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

Who are the “Eurocons”? AND Obama’s Mixed Message on Afghanistan

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Who Are the “Eurocons”?

By Tom Griffin

Neoconservatism is generally regarded as a distinctively American worldview, which is characterized in part by a deep-seated belief in the moral righteousness of U.S. military force. Europeans, however, are increasingly using the term in their own foreign policy debates. These “Eurocons,” who can be found across the European political spectrum, see the continent embroiled in a Manichean struggle between western democracy and Islamist totalitarianism. However, while the neocons and their European cousins have some shared convictions, there are also many differences, and the Europeans themselves often disagree on many issues. So who exactly are the Eurocons? Read full story.


Obama’s Mixed Message on Afghanistan

By Gareth Porter

Despite President Obama’s decision to surge troops in Afghanistan, he recently rejected the critical link needed to justify such a deployment—the allegedly indissoluble link between the Taliban insurgency and al Qaeda. Read full story.



Michael Ledeen
In his obsession with getting the U.S. to force regime change in Tehran, Ledeen argues that the real enemy in Afghanistan is Iran.

Center for Security Policy
Parroting rightwing media talking points, CSP recently questioned whether the Obama administration was really on the side of the United States.

Committee on the Present Danger
At a recent CPD roundtable promoting U.S. missile defenses, participants were presented a video pushing discredited threats, like terrorists employing nuclear-armed ballistic missiles or knocking out the nation’s infrastructure using EMP weapons.

Michael Rubin
This AEI scholar argues the U.S. should consider assassinating Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, claims Obama is eroding human rights, and has been accused of providing misleading translations of quotes from Iranian officials to push his anti-Iran agenda.

Sheldon Adelson
An important financial backer of rightist causes in Israel and the United States, in the last two years Adelson has seen his personal fortune plummet by $19 billion.

James Woolsey
Woolsey, a former CIA director who calls the “war on terror” the “Long War,” lambastes the Obama administration’s efforts to halt Israeli settlement growth in the West Bank as tantamount to accepting that Palestinians will kill Jews.

David Frum
Frum, a conservative writer based at the American Enterprise Institute who worked as a speechwriter in the Bush White House, recently rebranded his website aimed at building a new conservative majority “FrumForum.”

Douglas Feith
A former Pentagon official whose office generated information that was used to push the United States toward war with Iraq, Feith is now at the neoconservative Hudson Institute, where he advocates hawkish strategic weapons policies.

Max Boot
Boot, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a prolific op-ed writer, recently suggested that President Obama ask George W. Bush to go to Afghanistan to give President Hamid Karzai “some pointers on how to be a leader in wartime.”

Security Solutions International
Criticized for offering trainings to law enforcement agencies that promote prejudicial profiling of Muslims, SSI hypes the threat of “radical Islam” to market its anti-terror products in the United States and Israel.

UN Watch
Often accused of excessive bias toward Israel, the Geneva-based UN Watch has used a new UN report on war crimes during Israel’s 2008 offensive in Gaza as fodder for its condemnations of the Human Rights Council.

Philip Anschutz
The new owner of neocon mouthpiece the Weekly Standard is an Evangelical business tycoon whose media holdings provide a powerful voice for his rightwing views on taxes, national security, and family values.

John Bolton
The former UN ambassador notorious for his abrasive and arrogant efforts to free U.S. military power from international constraint recently suggested that Israel should consider a nuclear attack against Iran.



Public Most Unilateralist in 40 Years, Poll Finds
A recent poll suggests that the U.S. public has become more inward-looking and unilateralist than at any time since the early stages of the Vietnam War.

Obama Embraces Escalation in Afghanistan
In a highly anticipated speech, President Barack Obama announced the dispatch of 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan over the next seven months, while promising to begin withdrawing them within a year.

A New Counterinsurgency Front?
A think tank close to the Obama administration is urging Washington to ramp up U.S. aid and involvement in strife-torn Yemen.

Obama’s Mideast Mess
President Obama’s decision on a host of problems spanning the Greater Middle East could well determine his foreign policy legacy.

Realities Collide at Halifax “War Conference”
The inaugural Halifax International Security Forum, cosponsored by the Canadian government and the German Marshall Fund, highlighted Canada’s more militant role in NATO.

Right Seizes on Ft. Hood Killings as “Islamic Terror”
A chorus of hawks is using the killings at Ft. Hood to revive Islamophobic rhetoric. 

Allies Losing Hope for Major Changes in U.S. Foreign Policy
Obama appears to be dashing hopes both in the Arab world and in Latin America that he can bring major changes in U.S. policy toward their respective regions.

A Thaw in U.S.-Syrian Relations?
Since the Obama administration announced several months ago that it would appoint an ambassador to Syria, efforts to strengthen diplomatic relations between the countries have stalled.

Setbacks in U.S. Outreach to Muslim World
Recent setbacks from Palestine to Pakistan threaten to reverse whatever gains President Obama has made in restoring Washington’s badly battered image and influence among Muslims.

Sen. Kerry Warns Against Afghan Build-Up
An influential Democratic senator has warned against deploying tens of thousands more U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

A “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace” Group Counters the Right
J Street, the relatively new “pro-Israel, pro-Peace” advocacy group, exceeded expectations for its inaugural conference here in Washington with over 1,500 participants attending the four-day event.

“Pro-Israel” Group’s Money Trail Veers Hard Right
StandWithUs, a rightist-leaning “pro-Israel” U.S. advocacy group determined to prove that moderate groups like J Street are working to undermine Israeli security, receives funding from donors accused of supporting anti-Muslim propaganda.



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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.

John Hannah, Dick Cheney’s national security adviser, is now a leading advocate for regime change in both Iran and Syria based at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Dennis Ross, a U.S. diplomat who served in the Obama administration, is a fellow at the “pro-Israel” Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Sheldon Adelson is a wealthy casino magnate known for his large, influential political contributions, his efforts to impact U.S. foreign policy discourse particularly among Republicans, and his ownership and ideological direction of media outlets.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is known for his hawkish views on foreign policy and close ties to prominent neoconservatives.

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From the Wires

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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.

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President Trump and his advisers ought to ask themselves whether it is in the U.S. interest to run the risk of Iranian withdrawal from the nuclear agreement. Seen from the other side of the Atlantic, running that risk looks dumb.