WSTT Reviews: Midwest Book Review

Midwest Book Review
December 2015
by Paul T. Vogel
Wall Street’s Think Tank
Laurence H. Shoup
Monthly Review Press
146 West 29th Street, Suite 6W, New York, NY 10001
9781583675519, $34.00, 400pp,

Synopsis: The Council on Foreign Relations is the most influential foreign-policy think tank in the United States, claiming among its members a high percentage of government officials, media figures, and establishment elite. For decades it kept a low profile even while it shaped policy, advised presidents, and helped shore up U.S. hegemony following the Second World War. In 1977, Laurence H. Shoup and William Minter published the first in-depth study of the CFR, “Imperial Brain Trust”, an explosive work that traced the activities and influence of the CFR from its origins in the 1920s through the Cold War.

Now in “Wall Street’s Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics, 1976-2014”, Laurence H. Shoup returns with this long-awaited sequel, which brings the story up to date. “Wall Street’s Think Tank” follows the CFR from the 1970s through the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union to the present. It explains how members responded to rapid changes in the world scene: globalization, the rise of China, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the launch of a “War on Terror,” among other major developments. Shoup argues that the CFR now operates in an era of “Neoliberal Geopolitics,” a worldwide paradigm that its members helped to establish and that reflects the interests of the U.S. ruling class, but is not without challengers. “Wall Street’s Think Tank” is an essential guide to understanding the Council on Foreign Relations and the shadow it casts over recent history and current events.

Critique: “Wall Street’s Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics, 1976-2014” is a masterpiece of documented analysis of one of the most successful influences on American national policy. “Wall Street’s Think Tank is enhanced with the inclusion of a three page appendix listing CFR Officers and Directors, 1921-2013; a seven page Bibliography; nineteen pages of Notes; and a fifty-six page Index. As informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, “Wall Street’s Think Tank” is an essential and strongly recommended addition to both community and academic library collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that “Wall Street’s Think Tank” is also available in a Kindle edition ($15.61).