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

The MEK Lobby: Chumming with Terrorists No More

FEATURED PROFILES

People’s Mujahedin of Iran
The People’s Mujahedin of Iran—or MEK—is a militant organization advocating the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which for many years was listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. In September 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the group would be removed from the terrorist list. The decision was a major victory for the group’s backers, who spent millions on an aggressive lobbying campaign that included a host of prominent former U.S. officials and a crop of longtime neoconservatives. The decision also raised a number of concerns about a potential backlash from Iran, which could have repercussions on efforts to negotiate limits to that country’s nuclear program.

Marc Thiessen
A torture apologist and speechwriter for President George W. Bush, Marc Thiessen is a columnist for the Washington Post who has used his perch to advance a number of right-wing talking points on national security. Thiessen recently publicized a misleading claim about President Obama’s White House tenure alleging that the president skipped half of his intelligence briefings, when in reality the president had simply opted to read them rather than have them delivered orally. It was a claim the Post’s own fact checker called specious and “curious.”

Tommy Thompson
Tommy Thompson, a former governor of Wisconsin and secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush, is the Republican Party’s 2012 Senate nominee for Wisconsin. His record on foreign policy is thin—indeed, the only marginally relevant section on his campaign website concerns the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which he argues will help free the United States from the “manipulation” of “hostile” countries. Thompson has also endorsed the U.S. alliance with Israel (despite his history of making insensitive statements about Jews) and warned that a nuclear Iran could choke off the “Gulf” of Hormuz.

Réalité-EU
Réalité-EU is a hawkish policy outfit that promotes aggressive European policies toward Iran and other “threats” in the Middle East. The group purports to be based in London, but investigations by progressive blogs have suggested that the group is linked with The Israel Project, a neoconservative-leaning “pro-Israel” advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. The organization’s website no longer lists a London address, but it continues to churn out hawkish analyses and policy recommendations aimed at European policymakers.

Fred Iklé (1924-2011)
Fred Iklé, who passed away in November 2011, was a well known foreign policy analyst and government official who supported a host of militarist foreign policies dating back to the 1970s—including rolling back détente with the Soviet Union and the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. His case, however, presents an interesting reflection on the efforts of militarists today to expand U.S. military engagement in the Middle East. In particular, like many other erstwhile supporters of the Iraq War, Iklé eventually grew disillusioned with the neoconservative-led campaign to reshape the region’s geopolitical landscape and argued that an attack on Iran would be a “catastrophic failure.”


ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

U.S. to Take Iran Anti-Regime Group Off Terrorism List
In a move certain to ratchet up already high tensions with Iran, the Obama administration has announced that it will remove the MEK from the State Department’s terrorism list.

Nobel Laureate Calls for Armed Intervention in Nigeria
On the International Day of Peace, Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka visited the United Nations—and called for armed intervention against the terrorist group Boko Haram in his home country of Nigeria.

U.N. Chief Jabs Media for Overblown Coverage of Hate Crimes
In the wake of an International Day of Peace marred by reports of violent riots from across the Islamic world, UN officials are calling on the international media not to amplify inflammatory hate speech.

Amid Tension in Islamic World, U.N. Chief Pleads for Harmony
Against a backdrop of international conflict and turmoil in the Middle East, UN officials are pleading for new investments in peacebuilding, a rollback in military spending, and a more democratic United Nations.


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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.


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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

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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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