WASHINGTON (FinalCall.com) – Just days after the Nobel Committee in Oslo awarded Barack Obama its coveted peace prize, two of Washington’s most prominent foreign policy hawks launched a new group and ad campaign designed to depict the president as weak and defend the more aggressive policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush.
The new group, Keep America Safe, was co-founded by neo-conservative heavyweight William Kristol, who also edits The Weekly Standard; and Elisabeth (Liz) Cheney, the outspoken daughter of Bush’s vice president, Dick Cheney, who is believed to harbor political ambitions of her own.
“Amidst the great challenges to America’s security and prosperity, the current administration too often seems uncertain, wishful, irresolute, and unwilling to stand up for America, our allies and our interests,” according to the mission statement of the new group, whose third founder-director, Debra Burlingame, is also co-founder of 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America.
“Keep America Safe believes the United States can only defeat our adversaries and defend our interests from a position of strength (sic),” the statement says.
“We know that America has, for 233 years, been an unparalleled force for good in the world, that our fighting forces are the best the world has ever known, and that the world is a safer place when America is trusted by our allies and feared and respected by our enemies.”
“Keep America Safe will make the case for an unapologetic approach to fighting terrorism around the world, for victory in the wars this country fights, for democracy and human rights, and for a strong American military that is needed in the dangerous world in which we live,” it says.
The new group, which, under the rules of its incorporation, will be permitted to lobby Congress and endorse political candidates, will focus initially on raising money to help disseminate its video ads, the first of which is currently featured on its website.
Earlier this year, Kristol co-founded with his long-time collaborator, Robert Kagan, another hawkish group, the neo-conservative Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), which has published open letters urging Obama to promote democracy in Russia, send tens of thousands more troops to Afghanistan, and reassure Washington’s Central European allies about its defense commitment.
The two men were also co-founders and directors of the Project for the New American Century, a number of whose 1997 charter members, including the elder Cheney, former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld, and their two top aides–I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and Paul Wolfowitz, respectively–played key roles in promoting the 2003 invasion of Iraq and George Bush’s other first-term policies when the hawks exercised their greatest influence.
Mr. Kristol and Ms. Cheney, who are also commentators for far-right Fox News, have been among the sharpest right-wing critics of Mr. Obama’s efforts to court foreign opinion, especially in Europe and the Muslim world whose publics were most alienated by the Bush administration’s policies, according to public opinion surveys.
They have been particularly scornful of the Nobel Committee’s decision to honor Obama.
Ms. Cheney, a lawyer who headed the State Department’s Middle East democracy-promotion programs from 2002 to 2004 and is reportedly considering running for Congress next year, called the award a “farce” and suggested that Mr. Obama send a “mother of a fallen American soldier to accept the prize on behalf of the U.S. military … to remind the Nobel committee that each one of them sleeps soundly at night because the U.S. military is the greatest peacekeeping force in the world today.”
Mr. Kristol called the committee “anti-American.”
Like most other far-right and neo-conservative commentators, they have tried to paint Mr. Obama’s foreign policy as designed to weaken and constrain U.S. power in a dangerous world by abandoning policies championed by Ms. Cheney’s father, whose memoirs she is reportedly helping to write.
The developing right-wing narrative against Mr. Obama has been most comprehensively laid out by neo-conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, in an article entitled “Decline Is a Choice: The New Liberalism and the End of American Ascendancy” published by Mr. Kristol’s Weekly Standard and featured on the Keep America Safe website.
Under Obama, Washington is engaged in “strategic retreat,” according to Krauthammer.
The point was echoed by Ms. Cheney in her critique on Fox News of the Nobel’s decision.
“What the committee believes is, they’d like to live in a world in which America’s not dominant,” she said. “They may believe that President Obama also doesn’t believe in American dominance and they may have been trying to affirm that belief with the prize. I think, unfortunately, they may be right, and I think it’s a concern.” (IPS/GIN)
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