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

Attack of the Surrogates

FEATURED PROFILES Richard Williamson Richard Williamson, a former UN ambassador and undersecretary of state, has been an aggressive and sometimes controversial surrogate for the Mitt Romney campaign. He has argued that as president, Romney would put military force on “on the table” to prevent an Iranian “nuclear breakout,” that President Obama is to blame for…

FEATURED PROFILES

Richard Williamson

Richard Williamson, a former UN ambassador and undersecretary of state, has been an aggressive and sometimes controversial surrogate for the Mitt Romney campaign. He has argued that as president, Romney would put military force on “on the table” to prevent an Iranian “nuclear breakout,” that President Obama is to blame for declining “respect” for the United States abroad, and that the administration is effectively to blame for the attacks on U.S. embassies that erupted in reaction to the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims.

Farid Ghadry

Farid Ghadry, a Syrian-American defense contractor turned activist, is the founder of the “Reform Party of Syria,” a Washington-based regime change lobby made up primarily of Syrian emigrants based in Europe and the United States. Because of his efforts to promote U.S.-led regime change in Syria—which reportedly entailed collaborating with various neoconservative officials in the George W. Bush administration—Ghadry has been characterized as a Syrian Ahmed Chalabi. He regularly inveighs against the Syrian regime and its “appeasers” in the Obama administration on his personal blog.

Max Boot

Max Boot, a vocal proponent of U.S. military intervention abroad based at the Council on Foreign Relations, has served an adviser on defense policy to the Mitt Romney presidential campaign. He has endorsed Romney’s claim that Palestinian “culture”—rather than the Israeli occupation—is responsible for underdevelopment in the Palestinian territories. And although he concedes that a U.S. or Israeli bombing campaign on Iran could at best delay the alleged Iranian nuclear weapons program, he nonetheless argues that war is the “only credible option” for dealing with the country.

Dan Senor

Dan Senor, a venture capitalist and Bush administration spokesman during the Iraq War, is a key foreign policy adviser and spokesman for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Senor appears to have played a pivotal role in shifting the Romney camp’s foreign policy rhetoric to the neoconservative right. In an April 2012 statement he was later forced to walk back, Senor seemingly endorsed a unilateral Israeli strike on Iran on behalf of the Romney campaign. More recently, he attempted to help the campaign capitalize on violent protests at U.S. embassies in the Middle East, even though Romney himself had already been roundly criticized for politicizing the deaths of U.S. diplomats.

John Bolton

John Bolton, the notorious hardliner who served as President Bush’s UN ambassador, has been an attack dog for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, arguing—among other things—that President Obama is to blame for the assaults on U.S. embassies sparked by the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims. Ignoring the administration’s aggressive tactics to root out Al Qaeda members and other radical forces in the Greater Middle East, Bolton told Fox News that the embassy attacks were in “large measure caused by the weakness and fecklessness of the Obama administration's policies.”

MILITARIST MONITOR

Dogwhistling Past Libya

The Mitt Romney campaign’s effort to politically capitalize on the attacks on U.S. embassies spurred by the film Innocence of Muslims is the latest in a series of gaffs that raise questions about the former governor’s ability to adequately manage U.S. foreign affairs.

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

Amid Tension in Islamic World, U.N. Chief Pleads for Harmony

Against a backdrop of international conflict and turmoil in the Middle East, UN officials are pleading for new investments in peacebuilding, a rollback in military spending, and a more democratic United Nations.

U.S., Israeli Attacks Unlikely to Destroy Iran’s Nuclear Programme

A new report by a bipartisan cast of former military and intelligence officials argues authoritatively that a U.S. or Israeli strike on alleged Iranian nuclear facilities—to say nothing of a full-fledged campaign for regime change—would be counterproductive and dangerous.

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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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