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

Profiles on the Foreign Policy Initiative, Paul Wolfowitz, Robert Kagan, and more

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Foreign Policy Initiative
In a replay of the modus operandi of the Project for the New American Century, the newly enshrined Foreign Policy Initiative released an open letter to President Obama on human rights in Russia that included signatories from both the neocon camp and established human rights organizations.

Paul Wolfowitz
The former Pentagon number two and ex-head of the World Bank added his voice to the chorus of hardliners denouncing President Obama’s “weakness” in confronting the election crisis in Iran.

Robert Kagan
The neoconservative foreign policy guru recently cofounded a letterhead group that some see as a transparent attempt to rehabilitate neoconservatism.

Richard Allen
Ensconced at the conservative Hoover Institution, this former member of Donald Rumsfeld’s Defense Policy Board now seems to spend much of his time lambasting President Obama and venerating the memory of Ronald Reagan.

Otto Reich
The controversial Iran-Contra veteran who served as an assistant secretary of state under George W. Bush remains a divisive figure in U.S.-Latin American relations.



U.S. Uses False Taliban Aid Charge to Pressure Iran
By Gareth Porter

In an effort to put pressure on Iran, the Obama administration has revived the false Bush administration claim that Tehran is providing military training and aid to the Taliban.

Iraq: Questions Remain About the U.S. Role
Analysis by Helena Cobban

The pivotal role that Vice President Biden is likely to play in U.S.-Iraqi affairs has raised fears that partition may be back on the agenda.

Honduras: Dictatorships and Double Standards Revisited
Analysis by Daniel Luban and Jim Lobe

Neoconservatives’ support for the recent military coup against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya is a reminder of their history as apologists for dictatorial regimes in Latin America.

Media Focus on Anti-Regime Exiles Plays Into Amhadinejad’s Hands
By Ali Gharib

Western’s media’s recent focus on pro-regime change Iranian exile groups has given the authorities in Tehran a new way to discredit the opposition movement.

“Obama Effect” Versus “Freedom Agenda”
By Daniel Luban

Beltway pundits and partisans are debating which U.S. president deserves more credit for helping pave the way for the Iranian opposition movement—Bush or Obama.

Electoral Chaos Energizes Neoconservative Hawks
By Daniel Luban

As President Obama navigates the treacherous currents of Iran’s post-election political crisis, he faces a heated attack from right-wing hawks, who are pressing him to speak out more forcefully in support of protesters and abandon engagement with Tehran.

McChrystal’s High-Tech Spin on Afghan Civilian Deaths
Analysis by Gareth Porter

Rather than reining in the special ops units mainly responsible for civilian casualties, the new U.S. commander in Afghanistan apparently plans to curb “collateral damage” through enhanced high-tech battlefield surveillance.

Will “Changed” Iran Complicate U.S. Engagement?
By Ali Gharib

The Obama administration remains quiet on how Iran’s post-election crisis will affect U.S. plans to engage the Islamic Republic.

Cautious U.S. Response to Iran Election Crisis
By Jim Lobe and Daniel Luban

As President Barack Obama takes a wait-and-see approach to the violent aftermath of Iran’s contested election, U.S. neoconservatives are pushing the administration to demonstrate support for the protestors in Tehran.

Palestinian Leaders Critical of Netanyahu’s Speech
By Mel Frykberg

Despite receiving some support from the United States, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call for a qualified Palestinian state was widely unpopular with Palestinian leaders, spurring one prominent figure to call for the annulment of the Arab Peace Initiative.



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Featured Profiles

John Bolton, the controversial former U.S. ambassador to the UN and dyed-in the-wool foreign policy hawk, has been selected by President Trump to replace National Security Adviser McMaster, marking a sharp move to the hawkish extreme by the administration.

The Institute for the Study of War is a D.C.-based counterinsurgency think tank that has supported long-term U.S. military intervention in the Greater Middle East, especially Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) has been an outspoken proponent of militarist U.S. foreign polices and the use of torture, aping the views of her father, Dick Cheney.

United against Nuclear Iran is a pressure group that attacks companies doing business in Iran and disseminates alarmist reports about the country’s nuclear program.

Gina Haspel is a CIA officer who was nominated to head the agency by President Donald Trump in March 2018. She first came to prominence because of accusations that she oversaw the torture of prisoners and later destroyed video evidence of that torture.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), President Trump’s nominee for secretary of state to replace Rex Tillerson, is a “tea party” Republican who previously served as director of the CIA.

Richard Goldberg is a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who served as a foreign policy aide to former Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL).

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From the Wires

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New NSA John Bolton represents an existential threat to the Iran nuclear deal and any hopes for peace in the region.

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Hardliners at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies are working overtime to convince the Trump administration to “fix” the nuclear agreement with Iran on the pretext that it will give the US leverage in negotiations with North Korea.

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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.