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

Washington Debates Syria | Gingrich Repents

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Major U.S. Debate Over Wisdom of Syria Attack
By Jim Lobe
Recent allegations that Bashar al-Assad’s forces used chemical weapons have bolstered the standing of Washington’s Syria hawks, even as experts warn that any kind of military intervention would have serious repercussions.

Obama Should “Resist the Call” to Intervene in Syria
By Robert E. Hunter

A former U.S. ambassador to NATO warns President Obama to avoid the temptation to intervene militarily in Syria and advises him to "place his bet on vigorous and unrelenting diplomacy for a viable post-Assad Syria."


Featured Profiles

Newt Gingrich

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich—a vocal proponent of the idea that the United States faces an existential threat from “Islamofascists”—surprised many observers recently when he suggested that he "should have known better" about supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, categorically ruled out supporting U.S. intervention in Syria, and praised Tea Party favorites Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz for "raising the right questions" about U.S. foreign policy. Has the one-time neoconservative fellow traveler turned neo-isolationist?

Robert P. George

Robert P. George is a conservative Catholic writer and activist who has been called his generation's Richard John Neuhaus for his efforts to unite conservative Catholics and evangelicals into a cohesive political movement. George is well known for his arguments that "natural law" prohibits abortion and same-sex marriage, as well as for arguing that just war theory made the Iraq War not only permissible but "required." Although he has accused the Obama administration of waging a "massive assault on religious liberty," he recently accepted the chairmanship of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Groundswell

Many conservative activists cried foul after the 2010 discovery of JournoList, a listserv where well-known moderate-to-progressive reporters and wonks discussed politics and current events. But now Mother Jones has reported the existence of Groundswell, which one observer describes as "a B-list of extreme foreign policy hawks, social conservatives, anti-immigration activists, and voter ID proponents" dedicated to sharpening right-wing talking points across a variety of issues—in other words, "a weird parody of … what [conservatives] imagined JournoList to be." Participants in the group include the spouse of a Supreme Court Justice, at least two former members of Congress, and a staffer to Sen. Ted Cruz, as well as outspoken foreign policy hawks like John Bolton and Frank Gaffney.

Elliott Broidy

Elliott Broidy is an Israeli-American investor and philanthropist who has been active on the boards and advisory councils of various philanthropic organizations and right-wing pressure groups, including the Republican Jewish Coalition. In early 2013, Broidy helped found the Bipartisan Coalition for American Security, an advocacy group co-chaired by former Sen. Joe Lieberman that promotes a robust U.S. military budget, corporate-friendly free-trade policies, and a hawkish U.S. posture toward Iran and other purported threats to the United States. In 2009, Broidy pled guilty to bribing New York State pension officials in an effort to secure a $250-million contract for his former company, Markstone Capital.

Institute on Religion and Public Life

The Institute on Religion and Public Life publishes First Things magazine, a journal of contemporary religious right thought. Founded by the late Richard John Neuhaus—a "theocon" who blended conservative religious views with hawkish foreign policy advocacy—IRPL aims "to advance a religiously informed public policy for the ordering of society." Although First Things tends to focus on cultural and theological debates, its authors helped promote the invasion of Iraq, defended the war in Afghanistan, and criticized pacifist Christianity as "morally perverse" and "eschatological madness."

Jennifer Rubin

Jennifer Rubin, a neoconservative blogger for the Washington Post, has attracted many critics for her confrontational writing style and frequent employment of right-wing talking points. Now, even the Post’s former ombudsman has joined the fray. “Fire Jennifer Rubin,” he recently wrote in an open letter to new Post owner Jeff Bezos. “She doesn’t travel within a hundred miles of Post standards. She parrots and peddles every silly right-wing theory to come down the pike in transparent attempts to get Web hits.” Her columns, he concluded, “at best are political pornography; they get a quick but sure rise out of the right, but you feel bad afterward.”

Michael Rubin

A skeptic of Islamist democratic movements, American Enterprise Institute fellow Michael Rubin has shown particular hostility to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. A veteran of the Bush-era Pentagon office that provided faulty intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war, Rubin welcomed the recent coup that toppled Egypt's democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood government, writing that "If democracy is the goal, then the United States should celebrate Egypt’s coup." A month later, even after military crackdowns had killed hundreds of unarmed Islamist protesters, Rubin was still insisting that "our side is with" the coup government and maintained that Washington should continue to fund Egypt's military.


From the Wires

Washington’s Worries Grow Over Saudi Ties

Saudi Arabia, traditionally the linchpin of U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf, has increasingly distanced itself from Washington's dictates, seeking an outside understanding with Russia over Syria and encouraging Egypt's crackdown on supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

U.S., UK, France Seek Wider U.N. Support for Syria Probe

Over the objections of Russia and China, the United States, the UK, and France have been circulating a letter among UN member states pushing for a wider investigation into the Assad regime's alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The American Right’s Holy War in Egypt

The neoconservative split over Egypt may not be symptomatic of what’s happening among other elements of the U.S. right, where a number of commentators have characterized the unrest in sectarian terms, arguing that the bloody military crackdown on Islamist protesters is a defense of Egypt's Christians.

U.S. Arms Industry Would Lose Big from Egypt Aid Cut-Off

Most of the $1.3 billion in annual U.S. "aid" to Egypt goes directly to U.S.-based military contractors.

U.S. Condemns Military Crackdown in Egypt but No Aid Cut-off

Although it harshly condemned Egypt's horrific crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters, Washington has indicated that it will continue to finance the Egyptian military.

While Officials Talk, Israelis Build

Illegal settlement growth continues in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem even as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators meet to discuss the division of land for a potential Palestinian state.


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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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