No problem– Obama’s State Dep’t spokesperson is married to Romney’s neocon foreign policy adviser

Israel/Palestine
on 18 Comments

Here is a crazy story no one is talking about that is evidence of the Israel lobby’s role in our politics. Last week, Mitt Romney announced a foreign policy team that includes Robert Kagan, a neocon who pushed for the Iraq war.

But Kagan is married to Victoria Nuland, who is a spokesperson for the State Department. Laurie Bennett notes the strangeness of this conjunction:


Victoria Nuland’s role as spokesperson for the State Department, deemed strange by some who remember her tenure as principal deputy national security adviser to then Vice President Dick Cheney, has become stranger yet.

Her husband, Robert Kagan, has joined Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign as a foreign policy adviser.

Kagan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, also advised the McCain campaign in 2008.

Ordinarily this would cause a lot of strain. Nuland would be under pressure. Chris Matthews would be asking what the heck she’s doing in a political job at State when her husband is preparing the opposition.

But in fact, Nuland’s Cheney resume and her marriage to Kagan are actually credentials in the Democratic Party: they demonstrate Obama’s sensitivity to the Israel lobby. And party bosses are happy to have these playing cards now that Obama is under siege from his own party about Israel.

Kagan pushed the Iraq war to George Bush as a battle to help Israel. He and his neocon friends wrote, “If we do not move against Saddam Hussein and his regime, the damage our Israeli friends and we have suffered until now may someday appear but a prelude to much greater horrors… Israel’s fight against terrorism is our fight. Israel’s victory is an important part of our victory.”

So Nuland’s presence is like Dennis Ross’s presence in the same building as Middle East adviser–a man the ADL calls an “advocate” for Israel, who was lately chairman of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute in Jerusalem. Or Stuart Levey’s former role in Obama’s Treasury department in the same position he had under George Bush– and Levey is a man whose college dissertation, written under Martin Peretz, was about the importance of preserving the Zionist dream.

All these appointments allow Israel advocates to say to lobbyists and donors: Obama loves Israel, look who he has serving him in these big jobs. 

At Salon, As’ad AbuKhalil gets at the same point in a piece on another Romney adviser, Walid Phares.

The appointment of Phares to a position in the Romney campaign is not surprising. In years past, such an appointment would have been considered extreme and cast doubt on the wisdom of the candidate– but no more. Middle East policymaking is now dominated by the Israel lobby and its affiliates. Advocacy of Israeli positions has replaced professional qualifications as the criteria for service.

Hat tip to Mark Wauck, who sent on Steve Sailer’s post on Romney’s team.

18 Responses

  1. radii
    October 12, 2011, 2:39 pm

    does this make anyone else feel sick?

    and now the transparently fake “Iranian plot” is trotted out

    • Charon
      October 12, 2011, 3:57 pm

      It makes me feel really sick. These neocons represent a conflict of interest and there is nothing we can do about it. Most people just don’t even care enough to notice such things.

      The Iran thing is laughable and embarrassing yet the story has legs and continues to be picked up in the MSM today. This is the same sort of thing as the Friends of Jihadi taking credit for the Oslo bombing before they attributed to Breivik. The MSM was all over that despite the garbage sources.

  2. pabelmont
    October 12, 2011, 2:57 pm

    OK, its the USA and all the politicians are (whenever Israel is concerned) “more Polish than the Pope.” (Sorry, “more Catholic than the Pope”.)

  3. Kathleen
    October 12, 2011, 3:04 pm

    Is there only one pot to choose advisers from? The Israeli lobby pot? Kagan with Romney. Luti and Feith with Perry.

    Just moving the lie manufacturers around from one administration after the next.
    The Lie Factory
    A Mother Jones Special Investigation
    The inside story of how the Bush administration pushed disinformation and bogus intelligence and led the nation to war.

    —By Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest

    January/February 2004
    DonateNewsletter
    7 Comments | Post Comment..That became the mantra of the shadow agency within an agency.

    Putting Wurmser in charge of the unit meant that it was being run by a pro-Iraq-war ideologue who’d spent years calling for a pre-emptive invasion of Baghdad and who was clearly predisposed to find what he wanted to see. Adding another layer of dubious quality to the endeavor was the man partnered with Wurmser, F. Michael Maloof. Maloof, a former aide to Perle in the 1980s Pentagon, was twice stripped of his high-level security clearances‚ — once in late 2001 and, again, last spring, for various infractions. Maloof was also reportedly involved in a bizarre scheme to broker contacts between Iraqi officials and the Pentagon, channeled through Perle, in what one report called a “rogue [intelligence] operation” outside official CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency channels.

    As the momentum for war began to build in early 2002, Wolfowitz and Feith beefed up the intelligence unit and created an Iraq war-planning unit in the Pentagon’s Near East and South Asia Affairs section, run by Deputy Undersecretary of Defense William Luti, under the rubric “Office of Special Plans,” or OSP; the new unit’s director was Abram N. Shulsky. By then, Wurmser had moved on to a post as senior adviser to Undersecretary of State John Bolton, yet another neocon, who was in charge of the State Department’s disarmament, proliferation, and WMD office and was promoting the Iraq war strategy there. Shulsky’s OSP, which incorporated the secret intelligence unit, took control, banishing veteran experts‚ — including Joseph McMillan, James Russell, Larry Hanauer, and Marybeth McDevitt‚ — who, despite years of service to NESA, either were shuffled off to other positions or retired. For the next year, Luti and Shulsky not only would oversee war plans but would act aggressively to shape the intelligence product received by the White House

  4. dalybean
    October 12, 2011, 3:30 pm

    To be fair, your commenters (especially Annie and Kathleen) have been expressing concern for some time about Toria Nuland’s marriage to Kagan and work with Cheney. It always comes up in the threads with partial transcripts of Matthew Lee’s questions at State Department press conferences. This is who they got rid of P.J. Crowley for.

    • annie
      October 12, 2011, 3:53 pm

      i do recall bitching about kagan and wife dalybean but it’s kathleen whose been much more on top of that stuff than me.

      i will take credit for sending phil the the salon link and quote on the 9th tho. it’s quite a doozy.

  5. annie
    October 12, 2011, 3:51 pm

    i highly recommend checking out the comments on Steve Sailer’s post on Romney’s team. (last link in phil’s post)

  6. LanceThruster
    October 12, 2011, 4:41 pm

    This is “strange bedfellows” just like the James Carville/Mary Matalin pairing.

  7. Les
    October 12, 2011, 4:51 pm

    What’s sad is that this is not truly strange, but rather that this is the politics we have come to expect.

  8. crone
    October 12, 2011, 5:06 pm

    rather than Israel being USA’s 51st state… is the USA Israel’s 2nd state?

  9. Bumblebye
    October 12, 2011, 6:17 pm

    And on our side of the pond, we are getting more info about the strange friendship of our Defense Secretary Dr Liam Fox and Adam Werrity. It now turns out that his expenses for the multiple trips (somewhere over a dozen) where he happened to ‘bump into’ Dr Fox all around the world were paid for by half a dozen unnamed backers who paid him as a lobbyist to push a Eurosceptic/proAmerican/proIsraeli agenda.
    Not only has Werrity been a ‘defense consultant’ during Fox’s period as Defense Secretary, previously he was a ‘health consultant’ during Fox’s time as Shadow Health Minister. Craig Murray has some of this:
    link to craigmurray.org.uk

  10. Hu Bris
    October 12, 2011, 9:58 pm

    you guys have short memories

    link to en.wikipedia.org
    &
    link to en.wikipedia.org

    it’s always been like this – the notion that US political partisanship is anything but a silly game to fool the sheeple is a bit of a sick joke at this stage

  11. seanmcbride
    October 13, 2011, 9:32 am

    A quick guide to neoconservative nepotism below — corrections and additions welcome.

    Observations:

    1. Most of them are pro-Israel militants.

    2. Most of them (those who were living at the time) were ringleaders of the Iraq War.

    3. There appears to be strong connections among ethnocentrism, ethnic nationalism and nepotism. We are looking here at dedicated (in some cases fanatical) tribalism, expressed in multiple ways.

    4. Graphing all the organizational connections among this set of people would be interesting and not difficult to do.

    1. A.M. Rosenthal is the father of Andrew Rosenthal.
    2. Andrew Rosenthal is the son of A.M. Rosenthal.
    3. Arthur Sulzberger is the father of Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
    4. Arthur Sulzberger Jr. is the son of Arthur Sulzberger.
    5. Barbara Amiel is the wife of Conrad Black.
    6. Barbara Ledeen is the mother of Simone Ledeen.
    7. Barbara Ledeen is the wife of Michael Ledeen.
    8. Benjamin Netanyahu is the son of Benzion Netanyahu.
    9. Benzion Netanyahu is the father of Benjamin Netanyahu.
    10. Conrad Black is the husband of Barbara Amiel.
    11. Dalck Feith is the father of Douglas Feith.
    12. Dalck Feith is the grandfather of Daniel Feith.
    13. Dalck Feith is the grandfather of David Feith.
    14. Daniel Feith is the brother of David Feith.
    15. Daniel Feith is the grandson of Dalck Feith.
    16. Daniel Feith is the son of Douglas Feith.
    17. Daniel Pipes is the son of Richard Pipes.
    18. David Feith is the brother of Daniel Feith.
    19. David Feith is the grandson of Dalck Feith.
    20. David Feith is the son of Douglas Feith.
    21. David Wurmser is the husband of Meyrav Wurmser.
    22. Dick Cheney is the father of Liz Cheney.
    23. Dick Cheney is the husband of Lynne Cheney.
    24. Donad Kagan is the father-in-law of Victoria Nuland.
    25. Donald Kagan is the father of Frederick Kagan.
    26. Donald Kagan is the father of Robert Kagan.
    27. Donald Kagan is the father-in-law of Kimberly Kagan.
    28. Douglas Feith is the father of Daniel Feith.
    29. Douglas Feith is the father of David Feith.
    30. Douglas Feith is the son of Dalck Feith.
    31. Elliott Abrams is the son-in-law of Midge Decter.
    32. Elliott Abrams is the son-in-law of Norman Podhoretz.
    33. Eugene Rostow is the brother of Walt Rostow.
    34. Frederick Kagan is the brother of Robert Kagan.
    35. Frederick Kagan is the brother-in-law of Victoria Nuland.
    36. Frederick Kagan is the husband of Kimberly Kagan.
    37. Frederick Kagan is the son of Donald Kagan.
    38. Gertrude Himmelfarb is the mother of William Kristol.
    39. Gertrude Himmelfarb is the wife of Irving Kristol.
    40. Irving Kristol is the father of William Kristol.
    41. James Murdoch is the brother of Lachlan Murdoch.
    42. James Murdoch is the son of Rupert Murdoch.
    43. John Podhoretz is the son of Midge Decter.
    44. John Podhoretz is the son of Norman Podhoretz.
    45. Jonah Goldberg is the son of Lucianne Goldberg.
    46. Kimberly Kagan is the daughter-in-law of Donald Kagan.
    47. Kimberly Kagan is the sister-in-law of Robert Kagan.
    48. Kimberly Kagan is the sister-in-law of Victoria Nuland.
    49. Kimberly Kagan is the wife of Frederick Kagan.
    50. Lachlan Murdoch is the brother of James Murdoch.
    51. Lachlan Murdoch is the son of Rupert Murdoch.
    52. Liz Cheney is the daughter of Dick Cheney.
    53. Liz Cheney is the daughter of Lynne Cheney.
    54. Lucianne Goldberg is the mother of Jonah Goldberg.
    55. Lynne Cheney is the mother of Liz Cheney.
    56. Lynne Cheney is the wife of Dick Cheney.
    57. Meyrav Wurmser is the wife of David Wurmser.
    58. Michael Ledeen is the father of Simone Ledeen.
    59. Michael Ledeen is the husband of Barbara Ledeen.
    60. Midge Dector is the mother-in-law of Elliott Abrams.
    61. Midge Decter is the mother of John Podhoretz.
    62. Norman Podhoretz is the father of John Podhoretz.
    63. Norman Podhoretz is the father-in-law of Elliott Abrams.
    64. Norman Podhoretz is the husband of Midge Decter.
    65. Richard Pipes is the father of Daniel Pipes.
    66. Robert Kagan is the brother of Frederick Kagan.
    67. Robert Kagan is the husband of Victoria Nuland.
    68. Rupert Murdoch is the father of James Murdoch.
    69. Rupert Murdoch is the father of Lachlan Murdoch.
    70. Simone Ledeen is the daughter of Barbara Ledeen.
    71. Simone Ledeen is the daughter of Michael Ledeen.
    72. Victoria Nuland is the daughter-in-law of Donald Kagan.
    73. Victoria Nuland is the sister-in-law of Frederick Kagan.
    74. Victoria Nuland is the wife of Robert Kagan.
    75. Walt Rostow is the brother of Eugene Rostow.
    76. William Kristol is the son of Gertrude Himmelfarb.
    77. William Kristol is the son of Irving Kristol.

    • seanmcbride
      October 13, 2011, 9:39 am

      Three obvious omissions:

      1. Robert Kagan is the son of Donald Kagan.
      2. Robert Kagan is the brother-in-law of Kimberly Kagan.
      3. Irving Kristol is the wife of Gertrude Himmelfarb.

      Another observation:

      Regimes based on family networks and dynasties tend to become highly incompetent, corrupt and despotic, for all the obvious reasons. This is why the American Founding Fathers opposed the culture and traditions of European aristocracy.

      • seanmcbride
        October 13, 2011, 9:52 am

        Whoops — Irving Kristol is the husband of Gertrude Himmelfarb, not wife.

        Some of these people are of course deceased. A simple propositional logic is being used here to define family relationships in a systematic way, hence the present tense for all the statements.

  12. seanmcbride
    October 13, 2011, 11:49 am

    Neocon nepotism in the Kagan clan

    Apparently the Kagans think of the American government as a kind of family business:

    1. Donald Kagan is the father of Frederick Kagan.
    2. Donald Kagan is the father of Robert Kagan.
    3. Donald Kagan is the father-in-law of Kimberly Kagan.
    4. Donald Kagan is the father-in-law of Victoria Nuland.
    5. Frederick Kagan is the brother of Robert Kagan.
    6. Frederick Kagan is the brother-in-law of Victoria Nuland.
    7. Frederick Kagan is the husband of Kimberly Kagan.
    8. Frederick Kagan is the son of Donald Kagan.
    9. Kimberly Kagan is the daughter-in-law of Donald Kagan.
    10. Kimberly Kagan is the sister-in-law of Robert Kagan.
    11. Kimberly Kagan is the sister-in-law of Victoria Nuland.
    12. Kimberly Kagan is the wife of Frederick Kagan.
    13. Robert Kagan is the brother of Frederick Kagan.
    14. Robert Kagan is the brother-in-law of Kimberly Kagan.
    15. Robert Kagan is the husband of Victoria Nuland.
    16. Robert Kagan is the son of Donald Kagan.
    17. Victoria Nuland is the daughter-in-law of Donald Kagan.
    18. Victoria Nuland is the sister-in-law of Frederick Kagan.
    19. Victoria Nuland is the sister-in-law of Kimberly Kagan.
    20. Victoria Nuland is the wife of Robert Kagan.

    So: why has Victoria Nuland, who was Dick Cheney’s national security adviser, been offered an important position in the Obama administration? It’s simple: the neocons and their neoliberal allies own and control the Democratic Party lock, stock and barrel.

  13. seanmcbride
    October 13, 2011, 11:50 am

    Kagan clan associations

    1. 9/11 exploitation
    2. AEI (American Enterprise Institute)
    3. Afghanistan War
    4. Afpak War
    5. Bilderberg Group
    6. Brown University
    7. Bush 43 administration
    8. CFR (Council on Foreign Relations)
    9. Clash of Civilizations
    10. Commentary
    11. CSP (Center for Security Policy)
    12. David Petraeus
    13. Dick Cheney
    14. FPI (Foreign Policy Initiative)
    15. Fred Hiatt
    16. Global War on Terror
    17. Henry Jackson Society
    18. Iraq War
    19. Iraqi surge
    20. Israel lobby
    21. ISW (Institute for the Study of War)
    22. Jewish activism
    23. Jewish neoconservatives
    24. Libya War
    25. Likud
    26. NATO
    27. neoconservatism
    28. Obama administration
    29. PNAC (Project for the New American Century)
    30. pro-Israel activism
    31. Public Interest
    32. Rupert Murdoch
    33. Skull and Bones
    34. US Defense Department
    35. US State Department
    36. Washington Post
    37. Weekly Standard
    38. West Point
    39. William Kristol
    40. Yale University

  14. seanmcbride
    October 13, 2011, 11:54 am

    Another note on nepotism:

    It’s a universal human phenomenon. Think of the Mubarak regime. The Gaddafi regime. The Saudi regime. The Bushes. The Kennedys. European monarchies and aristocracies. And so on.

    In other words, don’t even begin to think about trying to milk neocon nepotism to promote antisemitic memes.

Leave a Reply