By Samer Araabi
The ongoing crisis in Syria has become a litmus test for Bush-era neoconservatives, as well as the larger interventionist coalition that pushed for the Iraq War under the banner of the Project for the New American Century. Just as we saw during the years preceding the invasion of Iraq, the emergence of a pro-intervention coalition is occurring in the absence of a serious discussion about the complexity of the circumstances surrounding Syria’s spiraling civil war, the challenges inherent in any outside military engagement, and the dangers of a zero-sum approach to the conflict. Read article.
Prepping for tonight’s vice presidential debate? Here’s the skinny on Paul Ryan. Although much better known for his austere budget proposals and extreme anti-abortion views, Ryan also shares Mitt Romney’s faith in American exceptionalism, believes that America is under attack by “Islamic fascists,” and advocates aggressive U.S. military intervention abroad. Since being named Romney’s running mate, Ryan has also walked back his past support for ending the U.S. embargo on Cuba—now accusing the Obama administration of “appeasing” the Castro regime—and attempted to distance himself from his well-documented admiration for the novelist and amateur philosopher Ayn Rand, who held that altruism is evil and greed is good.
Dinesh D’Souza—the pseudo-academic writer who once claimed that slaves in the United States were treated “pretty well” and blamed the 9/11 attacks on “The Vagina Monologues” and gay marriage—has made a splash on the right-wing circuit with his film “2016: Obama’s America,” which argues that President Obama’s reelection will herald economic collapse, World War III, and a “United States of Islam” in the Middle East—all in the next four years. Mainstream critics have lambasted the documentary for stooping to “fear-mongering of the worst kind,” but that hasn’t prevented conservative heavyweights from endorsing it.
Michael Doran is a Brookings Institution scholar and a former member of the George W. Bush National Security Council. Although he has at times criticized prevailing neoconservative notions on the Middle East—particularly on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and on al-Qaeda’s grievances against the United States—Doran has been broadly supportive of the neoconservative’s regime-change agenda, including in Iraq, Iran, and Syria. In a recent New York Times op-ed co-written with Max Boot, Doran argued that the United States should promptly intervene in Syria’s civil war and provide assistance to anti-Assad rebel forces.
Patrick Clawson is director of research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a spin-off of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. A longtime advocate of sabotaging Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, Clawson recently raised eyebrows by obliquely suggesting that the United States fabricate a “Gulf of Tonkin” incident to justify a U.S. war with Iran. “If in fact the Iranians aren’t going to compromise,” Clawson told guests at a September WINEP presentation, “it would be best if somebody else started the war.”
Ilan Berman, vice president of the hawkish American Foreign Policy Council, is a frequent public commentator on U.S. Iranian policy, typically promoting efforts to increase pressure on Tehran. A fan of the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment—a 1970s-era policy that threatened trade relations with the Soviet Union if it didn’t allow Jewish emigration to Israel—Berman has urged the United States to adopt a similar strategy today to increase pressure on Iran, even if it risks “a temporary downturn” in relations with China and Russia.