Right Web

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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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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