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Empire builders: Neoconservatives and their blueprint for US power
 
Key figures
Irving KristolNorman PodhoretzPaul WolfowitzRichard PerleDouglas FeithLewis LibbyJohn BoltonElliott AbramsRobert KaganMichael LedeenWilliam KristolFrank Gaffney Jr.
Key Figures To the left are some of neoconservatism's most influential leaders. Click on a person to learn about his background.



Irving Kristol
Irving Kristol
Widely referred to as the "godfather" of neoconservatism, Mr. Kristol was part of the "New York Intellectuals," a group of critics mainly of Eastern European Jewish descent. In the late 1930s, he studied at City College of New York where he became a Trotskyist. From 1947 to 1952, he was the managing editor of Commentary magazine, later called the "neocon bible."
 
By the late 1960s, Kristol had shifted from left to right on the political spectrum, due partly to what he considered excesses and anti-Americanism among liberals. Kristol built the intellectual framework of neoconservatism, founding and editing journals such as tTe Public Interest and The National Interest.
 
Kristol is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of numerous books, including "Neoconservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea." He is the father of Weekly Standard editor and oft-quoted neoconservative William Kristol.

 
Norman Podhoretz
Norman Podhoretz
Considered one of neoconservatism's founding fathers, Mr. Podhoretz studies, writes, and speaks on social, cultural, and international matters. From 1990 to 1995, he worked as editor-in-chief of Commentary magazine, a neoconservative journal published by the American Jewish Committee. Podhoretz advocated liberal political views earlier in life, but broke ranks in the early 1970s. He became part of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority founded in 1973 by Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson and other intervention-oriented Democrats.
 
Podhoretz has written nine books, including "Breaking Ranks" (1979), in which he argues that Israel's survival is crucial to US military strategy. He is married to like-minded social critic Midge Decter. They helped establish the Committee on the Present Danger in the late 1970s and the Committee for the Free World in the early 1980s. Podhoretz' son, John, is a New York Post columnist.

 
Paul Wolfowitz
Paul Wolfowitz
After serving as deputy secretary of defense for three years, Mr. Wolfowitz, a key architect of the Iraq war, was chosen in March 2005 by President Bush to be president of the World Bank.
 
From 1989 to 1993, Wolfowitz served as under secretary of defense for policy in charge of a 700-person team that had major responsibilies for the reshaping of military strategy and policy at the end of the cold war. In this capacity Wolfowitz co-wrote with Lewis "Scooter" Libby the 1992 draft Defense Planning Guidance, which called for US military dominance over Eurasia and preemptive strikes against countries suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction. After being leaked to the media, the draft proved so shocking that it had to be substantially rewritten.
 
After 9/11, many of the principles in that draft became key points in the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States, an annual report. During the 1991 Gulf War, Wolfowitz advocated extending the war's aim to include toppling Saddam Hussein's regime.

 
Richard Perle
Richard Perle
Famously nicknamed the "Prince of Darkness" for his hardline stance on national security issues, Mr. Perle is one of the most high-profile neoconservatives. He resigned in March 2003 as chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board after being criticized for conflicts of interest. From 1981 to 1987 he was assistant secretary of defense for international security policy.
 
Perle is a chief architect of the "creative destruction" agenda to reshape the Middle East, starting with the invasion of Iraq. He outlined parts of this agenda in a key 1996 report for Israel's right-wing Likud Party called "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm."
Perle helped establish two think tanks: The Center for Security Policy and The Jewish Institute for National Security. He is also a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, an adviser for the counter-terrorist think tank Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and a director of the Jerusalem Post.

 
Douglas Feith
Douglas Feith
The defense department announced in January 2005 that Mr. Feith will resign this summer as undersecretary of defense for policy, the Pentagon's No. 3 civilian position, which he has held since being appointed by President Bush in July 2001. Feith also served in the Reagan administration as deputy assistant secretary of defense for negotiations policy. Prior to that, he served as special counsel to Richard Perle. Before his service at the Pentagon, Feith worked as a Middle East specialist for the National Security Council in 1981-82.
 
Feith is well-known for his support of Israel's right-wing Likud Party. In 1997, Feith was honored along with his father Dalck Feith, who was active in a Zionist youth movement in his native Poland, for their "service to Israel and the Jewish people" by pro-Likud Zionist Organization of America at its 100th anniversary banquet. In 1992, he was vice president of the advisory board of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. Mr. Feith is a former chairman and currently a director of the Center for Security Policy.

 
Lewis
Lewis "Scooter" Libby
Mr. Libby is currently chief of staff and national security advisor for Vice President Dick Cheney. He's served in a wide variety of posts. In the first Bush administration, Mr. Libby served in the Department of Principal Deputy Under Secretary (Strategy and Resources), and, later, as Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.
 
Libby was a founding member of the Project for the New American Century. He joined Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristol, Robert Kagan, and others in writing its 2000 report entitled, "Rebuilding America's Defenses - Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New Century."
 
Libby co-authored the once-shocking draft of the 'Defense Planning Guidance' with Mr. Wolfowitz for then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney in 1992. Libby serves on the advisory board of the Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies of the RAND Corporation.

 
John Bolton
John Bolton
In February 2005, Mr. Bolton was nominated US ambassador to the UN by President Bush. If confirmed, he would move to this position from the Department of State where he was Under Secretary for Arms Control, the top US non-proliferation official. Prior to this appointment, Bolton was senior vice president of the neoconservative think tank American Enterprise Institute. He also held a variety of positions in both the George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan administrations.
 
Bolton has often made claims not fully supported by the intelligence community. In a controversial May 2002 speech entitled, "Beyond the Axis of Evil," Bolton fingered Libya, Syria, and Cuba as "other rogue states intent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction."
 
In July 2003, the CIA and other agencies reportedly objected strongly to claims Bolton made in a draft assessment about the progress Syria has made in its weapons programs.

 
Elliott Abrams
Elliott Abrams
In February of 2005 Elliott Abrams was appointed deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for global democracy strategy. From December 2002 to February 2005, Mr. Abrams served as special assistant to the president and senior director for Near East and North African affairs.
 
Abrams began his political career by taking a job with the Democratic Senator Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson. He held a variety of State Department posts in the Reagan administration.
 
He was a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute from 1990 to the 1996 before becoming president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, which "affirms the political relevance of the great Western ethical imperatives." Abrams also served as chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.
 
In 1991, Abrams pleaded guilty to withholding information from Congress about the Iran-Contra affair. President George H. W. Bush pardoned him in 1992. In 1980, he married Rachel Decter, daughter of neocon veterans Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter.

 
Robert Kagan
Robert Kagan
Mr. Kagan writes extensively on US strategy and diplomacy. Kagan and fellow neoconservative William Kristol co-founded the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) in 1997. Kagan signed the famous 1998 PNAC letter sent to President Clinton urging regime change in Iraq.
After working as principal speechwriter to Secretary of State George P. Shultz from 1984-1985, he was hired by Elliott Abrams to work as deputy for policy in the State Department's Bureau of Inter-American Affairs.
 
He is a senior associate at the Carnegie endowment for International Peace (CEIP). He is also an international affairs columnist for The Washington Post, and contributing editor at The New Republic and The Weekly Standard. He wrote the bestseller "Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order." Kagan's wife, Victoria Nuland, was chosen by Vice President Dick Cheney as his deputy national security adviser.

 
Michael Ledeen
Michael Ledeen
Seen by many as one of the most radical neoconservatives, Mr. Ledeen is said to frequently advise George W. Bush's top adviser Karl Rove on foreign policy matters. He is one of the strongest voices calling for regime change in Iran.
 
In 2001, Ledeen co-founded the Coalition for Democracy in Iran. He served as Secretary of State Alexander Haig's adviser during the Reagan administration. Ledeen is resident scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute, where he works closely with Richard Perle. he is also a member of the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs' advisory board and one of its founding organizers.
 
He was Rome correspondent for the New Republic magazine from 1975-1977, and founding editor of the Washington Quarterly. Ledeen also wrote "The War Against the Terror Masters," which advocates regime change in Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.

 
William Kristol
William Kristol
Son of "godfather" of neoconservatism Irving Kristol, Bill Kristol is currently chairman of the Project for a New American Century, which he co-founded with leading neoconservative writer Robert Kagan. He is also editor of the influential Weekly Standard.
 
Like other neoconservatives Frank Gaffney Jr. and Elliott Abrams, Kristol worked for hawkish Democratic Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson. But by 1976, he became a Republican. he served as chief of staff to Education Secretary William Bennett during the Reagan administration and chief of staff to former Vice President Dan Quayle during the George H. W. Bush presidency.
 
Kristol continuously called for Saddam Hussein's ouster since the 1991 Gulf War. With the like-minded Lawrence Kaplan, Kristol co-wrote "The War Over Iraq: Saddam's Tyranny and America's Mission." He is on the board of advisers of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, established as a counterterrorist think tank after 9/11.

 
Frank Gaffney Jr.
Frank Gaffney Jr.
Mr. Gaffney is the founder, president, and CEO of the influential Washington think tank Center for Security Policy, whose mission is "to promote world peace through American strength."
 
In 1987, President Reagan nominated Gaffney to be assistant secretary of defense for international security policy. he earlier served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy under then-Assistant Secretary Richard Perle. In the late 1970s, Gaffney served as a defense and foreign policy adviser to Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson.
 
He is columnist for the Washington Times and a contributor to Defense News and Investor's Business Daily. He is a contributing editor to National Review Online, WolrdNetDaily.com and JewishWorldReview.com. Gaffney is also one of 25 mostly neoconservative co-signers of the Project for a New American Century's Statement of Principles.

Source:

The Christian Science Monitor

 


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