Wall Street's Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics, 1976-2014

Wall Street's Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics, 1976-2014

Wall Street's Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics, 1976-2014

Wall Street's Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics, 1976-2014

Synopsis

The Council on Foreign Relations is the most influential foreign-policy think tank in the United States, claiming among its members a high percentage of government officials, media figures, and establishment elite. For decades it kept a low profile even while it shaped policy, advised presidents, and helped shore up U.S. hegemony following the Second World War. In 1977, Laurence H. Shoup and William Minter published the first in-depth study of the CFR, Imperial Brain Trust, an explosive work that traced the activities and influence of the CFR from its origins in the 1920s through the Cold War.

Now, Laurence H. Shoup returns with this long-awaited sequel, which brings the story up to date. Wall Street's Think Tank follows the CFR from the 1970s through the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union to the present. It explains how members responded to rapid changes in the world scene: globalization, the rise of China, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the launch of a "War on Terror," among other major developments. Shoup argues that the CFR now operates in an era of "Neoliberal Geopolitics," a worldwide paradigm that its members helped to establish and that reflects the interests of the U.S. ruling class, but is not without challengers. Wall Street's Think Tank is an essential guide to understanding the Council on Foreign Relations and the shadow it casts over recent history and current events.

Excerpt

We may have democracy or we may have wealth concentrated in the
hands of the few, but we cannot have both.

— SUPREME COURT JUSTICE LOUIS BRANDEIS

The think tank of monopoly-finance capital, the Council on Foreign Relations is the world’s most powerful private organization. The CFR is the ultimate networking, socializing, strategic-planning, and consensusforming institution of the U.S. capitalist class. It is the central “high command” organization of the plutocracy that runs the country and much of the world. The Council is the most important U.S. and global center of “deep politics” and the “deep state” that rules behind the scenes, a way that the 1 percent conducts their unrelenting class war against the 99 percent. Despite pretensions to “democracy” and endless attempts at instructing the world, U.S. “democracy” is, in reality largely a fraud, a hollowed-out shell, devoid of any substantive content. The fact is that the U.S. government—led behind the scenes by the CFR—is largely run in an anti-democratic fashion by and for the interests of a financialized capitalist class, their corporations, and the wealthy families that control and benefit from these corporations. No matter who is elected, people from the Council propose, debate, develop consensus, and implement the nation’s key strategic policies. The deep state, in the form of the CFR, operates behind the scenes, making and enforcing important decisions outside of those publicly sanctioned by law and society. A focus on the Council on Foreign Relations is a key way to understand concretely the central sector of the ensemble of power relations in the United States and its informal global empire.

The globalized system that the Council operates within and influences the development of is monopoly-finance capitalism. Neoliberalism is today’s enabling and legitimizing ideology of monopoly-finance capitalism, helping the system grow and spread. We say “capitalist” because this system is mainly privately controlled and has as its primary goal constantly increasing profits and the use of these for the endless accumulation of capital. The plutocracy that dominates the system is . . .

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