McMaster Worked at Think Tank Backed by Soros-Funded Group that Helped Obama Sell Iran Nuclear Deal
Aaron Klein Aug 6, 2017
From September 2006 to February 2017, McMaster is listed as a member of International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), where he served as consulting senior fellow. The IISS describes itself as a “world-leading authority on global security, political risk and military conflict.”
The IISS has been supportive of the Obama administration-brokered 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, and the group has repeatedly hit back against charges that Tehran has violated the agreement.
McMaster himself has been accused of purging the National Security Council of hardliners on Iran, and he is seen as a leading proponent of the Iran nuclear accord within the Trump administration. He has reportedly urged the White House to recertify Iran’s compliance with the Iran nuclear deal.
IISS’s website contains a list of groups, corporations and government entities that provide funding to the think tank, including during the period of McMaster’s work there. Curiously missing from the page of donors, however, is the controversial Ploughshares Fund, a grantmaking group identified last year by the Obama White House as central in helping to market the Iran nuclear deal to the news media.
An archived version of IISS’s donors page lists Ploughshares as a donor.
IISS is listed as a grantee for Iran issues in Ploughshares Fund’s budget report for 2016.
That report spotlights IISS as a grantee for Iran work done by Michael Elleman, IISS senior fellow for missile defense.
In a recent IISS analysis, Elleman cast doubt on charges that Iran and North Korea are working together on ballistic-missile development, claiming “there is little evidence to indicate the two regimes are engaged in deep missile-related collaboration, or pursuing joint-development programs.”
Joseph Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund, is listed as a member of IISS in his Georgetown University bio.
Soros-Funded Ploughshares Part of ‘Echo Chamber’ to Sell Obama’s Iran Deal
Ploughshares Fund is financed by Soros’ Open Society Institute.
The involvement of Ploughshares in selling the Iran agreement to the public was revealed in an extensive New York Times Magazine profile of Obama’s former deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, titled, “The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru.” The article contains interviews with Rhodes and scores of top Obama administration officials.
Robert Malley, then a senior director at the National Security Council, expounded on the genesis and execution of the marketing plan to sell the Iran deal.
Malley explained to the Times that “experts” were utilized to create an “echo chamber” that disseminated administration claims about Iran to “hundreds of often-clueless reporters” in the news media.
Times author David Samuels wrote:
In the spring of last year, legions of arms-control experts began popping up at think tanks and on social media, and then became key sources for hundreds of often-clueless reporters. “We created an echo chamber,” he admitted, when I asked him to explain the onslaught of freshly minted experts cheerleading for the deal. “They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”
Rhodes told Samuels that the marketing strategy took advantage of the “absence of rational discourse” and utilized outside groups, including Ploughshares.
When I suggested that all this dark metafictional play seemed a bit removed from rational debate over America’s future role in the world, Rhodes nodded. “In the absence of rational discourse, we are going to discourse the [expletive] out of this,” he said. “We had test drives to know who was going to be able to carry our message effectively, and how to use outside groups like Ploughshares, the Iran Project and whomever else. So we knew the tactics that worked.” He is proud of the way he sold the Iran deal. “We drove them crazy,” he said of the deal’s opponents.
Ploughshares says it has awarded hundreds of grants “whose aggregate value exceeded $60 million.”
A previous investigation by this reporter showed Ploughshares has partnered with a who’s-who of the radical left, including Code Pink, the pro-Palestinian J Street, United for Peace & Justice, the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and Demos, a progressive economic advisory group where Obama’s controversial former green jobs czar, Van Jones, has served on the board.
The group says its mission is to support the “smartest minds and most effective organizations to reduce nuclear stockpiles, prevent new nuclear states, and increase global security.”
Ploughshares is in turn financed by Soros’s Open Society Institute, the Buffett Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Another Ploughshares donor is the Tides Foundation, which is one of the largest funders of the radical left. Tides is funded by Soros.
Ploughshares has donated to the Institute for Policy Studies, which calls for massive slashes in the U.S. defense budget.
It has also financed the International Crisis Group, a small organization that boasts George Soros and his son, Alexander, on its board and where Malley now works as vice president for public policy.
Ploughshares, McMaster and John Kerry
Last week, McMaster removed Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a Trump aide and Iran deal opponent, from the National Security Council in what the Jerusalem Post reported was a possible “sweep of Iran hard-liners.”
The Post reported on two other McMaster purges of Iran hardliners:
Cohen-Watnick’s removal comes after the revelation by The Atlantic on Wednesday of the dismissal of Rich Higgins, another Iran hawk who was the NSC’s director of strategic planning. Higgins was sacked for circulating a memo in which he alleged that there was a “Maoist” insurgency within and without the government of “globalists and Islamists.”
Also gone is Derek Harvey, who held the Middle East portfolio at the NSC, and who also was an Iran hawk, and who may assume another role in the administration. McMaster tapped Michael Bell, a retired army colonel who has a conventional career portfolio, to replace Harvey.
Speaking at a recent event held by Ploughshares Fund, former Secretary of State John Kerry implied that McMaster is the best bet at keeping the nuclear agreement alive, according to a Ploughshares Fund description of the June 5, 2017 event.
IISS, meanwhile, has supported the Iran nuclear agreement and has defended Tehran against reports it has violated tenets of the deal.
Last month, IISS featured a piece by Mark Fitzpatrick, chief of the think tank’s non-proliferation and nuclear policy program, titled, “Three strikes against claims that Iran is violating the nuclear accord.”
The IISS piece argued that “criticism of Iran’s conduct in relation to the 2015 nuclear deal does not withstand scrutiny,” and that the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the agreement “would not convince other parties to re-impose sanctions, but could trigger a global crisis.”
In June, the IISS’s Fitzpatrick opined that “Critics are wrong: Iran remains in compliance with nuclear accord.”
An IISS strategic comment paper, titled, “Trump’s erratic Middle East policy,” argued that Trump’s confrontational approach toward Iran is “unlikely to lend needed stability to the region.”