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GOOD Guide: to Shadowy Organizations, the Trilateral Commission

Originally the commission believed it could plot out the blueprint for a peaceful "international system" where no single country vied for supremacy.

"Novus ordo mundi" ("New world order")

DOCTRINEOriginally the commission believed it could plot out the blueprint for a peaceful "international system" where no single country vied for supremacy. At the time it sounded nefarious; today it seems hopelessly naïve. These days, Trilateral has been reduced to a global chamber of commerce. Hands are shaken, various task forces publish their research in the form of "Triangle Papers," but history seems to have trampled the hope that a roomful of businessmen could convert the global game of tug-of-war into something more like cat's cradle.


HEADQUARTERSThe commission operates through three "secretariats" in Washington, Paris, and Tokyo. Its Washington address is 1156 15th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20005. MYTHICAL ACHIEVEMENTSHatching schemes to dissolve all borders and replace national sovereigns with a world government known as the "new world order."GREATEST ACTUAL ACHIEVEMENTWith its talk of an interconnected world and commitment to the neoliberal ideal of free trade over force of arms, the commission laid much of the groundwork for Davos, a more diverse cabal of international elites. MembershipThree hundred and fifty businessmen, labor leaders, politicians, and scholars from North America, Western Europe, and Japan make up the commission. Paranoia about its powers peaked when Jimmy Carter appointed more than a dozen Trilateral members to senior posts in his administration. Since it was founded by David Rockefeller to be a Japan-friendly, more liberal alternative to Bilderberg, conservative Cold Warriors argued it was a threat to U.S. sovereignty. The commission's mystique has since been eclipsed by Davos, though it still occupies a hallowed place alongside black helicopters, false moon landings, and other shibboleths in the far-right imagination.AlumniIn its heyday, the commission drew the cream of Washington, including George H. W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and Alan Greenspan. But like the Bohemian Grove, the commission has dated itself by failing to become international or draw much talent from the information economy. Today the list is still graced by a former Federal Reserve chairman and a former Wall Street Journal publisher, but the closest thing to a household name among the group's leadership is Kobayashi. Except he works for Xerox, not Keyser Söze.The ExposéTrialogue, the group's publicly available in-house journal, contains original research and reports on meetings. Even a letter Pope John Paul II wrote to the commission can be found on the Trilateral website. Yet instead of smothering the conspiracy theories, these documents have only furthered speculation.In Their Own WordsLike its Swiss counterpart in Davos, the Trilateral Commission has responded to charges of cabalism with a highly confessional website, replete with names of members, downloadable reports, and an FAQ that lists more denials than a red-handed politician. To wit: Is the Trilateral Commission trying to establish a world government? A "club" for the benefit of the rich countries only? A conspiracy to control the U.S. government? No, no, and no.UNOFFICIAL "Novus Ordo Mundi" is not Trilateral's official motto.LEARN MORE trilateral.org
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