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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

FEATURED ARTICLES 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…

FEATURED ARTICLES

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

FEATURED PROFILES

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.

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

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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.

LETTERS

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Featured Profiles

Zalmay Khalilzad is Donald Trump’s special representative to the Afghan peace process, having previously served as ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq under George W. Bush.


Robert Joseph played a key role in manipulating U.S. intelligence to support the invasion of Iraq and today is a lobbyist for the MEK.


Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is one of the Senate’s more vocal hawks, and one of the prime vacillators among Republicans between objecting to and supporting Donald Trump.


Elliott Abrams, the Trump administration’s special envoy to Venezuela, is a neoconservative with a long record of hawkish positions and actions, including lying to Congress about the Iran-Contra affair.


Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump second secretary of state, has driven a hawkish foreign policy in Iran and Latin America.


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


Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s first U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is known for her lock-step support for Israel and is widely considered to be a future presidential candidate.


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From the Wires

François Nicoullaud, the former French ambassador to Iran, discusses the ups and downs of Iran-France relations and the new US sanctions.


Effective alliances require that powerful states shoulder a far larger share of the alliance maintenance costs than other states, a premise that Donald Trump rejects.


The new imbroglio over the INF treaty does not mean a revival of the old Cold War practice of nuclear deterrence. However, it does reveal the inability of the West and Russia to find a way to deal with the latter’s inevitable return to the ranks of major powers, a need that was obvious even at the time the USSR collapsed.


As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump appeared to recognize the obvious problem of the revolving door. But as the appointment of Patrick Shanahan, who spent 30 years at Boeing, as the Trump administration’s acting secretary of defense reveals, little has changed. America is indeed great again, if you happen to be one of those lucky enough to be moving back and forth between plum jobs in the Pentagon and the weapons industry.


Domestic troubles, declining popularity, and a decidedly hawkish anti-Iran foreign policy team may combine to make the perfect storm that pushes Donald Trump to pull the United States into a new war in the Middle East.


The same calculus that brought Iran and world powers to make a deal and has led remaining JCPOA signatories to preserve it without the U.S. still holds: the alternatives to this agreement – a race between sanctions and centrifuges that could culminate in Iran obtaining the bomb or being bombed – would be much worse.


With Bolton and Pompeo by his side and Mattis departed, Trump may well go with his gut and attack Iran militarily. He’ll be encouraged in this delusion by Israel and Saudi Arabia. He’ll of course be looking for some way to distract the media and the American public. And he won’t care about the consequences.


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