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

Ideas in Action

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Ideas in Action was a weekly TV program produced by the George W. Bush Institute and Grace Creek Media.[1] As of early 2017, the most recent posts on its website were form 2014.  Launched in early 2010, one of its Sunday morning talk show was described as a “weekly series on ideas and their consequences.” Appearing on PBS affiliates as well as on internet channels such as RIGHTNETWORK,[2] the program typically featured prominent conservative academics and political actors commenting on domestic and foreign affairs. Guests included Jeffrey Gedmin, a former AEI scholar and head of Radio Free Europe; Dan Senor, cofounder with William Kristol and Robert Kagan of the Foreign Policy Initiative; AEI’s Thomas Donnelly; Andrew Exum of the Center for a New American Security; former secretary of state George Shultz now based at the Hoover Institution; and former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson.[3]

Ideas in Action was hosted by James Glassman, founding executive director of the Bush Institute and veteran journalist. As former undersecretary of state for public diplomacy in the George W. Bush administration, he led the “government-wide international strategic communications effort.”[4] Glassman was also a senior fellow at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He co-authored, with Kevin A. Hassett, the ill-timed 1999 book, Dow 36,000: The New Strategy for Profiting From the Coming Rise in the Stock Market, which erroneously predicted that the stock market was “undervalued” and would continue to rise sharply in ensuing years.[5] Glassman is well known on the political talk show circuit, having hosted TechnoPolitics for PBS, MoneyPolitics for Washington’s ABC affiliate WJLA, and Capital Gang Sunday for CNN.[6]

Ideas in Action combined elements of Glassman’s previous shows and served as an on-air successor to the now-defunct Tech Central Station (TCS). As an internet magazine, TCS was a platform for a number of high profile hawks and neoconservatives, many, of whom played key roles building public support for an aggressive “war on terror” in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Contributors included Carol Adelman, Ken Adelman, Henry Cooper, Newt Gingrich, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Michael Ledeen, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, William Schneider Jr., and James Woolsey.

Glassman launched TCS in 2000 as a “virtual think tank,” covering everything from the war in Iraq to Milton Friedman’s views on health care reform. Its mission statement read: ” The collision of technology and public policy has enormous implications for our lives and our future. Tech Central Station is here to help provide the right answers to many of those questions with the news, analysis, research, and commentary you need to understand how technology is changing and shaping our world, and how you can make sense of it all.”[7]

A December 2003 Washington Monthly article about TCS  described it as “journo-lobbying”—a new innovation in lobbying “driven primarily by the influence of industry. … The new game is to dominate the entire intellectual environment in which officials make policy decisions, which means funding everything from think tanks to issue ads to phony grassroots pressure groups.”[8]

According to the Washington Monthly, soon after ExxonMobile was listed as a sponsor, TCS began running articles attacking the Kyoto accord and the science of global warming. After the pharmaceutical lobby PhRMA hired TCS’s then parent company, DCI group (a public affairs firm), TCS columnists opined against legislation that would allow the reimportation of drugs from Canada.

In 2006, TCS was purchased by its then-editor Nick Schulz, becoming TCSDaily.[9] In 2008, Schulz, a former political editor on Fox News, became a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, editing AEI’s in-house magazine The American.[10] In 2010, TCSDaily was being published under the auspices of Ideas in Action.[11]

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


[1]Ideas in Action, http://www.ideasinactiontv.com/; Danny Shea, “George W. Bush Institute to Co-Produce Public Television Show ‘Ideas in Action’,” Huffington Post, December 22, 2009.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/22/george-w-bush-institute-t_n_400777.html.

[2]Ideas in Action, “Ideas in Action with Jim Glassman Debuts on RIGHTNETWORK,” October 13, 2010, http://www.ideasinactiontv.com/ideas/2010/10/ideas-in-action-with-jim-glassman-deb.html.

[5]James K. Glassman and Kevin A. Hassett, Dow 36,000: The New Strategy for Profiting From the Coming Rise in the Stock Market, Crown Business, 1999.

[6]Lisa de Moraes, “Veteran news host Jim Glassman is back,” Washington Post, August 20, 2010, http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/19/AR2010081905865.html.

[7]TechCentralStation.com, http://www.techcentralstation.com/[no longer available].

[8]Nicholas Confessore, “Meet the Press,” Washington Monthly, December 2003.

[9]Nick Schuhlz, “Something Old and Something New,” TCSDaily, September 19, 2006, http://www.ideasinactiontv.com/tcs_daily/2006/09/something-old-something-new-1.html.

[10]AEI, “AEI Scholars & Fellows: Nick Schulz,” http://www.aei.org/scholar/136.

[11]Ideas in Action, “TCSDaily,” http://www.ideasinactiontv.com/tcs_daily/.

From the Wires

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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.

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President Trump and his advisers ought to ask themselves whether it is in the U.S. interest to run the risk of Iranian withdrawal from the nuclear agreement. Seen from the other side of the Atlantic, running that risk looks dumb.