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Trilateral Commission

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Trilateral Commission

The Trilateral Commission
Founded 1973
Founder David Rockefeller
Type Annual conference
Location
  • Washington, DC (main meeting place); Paris; Tokyo
Members
More than 390
Key people
Joseph S. Nye, Jr. (North American chairman)
Yasuchika Hasegawa (Pacific Asian chairman)
Jean-Claude Trichet (European chairman)
Website .org.trilateralwww

The Trilateral Commission is a non-governmental, non-partisan discussion group founded by David Rockefeller[1] in July 1973, to foster closer cooperation among North America, Western Europe, and Japan.

History

Founding

Sensing a profound discord among the nations of North America, Europe and Japan, the Trilateral Commission was founded to foster substantive political and economic dialogue across the world. To quote its founding declaration:

  • "Growing interdependence is a fact of life of the contemporary world. It transcends and influences national systems... While it is important to develop greater cooperation among all the countries of the world, Japan, Western Europe, and North America, in view of their great weight in the world economy and their massive relations with one another, bear a special responsibility for developing effective cooperation, both in their own interests and in those of the rest of the world."
  • "To be effective in meeting common problems, Japan, Western Europe, and North America will have to consult and cooperate more closely, on the basis of equality, to develop and carry out coordinated policies on matters affecting their common interests... refrain from unilateral actions incompatible with their interdependence and from actions detrimental to other regions... [and] take advantage of existing international and regional organizations and further enhance their role."
  • "The Commission hopes to play a creative role as a channel of free exchange of opinions with other countries and regions. Further progress of the developing countries and greater improvement of East-West relations will be a major concern."[2]

[3]

Other founding members included Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker, both later heads of the Federal Reserve system.

Meetings

The Trilateral Commission initiated its biannual meetings schedule in October 1973 in Tokyo. In May 1976, the first plenary meeting of all of the Commission's regional groups took place in Kyoto. It was through these early meetings that the group effected its most profound influence, the integration of Japan into the global political conversation. Before these exchanges, the country was much more isolated on the international stage.[2] Since its founding, the discussion group has produced an official journal called Trialogue.

Membership

Membership is divided into numbers proportionate to each of the think tank's three regional areas. The North American continent is represented by 120 members (20 Canadian, 13 Mexican and 87 U.S. citizens). The European group has reached its limit of 170 members from almost every country on the continent; the ceilings for individual countries are 20 for Germany, 18 for France, Italy and the United Kingdom, 12 for Spain and 1–6 for the rest. At first, Asia and Oceania were represented only by Japan. However, in 2000 the Japanese group of 85 members expanded itself, becoming the Pacific Asia group, composed of 117 members: 75 Japanese, 11 South Koreans, 7 Australian and New Zealand citizens, and 15 members from the ASEAN nations (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand). The Pacific Asia group also included 9 members from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Currently, the Trilateral Commission claims "more than 100" Pacific Asian members.[2]

While Trilateral Commission bylaws exclude persons holding public office from membership,[5] the think tank draws its participants from political, business, and academic worlds. The group is chaired by three individuals, one from each of the regions represented. The current chairmen are former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Joseph S. Nye, Jr., former head of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet and Yasuchika Hasegawa.[6]

Criticisms

From the right

On the right, a number of prominent thinkers and politicians have criticized the Trilateral Commission as encroaching on national sovereignty. In his book With No Apologies, former conservative Republican Senator Barry Goldwater lambasted the discussion group by suggesting it was "a skillful, coordinated effort to seize control and consolidate the four centers of power: political, monetary, intellectual, and ecclesiastical... [in] the creation of a worldwide economic power superior to the political governments of the nation-states involved."[7]

While the Trilateral Commission is only one of many similar think tanks on the right and left, many notable [8] Conservative and right-wing groups such as the John Birch Society and right wing conspiracy theorists such as Alex Jones also support this idea.[9][10]

Conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer sardonically alluded to the conspiracy theories when he was asked in 2012 who makes up the "Republican establishment", saying, "Karl Rove is the president. We meet every month on the full moon... [at] the Masonic Temple. We have the ritual: Karl brings the incense, I bring the live lamb and the long knife, and we began... with a pledge of allegiance to the Trilateral Commission."[11]

From the left

Noam Chomsky has described the Trilateral Commission's goals in less glowing terms:

Essentially liberal internationalists from Europe, Japan and the United States, the liberal wing of the intellectual elite. That’s where Jimmy Carter’s whole government came from. [...] [The Trilateral Commission] was concerned with trying to induce what they called ‘more moderation in democracy’ – turn people back to passivity and obedience so they don’t put so many constraints on state power and so on. In particular they were worried about young people. They were concerned about the institutions responsible for the indoctrination of the young (that’s their phrase), meaning schools, universities, church and so on – they’re not doing their job, [the young are] not being sufficiently indoctrinated. They’re too free to pursue their own initiatives and concerns and you’ve got to control them better.[12]

See also

References

  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c
  3. ^ http://www.rockarch.org/collections/rockorgs/trilateral.pdf "David Rockefeller’s consultations culminated with a July 23–24, 1972 meeting at Pocantico Hills, NY attended by..."
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^

Further reading

  • (Includes Brzezinski's proposal for the establishment of a body like the Trilateral Commission.)
  • But see also reference below from "The Straight Dope".

External links

  • Official website
  • Membership as of August 2011
  • Membership as of April 2015
  • Is the Trilateral Commission the secret organization that runs the world? (Fact check against conspiracy theories from The Straight Dope, 1987)
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