The Trilateral Commission:
Effect on the Middle East
|Why wages are so low|
Created in 1973, the Trilateral Commission has exerted a dramatic effect on the entire Third World. Its effect on the Middle East is due to the vast amounts of oil in the region and the West's need to have a cheap source of energy for industry and transportation.
The need to dominate the entire Third World, not the least of which includes the Middle East, is caused by the ever increasing quest for profit. Capitalism creates the necessity to earn more and more profit necessitating sacrifices in wages and benefits to those who are not owners.
To the extent that this organization needs to gain huge profits for those who share in their wealth, namely the stockholders, the Trilateral Commission is compelled or forced to control the government. Government, therefore, becomes subservient to the corporations so corporations will continue to make ever larger and larger profits.
Thus, the multinational corporations provide the means by which to dominate the federal government, controlling the Congress and parliaments of the following areas of the world: United States, Japan, and Western Europe.
Since the original research was completed, Japan and Western Europe have tended to pull away from the United States for various reasons which should be examined in another article. The United States, however, is still embraced in this phenomenon which is now hurting the poor and the middle class in the United States.
There was an economic crises in the early 1970s which precipitated the formation of this commission. The organization of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) was basically caused because the West, or as some who are wiser than many say North, as the northern countries dominate over the southern hemisphere, decreased the price of oil twice within one year. There were other factors also, such as the Soviet Union's increased military capacity and Cuba's support for developing countries. The developments in the oil rich nations enabled them to directly invest heavily in foreign lands thereby threatening a significant loss of ownership control by the First World community.
All these circumstances caused the formation of the Trilateral Commission, a relatively secret organization composed of elites. Headed by David Rockefeller, who was considered at that time to be "the most widely recognized leader of transnational enterpŅises" according to Kowalewski and Leitko, the Trilateral Commission was formed to achieve cooperation in government policy making.
David Rockefeller claimed that the Trilateral Commission was begun by a group of concerned citizens interested in fostering greater understanding and cooperation among international allies in the present day international political climate. This statement is vague at its best and dishonest at worst.
At the end of this article you will be able to read the names of those who were the U.S. original members.
Who is to determine to what extent the first World countries can compel the Third World to serve the needs of those first World nations including the multinational banks and corporations?
While these elites are not supposed to be members of their governments, in other words President, cabinet members, members of legislative bodies, or the military establishment, members of the U. S. Senate and U. S. House are members as you will see.
U. S. Presidents are not allowed to be active in the organization at the time they are in office, however, they are beholden to those who place them in office. Furthermore, cabinet members seem to continue to be active in the organization despite their cabinet status. If they aren't, their loyalty remains with the organization.
Since the organization has been relatively secret, it is difficult to determine if the cabinet members as well as the Senators and House members actively participate in meetings held around the world periodically.
Jimmy Carter was elected president despite his relatively unknown status, because the commission provided the means by which he could be elected. In fact, several members of Carter's early support group in Atlanta, Gambrell, Kirbo, Austin, and others maintain close links with the Rockefeller family or with the broader Eastern Establishment. The Gambrell family is a major stockholder in what was Eastern Airlines where Laurence Rockefeller was the single biggest individual stockholder. [Eastrn Airlines has since gone out of business since the original research was completed.]
The elder Gambrell was on Eastern Airlines' board of directors, and his law firm is general counsel for Eastern. Laurence Rockefeller has long been on the Eastern board with Gambrell and the other Rockefeller families as the two main elements of the group controlling that airline. This is the link between Carter and the Rockefellers.
Although the membership includes people from academic backgrounds, law labor, organizational interest and political circles, the largest proportion is from business entities. In the United States 34 per cent of the membership are from business, in Western Europe it is 39 per cent, and in Japan it is 65 per cent.
The range of industry is unlimited, with mining, petrochemicals (oil), agriculture, garments, paper, rubber, plastics, and many others.
There is a hierarchy in addition to the general membership which consists of thirty people who form an executive council with representation from the three regions. They meet several times per year to coordinate their work and prepare the agenda.
Additionally, the Council of Foreign Relations which holds considerable influence on American foreign policy makers assisted in the formation of the Trilateral Commission. The Trilateral Commission has been called the "multi-national arm" according tW Kenneth Oye of the Council because several of its members such as U. S. Congressman, ohn Anderson, enator Alan Cranston, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Bill Brock, and Anne Armstrong, a former Co-Chairperson of Ronald Reagan's campaign organization have been active political power holders.
With so much interest in controlling national politics by multinational corporations, it is a very logical move to translate this philosophy to international politics as well. To be able to prevent competition internationally as well as nationally, the large multinational corporations can secure the huge profits they desire.
Interlocking directorates, or people who sit on each others' boards, and world market shares provide the greatest political power because individual transnational corporations participate not as individual or autonomous companies but as parts of a whole network. The Trilateral Commission is an extension of this network.
The Middle East represents world energy sources. Oil, and to a lesser extent, natural gas are resources which the region can use to bargain for an equal position with the first world powers. However, from the end of the Second World War until 1960, the major western oil companies controlled the international oil market due to their capital, technological expertise, and their distribution activities. The formation of OPEC which was founded in 1960 by Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait, was due to the major oil companies decreasing the price of oil two times within an 18 month period. This move infuriated the oil producing countries and prompted them to defend their interest. Thereafter, during the 1960s, the organization provided a forum for the exchange of ideas and the general coordination of the national policies of the states toward the companies. During this decade, the states of Libya, Indonesia, Algeria, Nigeria, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi joined the organization of oil producing nations. This resulted in 90 per cent of the world's oil exports emanating from the OPEC members. This growing organizational strength provided the means by which the region could attempt to create an equal status with the industrial nations.
Fortunately for Khadafi, Libya held a secure enough financial position to allow a substantial momentary cutback in oil production so they could demand from Occidental Oil Company, an independent oil company a price hike from $2.34 to $2.53 per barrel thereby increasing their revenues by 30 per cent. Libya is located at the northern section of the continent of Africa although it is considered to be part of the Middle East.
The Persian Gulf states thereafter, agreed to demand of the consortium of 23 oil corporations that their prices also rise by the same approximate percentage. Libya's oil is considered "sweet oil." It is much more pure and less expensive to refine than is that of other nations in the organization.
The negotiation of these countries, the first of its kind, was held in Tehran, Iran during January and February 1971. In mid-February, the companies accepted the OPEC propositions and a 20 per cent increase was instituted, roughly equal to the increase for Libyan oil.
This negotiation which was lead by Iran was the major turning point in the international oil economy. For the first time the producer states acting together had significantly increased their revenues. The spectacular price hikes of Fall 1973 were the culmination of a series of political and economic developments that transformed OPEC in the early 1970s.
The cumulative impact of embargo, price hikes, and unilateral OPEC decision making constituted the first major blow against the international economic structure that had long prevailed between the developing and the developed states. Coupled with the nationalization and participation agreement of the previous few years, their moves represented the first implementation of the idea of Third World control over its resource. The OPEC decisions were a concrete expression of the demand for economic change.
There are two other associations which formed as a result of the impetus provided by OPEC. They are the Group of 77 and the Nonaligned Movement. However, these organizations would play a major role in OPEC's loss of control because of their association with the United Nations. These two associations could not combine into one association because of political differences with the individual states' action according to Mortimer. They constitute the Third World Coalition and have the goal of structural change. However, two questions must be answered. Can a group of heterogeneous countries maintain or even achieve a cohesion for very long? More importantly, how can a body of poor countries (regardless of however many members it possesses) hope to achieve change in the face of more powerful countries joining together, as in the Trilateral Commission thereby enabling the more powerful countries to co-opt the elites in the poor countries?
Nevertheless, the Group of 77 and the Nonaligned Movement tried to attain a unity by ordering a Special Session of the United Nations to be held in the Spring of 1974. In drafting a position paper for this session, the countries of Yugoslavia, Algeria, India in association with one significant newcomer, Iran, whose growing prominence with OPEC gave its voice significance and drafted what became the New International Economic Order resolutions.
While the Third World was perfectly well aware that General Assembly resolutions have no binding effect, they still exercised their majority power in the interest of systemic consciousness raising. The passage of the resolution established neither a new order nor even a new idea. The framers, however, gave a new force and salience to the Third World's longstanding claim of the right to development.
For the Third World it was critical that this show of unity remain alive outside the General Assembly as well. The West and particularly the United States, continued to focus upon oil, OPEC remained at the very center of the confrontation. Because of its condemnation of OPEC's collective policies, the United States initiated even closer relations with the biggest producer of all, Saudi Arabia. The extensive role of U. S. oil companies in the development and management of Saudi Arabia's enormous resources coupled with the Saudi monarch's fervent anticommunism had effected an intricate network of political and economic ties between the two states. Given Saudi Arabia's weight within OPEC, the organization was far from immune to U. S. pressure for a cutback in prices. However, the more radical OPEC members were sensitive to the potential consequences of internal division. They knew that a crack in OPEC ranks would bring about the disintegration of the larger Third World coalition.
In early 1975 the Algerian government proposed an unprecedented OPEC summit conference. It sought to close ranks within OPEC by reconfirming at the highest level that the OPEC states would defend their own policies as the vanguard of a larger Third World movement for economic development. Saudi Arabia was cool to the proposal, arguing that a summit would escalate tensions, but eventually concurred. The Third World conference was scheduled for March 1975, shortly after two other Third World conferences were already on the diplomatic calendar for February. The combination of these three meetings provided a political framework suitable to the evolving diplomatic situation. This joint conference affirmed the solidarity of the Third World oil importers with their OPEC counterparts.
However, on the eve of the OPEC summit, then President Giscard d'Estaing announced that France was inviting a group of representative states to a preparatory meeting for an international conference on energy problems. The participants were to be the United States, the European Economic Community, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria, Venezuela, India, Brazil, and Zaire now Congo. Of the Third World invitees, Saudi Arabia and Iran immediately announced that they would attend that meeting. The political task of the summit was to define a position that could reconcile Saudi Arabia's desire for a more conciliatory position or stance toward the north with Algeria's concern to make OPEC the spearhead of the Third World. Algeria was ready to modify its position on prices so long as OPEC forcefully defended the larger c¸ncept of the New International Economic Order (NIEO). (This is not the same as the New World Order.) This concession seems to be the opening that gave the industrialized powers the feeling that the organization of Third World countries would compromise thereby preempting their solidarity.
The United States employed "Constructive waiting" on OPEC. In other words, we made the Oil rich nations wait for a response to their requests. Additionally, the United States wanted to organize an anti-OPEC coalition, and preferred to operate outside United Nations institutions precisely because these institutions lent themselves to a show of Third World unity. In other words, the United States wanted to divide and conquer the oil rich nations which would effectively eliminate their power. This is what has happened.
The General Assembly was the preferred forum of the developing countries because it could register one of their few sources of power, the fact of numbers. The very idea of the special Session in effect represented a clash between OPEC's voting power and U. S. economic defiance, however, it knew that real economic change could come about only with the U. S.'s acquiescence, no matter what the General Assembly might resolve. The United States counted upon its economic power as an eventual countervailing force with which the developing states would have to reckon before substantive international action on the energy/development crises could be taken according to Mortimer.