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

Missing the Point in Pakistan; Plus, Profiles on the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and I

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Missing the Point on Pakistan
Commentary by Najum Mushtaq

The recent missile strike inside Pakistan’s terrorist-infested tribal areas revealed that despite the millions of dollars spent by the United States to improve security in the country, the situation is one of spiraling instability. But pumping millions into Pakistan to prevent the nightmare scenario of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons, a policy pushed by conservative think tanks and many Bush administration officials, misses the larger issue. Washington’s time and money would be better used to persuade Pakistan’s entrenched nuclear-military establishment to let go of its nuclear weapons entirely and concentrate on fighting terrorism.
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FEATURED PROFILES

Foundation for Defense of Democracies
A supposedly nonpartisan think thank aimed at fighting the causes of terrorism and promoting democracy, many of FDD’s Democratic supporters resigned recently after it targeted House Democrats in misleading attack ads.

Defense of Democracies
When its tax-exempt status got in the way of aggressive lobbying, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies created a brand new organization. Its first project was a controversial ad campaign that has raised concerns about partisanship.

Max Kampelman
A longtime supporter of hawkish groups like the Committee on the Present Danger and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Kampelman, an arms control negotiator under Reagan, has more recently advocated global nuclear disarmament.

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When the Brass Doesn

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Featured Profiles

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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