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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
Number of free condoms handed out by the Brazilian government in advance of Carnival this year:
The best way to measure happiness is simply to ask people how happy they are.
Following three weeks of clashes between protesters and government forces that killed at least 17 people, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro announced a two-day extension of Carnival. “Happiness will conquer the embittered,” he said during an appearance at a recreation center.
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“American politics has often been an arena for angry minds.”