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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 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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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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