Right Web

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

Rubio Anointed Neocon Choice

Hardline “pro-Israel” billionaire Paul Singer’s endorsement of Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) presidential campaign has made Rubio the neoconservative candidate of choice.

LobeLog

At the end of last week, third-place Republican primary candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) won a major endorsement, effectively making him the neoconservative candidate of choice and the GOP establishment’s top pick. That endorsement didn’t come from a former president, a labor union, or a high-profile pastor. Instead a publicity-shy New York hedge fund billionaire, Paul Singer, gave Rubio the nod. With it, so the conventional wisdom says, will go millions of dollars of super PAC contributions along with his considerable fundraising prowess.

Singer’s emergence as one of the GOP’s key donors coincides with sizeable investments in Washington’s most hawkish politicians and think tanks. Singer has made significant contributions to Senate hawks like Mark Kirk (R-IL)Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) as well as neoconservative and pro-Likud organizations such as the American Enterprise Institute, the Foundation for Defense of DemocraciesThe Israel Project, and the Republican Jewish Coalition.

The New York Times, which broke the news of Singer’s endorsement on Friday, noted that Singer is “known for his caution and careful vetting of candidates and [being] passionately pro-Israel and a supporter of same-sex marriage,” and emphasized that Rubio’s willingness to endorse hawkish pro-Israel positions may have contributed to his ability to secure the endorsement sought by many of the GOP’s presidential primary candidates. The Times’ Maggie Haberman and Nicholas Confessore wrote:

Mr. Rubio has aggressively embraced the cause of wealthy pro-Israel donors like Mr. Adelson, whom the senator is said to call frequently, and Mr. Singer, who both serve on the board of the Republican Jewish Coalition, an umbrella group for Republican Jewish donors and officials. Mr. Bush has been less attentive, in the view of some of these donors: Last spring, he refused to freeze out his longtime family friend James A. Baker III, the former secretary of state, after Mr. Baker spoke at the conference of a liberal Jewish group.

Rubio’s Foreign Policy

Rubio has gone out of his way to stake out hawkish foreign policy positions. Last month, he released a video in which he cryptically said that “what this president and his administration are doing in Israel is a tragic mistake” and accused Obama of betraying “the commitment this nation has made to the right of a Jewish state to exist in peace.” He went on to pledge unconditional support to Israel if elected president.

Rubio foreign policy adviser and fundraiser Phil Rosen tweeted last spring that Obama feels “entitled to screw Israel.”

And the Senator from Florida has said he would “absolutely” revoke the Iran nuclear deal if elected president and blasted the Obama administration for criticizing Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

This wouldn’t be the first time Singer has thrown his financial weight behind Rubio. Between 2009 and 2014, his hedge fund Elliott Management was Rubio’s second largest source of campaign contributions, providing him with $122,620, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

In turn, the presidential hopeful has taken several steps to advance the special interests of Singer and Elliott Management.

The Case of Argentina

For instance, Elliott leads a group of holdout creditors who bought up Argentine debt at pennies on the dollar and then sued the country to pay up in full. If successful, Elliott could collect as much as $2 billion. Singer’s philanthropy has often gone to groups—such as the American Enterprise Institute, The Israel Project, and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies—that promote the controversial work of Argentine Special Investigator Alberto Nisman. In 2006, Nisman released a report claiming that top Iranian leaders ordered the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people. But the report relied almost exclusively on the testimony of members of the Mujahedin e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian opposition group that former members liken to a cult.

Recipients of Singer’s funding frequently level charges of anti-Semitism against Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and accuse her of participating in a cover-up to hide Iranian involvement in the attack while never disclosing their funding from Singer and his strong financial incentives for attacking Kirchner.

Last May, Rubio, mirroring the rhetoric of Singer-funded thinktanks, introduced a Senate resolution demanding a “swift and transparent” investigation into Nisman’s death and accused Kirchner of conspiring “to cover up Iranian involvement in the 1994 terrorist bombing.”

Rubio’s entire presidential campaign has been marked by efforts to position himself as the neoconservative candidate of choice, even going so far as to make his campaign slogan “A New American Century,” noticeably similar to the Bill Kristol-founded Project for a New American Century, which helped lay the groundwork for the invasion of Iraq.

Singer’s endorsement seemingly indicates that Rubio is making progress in securing the support of the Republican Party’s biggest donors and most committed foreign policy hawks. All this raises the question: how long will it be before Sheldon Adelson, the GOP’s biggest donor and advocate of launching a first-strike nuclear attack on Iran, pledges his support to Rubio’s campaign.

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Haim Saban is a media mogul and major donor to the Democratic Party known for his hardline stance on Israel and opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.


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.


Brian Hook is the director of policy planning and senior policy advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and is the head of the Iran Action Group.


Josh Rogin is a journalist known for his support for neoconservative policies and views.


Laurence Silberman, a senior justice on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was a mentor to controversial Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and has been a vocal supporter of right-wing foreign and domestic agendas, including the campaign to support the invasion of Iraq.


The People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, advocates regime change in Iran and has strong connections with a wide range of top political figures in the U.S.


Eli Lake is a columnist for Bloomberg View who has a lengthy record of advocating for aggressive U.S. foreign policies towards the Middle East.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Jobs should not be an excuse to arm a murderous regime that not only appears to be behind the assassination of a U.S. resident and respected commentator but is also responsible for thousands of civilian casualties in Yemen—the majority killed with U.S-supplied bombs, combat aircraft, and tactical assistance.


The contradictions in Donald Trump’s foreign policy create opportunities for both rivals and long-standing (if irritated) US allies to challenge American influence. But Trump’s immediate priority is political survival, and his actions in the international arena are of little concern to his domestic supporters.


While the notion that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic is decades old, it has been bolstered in recent years, by the campaign to add to the definition of anti-Semitism any criticism that singles Israel out and doesn’t apply the same standard to other countries. The bottom line is that this entire effort is designed not to combat anti-Semitism but to silence criticism. 


Short-term thinking, expedience, and a lack of strategic caution has led Washington to train, fund, and support group after group that have turned their guns on American soldiers and civilians.


Trump is not the problem. Think of him instead as a summons to address the real problem, which in a nation ostensibly of, by, and for the people is the collective responsibility of the people themselves. For Americans to shirk that responsibility further will almost surely pave the way for more Trumps — or someone worse — to come.


The United Nations has once again turn into a battleground between the United States and Iran, which are experiencing one of the darkest moments in their bilateral relations.


In many ways, Donald Trump’s bellicosity, his militarism, his hectoring cant about American exceptionalism and national greatness, his bullying of allies—all of it makes him not an opponent of neoconservatism but its apotheosis. Trump is a logical culmination of the Bush era as consolidated by Obama.


RightWeb
share