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

The Campaign to Push for U.S. Military Action in Syria

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Right-Wing and Liberal Hawks Reunite Over Syria
By Jim Lobe
Ten years after right-wing and liberal hawks came together to push the U.S. into invading Iraq, key members of the two groups appear to be reuniting behind stronger U.S. military intervention in Syria. While the liberals appear motivated by a desire to stop the violence and prevent its spread across borders, their right-wing colleagues, particularly neoconservatives, see U.S. intervention as key to dealing Iran a strategic defeat in the region. Read article.

Feature Profiles

Daniel Pipes
Daniel Pipes, an outspoken neoconservative and critic of Islam, has broken with many of his fellow hawks on the issue of Syria. Rather than advocating the imposition of a "no-fly zone" or sending U.S. arms to the Syrian rebels, Pipes has argued that the United States should consider backing the regime of Bashar al-Assad, writing that "Western powers should guide enemies to stalemate by helping whichever side is losing, so as to prolong the conflict" and keep each side "focused locally."

John McCain
Since his longtime ally Sen. Joe Lieberman retired from the Senate, Sen. John McCain has led the congressional push for U.S. intervention in Syria's civil war, recently quipping that President Obama's supposed "red line" regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria "was apparently written in disappearing ink." Dismissing warnings about Syria's simmering sectarian tensions and the prevalence of radical Islamists amid its armed opposition, McCain has advocated sending heavy weaponry to Syria's rebels and employing U.S. airpower to create "safe zones" inside Syria.

Michael O’Hanlon
Brookings scholar Michael O'Hanlon, a well known liberal interventionist who often teams up with rightwing hawks to push for U.S. military action abroad, has exceeded the proposals of many of his conservative partners with respect to Syria. In addition to advocating arming rebels and creating “no-fly zones,” O'Hanlon has suggested that the United States send as many as 20,000 U.S. "peacekeepers" to police an ethnically and religiously fractured Syria.

Clare Lopez
Longtime right-wing activist and former CIA officer Clare Lopez is a vocal proponent of the notion that the U.S. government—and in particular the Obama administration—has been infiltrated by Islamic extremists tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. A senior fellow at the Clarion Project and the Center for Security Policy, Lopez implied in the wake of the Boston marathon bombing that Brotherhood-linked “front groups” had stymied FBI surveillance of mosques and Muslim organizations, making such attacks more likely to occur.

Jerusalem Summit
The Jerusalem Summit is an Israel-based advocacy group that brings together evangelical Christians, U.S.-based neoconservatives, and international “pro-Israel” organizations to press an anti-Palestinian agenda. Although the group appears to be largely dormant, it maintains an active presence on Facebook, where it posts images and messages mocking the notion of Palestinian statehood, promoting IDF talking points, and calling the “1.4 million Muslims living in Israel” an “obstacle to peace.”

Also New on Right Web

Obama Unlikely to Sharply Escalate Intervention in Syria
The Assad regime's alleged use of chemical weapons has led to calls for increased U.S. assistance to rebels, but lingering doubts in Washington about intervention means assistance will likely remain limited.

Europe Urged to Step into Breach of Failed Mideast Peace
A group of former European leaders is urging the EU to sidestep the stalled U.S.-backed Israeli-Palestinian peace process and take a strong stance against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

Israel Unlikely to Stay on Syrian Sidelines for Much Longer
Increased Hezbollah activity in the Syrian conflict could be spurring Israel to intervene.

Some Hear Death Knell for a Two-State Solution
John Kerry and the Obama administration have placed renewed attention on the Middle East and Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but some analysts think their efforts are too little and too late.

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Featured Profiles

John Bolton, the controversial former U.S. ambassador to the UN and dyed-in the-wool foreign policy hawk, has been selected by President Trump to replace National Security Adviser McMaster, marking a sharp move to the hawkish extreme by the administration.


Michael Joyce, who passed away in 2006, was once described by neoconservative guru Irving Kristol as the “godfather of modern philanthropy.”


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.


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.”


Michael Flynn is a former Trump administration National Security Advisor who was forced to step down only weeks on the job because of his controversial contacts with Russian officials before Trump took office.


Since taking office Donald Trump has revealed an erratic and extremely hawkish approach to U.S. foreign affairs, which has been marked by controversial actions like dropping out of the Iran nuclear agreement that have raised tensions across much of the world and threatened relations with key allies.


Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is one of the Senate’s more vocal hawks, and one of the prime vacillators among Republicans between objecting to and supporting Donald Trump.


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From the Wires

Falsely demonizing all Muslims, their beliefs, and their institutions is exactly the wrong way to make Americans safer, because the more we scare ourselves with imaginary enemies, the harder it will be to find and protect ourselves from real ones.


Division in the ranks of the conservative movement is a critical sign that a war with Iran isn’t inevitable.


Donald Trump stole the headlines, but the declaration from the recent NATO summit suggests the odds of an unnecessary conflict are rising. Instead of inviting a dialogue, the document boasts that the Alliance has “suspended all practical civilian and military cooperation between NATO and Russia.” The fact is, NATO was a child of the Cold War, when the West believed that the Soviets were a threat. But Russia today is not the Soviet Union, and there’s no way Moscow would be stupid enough to attack a superior military force.


War with Iran may not be imminent, but neither was war with Iraq in late 2001.


Donald Trump was one of the many bets the Russians routinely place, recognizing that while most such bets will never pay off a few will, often in unpredictable ways. Trump’s actions since taking office provide the strongest evidence that this one bet is paying off handsomely for the Russians. Putin could hardly have made the script for Trump’s conduct at the recent NATO meeting any more to his liking—and any better designed to foment division and distrust within the Western alliance—than the way Trump actually behaved.


With President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talking openly about a possible “escalation between us and the Iranians,” there is a real risk that some combination of the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia could initiate a war with Iran. If there’s one lesson to be learned from U.S. wars since 9/11, it’s “don’t start another one.”


The former Kansas congressman and now Secretary of State in the Trump administration once told his constituents in Wichita, “The threat to America is from people who deeply believe that Islam is the way and the light and the only answer.” In this conception, if totalitarianism or terrorism is the content of the Iranian policy, then the Islamic Republic is its enabling form.


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