“Money is increasingly transforming the once-staid think-tank world into a muscular arm of foreign governments’ lobbying in Washington. Most of the money comes from Europe, the Middle East, and elsewhere in Asia, particularly the oil-producing nations of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Norway, and takes many forms. The United Arab Emirates, a major supporter of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, quietly provided a donation of more than $1 million to help build the Center’s gleaming new glass and steel headquarters not far from the White House. Qatar, the small but wealthy Middle East nation, agreed last year to make $14.8 million, four-year donation to Brookings, which has helped finance a Brookings affiliate in Qatar and a project on United States relations with the Islamic world. Some scholars say the donations have led to implicit agreements that the research groups would refrain from criticizing the donor governments……….”
There is nothing implicit or subtle about it: tis the season now to exchange objectivity for some oil money. Did you ever believe that the princes and potentates of the Persian Gulf states would finance and host Western think-tanks because they love objective unbiased analysis?
When was the last time a Brookings paper publicly criticized the government of Qatar? Don’t we read Brookings-Doha ‘analysts’ peddling Qatari and Muslim Brotherhood policies every day in American and other Western media? Don’t we read almost every day Western ‘analysts’ attached to “think-tanks” in Abu Dhabi and Dubai peddle Saudi and UAE interests and regional policies and positions?
Petroleum money has been making deep inroads not only into the Western political classes, but also in some aspects and activities of academic and research institutions. The trend extends beyond think-tanks and opinion-makers.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum