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

Neocon Echo Chamber 2.0; Profiles on Keep Israel Safe, the Hudson Institute, and More

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The Neoconservative Echo Chamber 2.0

By Ali Gharib & Eli Clifton

With their strategic goals discredited and their influence in policy circles on the wane, neoconservatives are making savvy use of the internet to promote their hawkish agenda on Iran, terrorism, and Middle East peace. A new generation of young neocons—bloggers and PR specialists—are employing slick websites and web videos to attract populist backing for their foreign policy agenda. The combination of a Democratic administration and growing disaffection among liberal Zionists for the right-wing policies of Israel’s Likud-led government has spurred neoconservatives to shift the focus of their activism from recruiting elite decision-makers to mobilizing the Republican Party’s ultra-conservative base. The implications of this shift, especially in a sooner-than-expected post-Obama era, could have significant repercussions for U.S. relations with the world. Read full article.



Keep America Safe

One of a string of astroturf groups recently launched by neoconservatives and Christian Right figures, Keep Israel Safe has produced several webvideos that attack the Obama administration’s policies on Israel and Iran.

Hudson Institute

Israeli bloggers recently revealed that this cornerstone neocon institution has been a key funder of an Israeli NGO that is leading efforts to purge universities of left-wing and “post-Zionist” influence.

David Addington

Dick Cheney’s former right-hand was recently tapped by the conservative Heritage Foundation to serve as vice president for domestic and economic policy studies.

I. Lewis Libby

Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff who was convicted in connection to the PlameGate affair is now senior vice president of the Hudson Institute.



Light At End of Tunnel Elusive, Despite Obama’s Efforts

The announced “end” of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq and the start of direct talks on Israeli-Palestinian peace notwithstanding, the United States remains deeply mired in Middle East conflicts.

Interview with Andrew Bacevich

Andrew Bacevich, professor of internationalrelations and history at Boston University, discusses his new book, Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War.

The End of the Iraq Combat Mission?

While the White House is trying to reassure its anti-war base that the U.S. military role in Iraq is coming to an end, there are indications that it intends to renegotiate its agreement with Baghdad to keep combat troops there into 2011.

Ouster of Contractors Throws U.S. Strategy in Doubt

If private security contractors are phased out in Afghanistan, as Afghan President Hamid Karzai has demanded, it could have a profound impact on U.S. military strategy there.

“McCarthyism” in the Middle East

Israeli civil rights groups and academics are harshly criticizing a campaign by right-wing politicians and activists to clamp down on what they call an “anti-Zionist tilt” at universities.



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Featured Profiles

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.