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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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

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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