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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 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

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.


Laurence Silberman, a senior justice on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was a mentor to controversial Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and has been a vocal supporter of right-wing foreign and domestic agendas, including the campaign to support the invasion of Iraq.


The People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, advocates regime change in Iran and has strong connections with a wide range of top political figures in the U.S.


Haim Saban is a media mogul and major donor to the Democratic Party known for his hardline stance on Israel and opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.


Eli Lake is a columnist for Bloomberg View who has a lengthy record of advocating for aggressive U.S. foreign policies towards the Middle East.


Brian Hook is the director of policy planning and senior policy advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and is the head of the Iran Action Group.


Josh Rogin is a journalist known for his support for neoconservative policies and views.


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From the Wires

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.


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.”


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