Tom Barry

With the Resurrection of Immigration Reform We'll Hear a Lot About Securing Our Borders, But What Does It Really Mean?

Voters reelected Obama, as expected. But it was not simply a reelection; there was also an unexpected revival, a seemingly miraculous resurrection of the prospects for immigration reform. The election also seemed to mark a turn toward drug control reform and the legalization of marijuana.

Keep reading... Show less

The Bizarre Politics of Border Security

In the House, Democrats and Republicans have come together to pass a new border security bill, the Border Enforcement Security Task Force Act, and at the same time politicians are declaring their support for immigration reform they are insisting that border security is the foundation of any reform of immigration laws.

Keep reading... Show less

How the Drone Warfare Industry Took Over Our Congress

At the Unmanned Systems Fair on September 21, the latest drone technology was on display. The drone fair, which took place in the lobby of the Rayburn House Office Building, also displayed the easy mix of government and business. Also on exhibit was the kind of bipartisan unity often seen when Democrats and Republicans rally around security and federal pork. 

Keep reading... Show less

How Unaccountable Private Contractors Pocket Your Tax Dollars Militarizing the Texas Border

Outsourcing Model Building in Texas

Keep reading... Show less

Boom Times on the Border as Homeland Security State Grows

The river runs slow and shallow through the Chihuahuan desert as it flows 1,200 miles from El Paso/Juarez to the Gulf of Mexico. Bearing two names, the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo forms the natural divide between the United States and Mexico.

Keep reading... Show less

The New Political Economy of Immigration

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 drastically altered the traditional political economy of immigration. The millions of undocumented immigrants -- those who crossed the border illegally or overstayed their visas -- who were living and working in the United States were no longer simply regarded as a shadow population or as surplus cheap labor. In the public and policy debate, immigrants were increasingly defined as threats to the nation's security. Categorizing immigrants as national security threats gave the government's flailing immigration law-enforcement and border- control operations a new unifying logic that has propelled the immigrant crackdown forward.

Keep reading... Show less

Legal Immigrants Next Target of Anti-Immigration Hardliners

The leading anti-immigration groups don't specially target illegal immigrants. For the restrictionist groups Federation for American Immigration Reform, Center for Immigration Studies, and NumbersUSA, the country's 11-12 million illegal immigrants are simply low-hanging fruit. Their long-range goal is to rid the nation of most all immigrants—both illegal and legal.

While many of the grassroots restrictionist groups that have sprung up in the last decade say upfront that they aren't against all immigrants, just the illegal ones, the country's most influential restrictionist institutes have long advocated shutting out all immigrants. For restrictionists, it's the sheer number of immigrants, most of them coming from Mexico and Central America, that is the issue.

In their view, illegal immigrants are particularly threatening since, as the restrictionists routinely assert, they undermine the "rule of law" in the United States by their illegal presence. They charge that all immigrants, whether legal or illegal, are a threat to the country's economic, cultural, and social stability.

Having suffered major setbacks at the hands of restrictionists, immigration advocates are attempting to regroup and plot new strategies to advance liberal immigration reform in the next administration.

America's Voice and National Council of La Raza, as well as some unions, are attempting to discredit the restrictionist institutes by citing their connections with nativist and white supremacist groups and individuals, including John Tanton, considered the godfather of restrictionism. Many immigration advocates call FAIR a "hate group," following the lead of the Southern Poverty Law Center. As part of its "We Can Stop the Hate" campaign, National Council of La Raza is calling the directors of FAIR and NumbersUSA—Dan Stein and Roy Beck—"suspect spokespeople," grouping them with the leaders of the Minuteman movement.

While Senator Barack Obama and other Democratic Party leaders variously promise that they will push comprehensive immigration reform within the first year or first term of the new administration, the prospects for a liberal immigration reform that would include legalization are not auspicious. With an economy in a tailspin, restrictionist attempts to link an immigration crackdown with a populist economic message have more traction. And even those who reject the anti-immigrant campaign are less likely to stand behind a pro-immigration agenda or protest immigration raids when their own economic future is in jeopardy.

Meanwhile, the divisions within the pro-immigrant camp over such issues as border security, temporary worker programs, and the enforcement campaign of the Department of Homeland Security are still present. While the anti-immigration forces are united around "attrition through enforcement" and the government's ambitious "border security initiative," immigration advocates are still split, dispirited, and worn down by the unrelenting crackdown. Even the probable change of political parties in the White House is not likely to substantially change the political equation, as more Democrats in Congress have adopted the "rule of law" and "border security" policy frameworks of the restrictionists.

Restrictionists on a Roll

In contrast, immigration restrictionists left the mid-2007 immigration showdown triumphant. But in the wake of their victory in blocking immigration reform, the leading restrictionist voices haven't been triumphalist. Instead of sitting back, they have kept hammering.

Strengthened by a large jump in memberships and new media attention over the past few years, they kept pushing their anti-immigration agenda. When Democrats attempted to slip through a small immigration reform bill called the Dream Act, they again successfully mobilized their legions of anti-immigration stalwarts around the country.

And when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) attempted to respond to agribusiness pressure for an agricultural guestworker program in late 2007, the restrictionists mobilized again, persuading the bill sponsors to drop the proposed Ag Jobs bill.

Already the restrictionists are anticipating that some in Congress may lose enthusiasm for the "attrition through enforcement" approach as its emotional and financial toll adds up. They are set to oppose any initiative by the new administration to legalize unauthorized immigration while at the same time have united around their own enforcement-only bill, the SAVE Act.

"The stepped-up enforcement of the past year may peel off some enforcement-first voters and congressmen who are willing to be persuaded that the enforcement is now happening, and is adequate, to move ahead with the amnesty," observed Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which promotes enforcement-first policies. The Bush White House, he added, "sees this enforcement push as building credibility for the next administration to have an amnesty."

Restrictionists are determined to defend their gains against any attempt to reintroduce legalization legislation or to rein in the ongoing crackdown on immigrants. At the same time, the restrictionists are reaching out to new constituencies and expanding their policy agenda to include a new emphasis on slashing legal immigration.

Modern America Has No Room for Immigrants

Krikorian's new book, The Case Against Immigration—Both Legal and Illegal , is a timely reminder that the restrictionists have a grand agenda that extends far beyond the immigrant crackdown. The book not only espouses the same type of immigration reform supported by the three DC-based institutes, it also makes a startling new case against immigrants.

In a recent interview with National Review online, CIS' Krikorian said, "It's a mistake to think of legal and illegal immigration as distinct phenomena. They come from the same places through the same means, often in the same families, and even the same people (shifting back and forth between being legal and illegal), and have the same impact on society." Krikorian does, however, say that the illegal immigrants, unlike legal immigrants, "remain morally culpable for their misdeeds."

Referring to the "rule of law" position of the restrictionists, Krikorian noted: "Obviously, any effort to reform immigration policy has to start with enforcing the rules, because without that, it doesn't really matter what the rules are. But in addition, you have to consider whether the rules themselves should be changed. And apart from the, admittedly grave, question of legal status, all the other problems caused by illegal immigration are also caused by legal immigration."

Legal immigrants, particularly educated ones, represent a special threat to U.S. society since what he calls "patriotic assimilation" is less likely to occur. "The growth of a deep emotional attachment to America is less likely to occur," says Krikorian, "among educated immigrants. This is both because they have the resources to live a transnational life, flitting back and forth across borders, and because they are likely to have already developed a fully formed national identity before they get here."

Krikorian told the National Review that "we now have a knowledge-based post-industrial economy, a large tax-supported government sector (welfare, of course, but also schools, roads, healthcare, etc.), an elite loss of the cultural self-confidence needed to enforce assimilation and sovereignty, and modern technology that completely changes the conditions for assimilation and security."

"And in all these cases, all these conflicts between mass immigration and modern society, it is we who have changed, not the immigrants. That doesn't mean we're broken or dysfunctional, just grown up."

In his book, Krikorian couches his case against immigration to the United States in social science, arguing that immigration no longer serves U.S. interests. "Despite the different effects that different kinds [legal and illegal] of immigrants may have, the common thread remains," writes Krikorian. "Modern America has outgrown mass immigration."

"The problem is not that America has become decadent or weak and is thus unable to take full advantage of the blessings of mass immigration as it once did," he explains. "Rather, a policy that served America's interests during our national adolescence no longer serves those interests now, during our national maturity."

In his view, the evolution of American society has undermined its capacity to absorb and assimilate immigrants, whether legal or illegal. Among the factors he cites are: cheaper international travel (thereby facilitating immigrant connections with homeland), trend toward smaller families (thereby increasing the proportion of immigrant families), and the "spread of cosmopolitanism or post-Americanism among our elites" (thereby undermining sense of common identity).

Given the proven success of CIS and other restrictionist groups in advancing their policy goals over the past several years, it's worth laying out Krikorian's recommendations to stem both illegal and legal immigration. As part of his self-identified "attrition through enforcement" strategy for unauthorized immigration, Krikorian recommends seven policy initiatives:

Keep reading... Show less

The Armageddon Man

When Irving Kristol — regarded by many as the "godfather of neoconservatism" — described a neoconservative as a "liberal who has been mugged by reality," he was not describing John Bolton. Unlike many of his supporters in the Bush administration, the U.N. ambassador-designate did not start out his political career on the center-left — either as a liberal, social democrat, or socialist.

In the 1950s through the 1970s, the political forerunners who established neoconservatism as the defining trend within American conservatism went through a left-right transformation. In that political morphing, the neoconservatives have redefined U.S. politics from the Reagan administration through the current Bush administration.

Bolton shares much with the closely knit neoconservative political camp: their red-meat anticommunism, their obsession with China, their support of right-wing Zionism in Israel, and their glorification of U.S. power as the main force for good and against evil in our world. Bolton has also forged close links with neoconservatives while a scholar at the Manhattan Institute and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Although sharing most of the neoconservative ideology, Bolton is not himself a true-blue neocon.

It's not only his political origins that separates him from other middle-aged neoconservatives. Bolton also stands apart from the neoconservative camp because of his longtime association with moderate conservative James Baker and the close ties he had with Dixiecrat Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC). Unlike most neocons, who stay removed from electoral politics, Bolton has repeatedly immersed himself in the mundane and often dirty politics of ensuring Republican Party electoral victories.

One political label that certainly fits Bolton is that of "hawk" or militarist. Like most other Bush administration officials, Bolton is a militarist who has never gone to war — which according to some detractors makes him a "chickenhawk." In his work in the Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush administrations, Bolton has become known as the right's most effective and strident opponent of the United Nations and all forms of global governance and international law not controlled by the U.S. government.

A Career in 'Extremism'

In law school and throughout his legal and political career, Bolton has gained a reputation as being abrasive, astute, humorless, and relentless in the pursuit of his political agenda. In his office at the State Department today, Bolton displays a mock grenade with the label "To John Bolton — World's Greatest Reaganite."

As a teenager Bolton already believed, as Barry Goldwater did, that "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." In 1964 Bolton volunteered in Goldwater's presidential campaign. After high school, Bolton went to Yale and then on to Yale Law School, where he befriended current Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and other rightists who were among the first members of the conservative Federalist Society.

After joining the Reagan administration in 1981, Bolton quickly gained a reputation as being one of the new breed of "New Right lawyers" who operated at the second tier of the State Department and gained top policy positions in the Justice Department. Bolton gained entry into the Reagan administration through strong support from Sen. Helms, and from New Right strategist Richard Viguerie and his influential Conservative Digest. During Reagan's second term, Bolton began working together with a team of Federalist Society lawyers under Attorney General Edwin Meese. With Federalist Society members and activists in top policy positions, Bolton's tenure marks the first time the Justice Department came under the ideological influence of the New Right.

The chief goal of the Federalist Society has been to roll back the purported hold of the "liberal establishment" on the judiciary and legal profession. Federalist Society members also oppose liberalism in the international arena in the form of international law and multilateral governance. Together with AEI, the Federalist Society sponsors "NGOWatch," a project that monitors the activities of nongovernmental organizations they consider anti-American.

From the start of his political career, Bolton has been a Republican Party loyalist. As a private attorney before joining the Reagan administration in 1981, he worked with Sens. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) and Paul Laxalt (R-Nev.). In the 1980s he participated in Republican Party efforts to beat back the voter registration campaigns organized by labor and black organizations. A veteran of Southern electoral campaigns, Bolton appealed to the racism of white voters and reprised his role in the 2000 presidential campaign.

Working closely with his former boss James Baker during the Florida recount following the contested 2000 presidential election, Bolton once again proved his allegiance to the party and polished his reputation as someone "who gets things done." As part of the Republican Party's legal team headed by former Secretary of State Baker — Bolton's boss during the George H.W. Bush administration — Bolton put his hard-ball approach to partisan politics to work. In a complimentary article on Bolton, the Wall Street Journal in July 2002 reported that Bolton's "most memorable moment came after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a halt to the recount, when Mr. Bolton strode into a Tallahassee library, where the count was still going on, and declared: 'I'm with the Bush-Cheney team, and I'm here to stop the vote.'"

While publicly thanking Bolton for his services, Vice President-elect Cheney was asked what job Bolton would get in the new administration. "People ask what [job] John should get," Cheney said, "My answer is, anything he wants."

Legal Sleaze

John Bolton, a Yale-trained lawyer, rejects the legitimacy of international law — at least when international conventions, treaties, and norms constrain what he regards as U.S. national interests. Bolton also has a record of questionable legal and ethical dealings at home.

As an associate at the high-powered Covington law firm, Bolton in 1978 worked with Sen. Jesse Helms and the National Congressional Club, the senator's campaign-financing organization, to help form a new campaign finance organization called Jefferson Marketing. According to the Legal Times, Jefferson Marketing was established "as a vehicle to supply candidates with such services as advertising and direct mail without having to worry about the federal laws preventing PACs, like the Congressional Club, from contributing more than $5,000 per election to any one candidate's campaign committee." After its formation, Jefferson Marketing became a holding company for three firms--Campaign Management Inc., Computer Operations & Mailing Professionals, and Discount Paper Brokers.

Together with another Covington attorney, Brice Clagett, Bolton later represented the National Congressional Club and Jefferson Marketing--which were treated as a single legal entity--in various lawsuits filed against it by the Federal Election Commission (FEC)--all of which led to a $10,000 fine levied by the FEC against the National Congressional Club in 1986.

In 1987 the National Congressional Club reported a debt of $900,000, with its major creditors being Richard Viguerie, Charles Black, Jr., Covington and Burling, and the D.C. law office of Baker & Hostetler — all of which maintained good relations with the right-wing political action committee as their debts for service offered went unpaid. Jefferson Marketing was the PAC's largest creditor, with more than $676,000 due from the National Congressional Club. By the end of the decade, FEC documents showed that Helms' political action committee owed Covington $111,000. But this was not considered a major concern for Covington, according to firm spokesman H. Edward Dunkelberger, Jr.

A decade later Bolton was again entangled in money laundering schemes to support Republican candidates, but this time it involved money channeled from Hong Kong and Taiwan to the Republican Party by way of a "think tank" linked to the Republican National Committee (RNC). In 1995-96 Bolton served as president of the National Policy Forum (NPF), which, according to a congressional investigation, functioned as an intermediary organization to funnel foreign and corporate money to Republicans.

The NPF had been established in 1993 in anticipation of the 1994 general election. Founded by the RNC's chairman Haley Barbour a few months after he assumed the party's chairmanship, the forum was organized as a nonprofit, tax-exempt education institute, although the IRS later ruled that NPF was a subsidiary of the RNC and not entitled to its requested tax-exempt status.

A congressional investigation into foreign money and influence in the 1996 presidential campaign brought to light the role of the NPF, which, according to a minority report of the congressional committee, channeled $800,00 in foreign money into the 1996 election cycle after having also used the same mechanisms to fund congressional races around the country in 1994.

When John Bolton became NPF president in 1995, the forum began organizing "megaconferences" as a hook to raise money for the party. These conferences brought together Republican members of congress, lobbyists, and corporate executives to discuss matters that were frequently the object of pending legislation. An NPF memo laid out the funding strategy: "NPF will continue to recruit new donors through conference sponsorships. ... In order for the conferences to take place, they must pay for themselves or turn a profit. Industry and association leaders will be recruited to participate and sponsor those forums, starting at $25,000."

Corporate representatives professed surprise at the size of the contribution request. "It's pretty astounding," said one invitee. "If this doesn't have 'payment for access' (to top GOP lawmakers) written all over it, I don't know what does."

Bolton also made sure that handsome contributors received their money's worth. In another NPF memo, two NPF employees told Bolton that, in return for a $200,000 donation by US West, the telecommunications company should be assured that the policy issues that most concern them should be incorporated into the NPF agenda for their upcoming telecommunications "megaconference."

In addition to the continuing money laundering, during John Bolton' tenure as NPF president, the forum received a $25,000 contribution from the Pacific Cultural Foundation. Both Barbour and Bolton expressed their appreciation in a letter to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative, which functions as Taiwan's embassy in Washington. According to one communication with Taiwan's official representative in Washington, it was noted that the "generous contribution" would enable the forum "to continue to develop and advocate good international policy."

Bolton left his position at the National Policy Forum shortly before Congress launched its probe into whether the group illegally accepted foreign contributions. No charges were ever filed as a result of the congressional hearings, which according to the Democratic Party minority members of the committee didn't devote adequate resources into the investigation of NPF operations.

The Man Who Gets Things Done

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described Bolton a "tough-minded diplomat" with a "proven track record of multilateralism" as she announced his nomination as the new U.N. ambassador. "The president and I have asked John to do this work because he knows how to get things done," said Rice.

Bolton certainly has a long track record, but not as a multilateralist. Since the 1970s, Bolton has aggressively and stridently attacked multilateral institutions and international treaties. At the same time, however, Bolton has been a firm supporter of multilateral entities and coalitions that the U.S. controls — such as NATO, the "coalition of the willing" in Iraq, and the anti-rogue Security Proliferation Initiative led by Bolton.

He certainly knows how to get things done. A hard-line unilateralist and an aggressive opponent of multilateralism and international treaties, Bolton has served as the Bush administration's designated treaty breaker. From the early days of the first Bush administration, Bolton mounted a campaign to halt all international constraints on U.S. power and prerogative, fiercely opposing existing and proposed international treaties restricting landmines, child soldiers, biological weapons, nuclear weapons testing, small arms trade, and missile defense.

During the first administration, Bolton earned his reputation as a hawk who dismantled the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, renounced President Clinton's approval of the International Criminal Court, and blocked efforts to add a verification clause to the bioweapons convention. Displaying what the Wall Street Journal described as his "combative style," Bolton told an international conference on bioweapons that the verification proposal was "dead, dead, dead, and I don't want in coming back from the dead."

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed in 1997, Bolton articulated his dismissive view of international treaties. "Treaties are law only for U.S. domestic purposes," he wrote, "In their international operation, treaties are simply political obligations." In other words, international treaties signed by the United States should not be considered as a body of law that the United States should respect in its international engagement but rather just political considerations that can be ignored at will.

During the 1990s, Bolton spoke out frequently in public and in Congress against the international policies of the Clinton administration. In a June 25, 1995 op-ed in the Washington Times, Bolton lambasted President Clinton for continuing the funding of "programs on international population control and environmental matters rather than fundamental economic reforms in developing countries." The type of fundamental reforms advocated by Bolton were those of the neoliberal "Washington Consensus" that stipulated that economic liberalization and privatization were the only path to development. In the same op-ed, Bolton assailed Vice President Gore for his "preference for condoms and trees instead of markets." In early 2001 Bolton observed: "It is a big mistake for us to grant any validity to international law even when it may seem in our short-term interest to do so because, over the long term, the goal of those who think that international law really means anything are those who want to constrict the United States."

Bolton has since the mid-1990s led the charge of the anti-multilateralists and UN bashers against the International Criminal Court. Writing in the National Interest, a journal cofounded by Irving Kristol, Bolton argued in 1998 that signing the ICC would make the "president, the cabinet officers who comprise the National Security Council, and other senior civilian and military leaders responsible for our defense and foreign policy ... the potential targets of the politically unaccountable Prosecutor in Rome."

In support of this position, he contended that international law had already started infringing on the national sovereignty of other countries such as Chile. He charged that the Spanish judge who brought the case against Chile's notorious dictator Augusto Pinochet, who took power in a military coup against an elected government, was using international law for political purposes. In his view, the charges against Pinochet for authorizing the murder of 3,000 Chileans should not concern foreign governments, the United Nations, or human rights observers. "Chileans made their choice, and have lived with it," he wrote.

In 1998, when he was senior vice president of the American Enterprise Institute, Bolton described the ICC as "a product of fuzzy-minded romanticism [that] is not just naïve, but dangerous." Early in the first year of the Bush administration, Bolton prevailed upon Secretary of State Colin Powell to give him the honor of renouncing the Clinton administration's signature of the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC). Bolton called the moment he signed the letter abrogating Clinton's approval of the ICC "the happiest moment in my government service."

In his 2003 speech to the Federalist Society, Bolton explained the administration's "Article 98" legal strategy to undermine the International Criminal Court. "Each Article 98 agreement," he said, "meets our key objective — that all U.S. persons, official or private, are covered under the terms of the agreement. This broad scope of the agreement is essential to ensuring that the ICC will not become an impediment to U.S. activities worldwide." Those countries that do not sign this bilateral agreement are restricted from receiving U.S. military assistance, except for counternarcotics aid.

Enemy of the U.N.

Bolton has long dismissed the legitimacy of the United Nations, a multilateral organization dedicated to "collective security that the United States played a key role in creating. A longtime activist with the Federalist Society, Bolton has used this right-wing association of lawyers, judges, and legal experts as a forum to lash out against the United Nations. In a 1994 speech at the liberal World Federalist Association, Bolton declared that "there is no such thing as the United Nations." To underscore his point, Bolton said. "If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost ten stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference."

Bolton has also made his stand with those who believe the U.S. government should stop its payments to the United Nations. "Many Republicans in Congress — and perhaps a majority not only do not care about losing the General Assembly vote but actually see it as a 'make-my-day' outcome," Bolton said before joining the George W. Bush administration, "Indeed once the vote is lost ... this will simply provide further evidence to many why nothing should be paid to the U.N. system."

In a 1999 article in the Weekly Standard article titled "Kofi Annan's Power Grab," Bolton laid out the neoconservative position on U.S. military supremacy with respect to what the neocons regarded as the outdated U.N. Charter. Bolton took issue with Annan's description of the United Nations as "the sole source of legitimacy on the use of force." According to Bolton, "If the United States allows that claim to go unchallenged, its discretion in using force to advance its national interests is likely to be inhibited in the future." In mounting the challenge to Annan and the United Nations, Bolton also criticized President Clinton for "his implicit endorsement of the Annan doctrine" during his speech opening the General Assembly session that year.

In Bolton's view, Annan had put his own legitimacy at risk by expressing his concerns about the NATO bombing campaign over the former Yugoslavia. When visiting the war zone, Annan said: "Unless the Security Council is restored to its preeminent position as the sole source of legitimacy on the use of force, we are on a dangerous path to anarchy." Subsequently, in the secretary general's annual report to the UN membership, Annan wrote that "enforcement actions without Security Council authorization threaten the very core of the international security system. ... Only the [UN] Charter provides a universally legal basis for the use of force." Bolton wrote that these were "sweeping — indeed, breathtaking —assertions," although from a post-Iraq invasion perspective Annan's statements could be described as prophetic.

According to Bolton, "The implicit premise of the Annan doctrine — that force is unimportant while 'international law' is practically everything — is widely held in Europe, but is also popular here, particularly in the Clinton administration." Bolton warned that "if the Annan doctrine is left unanswered, we will soon hear about 'emerging new international norms' that will make it harder and harder for the United States to act independently in its own legitimate national interest. And we will wait in vain for our adversaries to follow those 'norms.'"

After the UN voted not to authorize the administration's planned invasion of Iraq, Bolton said the decision was "further evidence to many why nothing should be paid to the UN system." In the run up to the war, he ordered an intelligence probe of U.N. arms inspector Hans Blix, who headed the UNMOVIC inspection mission in Iraq, and Mohamed El Baradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Not pleased with El Baradei's lack of a strong stance against Iran, Bolton led a unsuccessful campaign to remove him from his post at the conclusion of his second term.

Bolton described his theory about the legitimacy of U.S. military actions in his 2003 speech to the Federalist Society. According to Bolton, if the U.S. follows its own constitutional procedures then there is no question about the legitimacy of any resulting U.S. actions abroad. In Bolton's view, "There's a fundamental problem of democratic theory for those who contend, implicitly or otherwise, that the proper operation of America's institutions of representative government are not able to confer legitimacy for the use of force."

"Make no mistake," said Bolton, "Not asserting that our constitutional procedures themselves confer legitimacy will result over time in the atrophying of our ability to act independently."

During his career Bolton has never minced words when it comes to his opinions about the United Nations. While his straight-shooting has clarified his opinions on U.S. moral and political supremacy and on what he sees as the dubious legitimacy of the United Nations, Bolton also sees the United Nations as an institution that can be manipulated, exploited, and controlled.

At the same time that Bolton has been bashing the U.N., he has been willing to use it to further his political agenda, even taking money personally from the organization that he has labeled as corrupt. When he served as assistant secretary of state of international organization affairs during the George H.W. Bush administration, Bolton recommended that the United Nations Development Program provide a $2 million grant to the Institute of East-West Dynamics.

The institute was established in 1991 to provide training in free-market principles to the transitional economies of Eastern Europe. Its principals included numerous right-wing U.N. critics including Burton Pines, then vice-president of the Heritage Foundation and the longtime chief of its U.N. Assessment Project. The institute's president was Pedro Sanjuan, a former director of the AEI's Hemispheric Center and a former U.N. official during Jeane Kirkpatrick's tenure as U.N. ambassador.

Other board members and advisers included an array of figures who were involved in supporting the Nicaraguan contras in their U.S.-backed counterrevolutionary war against the Sandinista government, including Angier Biddle Duke, a member of the NED-funded PRODEMCA and Duncan Sellars, chairman of the International Freedom Fund and former executive director of the Conservative Caucus.

Bolton, who as a member of the Reagan administration had led the insider campaign to withdraw U.S. membership in UNESCO, had no scruples about recommending that UN moneys be used to fund a free-market, anti-communist "development" organization. In November 1991, Bolton congratulated the UNDP for having made an "initial contribution" of $250,000 to the Institute of East-West Dynamics.

Bolton himself worked for the United Nations from 1997 to 2000 as an assistant to James Baker, who U.N. Secretary General named as Special Envoy on the Western Sahara. While working for the United Nations during the Clinton administration, Bolton had no qualms about "put[ting] my U.N. hat on" at the same time he was AEI's senior vice president. The mission to resolve the demands of the Sahrawi people's claim of the Western Sahara, a territory of Morocco, failed in part because of the Baker-Bolton team's own lack of support for the U.N. resolution condemning Morocco's colonization of the Western Sahara.

Armaggedon Man

Bolton is a militarist who embraces the "peace through strength" philosophy of international affairs. Praising Bolton in a speech he delivered on Jan. 1, 2001 at the American Enterprise Institute, Sen. Jesse Helms, who was chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said, "John Bolton is the kind of man with whom I would want to stand at Armageddon."

Bolton was a leading voice against the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), signed by President Clinton but never ratified because of strong congressional opposition from Republicans. Following the 1999 Senate vote rejecting the treaty, Bolton said that the vote marked "the beginning of a new realism on the issue of weapons of mass destruction and their global proliferation. The Senate vote is an unmistakable signal that America rejects the illusionary protections of unenforceable treaties."

A report by the National Academy of Sciences, titled Technical Issues Related to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, addressed Bolton's stated grounds of opposition to the CTBT. The report argues that the stated concerns over verification (primarily) and viability of U.S. nuclear stockpile (secondarily) are not technically a problem. According to the report: "Verification capabilities for the treaty are better than generally supposed. U.S. adversaries could not significantly advance their nuclear weapons capabilities through tests below the threshold of detection, and the United States has the technical capabilities to maintain confidence in the safety and reliability of its existing weapons stockpile without periodic nuclear tests."

The Committee on Technical Issues Related to Ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which wrote the report, was formed in mid-2000 at the request of Gen. John Shalikashvili, former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then special adviser to the president and secretary of state for the CTBT. Committee members included former directors of the Los Alamos, Sandia, and Oak Ridge national laboratories; other experts on nuclear-weapon design, testing, and maintenance; a leading expert on seismic verification of nuclear explosions; and a former commander in chief of U.S. forces in the Pacific.

While undersecretary of state, Bolton was responsible for organizing the administration's Proliferation Security Initiative, as a kind of "coalition of the willing" focused on stopping the transfer of WMDs and precursor material. Announced by President Bush while in Poland in May 2003, the PSI is, according to Bolton, "legitimate and will be extremely effective in its efforts against weapons of mass destruction proliferation." Bolton described the PSI — which specifies that partner nations will cooperate with the United States in intercepting and confiscating suspect shipments going or coming from "rogue" countries — as an example of how the United States can "defend its national interests using novel and loose coalitions."

In mid-2001 Bolton announced at the U.N. Conference on Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons that Washington opposed any initiative to regulate trade in small arms or in non-military rifles--or any effort that would "abrogate the constitutional right to bear arms." Accompanying Bolton to the conference were members of the National Rifle Association (NRA). "It is precisely those weapons that Bolton would exclude from the purview of this conference that are actually killing people and endangering communities around the world," said Tamar Gabelnick, director of the Arms Sales Monitoring Project at the Federation of American Scientists. She charged that the U.S. delegation, led by Arms Control Secretary Bolton, single-handedly destroyed any possibility of consensus around the Small Arms Action Plan.

The New Europe

Bolton has been a player in a strategy by U.S. militarists and neoconservatives to expand NATO and to form new U.S.-led political and military coalitions in Central and Eastern Europe. Leading this initiative have been two neoconservative institutes that are located in the same building in Washington, D.C. — the Project for the New American Century and the American Enterprise Institute.

Before joining the Bush administration, Bolton was a member of the New Atlantic Initiative, a bipartisan initiative sponsored by AEI and funded by two right-wing foundations: Olin Foundation and Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation. The New Atlantic Initiative was launched in June 1996 following the Congress of Prague, where more than 300 conservative politicians, scholars, and investors discussed "the new agenda for transatlantic relations."

Headquartered at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, D.C., the New Atlantic Initiative is dedicated to strengthening North Atlantic cooperation, admitting the transitional democracies of the former Soviet bloc into NATO and the European Union, and establishing a free trade area between an enlarged European Union and the NAFTA countries. The New Atlantic Initiative is closely associated with the Project on Transitional Democracies, and was also closely linked to the now-defunct U.S. Committee on NATO — groups that were both founded by PNAC board members.

Before Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld spoke of the U.S. alliance with the "New Europe" while dissing the "Old Europe," Bolton already had signaled that the post-WW II transatlantic alliance was being overhauled by Washington. Months before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Bolton warned that "the Europeans can be sure that America's days as a well-bred doormat for EU political and military protection are coming to an end." 

Putting Israel at the Center

Bolton is an outspoken hawk on U.S. policy in the Middle East, and has since the mid-1990s been closely associated with neoconservative organizations and pressure groups that are close to the right-wing Likud party in Israel — including the Project for the New American Century, American Enterprise Institute, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, and the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf (CPSG).

Bolton boasts that one of his most important achievements was the central role he played at the State Department in 1991 in leading the successful campaign to repeal the 1975 General Assembly resolution equating Zionism with racism, "thus removing the greatest stain on the U.N.'s reputation."

Self-identified as a bipartisan group whose members are prominent in U.S. international policy circles, the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf was launched by neoconservatives in 1998 as part of their incipient campaign to build support for regime change in Iraq. Underwritten by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and organized by the neoconservative Center for Security Policy, CPSG called on Washington to adopt a "comprehensive political and military strategy for bringing down Saddam and his regime." Working closely with Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC), CPSG, which was co-chaired by Richard Perle, included most of the charter members of the Project for the New American Century (including Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Dov Zakeim, and Peter Rodman) and an array of AEI scholars, including Richard Perle, Jeffrey Gedmin, Michael Ledeen, Joshua Muravchik, David Wurmer, and John Bolton.

Along with other Bush administration officials, Bolton was on the board of advisers of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs before joining the administration. JINSA supports a "peace through strength" policy to support Israel and works to build "strategic ties" between the U.S. military and U.S. military contractors with Israel. Other administration figures associated with this militarist organization that aims to strengthen the military-industrial complexes in both Israel and the United States are Richard Cheney, Douglas Feith, and Paul Wolfowitz.

Two months prior to the Iraq invasion, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton traveled to Jerusalem to meet with former Prime Minister Netanyahu and Prime Minister Sharon to discuss strategies for "preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction." No mention was made of the widely accepted fact — although never mentioned by the United States —that Israel is the only nuclear power in the Middle East. Instead, the undersecretary for disarmament affairs focused on the Bush administration's disarmament targets following the planned invasion of Iraq. Bolton in February 2003 said that once regime change plans in Iraq were completed, "it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran, and North Korea afterwards."

With respect to Syria, Bolton has been the administration's attack dog. Without offering any evidence to support his allegations, Bolton in May 2003 said that the Bush administration "knows that Syria has long had a chemical warfare program" including maintaining a "stockpile of the nerve agent sarin and is engaged in research and development of a more toxic and persistent nerve agent."

What's more Bolton raised alarmist claims that Syria "is pursuing the development of biological weapons and is able to produce at least small amounts of biological warfare agents." Soon after the Iraq invasion and despite the fact the no WMDs were found in Iraq, Bolton warned Syria, Libya, and Iran that "the cost of their pursuit of weapons of mass destruction is potentially quite high."

Contras and Cuba

When he worked as an assistant attorney general under Edwin Meese, Bolton thwarted the Kerry Commission's efforts to obtain documentation, including Bolton's personal notes, about the Iran-Contra affair and alleged Contra drug smuggling. Working with congressional Republicans, Bolton also stonewalled congressional demands to interview deputies of then-Attorney General Edwin Meese regarding their role in the affair.

Also while at the Justice Department, Bolton refused to provide internal documents to the Senate during the confirmation hearings for the nominations of Rehnquist, Scalia, and Kennedy to the Supreme Court.

Speaking before an audience at the Heritage Foundation in May 2002, Bolton made the case that Cuba should be included among the axis of evil countries because of its development of biowarfare capacity. Cuba is world renowned for its biomedical industry, but according to Bolton the industry was concealing a WMD project. He charged that Cuba has "at least a limited offensive biological warfare research development effort" and that it has "provided dual-use technology to other rogue states."

Providing no evidence for his allegations, Bolton said that Cuba was involved in the sales of illicit biowarfare technology at least in part as a way to boost its cash-short economy. Other administration officials, when pressed, declined to support Bolton's charges against Cuba. Bolton's claims that Cuba was developing biological weapons and that Syria possessed WMDs were completely unsubstantiated by leading officials.

Bolton never complied with congressional demands to provide documentation on the Cuban assertion, and the CIA effectively blocked Bolton's appearance before the Senate regarding his allegations about Syria's weapons of mass destruction. A congressional investigation of Cuba's alleged WMD program found no evidence to back Bolton's assertions.

Cornering and Confronting the Dragon

One of the long-running divides in the Republican Party is between those who favor constructive engagement with China and those who propagate an alarmist view of China. John Bolton is a leading figure in the confrontationalist "China lobby," sometimes called the Blue Team. In the post-WW II period, the China lobby was most closely associated with the old guard right and militantly anticommunist organizations like the American Security Council.

Today, the China lobby finds its home in the neoconservative think tanks and policy institutes, notably the American Enterprise Institute and the Center for Security Policy. With such figures as John Bolton, it has also found a home in the Bush administration. Bolton and other administration figures, such as CIA director Porter Goss and Donald Rumsfeld, are warning that China increasingly represents a military threat not just to other Asian countries but to the United States itself.

Bolton is not only one of the administration's leading hawks on China policy, he is also its strongest advocate of Taiwan's independence and of U.S. defense of Taiwan. Bolton has close professional and personal ties in Taipei. According to an investigative report by The Washington Post (April 9, 2001), Bolton was on the payroll of the Taiwan government before joining the Bush administration. Bolton received $30,000 for "research papers on U.N. membership issues involving Taiwan " at the same time he was promoting diplomatic recognition of Taiwan before various congressional committees.

In 1999 Bolton, speaking as an AEI scholar, said that "[D]iplomatic recognition of Taiwan would be just the kind of demonstration of U.S. leadership that the region needs and that many of its people hope for. The notion that China would actually respond with force is a fantasy." Bolton joined a prominent group of neoconservatives and traditional conservatives who signed a statement jointly sponsored by the Project for the New American Century and the Heritage Foundation that lambasted the Clinton administration for its failure to offer unequivocal support of Taiwan. The statement, whose signatories included William Kristol, Elliott Abrams, Richard Perle, I. Lewis Libby, Edwin Meese, William Buckley, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Paul Weyrich, James Woolsey, and Paul Wolfowitz, called for a state-to-state relationship with Taiwan.

Before joining the administration, Bolton was a contributing columnist for the Taipei Times. When Taiwan's first lady Wu Shu-chen visited Washington in what was widely regarded as a quasi-official state visit, Bolton, described by the Taipei Times as "an ardent friend of Taiwan," held a lengthy personal discussion with President Chen Shui-bian's wife. At the time of his election, Bolton charged the Clinton administration of a policy of "strategic ambivalence" that left Taiwan vulnerable to Chinese invasion. According to Bolton, the U.S. should defend Taiwan against any possible provocation by China, including in the frontline islands of Kinmen and Matsu.

At the time of Wu Shu-chen's visit, both Taiwanese and U.S. officials said the visit was not a private one and she would not be meeting with U.S. government officials. The first lady addressed a forum at AEI in which she called for the country's admission to the United Nations as an independent nation--a prospect that China has said it would not tolerate given that it considers Taiwan to be a "renegade" province. Wu Shu-chen was also awarded the Democracy Service Medal by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a neoconservative-led institution that depends almost exclusively on U.S. government funding. Presenting the award was Rep. Christopher Cox, a "China lobby" member who has worked closely with Bolton on China and is a member of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus.

Like many neoconservatives, Bolton charged that the Clinton administration practiced "disdainful diplomacy toward the Republic of China on Taiwan" while giving preferential treatment to the Palestinian Authority. The neoconservative camp generally regards U.S. policy toward Taiwan as a bellwether for the degree of U.S. commitment to Israel. According to Bolton, writing in January 2000 for AEI: "That the PLO is a more consequential player [than Taiwan] in the United Nations speaks volumes … [about] the organization's detachment from reality."

In July 2003, during the run-up to the six-nation talks with North Korea, Bolton described President Kim Jong Il as the "tyrannical dictator" of a country where "life is a hellish nightmare." North Korea responded in kind, saying that "such human scum and bloodsucker is not entitled to take part in the talks ... . We have decided not to consider him as an official of the U.S. administration any longer nor to deal with him." The State Department sent a replacement for Bolton to the talks.

Dump Bolton Now

The naming of Bolton as UN ambassador was another clear signal from President Bush that he intends to forge ahead with the national security strategy blueprint laid out for him by groups like the Project for the New American Century and the American Enterprise Institute. This has never been a hidden agenda, and during Bush's first term the radical statements and policies of Bolton and other high foreign policy officials clearly described the directions and methods of this aggressive foreign and military policy agenda.

The president says his reelection gave him a mandate for his radical policy agenda at home and abroad. By nominating Bolton to represent the United States before the international community, President Bush has in effect challenged all nations either to get with the agenda or be swept aside by U.S. power and purpose.

Is Iran Next?

Shortly after 9/11, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith began coordinating Pentagon planning for an invasion of Iraq. The challenge facing Feith, the No. 3 civilian in the Defense Department, was to establish a policy rationale for the attack. At the same time, Feith’s ideological cohorts in the Pentagon began planning to take the administration’s "global war on terrorism," not only to Baghdad, but also to Damascus and Tehran.

In August it was revealed that one of Feith’s Middle East policy wonks, Lawrence Franklin, shared classified documents – including a draft National Security Presidential Directive formulated in Feith’s office that outlines a more aggressive U.S. national security strategy regarding Iran – with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and Israeli officials. The FBI is investigating the document transfer as a case of espionage.

This spy scandal raises two concerns for U.S. diplomats and foreign policy experts from across the political spectrum. One, that U.S. Middle East policy is being directed by neoconservative ideologues variously employed, coordinated or sanctioned by Feith’s Pentagon office. And two, that U.S. Middle East policy is too closely aligned with that of Israeli hardliners close to U.S. neoconservatives.

Feith is joined in reshaping a U.S. foreign Middle East policy – one that mirrors or complements the policies of the hardliners in Israel – by a web of neoconservative policy institutes, pressure groups and think tanks. These include the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS), Center for Security Policy (CSP) and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) – all groups with which Feith has been or still is closely associated.

First Iraq, now Iran

In the months after 9/11, rather than relying on the CIA, State Department or the Pentagon’s own Defense Intelligence Agency for intelligence about Iraq’s ties to international terrorists and its development of weapons of mass destruction, neoconservatives in the Pentagon set up a special intelligence shop called the Office of Special Plans (OSP). The founders, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Feith, are fervent advocates of a regional restructuring in the Middle East that includes regime change in Iran, Syria and, ultimately, Saudi Arabia.

Not having its own intelligence-gathering infrastructure, Feith’s office relied on fabricated information supplied by Ahmed Chalabi, an Iraqi expatriate who led the Iraqi National Congress (INC). In 1998, Chalabi’s group was funded by the Iraq Liberation Act, a congressional initiative that was backed by neoconservative institutions such as AIPAC, CSP, Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

At the same time that Chalabi and other INC militants were visiting Feith’s office, so were Israeli officials, including generals, according to Lt. Col Karen Kwiakowski, who formerly worked in the Near East and South Asia office under Feith’s supervision. Like the neoconservatives in the United States, Israeli hardliners believe that Israel’s long-term security can best be ensured by a radical makeover of Middle East politics enforced by the superior military power of the United States and Israel.

It now appears that Feith’s Office of Policy, which was creating dubious intelligence rationales for the Iraq war, was also establishing a covert national security strategy for regime change in Iran – most likely through a combination of preemptive military strikes (either by the United States or Israel) and support for a coalition of Iranian dissidents.

Covert operators

This covert operation is now the subject of an FBI espionage investigation and inquiries by the House Judiciary Committee and Select Senate Intelligence Committee – inquiries that have been postponed until after the election.

Without notifying the State Department or the CIA, Feith’s office has been involved in back channel operations that have included a series of secret meetings in Washington, Rome and Paris over the last three years. These meetings have brought together Office of Policy officials and consultants (Franklin, Harold Rhode and Michael Ledeen), an expatriate Iranian arms dealer (Manichur Ghorbanifar), AIPAC lobbyists, Ahmed Chalabi, and Italian and Israeli intelligence officers, among others.

Franklin, an Iran expert who was pulled into Feith’s policy shop from the Defense Intelligence Agency, met repeatedly with Naor Gilon, the head of the political department at the Israeli embassy in Washington. According to U.S. intelligence officials, during one of those meetings, Franklin offered to hand over the National Security Presidential Directive on Iran. For more than two years, an FBI counterintelligence operation has been monitoring Washington meetings between AIPAC, Franklin and Israeli officials. Investigators suspect that the draft security document was passed to Israel through an intermediary, likely AIPAC.

Franklin, who is known to be close to militant Iranian and Iranian-American dissidents, is the common link to another series of meetings in Rome and Paris involving Ledeen (an American Enterprise Institute scholar who was a special consultant to Feith), Harold Rhode (a cohort of Ledeen’s from the Iran-Contra days, who is currently employed by Feith to prepare regime-change strategy plans for Middle Eastern countries on the neoconservatives’ hit list), and Ghorbanifar (an arms dealer who claims to speak for the Iranian opposition). These meetings addressed, among other things, strategies for organizing Iranians who would be willing to cooperate with a U.S.-spearheaded regime change agenda for Iran.

Echoes of Iran-Contra

This cast of characters indicates that U.S. Middle East policy involves covert and illegal operations that resemble the Iran-Contra operations in the ’80s. Not only are the neoconservatives once again the leading actors, these new covert operations involve at least two Iran-Contra conspirators: Ledeen, who has repeatedly complained that the Bush administration has let its regime-change plans for Iran and Syria "gather mold in the bowels of the bureaucracy"; and Ghorbanifar, who the CIA considers a "serial fabricator" with whom the agency prohibits its agents from having any association

During the Iran-Contra operation, Israel served as a conduit for U.S. arms sales to Iran. The proceeds went largely to fund the Nicaraguan Contras despite a congressional ban on military support to the counterrevolutionaries. This time around, however, the apparent aim of these back channel dealings is to move U.S.-Iran relations beyond the reach of State Department diplomats and into the domain of the Pentagon ideologues. Ledeen, the neoconservative point man in the Iran regime-change campaign, wrote in the National Review Online that too many U.S. government officials "prefer to schmooze with the mullahs" rather than promote "democratic revolution in Iran."

In early 2002, Leeden, along with Morris Amitay, a former AIPAC executive director as well as a CSP adviser, founded the Coalition for Democracy in Iran (CDI) to build congressional and administration support for Iran regime change. AIPAC and CDI helped ensure passage of recent House and Senate resolutions that condemn Iran, call for tighter sanctions and express support for Iranian dissidents.

The CDI includes members of key neoconservative policy institutes and think tanks, including Raymond Tanter of the Washington Institute for Near East Affairs (WINEA) – an off-shoot of AIPAC – and Frank Gaffney, president of CSP. In the ’90s, Feith served as the board chairman of CSP, whose slogan is "peace through strength," and where Woolsey currently serves as co-chairman of the advisory committee. Other neoconservative organizations represented in the coalition by more than one member include AEI and Freedom House.

Rob Sobhani, an Iranian-American, who like Ledeen and other neoconservatives is a friend of the Shah’s son Reza Pahlavi, is also a CDI member. CDI expresses the common neoconservative position that constructive engagement with the Iranian government – even with the democratic reformists – is merely appeasement. Instead, the United States should proceed immediately to a regime change strategy working closely with the "Iranian people." Representatives of the Iranian people that could be the front men for a regime change strategy, according to the neoconservatives, include, the Shah’s son, Reza Pahlavi (who has also cultivated close ties with the Likud Party in Israel), the Iraq-based guerrilla group Mujahadin-E Khalq (MEK), and expatriate arms dealer Ghorbanifar.

The CDI’s Ledeen, Amitay and Sobhani were featured speakers at a May 2003 forum on "the future of Iran," sponsored by AEI, the Hudson Institute and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. The forum, chaired by the Hudson Institute’s Meyrav Wurmser, the Israeli-born wife of David Wurmser (he serves as Cheney’s leading expert on Iran and Syria), included a presentation by Uri Lubrani of Israel’s Ministry of Defense. Summarizing the sentiment of neoconservative ideologues and strategists, Meyrav Wurmser said: "Our fight against Iraq was only a battle in a long war. It would be ill-conceived to think we can deal with Iraq alone. We must move on, and faster."

JINSA, a neoconservative organization established in 1976 that fosters closer strategic and military ties between the United States and Israel, also has its sights on Iran. At a JINSA policy forum in April 2003 titled "Time to Focus on Iran – The Mother of Modern Terrorism," Ledeen declared, "The time for diplomacy is at an end; it is time for a free Iran, free Syria and free Lebanon."

JINSA, along with CSP, serves as one of the main institutional links to the military-industrial complex for neoconservatives. Ledeen served as JINSA’s first executive director and was JINSA’s "Godfather," according to Amitay. Amitay is a JINSA vice chair. JINSA board members or advisers also include former CIA director James Woolsey, former Rep. Jack Kemp and the AEI’s Joshua Muravchik. After he joined the administration, Feith resigned from JINSA’s board of advisers, as did Vice President Dick Cheney and Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton.

Like other neoconservatives, Feith sees Israel and the United States sharing common national-security concerns in the Middle East. In 1996, Feith was a member of a study team organized by IASPS and led by Richard Perle that also included representatives from JINSA, the AIPAC-related WINEA, and Meyrav and David Wurmser.

The resulting report, A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm , advised Israeli Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu to "work closely with Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize and roll back" regional threats, to help overthrow Saddam Hussein, and to strike Syrian military targets in Lebanon and possibly in Syria proper. It recommended that Israel forge a foreign and domestic policy based on a "new intellectual foundation" that "provides the nation the room to engage every possible energy on rebuilding Zionism."

Ideology alone does not explain Feith’s close connections to Israel. His old law firm Feith & Zell, which has an office in Israel, specialized in representing arms dealers and missile defense contractors. The firm has boasted of its role in facilitating technology transfers between U.S. and Israel military contractors.

Zionism runs deep

Feith’s right-wing Zionism typifies neoconservatism. The Pentagon’s advocacy of an invasion of Iraq and, more recently, its hard-line postures with respect to Iran and Syria, must be considered in light of the Zionist convictions and Likud Party connections of those shaping the administration’s Middle East policy.

Through the early ’70s anti-totalitarianism was the core political tenet that united neoconservatives and their forerunners. In this Manichean political worldview, the forces of good and democracy led by the United States were under constant threat by the forces of evil as embodied in communism and fascism. At home, the "present danger" came in the form of appeasers, pro-détente advocates, isolationists and peace activists who shied away from direct and preemptive military confrontation with the totalitarian empire builders.

Although the early neoconservatives were largely Jewish, most were not Zionists. In the ’50s and through most of the ’60s, neocons such as Irving Kristol – widely known as the father of neoconservatism – regarded Israel more as a key Cold War ally than as the biblically ordained homeland of God’s chosen people.

After the 1967 Six Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Jewish neoconservatives embraced their Judaic roots and incorporated Zionism into their worldview. Anti-totalitarianism remains a core neoconservative foreign policy principle. Since the end of the Cold War, neoconservatism has focused on the Muslim world and to a lesser extent China – but is now tied to the ideological and political imperatives of right-wing Zionism.

Feith’s own Zionism is rooted in his family. In 1997, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) honored Dalck Feith and his son Douglas at its annual dinner, describing the Feiths as "noted Jewish philanthropists and pro-Israel activists." The father was awarded the group’s special Centennial Award "for his lifetime of service to Israel and the Jewish people," while Douglas received the "prestigious Louis D. Brandeis Award."

Dalck Feith was a militant in Betar, a Zionist youth movement founded in Riga, Lativia in 1923, by Ze’ev Jabotinsky, an admirer of Mussolini. Betar, whose members spouted militaristic slogans modeled after fascistic movements, was associated with the Revisionist Movement, which evolved in Poland to become the Herut Party, the forerunner of the Likud Party.

In 1999, Douglas Feith contributed an essay to a book titled The Dangers of a Palestinian State , published by the ZOA. That same year, Feith spoke to a 150-member ZOA lobbying mission to Congress that called for "U.S. action against Palestinian Arab killers of Americans" and for moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The ZOA lobbying group also criticized the Clinton administration for its "refusal to criticize illegal Palestinian Arab construction in Jerusalem and the territories, which is far more extensive than Israeli construction there."

In addition to his close ties with the right-wing ZOA, before assuming his current position at the Pentagon Feith co-founded One Jerusalem, a group whose objective is "saving a united Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel." Other cofounders of this Jerusalem-based organization are David Steinmann, chairman of JINSA, board member of the CSP and chairman of the executive committee of the Middle East Forum; Dore Gold, a top adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon; and Natan Sharansky, Israel’s Minister of Diaspora Affairs and current chairman of One Jerusalem.

One Jerusalem actively courts the involvement of Christian Zionists. In May 2003, One Jerusalem hosted the Interfaith Zionist Summit in Washington, DC, that brought together Christian Zionists such as Gary Bauer of American Values and Roberta Combs of the Christian Coalition with Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum and Mort Klein of the ZOA.

Dual agendas

The Israeli government and AIPAC have denied that they engaged in any criminal operations involving classified Pentagon documents about Iran. Sharansky said, "There are absolutely no attempts to involve any member of the Jewish community and any general American citizens to spy for Israel against the United States." He observed that the investigation of the Pentagon’s Office of Policy staff most likely stemmed from an inter-agency rivalry within the U.S. government.

For his part, Ledeen told Newsweek that the espionage allegations against Franklin, his close friend, were "nonsensical." Ledeen and other neoconservatives see the investigations as instigated by the State Department and the CIA to undermine the credibility of neoconservatives and to obstruct their Middle East restructuring agenda, particularly regime change in Iran.

Given the depth of congressional bipartisan support for Israel and close ties with right-wing Israeli lobbying groups like AIPAC, it’s unlikely that the investigations will provide the much-needed public scrutiny of the dual and complementary agendas that unite U.S. and Israeli hardliners. Feith’s policymaking fiefdom inside and outside of government continues to drive U.S. policy in the Middle East with no evidence that these radical policies are increasing the national security and welfare of either the United States or Israel.

Iran rumbles

Meanwhile tensions with Iran deepen – which suits the Iran war party just fine. "Stability," Michael Ledeen once said, "gives me the heebee jeebies."

On September 21, Iran’s President Mohammed Khatami warned that Iran may withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if Washington and the International Atomic Energy Commission demand that the country desist from plans to enrich uranium. The Iranian government says that it has no plans to develop nuclear weapons, and international inspectors have not determined otherwise. However, if Iran does proceed with its plans to enrich nearly 40 tons of uranium, which it says will be used to generate electricity, it is commonly acknowledged that in a few years it could produce several nuclear bombs.

But it’s not only the possibility that Iran could emerge as the Middle East’s second nuclear power that worries the United States and Israel. At the same time that Washington was demanding that the Iranian case be sent to the Security Council, the Iranian army was test-firing its long-range (810 miles) missile – a demonstration of its commitment to an effective deterrent capacity.

From the point of view of the Middle East restructurers, Iran represents an increasing threat to regional stability. Not only does it already have long-range missiles, and might be developing nuclear weapons, its close ties with the Shiite majority in Iraq do not bode well for the type of political and economic restructuring the Bush administration planned for Iraq. Moreover, neoconservatives and Israelis have long complained that Iran backs the Hezbollah militias in Lebanon and is fueling the Shiite rebels in Iraq.

Effectively, Washington has already declared war on Iran. Being named by President Bush as part of the "Axis of Evil" triad targeted in the global war on terrorism and the new U.S. strategy of preemptive war has made Iran increasingly nervous.

Iran – itself a victim of a 1953 British and U.S.-engineered regime change that installed the Shah – has seen the United States implement regime change in Iraq to its west and Afghanistan to its east. Moreover, the U.S. government has for the first time solidly allied itself with the military hardliners in Israel – the region’s only nation with nuclear warheads and one of the few nations that has refused to sign the nonproliferation treaty.

Back in 1996, Feith was busy representing the armament industries in Israel and the United States while at the same time preparing a policy briefing for the Israeli government. In A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm , Feith et al. recommended "a new vision for the U.S.-Israeli partnership … based on a shared philosophy of peace through strength" – a "clean break" policy that is currently being dually implemented by the Bush and Sharon administrations. The next demonstration of strength may well be with Iran.

A Pledge to Make Us Proud

"One nation under God" will remain in the Pledge of Allegiance that U.S. schoolchildren recite at the start of each school day. The U.S. Supreme Court on June 14 -- Flag Day -- declined to uphold a lower court ruling, which stipulated that the pledge violated the constitutionally mandated separation between church and state. The court based its decision on technicalities rather than on the constitutional merits of the argument, leaving the door open to future legal challenges to the Pledge of Allegiance.

Social conservatives -- especially the politically engaged Religious Right -- are ardent proponents of the Pledge of Allegiance and its religious reference. Some are even calling for a constitutional amendment to protect the pledge. It's all part of the "culture war" that has roiled the nation since the 1970s.

As this culture war continues and the Pledge of Allegiance remains a constitutional issue, it's worth recalling the history of the pledge.
A man of the cloth authored the pledge: In 1892 Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and educator, had a progressive political agenda when he penned the Pledge of Allegiance. As a Christian Socialist, Francis Bellamy was intent on pitting moral purpose (equality, liberty, and justice) against the prevailing power of the plutocrats and robber barons of his day. But he didn't see fit to mention God in this statement of civic values.

The Progressive Era of the 1890s marked the beginning of a power shift in the United States, when populist movements of farmers, small business owners, and workers demanded that local, state, and federal government protect them from the depredations of big business, banks, and railroads. Francis Bellamy believed that the progressive cause would be well served if the values of equality, justice, and liberty would be inserted into the daily school routine.

Americans never adopted the utopian socialist vision of Francis Bellamy or that of his cousin Edward Bellamy, the author of the popular utopian novels Looking Backward and Equality. But schools throughout the land did adopt Francis Bellamy's Pledge of Allegiance with its commitment to "liberty and justice for all."

Bellamy did initially plan to include "equality" along with liberty and justice in the pledge. Upon reflection, though, he thought that any mention of equality would doom the pledge. Then, as today, the concept of "equality" was strongly opposed by conservatives and racists (and many school superintendents) who resisted all demands for gender and racial equality. In the interests of political expediency, Bellamy dropped the controversial term from his draft, and his Pledge of Allegiance eventually became incorporated into the daily educational curriculum throughout the land.

It was not until 1954 that "under God" made its way into the Pledge of Allegiance, converting the pledge into "both a patriotic oath and a public prayer," as one historian observed. President Dwight Eisenhower authorized the change in response to a nationwide campaign led by the Knights of Columbus, a conservative Catholic men's club. As the U.S. appellate court noted in June 2003, the insertion of "under God" was to advance religion at a time "when the government was publicly inveighing against atheistic communism."

The culture war that pits conservatives against liberals, the right against the left, has for the past three decades reshaped politics in the United States, shifting most policy debate sharply to the right. The separation of church and state needs is a core attribute of our democracy that merits defense against the encroachments of the Religious Right.

But in the battle of values with the Religious Right and other social conservatives, this is one battle that is not worth fighting. Instead, this country's democratic and progressive traditions would be better served if more Americans proudly stood by the core values spelled out in the Pledge of Allegiance, and if we encouraged our children to help make the United States a nation that truly offers liberty and justice for all.

The Men Who Stole the Show

When he first saw the excerpts leaked to The New York Times in spring 1992, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) was horrified and denounced the document as a prescription for "literally a Pax Americana." The leak, a draft Defense Policy Guidance (DPG) on U.S. grand strategy through the 1990s, was stunning in the clarity and ambition of its vision for a new U.S. foreign and military policy. Written in the aftermath of the Gulf War by two relatively obscure political appointees in the Pentagon's policy department of the Bush Sr. administration, the draft DPG called for U.S. military preeminence over Eurasia by preventing the rise of any potentially hostile power and a policy of preemption against states suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction. It foretold a world in which U.S. military intervention overseas would become "a constant feature" and failed to even mention the United Nations.

Although softened in its final form at the insistence of then National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and Secretary of State James Baker, the draft DPG occupied a central place in the hearts and minds of its two authors, Paul Wolfowitz and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and their boss, then Pentagon chief Dick Cheney. A decade later, theory was transformed into practice following the devastating terrorist attack on Sept. 11. By then, Dick Cheney had already become the most powerful vice president in U.S. history, and the draft DPG's two authors, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Cheney's chief of staff and national security adviser, Lewis Libby, had moved to the center of foreign policy-making in the Bush administration. They, along with Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld, have led a coalition of forces that has successfully engineered what former UN ambassador Richard Holbrooke recently described as a "radical break with 55 years of bipartisan tradition" in U.S. foreign policy.

That break came as a great shock to most analysts. Candidate George W. Bush's talk of pursuing a "humble" foreign policy, as well as the narrowness of his electoral victory, suggested that Bush would likely take his cue from his father's administration. Although the younger Bush's stress on U.S. "national interests" and his skepticism about nation-building and peacekeeping suggested a likely pullback from the Clinton-Gore team's more globalist and multilateral aspirations, most pundits saw a likely return to the cautious, balance-of-power realism that characterized his father's tenure. That assessment seemed even more assured after Bush selected retired General Colin Powell as his secretary of state and Condoleezza Rice as national security adviser. Both were protégés of Brent Scowcroft, in many ways the dean of the realist establishment going back all the way to Gerald Ford for whom he also served as national security adviser. Those assumptions proved dead wrong, however, particularly in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

In engineering the radical break in U.S. foreign policy, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Cheney relied on a handful of think tanks and front groups that have closely interlocking directorates and shared origins in the right-wing and neo-conservative organizations of the 1970s. Organizations such as the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), the Center for Security Policy (CSP) and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) have supplied the administration with a steady stream of policy advice and also with the men-and they are virtually all men-to steer the ship of state on its radical new course. These men are by no means new recruits to the foreign policy elite. They cut their teeth on some of the most fateful foreign policy debates of the last thirty years. Their motto was "peace through strength," and they took great pride in their credentials as militant anti-communists and champions of U.S. military power. Until now, their greatest moments came during Reagan's first term in which most of them held high office. But now, in a world without the Soviet Union, their ambitions are much greater.

As reflected in the draft DPG, these forces first saw their opportunity in the "unipolar moment" that followed the Gulf War. But they were stymied by the "conservative crack-up" after the Soviet collapse, not to mention the cautious realism of the Bush Sr. administration itself. As a result, much of the 1990s marked a period of great frustration for these men who had nothing but contempt for Clinton's fashionable talk of transnational issues such as climate change, HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, humanitarian intervention, peacekeeping, conflict prevention, social and environmental standards for the global economy and the creation of new multilateral mechanisms like the International Criminal Court (ICC). They regarded these transnational challenges and multilateral responses as nothing less than new constraints on Washington's freedom of action and diversions from the real task of identifying and confronting potential military rivals for its primacy. To them, American foreign policy under Clinton, which they sometimes called "globaloney," was dangerously unfocused.

At the same time, these forces grew alarmed at the strong isolationist streak in many of the Republicans who took control of Congress after the mid-term elections in 1994. While they applauded the freshmen's contempt for the United Nations and other multilateral agencies, they also fretted about the growing Republican opposition to any form of military engagement abroad, especially in places like the Balkans that they deemed vital to the U.S. national interest. They loved the new Republicans' unilateralism, but deplored their disengagement.

Focusing on the "New American Century"

In 1997, an influential group of neo-conservatives, social conservatives and representatives of what Eisenhower referred to as the military-industrial complex came together to form Project for a New American Century (PNAC). Conservatives had failed to "confidently advance a strategic vision for America's role in the world," the group lamented in its statement of principles. It continued, "We aim to change this. We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership." Noting what they called "the essential elements of the Reagan administration's success," namely "a strong military" ready to meet "present and future challenges," they proudly declared: "A Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the U.S. is to build on the success of this past century and ensure our security and greatness in the next." Among the twenty-five signers were Wolfowitz, Libby, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Elliott Abrams, Zalmay Khalilzad and other right-wing luminaries who five years later would use the Sept. 11 outrage to realize their long-held dreams of a new American empire.

Not a think tank like the Heritage Foundation or AEI with the capacity to develop detailed policy recommendations, PNAC has acted as a front group that issues timely statements, often in the form of open letters to the president. Its influence signals the degree to which neoconservatives have charted the main outlines and trajectory of the Bush foreign policy. Founded by Weekly Standard pundits William Kristol and Robert Kagan, PNAC is the latest incarnation of a series of predominantly neoconservative groups such as the Coalition for a Democratic Majority (CDM) and the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD). In the 1970s, these groups played key roles in helping to marshal diverse right-wing constituencies around a common foreign and defense policy and organize highly sophisticated public and media campaigns in pursuit of their goals. Their main targets of the time were Jimmy Carter, détente and arms control agreements with the Soviet Union, but they also used their zest for ideological combat, their political savvy and propaganda skills to prepare the ground for and later oversee the more radical policies pursued by the incoming Reagan administration, including Star Wars, the anti-communist crusades in Central America, southern Africa and Afghanistan, and the creation of a "strategic alliance" with Israel. Largely sidelined under the elder Bush and Clinton, these same forces-in many cases, the same individuals-who served under Reagan and then again under the younger Bush spent much of the 1990s trying to reconstitute a new coalition of the kind that dominated Reagan's first term.

In a 1996 essay in Foreign Affairs, "Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy," PNAC directors Robert Kagan and William Kristol signaled that the right was preparing a new foreign policy agenda that would seize control of the "unipolar moment" and extend it indefinitely into the next century. During the presidential campaign in 2000, Kagan and Kristol edited Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunities in American Foreign and Defense Policy, a PNAC book that included chapters written by many of the leading neoconservative strategists and academics, including Richard Perle, Reuel Marc Gerecht, Peter Rodman, Elliott Abrams, Fredrick Kagan, William Bennett and Paul Wolfowitz. This book, with its call for a policy of "regime change" in Iraq, China, North Korea and Iran, its prescriptions for maintaining "American preeminence," its recommendations to build global missile defense systems and to distance Washington from arms control treaties and its pro-Likud position, were presented as a blueprint for a new Republican administration. The extent that the Bush administration has adopted this agenda and integrated its authors into its foreign policy brain trust illustrates the success of PNAC-a group that received no attention during the campaign and despite its continuing influence still remains in the shadows of the public debate about the direction of U.S. foreign policy.

Much as its forebears did twenty-five years ago, PNAC in the late 1990s successfully rallied key right-wing personalities-including men from the Christian Right like Gary Bauer and other social conservatives like William Bennett-behind their imperial vision of U.S. supremacy. This was no small achievement, for the Christian Right was far more interested in moral and cultural issues than in foreign policy during the 1980s and early 1990s. Moreover, much of that constituency had been attracted to right-wing gadfly Patrick Buchanan who shared its "traditional values," but who also strongly opposed the Gulf War and has long deplored the more imperial, neoconservative influence in the Republican Party. Two other groups, the Center for Security Policy and Empower America played a similar role with respect to forging a new coalition behind the goal of U.S. military and cultural supremacy.

Whatever the validity of U.S. military supremacy theory as a legitimate or effective defense posture, the ideology has immediate rewards for U.S. weapons manufacturers. This nexus of military strategists and thee military industry is epitomized by the right-wing Center for Security Policy with its close connections to both military contractors and the Pentagon. The Center's director Frank Gaffney, one of the original signatories of the PNAC statement in 1997, rejoiced that his group's "peace through strength" principles have once again found a place in U.S. government. Like the Reagan years, when many of the center's current associates directed U.S. military policy, the present administration includes a large number of members of the Center's National Security Advisory Council. An early member of the Center's board, Dick Cheney, is now vice president, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was a recipient of the Center's Keeper of the Flame award.

Since the 1970s, neoconservatives had been exploring the global-local links of the "culture war." In the view of the Christian Right, core American values were under attack by a liberal cultural elite that espoused secular humanism and ethical relativism. For neoconservatives, however, the culture war was an international one that threatened the entire Judeo-Christian culture. One of earliest groups taking this position was the Ethics and Public Policy Center, which was established in 1976 "to clarify and reinforce the bond between Judeo-Christian moral tradition and the public policy debate over domestic and foreign policy issues." The Ethics and Public Policy Center, where Elliott Abrams was an associate in the 1990s before he joined the Bush administration, explored the common moral ground (and common concerns) that Jewish and Catholic conservatives shared with the Christian Right. Long a theme in American politics, the idea of America's cultural supremacy and the need to defend it against mounting international attack had by the late 1990s become a powerful theme in the U.S. political debate. Neo-conservative historian Samuel Huntington provided theoretical cover for this paranoid sense of cultural supremacy in his influential The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.

Former "drug czar" and Education Secretary William J. Bennett, another signatory of the PNAC 1997 statement, has had the most success in making the local-global links in the culture war. Together with Jack Kemp, Bennett in 1999 founded Empower America, a right-wing policy group that argues for domestic and foreign policies informed by conservative moral values. Since Sept. 11, Bennett's Empower America, together with subsidiary groups, has propagated the Bush administration's own message of a moral and military crusade against evil. As part of its campaign to highlight the moral character of Bush's foreign policy, Empower America formed a new group called Americans for Victory Over Terrorism (AVOT). In a full-page ad in The New York Times, AVOT chairman Bennett warned: "The threats we face are both external and internal." Within the United States are "those who are attempting to use this opportunity [9/11] to promulgate their agenda of 'blame America first'." In its pronouncement, AVOT identified U.S. public opinion as the key battleground in the war against America's external and internal threats. "Our goal," declared AVOT, "is to address the present threats so as to eradicate future terrorism and defeat ideologies that support it." Also in the forefront of focusing attention on internal threats has been Lynne Cheney, wife of the vice president and an associate at the American Enterprise Institute, who played a lead role in founding the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) that singled out professors deemed not sufficiently patriotic.

Under the tutelage of neo-conservatives like Elliott Abrams and under the guiding hand of William Bennett, social conservatives, particularly those associated with the Christian Right, have become new internationalists. Looking beyond the culture wars at home, they found new reasons for a rightist internationalism abroad. Building on the Biblical foundations for an apocalyptic showdown in the Middle East, the Christian Right has fully supported the neo-conservative agenda on U.S.-Israel relations. In their literature and Internet presence, socially conservative groups like Empower America and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy place special emphasis on the righteousness of the campaign against the Palestinians by the Likud Party of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Other galvanizing issues for social conservatives are the persecution of Christians abroad, especially in Islamic countries and China, sex trafficking and "yellow peril" threat of communist China.

Bringing It All Together

As during the Reagan administration, the right-wing think tanks have played a key role in shaping the new policy framework. Especially important has been the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute whose most prominent member of the Bush administration is Richard Perle, the chair of Rumsfeld's Defense Planning Board. Perle, a supporter of PNAC, helped establish The Center for Security Policy and the increasingly influential Jewish Institute for National Security (JINSA). Over the years, AEI has been in the forefront of calling for preemptive military attacks against rogue states and has denounced as "appeasement" all efforts by Washington and its European allies to "engage" North Korea, Iran, or Iraq. The Bush administration has embraced virtually all of the policy positions that the AEI has promoted on the Middle East. Coursing through AEI policy analysis -- and now through the Bush administration -- is a profound belief in the inherent goodness and redemptive mission of the United States, criticism of the moral cowardice of "liberals" and "European elites," an imperative to support Israel against the "implacable hatred" of Muslims, and a conviction in the primacy of military power in an essentially Hobbesian world. Although not yet part of the official rhetoric, AEI's belief that a conflict with China is inevitable is also one held by the hawks in the administration.

On the editorial pages of the Weekly Standard (published by PNAC cofounder William Kristol), The Wall Street Journal, National Review, Commentary Magazine and The Washington Times, as well as in the nationally syndicated columns by William Safire, Michael Kelly and Charles Krauthammer, the State Department (particularly its Near East bureau) came under steady attack. But even within the State Department, the new foreign policy radicals had set up camp. Over Powell's objections, Bush appointed John Bolton, an ultra-unilateralist ideologue and former vice president of the American Enterprise Institute, as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.

For the most part, the political right led by the neoconservatives has focused on the need for America to assert its military and diplomatic power -- a focus underscored by the war on terrorism. In marked contrast to the Clinton years, the neoconservative strategists together with the hawks have sidelined the public debate about globalization. Instead of fretting over social and environmental standards in the global economy, the economic focus is on securing U.S. national interests, particularly energy resources, and thereby ensuring continued U.S. economic supremacy. A continued weakening of the U.S. economy and a rising concern of U.S. military over-reach is contributing to some fracturing of the right.

This small group of right-wing strategists, ideologues, and operatives in right-wing think tanks, advocacy groups and the news media has captured U.S. foreign and military policy. At issue is not so much that this shift in foreign policy has been engineered by a narrow elite -- given that foreign policy has traditionally been the province of conservative and liberal elites -- but rather the implications of this sharp turn to the right. Clearly, a new foreign policy vision was needed to match the new global realities. But is this show of American supremacy the grand strategy that best serves U.S. national interests and security? In the end, the U.S. electorate will need to decide if they want this show of supremacy and power to go on. As Americans we will need to decide if we now feel more secure, if our economic and moral interests are better represented now, and if a foreign policy based on extending U.S. supremacy makes us proud to be Americans.

Tom Barry is a senior policy analyst at the Interhemispheric Resource Center (IRC, online at and codirector of Foreign Policy In Focus. Jim Lobe is a frequent contributor to FPIF and to Inter Press Service. A version of this report will appear as a chapter in Power Trip, a new FPIF book edited by John Feffer, forthcoming from Seven Stories Press.

Scoundrels and Outlaws

It is the time of scoundrels and outlaws.

Not since the 1950s has the political rhetoric about the fight between American good and foreign-bred evil reached such a feverish pitch. As in the 1950s, much of this is fear-mongering and sabre-rattling designed to spur American popular support for the military-industrial complex, as well as to quash progressive dissent at home. The scoundrels in Washington are playing on the fear of terrorism to advance their own ideological agenda at home and abroad.

America clearly needs new measures to protect itself against terrorist attacks -- such as better intelligence and increased international cooperation to track down terrorist networks -- but this imperative has been leveraged into a broader agenda. This includes missile defense, dramatic increases in the military budget, assertions of U.S. military supremacy around the globe, reduced public access to government documents, and an outright dismissal of the constraints of international law and multilateralism. The “national security state” doctrine foisted on our third world partners during the cold war has been resurrected, and in the wake of the terrorist attacks is being applied to politics in America itself.

Bush’s global affairs agenda has left progressive citizen groups battered, dejected, and indignant. Meanwhile, the Democrats are playing it safe, standing “shoulder to shoulder” with Bush on foreign policy, according to Rep. Richard Gephardt.

In expanding the response to the September 11 attacks to include an array of new foreign policy and military initiatives, the Bush administration has shifted the post-9/11 focus from going after the perpetrators of the attacks to a new grand strategy to assert U.S. dominance. They -- from Wolfowitz to Powell -- are still calling it anti-terrorism, but it’s really about the U.S. right to patrol the globe. We’re globo-cop -- at least in places where the administration deems that U.S. interests are at stake.

Increasingly, exploiting popular support for the war against the Islamist terrorists, the administration has used national security as prop for other agendas -- thereby trivializing the real need to address terrorist threats. During the Super Bowl, the administration told Americans that smoking marijuana was the equivalent of supporting terrorists. Seeing an opportunity to solidify support in agricultural states, President Bush told the Cattlemen’s Beef Association that agricultural subsidies were necessary because crop and cattle production was a national security issue. “The nation has got to eat,” Bush told the cattlemen. “It's in our national security interests that we be able to feed ourselves. Thank goodness, we don't have to rely on somebody else's meat to make sure our people are healthy and well-fed." He then goes on to promote increased agricultural subsidies to foster increased U.S. exports of cheap U.S. meat and grains -- that have the effect of undermining the food security of importing nations.

It is scoundrel time in Washington, as the administration shamelessly exploits post-September 11 patriotism to advance a foreign policy that is unapologetically unilateralist and militaristic. In the process, the administration has trampled civil liberties at home, given authoritarian regimes abroad free rein to clamp down on dissidents, and created a global security framework increasingly characterized by confrontation, brinksmanship, and name-calling.

President Bush would have us believe that we are engaged in an apocalyptic battle between good and evil. But it’s more a clash of scoundrels and outlaws.

Outlaws Rule

International relations have undergone dramatic shifts since the late 1980s. Certainly the demise of the Soviet Union and the increased integration of markets, production, and financial flows are among the most defining factors in shaping this new era. The disintegration of traditional social and economic structures (which have been assaulted by globalization) and the rise in the number of weak or failing states (impacted by falling aid levels, the end of client state politics, and also by the forces of globalization) have created new operating room for outlaw bands of warlords, terrorists, and post-ideological guerrillas and paramilitary squads -- many of whom rely on drugs and other contraband to finance their operations and support their members. Not to be overlooked are the international white-collar outlaws -- the many transnational corporations, like Enron, whose wealth has given them the power to flout national and international law.

How to respond to the threat of these outlaw elements has become one of the major challenges of the post-cold war security environment. For many, the end of the superpower rivalry that shaped international relations for the four decades following the end of World War II presented an opportunity to create a new world order, where international law and norms together with multilateral action would function to prevent or resolve international and intrastate conflicts. But this has proved too optimistic. The structural and financial weaknesses of the United Nations have not been overcome; rather than increasing in stature and influence, the UN (after some early successes in Central America) has been increasingly sidelined or proved itself ineffective in addressing emerging conflicts.

This debilitated state of the UN is compounded by the U.S. flouting of international laws, norms, and treaties. In effect, the U.S. asserts that it stands above the common good. If climate change rules adversely impact the U.S. economy, then the treaty is rejected. If an International Criminal Court would be able to stand in judgement of U.S. citizens, then we prefer a world without such a court. Similarly with international conventions that would regulate arms trade, nuclear proliferation, and the use of child soldiers. Military intervention by the U.S. around the globe doesn’t require UN approval on the assumption that U.S. interests are global -- and thus we are always acting in self-defense.

The U.S. picks and chooses when and if it will respect international laws, norms, and trade rulings. It holds itself above international law -- and increasingly above international opinion. Its arrogance and outlaw behavior greatly undermine the prospects for successful global governance, further weaken the UN, and contribute to a world where outlaws hold sway. At home, the scoundrel politics of the Bush administration seek to rally Americans in an open-ended war on U.S.-selected outlaws, terrorists, and rogues, using American patriotism and rage as a cover to pursue its conservative agendas. The rest of the world is alarmed at the way the Bush administration is riding roughshod in the international arena -- outside of alliances and outside of international law. Americans, too, should wake from their patriotic delusions and begin challenging the scoundrel politics in Washington.

Tom Barry of the Interhemispheric Resource Center is codirector of Foreign Policy In Focus.