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

The Next SecDef?

FEATURED PROFILES Michele Flournoy Michele Flournoy, a former undersecretary of defense for policy and a possible candidate for defense secretary in the second Obama administration, co-founded the Center for a New American Security, a “liberal hawk” think tank that has been a key source of counterinsurgency strategy for the Obama administration. Sometimes regarded as a…

FEATURED PROFILES

Michele Flournoy

Michele Flournoy, a former undersecretary of defense for policy and a possible candidate for defense secretary in the second Obama administration, co-founded the Center for a New American Security, a “liberal hawk” think tank that has been a key source of counterinsurgency strategy for the Obama administration. Sometimes regarded as a “liberal realist,” Flournoy’s Pentagon candidacy has been supported by leading neoconservatives, in part of because of their opposition to other candidates, but also because of her backing for extended U.S. military engagement in the Middle East and “pro-Israel” sentiments.

Ashton Carter

Described by the Boston Globe as “the favorite” choice of the Pentagon bureaucracy to replace outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Ashton Carter is an accomplished academic and longtime Pentagon official who currently serves as deputy secretary of defense in the Barack Obama administration. Carter has been adamant in his insistence that the United States place force on the table in its efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons programs, arguing in numerous venues over the years that “coercion” should be seen as a legitimate tool to halt presumed weapons programs in countries hostile to the United States, including Iran.

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

The Neocon Attack on Chuck Hagel

The pro-war and “pro-Israel” lobbies have pulled out all the stops to prevent former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel from receiving the nod to be the Obama administration’s next Pentagon chief.

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Featured Profiles

Zalmay Khalilzad is Donald Trump’s special representative to the Afghan peace process, having previously served as ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq under George W. Bush.


Robert Joseph played a key role in manipulating U.S. intelligence to support the invasion of Iraq and today is a lobbyist for the MEK.


Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is one of the Senate’s more vocal hawks, and one of the prime vacillators among Republicans between objecting to and supporting Donald Trump.


Elliott Abrams, the Trump administration’s special envoy to Venezuela, is a neoconservative with a long record of hawkish positions and actions, including lying to Congress about the Iran-Contra affair.


Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump second secretary of state, has driven a hawkish foreign policy in Iran and Latin America.


Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is known for his hawkish views on foreign policy and close ties to prominent neoconservatives.


Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s first U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is known for her lock-step support for Israel and is widely considered to be a future presidential candidate.


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From the Wires

François Nicoullaud, the former French ambassador to Iran, discusses the ups and downs of Iran-France relations and the new US sanctions.


Effective alliances require that powerful states shoulder a far larger share of the alliance maintenance costs than other states, a premise that Donald Trump rejects.


The new imbroglio over the INF treaty does not mean a revival of the old Cold War practice of nuclear deterrence. However, it does reveal the inability of the West and Russia to find a way to deal with the latter’s inevitable return to the ranks of major powers, a need that was obvious even at the time the USSR collapsed.


As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump appeared to recognize the obvious problem of the revolving door. But as the appointment of Patrick Shanahan, who spent 30 years at Boeing, as the Trump administration’s acting secretary of defense reveals, little has changed. America is indeed great again, if you happen to be one of those lucky enough to be moving back and forth between plum jobs in the Pentagon and the weapons industry.


Domestic troubles, declining popularity, and a decidedly hawkish anti-Iran foreign policy team may combine to make the perfect storm that pushes Donald Trump to pull the United States into a new war in the Middle East.


The same calculus that brought Iran and world powers to make a deal and has led remaining JCPOA signatories to preserve it without the U.S. still holds: the alternatives to this agreement – a race between sanctions and centrifuges that could culminate in Iran obtaining the bomb or being bombed – would be much worse.


With Bolton and Pompeo by his side and Mattis departed, Trump may well go with his gut and attack Iran militarily. He’ll be encouraged in this delusion by Israel and Saudi Arabia. He’ll of course be looking for some way to distract the media and the American public. And he won’t care about the consequences.


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