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

Election Post-Mortem

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FEATURED PROFILES

Sheldon Adelson

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, an important financial backer of right-wing “pro-Israel” groups in the United States and elsewhere in the world, donated tens of millions of dollars to super PACs supporting the campaigns of numerous Republican candidates, including the Mitt Romney campaign. In every case but one—that of Senator-elect Dean Heller in Nevada—Adelson’s candidate lost.

Rachel Abrams

Neoconservative blogger Rachel Abrams is notorious for her vindictive, hyperbolic rhetoric. After the re-election of President Obama, Abrams directed her invective at fellow Jews in the United States, who voted overwhelming for the president, writing: “We Jews have frequently enjoyed risking our own future in elections … and we’ve successfully done so once again.”

Karl Rove

GOP strategist and super PAC head Karl is renowned for being ruthless in trying to win elections. But after marshaling hundreds of millions of dollars in a failed bid to defeat President Obama and a slate of Democratic legislators—as well as an embarrassing meltdown on Fox News during election night—many observers are wondering whether Rove’s magic has worn off. His effort to explain away the debacle by arguing that Obama has “suppressed the vote” also failed to impress.

American Israel Public Affairs Committee

One of the most influential lobbying groups in Washington, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has been very successful at marshaling bipartisan support for an interventionist U.S. agenda in the Middle East—alongside staunch U.S. support for Israel. Although officially neutral in the 2012 presidential campaign, some observers argued that the group was quietly backing Mitt Romney, in part because of its advocacy of harsher measures against both Iran and Syria. AIPAC and the Romney campaign also shared personal connections: Dan Senor, the Bush spokesperson in Iraq and a key foreign policy adviser to the campaign, is a former AIPAC intern whose sister is the head of the lobby’s Israeli arm.

American Enterprise Institute

Among rightist beltway think tanks, the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute—with its mix of hardline free market advocacy and foreign policy militarism— arguably stood most to gain from a Romney victory. The last Republican occupant of the White House hired some two dozen AEI scholars to serve in high-level posts. Shortly after President Obama was projected to win on election night, AEI’s Michael Barone, who had predicted that Romney would win by a near landslide, penned a subdued commentary, deploring the great divide in the “Two Americas.” “One America listens to Rush Limbaugh,” simplified Barone, “the other to NPR.”

Jennifer Rubin

Jennifer Rubin, a prolific neoconservative blogger for the Washington Post, emerged during the 2012 campaign as an enthusiastic and largely uncritical supporter of the Mitt Romney campaign. “At every opportunity,” wrote the Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf, “Rubin wrote favorably about Romney and his campaign. And she didn't just get things wrong, sometimes absurdly, she always got them wrong in a way that redounded to Team Romney's benefit.


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Former Vice President Dick Cheney was a leading framer of the “global war on terror” and a staunch supporter of aggressive U.S. military action around the world.


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.


Right Web readers will be familiar with Mr. Fleitz, the former CIA officer who once threatened to take “legal action” against Right Web for publicizing reports of controversies he was associated with in the George W. Bush administration. Fleitz recently left his job at the conspiracy-mongering Center for Security Policy to become chief of staff to John Bolton at the National Security Council.


Norm Coleman is chair of the Republican Jewish Coalition and a former senator from Minnesota known for his hawkish views on foreign policy.


Billionaire hedge fund mogul Paul Singer is known for his predatory business practices and support for neoconservative causes.


Keith Kellogg, national security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, is a passionate supporter of Trump’s foreign policy.


Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the largest “pro-Israel” advocacy group in the United States, is known for its zealous Christian Zionism and its growing influence in the Republican Party.


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From the Wires

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The Trumpian new regional order in the Middle East is predicated on strongman rule, disregard for human rights, Sunni primacy over Iran and other Shia centers of power, continued military support for pro-American warring parties regardless of the unlawfulness of such wars, and Israeli hegemony.


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A comparison of U.S. nuclear diplomacy with Iran and the current version with North Korea puts the former in a good light and makes the latter look disappointing. Those with an interest in curbing the dangers of proliferating nuclear weapons should hope that the North Korea picture will improve with time. But whether it does or not, the process has put into perspective how badly mistaken was the Trump administration’s trashing of the Iran nuclear agreement.


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Numerous high profile Trump administration officials maintain close ties with anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists. In today’s America, disparaging Islam is acceptable in ways that disparaging other religions is not. Given the continuing well-funded campaigns by the Islamophobes and continuing support from their enablers in the Trump administration, starting with the president himself, it seems unlikely that this trend will be reversed any time soon.


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The Trump administration’s nuclear proliferation policy is now in meltdown, one which no threat of “steely resolve”—in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s words—will easily contain. It is hemorrhaging in part because the administration has yet to forge a strategy that consistently and credibly signals a feasible bottom line that includes living with—rather than destroying—regimes it despises or fears. Political leaders on both sides of the aisle must call for a new model that has some reasonable hope of restraining America’s foes and bringing security to its Middle East allies.


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Congressional midterm elections are just months away and another presidential election already looms. Who will be the political leader with the courage and presence of mind to declare: “Enough! Stop this madness!” Man or woman, straight or gay, black, brown, or white, that person will deserve the nation’s gratitude and the support of the electorate. Until that occurs, however, the American penchant for war will stretch on toward infinity.


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To bolster the president’s arguments for cutting back immigration, the administration recently released a fear-mongering report about future terrorist threats. Among the potential threats: a Sudanese national who, in 2016, “pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to ISIS”; an Uzbek who “posted a threat on an Uzbek-language website to kill President Obama in an act of martyrdom on behalf of ISIS”; a Syrian who, in a plea agreement, “admitted that he knew a member of ISIS and that while in Syria he participated in a battle against the Syrian regime, including shooting at others, in coordination with Al Nusrah,” an al-Qaeda offshoot.


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The recent appointment of purveyors of anti-Muslim rhetoric to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom exposes the cynical approach Republicans have taken in promoting religious freedom.


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