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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 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.

LETTERS

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Featured Profiles

Bernard Lewis was a renowned historian of Islam and the Middle East who stirred controversy with his often chauvinistic attitude towards the Muslim world and his associations with high-profile neoconservatives and foreign policy hawks.


John Bolton, the controversial former U.S. ambassador to the UN and dyed-in the-wool foreign policy hawk, is President Trump’s National Security Adviser McMaster, reflecting a sharp move to the hawkish extreme by the administration.


Michael Joyce, who passed away in 2006, was once described by neoconservative guru Irving Kristol as the “godfather of modern philanthropy.”


Mike Pompeo, the Trump administration’s second secretary of state, is a long time foreign policy hawk and has led the public charge for an aggressive policy toward Iran.


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.”


Michael Flynn is a former Trump administration National Security Advisor who was forced to step down only weeks on the job because of his controversial contacts with Russian officials before Trump took office.


Since taking office Donald Trump has revealed an erratic and extremely hawkish approach to U.S. foreign affairs, which has been marked by controversial actions like dropping out of the Iran nuclear agreement that have raised tensions across much of the world and threatened relations with key allies.


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From the Wires

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.”


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.


Falsely demonizing all Muslims, their beliefs, and their institutions is exactly the wrong way to make Americans safer, because the more we scare ourselves with imaginary enemies, the harder it will be to find and protect ourselves from real ones.


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.


War with Iran may not be imminent, but neither was war with Iraq in late 2001.


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.


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