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

The Civilian Control Trap and the Meaning of Withdrawal; Profiles on Max Boot, Newt Gingrich, & more

FEATURED ARTICLES

The Civilian Control Trap

By Robert Farley

Conservative acquiescence in the firing of Gen. Stanley McChrystal appears to demonstrate a surprising commitment to the principle of civilian control of the military by the right-wing in the United States. On the other hand, it may have presaged a campaign to lay the blame for a failed war in Afghanistan at the feet of a Democratic president. Since 2001, conservatives have strongly supported civilian control, in part because of military queasiness about the war in Iraq. Today, conservatives are using the principle of civilian control to place full responsibility for difficulties in the Afghanistan War on the shoulders of President Obama. Read full article

Despite Iraq Withdrawal, Greater Mideast Not Looking Good

By Jim Lobe

While President Obama spins the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq as a sign of success of his policies in the region, the latest news from the Greater Middle East is far less encouraging. Read full article

FEATURED PROFILES

Max Boot

Responding to a recent op-ed penned by the Council on Foreign Relations’ in-house neocon, one observer argues that Boot hopes to keep the United States in a state of “permanent mobilization.”

Newt Gingrich

The former Speaker of the House and erstwhile conservative intellectual thinks that “global society” risks falling under Sharia law, and that allowing construction of a mosque near Ground Zero is tantamount to “submitting” to Saudi Arabia.

Amitai Etzioni

The idiosyncratic social theorist and founder of the Communitarian Network thinks the United States should bomb Iran and “unshackle” the troops in Afghanistan. 

Erik Prince

Erik Prince and his company Xe have been besieged with criminal allegations, spurring the Christian Right billionaire to ramp up his anti-government rhetoric.

Arthur Waldron

A long-time China hawk, Waldron claims that the United States must be willing to rollback Chinese influence in Asia, or be prepared to sacrifice allies and its reputation.

Henry F. Cooper

The former director of the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative and a key right-wing opponent of Obama administration arms control initiatives, Cooper was recently given the “Ronald Reagan Missile Defense Award” by the Department of Defense’s Strategic Defense Initiative.

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

Right Web on Antiwar.com Radio

The director of IPS Right Web discusses the Emergency Committee for Israel and neoconservatives with Antiwar.com Radio.

Despite Cuts, Nukes Still Integral to U.S. Security Strategy

Some analysts think that new U.S. plans to improve its nuclear weapons complex are likely to hinder international efforts to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

Leaked Reports Make Afghan War Policy More Vulnerable

Although the 92,000 reports on the war in Afghanistan made public by WikiLeaks offer no major revelations, they increase the political pressure on a war policy that has already suffered a precipitous loss of credibility.

Obama’s Afghanistan Strategy Increasingly Under Siege

The release of tens of thousands of classified documents detailing the war in Afghanistan comes amid a growing crisis of confidence in the nearly nine-year-old war.

LETTERS

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Featured Profiles

Bernard Lewis was a renowned historian of Islam and the Middle East who stirred controversy with his often chauvinistic attitude towards the Muslim world and his associations with high-profile neoconservatives and foreign policy hawks.


John Bolton, the controversial former U.S. ambassador to the UN and dyed-in the-wool foreign policy hawk, is President Trump’s National Security Adviser McMaster, reflecting 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.


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From the Wires

Soon after a Saudi-led coalition strike on a bus killed 40 children on August 9, a CENTCOM spokesperson stated to Vox, “We may never know if the munition [used] was one that the U.S. sold to them.”


The West has dominated the post-war narrative with its doctrine of liberal values, arguing that not only were they right in themselves but that economic success itself depended on their application. Two developments have challenged those claims. The first was the West’s own betrayal of its principles: on too many occasions the self interest of the powerful, and disdain for the victims of collateral damage, has showed through. The second dates from more recently: the growth of Chinese capitalism owes nothing to a democratic system of government, let alone liberal values.


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.


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