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

Amitai Etzioni and War with Iran; the Emergency Committee for Israel; and more

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FEATURED ARTICLE

Muscular Nonrationality: Amitai Etzioni and War with Iran

By Marsha B. Cohen

Once described as the “Everything Expert” by Time magazine, Amitai Etzioni, the renowned social scientist and public intellectual based at George Washington University, has in recent years turned his attention to U.S. foreign affairs, offering at times contradictory views on how to handle perceived threats from North Korean, Russia, and elsewhere. Etzioni’s latest concern is Iran, which he claims will be impervious to nuclear deterrence, and thus must be bombed. Mixing his controversial views on “nonrational” state behavior, Israeli security, and “muscular morality,” Etzioni’s discourse has found favor among Israel’s right-wing. But does it make any sense? Read full article.

SPECIAL PROFILE SECTION: The Emergency Committee for Israel

Launched in July 2010 by a familiar passel of neoconservatives and militarist “pro-Israel” activists, the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) has the potential to push the state of the debate over U.S.-Israel relations far to the right. It’s opening salvo: a TV ad accusing Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) of supporting terrorists. Here’s a closer look at the ECI team:

Emergency Committee for Israel
The latest neocon pressure group aimed at pushing the Likud Party line in U.S. Middle East policy, ECI claims to “provide citizens with the facts they need to be sure that their public officials are supporting a strong US-Israel relationship.”

Rachel Abrams
Rachel Abrams, the scion of a tight-knit neoconservative clan and outspoken supporter of militarist “pro-Israel” policies, recently drew attention when she became a director of the new inside-the-beltway advocacy group called the Emergency Committee for Israel.

Gary Bauer
The Christian Zionist leader and former presidential candidate has been busy founding militarist pressure groups that attack President Obama and other Democrats for allegedly being soft on terrorism and not sufficiently supportive of Israel.

William Kristol
Perhaps inspired by his success using pressure groups to help push the country to war in Iraq, Kristol has been involved in the establishment of a passel of new neocon groups in the past year, including Keep America Safe, the Emergency Committee for Israel, and the Foreign Policy Initiative.

Noah Pollak
Apparently a rising star in the neocon firmament, Pollak serves as ECI’s executive director and has written for Commentary magazine and reportedly served as an adviser to the Israeli Defense Forces.

Michael Goldfarb
The former Weekly Standard editor recently added to his lengthy resume of support for militarist “pro-Israel” groups when he became “advisor” to the Emergency Committee for Israel.

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

Israel’s Next War Could Be Lebanon: Analyst
One high-profile U.S. observer thinks Israel might initiate hostilities with Hezbollah as a possible catalyst to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.

“Spy” Told CIA Iran Has No Nuclear Bomb Program
Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri, who recently “redefected” to Iran after claiming to have been abducted by the United States, allegedly told the CIA that Tehran does not have an active nuclear weapons program.

At War with Iran by Early 2011?
A typical clutch of war hawks appears to be preparing the ground for a major new campaign to rally public opinion behind military action against Iran.

CNN’s Mideast problem
CNN’s firing last week of its Mideast editor because of a Twitter post in which she expressed sadness over the death of a Lebanese cleric has set off a firestorm of debate about CNN’s fairness in reporting on the region.

Whither Netanyahu-Obama?
Last week’s diplomatic dance between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama did little more than to give the Israeli government more time to avoid making the hard decisions needed to achieve peace with the Palestinians.

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From the Wires

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The contradictions in Donald Trump’s foreign policy create opportunities for both rivals and long-standing (if irritated) US allies to challenge American influence. But Trump’s immediate priority is political survival, and his actions in the international arena are of little concern to his domestic supporters.


While the notion that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic is decades old, it has been bolstered in recent years, by the campaign to add to the definition of anti-Semitism any criticism that singles Israel out and doesn’t apply the same standard to other countries. The bottom line is that this entire effort is designed not to combat anti-Semitism but to silence criticism. 


Short-term thinking, expedience, and a lack of strategic caution has led Washington to train, fund, and support group after group that have turned their guns on American soldiers and civilians.


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.


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