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

Attacking the new nuclear posture; Flotilla fallout; Ed Meese, Michael Rubin, and more.

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The Nuclear Posture Attack

By Robert Farley

The vehement attacks against President Obama’s arms control initiatives reveal the extent to which the militarist extreme in the Republican Party’s foreign policy establishment has remained deeply entrenched despite the significant setbacks hawks have suffered since helping drive the country into war with Iraq. Using language that conjures images from the heyday of the Cold War, neoconservatives and other right-wing nationalists have endeavored to paint the administration as willing to sacrifice national security to achieve international acclaim. They have also drowned out more moderate voices in the Republican Party, whose realist views, although more in line with the policies pushed by the Obama administration, are failing to have an impact on conservative discourse. Read full article.

Special Section: Fallout from the Gaza Flotilla Attack

Since Israel’s pre-dawn attack in international waters on a flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to people living in Gaza, the usual suspects have been pushing back against the condemnation the attack has ignited around the world. The Israel government blames the activists; the neocons blame the UN and Europeans for upholding flawed notions of proportionality; and the White House has gone into full-fledged damage-control mode.

Obama Seeks to Quiet Outrage over Gaza Flotilla Killings
By Jim Lobe
While calling the blockade against Gaza "unsustainable and unacceptable,” the Obama administration has steadfastly avoided assigning blame for the deadly Israeli attack on the Gaza aid flotilla. Read full article.

ISRAEL: Spinning the Attack on the Gaza Aid Flotilla
By Mel Frykberg   
The Israeli government has launched a full-throttle defense of its attack on the Gaza aid flotilla as outrage over the attack grows around the world. Read full article.

PROFILE: Michael Rubin
The AEI scholar has been a vociferous defender of Israel since its deadly attack on the Gaza aid flotilla, accusing Europeans of being weak in their defense of liberalism and warning the Obama administration that if it takes a tough line on the attack Israel will decide it has a green light to bomb Iran.

PROFILE: Clifford May
The former New York Times writer and head of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies has tried to defend Israel’s flotilla attack by citing press reports about purported anti-Semitic chants among flotilla participants that are based on assertions by government representatives that were not confirmed by any independent source.

Featured Profiles

Edwin Meese
The Reagan-era Cold Warrior recently re-emerged on the national scene when he co-wrote an op-ed for the right-wing Washington Times that called for a return to the principles of “peace through strength” and warned that America’s very existence was in jeopardy because of a dazzling array of purported threats, including insecure borders, Sharia law, and unlawful combatants.

Robert Joseph
Joseph, a controversial Bush administration arms control official, now peddles diatribes on the Obama administration’s efforts to reform strategic policies from his perch at the National Institute for Public Policy.  

National Institute for Public Policy
Although NIPP claims to have moved beyond Cold War ideas in its analysis of strategic policies, its writers continue to be deeply ensconced in Soviet-era ideas, as evidenced by their recent criticisms of the Obama administration.

Lagon, Mark
A State Department official during the Bush administration with a history of working for neoconservative groups, Lagon recently became a visiting professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Tanter, Raymond
Tanter, founder of the hawkish Iran Policy Committee, recently revived his arguments for why the U.S. should support the People's Mujahedin Organization (MEK), an Iranian opposition group classified as a terrorist organization by the State Department.

Goldfarb, Michael
The former Weekly Standard editor recently became a VP at Orion Strategies, a PR firm that has lobbied for the expansion of NATO and is home to rightist political operatives pushing a potential Sarah Palin presidential run.

Also New on Right Web

Obama Security Strategy Stresses Economy, Multilateralism
In his first National Security Strategy, President Obama pledged to maintain the U.S.'s "military superiority" while stressing that the persistence of the nation's global power will depend more on the health of its domestic economy and international cooperation.

IRAN: Fuel Swap Deal Shakes Sanctions Push
Despite continued U.S. efforts to dismiss the Iran nuclear deal with Turkey and Brazil, there are signs that the deal is spurring diplomatic pressure from UN Security Council members, particularly Russia and China.

U.S. Defense Spending Far Outpaces Rest of the World
The United States continues to lead the world in defense spending, according to a new report by the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, a U.S.-based nonpartisan research organization.

IRAN: U.S. Covert Ops versus Sanctions?
At the same time that it is working with the Senate to gain flexibility in pushing Iran sanctions, the Obama administration seems to be upping the potential for covert operations in the region.

U.S. Militarization in Latin America
A recent report by several Washington-based policy groups reveals growing disenchantment with the Obama administration’s lack of effort to curb U.S. militarization in Latin America.

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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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