Right Web

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

The Abrams Redux; Wolfowitz’s Friends; Jeffrey Gedmin at Radio Free Europe, and More

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Elliott Abrams’ Repeat Performance
By Jim Lobe

We’ve seen it before—administration officials, alarmed by congressional efforts to support diplomacy over hardline overseas policies, wage a behind-the-scenes battle to discredit the "appeasers." But the current administration, led by its lead Mideast policy adviser, Elliott Abrams, seems determined to not learn the foreign policy lessons of the past. Read full story.

For more information, see:

Right Web Profile: Elliott Abrams
An Iran-Contra veteran, and the current point person for Middle East policy in the National Security Council, Elliott Abrams has made a career of championing confrontational foreign policies.

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

Right Web Profile: Jeffrey Gedmin
The new head of Radio Free Europe, Gedmin is a longtime supporter of aggressive U.S. overseas policies, including the neoconservative-inspired agenda of reshaping the Middle East.

Right Web Profile: Laurence Silberman
Silberman, a DC federal judge who tried to absolve the administration of having politicized the intel used to justify the invasion of Iraq, has a storied history of involvement in controversial domestic and foreign policies.

Right Web Profile: Elizabeth Cheney
The vice president’s daughter and a former State official, Cheney has proved a formidable public proponent of her father’s policies, most recently echoing in a Post op-ed the VP’s criticism of U.S. officials pushing diplomacy with Syria.

Wolfowitz’s Quid Pro Quo
By Emad Mekay and Jim Lobe

Supporters of the U.S. decision to invade Iraq have been among those who seem to have benefited from Paul Wolfowitz’s tenure at the World Bank. Read full story.

See also:

Right Web Profile: Paul Wolfowitz
Paul Wolfowitz, the former Pentagon official who fervently championed the invasion of Iraq, faces a growing scandal over his work as president of the World Bank for his possible efforts to use the bank to further U.S. interests and improperly help his associates.

LETTERS

Re: Bernard Lewis

Thank you for the well-done presentation regarding Bernard Lewis, whose views have had too great an influence on the public’s understanding of Islam for years.

—J.J. Bodine

Re: Richard John Neuhaus and the Institute on Religion and Public Life

If these people frighten you, you probably never get any sleep. If First Things, the publication of the Institute on Religion and Public Life, is furtive and extremist, it hides itself about as well as the New York Times. The Times, in fact, has the more rigid ideology. The conservative movement is split and yet I’ve never read in First Things a nasty word about Pat Buchanan. Neuhaus does love to do his schtick on the Episcopal Church. I call it a multiple-choice church. You should go to St. Thomas Episcopal in Manhattan if you want to hear jokes about their own bishops.

I subscribe to First Things and yet disagree with their closeness with secular power, if only because it’s so boring. I never heard but the kindest words about the Mennonites and how they are drawing closer to the church as they define a more complex liturgy in this complex world and as the end of Christendom threatens them. One of the Yoders taught theology at Notre Dame.

Who are you? I don’t see any of your names and affiliations.

I am a traditionist. The last thing I want is power; it’s boring, too. In fact, I love to argue with people who differ with me. At my age, it’s about the only strenuous physical activity I can engage in endlessly.

Don’t be so serious. Laughter is the best medicine. You have to admit that Neuhaus gets in some uproarious lines when the Episcopalians are particularly going around in circles.

—Andrew Carlan

Re: Right Web Responds

Regarding the letter writer’s question—who are we and what are our affiliations?—Right Web is a program of the New Mexico-based International Relations Center (IRC), a fact made explicit by the IRC banner at the top of every web page connected to Right Web as well as by Right Web’s "About" page, which also details the reasons why the program focuses its analyses and profiles on individuals and organizations like Richard John Neuhaus and the Institute on Religion and Public Life. See https://rightweb.irc-online.org/about.php. The content of Right Web is produced by IRC staff. Information about IRC, as well as its affiliations and funding, is available on the website: http://www.irc-online.org.

IRC encourages feedback and comments. Send letters to rightweb@irc-online.org. IRC reserves the right to edit comments for clarity and brevity. Be sure to include your full name. Thank you.

IRC Global Good Neighbor Initiative

The initiative to promote a global good neighbor ethic as the guiding vision of U.S. foreign policy was launched by the International Relations Center (IRC) in May 2005 with events in New York City and Washington, DC. Consider adding your voice to the cause. And check out this new GGN video.

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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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