By the time Barack Obama was elected in 2008, the Project for a New American Century’s brand was a liability. The neocon organization had promoted the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2006, with both wars up and running, PNAC founder William Kristol left it to his deputy director Ellen Bork to turn off the lights.
The brand, in fact, was so badly damaged by the real consequences of the wars that when Kristol decided to revive it in 2009, he had to come up with a new name. PNAC became the Foreign Policy Initiative.
Although PNAC is not referenced in FPI publications, the reunion of alumni Kristol, Bork, and Robert Kagan suggest what this group is about. Joining co-founders Kristol and Kagan on FPI’s board was Dan Senor, who made his bones working for another damaged brand: the Coalition Provisional Authority in post-Hussein Iraq.
FPI’s first conference, in 2009, was a reunion of Iraq and Afghan war cheerleaders. Kagan’s brother Fred, who pushed the troop surge in Iraq; John McCain, who flogged the troop surge in Afghanistan; and I. F. “Scooter” Libby, Dick Cheney’s chief of staff before he was convicted in the Valerie Plame affair, joined retired General David Barno, who had commanded U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Thus began FPI’s program to sustain George W. Bush’s foreign policy while Barack Obama is president.
Currently FPI is calling for U.S. intervention in Syria, a large U.S. force in Afghanistan beyond 2013, an open-ended deployment of 20,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, and increased pressure on Iran.
Senor remains on the board as he advises Romney. If Romney is elected, FPI will return “moral clarity” and “muscular diplomacy” to the White House.