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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

Although sometimes characterized as a Republican “maverick” for his bipartisan forays into domestic policy, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is one of the Senate’s more vocal hawks.


Former CIA director Michael Hayden, a stalwart advocate of the Bush-era policies on torture and warrantless wiretapping, has been a vocal critic of Donald Trump


The former GOP presidential candidate and Speaker of the House has been a vociferous proponent of the idea that the America faces an existential threat from “Islamofascists.”


David Albright is the founder of the Institute for Science and International Security, a non-proliferation think tank whose influential analyses of nuclear proliferation issues in the Middle East have been the source of intense disagreement and debate.


A right-wing Christian and governor of Kansas, Brownback previously served in the U.S. Senate, where he gained a reputation as a leading social conservative as well as an outspoken “pro-Israel” hawk on U.S. Middle East policy.


Steve Forbes, head of the Forbes magazine empire, is an active supporter of a number of militarist policy organizations that have pushed for aggressive U.S. foreign policies.


Stephen Hadley, an Iraq War hawk and former national security adviser to President George W. Bush, now chairs the U.S. Institute for Peace.


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From the Wires

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A recent vote in the European Parliament shows how President Trump’s relentless hostility to Iran is likely to isolate Washington more than Tehran.


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The head of the Institute for Science and International Security—aka “the Good ISIS”—recently demonstrated again his penchant for using sloppy analysis as a basis for politically explosive charges about Iran, in this case using a faulty translation from Persian to misleadingly question whether Tehran is “mass producing advanced gas centrifuges.”


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Trump has exhibited a general preference for authoritarians over democrats, and that preference already has had impact on his foreign policy. Such an inclination has no more to do with realism than does a general preference for democrats over authoritarians.


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The President went to the region as a deal maker and a salesman for American weapon manufacturing. He talked about Islam, terrorism, Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without the benefit of expert advice in any of these areas. After great showmanship in Riyadh, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem, he and his family left the region without much to show for or to benefit the people of that war-torn region.


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Although the Comey memo scandal may well turn out to be what brings Trump down, this breach of trust may have had more lasting effect than any of Trump’s other numerous misadventures. It was an unprecedented betrayal of Israel’s confidence. Ironically, Trump has now done what even Barack Obama’s biggest detractors never accused him of: seriously compromised Israel’s security relationship with the United States.


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Congress and the public acquiesce in another military intervention or a sharp escalation of one of the U.S. wars already under way, perhaps it’s time to finally consider the true costs of war, American-style — in lives lost, dollars spent, and opportunities squandered. It’s a reasonable bet that never in history has a society spent more on war and gotten less bang for its copious bucks.


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