VII. The New World Order I:
Molding Public Thought And Opinion

America's Unknown Enemy: Beyond Conspiracy

Editorial Staff of the
American Institute for Economic Research


In the Trilateral Commission's publications, Trilateral advocates have developed a vocabulary (set of names) conducive to molding public opinion toward acceptance of greater central (bureaucratic or government) management of the economy -- domestic and international. As the Glossary of Globalist Names at the end of this chapter suggests, inaccurate and evasive naming that corresponds neither to things, events, nor relationships -- as well as naming in contexts that generate subtly prejudicial associations -- tends to confound independent thought and give credence to Trilateralist objectives. Trilateralist language docs not appeal to the hates of the past, but to the sensibilities of members of affluent "democratic" cultures. Globalist literature eschews names and phrases that might elicit negative emotional responses (these 'night reveal disadvantages and costs rather than benefits); instead, globalist literature employs names that have favorable connotations.

Many names and phrases in the Trilateral lexicon mirror the principal techniques of thought control by the manipulation of language that were enunciated by George Orwell in 1984: the invention of names, the suppression of "heretical" names, the abbreviation or contraction of names, reliance on euphony, and the use of names to refer to the opposite of that in common usage. Certain names appear repeatedly in contexts that provide strong favorable connotative cues.

Three names so used -- "interdependence," "unilateral," and "multilateral" -- predominate in Trilateralist literature. "Interdependence," used to describe the economic relationships among sovereign nations, possesses both explicit and connotative associations. The dictionary definition of "interdependence" is mutual dependence. Although "dependence" itself is neutral -- and may or may not connote vulnerability (which in turn implies threat) it nearly always does so in Trilateralist literature. Triangle Papers allude to an "intensification of interdependence" that "becomes even more painful." Thus interdependence describes "increased vulnerability of the Trilateral countries to one another as the economic networks binding their economies together multiplied." This use of "interdependence" to describe relations between countries trying to "shield themselves from the actions of others" thus subtly conveys the notion that management or oversight by some bureaucracy is essential in order to reduce vulnerability. Use of a different name or phrase to describe the same economic relationship among countries -- such as "interactant," "interrelated," or "engaged in mutually beneficial trade" - would not convey such a sense of risk that things might go awry if not managed.

"Unilateral" also has an explicit referent but it, too, conveys implicit associations. The dictionary definition is "one-sided" which in turn implies "narrow-minded" and "unfair." Used in Trilateral context -- such as in the appeal to "move ahead in fashioning new sharing arrangements rather than continuing the drift back to unilateralism" -- "unilateral" cues readers to oppose things so described. The phrase "in the national interest" used to describe the same thing would be a different, more favorable cue. "Multilateral," on the other hand, refers to "many-sided," and by implication to even-handed and fair treatment. It cues readers to think favorably of things so described. The use of the phrase, "sacrifice of the national interest" instead of "multilateral" would elicit a different, less favorable, emotional response.

Certain names almost never appear in globalist literature: "jail," "prison," "coercion," "armed force," "confiscation," "expropriation," "dictatorship," "armed threat," "invasion," "military occupation." These and many other names that describe how "international order" might be achieved have been expunged from the Trilateral lexicon. Instead, "management" is used to refer to the entire scope of activities that might be undertaken in pursuit of the New International Economic Order. The adjective "appropriate" is often appended to names such as "measure," "policy," and "response," with all specifics as to why something is "appropriate" left to the reader's or listener's inference.

Thought Control?

Moreover, by abbreviating names of highly complex things or groups of things into a single simple name, Trilateral naming subtly narrows, distorts, and directs thought about them. Consider, for example, the name "South." In Trilateral language, this name is used to refer collectively to all of the "less-developed countries (LDCs)" of the world. Frequently it appears in discussions of the so-called "North-South dialogue" or "North-South partnership" (the "North" refers to the "developed countries" as a group). Although many less developed countries are located in the southern hemisphere, even brief reflection reveals that so used, the name "South" is an inaccurate description. Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, for example, are not "LDCs." Conversely, most of Africa and all of southern and eastern Asia are located outside the southern hemisphere.

Why, then, the name "South"? The use of the name "South" to refer to any nonindustrialized place permits globalists to circumvent the "messy" task of convincing taxpayer-citizens that the globalists' program in its specifics is in the public interest. Obscurantism disarms potential public opposition much more readily. That the elitist Trilateral bureaucrats may be wrong about what they think is in the public interest apparently is of no significant consequence to them.

Although Trilateralist language is not nonsensical "'gabble," it reflects a bias for names that obscure rather than clarify and lull rather than awaken. There is so much "sharing," "fairness," "equitable consideration," "harmonious integration," and "positive adjustment" in Trilateralist work that the less than fully alert reader easily might be lulled into believing that this is a planet of saints and the leaders of the New International Economic Order a band of angels. This is far from the actual, for these soothing names are the tools of the language of power.

Trialateral Commission Proposals

Each of the Trilateral Commission's numerous "Task Force Reports" utilizes language in this way to persuade readers to the Trilateral viewpoint on some important issue affecting the world economy. Triangle Papers are co-authored by one representative from each of the Trilateral regions -- North America, Western Europe, and Japan -- an arrangement that the Commission asserts makes it "possible to achieve a broad consensus among members on subjects such as those dealt with in these reports." In this way, the leaders of the Trilateral Commission effectively conscript all its members into an implied support for the reports as "constructive policies that offer long-term solutions to world problems."

The Task Force Reports focus on perceived problems in the following areas: the international monetary system, political developments, developing countries, trade, energy, and East-West relations. These problems all require, according to the Commission, a coordinated effort by which the "Trilateral process" can "manage international economic interdependencies" that have been created since World War II. In the accompanying summary "Selected Triangle Papers," some of the major recommendations made in the Triangle Papers are outlined.

The apologia for these Trilateral recommendations seems to be rooted not in Adam Weishaupt or Marxist-Leninist ideologies but in Walt. W. Rostow's The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto. Ever since the publication in 1961 of this "manifesto," would-be global managers have clung to the notion that carefully orchestrated economic development would promote both world peace and prosperity. Central to this view was Rostow's assertion that when any society reaches the "age of high-mass consumption" the "aggressive habits of the immature society are discarded." Accordingly, Soviet-style Communism, said Rostow, was but "a disease of the transition" to the final stage of economic growth, and its demise would be hastened by any economic intercourse that might accelerate internal development in the Soviet Union. Likewise, he argued, the threat of Communism in underdeveloped countries could best be thwarted by encouraging rapid economic growth in those countries.

The international economic policy implications from this analysis were two-fold: (1) economic trade -- including the transfer of technology -- with the Soviet Union and other Communist nations ought to be expanded; and (2) massive and sustained "external aid would be required to lift all of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America into regular growth." The Trilateralists Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, heirs to Rostow's throne as mentor of aspiring global managers, persistently advocated both such policies.

Trilateral Proposals Ignore History

Plainly, however, this view of the relationship between economics and a society's propensity (or lack thereof) to pursue a course of peaceful intercourse with other nations is totally at odds with observed events. While it is accurate to assert, for example, that Communist Third World nations are "poof" nations in relation to advanced Western countries, it does not follow that prosperity will reduce their professed ambition to export their rule to their more prosperous neighbors. Even the most extravagant overconsumption failed to brake Roman ambitions, no degree of early "success" restrained Hitler's Germany from pursuing world hegemony; and the high standard of living in pre-Castro Cuba (the second highest in Latin America) failed to keep it from becoming the first country in the Western hemisphere to succumb to a Communist takeover.

Even brief reflection on the post-WWII behavior of the Western powers (and recent events in Central and Eastern Europe) suggests that the Rostovian view may be too narrow. In the Western industrialized nations, it has become commonplace for socialist initiatives to gain ground during periods of relative prosperity. The burgeoning of the welfare mechanism in the United States precisely during a period of rapid growth in the 4 decades following World War II is a case in point.

Government planners whose policies actually may have thwarted economic growth often have taken credit for prosperity due to policies they opposed, i.e., tax reform. (The "Massachusetts miracle," for which Michael Dukakis claimed credit and which led to his 1988 presidential candidacy, is an extreme case in point. As of this writing, that state's economy is reeling under the effects of decades of social legislation that has crippled businesses, led to the disintegration of the state's infrastructure, and promises to overwhelm individual taxpayers.)

In our view, rather than promoting democratic capitalism, internationalist "cooperation," economic or otherwise, that enhances the stature of established socialist governments (no matter what they call themselves nowadays) is just as likely to entrench in power those most wedded to the old policies. In short, what is to prevent the "old guard" from taking credit for related "improvements" in domestic conditions, just as our own politicians claim credit for economic successes that the American people are able to achieve in spite of their interference?

Rather, events in the Soviet Union and the Eastern-bloc countries would seem to suggest that the economic failure of socialist economies there has been directly linked to popular demands for democratic -- and to some extent capitalistic -- reforms. Why, then, pursue a foreign policy that is calculated to perpetuate those in power?

The International "Debt Crisis"

Trilateral plans to promote economic development in the Third World likewise ignore the relevant lessons of history. For example, central planners have doggedly pursued financial policies that have historically been shown to be unsound. Bypassing the market mechanism for allocating credit is a case in point. Since its inception, the Trilateral Commission has urged that increasing amounts of credit be channeled to less-developed countries via government to government grants, government guarantees of private credit, and credit from international lending agencies such as the IMF and the World Bank. Trilateral papers have consistently proposed the adoption of larger and larger credit "quotas" for member nations in the IMF and greater and greater commitments to the General Agreement to Borrow. Today, IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), which were initially gold units, are simply an index of currencies -- and SDR allocations have been extended above those initially proposed.

Consequently, many borrower-nations received sums of funds vastly greater than private investors or creditors alone were willing to commit, and the "international debt crisis" indicates these sums are vastly greater than the debtor countries have been able to repay. To date, outright defaults by debtor nations have been avoided by emergency credit from various government, central bank, and international lending organizations and by reschedulings, which are rewriting of debt terms. But as we see the situation, there is little chance that most of the debt ever will be paid in real-resource terms; therefore, almost surely some resources will have passed uncompensated from the "North" to the "South," as Trilateral reports have recommended. It will not be the bankers' wealth, however, that will be transferred if government intervenes. Rather, it will be the unsuspecting public's wealth transferred through tax-supported agency loans to replace the bankers' credits or through reducing the real value of past dollar-denominated debts via more inflating.[1] This illustrates how unsound economic policies promoted by the economic managers generate new "problems" that elitists always see as requiring more management. Typical of bureaucracy, failure breeds more power, not less.

Trilateral Commission reports cite the debt crisis as evidence of the need for more intervention by international agencies in the economic affairs of sovereign nations. One Triangle Paper, for example, argues that the GATT ought to be provided with "new international rules to cover sectors which are currently outside or virtually outside the GATT framework." These would embrace services, investments, and intra-firm trading. Unilateral and bilateral agreements now outside GATT would be brought "under international rules and discipline." Moreover; the GATI' would assume the power to grant subsidies when needed. ("The applicant for relief should be required to provide GATT with the details of his adjustment or rehabilitation policy for the domestic industry in question.") GATI' would assume permanent control of all domestic agricultural subsidies. Accordingly, "clandestine unilateral or bilateral arrangements for protection should be dismantled and subjected to improved safeguard conditions." Boiled down, this Trilateral Commission proposal asserts that because the interests of different countries industrialized as well as "developing" -- have diverged from those set out in previous Trilateral plans for cooperation, sovereign governments must be stripped of the powers to rule their own affairs and forced into cooperation" by supranational government -- "for their own good," of course.

We share the view that government impediments to the international flow of goods, services, and funds -- that is, trade and capital restrictions -- are economically harmful. Thus, the GATT objective of reducing tariffs and other obstacles to international transactions merits support. But the method recommended by the Trilateralists is dishonest and flawed. Sovereign power need not and should not be relinquished to some supposedly objective supranational bureaucracy. If there are sound reasons for the elimination or reduction of trade and capital barriers, negotiators for sovereign governments should be just as capable of recognizing that their self-interests are served thereby as would supranational bureaucrats. Educating sovereign negotiators to these benefits may take some time, yet the longer process may better ensure that various interests are indeed served. We do not subscribe to the notion that an "objective" third party could better serve U.S. interests than could U.S. negotiators; the United States is simply not the same as other countries.

Recent Trilateralist Directions

Recent Trilateralist publications have been somewhat subdued. During the latter years of their publication, the Triangle Papers, which ceased in 1985, rejected "detente" with the Soviet Union, paid some lip service to the desirability of free-market economies, and acknowledged that the hopes expressed earlier for "multinational cooperation" tended to be exaggerated and naive. Nevertheless, the Trilateralists persist in promoting a "New World Order" to be run by some sort of supranational authority. A representative statement from Triangle Paper 28 "Democracy Must Work: A Trilateral Agenda for the Decade" (1984) suggests the extent to which the Trilateralists' professed commitments to democracy and national defense are overcome by their urge for world power: "We see the essential freedom of democracy to be broadly incompatible with a state controlled economy and we are not afraid to openly reject communism [the implication being that some Trilateralists are afraid to do so! -- Ed.] and to attempt to devise a global system where the communist philosophy withers and has no new converts." A careful reading of recent Trilateralist literature suggests that the contemplated "global system" would be nothing short of global totalitarianism.

Of course, a number of the potential disasters predicted by the Trilateralists during the 1970's and early 1980's -- such as the "energy crises" and "meteorological crises" -- have passed from public view and are no longer readily exploitable for Trilateralist purposes. Other Trilateralist plans for international "cooperation" simply found no takers. But virtually any trumped-up "crisis" or dissatisfaction with existing arrangements can be made to serve as grist for the Trilateralist mill.

For example in the mid-1980's, widespread dissatisfaction with the floating exchange rate system was the occasion for a spate of Trilateralist proposals to create a new "international monetary authority." In this respect, a new Trilateralist-oriented organization, the Institute for International Economics, has been the principal "research" agency. Headed by Trilateralist C. Fred Bergsten, who was Under Secretary of the Treasury under President Jimmy Carter, that Institute was founded in 1981 "through a generous commitment of funds from the German Marshall Fund of the United States." Already it has published many studies professing the need for more international "management" of world monetary arrangements. President Reagan included in his 1986 State of the Union message a reference to the need for -- and commissioned a study to inquire into the possibility of establishing -- a new international monetary system to be "managed" by a then vaguely described agency. (The "Group of Five" [now the "Group of Seven"], which erroneously has been credited with promoting international monetary stability, was the subsequent brainchild of this attempt at international monetary management.)

The Market Alternative to Elitist "Management"

The fatal flaw in Trilateral thinking is the belief that "competition" and "cooperation" are antithetical and that therefore so-called global problems require a comprehensive blueprint formulated by a few "enlightened" individuals from the Trilateral regions. Voluntary cooperation is fostered by competition in the marketplace. It does not require governmental "direction"; it requires merely a set of rules that prohibits such acts as fraud and theft. The marketplace adjusts the actions of consumers and producers so that economic activity is geared to satisfy market participants to the greatest extent without infringing upon anyone's rights.

Some people may object that market decisions are "inequitable" and that it would take lesser-developed countries longer to develop -- and so prolong human misery -- if "aid" were not available. This notion that progress attends equitable results rather than equitable treatment under the law seems to have an eternal popular appeal in spite of abundant evidence to the contrary. Centrally planned programs are notorious for producing surpluses in production in some areas and shortages in others, but they also wrongly suggest to the people that politicians and bureaucrats (national or international) can ensure that their economic needs are taken care of. The history of such welfare programs on both the domestic and inter-national levels (as in the case of multibillion dollar governmental aid programs to the development of the Third World) demonstrates that recipients do not advance economically from them but rather become increasingly dependent on them and beholden to the "donors."

Consider the wide difference between the promises made by the central planners and the realized performance of their development programs to date. How much better off politically and economically is the vast majority of the population in the undeveloped countries as a result of aid programs?

Plainly, aid directed through the governments in many of these countries has enhanced the ability of those already politically powerful to further their aims. But whether these aims coincide with the preferences of consumers and producers or with the interests of the majority of people is another matter. Development "aid" has been used in some places to promote programs that local political leaders genuinely believed to be in the best economic interests of the populace. However, these well-intentioned programs often created many new problems that their sponsors did not anticipate. For example, development programs of the 1960's involving subsidies to promote industrialization are widely criticized by today's "development" economists for misdirecting developing-country resource allocations away from agricultural pursuits and thereby causing widespread hunger and starvation. In other places, international economic aid has been used to enhance the power of existing tyrannical governments by "rewarding" the faithful and expanding the government bureaucracy with virtually no economic benefit to the general public.

But in virtually no country can it be shown that such aid contributed efficiently to the sustained improvement in the lives of the general population. Rather, many "beneficiaries" of international aid appear to be verging on the brink of massive social, economic, and political disruption. In such a climate, the outlook for the future lives of many inhabitants of the Third World is grim indeed.

It need not have been so -- as the historical record attests. During the 18th and 19th centuries, less developed countries -- the United States was a prime one -- entered the developed stage rapidly by providing a legal and political structure attractive to private foreign capital. There were no aid projects or international aid agencies then, yet the world advanced rapidly in economic terms and in terms of individual sovereignty. To be sure, there were abuses of power and special privilege, but the alternatives available to the great majority of the people -- economically and politically -- were far more at the end of the century than at the beginning. Progress was made, and it was substantial.

No convincing evidence has been presented suggesting that the successful approach of the last century would not be applicable this century. Accordingly, there is reason to think that if the legal and political structure in the developing countries were inviting to private capital, then there would have been "voluntary" private investment in the developing countries -- allocating decentrally, outside the incumbent political power structure, and consistent with evolutionary potential for usefully "absorbing" capital.

When investment mistakes occur in the private sector -- as of course they do -- the "damage is minimized. (Many would likely be surprised at the list of "failures" that accompanied rapid economic growth in the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries -- failures that nevertheless did not thwart continued economic progress.) Unlike contemporary government's penchant for big, all-or-nothing projects (and almost pathological political fear that they might fail), private investment historically has been more prudently inclined to limit the scope of "experimental" projects. And unlike government-directed funding that seems to know no limits, private investment tends to abandon failed projects much Sooner. Consequently, any dislocations resulting from unsuccessful private ventures are less harsh than is the case with government projects, and the drain on resources less severe.

In short, private investment promotes economic flexibility; central planning promotes inflexibility. In this regard, the relationship between national and international economic activity is indeed "inter-dependent." For central planning on a national scale (which expropriates potential private investment capital) begets central planning on an international scale (given that political leaders have concluded that international "development" is desirable and since less private investment capital is avail-able.) Conversely, as "management" of the international debt crisis indicates, global planning in turn fosters even more central planning within sovereign nations -- as well as outright abrogation of sovereignty. What happens in the "Third World" is indeed relevant to what will happen in the United States and other developed countries -- but not for the reasons cited by the Trilateralists (e.g., that global catastrophe will ensue if undeveloped nations are not quickly given their "fair share"). Rather, it is "global management" itself that is the greatest threat to both national and international prosperity.


  1. See "Lessons of the Debt 'Crisis,"' Research Reports, April 2, 1984.