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.

June 25, 2018
Daniel Falcone
A Reporter’s Reporter: a Conversation With Seymour Hersh
Gerald Sussman
America’s Cold War “Tugboat”
Jonathan Cook
The Defiance that Launched Gaza’s Flaming Kites Cannot be Extinguished
P. Sainath
A Long March of the Dispossessed to Delhi 
Sheldon Richman
What Does Trump Have Against Children?
Lance Olsen
Caught in a Trap of Our Own Making: Climate Change, Blame, and Denial
Seth Sandronsky
A Safe Black Space
Kary Love
Crying Children and Due Process of Law
Gary Leupp
Why It Just Makes Sense for the U.S. to Withdraw from the UNHRC
John Laforge
Kings Bay Plowshares Action Names the Trident with Blood
Mel Gurtov
After Singapore, Is Iran the Next US Target?
Kent D. Shifferd
A Different Perspective on Peace
Uri Avnery
Two Souls
Laura Flanders
National Suicide Point?
Ludwig Watzal
The Death of Felicia Langer
Weekend Edition
June 22, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Karl Grossman
Star Wars Redux: Trump’s Space Force
Andrew Levine
Strange Bedfellows
Jeffrey St. Clair
Intolerable Opinions in an Intolerant Time
Paul Street
None of Us are Free, One of Us is Chained
Edward Curtin
Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World
Celina Stien-della Croce
The ‘Soft Coup’ and the Attack on the Brazilian People 
James Bovard
Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood
Louisa Willcox
My Friend Margot Kidder: Sharing a Love of Dogs, the Wild, and Speaking Truth to Power
David Rosen
Trump’s War on Sex
Mir Alikhan
Trump, North Korea, and the Death of IR Theory
Christopher Jones
Neoliberalism, Pipelines, and Canadian Political Economy
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Why is Tariq Ramadan Imprisoned?
Robert Fantina
MAGA, Trump Style
Linn Washington Jr.
Justice System Abuses Mothers with No Apologies
Martha Rosenberg
Questions About a Popular Antibiotic Class
Ida Audeh
A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History: Interview with Jamal Juma’
Edward Hunt
The Afghan War is Killing More People Than Ever
Geoff Dutton
Electrocuting Oral Tradition
Don Fitz
When Cuban Polyclinics Were Born
Ramzy Baroud
End the Wars to Halt the Refugee Crisis
Ralph Nader
The Unsurpassed Power trip by an Insuperable Control Freak
Lara Merling
The Pain of Puerto Ricans is a Profit Source for Creditors
James Jordan
Struggle and Defiance at Colombia’s Feast of Pestilence
Tamara Pearson
Indifference to a Hellish World
Kathy Kelly
Hungering for Nuclear Disarmament
Jessicah Pierre
Celebrating the End of Slavery, With One Big Asterisk
Rohullah Naderi
The Ever-Shrinking Space for Hazara Ethnic Group
Binoy Kampmark
Leaving the UN Human Rights Council
Nomi Prins 
How Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression
Robert Fisk
Can Former Lebanese MP Mustafa Alloush Turn Even the Coldest of Middle Eastern Sceptics into an Optimist?