Right Web

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

The Real Middle East Lobby; Profiles on Clarion Fund, Freedom Watch, and more.

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Right Web is a project of the Institute for Policy Studies

 

FEATURED ARTICLES

The Real Middle East Lobby

By Samer Araabi

Right-wing supporters of Israel have countered arguments about the undue influence of the “Israel Lobby” by conjuring a multifarious boogeyman that supposedly has been swaying U.S. policy for decades—the “Arab Lobby.” Purportedly composed of a heady mélange of actors—including Palestinian activists, anti-Semitic Washington insiders, oil and weapons companies, Middle Eastern dictators, and Arab-Americans—this “lobby” shares a similar weakness with that of the “Israel lobby”: it misleadingly groups together forces whose intentions are often diametrically opposed. The notion also disguises a deeper, more complex fault line over U.S. Mideast policy: The real battle is the one pitting the combined forces of hawkish “pro-Israeli” factions and Saudi-led oil interests—both of whom advocate a steady flow of weapons and the perpetual presence of U.S. troops—against populist Middle East groups and their Western supporters. Read full article.

 

FEATURED PROFILES

Clarion Fund

The controversial Likud-aligned documentary producer has announced the forthcoming release of its third film, Iranium.

Freedom Watch

Freedom Watch, an organization led by right-wing activist Larry Klayman that promotes a hodgepodge of conservative foreign and domestic policies, has called for the immediate removal of the regime in Iran.

National Strategy Information Center

In a new report, the National Strategy Information Center, which has been promoting militarist U.S. foreign policies since the 1960s, hypes the notion that the world is on the verge of chaos and that shadowy forces are engaged in an existential battle “against the West.”

Thomas Dine

Thomas Dine, former director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and past supporter of hawkish Mideast policy campaigns, appears to be seeking new ways to engage the Muslim world.

Joseph Lieberman

Senator Lieberman’s interpretation of “Independent Democrat” means attacking Iran and supporting every neoconservative cause that comes his way.

 

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

Obama Scrambles to Save Foreign Policy Agenda

Calls to block the new START Treaty reveal the challenges confronting President Obama in gaining any support from Republicans on foreign policy during the remainder of his term.

Pentagon Exempt from Budget Cuts?

Influential Republican Party figures are pushing back against efforts to target the Pentagon budget for cuts.

Study Group Urges "Strategic Engagement" with Iran

A new study by two centrist think tanks urges the Obama administration topursue a policy of "strategic engagement" with Iran that would offer Tehran more attractive incentives to curb its nuclear program.

START Supporters Play Iran Card

The Obama administration is trying to sell the new START to Republicans by arguing that failure to ratify the treaty would weaken efforts to apply collective international pressure on Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran Laptop Papers Show Wrong Warhead

Key evidence used to argue that Iran had a covert nuclear weapons research depict a reentry vehicle abandoned by Iranian officials.

 

LETTERS

Re: Standard Operating Procedures: How the Neocons Are Co-opting the Tea Party

The idea that Tea Partiers will become antiwar activists is one of the most frustrating and delusional conceits I have seen in principled conservative circles in the last year. I was pleased therefore to see Scott McConnell’s article for Right Web on the subject. But even he seems to take a misguidedly benighted view of the tea parties, as implied by the notion that they have been merely co-opted by the neocons. I would argue, to the contrary, that the Tea Party movement is in fact fundamentally neocon in its first principles.

I consider this article by Irving Kristol a smoking gun in understanding neoconservatism. He laid out frankly his arriving at the conclusion in the 1950s that European welfare states were unfit to destroy communism and extend the global democratic revolution, and therefore it must be done by some sort of military-industrial complex and heavy “democratic capitalism,”

It is the deep internalization of this narrative on a mass level that has led to hysterical and even violent opposition to the health care bill and indeed anything that could remotely make America more like a European welfare state. Those who find this far-fetched would do well to consider that this is why so many neocons became newspaper columnists, reaching all the way into small local papers and thus able to exert tremendous influence on mass consciousness. And those eager to see the contrary “welfare-warfare state” in the Tea Parties, I will just say that it is no less intellectually lazy to believe that an activist mass movement has altruistically emerged to fight for austerity than it is to reduce it to racist hatred of Obama.

The best way one can understand the Tea Party movement, therefore, is by drawing an analogy to reactionary mass movements that emerged in the twilight of European Imperialism, perhaps most notably the partisans of Algerie Francaise. There may also be something to be said for the argument of Peter Beinart, for all its insipid attacks on the “isolationist” bogey, about the pattern of domestic nativist anxiety that led to the Klan after World War I and McCarthyism after World War II. The former’s relevance to recent anti-Muslim hysteria is obvious enough, but the latter may be the most instructive. The debate about the Tea Party among principled conservatives bears a stunning likeness to the debate on the old right over McCarthy.

In any event, how any of this might possibly be interpreted as the basis of a new antiwar movement requires the maximum of either self-deception or hallucinogens.

—Jack Ross

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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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The Trump administration appears to have been surprised by this breach among its friends in the critical Gulf strategic area. But it is difficult to envision an effective U.S. role in rebuilding this Humpty-Dumpty.


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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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