Right Web

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

The Real Middle East Lobby; Profiles on Clarion Fund, Freedom Watch, and more.

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FEATURED ARTICLES

The Real Middle East Lobby

By Samer Araabi

Right-wing supporters of Israel have countered arguments about the undue influence of the “Israel Lobby” by conjuring a multifarious boogeyman that supposedly has been swaying U.S. policy for decades—the “Arab Lobby.” Purportedly composed of a heady mélange of actors—including Palestinian activists, anti-Semitic Washington insiders, oil and weapons companies, Middle Eastern dictators, and Arab-Americans—this “lobby” shares a similar weakness with that of the “Israel lobby”: it misleadingly groups together forces whose intentions are often diametrically opposed. The notion also disguises a deeper, more complex fault line over U.S. Mideast policy: The real battle is the one pitting the combined forces of hawkish “pro-Israeli” factions and Saudi-led oil interests—both of whom advocate a steady flow of weapons and the perpetual presence of U.S. troops—against populist Middle East groups and their Western supporters. Read full article.

 

FEATURED PROFILES

Clarion Fund

The controversial Likud-aligned documentary producer has announced the forthcoming release of its third film, Iranium.

Freedom Watch

Freedom Watch, an organization led by right-wing activist Larry Klayman that promotes a hodgepodge of conservative foreign and domestic policies, has called for the immediate removal of the regime in Iran.

National Strategy Information Center

In a new report, the National Strategy Information Center, which has been promoting militarist U.S. foreign policies since the 1960s, hypes the notion that the world is on the verge of chaos and that shadowy forces are engaged in an existential battle “against the West.”

Thomas Dine

Thomas Dine, former director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and past supporter of hawkish Mideast policy campaigns, appears to be seeking new ways to engage the Muslim world.

Joseph Lieberman

Senator Lieberman’s interpretation of “Independent Democrat” means attacking Iran and supporting every neoconservative cause that comes his way.

 

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

Obama Scrambles to Save Foreign Policy Agenda

Calls to block the new START Treaty reveal the challenges confronting President Obama in gaining any support from Republicans on foreign policy during the remainder of his term.

Pentagon Exempt from Budget Cuts?

Influential Republican Party figures are pushing back against efforts to target the Pentagon budget for cuts.

Study Group Urges "Strategic Engagement" with Iran

A new study by two centrist think tanks urges the Obama administration topursue a policy of "strategic engagement" with Iran that would offer Tehran more attractive incentives to curb its nuclear program.

START Supporters Play Iran Card

The Obama administration is trying to sell the new START to Republicans by arguing that failure to ratify the treaty would weaken efforts to apply collective international pressure on Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran Laptop Papers Show Wrong Warhead

Key evidence used to argue that Iran had a covert nuclear weapons research depict a reentry vehicle abandoned by Iranian officials.

 

LETTERS

Re: Standard Operating Procedures: How the Neocons Are Co-opting the Tea Party

The idea that Tea Partiers will become antiwar activists is one of the most frustrating and delusional conceits I have seen in principled conservative circles in the last year. I was pleased therefore to see Scott McConnell’s article for Right Web on the subject. But even he seems to take a misguidedly benighted view of the tea parties, as implied by the notion that they have been merely co-opted by the neocons. I would argue, to the contrary, that the Tea Party movement is in fact fundamentally neocon in its first principles.

I consider this article by Irving Kristol a smoking gun in understanding neoconservatism. He laid out frankly his arriving at the conclusion in the 1950s that European welfare states were unfit to destroy communism and extend the global democratic revolution, and therefore it must be done by some sort of military-industrial complex and heavy “democratic capitalism,”

It is the deep internalization of this narrative on a mass level that has led to hysterical and even violent opposition to the health care bill and indeed anything that could remotely make America more like a European welfare state. Those who find this far-fetched would do well to consider that this is why so many neocons became newspaper columnists, reaching all the way into small local papers and thus able to exert tremendous influence on mass consciousness. And those eager to see the contrary “welfare-warfare state” in the Tea Parties, I will just say that it is no less intellectually lazy to believe that an activist mass movement has altruistically emerged to fight for austerity than it is to reduce it to racist hatred of Obama.

The best way one can understand the Tea Party movement, therefore, is by drawing an analogy to reactionary mass movements that emerged in the twilight of European Imperialism, perhaps most notably the partisans of Algerie Francaise. There may also be something to be said for the argument of Peter Beinart, for all its insipid attacks on the “isolationist” bogey, about the pattern of domestic nativist anxiety that led to the Klan after World War I and McCarthyism after World War II. The former’s relevance to recent anti-Muslim hysteria is obvious enough, but the latter may be the most instructive. The debate about the Tea Party among principled conservatives bears a stunning likeness to the debate on the old right over McCarthy.

In any event, how any of this might possibly be interpreted as the basis of a new antiwar movement requires the maximum of either self-deception or hallucinogens.

—Jack Ross

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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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