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

The Neocon Media Machine

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"A Great Little Racket": The Neocon Media Machine
By Eli Clifton

From high-brow intellectualism to tabloid spin, the neoconservative movement has evolved in ways that its early progenitors could hardly have imagined. The result is a well-oiled media machine that continues to impact policymaking, even as the neoconservatives themselves fall deeper into ill repute. Read full story.


Irving Kristol
The founder of a number of influential neoconservative journals, Irving Kristol’s media enterprise helped blaze the faction’s ideological trail. However, the neocon "godfather" has remained largely on the sidelines in the campaign to extend the war on terror and reshape the Middle East.

William Kristol
Cofounder of the Weekly Standard and the Project for the New American Century, William Kristol (son of Irving) spearheaded the neoconservative resurgence in U.S. politics in the 1990s and played a key role championing the invasion of Iraq and the war on terror.

National Interest
Founded by Irving Kristol in the mid-1980s to serve as a foreign affairs counterpart to his public policy outlet the Public Interest, the National Interest has in recent years turned into a forum of fierce debate over the best course for U.S. foreign policy, pitting realists against neoconservatives.

Weekly Standard
"Speaking to and for power," the neoconservative incubator Weekly Standard, part of the Rupert Murdoch media empire, has been an effective champion of U.S. overseas adventurism.

Rupert Murdoch
With Fox News, the Weekly Standard, and some 175 additional media holdings at his disposal, Murdoch and his News Corp. have been formidable friends of the Bush administration and its neocon allies.

Norman Podhoretz
Editor of the neoconservative flagship magazine Commentary for decades, Norman Podhoretz has shaped many of the themes that have become core elements of neoconservative discourse—the fight against "appeasement," overcoming "moral weakness," the centrality of the Holocaust, and the righteousness of U.S. military power. More recently, he has become a vocal champion of the notion that America is currently engaged in a deadly global struggle that he terms "World War IV."

John Podhoretz
"JPod," as he is known in some corners of the blogosphere, is a neocon scion who contributes to a number of News Corp. media outlets, including Fox News, the Weekly Standard, and the New York Post. He frequently mixes pop culture with politics and is terrified by the possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Robert Kagan
Columnist for the Washington Post, writer for the Weekly Standard, cofounder of the Project for the New American Century, scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and author of a several influential books on U.S. foreign policy, Kagan is a true believer in the efficacy of hard power who supports higher troop levels in Iraq.

Charles Krauthammer
With his columns appearing in the Washington Post and dozens of other U.S. newspapers, Krauthammer is a highly influential proponent of the neocon agenda, including expanding the war on terror to Iran and Syria and imposing democracy on U.S. opponents.

Max Boot
From his perch at outlets like the Los Angeles Times and the Weekly Standard, Max Boot, a scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations, justifies torture, calls for occupying foreign oil fields, and argues for embracing America’s "imperial role."


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Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) has been an outspoken proponent of militarist U.S. foreign polices and the use of torture, aping the views of her father, Dick Cheney.

United against Nuclear Iran is a pressure group that attacks companies doing business in Iran and disseminates alarmist reports about the country’s nuclear program.

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Gina Haspel is a CIA officer who was nominated to head the agency by President Donald Trump in March 2018. She first came to prominence because of accusations that she oversaw the torture of prisoners and later destroyed video evidence of that torture.

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.

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From the Wires

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Hardliners at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies are working overtime to convince the Trump administration to “fix” the nuclear agreement with Iran on the pretext that it will give the US leverage in negotiations with North Korea.

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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.