By Patrick Wood
[Editor’s note: For ease of reading, all members of the Trilateral Commission appear in bold type]
“President Reagan ultimately came to understand Trilateral’s value and invited the entire membership to a reception at the White House in April 1984″
– David Rockefeller, Memoirs, 20021
According to each issue of the official Trilateral Commission quarterly magazine Trialogue:
“The Trilateral Commission was formed in 1973 by private citizens of Western Europe, Japan and North America to foster closer cooperation among these three regions on common problems. It seeks to improve public understanding of such problems, to support proposals for handling them jointly, and to nurture habits and practices of working together among these regions.2
Further, Trialogue and other official writings made clear their stated goal of creating a “New International Economic Order.” President George H.W. Bush later talked openly about creating a “New World Order”, which has since become a synonymous phrase.
This paper attempts to tell the rest of the story, according to official and unofficial Commission sources and other available documents.
The Trilateral Commission was founded by the persistent maneuvering of David Rockefeller and Zbigniew Brzezinski. Rockefeller was chairman of the ultra-powerful Chase Manhattan Bank, a director of many major multinational corporations and “endowment funds” and had long been a central figure in the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Brzezinski, a brilliant prognosticator of one-world idealism, was a professor at Columbia University and the author of several books that have served as “policy guidelines” for the Trilateral Commission. Brzezinski served as the Commission’s first executive director from its inception in 1973 until late 1976 when he was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.
The initial Commission membership was approximately three hundred, with roughly one hundred each from Europe, Japan and North America. Membership was also roughly divided between academics, politicians and corporate magnates; these included international bankers, leaders of prominent labor unions and corporate directors of media giants.
The word commission was puzzling since it is usually associated with instrumentalities set up by governments. It seemed out of place with a so-called private group unless we could determine that it really was an arm of a government – an unseen government, different from the visible government in Washington. European and Japanese involvement indicated a world government rather than a national government. We hoped that the concept of a sub-rosa world government was just wishful thinking on the part of the Trilateral Commissioners. The facts, however, lined up quite pessimistically.
If the Council on Foreign Relations could be said to be a spawning ground for the concepts of one-world idealism, then the Trilateral Commission was the “task force” assembled to assault the beachheads. Already the Commission had placed its members in the top posts the U.S. had to offer.
President James Earl Carter, the country politician who promised, “I will never lie to you,” was chosen to join the Commission by Brzezinski in 1973. It was Brzezinski, in fact, who first identified Carter as presidential timber, and subsequently educated him in economics, foreign policy, and the ins-and-outs of world politics. Upon Carter’s election, Brzezinski was appointed assistant to the president for national security matters. Commonly, he was called the head of the National Security Council because he answered only to the president – some said Brzezinski held the second most powerful position in the U.S.
Carter’s running mate, Walter Mondale, was also a member of the Commission. (If you are trying to calculate the odds of three virtually unknown men, out of over sixty Commissioners from the U.S., capturing the three most powerful positions in the land, don’t bother. Your calculations will be meaningless.)
On January 7, 1977 Time Magazine, whose editor-in-chief, Hedley Donovan was a powerful Trilateral, named President Carter “Man of the Year.” The sixteen-page article in that issue not only failed to mention Carter’s connection with the Commission but also stated the following:
“As he searched for Cabinet appointees, Carter seemed at times hesitant and frustrated disconcertingly out of character. His lack of ties to Washington and the Party Establishment – qualities that helped raise him to the White House – carry potential dangers. He does not know the Federal Government or the pressures it creates. He does not really know the politicians whom he will need to help him run the country.”3
Is this portrait of Carter as a political innocent simply inaccurate or is it deliberately misleading? By December 25, 1976 – two weeks before the Time article appeared – Carter had already chosen his cabinet. Three of his cabinet members – Cyrus Vance, Michael Blumenthal, and Harold Brown – were Trilateral Commissioners; and the other non-Commission members were not unsympathetic to Commission objectives and operations. In addition, Carter had appointed another fourteen Trilateral Commissioners to top government posts, including:
- C. Fred Bergsten (Under Secretary of Treasury)
- James Schlesinger (Secretary of Energy)
- Elliot Richardson (Delegate to Law of the Sea)
- Leonard Woodcock (Chief envoy to China)
- Andrew Young (Ambassador to the United Nations)
As of 25 December 1976, therefore, there were nineteen Trilaterals, including Carter and Mondale, holding tremendous political power. These presidential appointees represented almost one-third of the Trilateral Commission members from the United States. The odds of that happening “by chance” are beyond calculation!
Nevertheless, was there even the slightest evidence to indicate anything other than collusion? Hardly! Zbigniew Brzezinski spelled out the qualifications of a 1976 presidential winner in 1973:
“The Democratic candidate in 1976 will have to emphasize work, the family, religion and, increasingly, patriotism…The new conservatism will clearly not go back to laissez faire. It will be a philosophical conservatism. It will be a kind of conservative statism or managerism. There will be conservative values but a reliance on a great deal of co-determination between state and the corporations.”4
On 23 May 1976 journalist Leslie H. Gelb wrote in the not-so-conservative New York Times, “(Brzezinski) was the first guy in the Community to pay attention to Carter, to take him seriously. He spent time with Carter, talked to him, sent him books and articles, educated him.”5 Richard Gardner (also of Columbia University) joined into the “educational” task, and as Gelb noted, between the two of them they had Carter virtually to themselves. Gelb continued: “While the Community as a whole was looking elsewhere, to Senators Kennedy and Mondale…it paid off. Brzezinski, with Gardner, is now the leading man on Carter’s foreign policy task force.”6
Although Richard Gardner was of considerable academic influence, it should be clear that Brzezinski was the “guiding light” of foreign policy in the Carter administration. Along with Commissioner Vance and a host of other Commissioners in the State Department, Brzezinski had more than continued the policies of befriending our enemies and alienating our friends. Since early 1977 we had witnessed a massive push to attain “normalized” relations with Communist China, Cuba, the USSR, Eastern European nations, Angola, etc. Conversely, we had withdrawn at least some support from Nationalist China, South Africa, Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia), etc. It was not just a trend – it was an epidemic. Thus, if it could be said that Brzezinski had, at least in part, contributed to current U.S. foreign and domestic policy, then we should briefly analyze exactly what he was espousing.
Needed: A More Just and Equitable World Order
The Trilateral Commission held their annual plenary meeting in Tokyo, Japan, in January 1977. Carter and Brzezinski obviously could not attend as they were still in the process of reorganizing the White House. They did, however, address personal letters to the meeting, which were reprinted in Trialogue, the official magazine of the Commission:
“It gives me special pleasure to send greetings to all of you gathering for the Trilateral Commission meeting in Tokyo. I have warm memories of our meeting in Tokyo some eighteen months ago, and am sorry I cannot be with you now.
“My active service on the Commission since its inception in 1973 has been a splendid experience for me, and it provided me with excellent opportunities to come to know leaders in our three regions.
“As I emphasized in my campaign, a strong partnership among us is of the greatest importance. We share economic, political and security concerns that make it logical we should seek ever-increasing cooperation and understanding. And this cooperation is essential not only for our three regions, but in the global search for a more just and equitable world order (emphasis added). I hope to see you on the occasion of your next meeting in Washington, and I look forward to receiving reports on your work in Tokyo.
Brzezinski’s letter, in a similar vein, follows:
“The Trilateral Commission has meant a great deal to me over the last few years. It has been the stimulus for intellectual creativity and a source of personal satisfaction. I have formed close ties with new friends and colleagues in all three regions, ties which I value highly and which I am sure will continue.
“I remain convinced that, on the larger architectural issues of today, collaboration among our regions is of the utmost necessity. This collaboration must be dedicated to the fashioning of a more just and equitable world order (emphasis added). This will require a prolonged process, but I think we can look forward with confidence and take some pride in the contribution which the Commission is making.
The key phrase in both letters was “more just and equitable world order.” Did this emphasis indicate that something was wrong with our present world order, that is, with national structures? Yes, according to Brzezinski, and since the present “framework” was inadequate to handle world problems, it must be done away with and supplanted with a world government.
In September 1974 Brzezinski was asked in an interview by the Brazilian newspaper Vega. “How would you define this new world order?” Brzezinski answered:
“When I speak of the present international system I am referring to relations in specific fields, most of all among the Atlantic countries; commercial, military, mutual security relations, involving the international monetary fund, NATO etc. We need to change the international system for a global system in which new, active and creative forces recently developed – should be integrated. This system needs to include Japan. Brazil, the oil producing countries, and even the USSR, to the extent which the Soviet Union is willing to participate in a global system.”9
When asked if Congress would have an expanded or diminished role in the new system, Brzezinski declared “…the reality of our times is that a modern society such as the U.S. needs a central coordinating and renovating organ which cannot be made up of six hundred people.”10
Brzezinski developed background for the need for a new system in his book Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era (1969). He wrote that mankind has moved through three great stages of evolution, and was in the middle of the fourth and final stage. The first stage he described as “religious,” combining a heavenly “universalism provided by the acceptance of the idea that man’s destiny is essentially in God’s hands” with an earthly “narrowness derived from massive ignorance, illiteracy, and a vision confined to the immediate environment.”
The second stage was nationalism, stressing Christian equality before the law, which “marked another giant step in the progressive redefinition of man’s nature and place in our world.” The third stage was Marxism, which, said Brzezinski, “represents a further vital and creative stage in the maturing of man’s universal vision.” The fourth and final stage was Brzezinski’s Technetronic Era, or the ideal of rational humanism on a global scale – the result of American-Communist evolutionary transformations.11
In considering our structure of governance, Brzezinski stated:
‘Tension is unavoidable as man strives to assimilate the new into the framework of the old. For a time the established framework resiliently integrates the new by adapting it in a more familiar shape. But at some point the old framework becomes overloaded. The newer input can no longer be redefined into traditional forms, and eventually it asserts itself with compelling force. Today, though, the old framework of international politics – with their spheres of influence, military alliances between nation-states, the fiction of sovereignty, doctrinal conflicts arising from nineteenth century crises – is clearly no longer compatible with reality.”12
One of the most important “frameworks” in the world, and especially to Americans, was the United States Constitution. It was this document that outlined the most prosperous nation in the history of the world. Was our sovereignty really “fiction”? Was the U.S. vision no longer compatible with reality? Brzezinski further stated:
“The approaching two-hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence could justify the call for a national constitutional convention to reexamine the nation’s formal institutional framework. Either 1976 or 1989 – the two– hundredth an anniversary of the Constitution – could serve as a suitable target date culminating a national dialogue on the relevance of existing arrangements… Realism, however, forces us to recognize that the necessary political innovation will not come from direct constitutional reform, desirable as that would be. The needed change is more likely to develop incrementally and less overtly…in keeping with the American tradition of blurring distinctions between public and private institution.13
In Brzezinski’s Technetronic Era then, the “nation-state as a fundamental unit of man’s organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state.”14
Brzezinski’s philosophy clearly pointed forward to Richard Gardner’s Hard Road to World Order that appeared in Foreign Affairs in 1974, where Gardner stated,
“In short, the ‘house of world order’ would have to be built from the bottom up rather than from the top down. It will look like a great ‘booming, buzzing confusion,’ to use William James’ famous description of reality, but an end run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece, will accomplish much more than the old-fashioned frontal assault.”15
That former approach which had produced few successes during the 1950′s and 1960′s was being traded for a velvet sledge-hammer: It would make little noise, but would still drive the spikes of globalization deep into the hearts of many different countries around the world, including the United States. Indeed, the Trilateral Commission was the chosen vehicle that finally got the necessary traction to actually create their New World Order.
Understanding the philosophy of the Trilateral Commission was and is the only way we can reconcile the myriad of apparent contradictions in the information filtered through to us in the national press. For instance, how was it that the Marxist regime in Angola derived the great bulk of its foreign exchange from the offshore oil operations of Gulf Oil Corporation? Why did Andrew Young insist that “Communism has never been a threat to Blacks in Africa”? Why did the U.S. funnel billions in technological aid to the Soviet Union and Communist China? Why did the U.S. apparently help its enemies while chastising its friends?
A similar and perplexing question is asked by millions of Americans today: Why do we spend trillions on the “War on Terror” around the world and yet ignore the Mexican/U.S. border and the tens of thousands of illegal aliens who freely enter the U.S. each and every month?
These questions, and hundreds of others like them, cannot be explained in any other way: the U.S. Executive Branch (and related agencies) was not anti-Marxist or anti-Communist – it was and is, in fact, pro– Marxist. Those ideals which led to the heinous abuses of Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, and Mussolini were now being accepted as necessary inevitability by our elected and appointed leaders.
This hardly suggests the Great American Dream. It is very doubtful that Americans would agree with Brzezinski or the Trilateral Commission. It is the American public who is paying the price, suffering the consequences, but not understanding the true nature of the situation.
This nature however, was not unknown or unknowable. Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) issued a clear and precise warning in his 1979 book, With No Apologies:
“The Trilateral Commission is international and is intended to be the vehicle for multinational consolidation of the commercial and banking interests by seizing control of the political government of the United States. The Trilateral Commission represents a skillful, coordinated effort to seize control and consolidate the four centers of power – political, monetary, intellectual and ecclesiastical.”
Unfortunately, few heard and even fewer understood.
Follow the Money, Follow the Power
What was the economic nature of the driving force within the Trilateral Commission? It was the giant multinational corporations – those with Trilateral representation – which consistently benefited from Trilateral policy and actions. Polished academics such as Brzezinski, Gardner, Allison, McCracken, Henry Owen etc., served only to give “philosophical” justification to the exploitation of the world.
Don’t underestimate their power or the distance they had already come by 1976. Their economic base was already established. Giants like Coca-Cola, IBM, CBS, Caterpillar Tractor, Bank of America, Chase Manhattan Bank, Deere & Company, Exxon, and others virtually dwarf whatever remains of American businesses. The market value of IBM’s stock alone, for instance, was greater than the value of all the stocks on the American Stock Exchange. Chase Manhattan Bank had some fifty thousand branches or correspondent banks throughout the world. What reached our eyes and ears was highly regulated by CBS, the New York Times, Time magazine, etc.
The most important thing of all is to remember that the political coup de grace preceded the economic coup de grace. The domination of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government provided all the necessary political leverage needed to skew U.S. and global economic policies to their own benefit.
By 1977, the Trilateral Commission had notably become expert at using crises (and creating them in some instances) to manage countries toward the New World Order; yet, they found menacing backlashes from those very crises.
In the end, the biggest crisis of all was that of the American way of life. Americans never counted on such powerful and influential groups working against the Constitution and freedom, either inadvertently or purposefully, and even now, the principles that helped to build this great country are all but reduced to the sound of meaningless babblings.
Trilateral Entrenchment: 1980 – 2007
It would have been damaging enough if the Trilateral domination of the Carter administration was merely a one-time anomaly; but it was not!
Subsequent presidential elections brought George H.W. Bush (under Reagan), William Jefferson Clinton, Albert Gore and Richard Cheney (under G. W. Bush) to power.
Thus, every Administration since Carter has had top-level Trilateral Commission representation through the President or Vice-president, or both!
It is important to note that Trilateral domination has transcended political parties: they dominated both the Republican and Democrat parties with equal aplomb.
In addition, the Administration before Carter was very friendly and useful to Trilateral doctrine as well: President Gerald Ford took the reins after President Richard Nixon resigned, and then appointed Nelson Rockefeller as his Vice President. Neither Ford nor Rockefeller were members of the Trilateral Commission, but Nelson was David Rockefeller’s brother and that says enough. According to Nelson Rockefeller’s memoirs, he originally introduced then-governor Jimmy Carter to David and Brzezinski.
How has the Trilateral Commission effected their goal of creating a New World Order or a New International Economic Order? They seated their own members at the top of the institutions of global trade, global banking and foreign policy.
For instance, the World Bank is one of the most critical mechanisms in the engine of globalization.17 Since the founding of the Trilateral Commission in 1973, there have been only seven World Bank presidents, all of whom were appointed by the President. Of these seven, six were pulled from the ranks of the Trilateral Commission!
- Robert McNamara (1968 – 1981)
- A.W. Clausen (1981 – 1986)
- Barber Conable (1986 – 1991)
- Lewis Preston (1991 – 1995)
- James Wolfenson (1995 – 2005)
- Paul Wolfowitz (2005 – 2007)
- Robert Zoellick (2007-present)
Another good evidence of domination is the position of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), which is critically involved in negotiating the many international trade treaties and agreements that have been necessary to create the New International Economic Order. Since 1977, there have been ten USTR’s appointed by the President. Eight have been members of the Trilateral Commission!
- Robert S. Strauss (1977 – 1979)
- Reubin O’D. Askew (1979 – 1981)
- William E. Brock III (1981 – 1985)
- Clayton K. Yeutter (1985 – 1989)
- Carla A. Hills (1989 – 1993)
- Mickey Kantor (1993 – 1997)
- Charlene Barshefsky (1997 – 2001)
- Robert Zoellick (2001 – 2005)
- Rob Portman (2005 – 2006)
- Susan Schwab (2006-present)
This is not to say that Clayton Yeuter and Rob Portman were not friendly to Trilateral goals, because they clearly were.
The Secretary of State cabinet position has seen its share of Trilaterals as well: Henry Kissinger (Nixon, Ford), Cyrus Vance (Carter), Alexander Haig (Reagan), George Shultz (Reagan), Lawrence Eagleburger (G.H.W. Bush), Warren Christopher (Clinton) and Madeleine Albright (Clinton) There were some Acting Secretaries of State that are also noteworthy: Philip Habib (Carter), Michael Armacost (G.H.W. Bush), Arnold Kantor (Clinton), Richard Cooper (Clinton).
Lastly, it should be noted that the Federal Reserve has likewise been dominated by Trilaterals: Arthur Burns (1970 – 1978), Paul Volker (1979 – 1987), Alan Greenspan (1987 – 2006). While the Federal Reserve is a privately-owned corporation, the President “chooses” the Chairman to a perpetual appointment. The current Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke, is not a member of the Trilateral Commission, but he clearly is following the same globalist policies as his predecessors.
The point raised here is that Trilateral domination over the U.S. Executive Branch has not only continued and but has been strengthened from 1976 to the present. The pattern has been deliberate and persistent: Appoint members of the Trilateral Commission to critical positions of power so that they can carry out Trilateral policies.
The question is and has always been, do these policies originate in consensus meetings of the Trilateral Commission where two-thirds of the members are not U.S. citizens? The answer is all too obvious.
Trilateral-friendly defenders attempt to sweep criticism aside by suggesting that membership in the Trilateral Commission is incidental, and that it only demonstrates the otherwise high quality of appointees. Are we to believe that in a country of 300 million people only these 100 or so are qualified to hold such critical positions? Again, the answer is all too obvious.
Where Does the Council on Foreign Relations Fit?
While virtually all Trilateral Commission members from North America have also been members of the CFR, the reverse is certainly not true. It is easy to over-criticize the CFR because most of its members seem to fill the balance of government positions not already filled by Trilaterals.
The power structure of the Council is seen in the makeup of its board of directors: No less than 44 percent (12 out of 27) are members of the Commission! If director participation reflected only the general membership of the CFR, then only 3 – 4 percent of the board would be Trilaterals.18
Further, the president of the CFR is Richard N. Haass, a very prominent Trilateral member who also served as Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. Department of State from 2001 – 2003.
Trilateral influence can easily be seen in policy papers produced by the CFR in support of Trilateral goals.
For instance, the 2005 CFR task force report on the Future of North America was perhaps the major Trilateral policy statement on the intended creation of the North American Union. Vice-chair of the task force was Dr. Robert A. Pastor, who has emerged as the “Father of the North American Union” and has been directly involved in Trilateral operations since the 1970′s. While the CFR claimed that the task force was “independent,” careful inspection of those appointed reveal that three Trilaterals were carefully chosen to oversee the Trilateral position, one each from Mexico, Canada and the United States: Luis Rubio, Wendy K. Dobson and Carla A. Hills, respectively.19 Hills has been widely hailed as the principal architect of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that was negotiated under President George H.W. Bush in 1992.
The bottom line is that the Council on Foreign Relations, thoroughly dominated by Trilaterals, serves the interests of the Trilateral Commission, not the other way around!
Trilateral Globalization in Europe
The content of this paper thus far suggests ties between the Trilateral Commission and the United States. This is not intended to mean that Trilaterals are not active in other countries as well. Recalling the early years of the Commission, David Rockefeller wrote in 1998,
“Back in the early Seventies, the hope for a more united EUROPE was already full-blown – thanks in many ways to the individual energies previously spent by so many of the Trilateral Commission’s earliest members.” [Capitals in original]20
Thus, since 1973 and in parallel with their U.S. hegemony, the European members of the Trilateral Commission were busy creating the European Union. In fact, the EU’s Constitution was authored by Commission member Valary Giscard d’Estaing in 2002 – 2003, when he was President of the Convention on the Future of Europe. [For more on the EU, see European Union: Dictatorship Rising? and The Globalization Strategy: America and Europe in the Crucible]
The steps that led to the creation of the European Union are unsurprisingly similar to the steps being taken to create the North American Union today. As with the EU, lies, deceit and confusion are the principal tools used to keep an unsuspecting citizenry in the dark while they forge ahead without mandate, accountability or oversight. [See The Globalization Strategy: America and Europe in the Crucible and Toward a North American Union]
It is clear that the Executive Branch of the U.S. was literally hijacked in 1976 by members of the Trilateral Commission, upon the election of President Jimmy Carter and Vice-President Walter Mondale. This near-absolute domination, especially in the areas of trade, banking, economics and foreign policy, has continued unchallenged and unabated to the present.
Windfall profits have accrued to interests associated with the Trilateral Commission, but the effect of their “New International Economic Order” on the U.S. has been nothing less than devastating. (See America Plundered by the Global Elite for a more detailed analysis)
The philosophical underpinnings of the Trilateral Commission are pro-Marxist and pro-socialist. They are solidly set against the concept of the nation-state and in particular, the Constitution of the United States. Thus, national sovereignty must be diminished and then abolished altogether in order to make way for the New World Order that will be governed by an unelected global elite with their self-created legal framework.
If you are having negative sentiment against Trilateral-style globalization, you are not alone. A 2007 Financial Times/Harris poll revealed that less than 20 percent of people in six industrialized countries (including the U.S.) believe that globalization is good for their country while over 50 percent are outright negative towards it.21 (See Global Backlash Against Globalization?) While citizens around the world are feeling the pain of globalization, few understand why it is happening and hence, they have no effective strategy to counter it.
The American public has never, ever conceived that such forces would align themselves so successfully against freedom and liberty. Yet, the evidence is clear: Steerage of America has long since fallen into the hands of an actively hostile enemy that intends to remove all vestiges of the very things that made us the greatest nation in the history of mankind.
- Rockefeller, David, Memoirs (Random House, 2002), p.418
- Trialogue, Trilateral Commission (1973)
- Time Magazine, Jimmy Carter: Man of the Year, January 7, 1977
- Sutton & Wood, Trilaterals Over Washington (1979), p. 7
- New York Times, Jimmy Carter, Leslie Gelb, May 23, 1976
- Trialogue, Looking Backâ€¦And Forward, Trilateral Commission, 1976
- Sutton & Wood, Trilaterals Over Washington (1979), p. 4
- ibid. p. 5
- Brzezinski, Zbigniew, Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era (New York: Viking Press, 1973), p. 246.
- Gardner, Richard, The Hard Road to World Order, (Foreign Affairs, 1974) p. 558
- Goldwater, Barry, With No Apologies, (Morrow, 1979), p. 280
- Global Banking: The World Bank, Patrick Wood, The August Review
- Board of Directors, Council on Foreign Relations website
- Building a North American Community, Council on Foreign Relations, 2005
- Rockefeller, David, In the Beginning: The Trilateral Commission at 25, 1998, p.11
- FT/Harris poll on Globalization, FT.com website