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

Counterproductive Syria Policy; The Right on Georgia; Plus Profiles on the International Republican

FEATURED ARTICLE At A Crossroads with Syria Interview by Daniel Luban Middle East expert Joshua Landis describes U.S. policy on Syria as the “fulcrum between the remaining neoconservative influence in Washington and the rising tide of realists.” In an interview with Right Web, he talks about how opportunities for piloting peace in the Middle East…

FEATURED ARTICLE

At A Crossroads with Syria
Interview by Daniel Luban

Middle East expert Joshua Landis describes U.S. policy on Syria as the “fulcrum between the remaining neoconservative influence in Washington and the rising tide of realists.” In an interview with Right Web, he talks about how opportunities for piloting peace in the Middle East are slipping by as the Bush administration watches from the sidelines, how the White House’s “stubborn, counterproductive” policy on Syria is endangering U.S. soldiers in Iraq, how the neoconservatives have “failed miserably”—and what the best way forward is. Read full story.

FEATURED PROFILES

International Republican Institute
A key democracy-promotion organization connected to the Republican Party, the IRI—on whose board sit many lobbyists and conservative political advisers—has been involved in controversial interventions abroad.

Council for National Policy
This secretive group of influential right-wing figures has been wooed by Republican politicians for nearly three decades, including recently by Sen. John McCain.

American Enterprise Institute
Several so-called experts featured at a recent AEI event took a page from the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain in arguing that the “surge” has accomplished all its goals—and thus the United States needs to stay in Iraq.

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

U.S. Debates Russia’s Ambitions
Analysis by Daniel Luban (Inter Press Service)

In the recent conflict between Georgia and Russia, U.S. conservatives hear dangerous echoes of World War II. Read full story.

Success of Attack on Iran’s Nuclear Program Doubtful
By Jim Lobe (Inter Press Service)

Israeli or U.S. military action against Iran is unlikely to eliminate or seriously set back Tehran’s nuclear program, according to two new reports. Read full story.

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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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