When the political sociologist C. Wright Mills described the relationship between government and large corporations he was a New York professor in the 1950s. His best-selling book, The Power Elite, described how political and corporate elites controlled government with the idea that big business knew what was best for Americans. The so-called “power elite” made key decisions influencing how Americans lived. One result was the rise of small wars from Vietnam to Iraq. Does the Power Elite still exist? Yes! Why? Big business makes money off foreign affairs. Government contracts for the military are awarded to big business in the billions. Trump has brought it back; or perhaps simply expanded it. Building a military-industrial complex is a key part of Trump’s politics. Going to war is a profitable one for Cabinet officials. A good example in George W. Bush’s administration was Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, who possessed ties to Alcoa, an aluminum corporation that heavily relies upon defense contracts. His wealth accelerated. His prestige reached new heights. He is not the only one as 5 members of Trump’s current Cabinet have such ties. Sad! Is democracy in peril? Maybe! Maybe not!
Mills was criticized heavily for making such a critique. But his research helped to establish a generation of New Left historians. One of these historians is Howard A. DeWitt who came of age in the 1960s. He envisioned the dangers of corporate-political connections. DeWitt saw corporate heads as disproportionately influencing U.S. foreign policy thereby limiting democratic possibilities.
DeWitt’s book, Trump Against The World: Foreign Policy Bully, Russian Collusion addresses those issues. See it at Amazon