Let’s not applaud uncritically former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, as occurred this month when she lectured on the foreign policies that she hopes Hillary Clinton will pursue as president.
Albright, 78 and shown in a file photo, eloquently described on Oct. 16 why Democrats and progressives are best positioned to keep the United States safe. Albright’s vision seemed well-received by the eighty or so attendees, mostly aged 20ish, at Center for American Progress, a prominent progressive/Democratic think tank in Washington, DC.
Yet Clinton has helped implement bipartisan foreign policies that are creating strategic and moral disasters, as evident in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and the mass migration of refugees to Europe.
On Oct. 30, for example, President Obama reversed his vow not to send ground troops to Syria and instead ordered deployment of 50 U.S. special forces troops with no apparent justification under international law to invade a sovereign nation uninvited. The 9/11 attack cannot be a rationale since Syria had nothing to do with 9/11 and the 2001 congressional authorization for force does not cover Syria. Furthermore, fewer than 20 House members are in support of the still-secret 2002 report on which countries funded 9/11 hijackers. The report reputedly identifies Saudi Arabia, a U.S. “ally” and alleged accomplice now of ISIS and Al Qaeda.
Additionally, his administration has had to confess in recent weeks that it has waged a four-year secret war run by the CIA against the Syrian government (so far unsuccessfully). Also, the president has had to cancel his vow to remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of his term in 2017.
These are professional embarrassments that do not encompass the vast death and suffering occurring his and predecessor policies.
More generally and importantly than any single policy reversal, Obama, Hillary Clinton, Albright and their colleagues often misuse the rhetoric of democracy and human rights to obscure sordid commercial and military objectives.
As illustrated below, Albright, Clinton and President Obama — much like their Republican counterparts — voice noble objectives for foreign policies sought also by the CIA on behalf of Western monied interests.
Examples? The expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) into Eastern Europe, plus anti-terror, pro-democracy, and human rights initiatives in the Balkans, Africa, Iraq, Libya, Syria, the Ukraine, and too many other examples to count. These coincide with globalist policies on Wall Street and financial centers in Western Europe.
- A significant fraction of State Department personnel, especially in sensitive regions, are CIA personnel operating under diplomatic cover (as for other world powers);
- Albright, both Clintons, and Obama, before they attained national prominence, developed mutually helpful relationships with the CIA and its front groups; and
- Key executives at major financial institutions, foundations, universities and the news media are complicit in such CIA/NSA/FBI/ secret relationships — and know better than to make them public.
Thus, many of our country’s most important issues have a hidden component.
To explore these matters here is merely to help readers understand the news, not to demonize or magnify the importance of the CIA and the score of other U.S. intelligence agencies.
The agencies are not necessarily power centers of themselves. Historically, the top leadership of the CIA and sister agencies implements the agendas of Wall Street titans (sometimes at Rockefeller or Harriman family fortune and foundation level). These captains of industry (and more recently captains of military, intelligence and communications sectors) preside also over the fund-raising and media hype for chosen presidential aspirants.
These points are readily illustrated by independent studies, including The Devil’s Chessboard, a new book this month by David Talbot about the late CIA Director Allen Dulles, a former Wall Street lawyer for the highest-ranking oligarchs of his era. Some of that material appears in passing within another new book, The Clintons’ War on Women by Roger Stone and Robert Morrow. Our own Presidential Puppetry tells the story in a more comprehensive fashion extending over a near century. All of this is indebted to the late Georgetown professor Carroll Quigley (1910-1977), whose required two-semester course on Western civilization from 1941 to 1972 inspired future President Bill Clinton along with many other foreign policy students.
The Bushes are one such family still in the presidential news. Former CIA Director and President George H.W. Bush was the son of former Republican Sen. Prescott Bush of Connecticut, grandfather of today’s presidential aspirant Jeb Bush.
Prescott Bush had been the Wall Street partner at Brown Brothers Harriman of Averill Harriman, heir to one of the greatest fortunes in U.S. history (inflation adjusted). Harriman was a diplomat, investor, media mogul, Democratic New York governor, and globe-trotting political kingmaker, based at times in the high-toned Georgetown section of the nation’s capital.
At Brown Brothers Harriman in the 1930s, Bush was the leading U.S. financial liaison of Fritz Thiessen, the German industrialist who was the primary financier of the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s rise to power.
In this largely hidden but still-demonstrable history, the Bush and Harriman families thus made a major wrong bet on the future of Europe and democracy, as did many other well-educated elites within the overlapping worlds of finance, government, academia, and media. This story is chronicled by, among others, Professor Quigley in his two major books, The Anglo-American Establishment (1949) and Tragedy and Hope (1966).
Looking ahead, we now examine implications of foreign policy options offered by 2016 presidential candidates.
George H.W. Bush began his career as a covert CIA asset beginning in the early 1950s, a fact never mentioned during his 1976 Senate confirmation hearing, just as Prescott Bush’s help for Hitler was ignored during the 1950s when Prescott Bush served as a powerful senator and close Cold War ally of President Eisenhower.
Presidential candidate Jeb Bush benefits from this legacy, including the active network of former intelligence officers created in the mid-1970s to fight sub-rosa for the CIA against Church Committee-era reforms. The network of former intelligence officers, ostensibly non-partisan, quietly supported such political figures as George H.W. “Poppy” Bush in his 1980 presidential campaign, just as some did in 2004 during the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” initiative in support of George W. Bush and the “OpSec” initiative against Obama’s re-election in the summer of 2012 before Benghazi.
These days, the Democratic 2016 front-runner Clinton and leading GOP 2016 presidential candidates support a U.S.-enforced “No Fly Zone” in Syria, ostensibly to support democratic goals.
They thereby show either that they are puppets in the bipartisan war machine — or that they have learned little from the tactics that have so seriously hurt U.S. strength and created untold suffering in Iraq and Libya, and now for refugees fleeing into Europe. Hillary Clinton defied common sense during a friendly MSNBC interview Oct. 23 as she tried to explain how the United States could enforce a No Fly Zone against Russian warplanes without escalating situations into combat.
With that preamble, let’s examine Albright’s talk this month, Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Foreign Policy and the 2016 Election and aspects of her personal background and legacy that help interpret the continuing importance of her work.
This is part of a series here on foreign policy that we began Oct. 18. It has presented so far: