It seems that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) may be the one left leading the anti-intervention wing of the Democratic Party. He hired Matt Duss as his top foreign policy advisor. Duss stepped down from his position as President at the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) in order to work with Sanders. FMEP focused on peace through education and advocacy.
According to The Intercept, an unholy partnership between establishment Democrats and neocon Republicans has been flying under the radar. The group is called the Alliance for Securing Democracy. They tout their bipartisanship membership by noting their common goals like “work[ing] to publicly document and expose Vladimir Putin’s ongoing efforts to subvert democracy in the United States and Europe.”
The leaders of the alliance are Democrat Laura Rosenberg and Republican Jamie Fly.
Rosenberg was chief of staff to two Obama national security officials and a 2016 foreign policy advisor to Hillary Clinton.
Fly served different positions at the Pentagon and the National Security Council during the Bush administration. After leaving Bush, Fly worked with Bill Kristol at the Weekly Standard and at different D.C. think tanks where he pushed for increased military force. At one point, Fly “mocked Obama officials, and Bush officials before them, for their ‘obsession with diplomatic options’ to resolve tensions with Iran short of war.” He then became counselor to Marco Rubio, one of the most hawkish members of the Senate, on foreign and national security affairs.
The Advisory Council merged Obama administration foreign policy officials with Republican neocons that supported policies like the Iraq War and torture.
On the Democratic side are: “Jake Sullivan (national security adviser to Joe Biden and the Clinton campaign), Mike Morrell (Obama’s acting CIA director),” Admiral Jim Stavridis (various military command positions for Obama), Nicole Wong (Obama’s U.S. chief technology officer) and “Mike McFaul (Obama’s ambassador to Russia).”
On the Republican side are: “Mike Chertoff (Bush’s homeland security secretary), Mike Rogers (the far-right, supremely hawkish former congressman who now hosts a right-wing radio show),” David Kramer (Bush’s U.S. Department of State), Kori Schake (various position for Bush and policy advisor to McCain–Palin) and Bill Kristol.
The neocon shift from the GOP to the DNC was not sudden.
The neocons were blamed for the disastrous foreign policy decisions during the Bush presidency. As a result, the neocons found themselves marginalized by both the GOP and DNC.
Their marginalization changed the political landscape. The election of anti-war Republican candidates like Ron Paul in 2008 and 2012 signaled that a less hawkish sentiment was possible for GOP candidates. And Obama folding Bush administration neocons like Victoria Nuland, one of Dick Cheney’s top foreign policy advisors, into his State Department, also signaled a more hawkish Democratic stance.
The neocons’ anti-Trump sentiment would seem to be the catalyst for a merger with the Democrats, but neocon watcher Jacob Heibrunn observed a shift much earlier than Trump’s nomination. In the summer of 2014, a year before Trump entered the presidential race, he noticed the neocons looking to join with Hillary Clinton to ensure that they would regain a seat at the American foreign policy table.
How this plays out, now that Russia interfered in the elections, is hard to predict.
Trump has no interest in playing hardball with Russia. Based on recent polls, his base would seem fine with Trump’s decision. A Morning Consult poll in March, found that 38% of GOP voters viewed Russia as either friendly or an ally to the US. The same survey in May saw the number increase to 49%, despite the unfolding information surrounding the Russia investigation.
On the flip side, the neocons have always had a hardline against Russia and often criticized Obama for his weak stance. Following Russia’s meddling, the neocon stance towards Russia may be more attractive to Democratic voters. The same Morning Consult polls indicate that there is less tolerance and softening towards Russia for Independents voters (24% in March to 33% in May) and Democratic voters (24% in March to 28% in May).
As Glenn Greenwald notes: “If Bill Kristol and Mike Chertoff can now sit on boards with top Clinton and Obama policy advisers, as they’re doing, that is reflective of much more than a marriage of convenience to stop an authoritarian, reckless president. It demonstrates widespread agreement on a broast range of issues and, more significantly, the return of neocons to full-scale D.C. respectability, riding all the way on the backs of eager, grateful establishment Democrats.”