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

The Rise of the Vulcans, Part II

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FEATURED ARTICLES

Rise of the Vulcans Redux

By Peter Certo

The purported “end of the neocon consensus” has hardly meant an end to hawkishness in the GOP fold. With the Republican candidates virtually all gunning for Iran, backing right-wing Israeli policies toward the Palestinians, and stabling a passel of neoconservative advisers (Ron Paul excepted), voters have plenty of clues about what the foreign policy of a new GOP administration would look like. And while some of the candidates have expressed wariness with neoconservative notions of armed democracy promotion, all the signs indicate that if a Republican wins next year, we will likely be in for a bit of George W. redux. Read article.

Turning the Tide on the Pro-Israel Debate

By Michael Flynn & Peter Certo

With key members of the "Israel Lobby" acknowledging the importance of providing a broader space to Israel’s critics, the indelibly beltway Politico recognizing the influence of such critics in a full-length feature, and core Democratic organizations showing an increasing sensitivity to inappropriate uses of the anti-Semite charge, is the United States finally willing to undertake a real debate on what are the best U.S. interests in the Middle East? Read article.

FEATURED PROFILES

Center for Security Policy

Long active in the promotion of neoconservative foreign policies, the Center for Security Policy, led by Frank Gaffney, has also distinguished itself as a banner member of the “Islamophobia network.”

Clarion Fund

A controversial film distribution company, the Clarion Fund has released several films that attack “Radical Islam” while promoting views on its website that call into question the trustworthiness of all Muslims.

Endowment for Middle East Truth

An “unabashedly pro-Israel and pro-American think tank,” EMET promotes the work of “pro-Israel” hawks in Washington, stokes fear of Islam and Muslims, and advocates a militarist U.S. posture toward the Middle East.

Block, Josh

Block, a former AIPAC spokesperson who defines himself as a progressive “pro-Israel” Democrat, has collaborated with neoconservatives and other hardliners to marginalize critics of Israel in the Democratic Party, in part by attempting to smear them as “anti-Semitic.”

Institute for the Study of War

Chaired by Liz Cheney and led by Kimberly Kagan, the ISW promotes hawkish stances on U.S counterinsurgency operations.

Kagan, Kimberly

A military historian, Kimberly Kagan heads the Institute for the Study of War, where she promotes the continuation of U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Keane, Jack

A decorated former general credited with helping conceive the Iraq “surge,” Jack Keane has used his military experience to promote long-term U.S. engagements abroad—and to turn a profit in the private sector.

UN Watch

The “nonpartisan” UN Watch, which devotes most of its energy to lambasting UN criticism of Israel, has counted on the financial support of the American Jewish Committee, the Becker Foundation, and a handful of other private donors in recent years.

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

Mass Tragedy Feared as Closure of MEK Camp Looms

U.S. officials fear that unless the MEK’s leaders approve of vacating their camp north of Baghdad, the residents could face violent raids from Iraqi forces or commit mass suicide.

Foreign Aid Spared Massive Cuts in 2012

Although Congress spared foreign aid the massive cuts favored by the GOP-led House, aid spending continues to pale beside Pentagon appropriations.

Iraq Intervention Ends with Scarcely a Whimper

The United States marked the formal end of its unpopular eight-and-a-half year war in Iraq with little fanfare.

Military Option Recedes amid Tug-of-War over Iran Policy

The Obama administration hasn’t shied away from confrontation with Iran, but some administration officials are resisting pressure from Congress to escalate the situation further.

Civil War Looms as Syrian Protests Grow Increasingly Complex

As the West ramps up its engagement with Syrian opposition figures, the behavior of armed opposition groups inside the country increasingly resembles that of the Assad regime.

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Featured Profiles

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and two-time failed presidential candidate, is a foreign policy hawk with neoconservative leanings who appears set to become the next senator from Utah.


Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman and longtime “superlobbyist” who has supported numerous neoconservative advocacy campaigns, has become embroiled in the special prosecutor’s investigation into the Donald Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.


Jon Lerner is a conservative political strategist and top adviser to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. He was a key figure in the “Never Trump” Campaign, which appears to have led to his being ousted as Vice President Mike Pence’s national security adviser.


Pamela Geller is a controversial anti-Islam activist who has founded several “hate groups” and likes to repeat debunked myths, including about the alleged existence of “no-go” Muslim zones in Europe.


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.”


Although overlooked by President Trump for cabinet post, Gingrich has tried to shape affairs in the administration, including by conspiring with government officials to “purge the State Department of staffers they viewed as insufficiently loyal” to the president.


Former Sen Mark Kirk (R-IL) is an advisor for United Against Nuclear Iran. He is an outspoken advocate for aggressive action against Iran and a fierce defender of right-wing Israeli policies.


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From the Wires

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Other than the cynical political interests in Moscow and Tehran, there is no conceivable rationale for wanting Bashar al-Assad to stay in power. But the simple fact is, he has won the war. And while Donald Trump has reveled in positive press coverage of the recent attacks on the country, it is clear that they were little more than a symbolic act.


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The reality is that the Assad regime is winning the Syrian civil war, and this matters far less to U.S. interests than it does to that regime or its allies in Russia and Iran, who see Syria as their strongest and most consistent entrée into the Arab world. Those incontrovertible facts undermine any notion of using U.S. military force as leverage to gain a better deal for the Syrian people.


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An effective rhetorical tool to normalize military build-ups is to characterize spending increases “modernization.”


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The Pentagon has officially announced that that “long war” against terrorism is drawing to a close — even as many counterinsurgency conflicts  rage across the Greater Middle East — and a new long war has begun, a permanent campaign to contain China and Russia in Eurasia.


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Revelations that data-consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used ill-gotten personal information from Facebook for the Trump campaign masks the more scandalous reality that the company is firmly ensconced in the U.S. military-industrial complex. It should come as no surprise then that the scandal has been linked to Erik Prince, co-founder of Blackwater.


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As the United States enters the second spring of the Trump era, it’s creeping ever closer to more war. McMaster and Mattis may have written the National Defense Strategy that over-hyped the threats on this planet, but Bolton and Pompeo will have the opportunity to address these inflated threats in the worst way possible: by force of arms.


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We meet Donald Trump in the media every hour of every day, which blots out much of the rest of the world and much of what’s meaningful in it.  Such largely unexamined, never-ending coverage of his doings represents a triumph of the first order both for him and for an American cult of personality.


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