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

The Attack-Syria Coalition: Then and Now

FEATURED ARTICLE

The Attack-Syria Coalition: Then and Now
By Samer Araabi

The ongoing crisis in Syria has become a litmus test for Bush-era neoconservatives, as well as the larger interventionist coalition that pushed for the Iraq War under the banner of the Project for the New American Century. Just as we saw during the years preceding the invasion of Iraq, the emergence of a pro-intervention coalition is occurring in the absence of a serious discussion about the complexity of the circumstances surrounding Syria’s spiraling civil war, the challenges inherent in any outside military engagement, and the dangers of a zero-sum approach to the conflict. Read article.


FEATURED PROFILES

Paul Ryan

Prepping for tonight’s vice presidential debate? Here’s the skinny on Paul Ryan. Although much better known for his austere budget proposals and extreme anti-abortion views, Ryan also shares Mitt Romney’s faith in American exceptionalism, believes that America is under attack by “Islamic fascists,” and advocates aggressive U.S. military intervention abroad. Since being named Romney’s running mate, Ryan has also walked back his past support for ending the U.S. embargo on Cuba—now accusing the Obama administration of “appeasing” the Castro regime—and attempted to distance himself from his well-documented admiration for the novelist and amateur philosopher Ayn Rand, who held that altruism is evil and greed is good.

Dinesh D’Souza

Dinesh D’Souza—the pseudo-academic writer who once claimed that slaves in the United States were treated “pretty well” and blamed the 9/11 attacks on “The Vagina Monologues” and gay marriage—has made a splash on the right-wing circuit with his film “2016: Obama’s America,” which argues that President Obama’s reelection will herald economic collapse, World War III, and a “United States of Islam” in the Middle East—all in the next four years. Mainstream critics have lambasted the documentary for stooping to “fear-mongering of the worst kind,” but that hasn’t prevented conservative heavyweights from endorsing it.

Michael Doran

Michael Doran is a Brookings Institution scholar and a former member of the George W. Bush National Security Council. Although he has at times criticized prevailing neoconservative notions on the Middle East—particularly on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and on al-Qaeda’s grievances against the United States—Doran has been broadly supportive of the neoconservative’s regime-change agenda, including in Iraq, Iran, and Syria. In a recent New York Times op-ed co-written with Max Boot, Doran argued that the United States should promptly intervene in Syria’s civil war and provide assistance to anti-Assad rebel forces.

Patrick Clawson

Patrick Clawson is director of research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a spin-off of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. A longtime advocate of sabotaging Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, Clawson recently raised eyebrows by obliquely suggesting that the United States fabricate a “Gulf of Tonkin” incident to justify a U.S. war with Iran. “If in fact the Iranians aren’t going to compromise,” Clawson told guests at a September WINEP presentation, “it would be best if somebody else started the war.”

Ilan Berman

Ilan Berman, vice president of the hawkish American Foreign Policy Council, is a frequent public commentator on U.S. Iranian policy, typically promoting efforts to increase pressure on Tehran. A fan of the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment—a 1970s-era policy that threatened trade relations with the Soviet Union if it didn’t allow Jewish emigration to Israel—Berman has urged the United States to adopt a similar strategy today to increase pressure on Iran, even if it risks “a temporary downturn” in relations with China and Russia.  

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Featured Profiles

Update was slow, but still no lag in the editor window, and footnotes are intact.     This has been updated – Bernard Lewis, who passed away in May 2018, was a renowned British-American historian of Islam and the Middle East. A former British intelligence officer, Foreign Office staffer, and Princeton University professor, Lewis was…


Bernard Lewis was a renowned historian of Islam and the Middle East who stirred controversy with his often chauvinistic attitude towards the Muslim world and his associations with high-profile neoconservatives and foreign policy hawks.


John Bolton, the controversial former U.S. ambassador to the UN and dyed-in the-wool foreign policy hawk, is President Trump’s National Security Adviser McMaster, reflecting a sharp move to the hawkish extreme by the administration.


Michael Joyce, who passed away in 2006, was once described by neoconservative guru Irving Kristol as the “godfather of modern philanthropy.”


Mike Pompeo, the Trump administration’s second secretary of state, is a long time foreign policy hawk and has led the public charge for an aggressive policy toward Iran.


Max Boot, neoconservative military historian at the Council on Foreign Relations, on Trump and Russia: “At every turn Trump is undercutting the ‘get tough on Russia’ message because he just can’t help himself, he just loves Putin too much.”


Michael Flynn is a former Trump administration National Security Advisor who was forced to step down only weeks on the job because of his controversial contacts with Russian officials before Trump took office.


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From the Wires

Trump is not the problem. Think of him instead as a summons to address the real problem, which in a nation ostensibly of, by, and for the people is the collective responsibility of the people themselves. For Americans to shirk that responsibility further will almost surely pave the way for more Trumps — or someone worse — to come.


The United Nations has once again turn into a battleground between the United States and Iran, which are experiencing one of the darkest moments in their bilateral relations.


In many ways, Donald Trump’s bellicosity, his militarism, his hectoring cant about American exceptionalism and national greatness, his bullying of allies—all of it makes him not an opponent of neoconservatism but its apotheosis. Trump is a logical culmination of the Bush era as consolidated by Obama.


For the past few decades the vast majority of private security companies like Blackwater and DynCorp operating internationally have come from a relatively small number of countries: the United States, Great Britain and other European countries, and Russia. But that seeming monopoly is opening up to new players, like DeWe Group, China Security and Protection Group, and Huaxin Zhongan Group. What they all have in common is that they are from China.


The Trump administration’s massive sales of tanks, helicopters, and fighter aircraft are indeed a grim wonder of the modern world and never receive the attention they truly deserve. However, a potentially deadlier aspect of the U.S. weapons trade receives even less attention than the sale of big-ticket items: the export of firearms, ammunition, and related equipment.


Soon after a Saudi-led coalition strike on a bus killed 40 children on August 9, a CENTCOM spokesperson stated to Vox, “We may never know if the munition [used] was one that the U.S. sold to them.”


The West has dominated the post-war narrative with its doctrine of liberal values, arguing that not only were they right in themselves but that economic success itself depended on their application. Two developments have challenged those claims. The first was the West’s own betrayal of its principles: on too many occasions the self interest of the powerful, and disdain for the victims of collateral damage, has showed through. The second dates from more recently: the growth of Chinese capitalism owes nothing to a democratic system of government, let alone liberal values.


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