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

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The Immigration Reform Caucus is a mostly Republican coalition of House members that has sought to crack down on undocumented immigrants and stem the flow of even legal immigration.

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The Office of Special Plans was a controversial Pentagon policy outfit that was widely accused of providing the George W. Bush administration with inaccurate, skewed intelligence linking Iraq and al-Qaeda in an effort to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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Despite many challenges to its credibility, the work of this Congressional commission continues be cited by hardliners to revive Cold War-era fears of nuclear annihilation and justify aggressive policies toward Iran and North Korea.

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The 1992 draft Defense Planning Guidance (DPG), crafted by then-Defense Department staffers I. Lewis Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, and Zalmay Khalilzad, is widely regarded as an early formulation of the…

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Arguably the most notorious attempt by right-wing figures to challenge the authority of the CIA ("Team A") over intelligence—similar to the effort by the Pentagon’s Office of…

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The Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization, frequently called the Rumsfeld Space Commission or simply the Space Commission, was established in 1999 by…

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The Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, commonly called the Rumsfeld Commission or the Rumsfeld Missile Commission after its chair Donald Rumsfeld, operated from…

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The Office of Iranian Affairs (OIA) was created in early 2006 within the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Near East Affairs, apparently as part of an effort to channel funds to groups that could…

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Congress established the bipartisan U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, or U.S.-China Commission as it is commonly known, in October 2000, as part of the 2001 Defense Authorization…

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About The so-called Foster Panel–after its head, John S. Foster, Jr.–was established at the urging of Sen. Jon Kyl by the fiscal year 1999 Defense Authorization Act to report on the safety and…

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About . The Deterrence Concepts Advisory Panel (DCAP) was established by the Bush administration to oversee production of the president’s Nuclear Posture Review, which is a classified study…

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Jon Lerner is a conservative political strategist and top adviser to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. He was a key figure in the “Never Trump” Campaign, which appears to have led to his being ousted as Vice President Mike Pence’s national security adviser.


Pamela Geller is a controversial anti-Islam activist who has founded several “hate groups” and likes to repeat debunked myths, including about the alleged existence of “no-go” Muslim zones in Europe.


Max Boot, neoconservative military historian at the Council on Foreign Relations, on Trump and Russia: “At every turn Trump is undercutting the ‘get tough on Russia’ message because he just can’t help himself, he just loves Putin too much.”


Although overlooked by President Trump for cabinet post, Gingrich has tried to shape affairs in the administration, including by conspiring with government officials to “purge the State Department of staffers they viewed as insufficiently loyal” to the president.


Former Sen Mark Kirk (R-IL) is an advisor for United Against Nuclear Iran. He is an outspoken advocate for aggressive action against Iran and a fierce defender of right-wing Israeli policies.


A military historian, Kimberly Kagan heads the Institute for the Study of War, where she has promoted the continuation of U.S. war in Afghanistan.


A “non-partisan” policy institute that purports to defend democracies from “militant Islamism,” the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) is an influential base of hawkish advocacy on Middle East policy.


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From the Wires

Other than the cynical political interests in Moscow and Tehran, there is no conceivable rationale for wanting Bashar al-Assad to stay in power. But the simple fact is, he has won the war. And while Donald Trump has reveled in positive press coverage of the recent attacks on the country, it is clear that they were little more than a symbolic act.


The reality is that the Assad regime is winning the Syrian civil war, and this matters far less to U.S. interests than it does to that regime or its allies in Russia and Iran, who see Syria as their strongest and most consistent entrée into the Arab world. Those incontrovertible facts undermine any notion of using U.S. military force as leverage to gain a better deal for the Syrian people.


An effective rhetorical tool to normalize military build-ups is to characterize spending increases “modernization.”


The Pentagon has officially announced that that “long war” against terrorism is drawing to a close — even as many counterinsurgency conflicts  rage across the Greater Middle East — and a new long war has begun, a permanent campaign to contain China and Russia in Eurasia.


Revelations that data-consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used ill-gotten personal information from Facebook for the Trump campaign masks the more scandalous reality that the company is firmly ensconced in the U.S. military-industrial complex. It should come as no surprise then that the scandal has been linked to Erik Prince, co-founder of Blackwater.


As the United States enters the second spring of the Trump era, it’s creeping ever closer to more war. McMaster and Mattis may have written the National Defense Strategy that over-hyped the threats on this planet, but Bolton and Pompeo will have the opportunity to address these inflated threats in the worst way possible: by force of arms.


We meet Donald Trump in the media every hour of every day, which blots out much of the rest of the world and much of what’s meaningful in it.  Such largely unexamined, never-ending coverage of his doings represents a triumph of the first order both for him and for an American cult of personality.


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