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

Neocon Redux: Blame Iran, Back Israel

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Neocon Redux: Blame Iran, Back Israel

Jim Lobe, Right Web contributing writer

Israel’s military offensives in Gaza and Lebanon have reenergized neoconservatives who see an opportunity to regain influence lost as a result of setbacks in Iraq. While insisting on unconditional U.S. support for Israel, the neoconservatives are also pushing for U.S. attacks on Tehran’s nuclear facilities in retaliation for its support of Hezbollah. Read article.

Midterm Elections: Lieberman in the Hot Seat

Michael Flynn, Right Web program director

As the battles over the November mid-term elections heat up, few campaigns are receiving as much attention in the nation’s press and blogosphere as that of Sen. Joe Lieberman, the three-term Democrat from Connecticut who is facing a stiff challenge from upstart Democrat Ned Lamont. Lamont is a so-called Netroot candidate, one of a handful of election hopefuls whose blogger-driven campaigns are raising eyebrows of Democrats and Republicans alike. As Matthew Continetti of the neoconservative Weekly Standard put it recently, “What increasingly seems to be the case … is that one’s status as a member of the Democratic establishment is entirely dependent on how much attention one pays to the progressive bloggers.” He adds: “The furious assault against Lieberman … has little to do with Lieberman. Its real target is George W. Bush. Each of Lieberman’s alleged errors comes from siding with positions that the Bush administration also has taken. Since the Iraq war is the major project of the Bush administration, and since Lieberman supports that project, it stands to reason that the Iraq war would dominate the primary. For the progressive bloggers, the actual content of Lamont’s positions on the issues is mostly irrelevant. What is most relevant is his willingness to oppose Bush and conservatives in general.”

Harold Meyerson, editor-at-large for the left-leaning American Prospect, poses a different argument, writing in a recent op-ed for the Washington Post: “Lieberman’s ultimate problem isn’t fanatical bloggers, any more than Lyndon Johnson’s was crazy, antiwar Democrats. His problem is that Bush, and the war that both he and Bush have championed, is speeding the ongoing realignment of the Northeast. His problem, dear colleagues, is Connecticut.”

But Lieberman’s position on Iraq is not the only issue jeopardizing his reelection. He has consistently supported rightist foreign policy causes for over a decade, championing everything from discredited national missile defense systems to wider U.S. military intervention in the Middle East—most recently, in Iran. Also absent from much of the debate is Lieberman’s steady support for a long line of neoconservative-led advocacy campaigns; for example, he is serving as co-chair to the recently revived Committee on the Present Danger and as distinguished adviser to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. His record raises an intriguing question: If Lieberman loses in November, will he resurface as a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute?

For more details, see the new Right Web Profile:

Bush’s “Favorite Democrat”

See also:

Right Web Profile: Committee on the Present Danger

Right Web Profile: Committee for the Liberation of Iraq

Right Web Profile: Foundation for the Defense of Democracies

Also new on Right Web

A Perfect Fit
Michael Doran, appointed Senior Director for Near East and North African Affairs in the National Security Council late last year, doesn’t fit the neoconservative profile. But his ideas about the Middle East certainly do.

Attack of the “Security Moms”
Family Security Matters, a group established by the hardline Center for Security Policy, features smiling soccer mom-types who argue the benefits of targeted assassination. The group is a case study in the modus operandi of right-wing advocacy efforts in the war on terror.

Letters & Comments

Re: Iran Policy Committee (May 22, 2006)

Your assessment of the Mujahedin e-Khalq (MEK) needs work. If someone like Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) supports them, saying simply that MEK supporters are “to the right” of the Bush administration isn’t adequate. The array of MEK supporters you list is complex and contradictory, as is the fact that you and David Horowitz seem to agree to an unusual degree—how often does that happen?

I am not a supporter of MEK. I do not know anything about their history or activities since the 1980s. But I do know that an anti-Shah Iranian exile co-worker of mine in 1979 went back to Iran to join what was then a left-wing “People’s Mujahideen,” only to turn up on the front page of an exile newspaper as one of the first victims executed by the Khomeini government in its murderous purge of thousands of leftists. At that time, that array of forces was seen as a potential source for a progressive outcome to the Iranian revolution. Maybe MEK is now a terrorist group and not a legitimate liberation movement—that is a question for analysis, not assertion.

It is not news that the hard right is willing to support terrorist groups for its ends. But surely it is a mistake to think that such support ipso facto makes them cat’s paws for the right—just ask Osama bin Laden. That too is a question for analysis, not assumption or assertion.

It would be useful to have an analysis from IRC of left-progressive dilemmas when faced with the problem of trying to oppose U.S. bellicosity and aggression, while at the same time being in solidarity with democratic and popular desires for change in countries whose repressive and reactionary governments also happen to be targeted by U.S. reactionaries for their own reasons.

—Chris Lowe

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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.