Who’s Who in Trump’s Foreign Policy Inner Circle?
If, as the old adage goes, you are known by the company you keep, then we already know what to expect from a Trump presidency. While The Donald did not provide a complete list of his advisers, just the small sampling should give pause to anyone who has become enamored of the idea that Trump would tone down US foreign policy.
First up for scrutiny is Walid Phares, perhaps the most well known of Trump’s foreign policy team. Phares is a regular commentator on FOX News where he generally espouses more or less the same policies as any typical Washington neoconservative. Indeed, his pedigree and history place him squarely in the aggressive neocon camp, including as one of the main advisers (along with notable neocons Robert Kagan, Eliot Cohen, Eric Edelman, et al) to Mitt Romney in his failed 2012 presidential campaign.
Phares spent a decade as a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), a well known neoconservative think tank long since understood as pro-Israel, and widely regarded as part of the influential Israel Lobby. In fact, FDD president and founder Clifford May described the group’s mission as being “to enhance Israel’s image in North America and the public’s understanding of issues affecting Israeli-Arab relations.”
To that end, Phares has long-standing ties, both professionally and ideologically, with Israel and the hardliner policies of Tel Aviv. As Professor As`ad AbuKhalil of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley wrote in 2011:
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