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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.

RELATED RIGHT WEB PROFILES

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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Featured Profiles

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was a leading framer of the “global war on terror” and a staunch supporter of aggressive U.S. military action around the world.


Mike Pompeo, the Trump administration’s second secretary of state, is a long time foreign policy hawk and has led the public charge for an aggressive policy toward Iran.


Right Web readers will be familiar with Mr. Fleitz, the former CIA officer who once threatened to take “legal action” against Right Web for publicizing reports of controversies he was associated with in the George W. Bush administration. Fleitz recently left his job at the conspiracy-mongering Center for Security Policy to become chief of staff to John Bolton at the National Security Council.


Norm Coleman is chair of the Republican Jewish Coalition and a former senator from Minnesota known for his hawkish views on foreign policy.


Billionaire hedge fund mogul Paul Singer is known for his predatory business practices and support for neoconservative causes.


Keith Kellogg, national security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, is a passionate supporter of Trump’s foreign policy.


Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the largest “pro-Israel” advocacy group in the United States, is known for its zealous Christian Zionism and its growing influence in the Republican Party.


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From the Wires

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The Trumpian new regional order in the Middle East is predicated on strongman rule, disregard for human rights, Sunni primacy over Iran and other Shia centers of power, continued military support for pro-American warring parties regardless of the unlawfulness of such wars, and Israeli hegemony.


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A comparison of U.S. nuclear diplomacy with Iran and the current version with North Korea puts the former in a good light and makes the latter look disappointing. Those with an interest in curbing the dangers of proliferating nuclear weapons should hope that the North Korea picture will improve with time. But whether it does or not, the process has put into perspective how badly mistaken was the Trump administration’s trashing of the Iran nuclear agreement.


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Numerous high profile Trump administration officials maintain close ties with anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists. In today’s America, disparaging Islam is acceptable in ways that disparaging other religions is not. Given the continuing well-funded campaigns by the Islamophobes and continuing support from their enablers in the Trump administration, starting with the president himself, it seems unlikely that this trend will be reversed any time soon.


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The Trump administration’s nuclear proliferation policy is now in meltdown, one which no threat of “steely resolve”—in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s words—will easily contain. It is hemorrhaging in part because the administration has yet to forge a strategy that consistently and credibly signals a feasible bottom line that includes living with—rather than destroying—regimes it despises or fears. Political leaders on both sides of the aisle must call for a new model that has some reasonable hope of restraining America’s foes and bringing security to its Middle East allies.


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Congressional midterm elections are just months away and another presidential election already looms. Who will be the political leader with the courage and presence of mind to declare: “Enough! Stop this madness!” Man or woman, straight or gay, black, brown, or white, that person will deserve the nation’s gratitude and the support of the electorate. Until that occurs, however, the American penchant for war will stretch on toward infinity.


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To bolster the president’s arguments for cutting back immigration, the administration recently released a fear-mongering report about future terrorist threats. Among the potential threats: a Sudanese national who, in 2016, “pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to ISIS”; an Uzbek who “posted a threat on an Uzbek-language website to kill President Obama in an act of martyrdom on behalf of ISIS”; a Syrian who, in a plea agreement, “admitted that he knew a member of ISIS and that while in Syria he participated in a battle against the Syrian regime, including shooting at others, in coordination with Al Nusrah,” an al-Qaeda offshoot.


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The recent appointment of purveyors of anti-Muslim rhetoric to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom exposes the cynical approach Republicans have taken in promoting religious freedom.


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