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

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Clifford May is president of the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies. A stringent hawk and Obama critic, May recently lambasted President Obama for his efforts to peacefully resolve the Iranian nuclear dispute. He wrote: “At this point, it’s all but certain that Mr. Obama is prepared to accept a deal that will be dangerous for America and the West—and, yes, life-threatening for Israel.” May then made the outlandish claim that Shia Iran could give a nuclear weapon to the avowedly anti-Shia al-Qaeda, writing: “[I]n addition to worrying that Iran’s rulers will use nuclear weapons or give them to Hezbollah, their proxy, there is now reason to believe they might provide a bomb to al Qaeda.” 



Sen. Ted Cruz is a Tea Party Republican senator from Texas who recently announced his candidacy for the 2016 Republican Party presidential nomination. A right-wing hawk on foreign affairs, Cruz has worked to sabotage negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. He was one of 47 senators to sign a controversial letter to Iran that he says was intended to “stop a bad deal,” wildly claiming that the P5+1 thinks it is “perfectly acceptable” for Iran to have nuclear weapons. 




The Philos Project is a Christian advocacy organization that promotes hawkish U.S. policies towards the Middle East. Backed by right-wing “pro-Israel” donors like Paul Singer, the group has called for the use of U.S. ground troops against ISIS, has strongly defended Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and has criticized efforts to peacefully resolve the Iranian nuclear dispute. Wrote one critic: “The Philos Project stands as an object lesson in the eagerness with which neoconservatives try to create the perception that their views are shared by a vast, diverse constituency, which in this case is warning Christians about the imperial designs of Iran and the dangers of a nuclear deal between it and the P5+1.”


Bill Kristol has been a strong supporter of the Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), the freshman senator who was behind the controversial letter Iran’s leaders that was signed by 47 Republican senators. Kristol’s Weekly Standard has been a vocal champion of Cotton’s work and his Emergency Committee for Israel paid out more than a million dollars in political advertising supportive of Cotton's 2014 Senate run. Kristol sees “a kindred spirit in Cotton's aggressive national-security hawkishness,” reported The Atlantic, “and the men developed what Kristol describes as 'a bond beyond pure policy.”



Tom Cotton, the freshman Senator from Arkansas who seized the spotlight recently when he orchestrated the controversial open letter to Iran that was singed by himself and 46 of his Republican colleagues, appears to be a protégé of neoconservative ringleader Bill Kristol and a favorite of rightwing “pro-Israel” megadonors Sheldon Adelson and Paul Singer. His rhetoric and policy views track closely with those of his benefactors. “You may be tired of war, but war is not tired of you,” he once told the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin in 2012.



Joshua Muravchik, a neoconservative ideologue based at John Hopkin’s School of Advanced International Studies and a longtime Iran-hawk, has called for war with Iran in a recent Washington Post op-ed. Criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “alternative” of “calling Iran’s bluff” and “imposing tougher sanctions” to get a “nuclear deal with Iran, Muravchik argued sanctions would only succeed if they “caused the regime to fall.” He added: “Does this mean that our only option is war? Yes.” Responded one Muravchik critic: “Whenever anyone concludes that war is the ‘only option,’ we can safely assume that this was his preference all along and his conclusion should be viewed with extreme skepticism.”


The American Security Initiative is a newly launched pressure group that promotes starkly alarmist views of Iran. In a recent TV ad, the group shows a truck driver in an American city listening to speeches by Sen. Lindsey Graham and Bibi Netanyahu just before he detonates an apparent nuclear bomb. The ad spurred intense criticism and all the major networks—with the exception of Fox—refused to air it during their Sunday morning shows. The ad, which ends with a call for congressional intervention in the Iran nuclear talks, spurred one commentator to proclaim: “So unless we get about the most despised and incompetent institution in American politics to sign off, then we're all going to be vaporized? Best kiss your children goodbye.”

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From the Wires

March 24, 2015

Jeb Bush, presumptive 2016 Republican presidential candidate, says that his “support for Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu is unwavering,” thereby helping confirm that multi-billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has effectively gained control of the Republican Party leadership.

March 24, 2015

The Iran nuclear negotiations are similar to diplomatic efforts made with North Korea 20 years ago, which were also met with opposition from congressional hawks.

March 18, 2015

With Netanyahu’s dramatic election victory, the United States and Europe will have to exert enormous pressure on Israel to change its approach to negotiations with the Palestinians.

March 15, 2015

A new report by Chatham House argues that if the United States seeks long-term stability in the Middle East, it must begin empowering opposition voices in the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf.

March 14, 2015

While the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies has lambasted Turkey for treating al-Qaeda affiliated fighters in its hospitals, it has turned a blind eye to Israeli medical support of the same militants.

March 10, 2015

The new face of the GOP war hawks, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR)—who masterminded the controversial letter to Iran signed by 47 Republican Senators—has been a major recipient of financial donations from billionaire rightwing “pro-Israel” donors Sheldon Adelson and Paul Singer.

March 09, 2015

So-called policy intellectuals have for decades shaped the national security strategy of the United States, it is past time to stop taking their judgments or the people who promote them seriously.

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