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

The myth of Mideast dominance; profiles on Steve Rosen, Dennis Ross, John Yoo, Peter Wehner, Blackwa

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U.S.-Iranian Engagement: When and How?
By Ahmad Sadri

On Norouz, the day when Iranians celebrate the coming of spring and the new Iranian calendar year, President Barack Obama put the United States on a path to a fresh relationship with Iran. But given the upcoming Iranian presidential elections in June, the real question for the U.S. administration is when and how to further engage Iran. One thing is clear, the two countries have a number of shared concerns, which could provide them with a new basis for relations. Read full story.

Military Dominance in Mideast a Costly Myth?
By Gareth Porter

The United States might not be the dominant power in the Middle East that the Obama administration seems to presume, which could have far reaching consequences on its actions in the region. Read full story.


Steve Rosen
One of the key pundits involved in the effort to overturn the nomination of Charles Freeman to a top intelligence post, Rosen recently sued his former employer, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, for defamation in connection to his federal indictment for allegedly passing U.S. secrets to Israel.

Dennis Ross
A career diplomat with close ties to neoconservatives, Ross was recently given an appointment in the Obama administration, which includes advising on Iran policy.

John Yoo
Newly released Justice Department memos shed light on the controversial opinions issued by Yoo regarding the use of the military on U.S. soil to fight the war on terror.

Peter Wehner
The former head of strategic initiatives in the Bush White House, Wehner has used his perch at the neocon Ethics and Public Policy Center to defend the Bush record and issue warnings about the direction of the new president.

XE (Blackwater Worldwide)
Recently rechristened as Xe, the Blackwater private security company—notorious for its work in Iraq—claims to be shifting its focus to training and logistics, including training pro athletes in self-defense.

Erik Prince
After six of his company’s contractors were indicted last December for killing civilians in Iraq, Prince argued that Blackwater was a company driven by patriotic duty and woefully misunderstood.

Christopher DeMuth
DeMuth served as director of the American Enterprise Institute for more than 20 years before stepping down early this year.


From "Axis of Evil" to "Happy New Year"
By Ali Gharib (Inter Press Service)

President Obama issued well wishes to Iran on that country’s New Year’s celebration last Friday, striking a dramatically different tone to that adopted by his predecessor. Read article.

Bipartisan Experts Urge "Partnership" with Russia
By Jim Lobe (Inter Press Service)

A recent report suggests how the new administration can find common ground with Russia, after the U.S.-Russia relationship reached a new post-Cold War low last summer. Read article.

Vetting Nominees, Hampering Policy?
Analysis by Jim Lobe (Inter Press Service)

Will the lengthy and intrusive vetting process for nominees hamper the Obama’s administration ability to confront a number of foreign policy issues? Read article.

Islamist Governments Not the Enemy, Say Mideast Experts
By Ali Gharib (Inter Press Service)

U.S. policy must end its misguided fear of Islamist parties and concentrate on human rights, experts assert in open letter to Obama. Read article.

Freeman Withdrawal Marks Victory for “Israel Lobby”
By Daniel Luban and Jim Lobe (Inter Press Service)

A vitriolic battle waged by Republican lawmakers and Israel-centric hardliners spurred Charles “Chas” Freeman to withdraw from consideration to chair the National Intelligence Council. Read article.

"Resist and Deter" Iran
By Jim Lobe (Inter Press Service)

A recent report by a hawkish U.S. think tank urges the administration to exert increasing pressure on Tehran to abandon its enrichment program and be prepared to launch military strikes. Read article.

Dutch Foe of Islam Goes to Washington
By Daniel Luban and Eli Clifton (Inter Press Service)

Dutch MP Geert Wilders tours the United States, soliciting conservatives for financial and ideological support. Read article.


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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.