Right Web

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

Rubio Anointed Neocon Choice

Hardline “pro-Israel” billionaire Paul Singer’s endorsement of Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) presidential campaign has made Rubio the neoconservative candidate of choice.

Print Friendly


At the end of last week, third-place Republican primary candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) won a major endorsement, effectively making him the neoconservative candidate of choice and the GOP establishment’s top pick. That endorsement didn’t come from a former president, a labor union, or a high-profile pastor. Instead a publicity-shy New York hedge fund billionaire, Paul Singer, gave Rubio the nod. With it, so the conventional wisdom says, will go millions of dollars of super PAC contributions along with his considerable fundraising prowess.

Singer’s emergence as one of the GOP’s key donors coincides with sizeable investments in Washington’s most hawkish politicians and think tanks. Singer has made significant contributions to Senate hawks like Mark Kirk (R-IL)Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) as well as neoconservative and pro-Likud organizations such as the American Enterprise Institute, the Foundation for Defense of DemocraciesThe Israel Project, and the Republican Jewish Coalition.

The New York Times, which broke the news of Singer’s endorsement on Friday, noted that Singer is “known for his caution and careful vetting of candidates and [being] passionately pro-Israel and a supporter of same-sex marriage,” and emphasized that Rubio’s willingness to endorse hawkish pro-Israel positions may have contributed to his ability to secure the endorsement sought by many of the GOP’s presidential primary candidates. The Times’ Maggie Haberman and Nicholas Confessore wrote:

Mr. Rubio has aggressively embraced the cause of wealthy pro-Israel donors like Mr. Adelson, whom the senator is said to call frequently, and Mr. Singer, who both serve on the board of the Republican Jewish Coalition, an umbrella group for Republican Jewish donors and officials. Mr. Bush has been less attentive, in the view of some of these donors: Last spring, he refused to freeze out his longtime family friend James A. Baker III, the former secretary of state, after Mr. Baker spoke at the conference of a liberal Jewish group.

Rubio’s Foreign Policy

Rubio has gone out of his way to stake out hawkish foreign policy positions. Last month, he released a video in which he cryptically said that “what this president and his administration are doing in Israel is a tragic mistake” and accused Obama of betraying “the commitment this nation has made to the right of a Jewish state to exist in peace.” He went on to pledge unconditional support to Israel if elected president.

Rubio foreign policy adviser and fundraiser Phil Rosen tweeted last spring that Obama feels “entitled to screw Israel.”

And the Senator from Florida has said he would “absolutely” revoke the Iran nuclear deal if elected president and blasted the Obama administration for criticizing Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

This wouldn’t be the first time Singer has thrown his financial weight behind Rubio. Between 2009 and 2014, his hedge fund Elliott Management was Rubio’s second largest source of campaign contributions, providing him with $122,620, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

In turn, the presidential hopeful has taken several steps to advance the special interests of Singer and Elliott Management.

The Case of Argentina

For instance, Elliott leads a group of holdout creditors who bought up Argentine debt at pennies on the dollar and then sued the country to pay up in full. If successful, Elliott could collect as much as $2 billion. Singer’s philanthropy has often gone to groups—such as the American Enterprise Institute, The Israel Project, and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies—that promote the controversial work of Argentine Special Investigator Alberto Nisman. In 2006, Nisman released a report claiming that top Iranian leaders ordered the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people. But the report relied almost exclusively on the testimony of members of the Mujahedin e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian opposition group that former members liken to a cult.

Recipients of Singer’s funding frequently level charges of anti-Semitism against Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and accuse her of participating in a cover-up to hide Iranian involvement in the attack while never disclosing their funding from Singer and his strong financial incentives for attacking Kirchner.

Last May, Rubio, mirroring the rhetoric of Singer-funded thinktanks, introduced a Senate resolution demanding a “swift and transparent” investigation into Nisman’s death and accused Kirchner of conspiring “to cover up Iranian involvement in the 1994 terrorist bombing.”

Rubio’s entire presidential campaign has been marked by efforts to position himself as the neoconservative candidate of choice, even going so far as to make his campaign slogan “A New American Century,” noticeably similar to the Bill Kristol-founded Project for a New American Century, which helped lay the groundwork for the invasion of Iraq.

Singer’s endorsement seemingly indicates that Rubio is making progress in securing the support of the Republican Party’s biggest donors and most committed foreign policy hawks. All this raises the question: how long will it be before Sheldon Adelson, the GOP’s biggest donor and advocate of launching a first-strike nuclear attack on Iran, pledges his support to Rubio’s campaign.

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

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).

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has been advocating regime change in Iran since even before 9/11.

John Hannah, Dick Cheney’s national security adviser, is now a leading advocate for regime change in both Iran and Syria based at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Dennis Ross, a U.S. diplomat who served in the Obama administration, is a fellow at the “pro-Israel” Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Sheldon Adelson is a wealthy casino magnate known for his large, influential political contributions, his efforts to impact U.S. foreign policy discourse particularly among Republicans, and his ownership and ideological direction of media outlets.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is known for his hawkish views on foreign policy and close ties to prominent neoconservatives.

For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly

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.

Print Friendly

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.

Print Friendly

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.

Print Friendly

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.

Print Friendly

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.

Print Friendly

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.

Print Friendly

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.