PARIS -- Billionaire Hungarian-American oligarch George Soros is an extremely concerned humanitarian who can be counted on to put his considerable bank balance where his concerns are. Lately, those concerns have included Ukraine and other former Soviet satellite states; Syria; immigration rights in America; the U.S. banking system; and the Great Lakes region of Africa, where all the mining opportunities just happen to be. Perhaps he could lay off the generosity long enough for us to recover from it all.
Humanitarianism and charity can't always be taken at face value, if only because there is no better front for less-than-altruistic endeavors. Islamic charities, for example, have been exposed as fronts for terrorist funding. Most people simply assume that charity automatically equates to goodwill.
Set up a non-governmental organization (NGO) or "think-tank" with a dreamy humanitarian name to ultimately funnel cash into various forms of political subversion and disruption, and you've just created the perfect instrument for the perpetual incitement of low-intensity political conflict.
Low-intensity operations are insidious because they occur at a level just below the threshold that triggers acute opposition. Much like the ignored second hand of an analog clock, these low-intensity operations subtly effect change. Russian President Vladimir Putin knows this, which is why he rammed through a law in 2012 requiring NGOs that receive foreign funding and are engaged in "political activity" to register as foreign agents. Predictably, people complained that it wasn't a very nice thing to do to all the well-meaning humanitarians.
Soros' Open Society Foundations have funded millions of dollars of operations in Georgia, Ukraine and Russia. The only one of those countries that hasn't experienced total anti-Russian upheaval followed by a return to a more balanced geopolitical reality is Russia itself -- which the foundations are constantly complaining about. In May, Soros wrote in The Guardian that Europe should offer "free political risk insurance" to companies that invest or do business in Ukraine, and "guarantee the losses in the same way as they underwrite the World Bank." This was his great offering to humanity in the wake of that crisis.
Yeah, nice try. Fourteen percent of Soros' stock portfolio, according to the investment website GuruFocus.com, consists of energy investments -- the likes of which would benefit from entry into Ukraine's underexploited domestic market. To put that into plain-speak for those of us who aren't among the richest people on the planet, it's like saying that the government should offer me "hunger risk insurance" and guarantee me a lifetime of free dining at taxpayer expense.
Why on earth would we taxpayers want to subsidize Soros' stock portfolio? According to Soros, it's necessary "to counteract Russia's efforts to destabilize Ukraine." Tu quoque. Russia was satisfied with its monopoly in Ukraine and not much interested in doing anything to disrupt it.
So, where else is Soros sticking his fingers? He gave $1 million in humanitarian aid to Syria through the International Rescue Committee, which, according to Eric Thomas Chester's book "Covert Network: Progressives, the International Rescue Committee and the CIA," has worked closely with the Central Intelligence Agency in various parts of the world over the past several decades.
On the domestic front, Obama-appointed regulatory decision-makers ranging from Daniel Tarullo (the Federal Reserve's informally designated lead governor for banking regulations) to Amias Gerety (who chairs the Financial Stability Oversight Council committee responsible for designating the entities to undergo the "too big to fail" regulatory straitjacketing process) are products of the Soros-funded Center for American Progress. Soros told the Wall Street Journal in 2010 that he was unhappy with President Obama's bailouts and instead wanted to see U.S. banks nationalized and taken over by the government. Many argue that strict new Dodd-Frank regulations effectively achieve this.
The Center for American Progress is also churning out pro-amnesty pieces about America's current undocumented-immigrant crisis.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Open Society Foundations website has been advertising grants available for organizations interested in fighting against "Islamophobia" and "anti-Gypsyism" -- the sort of issues that only totally open borders in Europe could possibly fix, of course.
Not to speculate on possible motives behind supporting a flood of undocumented workers, but it would certainly serve to depress working wages to the benefit of oligarchs such as Soros -- a concern noted in a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office.
In Africa, the slippery slope from humanitarianism to profit has been much steeper and more obvious, with the Open Society Foundations moving from helping prostitutes in the resource-rich Great Lakes Region -- comprising Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda -- to commissioning reports with titles such as "Energy Policy and the Petroleum Industry Bill."
Hmmm. You won't convince the good-hearted naifs of the world to join forces with a multibillionaire to enrich his bottom line through low-intensity disruption operations -- er, I mean, to "save the world" -- with profiteering titles like that.
Russian oligarchs are effectively accountable to Putin as the elected leader of the country. To whom are our oligarchs accountable?