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Two sources have told me that David Goldwyn, a long-time advocate and consultant for the oil industry and energy-rich Third World countries, is on the short list for a top position at the State Department. One source stated that Goldwyn is being considered for the post of International Energy Coordinator; the other believed he was in the running for the position of Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs. Either way, it would appear to be a conflict-of-interest, to put it mildly.
Goldwyn served at the State Department under George H.W. Bush and at the Energy Department under Bill Clinton. “Goldwyn International Strategies, LLC (GIS) is a leading provider of political and business intelligence, energy sector analysis, and Washington strategy advice to Fortune 100 companies and investment advisers,” says his firm’s website. “Our team of advisors, analysts, and economists has decades of experience in Executive branch and Congressional relations in the United States, and political and economic analysis and diplomacy in Eurasia, East Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.”
Goldwyn is a classic example of how in Washington one can effectively lobby without having to register. As I’ve previously reported, he is a top official at the U.S.-Turkmenistan Business Council, which is primarily funded by American oil companies (Chevron, ExxonMobil, Marathon) hoping to do business in that Stalinist-ruled country. He also heads up the U.S.-Libya Business Association, an oil-endowed entity helping promote Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
Goldwyn advocates a form of foreign policy “realism” that makes Brent Scowcroft look like a Quaker spokesman. In the aftermath of 9/11, he argued that the United States should import less oil from the Middle East and more from countries in the equally corrupt regions of Central Asia and West Africa.
Although America’s new oil allies “are often a threat to their own people … they do not harbor or finance groups that threaten U.S. interests,” he told Congress in 2003. In other words, it’s fine that Central Asian and West African regimes are brutalizing and impoverishing their own citizens as long as they sell us their oil and leave us alone.
Goldwyn did not return a phone call seeking comment.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”