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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

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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

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and two-time failed presidential candidate, is a foreign policy hawk with neoconservative leanings who appears set to become the next senator from Utah.


Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman and longtime “superlobbyist” who has supported numerous neoconservative advocacy campaigns, has become embroiled in the special prosecutor’s investigation into the Donald Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.


Jon Lerner is a conservative political strategist and top adviser to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. He was a key figure in the “Never Trump” Campaign, which appears to have led to his being ousted as Vice President Mike Pence’s national security adviser.


Pamela Geller is a controversial anti-Islam activist who has founded several “hate groups” and likes to repeat debunked myths, including about the alleged existence of “no-go” Muslim zones in Europe.


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.”


Although overlooked by President Trump for cabinet post, Gingrich has tried to shape affairs in the administration, including by conspiring with government officials to “purge the State Department of staffers they viewed as insufficiently loyal” to the president.


Former Sen Mark Kirk (R-IL) is an advisor for United Against Nuclear Iran. He is an outspoken advocate for aggressive action against Iran and a fierce defender of right-wing Israeli policies.


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From the Wires

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Other than the cynical political interests in Moscow and Tehran, there is no conceivable rationale for wanting Bashar al-Assad to stay in power. But the simple fact is, he has won the war. And while Donald Trump has reveled in positive press coverage of the recent attacks on the country, it is clear that they were little more than a symbolic act.


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The reality is that the Assad regime is winning the Syrian civil war, and this matters far less to U.S. interests than it does to that regime or its allies in Russia and Iran, who see Syria as their strongest and most consistent entrée into the Arab world. Those incontrovertible facts undermine any notion of using U.S. military force as leverage to gain a better deal for the Syrian people.


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An effective rhetorical tool to normalize military build-ups is to characterize spending increases “modernization.”


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The Pentagon has officially announced that that “long war” against terrorism is drawing to a close — even as many counterinsurgency conflicts  rage across the Greater Middle East — and a new long war has begun, a permanent campaign to contain China and Russia in Eurasia.


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Revelations that data-consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used ill-gotten personal information from Facebook for the Trump campaign masks the more scandalous reality that the company is firmly ensconced in the U.S. military-industrial complex. It should come as no surprise then that the scandal has been linked to Erik Prince, co-founder of Blackwater.


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As the United States enters the second spring of the Trump era, it’s creeping ever closer to more war. McMaster and Mattis may have written the National Defense Strategy that over-hyped the threats on this planet, but Bolton and Pompeo will have the opportunity to address these inflated threats in the worst way possible: by force of arms.


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We meet Donald Trump in the media every hour of every day, which blots out much of the rest of the world and much of what’s meaningful in it.  Such largely unexamined, never-ending coverage of his doings represents a triumph of the first order both for him and for an American cult of personality.


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