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

Why Iraq? Plus New Profiles on the Clarion Fund, Michael Chertoff, Condoleezza Rice, and More

FEATURED ARTICLE

Why Iraq!

Why Iraq? The State of Debate on the Motives for the War
By Daniel Luban

Even as the Obama administration ramps up military engagement in Afghanistan, the motives for why the country went to war in Iraq remain clouded in debate. The Bush administration’s discredited public rationale, that the country was threatened by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, was at best only the tip of the iceberg, at worst a cynical attempt to cover up the actual motives for the war. A close inspection of the various arguments suggests that above all, the Iraq war was an extreme manifestation of a recent ideological tendency in U.S. foreign policy, and that the thinking that engendered it may not be fully in the rearview mirror. Read full story.

 

FEATURED PROFILES

Clarion Fund
A little-known group connected to the Israeli right-wing, the Clarion Fund recently released a new documentary called the The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision for America.

John Negroponte
A controversial Reagan-era official who was involved in implementing counterinsurgency policies in Central America, Negroponte served as the first national intelligence director during the George W. Bush administration. Yale recently hired Negroponte to teach a “grand strategy” course.

Condoleezza Rice
The former secretary of state has returned to Stanford, where she was provost before joining the Bush administration, to teach political science and work as a fellow at the hawkish Hoover Institution.

Michael Chertoff
The former head of DHS and a key advocate of the Bush administration’s “war on terror,” Chertoff recently founded a risk management firm and joined the law firm of Covington & Burling.

Jack Kemp (1935-2009)
A former congressman and standout NFL quarterback who was associated with the hawkish wing of the Republican Party, Jack Kemp passed away in early May 2009.

Steven J. Rosen
In early May, the U.S. government dropped its espionage charges against Rosen, a high-profile advocate of hardline U.S. policies in support of Israel who had been accused of passing sensitive U.S. information while working for the high-powered “Israel lobby” group, AIPAC.

 

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

Af-Pak: McChrystal Choice Suggests Special Ops Strikes to Continue
Analysis by Gareth Porter

The man Defense Secretary Robert Gates has selected as the new U.S. commander in Afghanistan is likely to be more interested in targeted killings than in the politically sensitive counterinsurgency tactics that the Obama administration has says it wants to carry out.

AIPAC Conference Pushes for Sanctions on Iran
By Daniel Luban

The annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee provided a stark reminder that although the lobby has come under increasing fire in recent years, it remains a force to be reckoned with.

As Obama Engages, Hawks Soften Rhetoric
By Ali Gharib

Foreign policy hawks speaking at a recent American Enterprise Institute conference revealed a softening in their rhetoric toward Iran and expressed a willingness to engage the country.

Neocon Ideologues Launch New Foreign Policy Group
By Daniel Luban and Jim Lobe

The newly founded Foreign Policy Initiative, led by the same neocon writers who set up the Project for the New American Century, supports a “surge” in Afghanistan and warns of “threats” from countries like Russia and China.

 

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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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