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

The recent massacres in the US and Paris have spurred anti-Islam fervor

Frank Gaffney Frank Gaffney, the brazenly Islamophobic ideologue who heads the neoconservative Center for Security Policy, agrees with GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson that Muslims should probably not be allowed to run for president. Gaffney also recently hosted avowed white supremacist Jared Taylor on his radio show, saying that he “appreciated tremendously” Taylor’s work. Brigitte…

Frank Gaffney

Frank Gaffney, the brazenly Islamophobic ideologue who heads the neoconservative Center for Security Policy, agrees with GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson that Muslims should probably not be allowed to run for president. Gaffney also recently hosted avowed white supremacist Jared Taylor on his radio show, saying that he “appreciated tremendously” Taylor’s work.

Brigitte Gabriel

Brigette Gabriel, a vitriolic anti-Muslim demagogue, claims that President Obama “cannot bring himself” to say “anything bad about Islam” because of his “beautiful childhood memories” of “praying just like Osama bin Laden prayed.” She ludicrously alleges that “180 million to 300 million” Muslims are “dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization.”

Clare Lopez

Former CIA officer and Islamophobic activist Clare Lopez has claimed that members of the Muslim Brotherhood have infiltrated the U.S. government and shaped the Obama administration’s foreign policy towards the Middle East. “They’re very smart,” she has said of the alleged Muslim Brother operatives. “These guys are not camel-jockeys with towels on their heads.”

Max Boot

Max Boot, ardent neoconservative ideologue and official foreign policy advisor to the presidential campaign of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), argues that in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks the U.S. should send “at least 20,000 personnel” to fight ISIS. He has also called for the U.S. government to unilaterally declare an autonomous Sunni region in Iraq, claiming this is “something that the U.S. can effectively guarantee even without Baghdad’s cooperation.”

William Kristol

Introducing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the American Enterprise Institute’s recent “Irving Kristol” awards, Bill Kristol characterized the Israeli leader as the “preeminent leader of the free world.” Kristol, who called for 50,000 U.S. ground troops to be sent to fight ISIS in Syria after the Paris attacks, is one of a number of neoconservative figures promoting the presidential candidacy of Sen. Marco Rubio.

John Bolton

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton has called for more leeway to be given to U.S. intelligence agencies in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks. He opined in a recent Fox News op-ed: “Knee-jerk, uninformed and often wildly inaccurate criticisms of programs (such as several authorized in the wake of 9/11 in the Patriot Act) have created a widespread misimpression in the American public about what exactly our intelligence agencies have been doing and whether there was a ‘threat’ to civil liberties.”

James Woolsey

Former CIA director James Woolsey, an unabashed neoconservative hardliner with deep ties to defense contractors, has helped spur misleading accusations that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is at least partly to blame for the terrorist attacks in Paris. “I think Snowden has blood on his hands from these killings in France,” he said in an interview.

Michael Hayden

Michael Hayden, a former director of the CIA and NSA, is an unabashed supporter of surveillance and torture policies, as well as a proponent of a hardline “pro-Israel” U.S. agenda in the Middle East. He says that it is “cool” that two years after the Snowden revelations, all the NSA has had to do is slightly reform its “little 215 program about American telephony metadata.”

Arthur Waldron

Arthur Waldron is a professor of international relations at the University of Pennsylvania and a well-known China hawk. He called for the Obama administration to cancel the recent state visit of Chinese president Xi Jinping and argued that Washington should have “made clear something we dare not: namely that sanctions that bite are the alternative.” Waldron has been affiliated with a number of militarist groups, including the Center for Security Policy, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Project for the New American Century.

John Tkacik Jr.

John Tkacik is a former State Department officer and fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center. A long-standing China-hawk, Tkacik argues that as “China’s navy grows stronger … the U.S. Navy shrinks.” He claims that the United States “no longer has any real maritime strategists.”

Matthew Taylor

Matthew Taylor, a filmmaker with ties to the Republican Party, is the director of Los Abandonados, a controversial documentary that advances conspiracy theories about the Argentinian government. Observers have questioned the financial and political motives of the film’s producers and backers, in part because of Taylor’s track record of making films that advance right-wing causes and also because of the relationship between some of the filmmakers to investors who own part of Argentina’s national debt.

John Hay Initiative

The John Hay Initiative, a neoconservative-dominated group advising 2016 GOP presidential candidates, recently released the book Choosing to Lead: American Foreign Policy for a Disordered World. The book provides a decidedly militarist foreign policy vision for a future Republican presidential administration. Among its recommendations, the books calls on the United States to build the “capability to successfully conduct preemptive attacks on the small nuclear arsenals of particularly dangerous countries like North Korea and Iran.”

Fred Thompson (1942-2015)

Fred Thompson, a TV actor and former Republican Senator from Tennessee who was a vocal supporter of the Iraq War, passed away on November 1. He gained national prominence during his brief run for president in 2008, during which he pressed a stridently militaristic foreign policy platform. More recently, Thompson attacked President Obama for purportedly having “no concept” of the “founding principles of our government.”

Ahmed Chalabi (1944-2015)

Ahmad Chalabi, the notorious Iraqi political figure who played an instrumental role in promoting the U.S. invasion of Iraq, has passed away. He was 71 years old. As a McClatchy obituary stated, “perhaps no man had more lasting influence on American foreign policy than Chalabi, whose faulty intelligence Bush administration war boosters used to sell Americans on an ill-planned invasion whose legacy we see today in the Islamic State and the de facto partitioning of Iraq.”

David Albright

David Albright, a controversial nuclear non-proliferation “expert” with close ties to prominent neoconservatives, claims that a recent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on alleged past nuclear weapons work by Iran is wrong. He has also attacked other nuclear experts that disagree with his analysis, including Joe Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund, who replied on Twitter saying: “Suggest you stand down & apologize, whoever you are. The David Albright I know would never write such drivel.”

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The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), one of the more effective U.S. lobbying outfits, aims to ensure that the United States backs Israel regardless of the policies Israel pursues.


Erik Prince, former CEO of the mercenary group Blackwater, continues to sell security services around the world as controversies over his work—including in China and the Middle East, and his alleged involvement in collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia—grow.


Gina Haspel is the first woman to hold the position of director of the CIA, winning her confirmation despite her history of involvement in torture during the Iraq War.


Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) is a pressure group founded in early 2019 that serves as a watchdog and enforcer of Israel’s reputation in the Democratic Party.


Richard Grenell is the U.S. ambassador to Germany for the Donald Trump administration, known for his brusque and confrontational style.


Zalmay Khalilzad is Donald Trump’s special representative to the Afghan peace process, having previously served as ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq under George W. Bush.


Robert Joseph played a key role in manipulating U.S. intelligence to support the invasion of Iraq and today is a lobbyist for the MEK.


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From the Wires

The Senate on Wednesday passed a measure mandating the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Saudi/UAE-led war against Houthi rebels in Yemen. The vote marks the first time since the War Powers Act of 1973 became law that both chambers of Congress have directed the president to withdraw American forces from a conflict.


The Trump administration’s failed “maximum pressure” approach to Iran and North Korea begs the question what the US president’s true objectives are and what options he is left with should the policy ultimately fail.


In the United States, it’s possible to debate any and every policy, domestic and foreign, except for unquestioning support for Israel. That, apparently, is Ilhan Omar’s chief sin.


While Michael Cohen mesmerized the House of Representatives and President Trump resumed his love affair with North Korea’s Kim Jong, one of the most dangerous state-to-state confrontations, centering in Kashmir, began to spiral out of control.


The Trump administration’s irresponsible withdrawal from the landmark Iran nuclear agreement undermined Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and emboldened hardliners who accused him of having been deceived by Washington while negotiating the agreement. However, the Iranian government could use the shock of Zarif’s resignation to push back against hardliners and take charge of both the domestic and foreign affairs of the country while Iran’s foreign opponents should consider the risks of destabilizing the government under the current critical situation.


Europe can play an important role in rebuilding confidence in the non-proliferation regime in the wake of the demise of the INF treaty, including by making it clear to the Trump administration that it wants the United States to refrain from deploying INF-banned missiles in Europe and to consider a NATO-Russian joint declaration on non-first deployment.


The decline in Israel’s appeal to Democrats is directly related to the wider awareness of the country’s increasingly authoritarian nature, its treatment of Palestinians, and its reluctance to take substantive steps toward peace. Pro-Israel liberals face a fundamental paradox trying to reconcile Israel’s illiberalism with their political values.


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