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

The Campaign to Push for U.S. Military Action in Syria

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Right-Wing and Liberal Hawks Reunite Over Syria
By Jim Lobe
Ten years after right-wing and liberal hawks came together to push the U.S. into invading Iraq, key members of the two groups appear to be reuniting behind stronger U.S. military intervention in Syria. While the liberals appear motivated by a desire to stop the violence and prevent its spread across borders, their right-wing colleagues, particularly neoconservatives, see U.S. intervention as key to dealing Iran a strategic defeat in the region. Read article.

Feature Profiles

Daniel Pipes
Daniel Pipes, an outspoken neoconservative and critic of Islam, has broken with many of his fellow hawks on the issue of Syria. Rather than advocating the imposition of a "no-fly zone" or sending U.S. arms to the Syrian rebels, Pipes has argued that the United States should consider backing the regime of Bashar al-Assad, writing that "Western powers should guide enemies to stalemate by helping whichever side is losing, so as to prolong the conflict" and keep each side "focused locally."

John McCain
Since his longtime ally Sen. Joe Lieberman retired from the Senate, Sen. John McCain has led the congressional push for U.S. intervention in Syria's civil war, recently quipping that President Obama's supposed "red line" regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria "was apparently written in disappearing ink." Dismissing warnings about Syria's simmering sectarian tensions and the prevalence of radical Islamists amid its armed opposition, McCain has advocated sending heavy weaponry to Syria's rebels and employing U.S. airpower to create "safe zones" inside Syria.

Michael O’Hanlon
Brookings scholar Michael O'Hanlon, a well known liberal interventionist who often teams up with rightwing hawks to push for U.S. military action abroad, has exceeded the proposals of many of his conservative partners with respect to Syria. In addition to advocating arming rebels and creating “no-fly zones,” O'Hanlon has suggested that the United States send as many as 20,000 U.S. "peacekeepers" to police an ethnically and religiously fractured Syria.

Clare Lopez
Longtime right-wing activist and former CIA officer Clare Lopez is a vocal proponent of the notion that the U.S. government—and in particular the Obama administration—has been infiltrated by Islamic extremists tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. A senior fellow at the Clarion Project and the Center for Security Policy, Lopez implied in the wake of the Boston marathon bombing that Brotherhood-linked “front groups” had stymied FBI surveillance of mosques and Muslim organizations, making such attacks more likely to occur.

Jerusalem Summit
The Jerusalem Summit is an Israel-based advocacy group that brings together evangelical Christians, U.S.-based neoconservatives, and international “pro-Israel” organizations to press an anti-Palestinian agenda. Although the group appears to be largely dormant, it maintains an active presence on Facebook, where it posts images and messages mocking the notion of Palestinian statehood, promoting IDF talking points, and calling the “1.4 million Muslims living in Israel” an “obstacle to peace.”

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Obama Unlikely to Sharply Escalate Intervention in Syria
The Assad regime's alleged use of chemical weapons has led to calls for increased U.S. assistance to rebels, but lingering doubts in Washington about intervention means assistance will likely remain limited.

Europe Urged to Step into Breach of Failed Mideast Peace
A group of former European leaders is urging the EU to sidestep the stalled U.S.-backed Israeli-Palestinian peace process and take a strong stance against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

Israel Unlikely to Stay on Syrian Sidelines for Much Longer
Increased Hezbollah activity in the Syrian conflict could be spurring Israel to intervene.

Some Hear Death Knell for a Two-State Solution
John Kerry and the Obama administration have placed renewed attention on the Middle East and Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but some analysts think their efforts are too little and too late.

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Clare Lopez is a former CIA officer and rightwing activist who has argued that the Muslim Brotherhood and a shadowy “Iran Lobby” are working to shape Obama administration policy.


Michael Ledeen, a “Freedom Scholar” at the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has long been obsessed with getting the U.S. to force regime change in Tehran.


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.


The daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney has emerged as the most visible advocate of hardline security policies in the Cheney family.


Bret Stephens is a columnist for the New York Times who previously worked at the Wall Street Journal and the neoconservative flagship magazine Commentary.


Joe Lieberman, the neoconservative Democrat from Connecticut who retired from the Senate in 2013, co-chairs a foreign policy project at the American Enterprise Institute.


Former attorney general Edwin Meese, regarded as one of President Ronald Reagan’s closest advisers despite persistent allegations of influence peddling and bribery during his tenure, has been a consummate campaigner on behalf of rightist U.S. foreign and domestic policies. He currently serves as a distinguished visiting fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution.


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From the Wires

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The President went to the region as a deal maker and a salesman for American weapon manufacturing. He talked about Islam, terrorism, Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without the benefit of expert advice in any of these areas. After great showmanship in Riyadh, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem, he and his family left the region without much to show for or to benefit the people of that war-torn region.


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Although the Comey memo scandal may well turn out to be what brings Trump down, this breach of trust may have had more lasting effect than any of Trump’s other numerous misadventures. It was an unprecedented betrayal of Israel’s confidence. Ironically, Trump has now done what even Barack Obama’s biggest detractors never accused him of: seriously compromised Israel’s security relationship with the United States.


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Congress and the public acquiesce in another military intervention or a sharp escalation of one of the U.S. wars already under way, perhaps it’s time to finally consider the true costs of war, American-style — in lives lost, dollars spent, and opportunities squandered. It’s a reasonable bet that never in history has a society spent more on war and gotten less bang for its copious bucks.


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Trump’s reorganization of the foreign policy bureaucracy is an ideologically driven agenda for undermining the power and effectiveness of government institutions that could lead to the State Department’s destruction.


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Spurred by anti-internationalist sentiment among conservative Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration, the US is headed for a new confrontation with the UN over who decides how much the US should pay for peacekeeping.


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Decent developments in the Trump administration indicate that the neoconservatives, at one point on the margins of Washington’s new power alignments, are now on the ascendent?


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As the end of Donald Trump’s first 100 days as president approaches, it seems that his version of an “America-first” foreign policy is in effect a military-first policy aimed at achieving global hegemony, which means it’s a potential doomsday machine.


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