My daughter loves a children’s book that has a fun gimmick. Each page has a colorful illustration. Hidden in each illustration is a duck. On some pages the duck is obvious. On other pages it’s much harder to find . When we first got at the book, we wondered why some pages were missing the duck. As she got older, it was my daughter who discovered the not-so-obvious ducks. Each page does have a duck if you look hard enough to find it.
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is like that duck. It may not be obvious, but if you’re paying attention it can be found. Pay attention to influential people in politics and look for their CFR connection—the duck. Secretaries of State are nearly always CFR members. The same is true of Secretaries of Defense and Treasury. U.S. presidents are usually CFR members, or they have family members who are. Many members of the media are CFR members. Is someone an influential writer or talk show host? Look for the CFR connection. Keep your eyes open, and with few exceptions you will find it.
Why should we care about CFR membership? Because of their strong influence on U.S. policy and politics. They are a powerful organization that is completely unknown to most people. The members are not elected, but the council influences elected officials. CFR members are often chosen by elected officials to run departments of the government. If our politicians are being influenced by the CFR, shouldn’t we know more about that influence?
It is certainly worth asking, with so many politicians and media people as members of the Council on Foreign Relations, why don’t the American people know more about the organization? The media could educate the public about the CFR in the same way they have tried to educate the public about the dangers of a Trump presidency, or the dangers of climate change. Why don’t they? The Council on Foreign Relations stays in shadow, in part, because the media shines no light on them.
My writing about them won’t hurt them, but maybe a few people will look for the duck.