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

Haim Saban is a media mogul and major donor to the Democratic Party known for his hardline stance on Israel and opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.


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.


Brian Hook is the director of policy planning and senior policy advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and is the head of the Iran Action Group.


Josh Rogin is a journalist known for his support for neoconservative policies and views.


Laurence Silberman, a senior justice on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was a mentor to controversial Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and has been a vocal supporter of right-wing foreign and domestic agendas, including the campaign to support the invasion of Iraq.


The People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, advocates regime change in Iran and has strong connections with a wide range of top political figures in the U.S.


Eli Lake is a columnist for Bloomberg View who has a lengthy record of advocating for aggressive U.S. foreign policies towards the Middle East.


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From the Wires

Jobs should not be an excuse to arm a murderous regime that not only appears to be behind the assassination of a U.S. resident and respected commentator but is also responsible for thousands of civilian casualties in Yemen—the majority killed with U.S-supplied bombs, combat aircraft, and tactical assistance.


The contradictions in Donald Trump’s foreign policy create opportunities for both rivals and long-standing (if irritated) US allies to challenge American influence. But Trump’s immediate priority is political survival, and his actions in the international arena are of little concern to his domestic supporters.


While the notion that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic is decades old, it has been bolstered in recent years, by the campaign to add to the definition of anti-Semitism any criticism that singles Israel out and doesn’t apply the same standard to other countries. The bottom line is that this entire effort is designed not to combat anti-Semitism but to silence criticism. 


Short-term thinking, expedience, and a lack of strategic caution has led Washington to train, fund, and support group after group that have turned their guns on American soldiers and civilians.


Trump is not the problem. Think of him instead as a summons to address the real problem, which in a nation ostensibly of, by, and for the people is the collective responsibility of the people themselves. For Americans to shirk that responsibility further will almost surely pave the way for more Trumps — or someone worse — to come.


The United Nations has once again turn into a battleground between the United States and Iran, which are experiencing one of the darkest moments in their bilateral relations.


In many ways, Donald Trump’s bellicosity, his militarism, his hectoring cant about American exceptionalism and national greatness, his bullying of allies—all of it makes him not an opponent of neoconservatism but its apotheosis. Trump is a logical culmination of the Bush era as consolidated by Obama.


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