Blinken’s China Vision - Whither US-China Trade, In Whose Interest?

The moral hazards have not gone unnoticed.

A foreign policy not for the American people    

When Schmidt began his DoD activities in 2016, Google signed its AI initiative Project Maven contract with Pentagon to analyze drone footage. As work on lethal strikes became public, over 3,000 Google workers protested the deal. With his $13 billion fortune, venture capital firm (and $5.3 billion in Alphabet’s shares), Schmidt has invested millions of dollars into over half a dozen defense start-ups. 

Starting in 2016, the first DoD employee complaint against Schmidt raised concerns about his conflicts of interests, which ProPublica’s report documented even before. In the past five years, the ties between Google, Alphabet, Schmidt, his shares and companies have grown so blurry that a federal court ordered him to turn over records that might shed light on whether he has promoted his personal business interests.

Recently, allegations have also been raised about Blinken’s activities. Between the Obama and Biden administrations, Blinken co-headed WestExec Advisors with Michèle Flournoy, a high-profile Clintonite and military consultant. With key clientele in defense industry, private equity firms, and hedge funds, Blinken made his first million dollars in compensation. Even before WestExec Flournoy was making over $450,000 a year as a head of think-tank, funded largely by defense contractors.

Through WestExec, the two served as strategic partners of private equity firm Pine Island Capital Partners, led by controversial investment banker John Thain who tanked Merrill Lynch and amid the subprime mess spent $1.2 million remodeling his office, including a $35,000 golden toilet. Pine Island partners collaborated with Google’s think-tank Jigsaw and Project Maven, created by Schmidt, who, in turn, hired WestExec through his foundation Schmidt Futures.

In the past year, several US media and progressive Democrats have raised questions about potential conflicts of interest between WestExec principals, and Pine Island advisors. Yet, Blinken portrays his vision as a “foreign policy for the American people.” In his recommendations, Schmidt touted export controls to weaponize semiconductor supply chain. In reality, neither will serve either American people or American business, not even Pentagon. But each has lucrative potential to Blinken, Schmidt and those defense contractors benefiting from forever wars that penalize both American business and people. 

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Disclosure: A version of the commentary was published by China-US Focus on March 22, 2021

Dr. Dan Steinbock is an internationally recognized strategist of the ...

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