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

The Attack-Syria Coalition: Then and Now

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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

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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