More Neo-Cons for Giuliani

Visit for the latest news analysis and commentary from Inter Press News Service’s Washington bureau chief Jim Lobe.

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.

Author: Jim Lobe

Visit for the latest news analysis and commentary from Inter Press News Service's Washington bureau chief Jim Lobe.

7 thoughts on “More Neo-Cons for Giuliani”

  1. The Neocons always need to find a dupe or useful fool, and this time round Giuliani is their man. They probably got connected (glued) to him while he was mayor of NYC. Fortunately or at least hopefully he will prove a weak reed for them to lean on and we will be freer from their control than during the Bush administration. No administration, however, can be completely free of them, as Mearsheimer and Walt make clear. This is demonstrated by the fact that Hillary has disgustingly danced to their tune whenever she had to in order to “succeed” politically.

    1. Hal writes: “Fortunately or at least hopefully [Giuliani] will prove a weak reed for [the neocons] to lean on and we will be freer from their control than during the Bush administration.”

      On what conceivable basis do you think this likely, Hal? Are you saying that sheer improbability suggests that the next President, whoever it is, could not be as bad as Bush? Or is there something in Giuliani’s demonstrated nature that gives you hope?

      For myself, I have seen in Giuliani’s record of governance and rhetoric nothing but clear and repeated confirmation that as President – heaven forfend – he would be, if possible, even more militantly pro-Israel than Bush and Cheney.

  2. It’s sad that Giuliani and Hilary seem the likely frontrunners in the upcoming campaign. In the case of Giuliani and the weak reed, I would think that the neocons would crave a malleable excutive with skeletons in his closet. If the dear leader begins to waver, just threaten to trot out another skeleton to the media. I suspect Giuliani will prove a useful idiot for Podhoretz and Perl.

    1. Well said Roger V.
      Indeed this has been the policy by the powers behind the throne for most of the 19th. and 20th. century. Here in the US, politicians with a lot to hide have been promoted with the idea of blackmailing them later by all powerful lobbies, most notably AIPAC.

  3. Host America ,them Israel firsters have wrecked this land of ours. Both partys and media need a good clean out.
    This article has put the fear in me— if Rudy gets elected {:-(

  4. I meant to imply I doubted Giuliani would or could win the Presidency. I don’t know that if he did he would be worse than Bush. It would be very difficult to be worse than Bush. But I don’t delight in any of the Democrats either. Hillary has pretty much done everything the Israel Lobby wanted too. She is probably more intelligent than Giuliani and for sure more intelligent than Bush. Getting unglued from Israel is not going to be easy; it has us by the balls and has had us that way for many years.

    1. Hal,

      I thought Saudi Arabia had us “by the balls” to use your parlance. They export more oil than any other nation and we import more oil from them than from any other single nation. 15 of the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11 2001 were Saudi, they are one of the most militantly Islamic/Wahabist regimes around and are probably the last remaining absolute monarchy in the world. Yet, we still call these folks our “friends.” Would you not say they have us “by the balls?”

Comments are closed.