Richard Nixon took office at a time of national crisis. Along with the Vietnam morass, the economy was in trouble after the "golden age of capitalism" peaked in 1965 and corporate profits were declining. The globalization phenomenon began at this time when American companies and the nation's wealthiest families found investing abroad more profitable than at home because more opportunities were available outside the country.
Food was one of them and was about to be renamed "agribusiness." Engdahl called it "a paradigm shift" with one man having the most decisive role - former New York governor Nelson Rockefeller "who deeply wanted to be President" but had to settle for number two under Gerald Ford.
He and his brothers ran the family's Rockefeller Foundation and various other tax-exempt entities like the Rockefeller Brothers Trust. Nelson and David were the most influential figures, and their power center was the exclusive New York Council on Foreign Relations. Engdahl states: "In the 1960s the Rockefellers were at the power center of the US establishment (and) Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (was) their hand-picked protege." It was a marriage made in hell.
Enter the "crisis of democracy" or as right wing Harvard professor, Samuel Huntington, called it, an "excess of democracy" at a time masses of ordinary citizens protested their government's policies. It captured media attention, posed a threat to the country's establishment, and had to be addressed. In 1973 it was at a meeting of 300 influential, hand-picked Rockefeller friends from North America, Europe and Japan. They founded a powerful new organization called the Trilateral Commission with easily recognizable member names.
Zbigniew Brzezinski was its first Executive Director, and other charter members included Jimmy Carter (who became David Rockefeller's favored 1976 presidential candidate over Gerald Ford), George HW Bush, Paul Volker (Carter's Fed Chairman) and Alan Greenspan who was then a Wall Street investment banker.
The new organization "laid the basis for a new global strategy for a network of interlinked international elites," many of whom were Rockefeller business partners. Combined, their financial, economic and political clout was unmatched. So was their ambition that George HW Bush later called a "new world order." Trilateralists laid the foundation for today's globalization. They also followed Huntington's advice about democracy's unreliability that had to be checked by "some measure of (public) apathy and non-involvement (combined with) secrecy and deception."
The Commission further advocated privatizing public enterprises along with deregulating industry. Trilateralist Jimmy Carter embraced the dogma enthusiastically as President. He began the process that Ronald Reagan continued in the 1980s almost without noticing its originator or placing blame where it's due.
In 1973, Nixon was in office with Kissinger his Svengali. One observer described him at the time as "like sludge out of a swamp without a spark of life....no soul, a slip of life, a kind of ghoul (and) a sort of lubricant (to keep the ship of state running)." So he did by "tak(ing) complete control (of) US foreign policy" as both Secretary of State and National Security Advisor. Further, he "was to make food a centerpiece of his diplomacy along with oil geopolitics."
In the Cold War era, food became a strategic weapon by masquerading as "Food for Peace." It was cover for US agriculture to engineer the transformation of family farming into global agribusiness with food the tool and small farmers eliminated so it could be used most effectively. World agriculture domination was to be "one of the central pillars of post-war Washington policy, along with (controlling) world oil markets and non-communist world defense sales." The defining 1973 event was a world food crisis.
The shortage of grain staples along with the first of two 1970s oil shocks advanced a "significant new Washington policy turn." Oil and grains were rising three to fourfold in price when the US was the world's largest food surplus producer with the most power over prices and supply. It was an ideal time for a new alliance between US-based grain trading companies and the government. It "laid the groundwork for the later gene revolution."
Enter what Engdahl called the "great train robbery" with Kissinger the culprit. He decided US agriculture policy was "too important to be left in the hands of the Agriculture Department" so he took control of it himself. The world desperately needed grain, America had the greatest supply, and the scheme was to use this power to "radically change world food markets and food trade." The big winners were grain traders like Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Continental Grain that were helped by Kissinger's "new food diplomacy (to create) a global agriculture market for the first time." Food would "reward friends and punish enemies," and ties between Washington and business lay at the heart of the strategy.
The global food market was being reorganized, corporate interests were favored, political advantage was exploited, and the 1990s "gene revolution" groundwork was laid. Rockefeller interests and its Foundation were to play the decisive role as events unfolded over the next two decades. It began under Nixon as the cornerstone of his farm policy, free trade was the mantra, corporate grain traders were the beneficiaries, and family farms had to go so agribusiness giants could take over.
Bankrupting them was the plan to remove an "excess (of) human resources." Engdahl called it a "thinly veiled form of food imperialism" as part of a scheme for the US to become "the world granary." The family farm was to become the "factory farm," and agriculture was to be "agribusiness" to be dominated by a few corporate giants with incestuous ties to Washington.
Dollar devaluation was also part of the scheme under Nixon's New Economic Plan (NEP) that included closing the gold window in 1971 to let the currency float freely. Developing nations were targeted as well with the idea that they forget about being food-sufficient in grains and beef, rely on America for key commodities, and concentrate instead on small fruits, sugar and vegetables for export. Earned foreign exchange could then buy US imports and repay IMF and World Bank loans that create a never-ending cycle of debt slavery. GATT was also used and later the WTO with corporate-written rules for their own bottom line interests.