Right Web

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

Right Web Introduction

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About Right Web: Debra Preusch, IRC Executive Director
Webworks: This Week on the Right, Tom Barry
Who’s Who: PNAC, Daniel Pipes, Richard Perle, Thomas Donnelly
Analysis: Culture, Religion, Apocalypse & Middle East Policy, by Chip Berlet & Nikhil Aziz
Analysis: Neocons v. Hawks: Jim Baker Returns, by Jim Lobe
Geography of the Right: Neoconservatives

About Right Web

Right Web explores the many ties that link the right-wing movement’s main players, organizations, corporate supporters, educational institutions, and government representatives to each other in a new architecture of power. By establishing Right Web, the Interhemispheric Resource Center (IRC), which for 25 years has worked to make "the U.S. a more responsible global leader and global partner," hopes to add to the growing national movement of concerned citizens who are working to check the rightward drift of the country. Right Web represents a revival of a former IRC program called GroupWatch (1985-1991) that profiled more than 125 private, quasi-governmental, and religious organizations that were closely associated with the implementation of U.S. foreign policy goals, especially in Central America. Right Web, however, adds a news a new twist this endeavor: It shines a spotlight on not just organizations, but on the dozens and dozens of individuals who develop the ideas, promote the policies, and provide the cash needed to make the right wing the most powerful force in America today.

The right wing has been yanking U.S. policy–domestic and foreign–to the right for the past three decades. However, never before has the right wing been so integrated into U.S. government, having gained control over all three branches–legislative, judicial, executive–of the federal government. Since George W. Bush took over in the White House–and especially since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks–America’s right wing has led the country into uncharted and dangerous territory, at home and abroad.

The "right web" profiled on this site is not new to this administration but is the result of the work of right-wing strategists and organizers since the early 1970s. The increasing power of the right-wing’s web of institutes and individuals to shape policy agendas sets it apart from other political networks. The rapid growth of the right’s architecture of power can be partly explained by its larger funding base provided by many corporations, right-wing foundations, and hundreds of thousands of individual constituents. Another important factor has been the success that the ideologues and strategists of the right have had in promoting ideologies that merge political, cultural, religious, diplomatic, military, and economic agendas (and associated constituencies) into an integrated policy framework.

To deconstruct the Right Web’s architecture of power, this site offers profiles of the web’s key individuals, initiatives, and institutions, which are organized into four main sections: People Web, Org Web, Gov Web, and Corp Web. We invite you to peruse the profiles we have compiled, and we will alert you in this ezine when new profiles are completed or when existing profiles have been substantially revised and updated. In the next several weeks, we will be adding dozens of other profiles that we have been preparing, especially of corporations, organizations, and government commissions (many of which we list but whose pages are still under construction). IRC Research Associate Mike Flynn has coordinated the Right Web research, and IRC webweaver Tonya Cannariato has managed the production of the Right Web webpages.

We invite you to join the IRC, and we encourage you to become part of our effort to expose the right’s architecture of power and its alarming cultural and political agenda.

BECOME AN IRC MEMBER: Programs like Right Web could not exist without support from our base of individual members and donors. We were forced to terminate our Group Watch program in 1991 because of a funding crisis, but many of the groups we profiled–like American Enterprise Institute, Institute for Religion and Democracy, and International Christian Embassy-Jerusalem–have increased their influence in the intervening years. And the individuals we profile on Right Web–like Donald Rumsfeld, Elliott Abrams, and Jeane Kirkpatrick–are among the main architects of right-wing power today. To ensure the right’s web and its radical objectives are subject to public scrutiny–today and in years ahead–we count on your support.

If you find Right Web useful and come back to it for information for your own research, educational work, political organizing, or your own understanding of the forces controlling the U.S. political agenda, then I urge you to please honor your values and beliefs to become a IRC member (memberships start at $35) or donate what you can afford. You can become a member or donate now.

BECOME A RIGHT WEB RESEARCHER: All IRC programs count on a team of cyber-volunteers (including many from other nations) who are skilled researchers to help our program staff by completing assigned research assignments. The Right Web is powerful but not more powerful than transnational citizens’ networks. We are looking for experienced, professional cyber-volunteers to deepen our probe of this right-wing architecture of power. For more information: please visit the volunteer page of the IRC webpage: Volunteer.

Debra Preusch, IRC Executive Director

Webworks: This Week on the Right

Items: Sen. Hillary Clinton, L. Paul Bremer and Americans for Victory over Terrorism, Paul Wolfowitz, James Baker, Robert Bartley and Irving Kristol.
By Tom Barry

(See entire column at: https://rightweb.irc-online.org/analysis/2003/0312barry-works.html.)

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has been one of the few U.S. politicians willing to depart from accepted political discourse and announce, as she did last week, that U.S. politics has been captured by a “right-wing apparatus.”

On “Meet the Press,” Clinton assailed the Bush administration’s “radical ideas” such as eliminating overtime payments for workers. “I thought they wanted to undo everything Bill Clinton had done,” she said, “I took that a little personally…. Then I realized they’re taking aim at the New Deal.”

Not So “Vast”

Clinton may have also erred when she described the “right-wing apparatus” as being “vast.” Exploring this apparatus, one finds that is it extraordinarily compact and intertwined. A case in point is L. Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, who is profiled on Right Web (https://rightweb.irc-online.org/ind/bremer/bremer.html). Opening a press conference in which he announced the capture of Saddam Hussein, Bremer said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, we got him!” Bremer, however, said nothing about the Bush administration’s arguments for the invasion–weapons of mass destruction and ties with Al Qaeda–that put himself and more than 125,000 U.S. troops, as well as some 20,000 employees of private contractors like Halliburton, in Iraq in the first place. Instead, he said that Hussein’s capture was a victory for Iraqis who suffered under his tyranny–echoing the administration’s revised rationale for the invasion.

Sometimes lauded in the press as a practical-minded administrator, an assessment of Bremer’s relations reveals a very different picture. Indeed, Bremer is a member of the “right-wing apparatus,” a person who maintains close ties with its corporate, neoconservative, think tank, and “realist” wings. He was a founding member of the Americans for Victory Over Terrorism (AVOT), a neocon-driven and pro-Likud Party group headed by William Bennett, the author of the Book of Virtues and self-appointed moral compass of America who castigates every moral weakness except one–gambling, which just happens to be his own particular personal poison.

The well-connected Bremer not only travels in neocon circles but is also close to Republican Party national security “realists” such as Henry Kissinger, having served as the managing director of the Kissinger Group before forming his own terrorism consulting enterprise called Marsh Crisis Consulting.

Neocon, Realist, and “Big Oil” Architects of Power

Figuring out who is calling the shots in U.S. foreign policy became further complicated last week after Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz announced that only corporations from countries that supported the Iraqi invasion would be eligible for U.S.-funded reconstruction contracts. President Bush immediately jumped in to support Wolfowitz, commending the controversial neocon as “doing an outstanding job to help make the world a safer and better place.”

William Kristol and Robert Kagan, cofounders of the Project for the New American Century, criticized the president last week on two occasions: one for cautioning Taiwan against any “unilateral” moves toward independence, and also for the “dumb” Pentagon policy on awarding contracts only to certain nations. However, only the week before Kagan and Kristol had anointed Bush as a “neoconservative” for recent speeches declaring, among other things, that democratizing the Middle East was part of the “plan of heaven for humanity” and part of America’s “calling” and the “design of Nature.” According to Kagan and Kristol, “Bush has broken from the mainstream of his party and become a neoconservative in the true meaning of the term. For if there is a single principle that today divides neoconservatism from traditional conservatism, it is the conviction that promotion of liberal democracy abroad is both a moral imperative and a profound national interest.”

Last week another public figure, Robert Bartley, highly regarded by the Bush family, died. Bartley, former editor of the Wall Street Journal, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom–which is the highest civilian award–by the younger Bush. In honoring Bartley, who considered himself a neocon, President Bush said that Bartley “helped shape the times in which we live.” Jack Kemp, director of Empower America, said: “Bob Bartley’s legacy will endure, because without him, there would have been no Reagan revolution.” Bartley was a strong supporter of the Israeli hardliners and a close ally of such neocons as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Irving Kristol.

Bartley credited Irving Kristol, the so-called “godfather of neoconservatives,” for his political education. In the 1980s he said that Kristol, whom he hired as a columnist, “had a big influence on me. It was possible to be intellectual, erudite, and conservative. The demonstration of that was encouraging. You shouldn’t underestimate the National Review crowd, but they couldn’t have done it. They weren’t able to generate the same kind of support and acceptance in the intellectual community as the neoconservatives.” Kristol and Bartley teamed up to support Jude Wanniski, the neocon who popularized supply-side economics, which is distinguished by its promotion of tax cuts for the wealthy–an economic policy that debuted during the Reagan era and being reprised by the current Republican administration.

(Tom Barry is Policy Director of the Interhemispheric Resource Center. Send feedback and suggestions of news items to include in Webworks to <rightweb@irc-online.org>.)

Who’s Who in Right Web

Poor Richard Perle. After suffering through a year of scandals regarding his business dealings that drove him to step down as chairman of the Defense Policy Board, the "Prince of Darkness" is once again at the center of controversy. According to the Financial Times (December 5, 2003), a little more than a year after Boeing invested $20 million in his investment firm–Trireme–Perle lauded a controversial Pentagon proposal to lease tankers from the aerospace giant in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, which he co-wrote with Thomas Donnelly, a fellow at the Project for the New American Century and former communications director for Lockheed Martin. Did Perle reveal his financial ties to Boeing somewhere in the op-ed? Hmmm, that’s a tough one.
Right Web Profiles: Richard Perle & Thomas Donnelly

Is Daniel Pipes really fit to be on the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace, an organization devoted to "promoting the peaceful resolution of international conflicts"? Check out his profile and decide for yourself.

What’s happened to the Project for the New American Century? After helping push the country into war with Iraq, the influential neocon outfit has all but disappeared from the national scene. Although its leaders continue to write inflammatory articles about global hot spots like Taiwan, the group seems to have lost its ability to generate support for its agenda. Will there ever be another open letter to the president?
Right Web Profile: PNAC

Also see: Right Web’s Chart #1: PNAC Signatories


Culture, Religion, Apocalypse & Middle East
By Chip Berlet and Nikhil Aziz

The writings of a cave-dwelling hermit who had apocalyptic visions some 2000 years ago have had enormous influence on Bush administration foreign policy decisionmaking.

(Chip Berlet and Nikhil Aziz are contributors to the Right Web, a project of the IRC (online at www.irc-online.org). Berlet and Aziz work at Political Research Associates (online at www.irc-online.org), a progressive Boston think tank. Aziz, the director of research, has a Ph.D. in International Studies from the University of Denver. Berlet, a senior analyst, has written about the political right for over 20 years.)

online at: https://rightweb.irc-online.org/analysis/2003/0312apocalypse.html

Realists v. Hawks: Baker Returns
By Jim Lobe

Does the return of Bush family consiglieri and archrealist James Baker have administration hawks and neocons running scared?

(Jim Lobe writes for Right Web (rightweb.irc-online.org), Foreign Policy In Focus, and Inter Press Service.)

online at https://rightweb.irc-online.org/analysis/2003/0312baker.html

Geography of the Right: Neoconservatives

Neocons, paleocons, old right, new right, Christian right, libertarians. … Who are all these different groups that make up America’s right wing? See Right Web’s Glossary.

(Excerpted from Glossary of Right-Wing Sectors in Foreign Policy online at https://rightweb.irc-online.org/charts/glossary.html .)

For the most part, neoconservatives–who are disproportionately Jewish (although a number of influential Catholic theologians and political activists have also long been associated with the movement)–are not politicians but rather political analysts, activist ideologues, and scholars who have played a central role in forging the agendas of numerous right-wing think tanks, front groups, and foundations. Neoconservatives profoundly believe both in America’s moral superiority and in the necessity of a strategic alliance with Israel–convictions that facilitate coalitions with the Christian Right. Unlike either core traditionalists of American conservatism or those with isolationist tendencies, neoconservatives are committed internationalists who believe that the United States has both a moral obligation and national security interests in using military supremacy to maintain a Pax Americana free of totalitarian and rogue regimes. Reminiscent of their role in the 1970s, the neoconservatives were instrumental in the late 1990s in helping to fuse diverse elements of the right into a unified force based on a new agenda of U.S. supremacy.

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Featured Profiles

Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman and longtime “superlobbyist” who has supported numerous neoconservative advocacy campaigns, has become embroiled in the special prosecutor’s investigation into the Donald Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

Jon Lerner is a conservative political strategist and top adviser to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. He was a key figure in the “Never Trump” Campaign, which appears to have led to his being ousted as Vice President Mike Pence’s national security adviser.

Pamela Geller is a controversial anti-Islam activist who has founded several “hate groups” and likes to repeat debunked myths, including about the alleged existence of “no-go” Muslim zones in Europe.

Max Boot, neoconservative military historian at the Council on Foreign Relations, on Trump and Russia: “At every turn Trump is undercutting the ‘get tough on Russia’ message because he just can’t help himself, he just loves Putin too much.”

Although overlooked by President Trump for cabinet post, Gingrich has tried to shape affairs in the administration, including by conspiring with government officials to “purge the State Department of staffers they viewed as insufficiently loyal” to the president.

Former Sen Mark Kirk (R-IL) is an advisor for United Against Nuclear Iran. He is an outspoken advocate for aggressive action against Iran and a fierce defender of right-wing Israeli policies.

A military historian, Kimberly Kagan heads the Institute for the Study of War, where she has promoted the continuation of U.S. war in Afghanistan.

For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

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Other than the cynical political interests in Moscow and Tehran, there is no conceivable rationale for wanting Bashar al-Assad to stay in power. But the simple fact is, he has won the war. And while Donald Trump has reveled in positive press coverage of the recent attacks on the country, it is clear that they were little more than a symbolic act.

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The reality is that the Assad regime is winning the Syrian civil war, and this matters far less to U.S. interests than it does to that regime or its allies in Russia and Iran, who see Syria as their strongest and most consistent entrée into the Arab world. Those incontrovertible facts undermine any notion of using U.S. military force as leverage to gain a better deal for the Syrian people.

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An effective rhetorical tool to normalize military build-ups is to characterize spending increases “modernization.”

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The Pentagon has officially announced that that “long war” against terrorism is drawing to a close — even as many counterinsurgency conflicts  rage across the Greater Middle East — and a new long war has begun, a permanent campaign to contain China and Russia in Eurasia.

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Revelations that data-consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used ill-gotten personal information from Facebook for the Trump campaign masks the more scandalous reality that the company is firmly ensconced in the U.S. military-industrial complex. It should come as no surprise then that the scandal has been linked to Erik Prince, co-founder of Blackwater.

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As the United States enters the second spring of the Trump era, it’s creeping ever closer to more war. McMaster and Mattis may have written the National Defense Strategy that over-hyped the threats on this planet, but Bolton and Pompeo will have the opportunity to address these inflated threats in the worst way possible: by force of arms.

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We meet Donald Trump in the media every hour of every day, which blots out much of the rest of the world and much of what’s meaningful in it.  Such largely unexamined, never-ending coverage of his doings represents a triumph of the first order both for him and for an American cult of personality.