We’ve written about this before, and it’s a pretty simple concept. It’s now possible for foreign entities — corporations, governments, hyper-wealthy individuals — to be the next Sheldon Adelson, the next supplier of mega-millions to “own” U.S. political office-holders.
In the following interview, investigative reporter Lee Fang of The Nation tells Mike Papantonio about the problem in general, by focusing on a single instance — Saudi Aramco oil money washed through the “American” Petroleum Institute into campaigns to unseat opponents of foreign oil interests.
Why do I scare-quote the “American” Petroleum Institute? Because it’s opposite-name-day here. As Fang explains, the “American” Petroleum Institute is actually an international (foreign) oil lobbying group.
Opposie-name-day. You know, like when your company takes away the real mechanical shredders, puts in big locked plastic bins for paper to be shredded later, and on the bin it says “InstaShred” — true story. Like the name ProcrastaShred was already taken.
Listen to Fang and Papantonio tell this tale. Then read below to see the real bottom line (hint: it’s one you already know).
Lee Fang’s piece for The Nation has more foreign contribution detail. Do read.
Ready for the real bottom line? Client state.
When foreigners control your elections, you’re a client state; you’re the “owned”. This happens when you have something foreigners want and they are in position to take it — either because they are more powerful, or because you have sellouts on your team. (Either method works; in our case, it’s the latter.)
Iraq was a client state of the U.S. until we lost control over there. At stake — Iraq’s oil and Cheney’s dreams of controlling it. Iran was our client state (look up the Shah and how he came to rule) until the Iranians decided they wanted their country back and took it. Judea was a client state of Rome (Herod was a Jewish king) until the revolt that got the Temple burned down changed Vespasian’s mind and he took direct control.
What do we have that foreigners want? Two things. Access to “our” resources — mainly oil and gas at the moment — plus access to our military (the world’s police force) and all the decision-making around who it gets used against. Seriously.
Have you thought about how valuable it would be for a government to be able to use our military to threaten their enemies? Think that can’t happen? Reread this story about Israel, Netanyahu, and Sheldon Adelson.
Or consider the case of Saudi Arabia and all the Sunni oil dictatorships in its neighborhood. The U.S. has intervened in a number of neighboring countries — Libya, Yemen — in part to prop up local dictators. The Saudis are brutal to dissidents and have a large, poor Shiite work force. The Kuwaitis, from what I hear, are the same, and are much more vulnerable. Do the Saudis want the U.S. to prop up the Kuwaiti government? How could they sweeten their influence? (Answer, of course: API.)
Or to ask the question more generally. If you had more money than god (god doesn’t carry much cash around) and you had a local enemy you could pimp to the U.S. as a global threat — and you owned a piece of the last election — what would prevent you from cashing in a few of your chips? If that enemy was a small island somewhere, you could even do it under the radar.
And that’s just the high part of that slippery slope. With U.S. billionaires (the .01%) selling out the country’s interests with both hands to secure their own global wealth, what’s the ceiling on this process?
See what I mean? Client state. (1) There’s only two ways this can end. (2) It’s not over (don’t forget that). (3) There’s a desirable outcome, just so you know. We just have to scheme how to get there.
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