Symposium for Discussing the Book “Think Tanks in the US and their Impacts on US Foreign Policy”
At the joint invitation of both Ambassador Abdul Raouf Al-Reedy, Chairman of the Board of MISR PUBLIC LIBRARY’s Board , ECFA Honorary Chairman; and Ambassador Mounir Zahran, ECFA Chairman, a Symposium was convened to discuss the book titled “Think Tanks in the US and their Impacts on US Foreign Policy”, written by ECFA Board Member, author, Atef El-Ghamry.
The Symposium was held at the MISR PUBLIC LIBRARY in Giza on 27 September 2017. In addition to the presentation and analysis by Ambassador Abdul Raouf El-Reedy, and Dr. Mounir Zahran, a number of ECFA Members took part in the discussion, including Ambassadors Dr. Ezzat Saad, ECFA Director, Mr. Ihab Wahba, Mr. Reda Shehata, Dr. Muhammad Badr El-Din Zayed, Mr. Muhammad Tawfeeq, Mr. Muhammad El-Shazly, Dr. Hazem Attiatullah, Mr. Abdul-Ghaffar Henaish, Ms. Aysha Abdul-Ghaffar, and Ambassador Ashraf Harby.
The author began his presentation with an explanation of how he came to acquaint himself of the research centers from day one after he was transferred to the United States, as Chief of Al-Ahram Bureau over there. He sent out letters to many Research Centers, informing them that as a Correspondent for Al-Ahram, he is interested in attending their symposiums and seminars, and asked them to send the dates, schedules and topics of such events to the Al-Ahram Bureau.
It was noted that the audience attending those symposiums and seminars were the elites of experts in foreign policy, and that the discussions at those events were not limited to presenting information and putting forward viewpoints on the symposium theme, but sometimes they took the form of debates, with the participants putting forward different views and perceptions, and presenting information that has not been published in the US newspapers.
He noted that, as he became the author of this book, he knew that those centers were a partner in the US Foreign Policy making process; the elected President selects dozens of his aides, from National Security Adviser, Secretary of State, to Assistant Staff Crews at the White House, from amongst those whom he finds closest to his way of thinking in such centers.
When their mandates expire, they will return to their previous positions, and be replaced by new members from other centers, chosen by the new President.
This does not necessarily mean that the White House severs connections with those who departed. Sometimes, the President feels, when facing a Foreign Policy problem that an expert or a researcher in one of those centers has written a paper to deal with such problem; he would adopt what’s in that paper, embrace it and make it a Foreign Policy of his Administration. This was done by Carter, Eisenhower, Truman, Bush, and Reagan.
Not only do these centers provide ideas, but they also work according to the law of probabilities, some of which might be motivated by State’s Political Objectives, since they put forward potential future scenarios of events to be discussed -even though those events are unlikely at the time of discussion- and then provide visions, perceptions and plans for dealing with them in the future, for examples, discussion of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait 10 years earlier.
The author referred to a group of centers, which are Israeli-made and wholly-biased towards Israel, and serve the State of Israel, including for example, the development, by the “New American Century Project” Center, of the ‘Iraq War Plan’, which was presented by “Dick Cheney”, to President George Bush, the father, in 1992, but he rejected it. Cheney saved that plan in his briefcase until he became the Vice-President of George Bush Jr., then took it out of his bag almost 10 years later, and it was carried out in 2003.
The book provides documents on many of these Centers, unethically selling themselves to foreign governments, in exchange for financing the centers’ budgets, for example what the State of Qatar has done, which was exposed by the New York Times Newspaper, debated in the Congress, and ended up with a clearly accusing Qatar of supporting extremist groups.
Then, the author explained the status of those centers, which will remain to be part of a wider system in which lines overlap, in order to press for issuing Foreign Policy Decisions in a particular form, including Lobbying Pressure Forces, Interest Groups, US Military Industrial Corporations, major Economic Institutions, the CIA and Media.
This overlap was clearly evident, for our Arab world, in the strong mobilization towards the project of creative chaos and regime change, as well as the fuelling of sectarian and ideological conflicts within those States, with the aim of dividing and fragmenting them, then redrawing their borders. All of that is well-documented and recorded in discussions and written articles published in several US platforms and forums.
This means that the Arab World, in its entirety, is standing on one frontline of confrontation, with all External Players, as well as Internal Players who act as proxies for Foreign Powers, being part of a Political System of major great powers.