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

Attacking the new nuclear posture; Flotilla fallout; Ed Meese, Michael Rubin, and more.

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The Nuclear Posture Attack

By Robert Farley

The vehement attacks against President Obama’s arms control initiatives reveal the extent to which the militarist extreme in the Republican Party’s foreign policy establishment has remained deeply entrenched despite the significant setbacks hawks have suffered since helping drive the country into war with Iraq. Using language that conjures images from the heyday of the Cold War, neoconservatives and other right-wing nationalists have endeavored to paint the administration as willing to sacrifice national security to achieve international acclaim. They have also drowned out more moderate voices in the Republican Party, whose realist views, although more in line with the policies pushed by the Obama administration, are failing to have an impact on conservative discourse. Read full article.

Special Section: Fallout from the Gaza Flotilla Attack

Since Israel’s pre-dawn attack in international waters on a flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to people living in Gaza, the usual suspects have been pushing back against the condemnation the attack has ignited around the world. The Israel government blames the activists; the neocons blame the UN and Europeans for upholding flawed notions of proportionality; and the White House has gone into full-fledged damage-control mode.

Obama Seeks to Quiet Outrage over Gaza Flotilla Killings
By Jim Lobe
While calling the blockade against Gaza "unsustainable and unacceptable,” the Obama administration has steadfastly avoided assigning blame for the deadly Israeli attack on the Gaza aid flotilla. Read full article.

ISRAEL: Spinning the Attack on the Gaza Aid Flotilla
By Mel Frykberg   
The Israeli government has launched a full-throttle defense of its attack on the Gaza aid flotilla as outrage over the attack grows around the world. Read full article.

PROFILE: Michael Rubin
The AEI scholar has been a vociferous defender of Israel since its deadly attack on the Gaza aid flotilla, accusing Europeans of being weak in their defense of liberalism and warning the Obama administration that if it takes a tough line on the attack Israel will decide it has a green light to bomb Iran.

PROFILE: Clifford May
The former New York Times writer and head of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies has tried to defend Israel’s flotilla attack by citing press reports about purported anti-Semitic chants among flotilla participants that are based on assertions by government representatives that were not confirmed by any independent source.

Featured Profiles

Edwin Meese
The Reagan-era Cold Warrior recently re-emerged on the national scene when he co-wrote an op-ed for the right-wing Washington Times that called for a return to the principles of “peace through strength” and warned that America’s very existence was in jeopardy because of a dazzling array of purported threats, including insecure borders, Sharia law, and unlawful combatants.

Robert Joseph
Joseph, a controversial Bush administration arms control official, now peddles diatribes on the Obama administration’s efforts to reform strategic policies from his perch at the National Institute for Public Policy.  

National Institute for Public Policy
Although NIPP claims to have moved beyond Cold War ideas in its analysis of strategic policies, its writers continue to be deeply ensconced in Soviet-era ideas, as evidenced by their recent criticisms of the Obama administration.

Lagon, Mark
A State Department official during the Bush administration with a history of working for neoconservative groups, Lagon recently became a visiting professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Tanter, Raymond
Tanter, founder of the hawkish Iran Policy Committee, recently revived his arguments for why the U.S. should support the People's Mujahedin Organization (MEK), an Iranian opposition group classified as a terrorist organization by the State Department.

Goldfarb, Michael
The former Weekly Standard editor recently became a VP at Orion Strategies, a PR firm that has lobbied for the expansion of NATO and is home to rightist political operatives pushing a potential Sarah Palin presidential run.

Also New on Right Web

Obama Security Strategy Stresses Economy, Multilateralism
In his first National Security Strategy, President Obama pledged to maintain the U.S.'s "military superiority" while stressing that the persistence of the nation's global power will depend more on the health of its domestic economy and international cooperation.

IRAN: Fuel Swap Deal Shakes Sanctions Push
Despite continued U.S. efforts to dismiss the Iran nuclear deal with Turkey and Brazil, there are signs that the deal is spurring diplomatic pressure from UN Security Council members, particularly Russia and China.

U.S. Defense Spending Far Outpaces Rest of the World
The United States continues to lead the world in defense spending, according to a new report by the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, a U.S.-based nonpartisan research organization.

IRAN: U.S. Covert Ops versus Sanctions?
At the same time that it is working with the Senate to gain flexibility in pushing Iran sanctions, the Obama administration seems to be upping the potential for covert operations in the region.

U.S. Militarization in Latin America
A recent report by several Washington-based policy groups reveals growing disenchantment with the Obama administration’s lack of effort to curb U.S. militarization in Latin America.

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Featured Profiles

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.


John Bolton, the controversial former U.S. ambassador to the UN and dyed-in the-wool foreign policy hawk, is President Trump’s National Security Adviser McMaster, reflecting a sharp move to the hawkish extreme by the administration.


Michael Joyce, who passed away in 2006, was once described by neoconservative guru Irving Kristol as the “godfather of modern philanthropy.”


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.


Max Boot, neoconservative military historian at the Council on Foreign Relations, on Trump and Russia: “At every turn Trump is undercutting the ‘get tough on Russia’ message because he just can’t help himself, he just loves Putin too much.”


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

Trump is not the problem. Think of him instead as a summons to address the real problem, which in a nation ostensibly of, by, and for the people is the collective responsibility of the people themselves. For Americans to shirk that responsibility further will almost surely pave the way for more Trumps — or someone worse — to come.


The United Nations has once again turn into a battleground between the United States and Iran, which are experiencing one of the darkest moments in their bilateral relations.


In many ways, Donald Trump’s bellicosity, his militarism, his hectoring cant about American exceptionalism and national greatness, his bullying of allies—all of it makes him not an opponent of neoconservatism but its apotheosis. Trump is a logical culmination of the Bush era as consolidated by Obama.


For the past few decades the vast majority of private security companies like Blackwater and DynCorp operating internationally have come from a relatively small number of countries: the United States, Great Britain and other European countries, and Russia. But that seeming monopoly is opening up to new players, like DeWe Group, China Security and Protection Group, and Huaxin Zhongan Group. What they all have in common is that they are from China.


The Trump administration’s massive sales of tanks, helicopters, and fighter aircraft are indeed a grim wonder of the modern world and never receive the attention they truly deserve. However, a potentially deadlier aspect of the U.S. weapons trade receives even less attention than the sale of big-ticket items: the export of firearms, ammunition, and related equipment.


Soon after a Saudi-led coalition strike on a bus killed 40 children on August 9, a CENTCOM spokesperson stated to Vox, “We may never know if the munition [used] was one that the U.S. sold to them.”


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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