Thursday, 15 October 2015

Ted Cruz's Closest Counselors Are Neocons

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There’s a lot about Ted Cruz that should worry constitutionalists considering voting for the senator in the presidential election of 2016.

Recently, Infogram published brief but illuminating biographies of several of Cruz’s key foreign policy advisors. The information disclosed in these revelations could trouble many constitutionalists otherwise keen on the senator and who rely on him to restore the rule of law to the White House.

The first person highlighted in the article is the chairman of Cruz’s foreign policy team, Chad Sweet (shown). 

Sweet’s professional and political background betrays Cruz’s claims of being someone who promises “not to continue going in the same direction” and to “bring power out of Washington, and back to we the people.”

Infogram’s biography of Chad Sweet includes the following associations, demonstrating that he is very much a step in the “same direction”:

With a diverse background, starting as Director of the CIA, Chad Sweet went into the world of big banks — from Investment Banker at Morgan Stanley to VP with Goldman Sachs. He would then work for the Department of Homeland Security in the Bush Administration. Currently he is the Co-Founder of Chertoff Group.

Sweet cofounded Chertoff Group with former Bush and Obama administration Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. Hardly the pedigree of an outsider. In fact, his neocon bona fides could not be better.

As a leader of the Chertoff Group, Sweet “advocated for expanding NSA metadata collection.” Again, this belies Ted Cruz’s public position on the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance of Americans. 

“One of the most troubling things we have seen in recent years is an expansion of federal government authority into surveilling American citizens. I am proud to be a co-sponsor of the USA Freedom Act," Cruz said during a speech in Austin in November 2014.

Despite such public declarations, it’s little wonder that a key member of the Cruz foreign policy team would support dragnet surveillance of Americans given that one of the principals of the Chertoff Group is General Michael Hayden, director of the NSA until 2005.

These sorts of inconsistencies have sunk other campaigns, particularly those of candidates who fly the flag of the Constitution as proudly as Ted Cruz.

When it comes to ending the federal government’s collection of personal data on millions of Americans in direct contravention of the Fourth Amendment, it seems Ted Cruz’s lips draw nigh to the Bill of Rights, but his heart (and his personally chosen counselors) are far from it.

Next up on the roster of Ted Cruz’s neocon inner circle is Victoria Coates.

As was the case with Chad Sweet, Coates’s connections with the neocon elite are strong and numerous. From Infogram’s bio:

Having served as director of research for former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and as an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Coates has a track record of supporting a neoconservative foreign policy. In 2012, she was an advisor to Rick Perry, whose campaign was in support of sending troops back into Iraq.

This record of rubbing shoulders with a who’s who of neocon luminaries cannot be comfortable for the constitutionalist wing of the Cruz camp.

Apparently, Coates is no neocon neophyte. Her record reveals that she’s a true believer in the neocon doctrine of using the U.S. military to spread democracy around the world. 

In 1979, Jeanne Kirkpatrick wrote an essay called “Dictatorships And Double Standards” where the Reagan administration official equated Reagan-era support for anti-communist dictators with the promotion of human rights. 

Daily Beast reported in July 2014 that Victoria Coates “asks interns to read that essay when they start working for [Senator Cruz].”

On his campaign website, Ted Cruz promises to “restore our Constitution” and to follow the Founders in looking to the Constitution “to act as chains to bind the mischief of government.”

One would imagine that restoring the Constitution and being bound by its chains would include not using the U.S. military to topple governments — no matter how tyrannical — or to funnel funds from taxpayers to the coffers of the “moderate” extremists who declare their allegiance to the American side in foreign conflicts.

Someone committed to that constitutional tack would certainly not choose neocon interventionists with the resumés of Chad Sweet and Victoria Coates.

All of this should be sufficient to give pause to patriots inclined to support Ted Cruz’s run for the White House. Surprisingly, this is just one layer of the neocon nest surrounding Ted Cruz.

Cruz’s foreign policy advisor is James Woolsey, a player who would be drafted in the first round of any neocon fantasy team owner.

The Infogram bio is enough evidence to convict Woolsey of being neocon to the core:

Woolsey was a national security specialist and former Director of the CIA under the Clinton administration. He heads up many Neoconservative groups including being the Chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and Founding Member of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

More than just academic advocacy of the military-industrial complex and the global deployment of American troops to force democracy on the world, Woolsey has no problem putting the noose around those who act against the growth of the government.

In a December 2013 interview with Fox News, Woolsey made the following shocking statement when asked about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: “I think giving him amnesty is idiotic,” Woolsey said. “He should be prosecuted for treason. If convicted by a jury of his peers, he should be hanged by his neck until he is dead.”

That’s not just think-tank rhetoric, that’s reign-of-terror-type talk.

Some readers familiar with the associations typical of such neocon movers and shakers might be surprised to not have read the words “Council on Foreign Relations” yet in this piece. 

The wait is over.

Ted Cruz’s choice of Elliot Abrams to help craft his foreign policy is disappointing. Like his colleagues on Cruz’s council, Abrams is a leader in the neocon world, and he is a leader of what is perhaps the most powerful and pernicious group in the neocon network: the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

While the CFR is the most notorious of the associations of Abrams, it isn’t the only one. He is also a member (or former member) of the Center for Security Policy, Hudson Institute, National Endowment for Democracy, and many more.

It is likely that it is because of the membership of Abrams in the CFR that George W. Bush chose him to be his deputy national security adviser for Global Democratic Strategy and that Ted Cruz has chosen to follow his advice on questions of foreign policy.

In fact, it is probably the experience of all these people that compelled Ted Cruz to choose them to be his closest advisors. The problem isn’t that his inner circle is composed of men and women of vast foreign policy experience; the problem is that their experience is in growing government, supporting surveillance, and using American troops as global peacekeepers. As constitutionalists know, each of these endeavors — pursued over and over by Cruz’s chosen advisors — is unconstitutional and not at all consistent with Ted Cruz’s public statements.

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