Jim Lobe brilliantly chronicles a key point of tension between various AEI stakeholders — on one hand a group of firms who help fund the place and are mostly focused on government deregulation and on the other, those who have helped shape and drive a neoconservative War in Iraq and national security strategy.
Today’s quotation in the Financial Times attributed to Danielle Pletka, the Vice President for Foreign and Defense Policy Studies of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), was a stunner. “If we. . .begin to sanction foreign companies through more stringent sanctions in the Iran Sanctions Act, I think there will be serious repercussions for our multilateral effort.”
Whatever would possess AEI and Pletka, who personally has been one of the most prominent and enthusiastic cheerleaders of the rapidly spreading state divestment movement against companies doing business in Iran, to offer a cautionary note about adopting unilateral sanctions, let alone stress the importance of preserving multilateral unity with limp-wristed European allies in dealing with a charter member of the “Axis of Evil”? Judging from its provenance at what must be considered Neo-Con Central, it certainly couldn’t be common sense.
In fact, Pletka’s observation probably reflects growing tensions between AEI’s corporate contributors, many of whom are represented on its board of trustees, on the one hand, and, on the other, the hard-line neo-conservative views of its foreign-policy fellows, such as Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen, Michael Rubin, Joshua Muravchik, and Pletka herself; academic advisers, such as Gertrude Himmelfarb, Eliot Cohen, and Jeremy Rabkin; and its board chairman, Bruce Kovner.
Lobe’s article should be read in full. My only view is that it should not be only those worried about multinational corporate welfare who are worried about the neoconservative agenda. We all should be trying to create substantial costs for those who led us into the Iraq War and who decimated the condition of America’s national security portfolio.
Buf it multinationals are going to be tough on those raising concerns about human rights in China, or global warming, or product safety standards — then they might as well be tough on the neocon crowd too.
— Steve Clemons