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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…

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.

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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.

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Featured Profiles

Paul Ryan (R-WI), Speaker of the House from 2015-2018, was known for his extremely conservative economic and social views and hawkish foreign policies.


On August 16, 2018, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the formation of the Iran Action Group (IAG). It would “be responsible for directing, reviewing, and coordinating all aspects of the State Department’s Iran-related activity, and it will report directly to me,” he stated. Amid speculation that the Donald Trump administration was focused on…


Norm Coleman is a lobbyist for the Saudi Arabian government, chair of the Republican Jewish Coalition, and former senator from Minnesota, known for hawkish, pro-Likud, and anti-Iran foreign policy views.


The millionaire pastor of the Cornerstone Church in Texas, John Hagee argues that U.S. support for Israel will play a “a pivotal role in the second coming” of Jesus. He has also risen to new prominence during the Trump administration.


Michael Gerson, an evangelical Christian who served as a chief aide and speechwriter in the George W. Bush White House, is a conservative columnist for the Washington Post and one of Donald Trump’s harshest critics on the right, calling him an “unhinged president.”


Robert Kagan, a cofounder of the Project for the New American Century, is a neoconservative policy pundit and historian based at the Brookings Institution.


Mira Ricardel, former weapons marketer for Boeing, is the deputy national security adviser under John Bolton. She is a well-known foreign policy hawk who has served in key positions in the administration of George W. Bush and, earlier, in the office of former Senator Robert Dole (R-KS).


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U.S. supporters of Israel are in a bind: public opinion is changing; there are more actors publicly challenging Israel; and the crude, heavy-handed tactics they have successfully used in the past to silence criticism now only aggravate the situation.


As the civilian death toll from Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen grows and the backlash against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in Khashoggi’s murder escalates, former Sen. Norm Coleman’s control of Republican Party campaign purse strings positions him as a key influencer of Republican congressional action, or inaction, in curtailing the increasingly aggressive and reckless actions of Saudi Arabia.


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