Puppets for Nippon

The Japan Economic Journal reported in 1980 that "influence in Washington is just like in Indonesia. It's for sale." It still is. Today, more than 100 foreign governments and hundreds of foreign corporations are running on-going political campaigns in the United States, as though they were a third major political party.

Mexico, for instance, is spending more than $50 million in 1993 to hire dozens of Washington, D.C., lobbyists, super-lawyers, former trade officials, political advisors, and public relations specialists to secure passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Japan is spending more than $400 million annually to operate a grass-roots political machine across America whose principal goal is to keep U.S. markets open to Japanese imports and investments even as Japan remains closed to U.S. investors and exports. Foreign corporations and governments now finance most of the work of those U.S. think-tanks and universities that supply ideas to America's opinion-elite and politicians. And corporations from dozens of countries are contributing monies to both the Democratic and Republican parties and to hundreds of political candidates, just as though they were American voters.

The goal of these foreign political campaigns is simple—shape the outcome of decisions that directly affect their political and economic interests, decisions in which every day hundreds of millions of dollars—and...

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