggressors” there.

 

Michele Bachmann—whose congressional Tea Party Caucus previously endorsed an Israeli military strike on Iran—has charged that Iran “fail[s] to respect the U.S. and our presence” in the Middle East, pledging that she would “take everything at our disposal to make sure that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon.” Jon Huntsman, typically less hawkish than his GOP colleagues, has nonetheless echoed this sentiment. "I cannot live with a nuclear-armed Iran,” he told a New Hampshire audience. “If you want an example of when I would use American force, it would be that.”

 

Newt Gingrich has been perhaps the most explicit about Iran. Arguing that Tehran has been "waging war against us since 1979," Gingrich has explicitly espoused an emphatic regime-change line, telling CNN, "Our goal should be the replacement of the Iranian dictatorship."

 

–Peter Certo

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s first U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is known for her lock-step support for Israel and is widely considered to be a future presidential candidate.


Laurence Silberman, a senior justice on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was a mentor to controversial Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and has been a vocal supporter of right-wing foreign and domestic agendas, including the campaign to support the invasion of Iraq.


The People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, advocates regime change in Iran and has strong connections with a wide range of top political figures in the U.S.


Haim Saban is a media mogul and major donor to the Democratic Party known for his hardline stance on Israel and opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.


Eli Lake is a columnist for Bloomberg View who has a lengthy record of advocating for aggressive U.S. foreign policies towards the Middle East.


Brian Hook is the director of policy planning and senior policy advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and is the head of the Iran Action Group.


Josh Rogin is a journalist known for his support for neoconservative policies and views.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

The contradictions in Donald Trump’s foreign policy create opportunities for both rivals and long-standing (if irritated) US allies to challenge American influence. But Trump’s immediate priority is political survival, and his actions in the international arena are of little concern to his domestic supporters.


While the notion that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic is decades old, it has been bolstered in recent years, by the campaign to add to the definition of anti-Semitism any criticism that singles Israel out and doesn’t apply the same standard to other countries. The bottom line is that this entire effort is designed not to combat anti-Semitism but to silence criticism. 


Short-term thinking, expedience, and a lack of strategic caution has led Washington to train, fund, and support group after group that have turned their guns on American soldiers and civilians.


Trump is not the problem. Think of him instead as a summons to address the real problem, which in a nation ostensibly of, by, and for the people is the collective responsibility of the people themselves. For Americans to shirk that responsibility further will almost surely pave the way for more Trumps — or someone worse — to come.


The United Nations has once again turn into a battleground between the United States and Iran, which are experiencing one of the darkest moments in their bilateral relations.


In many ways, Donald Trump’s bellicosity, his militarism, his hectoring cant about American exceptionalism and national greatness, his bullying of allies—all of it makes him not an opponent of neoconservatism but its apotheosis. Trump is a logical culmination of the Bush era as consolidated by Obama.


Soon after a Saudi-led coalition strike on a bus killed 40 children on August 9, a CENTCOM spokesperson stated to Vox, “We may never know if the munition [used] was one that the U.S. sold to them.”


RightWeb
share