Jeffrey Gedmin: The democracy-promoting, Iraq War-supporting, pro-Israel neocon who influenced Merkel’s EU austerity program
In his latest New Europe column entitled “Merkel’s real agenda: mugging the poor,” David Cronin asks why the German Chancellor has cast herself as Europe’s “empress of austerity.” The answer, he believes, is to be found by looking at those who have shaped the German leader’s worldview. Having traced the influence of think tanks such as Initiative Neue Soziale Marktwirtschaft (INSM) and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) on Chancellor Merkel’s harsh economic thinking, Cronin adds:
Merkel has also been reported to have obtained informal advice from Jeffrey Gedmin. A former big-wig of the American Enterprise Institute, Gedmin has spent much time trying to convince Europe to become more like the US. In a 2005 opinion piece for The Financial Times, he wrote about the “employed and unemployed alike happily indulging themselves” by sipping “over-priced café lattes”. He mused about whether a changing economic situation might give “people the swift kick they apparently need”.
While Jeffrey Gedmin may appear to want Europeans to be more like Americans, he has in fact helped to make the U.S. more like Israel.As former resident scholar at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute, Gedmin didn’t have to go too far — either literally or metaphorically — to sign the Project for a New American Century’s September 20, 2001letter to George W. Bush. That PNAC letter urged the ill-informed president to respond to the 9/11 attacks by not only going after Al-Qaeda but also removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, threatening retaliation against Iran and Syria if they didn’t immediately cease support for Hezbollah, and ending assistance to the Palestinian Authority if it didn’t do more to collaborate with expansionist Israel’s “fight against terrorism.”Having played his small part in helping to bring “freedom” to Iraqis, Gedmin went on to bigger and better things in the “democracy promotion” establishment. In 2007, he was named president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, a broadcaster funded by the U.S. Congress (many of whose members are in turn funded by pro-Israel PACs). In light of subsequent “revolutionary” developments in the Middle East, the following snippet from the neocon’s profile at Right Web, which tracks “militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy,” is particularly intriguing:Observers at the time noted that even before Gedmin’s appointment, the RFE had begun cutting its broadcasts to European countries while increasing the amount of its programming for Islamic countries, a process that began during the tenure of previous director Thomas Dine, former head of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.Just as some of Radio Free Europe’s new audience were rising up to overthrow their dictators in early 2011, Gedmin moved on to the London-based Legatum Institute. Legatum, in partnership with Foreign Policy magazine, publishes Democracy Lab, which they describe as “a unique journalistic effort to cover the political and economic challenges facing countries that are striving to make the transition from authoritarianism to democracy.” As Legatum’s chief executive officer, he co-chaired a 2011 report on Egypt’s democratic transition jointly published with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Apparently unfazed by the rising tide of political Islam,the report characterized Egypt’s uprising as part of a “transition toward democracy and a free market economy” and said that the United States and Europe “should do much more to incentivise and support economic reforms, which, in turn, will support the political transition to democracy.” Among other things, the report called for a U.S.-Egypt free-trade agreement.Given Gedmin’s remarks about latte-sipping Europeans, Egyptians and other Arabs undergoing this “transition” shouldn’t expect these “reforms” to be of much benefit to them. Likewise, Europeans shouldn’t be too surprised when the economic counsel of a pro-Israel neocon who supported the invasion of Iraq on the basis of non-existent WMDs doesn’t work out too well, either.
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