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

Neocons Despair over Détente with Iran

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Neoconservatives Despair Over U.S.-Iran Diplomacy
Jim Lobe

Nervous about potential U.S. rapprochement with Tehran over its nuclear enrichment program, some neoconservatives are urging Israel to scuttle the deal by attacking Iran.


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Foreign Policy Research Institute

The Foreign Policy Research Institute is a conservative foreign policy think tank based in Philadelphia. Although many of its current scholars are realist skeptics of military interventionism, the institute has supported the work of a number of prominent hawks over the years, including Daniel Pipes, founder of the Middle East Forum. FPRI figures have advocated "standing aside" in Syria "so that some hateful, armed and dangerous people can get killed" and celebrated the military coup that brought down Egypt's elected Muslim Brotherhood government, which one FPRI writer claimed has been "directly influenced by the Nazis."

Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager is a conservative radio talk show host and columnist who promotes the “culture wars” as well as America's overseas wars. An unapologetic advocate of making the United States the "world's policeman," Prager has been an avid proponent of U.S. intervention in Syria, calling the recent agreement to avoid war by transferring Syria's chemical weapons out of the country an "American defeat by Russia, Syria, and Iran." On the cultural front, Prager has recently compared court rulings legalizing same-sex marriage in California to Egypt's military coup, and accused "virtually all black leaders" of having "hatred" for "white America."

Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research is an influential rightist think tank chaired by hedge fund magnate Paul Singer, an important financial backer of neoconservative advocacy groups like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. The Manhattan Institute has promoted lower taxes on the rich, public service cuts for the poor, and controversial "stop and frisk" police practices. Through its influential quarterly magazine, City Journal, Manhattan Institute writers also weigh in on foreign policy. In a recent column, contributing editor Judith Miller—notorious for her efforts to relay Ahmed Chalabi's false intelligence about Iraq as a New York Times reporter—expressed "profound skepticism" about any international agreement to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons.

Charles Jacobs

Charles Jacobs is a Boston-based writer and political activist who has founded several organizations devoted to policing criticism of Israel and warning about the dangers of "radical Islam." Among these is the group Americans for Peace and Tolerance, which is well known in Boston for opposing the construction of a local Islamic center and for raising alarm about "Islamic extremism" in schools and universities. Jacobs has also put APT's name behind efforts to link Iran to the 1994 bombing of a prominent Buenos Aires Jewish center, despite reports that such accusations rely solely on testimony from controversial anti-regime Iranian exiles.

J.D. Crouch

J.D. Crouch II is a former deputy national security adviser and assistant to President George W. Bush who helped develop the “troop surge” in Iraq. One of the staunchest foreign policy hawks in the Bush administration, Crouch resigned from the government in 2007, first taking a fellowship with the National Institute for Public Policy—a think tank closely linked to military contractors—and then heading up a military contractor firm. He was recently named CEO of QinetiQ North America, the Virginia-based arm of the UK-based defense firm QinetiQ.

Bernard Marcus

Bernard Marcus is the billionaire co-founder and former CEO of Home Depot. Since retiring from the company in 2002, he has devoted his energies to philanthropy, political fundraising, and activism. Alongside his support for traditional philanthropic causes, Marcus has also emerged as a major funder of numerous Republican and neoconservative organizations, including the American Enterprise Institute, Christians United for Israel, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. He has been among largest donors to the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies, having given nearly $11 million to the organization in 2011 alone.

Paul Singer

Billionaire investor Paul Singer is the founder and CEO of the Elliott Management Corporation, a hedge fund that once counted Dan Senor among its partners. Singer has used his largesse—some of it funneled through his eponymous family foundation—to finance a host of right-wing “pro-Israel” organizations, including the Republican Jewish Coalition, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Institute for the Study of War. A recent Salon report revealed that the secretive Singer is also the second-largest donor to the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies.


From the Wires

Hope and Pessimism as Israelis and Palestinians Resume Talks

Hardliners have begun to lose sway in the U.S. "pro-Israel" community, but the gulf between the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating positions remains formidable in the latest round of U.S.-brokered talks.

How Syria Brought the U.S. and Iran Together

The emerging U.S.-Iran modus vivendi over Syria could be the beginning of the end for three decades of mutual hostility and estrangement.

Iran Hawks Gear Up

As the United States and Iran move towards renewed talks over Tehran's nuclear enrichment program, anti-Iran hardliners in Washington and the Middle East are likely to step up their attacks on the process.

Remember Bibi’s Wisdom on Iraq 11 Years Ago

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu escalates his pressure on Washington to avert its rapprochement with Iran, critics recall his fervent support for the invasion of Iraq.

U.S., Iran Trade Cautious Overtures at U.N.

In their addresses to the UN General Assembly, U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani each indicated that they were committed to renewing diplomatic engagement between their two countries, which each administration appointing high-level diplomats to resume talks.

Speculation over Iran-U.S. Détente Continues Apace

With both sides sending conciliatory signals in advance of the UN General Assembly, a U.S.-Iran détente appears more within reach than ever—much to the chagrin of hawkish "pro-Israel" factions in the United States.


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Update was slow, but still no lag in the editor window, and footnotes are intact.     This has been updated – Bernard Lewis, who passed away in May 2018, was a renowned British-American historian of Islam and the Middle East. A former British intelligence officer, Foreign Office staffer, and Princeton University professor, Lewis was…


Bernard Lewis was a renowned historian of Islam and the Middle East who stirred controversy with his often chauvinistic attitude towards the Muslim world and his associations with high-profile neoconservatives and foreign policy hawks.


John Bolton, the controversial former U.S. ambassador to the UN and dyed-in the-wool foreign policy hawk, is President Trump’s National Security Adviser McMaster, reflecting a sharp move to the hawkish extreme by the administration.


Michael Joyce, who passed away in 2006, was once described by neoconservative guru Irving Kristol as the “godfather of modern philanthropy.”


Mike Pompeo, the Trump administration’s second secretary of state, is a long time foreign policy hawk and has led the public charge for an aggressive policy toward Iran.


Max Boot, neoconservative military historian at the Council on Foreign Relations, on Trump and Russia: “At every turn Trump is undercutting the ‘get tough on Russia’ message because he just can’t help himself, he just loves Putin too much.”


Michael Flynn is a former Trump administration National Security Advisor who was forced to step down only weeks on the job because of his controversial contacts with Russian officials before Trump took office.


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From the Wires

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.


For the past few decades the vast majority of private security companies like Blackwater and DynCorp operating internationally have come from a relatively small number of countries: the United States, Great Britain and other European countries, and Russia. But that seeming monopoly is opening up to new players, like DeWe Group, China Security and Protection Group, and Huaxin Zhongan Group. What they all have in common is that they are from China.


The Trump administration’s massive sales of tanks, helicopters, and fighter aircraft are indeed a grim wonder of the modern world and never receive the attention they truly deserve. However, a potentially deadlier aspect of the U.S. weapons trade receives even less attention than the sale of big-ticket items: the export of firearms, ammunition, and related equipment.


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.”


The West has dominated the post-war narrative with its doctrine of liberal values, arguing that not only were they right in themselves but that economic success itself depended on their application. Two developments have challenged those claims. The first was the West’s own betrayal of its principles: on too many occasions the self interest of the powerful, and disdain for the victims of collateral damage, has showed through. The second dates from more recently: the growth of Chinese capitalism owes nothing to a democratic system of government, let alone liberal values.


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