Right Web

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

American Security Initiative

Please note: IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.

The American Security Initiative (ASI) was launched in early 2015 by former Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Evan Bayh (D-IN), and Norm Coleman (R-MN). According to Jennifer Rubin, a right-wing “pro-Israel” pundit for the Washington Post, the group was founded with the aim of promoting the controversial Corker-Menendez bill, officially known as the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.[1] ASI’s board of directors consists of Chambliss, Bayh, Coleman, and former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT). 

According to its mission statement, “The American Security Initiative, Inc. is a 501(c)(4) issue advocacy organization dedicated to promoting legislation and urging Americans to stand up for the importance of a strong national security and foreign policy to promote and protect the United States in a challenging global community.”

In March 2015, ASI launched its efforts by sponsoring an ad that took a stringently alarmist tone with respect to Iran’s nuclear program, showing a truck driver in an American city listening to speeches by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just before he detonates an apparent nuclear bomb.[2] The ad ends saying: "Tell Washington. No Iran nuclear deal without Congressional approval."[3] The $500,000 ad spurred intense criticism and all the major networks—with the exception of Fox—refused to air it during their Sunday morning shows.[4]

“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,” quipped one ASI critic.[5] “It is almost as if anti-Iran hawks do not actually believe their own rhetoric, and are seeking to scuttle a deal for a host of reasons—politics, knee-jerk opposition to President Obama, an allergy to diplomacy, desire for a free military hand in the Middle East—that have nothing to do with nuclear weapons.”[6]

In April 2015, ASI spent $650,000 on an ad campaign targeting Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who had not yet co-sponsored the Corker-Menendez bill.[7] At the time, critics argued the bill was meant to derail on-going nuclear negotiations by preventing President Obama from fulfilling U.S. commitments under any would-be deal with Iran.[8] The bill eventually passed in April 2015 after a compromise was reached with the White House allowing Congress to vote on resolutions either approving or rejecting a final nuclear deal with Iran.[9]

In June 2015, shortly before the comprehensive nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 world powers was reached, ASI spent $1.4 million on new TV ads “urging eight senators from both parties to oppose any nuclear deal that doesn’t allow ‘unconditional inspections’ of Iran’s nuclear facilities.” According to POLITICO, the “group clearly has swing Democrats in mind” and the “target list includes Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader in waiting.”[10]

ASI board member Joe Lieberman said of the ad buy: “It was a good time to get out into the discussion and to focus on eight important senators, four from each party, and just say to them: Please make clear to the administration that you’re not going to support an agreement with Iran that does not have additional inspections. If the final agreement does not have that kind of inspection system, then I would do anything I can to urge Congress to reject it.”[11]

After a comprehensive nuclear agreement was reached with Iran in July 2015, ASI launched a new ad blitz that the New York Times stated was “aimed at derailing President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran.” According to the Times, ASI will be “spending $6.2 million to blanket the airwaves in nine states.”[12]

The Times added: “The investment is being made in conjunction with a group called Veterans Against the Deal, which has already been airing ads, and the campaign will run through early September. … A spokesman for the American Security Initiative said that the group remained open to the possibility of increasing its investment and expanding its campaign this month.”[13]

In 2014, one of the founders of ASI, former Sen. Norm Coleman, became a registered lobbyist for Saudi Arabia through the Hogan Lovells law firm. According to Hogan Lovells, his work involves “providing legal services to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia” on issues including “policy developments involving Iran.”[14]

Share RightWeb

Please note: IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.

Sources

[1] Jennifer Rubin, “Bipartisan group: Congress should vote on Iran deal,” The Washington Post, March 5, 2015, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2015/03/05/bipartisan-group-congress-should-vote-on-iran-deal/.

[2] Ryan Cooper, “The hilariously over-the-top fear-mongering of the anti-Iran hawks,” The Week, March 9, 2015, http://theweek.com/articles/542893/hilariously-overthetop-fearmongering-antiiran-hawks.

[3] Ryan Cooper, “The hilariously over-the-top fear-mongering of the anti-Iran hawks,” The Week, March 9, 2015,http://theweek.com/articles/542893/hilariously-overthetop-fearmongering-antiiran-hawks.

[4] Joseph Perticone, “3 Former Senators Want to Run an Ad to Give Congress a Say in Iran Talks—But Networks Are Refusing,” IJReview,

[5] Ryan Cooper, “The hilariously over-the-top fear-mongering of the anti-Iran hawks,” The Week, March 9, 2015,http://theweek.com/articles/542893/hilariously-overthetop-fearmongering-antiiran-hawks.

[6] Ryan Cooper, “The hilariously over-the-top fear-mongering of the anti-Iran hawks,” The Week, March 9, 2015,http://theweek.com/articles/542893/hilariously-overthetop-fearmongering-antiiran-hawks.

[7] Burgess Everett and Kyle Cheney, “PAC targets senators on Iran bill,” Politico, April 9, 2015, http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/pac-targets-senators-on-iran-bill-116839.html.

[8] The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, “Executive Summary: The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015,”http://armscontrolcenter.org/issues/iran/articles/ed_levine_analysis_INARA15_Executive_Summary/.

[9] Robert Satloff, “Clarifying a 'No' Vote on the Iran Nuclear Agreement,” WINEP, August 10, 2015, http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/clarifying-a-no-vote-on-the-iran-nuclear-agreement.

[10] Burgess Everett, “$1.4 million ad buy targets Obama’s Iran Deal,” Politico, June 23, 2015, http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/14-million-ad-buy-targets-obamas-iran-deal-119353.html.

[11] Burgess Everett, “$1.4 million ad buy targets Obama’s Iran Deal,” Politico, June 23, 2015, http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/14-million-ad-buy-targets-obamas-iran-deal-119353.html.

[12] Alan Rappeport and Maggie Haberman, “Bipartisan Group of Ex-Senators to Run Ads Against Iran Deal,” The New York Times, August 12, 2015,http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/08/12/bipartisan-group-of-ex-senators-to-run-ads-against-iran-deal/.

[13] Alan Rappeport and Maggie Haberman, “Bipartisan Group of Ex-Senators to Run Ads Against Iran Deal,” The New York Times, August 12, 2015,http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/08/12/bipartisan-group-of-ex-senators-to-run-ads-against-iran-deal/.

[14] Lee Fang, “The Saudi Lobbying Complex Adds a New Member: GOP Super PAC Chair Norm Coleman,” The Nation, September 18, 2014,http://www.thenation.com/article/181674/saudi-lobbying-complex-adds-new-member-gop-super-pac-chair-norm-coleman.

Share RightWeb

American Security Initiative Résumé

Board of Directors

  • Norm Coleman
  • Joseph Lieberman
  • Evan Bayh
  • Saxby Chambliss

Related:

American Security Initiative News Feed

Security Brief: Shanahan Under Fire; Islamic State Falls; Mueller Finds No Collusion - Foreign PolicyAmerica's Allies Are Still Allured by Russia's S-400 Air Defense System - The National Interest OnlineCaribbean Islands becoming hot spots for Chinese investment - Roll Call White House Says Agencies Need Industry Help to Execute National AI Strategy - NextgovThe European Deterrence (Reassurance) Initiative sends the wrong message - DefenseNews.comAnalyzing the Green New Deal - American Action ForumEl Mercado Institucional: Multilateral Forum Shopping in Latin America - Charged AffairsThe U.S. Central Asia power plan intersects with BRI - CGTNWhat would happen if America left Europe to fend for itself? - The EconomistDHS Secretary: El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala 'Want Their Children Back' - CNSNews.comChina lays down a marker in Europe - The Washington PostAmerican artificial intelligence strategy offers promising start | TheHill - The HillThe US Army changed how it describes AI-powered firing by tanks - QuartzTrump's support for Israeli Golan Heights draws global anger - Al Jazeera EnglishA Forgotten Italian Port Could Become a Chinese Gateway to Europe - The New York TimesMemo to President Trump: Central American families seeking asylum in the U.S. are not law breakers - Dallas NewsAmerican Broadband Initiatives: A Work in Progress - Farm Bureau NewsAs They Profited From the Opioid Crisis, Sacklers Funded Anti-Muslim Network - SludgeRepublicans plot assault on Trump’s tariff agenda - McClatchy Washington BureauIntelligence Squared - Maine Public

Right Web is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

The Right Web Mission

Right Web tracks militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy.

For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

President Trump’s announcement that he would recognise Israeli sovereignty over the western part of the Golan Heights destroys the negotiating basis for any future peace between Israel and Syria. It also lays the groundwork for a return to a world without territorial integrity for smaller, weaker countries.


The Senate on Wednesday passed a measure mandating the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Saudi/UAE-led war against Houthi rebels in Yemen. The vote marks the first time since the War Powers Act of 1973 became law that both chambers of Congress have directed the president to withdraw American forces from a conflict.


The Trump administration’s failed “maximum pressure” approach to Iran and North Korea begs the question what the US president’s true objectives are and what options he is left with should the policy ultimately fail.


In the United States, it’s possible to debate any and every policy, domestic and foreign, except for unquestioning support for Israel. That, apparently, is Ilhan Omar’s chief sin.


While Michael Cohen mesmerized the House of Representatives and President Trump resumed his love affair with North Korea’s Kim Jong, one of the most dangerous state-to-state confrontations, centering in Kashmir, began to spiral out of control.


The Trump administration’s irresponsible withdrawal from the landmark Iran nuclear agreement undermined Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and emboldened hardliners who accused him of having been deceived by Washington while negotiating the agreement. However, the Iranian government could use the shock of Zarif’s resignation to push back against hardliners and take charge of both the domestic and foreign affairs of the country while Iran’s foreign opponents should consider the risks of destabilizing the government under the current critical situation.


Europe can play an important role in rebuilding confidence in the non-proliferation regime in the wake of the demise of the INF treaty, including by making it clear to the Trump administration that it wants the United States to refrain from deploying INF-banned missiles in Europe and to consider a NATO-Russian joint declaration on non-first deployment.


RightWeb
share