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

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David Albright is the founder of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a non-proliferation think tank focusing mainly on the Iranian nuclear program whose objectivity has been called into question by observers. Albright, the “news media’s ‘favorite’ expert” on Iranian nuclear issues, argued in a recent panel discussion hosted by the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Foreign Policy Initiative that Congress should intervene in the Obama administration’s diplomatic efforts if a “good deal” is not reached. According to one journalist, Albright has “left a trail of evidence indicating that he has embraced the Iran alarmist line coming from the United States, Israel, and the IAEA.”



Michele Flournoy, co-founder of the “liberal hawk” Center for a New American Security, has been widely mentioned as a possible successor to Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel, despite her at times militaristic policy positions.  “Rather than proposing a different course for the administration’s foreign policy,” quipped one conservative writer, Flournoy “appears to possibly be the person to entrench it for rest of Obama’s term.”




The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a neoconservative think tank and advocacy group based in Washington, has endeavored to undermine the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran. FDD executive director Mark Dubowitz recently voiced support for measures by hawkish members of Congress that seek to give Congress a greater role in the negotiations, such as getting an “up or down vote on” any deal. Dubowitz has also suggested that Congress “defend the sanctions architecture” on Iran even if an agreement is reached. 


The Center for Security Policy (CSP), run by notorious Islamophobe Frank Gaffney, has rabidly opposed negotiating with Iran over its country’s nuclear program. With the deadline to reach an agreement fast approaching, CSP fellows have argued that it would pose “an existential threat to Israel” and a “deadly threat to U.S. national security.” They have also urged Congress to “repudiate the nuclear talks and any agreement resulting from them.”


AIPAC, “America’s pro-Israel lobby,” has attempted to influence the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 by supporting hawkish congressional measures that many analysts say could derail the diplomatic process. The lobby has strongly endorsed a letter from Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) pressuring Secretary of State John Kerry to broaden the scope of demands in a potential agreement, which many observers have criticized as containing “distortions of the truth.”


Although largely dormant in recent years, the Committee on the Present Danger—the Cold War-era pressure group that was re-launched after 9/11 with support from  leading neoconservatives—continues to use it website to plug fear-mongering media stories and op-eds, focusing mainly on Iran. One recent article, written by a CPD member, rails against efforts to reach a diplomatic compromise over Iran’s nuclear program, claiming: “It is hard to rationalize the past history of this fanatical Muslim regime’s secret nuclear efforts and any hope that it would abide by such an agreement, or, indeed, that UN or other surveillance would be more effective than in the past.”


The Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), a leading neoconservative think tank, sought to frame the 2014 midterm elections as a “foreign policy election,” even though only 13 percent of voters listed foreign policy as a top issue in exit polls. FPI nevertheless hopes that the Republican-controlled Senate will “actively lead on foreign policy issues” and has prioritized passing Sen. Robert Menendez’s controversial Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act. The bill would impose additional sanctions on Iran and would likely scuttle on-going negotiations with Iran.



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From the Wires

November 24, 2014

With talks between Iran and the P5+1 extended by seven months, “pro-Israel” and Republican hawks have ramped up their rhetoric, calling for Congress to be given a veto over any final deal.

November 24, 2014

Negotiators in Vienna failed to reach an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program and extended the deadline to July 1, 2015.

November 19, 2014

The Bipartisan Policy Center, which claims to support “reasoned negotiation and respectful dialogue,” has firmly aligned itself with neoconservatives on Iran.

November 18, 2014

Israel’s chief fear in a possible nuclear deal with Iran is that it will lose an enemy that it shares in common with the United States, and thus Washington’s commitment to its security.

November 17, 2014

A Republican-controlled Senate could leave a huge imprint on President Obama’s foreign policy agenda during his last two years in office.

November 11, 2014

George W. Bush and Barack Obama both sought to convince former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s to keep U.S. troops being in Iraq. Both failed.

November 08, 2014

As the November 24 deadline for reaching a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran approaches, the different sides are scrambling to ensure all bases are covered before the official resumption of talks in Vienna on November 18.

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