Is Iran Lobby Pro-US or Pro-Putin?

Earlier this year, Marcel H. Van Herpen, director of the Cicero Foundation, a think tank with branches in both Maastricht and Paris, published a comprehensive study entitled Putin’s Propaganda Machine: Soft Power and Russian Foreign Policy. It’s a timely work, well researched, well written, and comprehensive. And it certainly added greater context to Russia Today (RT), Russia’s flagship English-language network. He writes:

From 2009 onward, the focus of Russia Today began to change. From a defensive soft-power weapon, RT began to develop as an offensive weapon…. Anchors of RT programs (such as Peter Lavelle) did not hide their explicit anti-American views. RT also started inviting representatives of marginal, often extreme right antigovernment groups, who were presented as ‘experts.’ One of these groups was the so-called 9/11 truthers, people who believe that the 9/11 attacks were not the work of al-Qaeda terrorists but a US government conspiracy… Another group was the ‘birthers,’ people who doubted—against all evidence—that President Obama was born in the United States and denied that he was eligible to be US president… RT ‘experts’ also included Malik Zulu Shabazz, the leader of the New Black Panther Party, a hate group. Another invited pundit was Daniel Estulin, who considered the European Union to be the realization of a secret plan invented by the Bilderberg Group…. The same penchant for conspiracy theories was revealed in the RT program The Truth-seeker, which suggested the US government was behind the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon in April 2013, in which two ethnic Chechen killed three people. Manuel Ochsenreiter, a guest speaker about German affairs on RT’s English-language channel, is actually the editor of the neo-Nazi magazine Zuerst!, a monthly radical-right magazine that…speaks out against ‘de-nazification.’

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Is Iran Lobby Pro-US or Pro-Putin?

Must-Reads from Magazine

England’s Online Speech Crackdown

Hate speech is free speech.

Censors are always looking for fresh opportunities to censor. So they relish moments of ideological ferment, antagonism, and intemperateness. At such times, people are more susceptible to moral panic and likelier to silence opposing views. We are living through such a moment now, with neo-Nazis, Communists, and various other haters and cranks on the march, both in the streets and online. That’s why open societies should be doubly vigilant against efforts to restrict free expression.

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We’re All Interventionists Now

The real world beckons.

The last three consecutive American presidents all campaigned on promises of humility in the pursuit of American national interests, retrenchment from sprawling U.S. commitments abroad, and an end to the practice of “nation-building.” And then, in office, all three were compelled to retreat from their imprudent campaign trail commitments.

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Trump’s Stumbles Don’t Automatically Benefit Democrats

Missing the moment.

For die-hard Trump supporters, there is no reprieve. The president’s achievements are eclipsed by the consistency of his bad judgment. For those Trump fans that have not tuned out the news entirely, a cottage industry of reassuring hot takes has taken the place of dispassionate analysis.

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The Self-Degradations of Jerry Falwell, Jr.

Trump corrupts.

How far–how low–do religious leaders end up going when they decide that, in public life, the end justifies any means? Consider the case of Jerry Falwell, Jr. For the Liberty University president, the end was the advancement of social conservatism. The means: Donald Trump.

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We Will Never Ever Get Back Together

Podcast: What to expect in a post-Bannon world

The first COMMENTARY podcast of the week finds us—me, Abe Greenwald, and Noah Rothman—wondering at the grandiose plans of Steve Bannon after the White House. A new news channel! War in the Republican party! Etc! All this leads into speculation about 2020, because why not, and why Joe Biden might be the guy to challenge Trump. And then we descend into more crushing morosity as we contemplate whether our divisions nationally are just too large to heal. Give a listen.

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