Think Tanks and the US Power Elite


The US power elite is involved in many ways in the dispute over global domination, its exercise and defense.

The precarious balance of forces in the bipolar world in which we lived after World War II prevented US imperialism from imposing its absolute hegemony world-wide. That was based on the nuclear blackmail it threatened after its genocidal bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Later, a tense arms race would arrive, promoted by the so-called “balance of terror”. According to this notion, which the forerunner power in the production of weapons would cause an imbalance in the international arena. The one with the most and deadliest weapons would be able to destroy the other.

Losing all hope that the end of the Cold War would open the way to a world without wars, an unstoppable arms race along the roads of neoliberal globalization has arrived. It has shaped imperialism into the dark reality it is today: the most powerful, brutal and ruthless hegemonic superpower in the history of humanity, bearing the greatest dangers to the survival of our species.

Today, we live in a uni-polar world, with one single superpower imposing its selfish interests on the rest of the world. This shows that it is the predatory nature of the prevailing capitalist order that causes most evils. There is a vital need to replace it with a new, just, and humane order.

In the struggle for global domination, the US government, far from taking the limited opportunities open through disarmament and peaceful coexistence, has based the pillars of its economy on a growing dependence on war situations.

It is in this context that Think Tanks (TTs) become important in the United States. These are public or private academic and study institutions staffed by personalities  fully identified with the US capitalist system. They produce political and ideological documents intended to provide US governments with weapons for their confrontation with the world they seek to dominate.

They are part of a system that produces ideological content for the defense of imperialist interests. Their mission includes propagating ideas useful to the US capitalist system by spreading its doctrines in books, magazines, and other media. To do this they have billion-dollar budgets.

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) founded in 1921 by the Rockefeller economic group, is considered to be the first existing think tank. It had the task of providing the governing authorities (of either of the two parties in the US political scheme) with new ideas in foreign policy and the training of specialists and leaders.

Nearly 4,000 citizens work at the CFR, some with much more objective perspectives than the usual extreme right. Among them there are names as notorious as George Soros, the billionaire magnate of global financial speculation.

Its main publication is the journal Foreign Affairs which publishes academic papers containing their views on foreign policy.

According to surveys of academics and experts carried out annually for the Think Tanks Index in 2015, the Brookings Institution ranked as the most important TT in the world for eight consecutive years. The list also included the CFR, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the RAND Corporation, the Heritage Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

In the United States of America there are 11 think tanks specialized in political and economic matters; forty-nine in foreign affairs and international security; sixteen on the environment, science and technology; and twelve on the arts and humanities.

Most of them are registered as “non-profit” entities, but some are funded by the government or by legal or business organizations; others obtain funds from their research work on specific projects. In countries other than the United States, the TT Index registers Chatham House and the International Institute for Strategic Studies in the United Kingdom, and the Bruegel in Belgium.

Like their namesakes in war, think tanks are intended to demolish their opponents through a display of apparent superiority of resources that does not always correspond to reality.

This article was translated from the Spanish by Walter Lippmann for the invaluable CubaNews.

More articles by:

Manuel E. Yepe is a lawyer, economist and journalist. He is a professor at the Higher Institute of International Relations in Havana.

December 18, 2018
Charles Pierson
Where No Corn Has Grown Before: Better Living Through Climate Change?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Waters of American Democracy
Patrick Cockburn
Will Anger in Washington Over the Murder of Khashoggi End the War in Yemen?
George Ochenski
Trump is on the Ropes, But the Pillage of Natural Resources Continues
Farzana Versey
Tribals, Missionaries and Hindutva
Robert Hunziker
Is COP24 One More Big Bust?
David Macaray
The Truth About Nursing Homes
Nino Pagliccia
Have the Russian Military Aircrafts in Venezuela Breached the Door to “America’s Backyard”?
Paul Edwards
Make America Grate Again
David Rosnick
The Impact of OPEC on Climate Change
Binoy Kampmark
The Kosovo Blunder: Moving Towards a Standing Army
Andrew Stewart
Shine a Light for Immigration Rights in Providence
December 17, 2018
Susan Abulhawa
Marc Lamont Hill’s Detractors are the True Anti-Semites
Jake Palmer
Viktor Orban, Trump and the Populist Battle Over Public Space
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Fights Proposal to Keep It From Looting Medicare
David Rosen
December 17th: International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers
Binoy Kampmark
The Case that Dare Not Speak Its Name: the Conviction of Cardinal Pell
Dave Lindorff
Making Trump and Other Climate Criminals Pay
Bill Martin
Seeing Yellow
Julian Vigo
The World Google Controls and Surveillance Capitalism
What is Neoliberalism?
James Haught
Evangelicals Vote, “Nones” Falter
Vacy Vlanza
The Australian Prime Minister’s Rapture for Jerusalem
Martin Billheimer
Late Year’s Hits for the Hanging Sock
Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek