Right Web

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

Our new home; Bibi’s misguided rightwing affair; Profiles on Michael Makovsky and more

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April 14, 2010
Editor: Michael Flynn

Note from the Editor:

After three fruitful years under the stewardship of the Political Research Associates (PRA), Right Web has recently moved to a new home at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, DC. We are very thankful for PRA’s support and guidance during this transition, and we look forward to collaborating with our former colleagues in the future. We are also very excited about our new home, confident that IPS’s high standards of progressive analysis and advocacy on foreign affairs will rub off on our work at Right Web.

–Michael Flynn

 

FEATURED ARTICLE

No Tea Parties for Bibi
By Leon Hadar

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to arrive in Washington just in time to witness the dénouement in the showdown over health care reform was no coincidence. An obsessive consumer of Washington news and gossip — much of it filtered through the lens of U.S. rightwing interlocutors — Netanyahu likely thought he would meet the president just as the Age of Obama was coming to an end. Instead, he confronted a recharged leader angry over Israeli intransigence on settlements. While it is unlikely that current U.S.-Israeli tensions will lead to a long-term split, it is clear that “Bibi” will have to reassess his failed strategy of counting on rightwing allies to counterbalance pressure from the administration. Read full story.

 

FEATURED PROFILES

Michael Makovsky
The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Makovsky thinks that for President Obama to peacefully resolve the impasse over Iran’s nuclear program he may have to go to war.

Melvin Sembler
A high-powered Republican Party donor and real estate magnate, Sembler has supported a number of hawkish advocacy groups, including most recently Liz Cheney’s Keep America Safe.

Keep America Safe
At the same time this new neocon group was busy condemning lawyers for having represented terrorism suspects, it was circulating a petition pushing to keep “Gitmo” open, claiming it is a “safe, secure, and humane” way to keep “terrorists” locked up.

Dan Senor
The “spinmeister” who painted a rosy picture of the war in Iraq while working as a coalition spokesperson, Senor now doubles as cofounder of both a private equity firm and a neocon pressure group, the Foreign Policy Initiative.

Daniel Pipes
Pipes recently lauded the racist Dutch politician Geert Wilders, calling him “a charismatic, savvy, principled, and outspoken leader.” 

Dennis Ross
The controversial diplomat closely associated with Israel has been criticized for being overly sympathetic to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s stance on settlements at the expense of U.S. interests.  

David Frum
Notorious for his argument that failure in the “war on terror” could lead to a new holocaust, Frum was ousted from the American Enterprise Institute after criticizing the Republican Party’s approach to healthcare reform.

Liz Cheney
A standard-bearer for her father’s militarist agenda, Liz Cheney and her group Keep America Safe have resorted to McCarthy-esque tactics in attacking the Obama administration.

Sheldon Adelson
The Casino magnate and key backer of U.S. and Israeli rightwing groups, Sheldon Adelson’s free Israeli daily is at the center of a dispute over the future of the country’s print media.

 

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

Obama Mideast Peace Plan in the Works?
President Obama appears to be considering launching a major push later this year to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, much to the displeasure of the Likudniks and neocons.

Congress Complicates Obama’s Sanctions Strategy for Iran
The Obama administration’s efforts to get UN approval for new international sanctions against Iran could be hampered by the “Israel Lobby,” which intends to push Congress to impose unilateral measures.

U.S. Poll Reveals Divide on Middle East
Eighty-one percent of U.S. citizens say the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has hurt their country’s interests, according to a new poll, although a sharp partisan divide increasingly frames the issue.

New U.S.-Russia Nuclear Deal
The new U.S.-Russia nuclear agreement, hailed as one of President Obama’s most significant foreign policy accomplishments, will continue the gradual reduction of the two countries’ nuclear stockpiles.

Unraveling the Knottiest Issues in Stalled Peace Talks
A recent study published by an institute led by former Republican official James Baker argues that the Obama administration needs to be more aggressive in pushing Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

 

LETTERS

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Featured Profiles

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was a leading framer of the “global war on terror” and a staunch supporter of aggressive U.S. military action around the world.


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.


Right Web readers will be familiar with Mr. Fleitz, the former CIA officer who once threatened to take “legal action” against Right Web for publicizing reports of controversies he was associated with in the George W. Bush administration. Fleitz recently left his job at the conspiracy-mongering Center for Security Policy to become chief of staff to John Bolton at the National Security Council.


Norm Coleman is chair of the Republican Jewish Coalition and a former senator from Minnesota known for his hawkish views on foreign policy.


Billionaire hedge fund mogul Paul Singer is known for his predatory business practices and support for neoconservative causes.


Keith Kellogg, national security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, is a passionate supporter of Trump’s foreign policy.


Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the largest “pro-Israel” advocacy group in the United States, is known for its zealous Christian Zionism and its growing influence in the Republican Party.


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From the Wires

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The Trumpian new regional order in the Middle East is predicated on strongman rule, disregard for human rights, Sunni primacy over Iran and other Shia centers of power, continued military support for pro-American warring parties regardless of the unlawfulness of such wars, and Israeli hegemony.


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A comparison of U.S. nuclear diplomacy with Iran and the current version with North Korea puts the former in a good light and makes the latter look disappointing. Those with an interest in curbing the dangers of proliferating nuclear weapons should hope that the North Korea picture will improve with time. But whether it does or not, the process has put into perspective how badly mistaken was the Trump administration’s trashing of the Iran nuclear agreement.


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Numerous high profile Trump administration officials maintain close ties with anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists. In today’s America, disparaging Islam is acceptable in ways that disparaging other religions is not. Given the continuing well-funded campaigns by the Islamophobes and continuing support from their enablers in the Trump administration, starting with the president himself, it seems unlikely that this trend will be reversed any time soon.


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The Trump administration’s nuclear proliferation policy is now in meltdown, one which no threat of “steely resolve”—in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s words—will easily contain. It is hemorrhaging in part because the administration has yet to forge a strategy that consistently and credibly signals a feasible bottom line that includes living with—rather than destroying—regimes it despises or fears. Political leaders on both sides of the aisle must call for a new model that has some reasonable hope of restraining America’s foes and bringing security to its Middle East allies.


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Congressional midterm elections are just months away and another presidential election already looms. Who will be the political leader with the courage and presence of mind to declare: “Enough! Stop this madness!” Man or woman, straight or gay, black, brown, or white, that person will deserve the nation’s gratitude and the support of the electorate. Until that occurs, however, the American penchant for war will stretch on toward infinity.


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To bolster the president’s arguments for cutting back immigration, the administration recently released a fear-mongering report about future terrorist threats. Among the potential threats: a Sudanese national who, in 2016, “pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to ISIS”; an Uzbek who “posted a threat on an Uzbek-language website to kill President Obama in an act of martyrdom on behalf of ISIS”; a Syrian who, in a plea agreement, “admitted that he knew a member of ISIS and that while in Syria he participated in a battle against the Syrian regime, including shooting at others, in coordination with Al Nusrah,” an al-Qaeda offshoot.


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The recent appointment of purveyors of anti-Muslim rhetoric to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom exposes the cynical approach Republicans have taken in promoting religious freedom.


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