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

The Obama Paradigm Shift; Profiles on Zuhdi Jasser, Eric Edelman, William Luti, and Elaine Chao

FEATURED ARTICLE

Obama’s Paradigm Shift in U.S.-Mideast Relations
By Phyllis Bennis

President Obama’s powerful Cairo speech unquestionably represents a significant departure from the hubris and militarism of the Bush era and towards a more cooperative and potentially even internationalist approach. In acknowledging that the United States bears some blame for problems in the Middle East and that Palestine’s right to exist is equivalent to Israel’s, the president sent a powerful message. But turning new language into new policies might require a mass mobilization on the scale that helped bring Obama to power. Read full story.

 

FEATURED PROFILES

Zuhdi Jasser
Jasser, a physician and devout Muslim connected to various neoconservative groups, is the founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, which touts itself as “a leading voice for liberty-minded Muslims in America in the war on terror.”

Eric Edelman
An undersecretary of defense during George W. Bush’s second term, Edelman is now “distinguished fellow” at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

William Luti
A former Bush administration foreign policy operative and veteran of the Pentagon’s controversial Office of Special Plans, Luti is now a VP at defense contractor Northrop Grumman.

Elaine Chao
The former secretary of labor has returned to the Heritage Foundation, where she worked before being tapped by George W. Bush in 2001.

 

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

Obama Appeals to Muslim World for “New Beginning”
By Ali Gharib and Jim Lobe

In his speech in Cairo, President Barack Obama extended a hand to the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims, addressing nearly all of the issues that divide the United States and the Islamic world.

Hawks Push “Jordanian Option” for Palestine
By Daniel Luban

As President Obama pushes Israel toward a two-state solution, right-wing hawks are pressing the U.S. administration to adopt the “three-state solution,” under which Jordan would take over the West Bank and Egypt would control Gaza.

Now the Hard Part: Implementing “Af-Pak”
By Ali Gharib

Now that his administration has completed its review of U.S. policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, President Obama gets to the hard part: how to prevent the Talibanization of both countries.

Iran’s Place in the Mideast Peace Puzzle
By Helena Cobban

Divergent Israeli and U.S. views on the place of Iran and the Palestinian situation within the larger question of regional peace and stability reveal much about the underlying challenges facing Mideast peacemakers.

Drive for Sanctions Likely in Wake of North Korean Test
By Jim Lobe

The Obama administration’s reaction to North Korea’s nuclear test will send a message about how the new president intends to confront foreign policy crises.

 

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Featured Profiles

Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s first U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is known for her lock-step support for Israel and is widely considered to be a future presidential candidate.


Laurence Silberman, a senior justice on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was a mentor to controversial Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and has been a vocal supporter of right-wing foreign and domestic agendas, including the campaign to support the invasion of Iraq.


The People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, advocates regime change in Iran and has strong connections with a wide range of top political figures in the U.S.


Haim Saban is a media mogul and major donor to the Democratic Party known for his hardline stance on Israel and opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.


Eli Lake is a columnist for Bloomberg View who has a lengthy record of advocating for aggressive U.S. foreign policies towards the Middle East.


Brian Hook is the director of policy planning and senior policy advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and is the head of the Iran Action Group.


Josh Rogin is a journalist known for his support for neoconservative policies and views.


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From the Wires

The contradictions in Donald Trump’s foreign policy create opportunities for both rivals and long-standing (if irritated) US allies to challenge American influence. But Trump’s immediate priority is political survival, and his actions in the international arena are of little concern to his domestic supporters.


While the notion that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic is decades old, it has been bolstered in recent years, by the campaign to add to the definition of anti-Semitism any criticism that singles Israel out and doesn’t apply the same standard to other countries. The bottom line is that this entire effort is designed not to combat anti-Semitism but to silence criticism. 


Short-term thinking, expedience, and a lack of strategic caution has led Washington to train, fund, and support group after group that have turned their guns on American soldiers and civilians.


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.


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.”


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