People make their way on a sidewalk in downtown Tehran, Iran, Monday, July 30, 2018. Iran's currency has dropped to a record low ahead of the imposition of renewed American sanctions, with many fearing prolonged economic suffering or possible civil unrest. (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)
Automobiles, gold, steel. The Trump administration reimposes financial sanctions on Iran, with those on oil to come. Where might this hard-line policy lead?
Thomas Erdbrink, Tehran bureau chief for The New York Times. (@ThomasErdbrink)
Reuel Marc Gerecht, senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Former director of the Middle East Initiative at the Project for the New American Century and Middle East specialist at the CIA’s Directorate of Operations.
Jarrett Blanc, senior fellow in the Geoeconomics and Strategy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Former State Department coordinator for Iran nuclear implementation at the U.S. Department of State under President Obama, where he was responsible for the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program. (@JarrettBlanc)
Reuel Marc Gerecht appearance on On Point Radio proves my theory that “Old Neocons never die; they become Fellows in the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).” These American-Zionists--direct decedents of Irving Kristol's Neoconservatives had better pray that America does not become as “great” as Germany in the 1930s. American Jews and Gentiles alike are socialize to be afraid to criticize Israel and its leadership's irredentism in its perusing of a mythical biblical past. American Jews who criticize Israel are called “self-hating-Jews,” and Gentiles who criticize Jews and/or Israel's Un-American behavior are labeled anti-Semites. However, it is in the American nature to support the under-dog and to have compassion for oppressed and mistreated peoples such as the Palestinians. And sympathize with nations who have come to the peace-with the West, sign compacts with the expectation of peace, only to be double-crossed, when their only crime is having allies.
Israel cannot seem to find peace within itself because of American Zionist as Avraham Burg writes in The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From Its Ashes (2008):
It seems that more than six decades after his death, Hitler retains his influence over American Jews. Vulnerability can be felt in the most impressive community the Jews have ever built, a Jewry more glorious than those of Babel and Spain, even more so than German Jewry that existed between the time of Mendelssohn and the Shoah. The potential is there for Jews to change the world for the better, if they only free themselves from the Nazi shackles.
Courageous Israel is a mini-America in the “Wild East.” It faithfully represents the American spirit in a region that is very much in need of salvation. In Israel you find frontiers and pioneers with vision just like the early American West. Israel plays the cowboy, and the Jews of America provide the strategic support that compels every U.S. Administration to support Israel. In turn, Israel supports the administration that is supported by the Jewish organizations that support Israel that supports them. What is wrong with mutual back-scratching?”
MIDDLE EAST BACK-SCRATCHING
Iran is a Shiite nation at war with a union of Sunni nations out to destroy it in a sectarian war. Israel is allied with the Sunni Arabs in its effort to destroy Iran as part of the continuation to “flatten” all its Middle East enemies. After the destruction of Lebanon, Libya, and Syria, Iran is the last Islamic nation standing that can challenge Israel as suzerain of the Middle East. After Iran is flattened, then Israel, with the military aid of the United States can take on the Sunni Arabs and the Turks.
Ben Hubbard and others write in “Strike in Syria Lights Up Iran-Israel Shadow War That May Be Escalating,” (New York Times, Tuesday, April 10, 2018): As the war in Syria ground on, Iran came to Mr. Assad's aid, sending seasoned fighters from Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group and political party that Iran supports. It later organized an international airlift of militia fighters from a number of countries to bolster Mr. Assad's military.
Israel now worries that as Mr. Assad's position becomes more secure, Iran has turned its focus to the military capacity it appears to be building to help it in a future confrontation with Israel.
Israeli leaders frequently threaten to bomb Iran, so having strong military proxies near Israel's borders gives Iran some protection. If Israel attacks Iran, the thinking goes, it knows it can expect a painful response from Hezbollah in Lebanon, and perhaps from other militia now operating in Syria....
Worried that Iran is using the cover of the war to strengthen its allies in Syria, Israel has repeatedly launched airstrikes on what it believes to be weapons convoys bound for Hezbollah, which fought Israel to a standstill in a month long war in 2006 that kill hundreds of people.
WHY AMERICAN WILL BE ALONE OR REVIVAL OF THE NEOCON CONSENSUS
According to Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke in America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order (2004), Reuel Marc Gerecht was an integral part of the group of Neocons the Project for a New American Century PNAC that propagandized George W. Bush as Commander-in-Chief into the first 21st century 20-year war in South Asia: Afghanistan, in order to lure him into invading Iraq on false pretenses. Therefore, Gerecht is what Slater and Moore in The Architect label as Israel-firsters—an American citizen that puts the cause and welfare of Israel ahead of the needs of the United States. Thereby the Iran Deal is anathema to Gerecht and peace is an alien concept.
Halper and Clarke declare that Gerecht is part of the Neo-Conservative Network. In February 1998, a small group of national security thinkers who were outside government sent an open letter to the Clinton White House suggesting “a comprehensive political and military strategy for bringing down Saddam and his regime.” Among the signatories were Eliot Abrams, Richard Armitage, John R. Bolton, Douglas Feith, Zalmay Khalilzad, Richard Perle, Peter Rodman, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, David Wurmser, and Dov Zakheim, who all held positions in the Bush administration. Other leading figures in Washington to sign the letter were Frank Gaffney, Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Joshua Muravchik, Martin Peretz, chief editor of the New Republic. They called themselves the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf.
But this was only one player among many. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Heritage Foundation, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the Center for Security Policy (CSP), the Hudson Institute, and the PNAC had also n a neoconservative coalition of intellectuals, ex-government officials, political advisers, media figures, and key conservative personalities, all pressing for the era of American supremacy. They spoke at congressional hearings, took an active role in the mainstream media discourse, sent open letters to the White House, published articles regularly in the major newspapers, and produced a stream of books.
From the time of its inauguration in 1997, the PNAC was an essential element of this defense-establishment-to-be. The PNAC signatories were a well-connected group of prominent intellectuals and former government officials with strong links to the national security bureaucracy, the defense establishment, the print and cable media industry, dominant sections of the U.S. Defense industry, and some of American's wealthiest conservative foundations. A large portion of the signatories, such as Abrams, Gary Bauer, Zalmay Khalilzad, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Dan Quayle, Peter Rodman, Henry Rowen, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz had all served in the Reagan or G.H.W. Bush administrations.
Others worked had worked for the CIA, such as Reuel Marc Gerecht and James Woolsely, who was the agency's director from 1993 to 1995. This list of signatures also included those who would subsequently assume pivotal roles in the foreign policy of George W. Bush's administration, such Rumsfeld, VP Dick Cheney, Wolfowitz and I. Scooter Libby, Cheney's Chief of staff and an active neoconservative in the 1990s.
THE NEOCON FINANCIAL NETWORK
Halper and Clarke write that various neoconservative think tanks and research institutions seem intertwined, so do the foundations that finance them. Organizations such as the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, and the Castle Rock Foundation constitute a core group of conservative bodies that provide the money for research institutions such as AEI, the Heritage Foundation, and the Hoover Institute and for individual scholars, such as Robert Leiken, at institutions such as Harvard University. There is considerable overlap among the benefactors, the members of the major think tanks, and the senior levels of the Bush administration. The Heritage Foundation and the Hoover Institution have been instrumental in connecting policy analysts, Republican Party officials, and conservative scholars for years.
Over the 1990s, Washington's neoconservative establishment grew into a far-reaching, well-funded, and powerful intellectual-political matrix in the shadow of the Clinton White House. Groups such as the PNAC also forged links with social conservatives such as Gary Bauer and William Bennett. Christian Right groups such as Empower America and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy (FDOD) became involved in pushing for a conservative internationalism overseas. In building on the biblical foundations for an apocalyptic confrontation in the Middle East, the Christian Right came to support the neoconservative [Neocon] agenda concerning Israel after having little interest in foreign policy during the 1980s and the early 1990s. Empower America and the FDOD subsequently joined the neoconservative support for Israel's Likud Party.
NEOCONSERVATIVES AND CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVES UNITED IN CREATING FAKE NEWS
Halper and Clarke state that the neoconservative media discourse after 9/11 presented a binary interpretation of the event casting it as an apocalyptic contest between good and evil, and it found support and common ground among domestic Christian conservative groups and Neocons.
Under the auspices of its second generation in the 1990s, neo-conservatism extended its links with evangelical groups to include foreign and defense policy. The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) forged links with social conservatives such as Gary Bauer. Christian conservative groups such as Empower America and the foundation for the Defense of Democracy (FDOD) came to support the neoconservative ambition of a conservative internationalism overseas.
Former Education Secretary and co-signatory of PNAC statement of principles William Bennett helped to bridge the gap between neo-conservatism and social conservatism. With Jack Kemp, Bennett founded Empower America in 1999 as a conservative policy group designed to encourage conservative moral values. William Kristol and Bennett also teamed up with pro-life leaders, such as Bauer, executive director of the Christian Legal Society, Samuel Casey president of the Christian Coalition, Roberta Combs, chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition, and William Murray, in sending open letters to the White House on issues such as human cloning, while urging congress to pass legislation banning certain types of cloning and abortion. After 9/11, Empower America and the FDOD helped to carry the administration's message across the media. Neoconservative figures such as National Security council official Elliott Abrams interests in religious affairs (on which he has published extensively) were also instrumental in helping to promote the links between Washington's neoconservatives and Christian evangelicals, sometimes serving as advocates for issues of importance to religious groups such as sex trafficking and AIDS.
PAST MEETS THE PRESENT
CHRISTIAN RIGHT LINKS CHURCH & STATE AGAINST ISLAM
The links in ideology between neoconservatives and evangelicals grew more obvious after 9/11. Evangelical leader Pat Robertson was able to join with Neocon Michael Ledeen in taking quotations from the Koran as evidence that Islam “is not a peaceful religion.” Robertson cited events from the year 632 as evidence that a permanent jihad against those who were not part of the Islamic tradition was inherent in Islam. He could now link terrorism directly to the demand for greater support of Israel, by claiming that America had been at war for thirty years with fanatical terrorist from the Middle East. Like Ledeen and other neoconservatives, Robertson advocated supporting democratic insurgencies in the region and spoke of Iraq as “a source of terror and deadly terror with biological, nuclear and chemical warfare.”
Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham and head of Samaritan's Purse, a Christian relief organization, spoke in a similar vein. Together they found common ground with neoconservative figures such as Daniel Pipes and Michael Ledeen in helping to project an ever more hostile backdrop of commentary toward Arab and Islamic culture in the mainstream TV and print media.
In parallel with hostility toward Islam, scriptural considerations based on the evangelical view of Israel as the site for the second coming of Christ tended to fuel support for Israel in general and for the Likud Party in particular. As Middle East tensions rose after the failure of the Camp David initiative, Ralph Reed joined together with Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein to found the Stand for Israel, designed to mobilize political support among the grassroots Christian Community for the state of Israel and later the war on terror.
The group was created out of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), which has been a central forum for promoting the relationship between evangelical Christians and American Jews since 1983. A survey conducted after 9/11 showed that 56 percent of evangelical Christians, when asked to cite the most important reasons why they supported Israel, referred to its alliance with America in the war against terrorism. Neoconservative Daniel Pipes remarked in July 2003, “To those who wonder why Washington follows policies so different from the European states, a large part of the answer these days has to do with the clout of Christian Zionists.”
Donald Trump promised American-Zionist billionaire Sheldon Adelson that if he would back his campaign financially, “Israel would have no better friend.” This was tantamount to the German Army swearing allegiance to Hitler, and not to the German Constitution. Thereby, the will of American secular society can be ignored and overridden. Trump kept his promises to Adelson and the Christian-Zionist by moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, now by canceling the Iran Deal, thus insuring that Antisemitism will continue as part of the Middle East process.