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

The Civilian Control Trap and the Meaning of Withdrawal; Profiles on Max Boot, Newt Gingrich, & more

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The Civilian Control Trap

By Robert Farley

Conservative acquiescence in the firing of Gen. Stanley McChrystal appears to demonstrate a surprising commitment to the principle of civilian control of the military by the right-wing in the United States. On the other hand, it may have presaged a campaign to lay the blame for a failed war in Afghanistan at the feet of a Democratic president. Since 2001, conservatives have strongly supported civilian control, in part because of military queasiness about the war in Iraq. Today, conservatives are using the principle of civilian control to place full responsibility for difficulties in the Afghanistan War on the shoulders of President Obama. Read full article

Despite Iraq Withdrawal, Greater Mideast Not Looking Good

By Jim Lobe

While President Obama spins the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq as a sign of success of his policies in the region, the latest news from the Greater Middle East is far less encouraging. Read full article


Max Boot

Responding to a recent op-ed penned by the Council on Foreign Relations’ in-house neocon, one observer argues that Boot hopes to keep the United States in a state of “permanent mobilization.”

Newt Gingrich

The former Speaker of the House and erstwhile conservative intellectual thinks that “global society” risks falling under Sharia law, and that allowing construction of a mosque near Ground Zero is tantamount to “submitting” to Saudi Arabia.

Amitai Etzioni

The idiosyncratic social theorist and founder of the Communitarian Network thinks the United States should bomb Iran and “unshackle” the troops in Afghanistan. 

Erik Prince

Erik Prince and his company Xe have been besieged with criminal allegations, spurring the Christian Right billionaire to ramp up his anti-government rhetoric.

Arthur Waldron

A long-time China hawk, Waldron claims that the United States must be willing to rollback Chinese influence in Asia, or be prepared to sacrifice allies and its reputation.

Henry F. Cooper

The former director of the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative and a key right-wing opponent of Obama administration arms control initiatives, Cooper was recently given the “Ronald Reagan Missile Defense Award” by the Department of Defense’s Strategic Defense Initiative.


Right Web on Antiwar.com Radio

The director of IPS Right Web discusses the Emergency Committee for Israel and neoconservatives with Antiwar.com Radio.

Despite Cuts, Nukes Still Integral to U.S. Security Strategy

Some analysts think that new U.S. plans to improve its nuclear weapons complex are likely to hinder international efforts to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

Leaked Reports Make Afghan War Policy More Vulnerable

Although the 92,000 reports on the war in Afghanistan made public by WikiLeaks offer no major revelations, they increase the political pressure on a war policy that has already suffered a precipitous loss of credibility.

Obama’s Afghanistan Strategy Increasingly Under Siege

The release of tens of thousands of classified documents detailing the war in Afghanistan comes amid a growing crisis of confidence in the nearly nine-year-old war.


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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.

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From the Wires

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.