Right Web

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

Transatlantic Institute

Please note: IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.

Although it characterizes itself as a “non-partisan” research organization, the Brussels-based Transatlantic Institute has been closely affiliated with U.S. neoconservatism and other hawkish supporters of Israel. It was founded with the support of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the former publisher of the neocon flagship journal, Commentary.[1] Its former executive director, Emanuele Ottolenghi, is currently a senior fellow at the neoconservative think tank, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, based in Washington, D.C.[2]

Founded in 2004 as the AJC’s “latest initiative in international diplomacy,” the Institute says that its main focus is “improving dialogue” and “strengthening transatlantic ties.”[3] According to its mission statement, the institute was founded as “an intellectual bridge between the United States and the European Union” and is “devoted to strengthening transatlantic ties, improving dialogue on policy challenges and promoting better understanding of core issues confronting the democratic world.”[4]

In its publications, the Institute’s devotion to improving transatlantic dialogue often translates into pushing Europe to adopt a more hawkish stance toward global affairs. During the George W. Bush administration, the Institute heavily supporter the “war on terror” and chided Europeans for not being sufficiently supportive of this “war.” More recently, the Institute has focused on Iran, calling for stiffening sanctions and pushing for stronger actions from the European Union.

The Transatlantic Institute’s chairman is Louis Perlmutter, a U.S. private equity fund adviser and former chairman of the board of trustees of Brandeis University and the American Jewish Congress. According to his bio, Perlmutter “is a director of the Charles H. Revson Foundation and his current memberships include the Council on Foreign Relations, board of fellows (directors) of Harvard Medical School, Board of Directors of Harvard Medical International, the advisory board of Foreign Affairs, trustee of the Blaustein Institute for Human Rights and the committee of visitors of the University of Michigan Law School.  He has received honors from The Phoenix House Foundation, The Israel Policy Forum, The World Federation of United Nations Associations, and the American Jewish Committee.”[5]

Ottolenghi, the former director who left in 2010, appeared to have been the Institute’s intellectual leader. His articles often focused on criticizing European countries for not being sufficiently hawkish and hyping concerns on Iran. In an October 2007 article originally published in Liberal Magazine entitled “Iran: The Looming Threat,” Ottolenghi pushed Europe to use its economic strength to pressure Iran, arguing that Europeans “are doing something wrong, for our desire to make a profit with Iran in the short term will leave us at a loss in the long term.” He wrote: “Europe can use its mighty economic, financial and commercial clout, to squeeze Iran. Iran’s industry would come to a standstill if Europe stopped selling spare parts. Iran’s economy would freeze if Europe stopped providing refined oil products—Iran has to import 40% of its gasoline despite being an exporter of crude. There is equally no need for Europe to promote economic ties. Yet, bilateral chambers of commerce based in Tehran do just that. European companies attend the annual fairs in the Iranian free trade zone in the island of Kish. And so far, when Iranian dignitaries come to Europe on a visit, nobody objects to the numerous Iranian business delegations they bring along. All this must change if Iran’s regime is to be persuaded to change course without the recourse to force.”[6]

The Institute’s other writers held similar positions. A July 2007 article titled “Sanctions? Business!” co-authored by Ottolenghi and Rackowski, argued that Europe’s “credibility” and “core values” depend on a singular achievement: “If Europe were to fail to prevent Iran’s ambition to build a nuclear bomb, the world—Europe first and foremost—would be a more dangerous place. The US, having backed Europe’s multilateral diplomacy, would see this approach as a failure. The possibility of unilateralism, coalitions of the willing, and pre-emptive strikes, would regain credence, after the Iraq crisis cast a shadow on their viability.” They highlighted Germany’s dual roles as 2007 holder of the EU presidency and high-level trading partner with Iran, arguing: “As the current holder of the EU presidency and therefore the lead EU country on the international scene, Germany is a case in point: its volume of trade has increased very profitably precisely during the time when the EU-3—having unmasked Iran’s nuclear ambitions—was trying to persuade Iran to back down from its bellicose intents.”[7]

The Transatlantic Institute serves as venue for conferences, briefings, and debates on topics ranging from migration and development to Islamic extremism and UN peacekeeping operations. Frequently, its Middle East focused events bring in figures from the United States closely associated with the hawkish “pro-Israel” lobby, often to debate officials from European countries. A November 18, 2006 “panel debate” entitled “What Policies Options Exist vis-a-vis Iran” featured Patrick Clawson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in a debate with Martin Briens, deputy of the French government policy planning staff, and Efraim Inbar, a professor at Israel’s Bar Ilan University. A December 2007 sponsored conference titled “Is There a New Middle East?” drew in panellists from both sides of the Atlantic, including Reuel Marc Gerecht and Michael Rubin, two scholars then based at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute.

Share RightWeb

Please note: IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.

Sources

[1]Transatlantic Institute, “Mission Statement,” http://www.transatlanticinstitute.org/html/ab_mission.html.


[2]Foundation for Defense of Democracies, “Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi,” http://www.defenddemocracy.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11787699&Itemid=326.



[3]American Jewish Committee, "AJC Launches Transatlantic Institute in Brussels," February 12, 2004, http://www.ajc.org/site/apps/nl/content3.asp?c=ijITI2PHKoG&b=872349&ct=872787.



[4]Transatlantic Institute, “Mission Statement,” http://www.transatlanticinstitute.org/html/ab_mission.html.



[5]Transatlantic Insitute, "Louis Perlmutter,"  http://www.transatlanticinstitute.org/html/ab_chairman.html.



[6]Emanuele Ottolenghi, "Iran: The Looming Threat," Liberal Magazine, October 30, 2007, http://www.transatlanticinstitute.org/html/pu_articles.html?id=393.



[7]Daniel Rackowski and Emanuele Ottolenghi, "Sanctions? Business!" Die Welt, September 4, 2007.


Share RightWeb

Transatlantic Institute Résumé

Contact Information

Transatlantic Institute
Quatre Brasstraat 6 Rue des Quatre-Bras
1000 Brussels, Belgium
Phone: +322 500 72 80
Fax: +322 500 72 90
E-mail: info@transatlanticinstitute.org
Website: www.transatlanticinstitute.org
 

Founded

2004

 

Mission

“Founded in Brussels in 2004, the Transatlantic Institute was established at a critical juncture in the history of the transatlantic alliance as a nongovernmental, non-partisan and independent organization, devoted to strengthening transatlantic ties, improving dialogue on policy challenges and promoting better understanding of core issues confronting the democratic world. The Transatlantic Institute was built as an intellectual bridge between the United States and the European Union. Throughout the year, the Transatlantic Institute holds a variety of meetings, seminars and conferences at which government officials, scholars, and policy specialists discuss world affairs and exchange views. It conducts research, promotes discussion of foreign policy options, and aims to provide a forum to air diverse views on topics of international importance, particularly Middle East affairs.”

Related:

Transatlantic Institute News Feed

Trouble in Munich: the transatlantic breakup | The Interpreter - The InterpreterEU presented with ‘first-ever’ action plan to combat antisemitism - The Jerusalem PostLeading World Jewish Organizations Present EU with Joint Action Plan for Combating Anti-Semitism in Europe - The Jewish Press - JewishPress.comForeign Policy Research Institute Presidential Search - Foreign Policy Research InstituteMicrosoft says it has found another Russian operation targeting prominent think tanks - The Washington PostEuropeans fear Trump may threaten not just the transatlantic bond, but the state of their union - The Washington PostBusiness recap: Week of Feb. 18 - The Washington PostFindings suggest possible adult heart tissue regeneration - Baylor College of Medicine NewsChoppy Middle East Waters Causing Transatlantic Diplomatic Ripple Effect - The Media LineDavid McWilliams: Can Bernie Sanders fix the broken American Dream? Yes he can - Irish TimesFinding Suggests Ways to Promote Adult Heart Tissue Regeneration - Cath Lab DigestDas Auto braces for double impact of Trump and Brexit - POLITICO.euWorld security tensions take centre stage in Munich - Financial TimesHow Fringe Groups Are Using QAnon to Amplify Their Wild Messages - The Daily Beast‘Dimensions of Citizenship’ exhibit heads to Wrightwood 659 gallery - Curbed ChicagoAnalysis | The Daily 202: Barack Obama criticizes pop culture for promoting the wrong values to young men - The Washington PostSONA 2019: 8 things Nana Addo said about the creative arts industry - Pulse.com.ghDemands for 'more Europe in NATO' as leaders gather for Munich Security Conference - EURACTIVNorwegian company to design Ireland's new marine research vessel - Coast MonkeyLa Maison Française to Host Talks on Cultural Politics, Class and Race, Climate Change in Literature, and More in February - NYU News

Right Web is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

The Right Web Mission

Right Web tracks militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy.

For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

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.


RightWeb
share