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

The Dems’ 6-Month Appraisal; Freedom House; Office of Iranian Affairs; The Israel Project

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FEATURED ARTICLE

Democrats Controlling Congress: A Six-Month Assessment
By John Isaacs

The Democrats took over both houses of Congress six months ago with ambitious foreign policy and defense agendas aimed at turning back many of the perceived mistakes of the Bush administration and reining in some of its more ambitious and controversial weapons programs. The Dems have had mixed results thus far, but it seems likely that nuclear weapons production, the Iraq War, missile defense, and the breadth of the "war on terrorism" will remain on the congressional agenda for the duration of President Bush’s time in office. Read full story.

SEE ALSO

Bombs Away?
By Ellen Massey

Cluster munitions, which have left a deadly legacy of unexploded ordinance from Vietnam to Afghanistan, are being targeted for export limits by the Democrat-led Congress. Read full story.

FEATURED PROFILES

Freedom House
Originally created to help push the United States into World War II, Freedom House today receives U.S. funding to undertake clandestine democracy initiatives in Iran, among other things.

The Israel Project
The young, pro-Israel organization has garnered much attention and support and is gaining clout—more than a dozen U.S. reps and senators serve on its board of advisers.

Office of Iranian Affairs
The obscure office within the State Department purportedly devoted to supporting human rights and democracy in Iran appears to be creating divisions among civil society groups, many of whom fear being associated with the United States.

Ruth Wedgwood
A specialist in international human rights law closely aligned with the neocon faction, Wedgwood defends the Bush administration’s "war on terror," both at home and abroad.

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

"This Is Our Munich"?
By Khody Akhavi

Growing bipartisan support for sanctions against Iran is being spearheaded by a passel of hardline pro-Israel groups, including AIPAC, the Center for Security Policy, and The Israel Project. Read full story.

LETTERS

Re: Right Web

It is nice to be able to quickly drill down your list of profiles to see the back-bench powers that are providing policymakers with their "options" (if that is the right word for their work). In my humble opinion, it is at the level of these more obscure staffers where many of the current problems seem to have gotten started.

This would be an interesting and worthwhile topic to get an analysis of—a sort of chicken and egg assessment of the deeper genesis of current policy that gets at the underlying systemic problem, and possibly the hint of a solution.

Not withstanding the overarching influences of a guy like Leo Strauss, has the current leadership independently found and promoted these staffers to develop and execute their vision, or have these smart guys deliberately wormed their way into the confidences of the public faces in some sort of informally organized fashion knowing that this is the real route to running the world?

—H. Smith

Re: Right Web Profile: National Endowment for Democracy

Your profile of the National Endowment for Democracy is very good, and useful, but I’m rather surprised to see that on your source list you’ve left out what I regard as the very best description and analysis of NED, by author William Blum.Have a look at http://members.aol.com/superogue/ned.htm.

—Phillip Tammerman

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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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