Part of what I teach is how since World War II and the acquisition of this enormous power by what in essence is the new Rome in the world, the United States, part of the shift that takes place in manipulating and managing that new power is a centralization of foreign policy away from the old cabinet places where it used to take place, most prominently through the Foreign Service and through the secretary of state, to the White House and to the creation of the 1947 National Security Act, the National Security Council.
So if you ask me pro forma where does it exist today, it exists more in the National Security Council and its staff than it does anywhere else, certainly anywhere else in the cabinet. So what I'm saying is it's centralized in the White House.
But what does that mean in terms of, I think, your real question, who's behind the White House, and who's therefore behind U.S. foreign policy, more or less? I think the answer today is the oligarchs, which would be the same answer, incidentally, ironically, if you will, for Putin in Russia, the people who own the wealth, the people who therefore have the power and who more or less (and I'm not being too facetious here, I don't think) buy the president and thus buy American foreign policy. So that's as succinct an answer as I can give you and touch on a few historical points...
And you could say in some respects this shadow behind the power that makes money off war, period, no matter who's the belligerent, makes money off that volatility now, especially with computers that are able to assist them in doing so, like currency manipulation, for example, or just general speculation. With computers you can do it at lightning speed and you can do it in a nanosecond, and you can make billions in that nanosecond, and you don't care about what you're doing to the real economy, because you're raking in the dough.
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Letter to Edward M. House
Warm Springs, November 21, 1933
My dear Friend:
...I had a nice talk with Jack Morgan the other day and he and he seemed more worried about Tugwell's speech than about anything else, especially when Tugwell said, "From now on property rights and financial rights will be subordinated to human rights." J.P.M. did not seem much troubled over the gold purchasing, and confessed that he had been completely misled in regard to the Federal expenditures.
The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson— and I am not wholly excepting the Administration of WW [Woodrow Wilson]— The country is going through a repetition of Jackson's fight with the Bank of the United Stated - only on a far bigger and broader basis.
I am having a grand rest and am catching up on much needed sleep. Take care of yourself and do write me soon.
War is a racket. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General.
The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.
I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912.
I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.
There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights.
Major General Smedley Butler, USMC