More Neo-Cons for Giuliani

Republican presidential candidate and current front-runner, Rudi Giuliani, has named seven more people, including four prominent neo-conservatives, to his already-neocon-dominated foreign policy team. The neo-conservatives include Ruth Wedgwood of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies; “terrorism analyst” and free-lance writer often published in the Weekly Standard and the National Review Online, Thomas Joscelyn; and two “scholars” at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and protégés of Richard Perle – Michael Rubin and David Frum (with whom Perle wrote the ultra-hawkish “An End to Evil” in 2004). Combined with such incumbent team members as Norman Podhoretz, Martin Kramer, Daniel Pipes, and Robert Kasten, the team increasingly resembles the cheer-leading squad for the U.S. section of the international Bibi Netanyahu fan club.

What is really remarkable about the new choices is their announcement during the same week that the latest edition of Newsweek featured a three-page rundown of Giuliani’s foreign-policy team, entitled “Would you Buy a Used Hawk From this Man?” “Neocons can’t help but slink around Washington, D.C.,” it began. (In an amazing screw-up, the magazine mismatched the captions with the photos of four of the members.) “The Iraq War has given the neoconservatives …something of a bad name, and several of the Republican candidates seem less than eager to hire them as advisers. But Rudi Giuliani apparently never got the memo.”

In any event, Wedgwood, who worked with Perle on Rumsfeld’s Defense Policy Board and more recently published an impassioned defense of Paul Wolfowitz’s promotion of his girlfriend at the World Bank, is listed as an international law and organizations adviser, while Joscelyn, who is associated with ultra-Straussian Claremont Institute and holds a B.A. in economics from the University of Chicago, will act as Giuliani’s “senior terrorism advisor,” (presumably in place of the mayor’s old sidekick, the scandal-ridden former police commissioner, Bernard Kerik). Despite a total lack of foreign-policy-making experience, Frum, who also writes regularly for the National Review Online, will be a “senior foreign policy adviser,” while Rubin, who worked on the Iran and Iraq desks at the Pentagon under Douglas Feith before being sent to Baghdad after the invasion, will act as both the “senior Iran and Turkey Advisor,” as well as a member of the “Middle East Advisory Board.” (Like Rubin, a fifth new member of Giuliani’s team, John Agresto, also worked for Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) where he was assigned to rebuild the Iraqi higher education system, a job at which he reportedly failed utterly, as indicated by the name of his recent book, ‘Mugged by Reality.’ It’s comforting to note that he has been made a member of Giuliani’s “Iraqi (sic) Advisory Board.”)

It’s probably good that Rubin will not serve on the “Iraqi” board if only because he was an outspoken critic of the counter-insurgency tactics of neo-con hero Gen. David Petraeus during the latter’s service in Iraq immediately after the invasion. Along with AEI fellows Reuel Marc Gerecht, Perle, and Danielle Pletka, Rubin has long been among the most vehement U.S. advocates of “de-Baathification” in Iraq (which another AEI fellow, Joshua Muravchik, now insists neo-cons had absolutely nothing to do with). In several articles entitled, respectively, “Failed Model,” “Betrayal”, and “The Price of Compromise” published in 2004 and 2005, Rubin singled out Petraeus’ efforts to “appease” Baathists in his efforts to pacify Mosul and al-Anbar. Indeed, as recently as a year ago, when neo-cons began their clamor for the “Surge”, Rubin was still complaining – in the Financial Times no less — about Petraeus’ efforts to rehabilitate former Baathists. With Giuliani squarely lined up behind the general, Rubin’s deployment to the Iraq board would naturally raise uncomfortable questions about what the mayor really thinks of the Surge and Petraeus’ efforts to co-opt the Sunni population.

The addition of Frum and Rubin to Giuliani’s team suggests that the foreign-policy staff at AEI, particularly those closest to Perle, has decided that Fred Thompson, who has long-standing links to the think tank, isn’t going anywhere and now see Giuliani as their return ticket to power, especially now that Newt has ruled out a run. It will be interesting to see if other AEI colleagues enlist in the mayor’s campaign.

Jim Lobe

Jim Lobe served for some 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service and is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the neoconservative movement.



  1. Wow, the man is going for broke! Shows he knows who’s running things now. That Giuliani is trying to emulate Bush/Cheney shows he hasn’t a CLUE as to what works. Or, the public’s perception of all of it.

    I knew when I saw Tucker Carlson backpeddling wrt the neo-cons track-record ….so vigorously he was red in the face…and shrill…on Bill Maher’s show last night…. I knew then that even he senses things aren’t looking good for the neo-cons and their “place in history”.

    Apparently Giuliani “didn’t get the memo”! LOL There must be a whole lot of very nervous ReThuglicans about now…..about who will win the nomination.

    I can hardly wait for all those cross-dressing photographs…and disavowals!

    Thanks for always knowing what’s going on…behind the scenes….and sharing that with us. Invaluable. And sometimes even amusing.

  2. David Frum is ignorant. He voiced his concerns about women in Algeria forced to wear burkas. In my travels to Algeria there were ZERO women in burkas. Some women wore hijabs, most dressed fairly conservatively, some rather Western. We spent most of our time in Oran, drove to Tclemsen, and to Algiers. I missed the legal brothels that they have there and failed to enter any of the bars. These were on the “down low” in Oran but were more open in Algiers.

    This may be one small point but it shows the ignorance of many of these people. I am mystified that the Main Stream Media gives these people any creedence when they’ve been so wrong for so long.

    Tomorrow I am going to Muslim day at Six Flags Over Texas. There is a group, “Americans against hate” who plan to protest. They have every right to do so. Some of the brothers are trying to file an injunction, I have written a letter, and plan to hand out 20 copies to the rabble rousers.

    “If there are some bad Muslims certainly there are some bad American policies. Just as Muslims should condemn bad Muslims who transgress, Americans should criticize bad policies as well. We Muslims certainly agree with the Neo-cons calls for democracy in the Middle East. When one tests the “democracy agenda” we see freedom and liberty have been set back by our policies. In Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, and Pakistan we’ve encouraged these dictators. We’ve trained them in oppressing their people, we’ve armed these tyrants and we’ve given these despots money and intelligence. Funny, but it is from these very countries the terrorists hail.

    Our Declaration of Independence says that those who live under tyranny have a “duty” to oppose it. This further serves as a warning to not support tyrants and dictators over others subjects. Yet, we are in a Orwellian world where the Neo-cons call for democracy yet encourage anything but. All the countries listed above are our “friends” yet we’ve failed to move them toward democratic reforms. Surely you’ll admit that war is the worst way to bring democracy. But, that is precisely what we’ve done in Iraq.

    If we would stop for a minute and look at the situation, and the real effects of our policies, we would see that our Middle Eastern policies have betrayed our American ideals. You may well ask why those commentators you listen to haven’t offered this clear headed critique? Either they too ignorant to see what is clear to so many in the world or, they have some other agenda, ties perhaps to the military industrial complex that they are really supporting. Either judgment is damning and you should seek other council. Making war IS making hate. If you are against hate, perhaps you need to look at the log in your own eye before condemning the splinter in your neighbors. If you are against hate, condemn the hateful Middle Eastern policies that betray American ideals and self interests.”

    I hope at least some of them can get what I am trying to say.

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