How the Chosen Few from the Reagan Era Influenced New Labour's "Global Role." (Americanization of UK Foreign policy)(Column)

By Pilger, John | New Statesman (1996), October 16, 1998 | Go to article overview

How the Chosen Few from the Reagan Era Influenced New Labour's "Global Role." (Americanization of UK Foreign policy)(Column)


Pilger, John, New Statesman (1996)


One of new Labour's most important tasks is almost complete. The Americanisation of British foreign policy has advanced more rapidly under Tony Blair than under John Major, or even Margaret Thatcher, who retained a facade of independence. In his address to Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp conference in Australia three years ago, Blair used the expression: "The Americans have made it clear they want . . ."

He could not have been more candid. In its Strategic Defence Review, published in July, the government made clear its willingness, indeed enthusiasm, to engage in what Washington calls "the wars of the future" - in other words, to intervene all over the world in defence of Anglo-American capital. The words used are "rapid deployment", "expeditionary warfare" and "long-range strike capacity". There are to be two new aircraft carriers ([pounds]4 billion each), and the navy's nuclear-powered attack submarines are to be modified to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles. Thus, pharmaceutical factories can be attacked from afar, as President Clinton did in Sudan. It will be, says Blair, "a force for good".

Blair is committed to the largest military budget in Europe and to an aggressive, expanded world role for Nato as the military wing of an essentially Anglo-American alliance, which has a proven record of violently intervening in other people's affairs. Nato's expansion into eastern Europe has generated an arms race that will profit the American and British weapons industries, which between them dominate the world market.

This is known as "Atlanticism". The Blair elite is more Atlanticist than any British establishment since 1945. All those years of Kennedy scholarships, "fellowships" at Harvard, study trips and fraternal seminars paid for by US government agencies, "foundations" and "endowments" have worked wonders. For example, the Bilderberg Group, "forum" of the Anglo-American elite, has welcomed the Chancellor Gordon Brown and John Monks, the "modernising" TUC general secretary.

However, it is the British-American Project for the Successor Generation that is by far the most influential. An ambitious, highly structured and little-known transatlantic network of politicians, journalists and academics, the Chosen Few, says its literature, "have given indication that, in the succeeding generation, they would be leaders".

The history of the Successor Generation is instructive. It was set up by the Pew Charitable Trusts of Philadelphia, established by the billionaire J Howard Pew, chairman of the Sun Oil Company, a devoted supporter of the Republican Party and far right-wing groups. These include the Heritage Foundation, a pillar of Reaganism and reactionary causes, and the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, set up by William Casey, former head of the CIA, and described by the New York Times as "an aggressive foundation" and the sponsor of books "widely regarded as influencing Reagan administration economic and social thinking". …

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