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

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Ted Cruz


The unsuccessful Republican presidential candidate and erstwhile Donald Trump critic, Sen. Cruz has begun to embrace the real estate magnate, including backing Trump’s controversial decision to take a phone call from the president of Taiwan. Rushing to Trump’s defense,  Cruz tweeted: “I would much rather have Donald Trump talking to President Tsai than to Cuba’s Raul Castro or Iran’s Hasan Rouhani. This is an improvement.”



Michael Flynn


Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser recently co-authored a fear-mongering screed with a discredited neocon ideologue that urges the United States to fight a global, multi-generational war against an alleged alliance of jihadists and Russians. Asked by one commentator why Russia would join jihadists it was combatting, Flynn said that using the word “alliance” was “a simpler way to explain the relationships.”



Michael Ledeen


Michael Ledeen, a long-standing neoconservative activist known for his diatribes about “Islamofascists,” published a book earlier this year with Donald Trump’s national security adviser that argues that the United States must engage in a multi-generational war against a “formidable” alliance of jihadists and former Cold War foes like Cuba that may require sending in troops to fight battles across the globe and synchronizing all resources “similar to the effort during World War II or the Cold War.”



People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK)


Many of the people under consideration for posts in the Trump administration have been outspoken boosters of  the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (Mojahedin-e Khalq-e Iran, or MEK), an Islamic- and Marxist-inspired militant organization that advocates the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This could give the group the highest level government access its ever enjoyed, which as one writer puts it would be “a remarkable journey for a fringe Islamic-Marxist group that, until 2012, was on the State Department’s terrorism list for its role in assassinating Americans.”

Mitt Romney


Donald Trump calls Mitt Romney a “choke artist.” Romney calls Trump a threat to “a safe and prosperous future.” But the two are reportedly discussing the possibility of making Romney secretary of state. While he is arguably a safer choice then John Bolton or Rudolf Giuliani, Romney’s failed 2012 election campaign revealed his proclivity for aggressive U.S. overseas intervention and eagerness to take  advice from “pro-Israel” hardliners who would like nothing more than to see the Iran nuclear agreement fail.



Tom Cotton


Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), a leading foreign policy hawk in Congress, is rumored to be in the running for secretary of defense in the Trump administration. During the election campaign, Cotton was a firm Trump backer despite having key policy differences with the real estate mogul, and Trump claimed that Cotton was “high on the list for something.” Cotton is close to neoconservative figures like William Kristol and his political campaigns have been backed by rightwing “pro-Israel” megadonors, including Sheldon Adelson.



Frank Gaffney


Frank Gaffney, an anti-Islam ideologue who heads the neoconservative Center for Security Policy (CSP), argues that Donald Trump is “Reaganesque” in his foreign policy vision. Gaffney, who supports costly new weapons and defense programs, appears to be close to the Trump transition team, though there have been conflicting reports on whether he has a formal post. During the election campaign, Trump cited a debunked CSP public opinion “poll” about Muslims, prompting a CNN journalist to tell Trump that the network “wouldn’t even put that poll on the air,” stating that CSP was “a hack organization with a guy who was dismissed from the conservative circles for conspiracy theories. You know that.”


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From the Wires

General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of defense, is known first and foremost as an Iran hawk.

Donald Trump’s national security adviser has expressed contradictory opinions about the former Soviet Union, making it difficult to assess what policies the next White House administration may pursue in the region.

Trump: “Well, I’ll be honest with you, I probably do because look at the job they’ve done. OK, look at the job they’ve done. They haven’t done the job.”

Trump’s deputy national security advisor Kathleen McFarland has a history of making wildly conspiratorial claims about China leveraging its holdings of U.S. debt to demand the elimination of Fourth of July celebrations and casually joking about nuclear winter as a solution to global warming.

Thus far, signs indicate that Donald Trump will continue to ensure that the United States plays the dominant role in policing the world.

The Iran deal is beneficial to Israeli security. Without an Iranian nuclear weapon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have no incentive to obtain nuclear weapons, thus preventing a domino scenario. The deal also closed off the chapter of pre-emption strikes scenarios on Iran’s military targets and reduced the risks for a new and long regional war. All of this could be threatened by the Trump administration.

People are attaining positions of power under Trump not because of perspicacity and temperament but because they were not sufficiently outraged during the campaign to exile themselves from Trumpland.

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