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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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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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