Bilderberg & Brookings

One of the oldest and most influential think tanks is the Washington-based Brookings Institution, a “public policy organization” which is committed, in its own words, to finding “practical solutions to the most vexing policy challenges facing society”. And over the decades, the Brookings Institution and its fellow elite policy group, Bilderberg, have become closely intertwined.

The 2017 Bilderberg conference in Chantilly was attended by Leon Wieseltier, a senior fellow at Brookings, and two members of the Brookings Institution’s current board of trustees: the head of Deutsche Bank, Paul Achleitner, and the head of Lazard, Kenneth M. Jacobs. It is the job of the the trustees to ensure the “scholarly independence” of Brookings.

Besides being Brookings trustees and running banks, Jacobs and Achleitner are also members of the inner circle of Bilderberg: the group’s steering committee.

Over the years, a considerable number of Bilderberg steering committee members have also been trustees of Brookings, including Klaus Kleinfeld, James Wolfensohn, Thomas Donilon, Vernon Jordan, Jessica T. Mathews and James A. Johnson (who was chairman of the Brookings board of trustees).

James A. Johnson, who is a director of Goldman Sachs, is also on the advisory board of the Hamilton Project: an economic policy unit at Brookings. Other advisors to the Hamilton Project include Bilderberg steering committee member Eric Schmidt (the former Executive Chairman of Google) and longtime Bilderberg attendees Lawrence Summers, Robert Rubin and Timothy Geithner.

Another policy unit within Brookings is the John L. Thornton China Center, which is run by two-time Bilderberg attendee Cheng Li (2012 & 2014). The Center is named after the former Goldman Sachs CEO John L. Thornton, who was named chairman of the board of trustees at Brookings in 2003 and attended Bilderberg 9 times from 1999 to 2014.

The International Advisory Council of Brookings includes the Swedish billionaire Marcus Wallenberg, who sits on Bilderberg’s steering committee, and also Royal Dutch Shell, which has been one of the most important corporations at Bilderberg since its founding.

In the early 1980s, the then president of Brookings, Bruce K. MacLaury, was a regular attendee at Bilderberg, and also sat on the group’s steering committee. And the current president of Brookings, John R. Allen, attended the Bilderberg conference in 2015, back when he was a special presidential envoy for the State Department.

The Bilderberg conference and Brookings are both best understood as part of a much wider matrix of elite political and economic influence, which includes governmental advisory groups, think tanks, policy institutes and corporate lobby groups. These would include such groups as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Trilateral Commission, the Ford Foundation, the Aspen Institute, the Ditchley Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations and the European Round Table of Industrialists.