Randy Scheunemann, one of John McCains top foreign policy advisers, represents a key link in neoconservative strategy that seeks simultaneously to remove hostile regimes in the Middle East and to box in Russia through an expanded NATO that incorporates former Soviet bloc countries.
Scheunemann has come under scrutiny in recent weeks for his past lobbying work on behalf of the government of Georgia, even while he was advising McCain who vowed to bar lobbyists from his campaign.
Scheunemanns company, Orion Strategies, has received about $750,000 from Georgia, with payments as recently as May.
After the Aug. 7 outbreak of fighting between Georgia and Russia over Georgias breakaway province of South Ossetia, McCain advised by Scheunemann led a crescendo of tough rhetoric warning of a possible new Cold War and demanding harsh penalties against Moscow.
But Scheunemann’s advice on the Russia-Georgia conflict only captures part of his role in shaping McCain s neoconservative foreign policy.
Scheunemann merges two key prongs of a neocon global strategy for permanent U.S. military dominance: the simultaneous projection of U.S. power into the Middle East and the elimination of Russias dream of reestablishing itself as a major international player.
Operating mostly behind the scenes, Scheunemann has long worked to unify former East Bloc states into an anti-Moscow alliance and to apply regime-change tactics against U.S. adversaries in the Middle East, such as Saddam Husseins Iraq and the mullahs in neighboring Iran.
In that regard, Scheunemann was one of the neocon operatives who helped promote bogus intelligence about Iraq in the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion. He also has said the U.S. government has not been tough enough in dealing with other rogue nations, such as Iran…
A director of the neocon Project for the New American Century, Scheunemann worked on McCains failed bid for the White House in 2000 and became a top adviser to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in 2001.
But Scheunemanns primary service to the Bush administration has come in his private capacity as a contact to Eastern European states as well as his association with Iraqi exiles.
In fall 2002, Scheunemann got a green light from the White House to launch the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, an organization whose mission was to promote regime change in the region and to gather European support for a preemptive strike on Iraq…
On Jan. 28, 2003, the same day that President Bush delivered his State of the Union address that included the now-debunked claim that Iraq had sought yellowcake uranium from Niger, Scheunemann tapped McCain and his close ally, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, as honorary co-chairmen of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq…
But Scheunemann also personifies another part of the neocon agenda. He is a key bridge between an aggressive U.S. policy in the Middle East and the projection of U.S. influence into the former East Bloc nations which were long dominated by the Soviet Union.
In October 2002, during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, President Bush considered naming Scheunemann as a special envoy to the Iraqi opposition. But Scheunemann was judged to have more value enlisting Eastern European nations into the "Coalition of the Willing.
So, Scheunemann pulled together the Vilnius 10 group of East European nations Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Albania, Croatia and Macedonia in support of Bushs war policy.
At the time, some foreign policy analysts recognized this collaboration as part of the neoconservative desire to build up NATO to circumvent the United Nations Charter, which bars military attacks without UN sanction…
Georgia, another of Scheunemanns lobbying clients, also backed the Iraq invasion, contributed troops, and thus counted on Washingtons support to bring it into NATO. [For more on McCain-Scheunemann-Georgia ties, see While Aide Advised McCain, His Firm Lobbied for Georgia (Washington Post, Aug. 13, 2008]
Though other NATO members, especially Old Europe nations like France, blocked Georgias admission, Georgias pro-U.S. president Mikheil Saakashvili apparently believed he would have Western backing on Aug. 7 when he launched an offensive against the breakaway province of South Ossetia.
Instead, the Russian military intervened to drive back the Georgian army and then took up security positions inside Georgian territory. McCain joined with leading neoconservative voices in denouncing the Russian attack.
McCains tough talk about Russia and his insistence that he will only tolerate victory in Iraq offer an important insight into what his foreign policy would look like if he wins the presidency.
Surrounded by hardcore neoconservatives, like Scheunemann, there is every reason to believe that a McCain administration would continue using force to impose Washingtons will in the Middle East while engaging in geopolitical brinkmanship against old rivals like Moscow.
(1) Het enige wat ontbreekt in dit artikel is een expliciete verwijzing naar het feit dat Scheunemann een prominent lid is van de zionistische Israel-lobby die streeft naar een Groot-Israel en aandringt op het aanvallen van Iran.
(2) Wat Europa (en de wereld) te wachten staat indien McCain onverhoopt zou worden verkozen laat zich licht raden..