Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Will Obama Join The Council on Foreign Relations?

More US presidents have been or currently are affiliated with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) than any other think tank in the world.  Will President Obama join CFR after his presidency?  Well, he shouldn't have any problem getting a nomination or being seconded by a minimum of three people (the current requirement for life membership), considering, among other things, that scores of Obama folks are affiliated with CFR.  According to the most recently available annual report, CFR, founded in 1921, has 4,500 members.

Past presidents who are/were members of CFR include:
  • Bill Clinton (42nd President); Hillary Clinton was also a member
  • George H.W. Bush (41st President)
  • Jimmy Carter (39th President)
  • Gerald Ford (38th President)
  • Richard Nixon (37th President)
  • Herbert Hoover (31st President)

Other interesting people who are/were members of CFR include:

  • Angelina Jolie
  • George Clooney
  • Steven Spielberg
Media Moguls:
  • Oprah Windfrey
  • Rupert Murdoch
  • Roger Ailes
News Types:
  • Charlie Rose
  • Katie Couric
  • Erin Burnett  
  • Rush Limbaugh
  • Tom Brokaw
  • Fareed Zakaria (also affiliated with NAF)
  • Joe Biden
  • Newt Gingrich
  • Mikhail Gorbachev
Supreme Court:
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • Sandra Day O'Connor
  • Stephen Gerald Breyer

CFR member George Clooney will be hosting a mega-fundraiser for President Obama on May 10, 2012 at his home in Los Angeles.  Tickets are said to cost $40,000 a pop.  The event reportedly will be the largest single presidential fundraiser in US history.

The latest CFR member's list, from the 2011 annual report, can be found here.  A list of corporate members can be found here.  Also, here are the requirements for becoming a CFR member, along with a profile of the current CFR membership.

Recent US presidents have been quite fond of think tanks.  For example, George W. Bush started the George W. Bush Institute in 2011.  Gerald Ford joined the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) as a distinguished fellow in 1977.  Jimmy Carter created the Atlanta-based Carter Center in 1982.  And Richard Nixon founded the Nixon Center (which is now the Center for National Interest).

Here is an article from 2004 written by Laurence Shoup titled Bush, Kerry, and the Council on Foreign Relations.