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

The Attack-Syria Coalition: Then and Now

FEATURED ARTICLE

The Attack-Syria Coalition: Then and Now
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.


FEATURED PROFILES

Paul Ryan

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

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

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

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

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.  

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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.


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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.


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