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

Romney’s Foreign Policy Team

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FEATURED PROFILES: The Romney Foreign Policy Team

In the fall of 2011, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced a slate of official campaign advisers on foreign policy and national security. The list included a coterie of well-known neoconservatives and veterans of the George W. Bush administration, as well as some comparatively moderate and lesser-known figures.

Since Romney’s tough but ultimately successful primary campaign, rifts have emerged in his team between hardline militarists and more traditional GOP realists. Although this has occasionally produced inconsistencies in the campaign’s statements and public disagreements between the candidate and some of his advisers, there remains the general impression that the campaign’s hawks have marginalized their more moderate colleagues—a trend that is also reflected in the candidate’s extremely militarist statements on the campaign trail.

Should Romney win in November, his administration’s foreign policy agenda will likely be guided by some combination of these advisers, as Robert Farley points out in a recent article for Right Web. To help clarify the forces at work in his campaign and provide some insight into the likely trajectory of a Romney presidency, Right Web has produced profiles on his entire advisory team—as well as on several additional figures who, although not formally incorporated into the campaign’s foreign policy team, appear to be influential figures within the larger Romney camp, including John Bolton, billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, and former Reagan official Frank Carlucci.

Adelson, Sheldon

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is prepared to provide “limitless” sums to put a right-wing, “pro-Israel” Republican in the White House—as well as to ensure that his casino earnings in China don’t get taxed.

Black, Cofer

Former CIA officer and Blackwater executive Cofer Black has been called Mitt Romney’s “trusted envoy to the dark side.”

Bolton, John

John Bolton, the notorious hardliner who served as President Bush’s UN ambassador, thinks he’s the best man for the White House, but he’s thrown his support to Mitt Romney because he’s “the most conservative candidate who is capable of getting elected.”

Burnham, Christopher

A State Department official during the George W. Bush administration, Christopher Burnham now advises the Mitt Romney campaign.

Carlucci, Frank

President Reagan’s Pentagon chief and an alleged conspirator in the assassination of former DRC Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, Frank Carlucci now serves as an attack dog for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

Chertoff, Michael

Romney adviser Michael Chertoff, a former secretary of homeland security, has aggressively defended the Bush administration’s prosecution of the “war on terror,” including its controversial detention of Arab and Muslim immigrants who were never charged with any crimes.

Cohen, Eliot

A neoconservative academic based at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Cohen served as an adviser to President George W. Bush as well as to the 2012 Mitt Romney presidential campaign.

Coleman, Norm

Resurrecting an old neoconservative talking point, Romney surrogate Norm Coleman promises that a president Romney “would not be asking permission” to launch U.S. interventions in the Middle East.

Danilovich, John

John Danilovich, a foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney, has worked to use U.S. foreign aid to push countries to make reforms that reflect “American values.”

Dobriansky, Paula

Mitt Romney adviser Paula Dobriansky, a Bush administration undersecretary of state and supporter of the Project for a New American Century’s militarist advocacy campaigns, is a fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center and adviser to the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Edelman, Eric

Romney campaign adviser Eric Edelman has long been associated with hawkish factions in U.S. politics, including the likes of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

Hayden, Michael

Romney adviser Michael Hayden has been a stalwart advocate of the Bush record on torture and warrantless wiretapping.

Healey, Kerry

Kerry Healey helped recruit Mitt Romney into Massachusetts politics and remains a trusted foreign policy adviser to his presidential campaign, but little is known of her own views on foreign affairs.

Holmes, Kim

Kim Holmes, a longtime foreign policy director at the right-wing Heritage Foundation, has brought his advocacy of bloated defense budgets and “American exceptionalism” to the Romney campaign.

Joseph, Robert

Romney adviser Robert Joseph, John Bolton’s successor in the Bush State Department, has staked out a hard line in support of costly missile defense programs and against arms control agreements.

Kagan, Robert

Romney adviser Robert Kagan is a leading neoconservative policy pundit, a cofounder of numerous militarist pressure groups, and an important backer of U.S. overseas military interventions like the Iraq War.

Lehman, John

John F. Lehman heads a private equity firm whose investment interests dovetail with his hawkish political advocacy, which has included supporting the presidential campaigns of John McCain and Mitt Romney, as well as the work of numerous neoconservative pressure groups.

Natsios, Andrew

Andrew Natsios is a Romney foreign policy adviser and fellow at the neoconservative Hudson Institute who opposed the distribution of AIDS drugs in Africa as the Bush administration’s USAID director.

O’Sullivan, Meghan

Previously a special assistant to President George W. Bush, Meghan O’Sullivan now advises the Mitt Romney campaign.

Phares, Walid

A self-styled terrorism “expert” who claims that the killing of Osama bin Laden strengthened Al Qaeda, former right-wing Lebanese militia member Walid Phares serves as an adviser to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

Prosper, Pierre

Romney campaign adviser Pierre Prosper has criticized the Obama administration for opposing proposed missile-defense sites in Czechoslovakia, despite the fact that the country ceased to exist in 1993.

Reiss, Mitchell

Romney adviser Mitchell Reiss—an advocate for both negotiating with the Taliban and delisting the MEK—has apparently been sidelined by more hardline advisers to the campaign.

Senor, Dan

Former Iraq war spokesman Dan Senor has brought his Bush-era foreign policy views to the Romney campaign.

Talent, Jim

Former Senator Jim Talent, a foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney and stalwart advocate of Pentagon spending, says he would have voted for the Iraq War even if he had known the Bush administration’s claims about WMDs were false.

Weber, Vin

The track record of former Rep. Vin Weber, a policy adviser to Mitt Romney, includes supporting a number of pro-war advocacy campaigns, including those spearheaded by the Project for the New American Century.

Williamson, Richard

Romney surrogate Richard Williamson has played up the former governor’s hawkish bluster on Iran, but he has been hard-pressed to show how the candidate’s policies would differ from Obama’s.

Zakheim, Dov

Mitt Romney adviser Dov Zakheim is a retired defense contractor executive and Pentagon official whose views on foreign policy appear to veer between hardnosed realism and neoconservatism.


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