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The [Tuesday] Papers

"Influence peddlers who once worked for Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi's regime are scrambling to publicly sever ties with the strongman while their competitors are helping his country's rebels gain a valuable foothold in Washington," the National Journal reports.

"In March, The Boston Globe reported that Monitor Group, a consulting firm founded by Harvard professors, had received $250,000 a month between 2006 and 2008 for services intended to generate good press and 'international appreciation of Libya.'

"In July, the group terminated its relationship with Libya and reported taking in more than $6.7 million in fees and expenses between October 2006 and January 2009, according to disclosures filed with the Justice Department."

*

"The firm and the Harvard academics were hardly alone in hiring themselves out to Libya's brutal ruler, who maintained a roster of paid enablers that included major oil companies and former members of Congress," the Globe said in an editorial. "Laden with a $70 billion sovereign wealth fund and another $110 billion in its central bank, the oil-rich Khadafys drew all sorts of investors, partners, and consultants."

*

"In February 2007 Harvard professor Joseph Nye Jr., who developed the concept of 'soft power,' visited Libya and sipped tea for three hours with Muammar Qaddafi. Months later, he penned an elegant description of the chat for The New Republic, reporting that Qaddafi had been interested in discussing 'direct democracy,'" Mother Jones reported in March.

"Nye noted that 'there is no doubt that"'the Libyan autocrat 'acts differently on the world stage today than he did in decades past. And the fact that he took so much time to discuss ideas - including soft power - with a visiting professor suggests that he is actively seeking a new strategy.' The article struck a hopeful tone: that there was a new Qaddafi. It also noted that Nye had gone to Libya 'at the invitation of the Monitor Group, a consulting company that is helping Libya open itself to the global economy.'

"Nye did not disclose all. He had actually traveled to Tripoli as a paid consultant of the Monitor Group (a relationship he disclosed in an e-mail to Mother Jones), and the firm was working under a $3 million-per-year contract with Libya. Monitor, a Boston-based consulting firm with ties to the Harvard Business School, had been retained, according to internal documents obtained by a Libyan dissident group, not to promote economic development, but 'to enhance the profile of Libya and Muammar Qadhafi.'

"So The New Republic published an article sympathetic to Qaddafi that had been written by a prominent American intellectual paid by a firm that was being compensated by Libya to burnish the dictator's image."

*

"Professors sent to visit Khadafy included luminaries such as Joseph Nye, former dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard; Lord Anthony Giddens, former head of the London School of Economics; Francis Fukuyama political philosopher from Stanford University; and Benjamin Barber, who has written extensively about democracy," the Globe noted in its report.

So . . .

"Written off not long ago as an implacable despot, Gaddafi is a complex and adaptive thinker as well as an efficient, if laid-back, autocrat. Unlike almost any other Arab ruler, he has exhibited an extraordinary capacity to rethink his country's role in a changed and changing world," Benjamin Barber wrote in the Washington Post in 2007.

"I say this from experience. In several one-on-one conversations over the past year, Gaddafi repeatedly told me that Libya sought a genuine rapprochement with the United States . . .

"This isn't mere bluster. Gaddafi has taken grave risks in the name of change: offending the Benghazi clans that engineered the nurses' arrest; giving up his nuclear program while rogue nations such as Iran and North Korea use theirs to blackmail the West; holding open conversations over the past year with Western intellectuals, not just progressives such as Robert Putnam of Harvard and me but neocon pundit Francis Fukuyama and the tough New Democrat defense expert Joseph N. Nye."

*

"The meetings were arranged by the Monitor Group, a Cambridge (Mass.) consulting firm co-founded in 1983 by Michael Porter, the Harvard Business School management expert," Bloomberg Businessweek reported in April.

The same Michael Porter whom Newsweek, for example, talked to for its 2007 article "A Rogue Reforms."

*

"What Monitor did is no different from what K Street 'public affairs' shops do every day of the week for dubious foreign governments," Businessweek noted.

And not just for dubious foreign governments, but for interests national and local right here in the U.S.A.

This is just one way in which news and views are "manufactured."

*

"A generation of Ivy League economists was enjoying both professional esteem and financial industry paychecks until the Wall Street crisis of 2008 made them look pretty dumb, if not venal," Businessweek also noted. "The Academy Award-winning documentary Inside Job offered a bipartisan parade of these men - for example, at Harvard, Larry Summers, a Democrat who opposed more oversight of derivatives, also collected generous speaking fees from investment banks, while Frederic Mishkin, a George W. Bush appointee to the Federal Reserve who teaches at Columbia, was paid to co-author a 2006 report praising the Icelandic financial system, which subsequently collapsed."

*

"Harvard University Monday named Joseph Nye, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, as the new dean of its John F. Kennedy School of Government," Reuters reported in 1995.

"Nye, a Princeton graduate and Rhodes scholar, earned a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1964. He later became professor of government at Harvard and was director of the Kennedy School's center for international studies."

*

"We are very fortunate to be able to welcome Joe Nye back to Harvard in this extremely important new role," Harvard president Neil Rudentine said at the time. "He brings an outstanding combination of personal and professional qualities to the deanship-a record of distinguished government service, scholarly accomplishment, excellent teaching, administrative skill and proven leadership."

*

"Before his present position in the Clinton administration, Nye served as chairman of the National Intelligence Council."

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Soft power.



Permalink

Posted on August 23, 2011


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SPORTS - SportsMonday: Action Jackson.

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PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: War Of The Rainbows.


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