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The Right’s Legal Troubles, John Roberts

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This Week on the Right

Toeing an Illegal Line

By Michael Flynn

With John Roberts seemingly a shoo-in for the Supreme Court, Republicans can hardly be blamed for their excitement on the legal front, which was fervently—and sometimes angrily—demonstrated at the August 14 Justice Sunday II extravaganza, the second installment of a religious-right rally aimed at attacking—in James Dobson’s words—an “unelected, unaccountable, and arrogant” judiciary and championing conservative social causes. Taking center stage at the event, Rep. Tom Delay lambasted “activist courts” for imposing “state-sanctioned same-sex marriage” and “ridding the public square of any mention of our nation’s religious heritage.” The event also served as a rally in support of Roberts, who conservatives hope will help put the court in the hands of the “moral majority.”

Despite the White House’s continued stonewalling over the release of documents detailing some of Roberts’ past work, it is clear what his ideological leanings are and the potential impact they will have on court rulings. Although he is perhaps “no crazed ideologue intent on overturning precedents willy-nilly,” as the Los Angeles Times opined in a recent editorial, Roberts will tilt the bench definitively in a conservative direction on social issues, including abortion. Also, according to observers quoted in a Los Angeles Times report (August 14, 2005), Roberts has a track record of supporting broad executive powers, which could potentially impact everything from the treatment of “enemy combatants” to the president’s authority to use military force without congressional authorization. With the nation confronting a seemingly endless war on terror, the issue of executive powers could turn out to be the most “important issue on the court’s docket over the next few years,” as Neil Kinkopf, a law professor at Georgia State University, told the Times.

But a successful Roberts’ nomination won’t stem the tide of legal woes afflicting a passel of high-profile conservatives and hard-liners with close ties to the Bush administration and powerful Republicans in Congress. Together with the potentially ground-shaking fallout from the ongoing PlameGate saga, the recent indictments of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff and two former analysts from the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee with ties to neoconservatives in the administration have put the house that Bush built on increasingly rocky terrain. [Read entire article]

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Letters From Our Readers

(Editors Note: We encourage feedback and comments, which can be sent for publication through our feedback page, at: /form_feedback.html. We reserve the right to edit comments for clarity and brevity. Be sure to include your full name. Thank you.)

Re: World Movement for Democracy

Tom Barry’s article attacking the World Movement for Democracy (WMD) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) fails to acknowledge the support these institutions receive across a wide ideological spectrum in the United States and abroad. The NED gets substantial support and leadership from “mainstream” republicans, “moderate” democrats, and labor.

The WMD trumpets democratic values against governments which the United States disfavors, but the country fails to apply to these goals to itself, as is clearly seen in its failure to guarantee the constitutional right to vote and the appalling fact that 99 percent of House incumbents are re-elected every 2 years.

Another shortcoming of the WMD is its resistance to applying democratic principles to global governing institutions like the United Nations, the World Bank, and the IMF. For example, the WMD fails to focus on the hegemony of five nations at the UN, which is a profoundly undemocratic practice.

WMD will be vastly improved if it truly advocates for universal democratic values for all governing institutions. Foreign policy elites from various ideological camps would be wise to deepen their support for democratic principles.

— Michael Beer

Re: The New Crusade of the Democratic Globalists

The neoconservatives mentioned in this article are pursuing a disastrous course. Their arrogance in believing the universality of American ideas, values, and Western-style governance not only dismisses other cultures as inferior but invites the wrath of cultures that subscribe to their own religious ideas, values, and ways of governance.

These misguided and messianic ideologues dismiss Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” thesis, which argues that our system is culturally Western and fits our Western heritage. For example, the system of separation of church and state is an invaluable and immutable part of our form of government and Western democracies in general. Islam cannot fathom the separation of church and state. Our systems are not reconcilable. If we attempt to impose our values and our system on other civilizations because of our self-righteous belief that we are superior, we will incur hatred and contempt, and radicalize others to resist our interference, likely generating greater terrorism, and making all Westerners targets for terrorists.

— Dave Lefcourt

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Featured Profiles

Bernard Lewis was a renowned historian of Islam and the Middle East who stirred controversy with his often chauvinistic attitude towards the Muslim world and his associations with high-profile neoconservatives and foreign policy hawks.


John Bolton, the controversial former U.S. ambassador to the UN and dyed-in the-wool foreign policy hawk, is President Trump’s National Security Adviser McMaster, reflecting a sharp move to the hawkish extreme by the administration.


Michael Joyce, who passed away in 2006, was once described by neoconservative guru Irving Kristol as the “godfather of modern philanthropy.”


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.


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.”


Michael Flynn is a former Trump administration National Security Advisor who was forced to step down only weeks on the job because of his controversial contacts with Russian officials before Trump took office.


Since taking office Donald Trump has revealed an erratic and extremely hawkish approach to U.S. foreign affairs, which has been marked by controversial actions like dropping out of the Iran nuclear agreement that have raised tensions across much of the world and threatened relations with key allies.


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From the Wires

Soon after a Saudi-led coalition strike on a bus killed 40 children on August 9, a CENTCOM spokesperson stated to Vox, “We may never know if the munition [used] was one that the U.S. sold to them.”


The West has dominated the post-war narrative with its doctrine of liberal values, arguing that not only were they right in themselves but that economic success itself depended on their application. Two developments have challenged those claims. The first was the West’s own betrayal of its principles: on too many occasions the self interest of the powerful, and disdain for the victims of collateral damage, has showed through. The second dates from more recently: the growth of Chinese capitalism owes nothing to a democratic system of government, let alone liberal values.


Falsely demonizing all Muslims, their beliefs, and their institutions is exactly the wrong way to make Americans safer, because the more we scare ourselves with imaginary enemies, the harder it will be to find and protect ourselves from real ones.


Division in the ranks of the conservative movement is a critical sign that a war with Iran isn’t inevitable.


Donald Trump stole the headlines, but the declaration from the recent NATO summit suggests the odds of an unnecessary conflict are rising. Instead of inviting a dialogue, the document boasts that the Alliance has “suspended all practical civilian and military cooperation between NATO and Russia.” The fact is, NATO was a child of the Cold War, when the West believed that the Soviets were a threat. But Russia today is not the Soviet Union, and there’s no way Moscow would be stupid enough to attack a superior military force.


War with Iran may not be imminent, but neither was war with Iraq in late 2001.


Donald Trump was one of the many bets the Russians routinely place, recognizing that while most such bets will never pay off a few will, often in unpredictable ways. Trump’s actions since taking office provide the strongest evidence that this one bet is paying off handsomely for the Russians. Putin could hardly have made the script for Trump’s conduct at the recent NATO meeting any more to his liking—and any better designed to foment division and distrust within the Western alliance—than the way Trump actually behaved.


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