When I read this paragraph attributed (to Carroll Quigley) who apparently was Bill Clinton’s mentor in the Q&A exchange with commentators by one Brandon Smith of the Alt-Market.com or website (Link), I was reminded to look for Murray Rothbard’s wonderful little pamphlet, ‘Wall Street, Banks and American Foreign Policy’ first published in 1984 and republished by the Ludwig von Mises Institute in 2011.
Before we get there, here is the passage from Carroll Quigley:
The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy.
The introduction by Anthony Gregory is interesting in itself:
The idea that corporate interests, banking elites and politicians conspire to set U.S. policy is at once obvious and beyond the pale. … But to make too fine a point of this is
typically dismissed as unserious conspiracy theorizing, unworthy of mainstream consideration.
In the left’s unflinching loyalty to social democracy and economic intervention and the right’s invincible love for the military and support for corporate America we see why we are allowed to decry corruption and special interests, but not dig too much deeper than that, lest we be relegated to the periphery of respectable discussion.
It should be clear that the name of the political party in power is far less important than the particular regime’s financial and banking connections.
The economic and imperial interests behind America’s response to 9/11 go far beyond the neocons and their diversion in Iraq.
(A) Now, specific illustrations of names and their connections from the introduction by Anthony Gregory:
The revered Teddy Roosevelt “had been a Morgan man from the beginning,” with family, business and political ties to the banking giant. Roosevelt’s “first act after the election of 1900 was to throw a lavish dinner in honor of J.P. Morgan,” and many of his policies, from the 1903 Panama coup to the trust busting of Standard Oil, were huge blessings for Morgan interests.
Cheney, it might be noted, was also a member of the Trilateral Commission—that elite club founded by David Rockefeller that came to dominate the halls of power beginning in the Carter administration. … In addition to Cheney, Trilateral members who have risen or remained high in American government since 1984 include Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, George H. W. Bush, his national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Clinton cabinet members Lloyd Bentsen (Treasury), Warren Christopher (State Department) and William Cohen (Defense).
Goldman Sachs accounted for over $994,000 of Obama’s war chest. Lehman Brothers was the origin of $395,600, a record amount for the company second only to what Hillary Clinton received. Out of 20 of his biggest sources of campaign money, eleven were investment banks or closely associated law firms. Justin Raimondo noted in 2008 that Obama’s fat cat donors included top executives from Wachovia, Washington Mutual, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, J. P. Morgan, Chase, Morgan Stanley and Countrywide.
(B) This is from the ‘Introduction to the 1995 Edition’ written by Justin Raimondo:
The inflationary trends resulting from the creation of assets tend to increase the ratio
of external financing to internal financing in large corporations and, as a consequence, the ultimate decision-making power of banking institutions increases over the activities of industrial corporations.
In my view, the above point is an extremely powerful and insightful one, if one cared to spend time reflecting on it.
It was Mises who pointed out that government intervention in the economy invariably leads to yet more intervention in order to “fix” the havoc wreaked—and there is a certain logic in the fact that it was the original culprits who decided to “fix” the distortions and disruptions caused by their policies with further assaults on the market mechanism.
The thought expressed by Raghuram Rajan in his book, ‘How to save capitalism from capitalists?’, it appears, had been expressed by Murray Rothbard before, says Justin Raimondo:
This explains the strange historical fact, recounted at length and in detail by Rothbard, that the biggest capitalists have been the deadliest enemies of true capitalism.
The theme below appears to have been picked up by Brandon Smith of Alt-Markets.com:
Giant multinational corporations, and their economic satellites, in alliance with governments and the big banks, are in the process of extending their influence on a global scale: they dream of a world central bank, global planning, and an international welfare state, with American troops policing the world to guarantee their profit margins.
Is this where the Universal Basic Income fits in?
After the long battle to create a central bank in the U.S., the high priests of high finance finally seized and consolidated control of domestic economic policy. It only remained for them to extend their dominance internationally, and for this purpose they created the Council on Foreign Relations, and, later, the Trilateral Commission.
Justin Raimondo is careful to delineate his analysis from the standard ‘conspiracy theory’ framework:
To say that the House of Morgan was engaged in a “conspiracy” to drag the U.S. into World War I, when indeed it openly used every stratagem, every lever both economic and political, to push us into “the war to end all wars,” seems woefully inadequate. This was not some secret cabal meeting in a soundproof corporate boardroom, but a “conspiracy” of ideas openly and vociferously expressed.
(C) Now, in the main body of the report by Murray Rothbard, he goes through several proofs of appointment that would defy the neat ‘Right’ and ‘Left’ cleavage. Indeed, many grassroot workers would appear foolish. Sample what Rothbard writes about John F. Kennedy:
When John F. Kennedy assumed the office of President, the first person he turned to for foreign policy advice was Robert A. Lovett, partner of Brown Brothers, Harriman, even though Lovett had backed Richard Nixon.
Secretary of the Treasury in the Kennedy Cabinet was C. Douglas Dillon, of Dillon, Read and the Rockefeller Foundation. Dillon saw no problem in serving for eight years as Ambassador to France and as a State Department official during the Eisenhower
Era, and then segueing to the Democratic Kennedy Cabinet. Like Lovett, he too was chosen even though he had been a big contributor to the Nixon effort of 1960.
Two important foreign policy actions of the Kennedy administration were the Cuban Missile Crisis and the escalation of the war in Vietnam. Kennedy was advised during the Cuban missile crisis by an ad hoc group called the Ex Comm, which included, along with his official major foreign policy advisers, Robert A. Lovett and John J. McCloy. In the Vietnam War, Kennedy brought in as Ambassador to South Vietnam the Boston Brahmin and Morgan oriented Henry Cabot Lodge, who had been Eisenhower’s Ambassador to the United Nations and who had run for Vice-President on the Nixon ticket in 1960.
Murray Rothbard documents the role and influence of the Trilateral Commission under Jimmy Carter quite thoroughly. Just a sample:
Jimmy Carter was invited to become a member of the Trilateral Commission shortly after it was formed, and he agreed enthusiastically. Why did the Trilaterals appoint an obscure Georgia governor with admittedly no knowledge of foreign affairs? Ostensibly because they wanted to hear the views of a Southern governor. Far more likely, they were grooming him for the Presidency and wanted to instruct him in trilateralism. Carter took instruction well, and he wrote later of the many happy hours he spent sitting at the feet of Trilateral executive director and international relations expert Zbigniew Brzezinski.
What these facts remind us is that many members of the Public who are railing (big time) against Donald Trump are missing the point that he might be representing a genuine discontinuity from this ‘Two is one’ arrangement that has survived and flourished for a long time. What does it mean for the world? I attempt some answers (or confess to inability) in part 2.