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

Neoconservative Resurgence in the Age of Obama. Also profiles on Newt Gingrich, and more

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Neoconservative Resurgence in the Age of Obama
By Daniel Luban

Despite their political plunge, neoconservatives—and the think tanks that sustain them—have been surprisingly skilled at reinventing themselves and forcing the Obama administration to give them a seat at the table. They have choreographed a clever “carrots and sticks” dance—throwing support behind the president when he has taken positions compatible with their dogma, and excoriating him when he has contravened it. They have also proved adept at making alliances with the liberal interventionists, like those at the Center for a New American Security, who are strikingly influential in and out of the Obama administration. Read full story.



Newt Gingrich
AEI fellow and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is enjoying a splashy media comeback as a harsh and vociferous critic of the new administration.

Eliot Cohen
A neocon admired by some liberal hawks, Cohen disparages the Obama administration’s pursuit of diplomacy as shallow and merely an effort not to be like Bush.

Stephen Hadley
His tendency to play loose with the facts while a top official in Bush’s National Security Council has not dampened Hadley’s marketability. He now commands lucrative fees through a high-profile speakers bureau.



Republicans Attack Obama’s Israel-Palestine Policies
Analysis by Helena Cobban | Posted: August 25, 2009

The close alignment of some Republican Party stalwarts with Israel’s rightwing government signals a significant political shift on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Under Pressure from Hawks, Obama Tacks to the Right
By Daniel Luban | Posted: August 19, 2009

Apparently in response mounting pressure from hawks, the Obama administration is moving toward a harder line on Iran.

Holbrooke Heralds U.S.-Afghan Pre-Election Engagement
By Danielle Kurtzleben | Posted: August 19, 2009

Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke told an audience at the Center for American Progress that when it comes to U.S. civilian efforts in Afghanistan, concepts of victory and defeat are irrelevant.

J Street’s Muslim Funding for Peace
By Eli Clifton | Posted: August 19, 2009

Right-wing commentators are furiously working to discredit the liberal J Street organization, which lobbies for a two-state solution in Israel-Palestine, because a tiny percentage of its donors have Arab or Muslim names.

Violent Afghan Police Return to Helmand Province, Bolstered by U.S. & UK Troops
By Gareth Porter | Posted: August 05, 2009

U.S. and UK forces in Afghanistan’s Helmand province are working to bring back the provincial police. But there is a big problem: Not only are the police linked with a local warlord, they’ve committed horrific abuses.



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Featured Profiles

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) has been an outspoken proponent of militarist U.S. foreign polices and the use of torture, aping the views of her father, Dick Cheney.

United against Nuclear Iran is a pressure group that attacks companies doing business in Iran and disseminates alarmist reports about the country’s nuclear program.

John Bolton, senior fellow at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute and the controversial former ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, has been considered for a variety of positions in the Trump administration, including most recently as national security adviser.

Gina Haspel is a CIA officer who was nominated to head the agency by President Donald Trump in March 2018. She first came to prominence because of accusations that she oversaw the torture of prisoners and later destroyed video evidence of that torture.

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.

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From the Wires

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Hardliners at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies are working overtime to convince the Trump administration to “fix” the nuclear agreement with Iran on the pretext that it will give the US leverage in negotiations with North Korea.

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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.