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

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and two-time failed presidential candidate, is a foreign policy hawk with neoconservative leanings who appears set to become the next senator from Utah.


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.


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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.


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