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

China, the new Mideast power; Profiles on Kristol, Abdelnour, Gaffney, AIPAC, and more.

FEATURED ARTICLE

China and America Jostle in the Middle East
By Richard Javad Heydarian

China is rapidly expanding its influence in the Middle East. Sidelined during the Cold War, Beijing now has both the economic wherewithal and the military muscle to be a force to reckon with in the region. The country is busy deepening its ties with regional powers, including many of America’s Arab allies as well as its regional foes, and challenging U.S.-Israeli dominance. What impact could this have on efforts to forge Middle East peace? And could the region become a battleground for a 21st century conflict between a rising China and a stagnant United States? Read full article.

 

FEATURED PROFILES

Ziad Abdelnour

A Lebanese-American investment banker closely tied to militarist advocacy groups, Abdelnour wants the United States or Israel to “annihilate” Hezbollah.

William Kristol

The Weekly Standard editor and Fox News pundit, Kristol has been busy since the election of Barack Obama supporting a string of new pressure groups aimed at promoting the same neoconservative agenda that helped shaped George W. Bush’s “war on terror.”

American Israeli Public Affairs Committee

AIPAC, “America’s pro-Israel lobby,” has been a major backer of sanctions legislation that some observers argue will hurt the Obama administration’s attempts to curtail Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Frank Gaffney

Gaffney thinks that the Obama administration’s new logo for the Missile Defense Agency, which features a crescent-like shape, fits a “worrying pattern of official U.S. submission to Islam and the theo-political-legal program the latter’s authorities call Shariah.”

U.S. Committee for a Free Lebanon

Since the election of President Obama, this neocon-aligned advocacy group has endeavored to paint itself as a centrist organization, “just the ultimate lobbyists and powerbrokers for a Free and Democratic Lebanon.”

Patrick Clawson

In a recent paper for the “pro-Israel” WINEP, Clawson argues for cautious measures in approaching Iranian factions about that country’s nuclear program.

 

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

IRAN: U.S. Sanctions versus UN Sanctions

Efforts by Congress to pass sanctions on Iran could jeopardize efforts by the Obama administration to organize multilateral sanctions through the UN or negotiate a diplomatic solution with Tehran.

Failed Bomb Plot Tests U.S.-Pakistan Ties

The failed Times Square bombing attempt has highlighted the challenges facing the United States in trying to pressure Pakistan on anti-terror efforts.

The Israeli Exception 

North Korea and Israel have a lot in common, but partly as a result of U.S. policy toward them, one country is an official rogue while the other only plays one on Arab TV.

Whither the Proximity Talks? 

U.S.-backed proximity talks between the Israelis and Palestinians are scheduled to begin, just as a growing alignment of international sympathy for the Palestinian perspective of the conflict has started to emerge.

Iran Sanctions Push 

As midterm elections approach, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are eager to demonstrate their strong support for Israel, in part by arguing for “crippling” sanctions against Tehran.

 

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From the Wires

The West has dominated the post-war narrative with its doctrine of liberal values, arguing that not only were they right in themselves but that economic success itself depended on their application. Two developments have challenged those claims. The first was the West’s own betrayal of its principles: on too many occasions the self interest of the powerful, and disdain for the victims of collateral damage, has showed through. The second dates from more recently: the growth of Chinese capitalism owes nothing to a democratic system of government, let alone liberal values.


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Division in the ranks of the conservative movement is a critical sign that a war with Iran isn’t inevitable.


Donald Trump stole the headlines, but the declaration from the recent NATO summit suggests the odds of an unnecessary conflict are rising. Instead of inviting a dialogue, the document boasts that the Alliance has “suspended all practical civilian and military cooperation between NATO and Russia.” The fact is, NATO was a child of the Cold War, when the West believed that the Soviets were a threat. But Russia today is not the Soviet Union, and there’s no way Moscow would be stupid enough to attack a superior military force.


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Donald Trump was one of the many bets the Russians routinely place, recognizing that while most such bets will never pay off a few will, often in unpredictable ways. Trump’s actions since taking office provide the strongest evidence that this one bet is paying off handsomely for the Russians. Putin could hardly have made the script for Trump’s conduct at the recent NATO meeting any more to his liking—and any better designed to foment division and distrust within the Western alliance—than the way Trump actually behaved.


With President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talking openly about a possible “escalation between us and the Iranians,” there is a real risk that some combination of the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia could initiate a war with Iran. If there’s one lesson to be learned from U.S. wars since 9/11, it’s “don’t start another one.”


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