"Sheldon," candidate Trump scrawled across the cover of the brochure, "No one will be a bigger friend to Israel than me!" (Adelson had promised to support whoever won the nomination.)
--Matt Isaacs, Sheldon Adelson Goes All In
Sheldon Adelson is what James Moore calls an Isreal-firsters--Americans who put the interest of Israel before the interest of the United States. Matt Isaacs states that according to the Forward Adelson gives out of "support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, sympathy for the settler movement, and hostility toward the Palestinian Authority." Key gifts include: $250 million to Taglit-Birthright Israel, which funds free trips to Israel for young Jewish adults. $25 million to Ariel University, the only Israeli institute of higher education in the occupied West Bank. $22 million to the Israeli American Council. $4.5 million to the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies, formerly housed at Jerusalem's right leaning Shalem Center. And approximately $150 million to elect Donald J. Trump to the Office of the President of the United States.
THE DEVIL NEVER SLEEPS: THE NEOCONS ARE AT IT AGAIN
Now it came to the day when the sons of the true God entered to take their station before Jehovah, and even Satan proceeded to enter right among them. Then Jehovah said to Satan: "Where do you come from?" At that Satan answered Jehovah and said: "From roving about in the earth and from walking about in it."
WILL AMERICA END UP ALONE
Mark Dubowitz is a fellow in the Foundation For Defense Of Democracy. Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke in America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order (2004) exposes the hidden agenda of neo-conservative "foundations" as part of the Financial Network of the Neocons in that the Heritage Foundation and the Hoover Institution have been instrumental in connecting policy analyst, Republican Party officials, and conservative scholars for years.
Over the 1990s, Washington's neo-conservative 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 Project for the New American Century (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 neo-conservative agenda concerning Israel after having little interest in foreign policy during the 1980s and the early 19190s. Empower American and the FDOD subsequently joined the neo-conservative support of Israel's Likud Party.
After 9/11, Empower America and the FDOD helped to carry the Bush administration's message urging Congress to pass legislation banning certain types of cloning and abortion across the media. Neo-conservative figures such as National Security Council official Elliott Abrams (who has a long-standing interest in religious affairs on which he has published extensively) were also instrumental in helping to promote the links between Washington's neo-conservatives and Christian evangelicals, sometimes serving as advocates for issues of importance to religious groups such as sex trafficking and AIDS.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
President Trump is taking his America First message to the world stage today. He is doing this in front of an organization he has criticized, the United Nations. In a speech this morning to the General Assembly, the president is expected to outline his foreign policy vision with a good bit of focus on North Korea and Iran, and I want to bring in Elliott Abrams. He is a veteran U.S. diplomat now at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was also Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's pick for a deputy but was passed up by President Trump. Elliott Abrams, welcome back to our program.
ELLIOTT ABRAMS: Very good to be with you.
GREENE: So President Trump is still relatively new to the world stage and to the world leaders he's going to be addressing. Just capture this moment for me. What's at stake here?
ABRAMS: What's at stake is not so much his view of the United Nations, which I think is a secondary question, but the picture he gives them of American foreign policy for at least the next three years. Will there be American leadership? What kind? On what issues? So he has some opportunities there. But there are also some dangers.
GREENE: Like what?
ABRAMS: Well, he may seem to be saying we're not going to lead. If the message that they get is, you know, we're tired of this burden; it's too expensive, then I think a number of American allies are going to think, you know, now is the time to start hedging. We're not hearing such a message of fatigue from the Russians or the Chinese or from Iran. So that is what I worry about - that his message, which is really going to be everyone must do his share, will be understood as a message of an American turn away from global leadership.
GREENE: So far what we've been hearing from the White House as they've been previewing the president's message is that it's not going to be fatigue. It's going to be explaining America First, the idea that this is not in opposition to the international community working together on tough problems, but it's a reality that sovereign nations need to put their countries first even as they deal with big problems. I mean is that a strategy that the audience will receive well?
ABRAMS: Well, the audience itself, which is to say in the chamber, the physical audience - you know, President George W. Bush likened to a wax museum, and it is really like a hall of mummies. I don't think he's ever spoken to an audience that's going to be this non-responsive.
GREENE: He's used to people, crowds cheering and cheering wildly. And I mean talking to his base of supporters.
ABRAMS: (Laughter) There may not be any - literally any applause or reaction at all, and I hope Ambassador Haley has prepared him for that. The main message that the U.N. is not supposed to be a world government; it is a - it is an association of sovereign countries is OK, and I think it's OK in my view 'cause it's true. That is a true statement about the U.N. But I hope he goes on to say that these sovereign countries have a lot of common problems that we need to address together. And he'll certainly mention Iran, and he'll mention North Korea.
GREENE: Yeah, and he's - I mean the White House is saying he's going to bring those up. And I just wonder. I mean if he singles-out Iran and North Korea, that has echoes to me of 15 years ago when your former boss President George W. Bush brought up the axis of evil. So I wonder how different is Donald Trump's foreign policy? What is new here from Trump in terms of confronting North Korea and Iran?
ABRAMS: Well, North Korea is different because it's an international pariah, and you don't have to worry about persuading people how terrible North Korea is. From a point of view of danger, point of view of human-rights abuses, that's an easy message for people to accept. And the call for countries to do more about it, which will really be aimed at China I think will have a lot of support in the chamber.
On Iran, he's more isolated. There's a lot of international support for the Iran deal that the president obviously doesn't like. But what is at stake here really is his message I think to the countries around the world that face Russia or China or Iran and that view themselves as American allies. Can they rely on American support? Will there be a vigorous American international policy, or does the America First policy translate into you're on your own? That is what I think they're listening for.
GREENE: Let me just finish with asking you on a personal level. I mean you had been in the running to be number two at the State Department. The president sounds like nixed the appointment after learning about some criticism of him from you in the past. Watching how things have unfolded, do you wish you were on the inside right now, or are you relieved you're not? How are you feeling?
ABRAMS: Well, I certainly don't wish I were in New York City right now dealing with hopeless traffic jams.
GREENE: (Laughter) OK.
ABRAMS: But you know, if you are, like me, very interested in international affairs, there's always going to be regret that you're not on the inside in influence, in a position, for example, to look at the first draft of today's speech and start editing. It's inevitable.
GREENE: All right. Elliott Abrams, former U.S. diplomat. He is now at the Council on Foreign Relations previewing the president's speech at the United Nations General Assembly with us this morning. Thanks so much.
ABRAMS: Thank you.
Copyright © 2017 NPR. http://www.npr.org/2017/09/19/552023744/trump-to-outline-his-foreig...
The support of conservative religious media figures and their outlets provided momentum for the neo-conservative discourse. A survey released by a fundamentalist Christian group in 2002 reported that 69 percent of conservative Christians favored military action against Baghdad, some ten points more than the U.S. adult population in general. The links in ideology between neo-conservatives and evangelicals grew more obvious after 9/11. Pat Robertson was now able to join those such as Michael Ledeen [who later partnered with Michael Flynn in Field of Fight] 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 terrorists 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 neo-conservative 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 Zionist."
Thus, neo-conservatives had built up a range of media outlets and national fora that enabled them to underpin their policy interpretations to the many constituents of the American public. The cable networks, the conservative talk radio shows, and the conservative print outlets were all in place to carry the abstract war into the governing philosophy of American foreign policy by inundating people with the discursive reality created by neo-conservatives. The neoconservatives, both in and out of administration, inserted themselves into this environment before 9/11 and benefited from it afterward. It was the arm with which they represented their views to the larger segments of the American body politic. It was the machinery that synthesized the popular mindset that proved so critical in making war with Saddam Hussein, [now with Iran].
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
In 10 days' time, President Trump will have a chance to either dismantle the Iran nuclear deal or let it stand. October 15 is when the president tells Congress whether he believes Iran is in compliance. President Trump is on the record saying he wants to scrap the whole agreement. He's called it the worst and most one-sided transaction ever. But many of America's European allies have lobbied him not to walk away from the deal. We spoke earlier today with Mark Dubowitz. He is the CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and he has been advising the White House not to recertify the Iran deal.
MARK DUBOWITZ: I think all of the principals have all joined in a unanimous decision to recommend to President Trump to decertify the deal. And I think there's also unanimous agreement that, for now, the United States should stay in the deal but work to actually improve it.
MARTIN: You say a unanimous opinion to work to improve the deal but to stay in the deal, to recertify?
DUBOWITZ: To decertify.
MARTIN: To decertify?
DUBOWITZ: Yeah, to decertify, have the president refuse to certify that the deal is in a vital national security interest of the United States and then move forward on trying to find a way to actually strengthen the deal, fix the deal and get rid of some of the fatal flaws of the deal.
MARTIN: I do want to play, though, a clip of tape. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said otherwise. He told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday that it was in the U.S.'s interest, the administration's interest to recertify. Here's what he said.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
JIM MATTIS: Absent indications to the contrary, it is something the president should consider staying with.
MARTIN: International inspectors also say that Iran is abiding by the deal. European partners have been urging the administration to recertify the deal. They say Iran is in compliance. So what is the basis for your assessment for what you say is now the administration's decision that Iran is not complying?
DUBOWITZ: So General Mattis actually did say that the United States should stay with the deal, as I've said, all the principals believe that. I think the president is going to recommend that. But General Mattis also said that the president has the right to decertify the deal because the conditions have not been met. The conditions are that Iran is fully verifiably and transparently implementing the deal. In fact, Iran is denying access for inspectors to its military sites, which actually contravenes the very language of the deal.
So you have to understand Iran is not fully implementing the deal. But I think a lot of people are now saying this is not the time to walk away from the deal. This is the time to work with our European allies and actually find a way to strengthen the deal. And for those who say this is the time to abrogate and walk away and roll the dice, I would say to them, they have to be patient. And I think that's a view that the president shares. And I think that's something he'll say in his upcoming speech next week.
MARTIN: So let's talk about then logistically what happens then? If the administration doesn't recertify, you say that doesn't mean they're walking away from the deal. So then what happens?
DUBOWITZ: Well, what happens then is Congress has 60 days to consider whether they want to introduce qualifying legislation to reinstate the sanctions. And that has to be a decision that's made by the leadership. And it would require 50 votes - 50 people to sign on to a decision to reinstate the sanctions.
MARTIN: Do you think that should happen? Do you think sanctions should be re-upped?
DUBOWITZ: No, I don't. No, I don't. As I've said, I support strengthening the deal and working the diplomatic path with our European allies to try and fix it. So my sense is that that's not what's going to happen. And even, for example, Tom Cotton, who has been a leading critic of the Iran deal, said only a couple of nights ago that he also believes this is the time to decertify the deal but not necessarily to reinstate the sanctions and to give diplomacy some time to work.
MARTIN: Well, then what leverage do you have over Iran when you say they're not allowing access? How do you change that?
DUBOWITZ: Well, you change it by making very clear to Iran that the United States, as a matter of U.S. policy and U.S. law, is not going to accept a deal that cannot be verified. And so the administration is now going to be rolling out a comprehensive Iran policy. It'll be a pressure campaign using all instruments of American power.
MARTIN: And what does that look like when you say all instruments of American power?
DUBOWITZ: Well, it needs financial and economic power. It needs more sanctions. It means using military power to roll back and subvert Iranian aggression in the region. It means using political power and covert action.
MARTIN: So you're saying more sanctions could be possible?
DUBOWITZ: Sure. Sanctions that are fully compliant with the nuclear deal.
MARTIN: Well, we'll have to leave it there. Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Thanks so much for your time this morning.
DUBOWITZ: Thanks so much, Rachel.
MARTIN: All right. For more on this, we're joined now in studio by NPR's Middle East editor Larry Kaplow. Larry, we just heard there the administration is likely not going to recertify the Iran deal. At the same time, they say they are staying in the deal. So how can both be true?
LARRY KAPLOW, BYLINE: Because technically the certification is not part of the deal. What was the deal? In 2015, the U.S. and other world powers agreed to lift some sanctions on Iran in return for Iran allowing in-depth, very strict inspections and limits of its nuclear program to keep it from getting nuclear weapons. Congress didn't like it. They told President Obama back then, look, every 90 days, you have to own this. You have to tell us why you're certifying yet again that it's in the national interest. Trump says it's the worst deal he's ever seen.
MARTIN: So he doesn't want to recertify - punting to Congress.
KAPLOW: He's saying, I'm not going to own it anymore. It's back on you. It's a way of sending a signal. It's a way of shaking things up. And people don't know how it's going to work out. Maybe the administration hopes it would make Iran renegotiate it. But the rest of the world - the Europeans, the Iranians, the agency that inspects it - say the deal is working and we should leave it like it is. You don't know how Iran is going to react, if they are going to react with their own brinksmanship after Trump does this move. And that's what the world will be waiting to see.
MARTIN: Middle East editor for NPR, Larry Kaplow, giving us some context there. Thanks so much, Larry.
KAPLOW: Thank you.
Copyright © 2017 NPR. http://www.npr.org/2017/10/05/555796320/deadline-approaches-for-tru...
CONFESSIONS AND WARNINGS FROM A REAGANITE
David A. Stockman in Trumped! A Nation On the Brink Of ruin...And How to Bring It Back (2016?) offers President Trump a jeremiad to the effect to save--maintain the Iran Deal. Stockman urges Trump to take "a leaf from Eisenhower's notebook--Trump should pledge a trip to Tehran. He congratulates Trump on his relationship with Putin noting that Trump has welcomed Putin's bombing campaign against the jihadist radicals in Syria and recognizes that the enemy is headquartered in Raqqa, not Damascus.
Stockman believes that "Imperial Washington [the GOP/Neocons] considers Iran to be part the axis of evil for one principle wholly invalid reason. Namely, because the neocons leading the Never Trump movement put Tehran in that box 25 years ago, in order to justify their imperial agenda.
Iranians have a justified grudge against Washington for its historic support of the shah's plunder and savage repression; for CIA aid to Saddam's brutal chemical warfare against Iran during the 1980s war; for Washington's subsequent demonization of the regime and false claims that it is hell-bent on nuclear weapons--a charge that even the nation's top 16 intelligence agencies debunked more than a decade ago; and most especially for the brutal but pointless economic sanctions that were imposed on the Iranian people by Washington imperial bullies, [the Isreal-firsters/Neocons surrounding George W. Bush].
Stockman declares that someone needs to tutor The Donald on the great General Eisenhower's campaign pledge to go to Korea and make peace immediately after the 1952 election, which is exactly what he did. Likewise, the GOP [then] candidate Trump should pledge to go to Tehran to "improve the deal."
"Improving" the deal, of course, might be positioned as somehow strengthening Obama's "bad deal" on the nuclear accord, but that would be a diplomatic fig leaf for domestic political consumption.
The far-broader purpose would be to bury the hatchet on decades of confrontation between the United States and Iran. In its place would come an agreement to secure Rouhani leadership role in the above-referenced Muslim-led ground campaign to extinguish ISIS and liberate the territories now controlled by the Islamic State.
Such an "I will go to Tehran" pledged by Trump could electrify the entire Mideast policy morass and pave the way for early U.S. extraction from its counterproductive and wholly un-affordable military and political intrusion.
The fact is, the Islamic state is on its last legs because of U.S. and Russian bombings, $40 oil and its own barbaric brutality. These forces are rapidly drying up the Islamic state's financial resources, and without paychecks its "fighters" rapidly vanish.
Path to peace--A Trump-Putin-Rouhani Alliance
Accordingly, a Trump-Putin-Rouhani alliance could very readily celebrate the liberation of Raqqa and Mosul by July 4 . That could be accompanied by a history-reversing partition agreement to cancel the destructive Sykes-Picot boundaries of 1916. The latter would be superseded by Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish states, respectively, in their historic areas of Iraq, and a shrunken state of Alawites, Christians and other non-Sunni minorities in western Syria, with protectorates in the North for Kurds and the East for Sunnis.
At that point, a President Trump could stage his own "mission accomplished" pageant by bringing home every last American military personnel now stationed in the Middle East, either overtly or covertly and wearing boots on the ground or not.
And he could do so from the deck of an aircraft carrier that had been withdrawn from the Persian Gulf as part of the comprehensive peace deal with Putin and Rouhani. The Persian Gulf would be an American lake [of death] no more.
Stockman urges Trump to promise to sign legislation-day-one permitting families of the victims of 9/11 to sue the Saudis for their loses. Nothing could better bring closure to the vastly exaggerated domestic terrorist threat than the simultaneous eradication of the Islamic state by other Muslims, and by multi-hundred-billion-dollar lawsuits against the alleged 9/11 puppeteers hitting the headlines day after day. [Instead President Trump did the opposite.]
Also, nothing would do more to provide political cover and impetus for the balance of the peace deal. That's because the indigenous terrorist threat in Europe is not sponsored, supported or funded in any manner by the nations of the Shiite Crescent.
Instead, Stockman posits, it is an extension of the mutant jihadism of radical Sunni and Wahhabi clerics--mostly based in Saudi Arabia and heavily funded by the cowardly gluttonous oligarchs who surround the throne in Riyadh.
Needless to say, even the unspeakably corrupt and arrogant princes of the House of Saudi would get the message when the 5th Fleet steams out of the Persian Gulf for the last time and the Trump-Putin-Rouhani alliance takes out the Saudis' jihadist proxies in Syria and the Islamic State itself.
In short, the financial lifeblood of terrorism would dry up--whether the Saudi royals remained in Riyadh or decamped to Switzerland.
The essence of the great Peace Deal required to save the American economy is an end to procurement and R&D spending by the Pentagon and a drastic demobilization of the 2.3 million troops in the regular armed forces and national guards. And that can happen under the auspices of a global military "build-down" agreement and freeze on all further weapons exports.
IN PRAISE OF THE IRAN NUKE DEAL--A CHANCE FOR PEACE IF WE CAN KEEP IT
Stockman, not a fan of Barack Obama, declares that near the end of his term in office, Barack Obama finally stood up to the War Party, [the Neocons]. That could mark a decisive turning point in rolling back Washington's destructive interventionism and imperial pretensions in the Middle East and, indeed, around the world.
Yet this chance for peace is fragile. If Donald Trump is elected, it is to be hoped that he will prove to be sensible enough to jettison his campaign rhetoric about Obama's "horrible" nuclear deal, and, instead, board a plane for Tehran.
The fact is, there is nothing "horrible," deficient or weak at all about the Iranian nuclear agreement. To the contrary, it is a decisive refutation of the War Party's hoary claim that Iran is hell-bent upon obtaining nuclear weapons.
The defeating but untruthful narrative was long ago debunked by the 2007 National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs). These authoritative findings were issued by the nation's 16 top intelligence agencies in November 2007, and they heard that what had possibly been a small-scale Iranian weapons-research effort was abandoned in 2003 and never restarted.
That NIE verdict has been reiterated several times since then, and has now been re-validated by the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), as well.