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

The Right’s Legal Troubles, John Roberts

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This Week on the Right

Toeing an Illegal Line

By Michael Flynn

With John Roberts seemingly a shoo-in for the Supreme Court, Republicans can hardly be blamed for their excitement on the legal front, which was fervently—and sometimes angrily—demonstrated at the August 14 Justice Sunday II extravaganza, the second installment of a religious-right rally aimed at attacking—in James Dobson’s words—an “unelected, unaccountable, and arrogant” judiciary and championing conservative social causes. Taking center stage at the event, Rep. Tom Delay lambasted “activist courts” for imposing “state-sanctioned same-sex marriage” and “ridding the public square of any mention of our nation’s religious heritage.” The event also served as a rally in support of Roberts, who conservatives hope will help put the court in the hands of the “moral majority.”

Despite the White House’s continued stonewalling over the release of documents detailing some of Roberts’ past work, it is clear what his ideological leanings are and the potential impact they will have on court rulings. Although he is perhaps “no crazed ideologue intent on overturning precedents willy-nilly,” as the Los Angeles Times opined in a recent editorial, Roberts will tilt the bench definitively in a conservative direction on social issues, including abortion. Also, according to observers quoted in a Los Angeles Times report (August 14, 2005), Roberts has a track record of supporting broad executive powers, which could potentially impact everything from the treatment of “enemy combatants” to the president’s authority to use military force without congressional authorization. With the nation confronting a seemingly endless war on terror, the issue of executive powers could turn out to be the most “important issue on the court’s docket over the next few years,” as Neil Kinkopf, a law professor at Georgia State University, told the Times.

But a successful Roberts’ nomination won’t stem the tide of legal woes afflicting a passel of high-profile conservatives and hard-liners with close ties to the Bush administration and powerful Republicans in Congress. Together with the potentially ground-shaking fallout from the ongoing PlameGate saga, the recent indictments of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff and two former analysts from the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee with ties to neoconservatives in the administration have put the house that Bush built on increasingly rocky terrain. [Read entire article]

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Letters From Our Readers

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Re: World Movement for Democracy

Tom Barry’s article attacking the World Movement for Democracy (WMD) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) fails to acknowledge the support these institutions receive across a wide ideological spectrum in the United States and abroad. The NED gets substantial support and leadership from “mainstream” republicans, “moderate” democrats, and labor.

The WMD trumpets democratic values against governments which the United States disfavors, but the country fails to apply to these goals to itself, as is clearly seen in its failure to guarantee the constitutional right to vote and the appalling fact that 99 percent of House incumbents are re-elected every 2 years.

Another shortcoming of the WMD is its resistance to applying democratic principles to global governing institutions like the United Nations, the World Bank, and the IMF. For example, the WMD fails to focus on the hegemony of five nations at the UN, which is a profoundly undemocratic practice.

WMD will be vastly improved if it truly advocates for universal democratic values for all governing institutions. Foreign policy elites from various ideological camps would be wise to deepen their support for democratic principles.

— Michael Beer

Re: The New Crusade of the Democratic Globalists

The neoconservatives mentioned in this article are pursuing a disastrous course. Their arrogance in believing the universality of American ideas, values, and Western-style governance not only dismisses other cultures as inferior but invites the wrath of cultures that subscribe to their own religious ideas, values, and ways of governance.

These misguided and messianic ideologues dismiss Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” thesis, which argues that our system is culturally Western and fits our Western heritage. For example, the system of separation of church and state is an invaluable and immutable part of our form of government and Western democracies in general. Islam cannot fathom the separation of church and state. Our systems are not reconcilable. If we attempt to impose our values and our system on other civilizations because of our self-righteous belief that we are superior, we will incur hatred and contempt, and radicalize others to resist our interference, likely generating greater terrorism, and making all Westerners targets for terrorists.

— Dave Lefcourt

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Featured Profiles

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) has been an outspoken proponent of militarist U.S. foreign polices and the use of torture, aping the views of her father, Dick Cheney.

United against Nuclear Iran is a pressure group that attacks companies doing business in Iran and disseminates alarmist reports about the country’s nuclear program.

John Bolton, senior fellow at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute and the controversial former ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, has been considered for a variety of positions in the Trump administration, including most recently as national security adviser.

Gina Haspel is a CIA officer who was nominated to head the agency by President Donald Trump in March 2018. She first came to prominence because of accusations that she oversaw the torture of prisoners and later destroyed video evidence of that torture.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), President Trump’s nominee for secretary of state to replace Rex Tillerson, is a “tea party” Republican who previously served as director of the CIA.

Richard Goldberg is a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who served as a foreign policy aide to former Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL).

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has been advocating regime change in Iran since even before 9/11.

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From the Wires

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Hardliners at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies are working overtime to convince the Trump administration to “fix” the nuclear agreement with Iran on the pretext that it will give the US leverage in negotiations with North Korea.

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North Korea and Iran both understand the lesson of Libya: Muammar Qaddafi, a horrifyingly brutal dictator, gave up his nuclear weapons, was eventually ousted from power with large-scale US assistance, and was killed. However, while Iran has a long and bitter history with the United States, North Korea’s outlook is shaped by its near-total destruction by forces led by the United States in the Korean War.

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Europe loathes having to choose between Tehran and Washington, and thus it will spare no efforts to avoid the choice. It might therefore opt for a middle road, trying to please both parties by persuading Trump to retain the accord and Iran to limit missile ballistic programs and regional activities.

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Key members of Trump’s cabinet should recognize the realism behind encouraging a Saudi- and Iranian-backed regional security agreement because the success of such an agreement would not only serve long-term U.S. interests, it could also have a positive impact on numerous conflicts in the Middle East.

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Given that Israel failed to defeat Hezbollah in its war in Lebanon in 2006, it’s difficult to imagine Israel succeeding in a war against both Hezbollah and its newfound regional network of Shiite allies. And at the same time not only is Hezbollah’s missile arsenal a lot larger and more dangerous than it was in 2006, but it has also gained vast experience alongside its allies in offensive operations against IS and similar groups.

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Donald Trump should never be excused of responsibility for tearing down the respect for truth, but a foundation for his flagrant falsifying is the fact that many people would rather be entertained, no matter how false is the source of their entertainment, than to confront truth that is boring or unsatisfying or that requires effort to understand.

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It would be a welcome change in twenty-first-century America if the reckless decision to throw yet more unbelievable sums of money at a Pentagon already vastly overfunded sparked a serious discussion about America’s hyper-militarized foreign policy.