While supporters of recently elected US President Donald Trump believe steadfastly that among other things, his administration will role back what has been essentially a century of American expansionism worldwide through overt wars and more “covert” methods toward achieving “regime change,” by all metrics it appears such methods will only expand.
Not only do observers note continued subversive activities coordinated through local US embassies around the world since Trump’s presidency began, including across Southeast Asia as part of America’s continued attempts to isolate and contain China, but also movement within US agencies charged with organising and financing this subversion, such as the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
Recently, NED announced its new chairperson, Dr. Judy Shelton. The announcement, published on NED’s website includes the following background information on Dr. Shelton:
Dr. Judy Shelton was elected the new Chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) by NED’s Board of Directors at its January 10, 2017 meeting. An economist who has written widely on issues of international finance and monetary policy, she has also been consulted on international economic and financial issues by the Congress, the White House, and the Pentagon. Shelton previously served on the NED Board from 2005-2014, and was Vice Chairman from 2010-2014.
In other words, not only is Dr. Shelton now the new chairperson of NED, she has been directly involved with NED since at least 2005, long before, and all during NED’s role in training, funding and backing the armies of regime change that swept the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) beginning in 2011. She also served on NED’s board during the US-backed coup in Ukraine between 2013-2014.
Before that, between 2009-2010, NED-backed mobs took to the streets in Bangkok, Thailand in attempts to overthrow both the sitting government at the time, and also the Thai military and Thailand’s head of state.
While these events have been assigned to the Obama administration for political convenience and compartmentalisation, it is actually organisations like NED that serve as the working mechanics that make such events possible.
In other words, Dr. Judy Shelton has been directly involved in NED through the entirety of America’s most recent chapters of expansionism and regime change worldwide. She has also served on the board of directors for Hilton Hotels and Atlantic Coast Airlines, providing another example within NED of corporate and financial special interests driving the organisation’s agenda rather than actual “democracy promotion.”
An example of Dr. Shelton’s activities within NED can be gleamed from a 2012 NED news letter under a headline titled, “Democracy Service Medal Presented in Cuba,” in which it claims:
NED Vice-Chair Judy Shelton presented it in person to Berta Soler, the leader of the Damas de Blanco movement founded by Laura Pollán; Héctor Maseda Guitiérrez, Pollán’s widower and a journalist who spent eight years imprisoned by the Cuban government; and Laura Labrada Pollán, Pollán’s daughter and a member of the Damas de Blanco.
Dr. Shelton is directly involved in lending legitimacy to US-backed subversion in Cuba as part of a decades-long attempt to overthrow the government in Havana and expand US hegemony over the Caribbean.
Additionally, she also regularly oversees NED’s system of self-aggrandising, the lending of legitimacy to its own members through self-awarded recognition. In 2010 in a Star Tribune article titled, “Vin Weber honored for his work with the National Endowment for Democracy,” it’s stated:
In Capitol Hill ceremony, Former Minnesota Congressman Vin Weber Tuesday was slated to receive the Democracy Service Medal for his work with the National Endowment for Democracy…
…Honorary co-chairs of the event are Madeleine Albright, the former Secretary of State, Richard Gephardt, the NED chair and a former Democratic leader of the House, and Judy Shelton, the NED vice chair.
Previous award recipients include Lech Walesa, former president of Poland, the Dalai Lama, of Tibet and Francis Fukuyama, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies professor.
Vin Weber is one of several prominent, so-called Neo-Conservatives and a signatory to various pro-war letters and policy papers that preceded the conflicts waged by the United States under US presidents Bush, Obama and now continuing under Trump.
Dr. Shelton’s long-time association in an organisation created specifically as a mechanism for regime change, associating with Neo-Conservatives (including not only Weber, but also the above mentioned Francis Fukuyama and Richard Gephardt) and notorious personalities like Madeline Albright who hsa repeatedly justified sanctions against Iraq that starved hundreds of thousands of children to death is particularly troubling.
The inclusion of the Dali Lama amid NED’s award ceremonies, an admitted asset of the US Central Intelligence Agency, particularly during armed operations carried out by US-backed militants in Tibet against the Chinese government in the 1950s, is also telling of both the NED’s work, and those that chair it, including now, Dr. Shelton.
Dr. Judy Shelton is Also A Trump Adviser
The ice-cold bucket of water thrown onto kindled hopes that the Trump presidency will roll back “regime change” operations worldwide is the fact that Dr. Shelton is also a Trump adviser.
Fortune magazine in an interview with Dr. Shelton titled, “This Trump Economic Advisor Wants America to Go Back to the Gold Standard,” would report:
Fortune reached out to Dr. Judy Shelton, one of two economists recently named to Donald Trump’s economic advisory team, and the only woman to hold that title. Shelton is a senior fellow and co-director of the Atlas Sound Money Project, whose mission is to promote the principles of sound money and raise awareness of what they see as the inherent problems of our current monetary system. Dr. Shelton first rose to prominence when she predicted the economic collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, two years before it transpired.
Whatever merits Dr. Shelton’s affinity for the gold standard may or may not have in terms of ideology, her actual work, manifested in both US policy and actions has served not sound monetary policy, but the continued expansion of US corporate and financial interests as well as their domination across the planet.
It is highly unlikely that US President Donald Trump will move the United States into a gold standard, particularly with large segments of his administration run by former Goldman Sachs partners and associates (Steve Bannon, Steven Mnuchin, Gary Cohn and Anthony Scaramucci).
Dr. Shelton’s role as both Trump adviser and chairperson of the National Endowment for Democracy instead, signifies a continuation, even expansion of US regime change efforts worldwide, not a withdrawal from this policy.
Nations around the world, as well as policy analysts supplying commentary and reports regarding US foreign policy, must understand that while the spokesmen in the White House might change every 4-8 years, the expansive special interests that actually determine US foreign policy do not. Dr. Shelton’s involvement in NED has spanned over a decade and continues to this day, alongside many other board of director members and the interests they represent within the US defence, finance and energy industries.
Dr. Shelton’s ascension both within NED and the Trump administration is yet another symptom of continuity of agenda, not the change many may still be waiting for in the coming weeks, months, and years.
Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.