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

Obama’s Foreign Policy; Farewell to Cheney; The AEI Breakup; Profiles on Weyrich, Neuhaus, and

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FEATURED ARTICLES

President Obama: A Realist Interventionist?

By Leon Hadar

President Obama might turn out to be a foreign policy pragmatist, eschewing the grand strategies and big-label crusades that inspire the minds of Washington’s cognoscenti. After eight years of the Bush administration’s foreign policy fantasies, the notion of an Obama administration muddling through foreign policy choices should be welcomed, even by those who will inevitably be disappointed when Obama fails to live up to their high expectations. Read full story.

Neoconservatism in a New Era

By Nick Rogers

With a new president taking office who campaigned against George W. Bush’s foreign policy agenda, a burning question among many pundits is, “Whither the neocons?” Out of power and out of fashion, what exactly will be their post-Bush agenda? Prominent thinkers Joshua Muravchik and Michael Ledeen weigh in on how neocons should move forward and what some of their priorities might be in the future. Read full story.

Cheney: Master Bureaucrat

By Daniel Luban

From his first day in office, former Vice President Dick Cheney served as the most aggressive hawk among the top administration leadership. As Barton Gellman documents in his recent biography, Angler, Cheney used the Vice President’s office with secrecy and skill to unite the administration around shared goals of an aggressively nationalist foreign policy, a disdain for diplomacy, and an utterly unfettered executive power in time of war. Read full story.

FEATURED PROFILES

American Enterprise Institute
The departure of key neoconservative writers from AEI leaves in question the think tank’s commitment to the militarist foreign policies it helped promote during the Bush presidency.

Dennis Ross
George Mitchell’s appointment as Middle East envoy may have stymied Ross’ lofty ambitions, but recent reports claim that the Clinton-era advisor who maintains strong ties to neocons may win a high-level post in the Obama administration advising on Mideast policy, possibly focusing on Iran.

Elliott Abrams
The Iran-Contra veteran and champion of Likud-aligned U.S. Mideast policies in the Bush administration has landed at the Council on Foreign Relations.

William Kristol
The editor of the Weekly Standard and founder of the Project for the New American Century, Kristol’s stint as an op-ed writer for the New York Times lasted all of one year.

Richard John Neuhaus (1936-2009)
Called “a Roman Catholic beacon of the neoconservative movement of today,” the influential Neuhaus, who was frequently found at the crossroads of politics and religion, died in early January 2009.

Paul Weyrich (1942-2008)
A fervent Cold Warrior and longtime conservative leader, Weyrich opposed many of the foreign policies of the Bush administration, including the Iraq War. He passed away in December.

Reuel Marc Gerecht
Like fellow neocon Michael Ledeen, Gerecht, a former CIA officer, found a perch at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies after getting ousted from AEI.

Joshua Muravchik
A former scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Muravchik was one of several scholars whose recent departure from AEI has spurred talk of a “purge” at the neoconservative-led think tank.

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

Bush Foreign Policy Legacy Widely Seen as Disastrous
By Jim Lobe | Posted on January 20, 2009

Few historians would apparently disagree with Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal’s comment that "the Bush administration has left you [the United States] a disgusting legacy.” Read story.

Bush Plan Eliminated Obstacle to Gaza Assault
By Gareth Porter | Posted on January 20, 2009

Bush administration efforts to undermine Hamas appear to have paved the way for the recent Israeli assault on Gaza. Read story.

Israeli Attack Seen as Complicating Obama’s Plans
By Jim Lobe | Posted on January 7, 2009

The president-elect’s stated goal of improving the Israeli-Palestinian situation has been complicated before he even starts his job. Read story.

LETTERS

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Featured Profiles

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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