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

Why Iraq? Plus New Profiles on the Clarion Fund, Michael Chertoff, Condoleezza Rice, and More

FEATURED ARTICLE Why Iraq? The State of Debate on the Motives for the War By Daniel Luban Even as the Obama administration ramps up military engagement in Afghanistan, the motives for why the country went to war in Iraq remain clouded in debate. The Bush administration’s discredited public rationale, that the country was threatened by…

FEATURED ARTICLE

Why Iraq!

Why Iraq? The State of Debate on the Motives for the War
By Daniel Luban

Even as the Obama administration ramps up military engagement in Afghanistan, the motives for why the country went to war in Iraq remain clouded in debate. The Bush administration’s discredited public rationale, that the country was threatened by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, was at best only the tip of the iceberg, at worst a cynical attempt to cover up the actual motives for the war. A close inspection of the various arguments suggests that above all, the Iraq war was an extreme manifestation of a recent ideological tendency in U.S. foreign policy, and that the thinking that engendered it may not be fully in the rearview mirror. Read full story.

 

FEATURED PROFILES

Clarion Fund
A little-known group connected to the Israeli right-wing, the Clarion Fund recently released a new documentary called the The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision for America.

John Negroponte
A controversial Reagan-era official who was involved in implementing counterinsurgency policies in Central America, Negroponte served as the first national intelligence director during the George W. Bush administration. Yale recently hired Negroponte to teach a “grand strategy” course.

Condoleezza Rice
The former secretary of state has returned to Stanford, where she was provost before joining the Bush administration, to teach political science and work as a fellow at the hawkish Hoover Institution.

Michael Chertoff
The former head of DHS and a key advocate of the Bush administration’s “war on terror,” Chertoff recently founded a risk management firm and joined the law firm of Covington & Burling.

Jack Kemp (1935-2009)
A former congressman and standout NFL quarterback who was associated with the hawkish wing of the Republican Party, Jack Kemp passed away in early May 2009.

Steven J. Rosen
In early May, the U.S. government dropped its espionage charges against Rosen, a high-profile advocate of hardline U.S. policies in support of Israel who had been accused of passing sensitive U.S. information while working for the high-powered “Israel lobby” group, AIPAC.

 

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

Af-Pak: McChrystal Choice Suggests Special Ops Strikes to Continue
Analysis by Gareth Porter

The man Defense Secretary Robert Gates has selected as the new U.S. commander in Afghanistan is likely to be more interested in targeted killings than in the politically sensitive counterinsurgency tactics that the Obama administration has says it wants to carry out.

AIPAC Conference Pushes for Sanctions on Iran
By Daniel Luban

The annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee provided a stark reminder that although the lobby has come under increasing fire in recent years, it remains a force to be reckoned with.

As Obama Engages, Hawks Soften Rhetoric
By Ali Gharib

Foreign policy hawks speaking at a recent American Enterprise Institute conference revealed a softening in their rhetoric toward Iran and expressed a willingness to engage the country.

Neocon Ideologues Launch New Foreign Policy Group
By Daniel Luban and Jim Lobe

The newly founded Foreign Policy Initiative, led by the same neocon writers who set up the Project for the New American Century, supports a “surge” in Afghanistan and warns of “threats” from countries like Russia and China.

 

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Featured Profiles

Zalmay Khalilzad is Donald Trump’s special representative to the Afghan peace process, having previously served as ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq under George W. Bush.


Robert Joseph played a key role in manipulating U.S. intelligence to support the invasion of Iraq and today is a lobbyist for the MEK.


Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is one of the Senate’s more vocal hawks, and one of the prime vacillators among Republicans between objecting to and supporting Donald Trump.


Elliott Abrams, the Trump administration’s special envoy to Venezuela, is a neoconservative with a long record of hawkish positions and actions, including lying to Congress about the Iran-Contra affair.


Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump second secretary of state, has driven a hawkish foreign policy in Iran and Latin America.


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


Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s first U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is known for her lock-step support for Israel and is widely considered to be a future presidential candidate.


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From the Wires

François Nicoullaud, the former French ambassador to Iran, discusses the ups and downs of Iran-France relations and the new US sanctions.


Effective alliances require that powerful states shoulder a far larger share of the alliance maintenance costs than other states, a premise that Donald Trump rejects.


The new imbroglio over the INF treaty does not mean a revival of the old Cold War practice of nuclear deterrence. However, it does reveal the inability of the West and Russia to find a way to deal with the latter’s inevitable return to the ranks of major powers, a need that was obvious even at the time the USSR collapsed.


As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump appeared to recognize the obvious problem of the revolving door. But as the appointment of Patrick Shanahan, who spent 30 years at Boeing, as the Trump administration’s acting secretary of defense reveals, little has changed. America is indeed great again, if you happen to be one of those lucky enough to be moving back and forth between plum jobs in the Pentagon and the weapons industry.


Domestic troubles, declining popularity, and a decidedly hawkish anti-Iran foreign policy team may combine to make the perfect storm that pushes Donald Trump to pull the United States into a new war in the Middle East.


The same calculus that brought Iran and world powers to make a deal and has led remaining JCPOA signatories to preserve it without the U.S. still holds: the alternatives to this agreement – a race between sanctions and centrifuges that could culminate in Iran obtaining the bomb or being bombed – would be much worse.


With Bolton and Pompeo by his side and Mattis departed, Trump may well go with his gut and attack Iran militarily. He’ll be encouraged in this delusion by Israel and Saudi Arabia. He’ll of course be looking for some way to distract the media and the American public. And he won’t care about the consequences.


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