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

Neocons Despair over Détente with Iran

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Neoconservatives Despair Over U.S.-Iran Diplomacy
Jim Lobe

Nervous about potential U.S. rapprochement with Tehran over its nuclear enrichment program, some neoconservatives are urging Israel to scuttle the deal by attacking Iran.


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Foreign Policy Research Institute

The Foreign Policy Research Institute is a conservative foreign policy think tank based in Philadelphia. Although many of its current scholars are realist skeptics of military interventionism, the institute has supported the work of a number of prominent hawks over the years, including Daniel Pipes, founder of the Middle East Forum. FPRI figures have advocated "standing aside" in Syria "so that some hateful, armed and dangerous people can get killed" and celebrated the military coup that brought down Egypt's elected Muslim Brotherhood government, which one FPRI writer claimed has been "directly influenced by the Nazis."

Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager is a conservative radio talk show host and columnist who promotes the “culture wars” as well as America's overseas wars. An unapologetic advocate of making the United States the "world's policeman," Prager has been an avid proponent of U.S. intervention in Syria, calling the recent agreement to avoid war by transferring Syria's chemical weapons out of the country an "American defeat by Russia, Syria, and Iran." On the cultural front, Prager has recently compared court rulings legalizing same-sex marriage in California to Egypt's military coup, and accused "virtually all black leaders" of having "hatred" for "white America."

Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research is an influential rightist think tank chaired by hedge fund magnate Paul Singer, an important financial backer of neoconservative advocacy groups like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. The Manhattan Institute has promoted lower taxes on the rich, public service cuts for the poor, and controversial "stop and frisk" police practices. Through its influential quarterly magazine, City Journal, Manhattan Institute writers also weigh in on foreign policy. In a recent column, contributing editor Judith Miller—notorious for her efforts to relay Ahmed Chalabi's false intelligence about Iraq as a New York Times reporter—expressed "profound skepticism" about any international agreement to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons.

Charles Jacobs

Charles Jacobs is a Boston-based writer and political activist who has founded several organizations devoted to policing criticism of Israel and warning about the dangers of "radical Islam." Among these is the group Americans for Peace and Tolerance, which is well known in Boston for opposing the construction of a local Islamic center and for raising alarm about "Islamic extremism" in schools and universities. Jacobs has also put APT's name behind efforts to link Iran to the 1994 bombing of a prominent Buenos Aires Jewish center, despite reports that such accusations rely solely on testimony from controversial anti-regime Iranian exiles.

J.D. Crouch

J.D. Crouch II is a former deputy national security adviser and assistant to President George W. Bush who helped develop the “troop surge” in Iraq. One of the staunchest foreign policy hawks in the Bush administration, Crouch resigned from the government in 2007, first taking a fellowship with the National Institute for Public Policy—a think tank closely linked to military contractors—and then heading up a military contractor firm. He was recently named CEO of QinetiQ North America, the Virginia-based arm of the UK-based defense firm QinetiQ.

Bernard Marcus

Bernard Marcus is the billionaire co-founder and former CEO of Home Depot. Since retiring from the company in 2002, he has devoted his energies to philanthropy, political fundraising, and activism. Alongside his support for traditional philanthropic causes, Marcus has also emerged as a major funder of numerous Republican and neoconservative organizations, including the American Enterprise Institute, Christians United for Israel, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. He has been among largest donors to the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies, having given nearly $11 million to the organization in 2011 alone.

Paul Singer

Billionaire investor Paul Singer is the founder and CEO of the Elliott Management Corporation, a hedge fund that once counted Dan Senor among its partners. Singer has used his largesse—some of it funneled through his eponymous family foundation—to finance a host of right-wing “pro-Israel” organizations, including the Republican Jewish Coalition, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Institute for the Study of War. A recent Salon report revealed that the secretive Singer is also the second-largest donor to the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies.


From the Wires

Hope and Pessimism as Israelis and Palestinians Resume Talks

Hardliners have begun to lose sway in the U.S. "pro-Israel" community, but the gulf between the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating positions remains formidable in the latest round of U.S.-brokered talks.

How Syria Brought the U.S. and Iran Together

The emerging U.S.-Iran modus vivendi over Syria could be the beginning of the end for three decades of mutual hostility and estrangement.

Iran Hawks Gear Up

As the United States and Iran move towards renewed talks over Tehran's nuclear enrichment program, anti-Iran hardliners in Washington and the Middle East are likely to step up their attacks on the process.

Remember Bibi’s Wisdom on Iraq 11 Years Ago

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu escalates his pressure on Washington to avert its rapprochement with Iran, critics recall his fervent support for the invasion of Iraq.

U.S., Iran Trade Cautious Overtures at U.N.

In their addresses to the UN General Assembly, U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani each indicated that they were committed to renewing diplomatic engagement between their two countries, which each administration appointing high-level diplomats to resume talks.

Speculation over Iran-U.S. Détente Continues Apace

With both sides sending conciliatory signals in advance of the UN General Assembly, a U.S.-Iran détente appears more within reach than ever—much to the chagrin of hawkish "pro-Israel" factions in the United States.


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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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