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

Paul Ryan’s Foreign Policy Creds and Connections

FEATURED PROFILES Paul Ryan Though better known for his austere budget proposals, Paul Ryan shares Mitt Romney’s faith in American exceptionalism and is an unrepentant proponent of aggressive U.S. military intervention abroad. Empower America The now defunct Empower America, where Ryan once served as a speechwriter working for the likes of William Bennett and Jack…

FEATURED PROFILES

Paul Ryan

Though better known for his austere budget proposals, Paul Ryan shares Mitt Romney’s faith in American exceptionalism and is an unrepentant proponent of aggressive U.S. military intervention abroad.

Empower America

The now defunct Empower America, where Ryan once served as a speechwriter working for the likes of William Bennett and Jack Kemp, advocated right-wing economic policies and launched the pro-war advocacy group Americans for Victory over Terrorism in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Jack Kemp

A former congressman and standout NFL quarterback who passed away in May 2009, Kemp has been credited with helping shape the modern Republican Party, pushing it to adopt a plank of rightist social policies as well as an interventionist overseas military agenda. Kemp was also an early mentor of Paul Ryan, who worked with Kemp at Empower America and during the failed Dole-Kemp presidential campaign in 1996.

William Kristol

Regarded as the leading public face of contemporary neoconservatism, Kristol used his various media perches—including the pages of his Weekly Standard magazine—to vigorously promote Paul Ryan as VP, a fact that might give Romney pause given Kristol’s previous role as a leading Sarah Palin booster.

Sam Brownback

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. In the mid-1990s, Ryan served as a legislative aide to Brownback.

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On August 16, 2018, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the formation of the Iran Action Group (IAG). It would “be responsible for directing, reviewing, and coordinating all aspects of the State Department’s Iran-related activity, and it will report directly to me,” he stated. Amid speculation that the Donald Trump administration was focused on…


Norm Coleman is a lobbyist for the Saudi Arabian government, chair of the Republican Jewish Coalition, and former senator from Minnesota, known for hawkish, pro-Likud, and anti-Iran foreign policy views.


The millionaire pastor of the Cornerstone Church in Texas, John Hagee argues that U.S. support for Israel will play a “a pivotal role in the second coming” of Jesus. He has also risen to new prominence during the Trump administration.


Michael Gerson, an evangelical Christian who served as a chief aide and speechwriter in the George W. Bush White House, is a conservative columnist for the Washington Post and one of Donald Trump’s harshest critics on the right, calling him an “unhinged president.”


Robert Kagan, a cofounder of the Project for the New American Century, is a neoconservative policy pundit and historian based at the Brookings Institution.


Mira Ricardel, former weapons marketer for Boeing, is the deputy national security adviser under John Bolton. She is a well-known foreign policy hawk who has served in key positions in the administration of George W. Bush and, earlier, in the office of former Senator Robert Dole (R-KS).


Fred Fleitz left his role as chief of staff at the National Security Council under John Bolton to succeed notorious Islamophobe Frank Gaffney as president and CEO of the Center for Security Policy.


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