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

Is Obama the second coming of de Gaulle? Profiles on the Center for a New American Security, Dan Sen

FEATURED ARTICLE Waiting for Obama By Leon Hadar Some Israelis fear that Barack Obama is the second coming of Charles de Gaulle–a leader of a powerful global patron who is willing to turn his back on the Jewish state if it goes to war with Arab neighbors. Thus far, however, the Obama administration has merely…

FEATURED ARTICLE

Waiting for Obama
By Leon Hadar

Some Israelis fear that Barack Obama is the second coming of Charles de Gaulle–a leader of a powerful global patron who is willing to turn his back on the Jewish state if it goes to war with Arab neighbors. Thus far, however, the Obama administration has merely repeated long-held U.S. policy goals in the region, albeit ones that contrast sharply with the neoconservative-tendencies of the Bush presidency. As Middle East observers wait for Obama to launch his Middle East peace initiative in the coming months, they wonder, can the president fill the political vacuum in Israel and Palestine and start pressing the two sides to consider making painful compromises. Read full story.

 

FEATURED PROFILES

Center for a New American Security
The go-to security policy think tank for the Obama administration, the Center for a New American Security is staffed with a host counterintelligence enthusiasts, some of whom seem right at home working closely with neoconservatives.  

Dan Senor
The former spokesman for the coalition authority in Iraq, Senor is the cofounder of the neoconservative-led Foreign Policy Initiative, where he alternatively applauds the Obama administration’s hard line in Afghanistan and bemoans its “weakness” on Iran.  

Dennis Ross
It remains unclear whether Dennis Ross’s new post in the National Security Council will increase or diminish his impact on Mideast policymaking.

Paul Wolfowitz
The former Pentagon number two and ex-head of the World Bank added his voice to the chorus of hardliners denouncing President Obama’s “weakness” in confronting the election crisis in Iran.

American Conservative Union
A core member of the traditional Right, the ACU has helped drive the Republican Party further right since the election of President Obama.

David Addington
Dick Cheney’s right-hand man on everything from evading congressional oversight of “war on terror” policies to authorizing the use of torture, Addington is one of several Bush lawyers who has had trouble finding work since leaving government service.

 

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Behind Detainee Release, a U.S.-Iraqi Conflict on Iran
By Gareth Porter

The recent release of five Iranians held by the U.S. military in Iraq highlights growing differences between Washington and Baghdad over Iranian policy in Iraq.

Is Obama Slouching Toward War With Iran?
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Although the Obama administration clearly believes an Israeli attack on Iran would be disastrous, recent events seem to point to a concerted campaign to make the Iranians think an attack is coming, a strategy that could have severe unintended consequences.

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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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