Liars, crooks, and hacks: American politics is dominated by shoddy analysis and flawed recommendations. But no one is worse than these guys.
1. Michael Gerson:
Photo Credit: Berkeley Center
As Michael Gerson was George W. Bush’s chief speechwriter, the fact that he was an Iraq war hawk goes without saying. As a shameless proponent of the war on terror, he agrees with the Obama administration’s logic that the use of drones are valid as a means of self defense, regardless of who they kill or how significant a threat the targets actually are. Furthermore, although Obama’s war on terror policies should draw the praise of any objective neoconservative, Gerson can’t keep from being a partisan hack. He has accused the president of not pitching enough fear-mongering to the U.S. public regarding Al-Qaeda and their affiliates, despite his Machiavellian continuation of the Bush era "war."
His underlying philosophy on foreign policy seems to be that the U.S. should produce a uniform policy towards the Middle East. Although he criticizes President Obama for "geopolitical randomness," he fails to specify what sort of uniform policy he should adopt – probably because there is no holistically adequate policy to deal with an incredibly diverse and complex region.
2. Andrew Sullivan:
Photo Credit: Trey Ratcliff
Like everyone else on this list, Andrew Sullivan is an unapologetic supporter of the economically and morally bankrupt war on terror, not to mention the war in Iraq. Unlike the others, however, he’s had the grace to at least admit that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake and approvingly acknowledged Obama's militant policies in the name of "national security." He cited the drone war as a reason why Obama deserved re-election and claimed that the "war on terror" was over, despite the fact that Obama continually escalates it in policies that Sullivan himself endorses.
On the rare occasion when Sullivan’s analysis of foreign policy issues is correct, his proposed solutions are unrealistically militant. For example, he appropriately disapproves of the close U.S. relationship with Israel and its handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but supports a direct, U.S. led NATO invasion of Israel and Palestine to enforce a two-state solution.
3. Joe Klein:
Photo Credit: Fora.tv
This man is against the murder of children, but only if they’re American children. In Klein’s defense, almost everyone else on this list probably shares his position – he just happened to get called out on it. When Joe Scarborough asked him about the drone program’s civilian toll (including the death of children) and how the Obama administration authorizes attacks despite the presence of said civilians, Klein eloquently defended the murder of children by saying "the bottom line is, whose four year old gets killed?"
The problem with Klein is that, like so many others, he thinks that his job description as a journalist is to push the White House’s foreign policy endeavors. Although he initially supported George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, he recently outright lied, claiming that he was opposed to it - a particularly foolish revision in the age of the internet.
4. Richard Cohen:
Photo Credit: Salon
It’s hard to substantively review the foreign policy positions of someone that Salon.com named "the number one hackiest pundit" in the U.S., but I’ll give it a go.
In 2003, referencing the evidence Colin Powell presented before the UN that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, Cohen concluded that anyone who believed otherwise was a fool or a Frenchman. Cohen also rejects the precept of human rights as a primary U.S. foreign policy objective and often pretends to be "conflicted" about torture. Unsurprisingly, he ultimately tends to support it.
In the early days of the Arab Spring, when anti-Mubarak protests began in Egypt, Cohen asserted that the U.S. should not take a role in pressuring Mubarak to step down. He stated that "the dream of a democratic Egypt is sure to produce a nightmare." Furthermore, like many self-proclaimed "experts," he is incapable of recognizing that the Muslim Brotherhood varies from country to country, with a wide array of political views and goals, rather than being a grand, Illuminati-esque Arab conspiracy.
5. Robert Kagan:
Photo Credit: Mariusz Kubik
Robert Kagan is the husband of State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, and although he rejects the label, is your quintessential neoconservative. . His foreign policy views are best epitomized in his book "The World America Made." Even though Kagan was Mitt Romney’s foreign policy advisor, President Barack Obama is an unapologetic fan of his book - going so far as to use it as a major source of inspiration for his 2012 State of the Union Address. In that speech, the president claimed that "anyone who tells you America is in decline ... doesn’t know what they’re talking about."
Kagan’s underlying philosophy is that democracy and capitalism are inextricably linked to the American World Order – a euphemistic way of saying "empire" or "hegemon." Debunking this narcissistic world view held by every empire in history is all too easy; one simply has to look no further than U.S. support of the CIA-instigated coups in Iran (1953) and Chile (1973). In more contemporary times, our commitment to democracy is seriously put into question when we examine U.S. support for and inaction against unpopular Arab regimes such as Yemen and Bahrain. It goes without saying that this is the epitome of American arrogance, a phenomenon that’s caused global public opinion of the U.S. to consistently decrease throughout the past decade.
Photo Credit: Charles Krauthammer
In 2006 the Financial Times named Charles Krauthammer the most influential pundit in U.S. foreign policy. If these claims are substantiated, that’s very unfortunate for the American public.
Naturally, Krauthammer supported the Iraq War and bitterly opposed Obama’s withdrawal from the country, going so far as to claim that "Obama lost Iraq." Despite his emphatic insistence that Iraq had nuclear weapons at the start of the war, like so many other neocons, his articles silently began to omit this inconvenient little fact. Instead, he grew to claim that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was justifiable simply because Saddam Hussein was a tyrant. The lessons of the Iraq War and war on terror have evidently been lost on Krauthammer, who is now beating the drums of war against Iran.
7. William Kristol:
Photo Credit: Fox News
William Kristol was one of the leading hawks in favor of an invasion of Iraq going as far back as the Clinton administration. He apparently thought that administration’s sanctions on Iraq, which killed 500,000 children, did not go far enough. After the U.S. occupation of Iraq, Kristol rejected the notion that there would be a Sunni-Shi’a civil war, and was, of course, very quickly disproven.
Kristol goes as far as to equate a war with Israel as a war on the U.S., advocating for joining Israel in its 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon. He also supports the immediate bombing of Iranian nuclear facilities.
Last June, he temporarily came to Jesus and acknowledged that there was no significant difference between Obama and Romney’s stances on Israel and Iran. This was particularly bizarre, seeing as Kristol’s organization, the Emergency Committee for Israel, uses scare tactics to convince Americans that Obama is anti-Israel. This is despite the fact that the president vetoed the Palestinian right to statehood and self-determination. Taking objective stances on Democratic and Republican policy differences didn’t last long, as Kristol was back to claiming that Jewish liberals would turn on Obama for his anti-Israeli policies shortly thereafter.