Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

Exposing the roots of kleptoplutocracy

Career diplomat Frank Wisner is an ambulatory synopsis of the kinds of hidden corporate pecuniary linkages that underlie U.S. support for such despots as Hosni Mubarak. In his capacity as Foreign Affairs Advisor at the law firm of Patton Boggs, Wisner was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s pick to represent the Obama administration in what proved its final dealings with Mubarak, and he advised that autocrat to stay on, and the administration to support him.

Frank Wisner

Frank Wisner: a furtive sense of familiarity nags me. Where could I have seen such a countenance?
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That Wisner should have been picked to speak for the U.S., and that he should speak as he did, may seem incongruous at first, given that Pres. Barack Obama had originally ostensibly directed him to help ease Mubarak out of office. But when these actions are viewed in the context of the perennial commercial dealings among the ruling elites of the U.S. and its satellite states, it is hardly startling either that the administration would send as envoy a man who worked for a company that boasted of its status as legal representative of Mubarak and his government or that he would brazenly advocate for what was in effect his employer’s employer when he returned to Washington.

As we watch developments in Egypt and follow the latest news from WikiLeaks, we may anticipate learning of many more such conflicts of interest born of “private” corporate linkages. Those who rule virtually every nation of the world are part of a global elite that does not recognize borders, sovereignty or the right of any people to control its own resources.

Not much has really changed from the time when medieval warfare in Europe was a sporting affair in the eyes of nobles, who “kept score” by comparing the “bags” of impoverished infantrymen killed at the points of their lances, while to one another they showed all the best aspects of courtesy and chivalry.

Today’s “nobles” are mercantile rather than feudal, and warfare is conducted by more sophisticated means, but in essence the principle remains: There are two classes, the elite and the rest of us. And even as members of the elite respect and aid one another as peers, they look upon everyone under their sway as so many pawns. To such a modern nobility, we latter-day commoners mean nothing. Our lives, our aspirations, our talents, each thing that makes each of us unique: These matter not at all, for to the elite all is a Great Game. It is therefore perfectly acceptable that we live in misery and die young, so long as our self-identified betters can become ever richer, more powerful, more free to act with impunity.

But thanks to the courage of some young commoners in Tunisia and Egypt, today the rest of us begin to see a glimmer of possibility: We can expose and depose the modern nobles, one country at a time. And as we do, we can further expose the corrupt pathways of power that join the powerful across borders and around the globe. We live in a revolutionary era, an unprecedented epoch in which the very technology on which the elites have relied to suppress resistance has become a weapon against their power: Information flies at the speed of light, lies long believed are shattered by the transmission of photons, and outrage follows no less fast. And once people understand, once they realize to what degree they have been played for pawns, the implosion of the old order proceeds with shocking celerity.

Frank Wisner represents what may be the last of a dying breed, and the world will be the better for its passing.

Frank Wisner

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