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This Week on theRight

A Meeting of Minds and Policy
ByTom Barry

(Excerpted from an analysis published byInter Press Service on February 7. See Right Web’s special report The Foreign Policy Disapora — From Jerusalem to Washington (https://rightweb.irc-online.org/analysis/2005/0502sharansky.php)for a full treatment of the Bush/Sharansky relationship.

There is little doubt that George W.Bush and Natan Sharansky, a Soviet émigré who is a top political official in Israel,share a similar perspective about internationalaffairs, especially in the Middle East.

Following his inaugural address, the U.S. president saidthat Sharansky’s book ”The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to OvercomeTyranny and Terror”, published last September, confirmed what he alreadybelieved. He added that the Israeli author’s thinking was ”part of mypresidential DNA.”

Sharansky and Bush appear to enjoy a mutual admirationsociety. Sharansky, who is Israel’s Minister for Jerusalem and DiasporaAffairs, praised Bush’s June 24, 2002 speech on his new Middle East policy –which aligned Washington with the Likud party’s agenda — as one of ”the twogreatest speeches of my lifetime”, the other being former U.S. president RonaldReagan’s speech casting the Soviet Union as an ”evil empire.”

After perusing galleys of Sharansky’s book, President Bushinvited the Israeli minister for a personal meeting at the White House onNovember 11, 2004. The November session between Sharansky and the president wasnot the first time that Bush had met Sharansky. On an official visit to Israelin 1998, Bush, then governor of Texas, met with then Foreign Minister ArielSharon, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Industry Minister Sharansky.According to Bush, who had dinner with Netanyahu and was personally escorted ona helicopter tour of the occupied territories by Sharon, ”Israel has got atremendous amount of talent — smart folks — many of whom have immigrated fromRussia.” Sharanksy, one of those immigrants, gave Bush an overview of theexisting U.S.-Israeli business relationships and new opportunities, especiallyin the defense industry.

In Israel and across the Middle East, Sharansky is widelyregarded as a right-wing Zionist and hawk, who positions himself to the rightof Ariel Sharon.

The coherence between the Likud party’s agenda and that ofthe Bush administration was clearly on display at the December 2004 ”HerzliyaConference on National Strength and Security in Israel,” which featuredSharansky and Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Sharansky said that President Bush shared his own beliefthat there could be no peace in the Middle East or resolution of thePalestinian issue until the Arab world adopted economic and political reformsin line with those promoted by the Bush administration and the Likud party.

The United States and Israel have much in common, accordingto Sharansky. One of the links, he said in a speech at a forum sponsored by theAmerican Enterprise Institute, which was the basis for an article inCommentary, the journal of the American Jewish Committee, is the spreadingscourge of anti-Semitism. ”Anti-Americanism in the Islamic world andanti-Americanism in Europe are in fact linked,” argues Sharansky, because ”bothbear an uncanny resemblance to anti-Semitism.”

In his essay titled ”On Hating Jews,” Sharansky writes:”America embodies a different-a nonconforming-idea of the good, and refuses toabandon its moral clarity about the objective worth of that idea.” According toSharansky, the Jews have long held that they were chosen to play a special rolein history, to be what their prophets called ”a light unto nations” — notunlike the United States, a nation that has long regarded itself as entrustedwith a mission to be what John Winthrop in the 17th century called ”a city on ahill” and Ronald Reagan in the 20th century parsed as a ”shining city on a hill.”

*Tom Barry is policy director of the InternationalRelations Center (IRC), online at http://www.irc-online.org.He directs the IRC’s Right Web program.

FeaturedProfiles

*Neocon Gladiator: Elliott Abrams embodies neoconservatism. Perhaps morethan any other neoconservative, Abrams has integrated the various influencesthat have shaped today’s neoconservative agenda.

Right Web Profile: Elliott Abrams: https://rightweb.irc-online.org/ind/abrams/abrams.php

*A Perfect Fit: Although not part of the new right’s militarist andneoconservative camps, Zoellick’s personal arrogance, his unilateralism, andhis loyalty to Bush and the Republican Party’s new radical elite make him aperfect fit for Bush’s new foreign policy team.

Right Web Profile: Robert Zoellick: https://rightweb.irc-online.org/ind/zoellick/zoellick.php

*Follower, Not a Leader. Riceis expected to realign the State Department so that it reflects the directionsset by the administration’s foreign policy team based at the Pentagon and thevice-president’s office.

Right Web Profile: Condoleezza Rice: https://rightweb.irc-online.org/ind/rice/rice.php

*Author, Activist, andGov’t Minister: In Case for Freedom,Natan Sharansky describes U.S. policy as a continuum involving many of hisclosest friends and collaborators in the United States, including Abrams,Perle, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, outgoing Undersecretary of Defense forPolicy Douglas Feith, and Cheney’s chief of staff “Scooter”Libby. “If you check their background, most of them were connectedeither to Senator Jackson or to the Reagan administration, or both,” wroteSharansky.

Right Web Profile: Natan Sharansky: https://rightweb.irc-online.org/ind/sharansky/sharansky.php

FeaturedAnalysis

Natan Sharansky andGeorge W. Bush:

The Foreign Policy Diaspora—From Jerusalem to Washington

As Minister of Jerusalem andDiaspora Affairs, Natan Sharanksy advocates the“in-gathering of Jews” inIsrael. In a letter published by the Israel Citizens Information Council, aproject of his ministry, Sharansky wrote: “In Israel there is no suchthing as an‘ordinary citizen.’ This country consists largely of immigrants,but immigrants only in the sense that they were born someplace else, just toreturn home, to Israel, later. The community we have created — a diverse,vibrant and growing democracy — is best represented by its citizens.”Sharansky describes himself as“the representative of the government andpeople of Israel to the Jewish world.”

Right Web Analysis: https://rightweb.irc-online.org/analysis/2005/0502sharansky.php

Neocons and Liberals Together, Again

The neoconservative Projectfor the New American Century (PNAC) has signaled its intention to continueshaping the government’s national security strategy with a new public letterstating that the “U.S. military is too small for the responsibilities we areasking it to assume.” Their January 28th letter advocates that House andSenate leaders take the necessary steps “to increase substantially the size ofthe active duty Army and Marine Corps.”

Joining the neocons in theletter to congressional leaders were a group of prominent liberals givingcredence to PNAC’s claim that the “call to act” to increase the total number ofU.S. ground forces counts on bipartisan support. To the delight of theneocons at PNAC and AEI, these liberal hawks share their vision of a worldorder based on U.S. military supremacy and America’s presumed moralsuperiority.

Right Web Analysis: https://rightweb.irc-online.org/analysis/2005/0502ally.php

Lettersand Comments

(Editors Note: Weencourage feedback and comments, which can be sent for publication through ourfeedback page, at: https://rightweb.irc-online.org/form_feedback.html.Thank you.)

Re: Neocons and LiberalsTogether, Again

I would suggest that a veryimportant element explaining why the formerly “liberal” neocons cameto be what they are is their sympathy for Israel and how that nation becameanathema to progressives because of its persecution of the Palestinians.Related was the enmity of the Soviet Union again partially engendered by theantagonism of that country towards Israel and the emigration of many of itsJewish citizens.

– Morton Brussel (brussel@uiuc.edu)

Re:Neocons and Liberals Together Again

Great article on PNAC’s mostrecent letter to Congress. However, I take issue with your claims that somehowTrotskyism played a roll in the formation of this rightwing ideology. It issimply dishonest; in fact, the original claims made to this effect were made by*conservatives* whose ideological positions did not line up with the so-called”neo-cons.”

I would respect this websitetremendously if it offered retractions of this claim. A great place to start inunraveling the lies that the neocons were “Trotskyists” can be foundin this article, which states: “The historical roots of neoconservatism: areply to a slanderous attack on Trotskyism,” at http://www.wsws.org/articles/2003/may2003/shac-m23.shtml

– Michael de Socio desocimr@yahoo.com

(Editor’s Reply: No retraction.Most neoconservative forerunners such as James Burnham and Irving Kristol,among many others, became involved in politics as socialists who wereanti-Stalinists, anti-totalitarians, and members of Troskyite studentorganizations and front organizations. They openly acknowledge this. And thisTrotskyite tradition continues in the affiliation of many neocons withorganizations such as Social Democrats/USA. It’s true that the traditionalconservatives, mainly the paleoconservatives, frequently point to theTrotskyite and later liberal origins of today’s neocons, but these charges arewell-founded and result from having experienced the takeover of theconservative movement by those whose political origins found in left-centerorganizations and publications.)

Re: Robert Zoellickand Condoleezza Rice

What everyone else should know is that Rice is not the strong personality theRepublicans like to present her as being. She’s strongly emotionallydependent on Bush as a father/brother/husband substitute. I read herearly biography closely–an only child who grew up under intense familypressure, especially the hand of a somewhat narcissistic mother, groomed forblack greatness, denied a normal childhood and the kind of emotional nurture agirl needs to succeed in love as an adult. The Bushes have been groomingher (emotionally) for years, filling a void.Her religiously justifiedneurotic sense of duty, to them as well as to her country, has impaired herpsychological autonomy.

I have considerable background in psychology. This is my interpretationof the facts as presented by Antonia Felix. I refer you to the Sunday(London) Times article, from 11/21/040:
www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2092-1367314,00.html

– Sharon Kass <KassSRI@aol.com>

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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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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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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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