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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
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
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 tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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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.”