Committee for the Republic
The Committee for the Republic became known to the public on July 15, 2003 in a Wall Street Journal article entitled "Manifesto Warns of Dangers Associated With an Empire," written by the journal's Washington bureau chief Alan Murray. The article describes the Committee as an "ad hoc group" comprised of Washington influentials such as C. Boyden Gray ("a White House lawyer in the first Bush administration"), Charles W. Freeman, Jr. ("a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia"), and Stephen P. Cohen ("a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution"), who have come together "to educate Americans about the dangers of empire." Their position is significant as it represents a conservative view contrary to the prevailing neoconservative spirit that heralds American hegemony.
Murray identifies Gray, Freeman, and Cohen as three out of five sponsoring members of Committee for the Republic. The other two sponsors are not identified. Also, numerous internet blog's, including UncommonThought.com, have failed to identify the other two as well as have been unsuccessful in learning anything more about the Committee. On July 22, 2003, one poster wrote: "I'm stumped - I've called my congressmen, hit up friends who've friends in the White House, even emailed Murray, as well, all nothing. All reference on the web is on the blog, still waiting for the inertia-laden media to take up notice."
A second article published in the August 10, 2003 Washington Post -- "A Debate Over U.S. Empire Builds in Unexpected Circles" written by Dan Morgan -- names the two other sponsors: William A. Nitze, son of Paul H. Nitze, and Washington businessman John B. Henry II.
According to Morgan, "Broadening this debate is the goal of the infant Committee for the Republic, whose members include Gray; former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia Charles W. Freeman Jr.; Stephen P. Cohen, president of the Institute for Middle East Peace and Development in New York; William A. Nitze, son of Paul Nitze, the Reagan administration's top arms control negotiator; and John B. Henry, a Washington businessman and descendant of Revolutionary War patriot Patrick Henry. Members have met over lunch and are drafting a manifesto. A draft of the mission statement says, 'America has begun to stray far from its founding tradition of leading the world by example rather than by force.'
"Henry said the group may set up a nonprofit organization and could sponsor seminars examining how imperial behavior weakened earlier republics, such as the Roman Empire. 'We want to have a great national debate about what our role in the world is,' Henry said."
"But their triumph is meeting some significant opposition. C. Boyden Gray and the Republican foreign policy realists have formed the Committee for the Republic, an organization explicitly devoted to blocking the neocons imperial project. Within the Washington elite a huge split is developing, and the government of the United States has been turned into a battlefield between the contending factions. The neocons want the U.S. to set off on the road to Empire, while an emerging coalition of skeptics has arisen to actively oppose them - a development our latter-day Leninists find enraging." From Etherzone 8/13/03.
- Alan Murray, "Manifesto Warns of Dangers Associated With an Empire," Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2003 (requires online registration). The article can be viewed without registration at GlobalPolicy.org.
- Dan Morgan, "A Debate Over U.S. Empire Builds in Unexpected Circles," Washington Post, August 10, 2003.