George Soros, Postmodern Villain
NGO’s, Behold Your God.
Srdja Trifkovic, Chronicles, Feb. 2004
George Soros was born in Budapest in 1930 but, today, spends most of his time in New York City. Not much is known about his early years. He is the only eminent “holocaust survivor” who has been accused of collaboration with the Nazis. In 1947, he managed to sneak through the Iron Curtain, and, the official story goes, “he landed penniless in London, but by hard work and sheer genius, he rose to become one of the planet’s most successful investors and richest men.”
Mr. Soros’ peculiar moral values, political views, and ideological preferences would be immaterial without the money that he can spend promoting and imposing them. The bulk of that money-currently estimated at not less than seven billion dollars-was earned in the minus-sum game of currency and stock speculation, contributing nothing to the creation of wealth and making millions of ordinary people poorer in the process. His offshore Quantum Fund-legally headquartered in Curacao, beyond U.S.-government supervision-specializes in speculative investments to take advantage of deliberately induced political and economic weaknesses of different countries and regions. In an interview with the Swiss weekly L’hebdo (May 1993), Soros outlined his strategy: “I speculate on discrepancy between the reality and the public image of this reality, until a correctional mechanism occurs, which approaches these two.”
His profits are staggering. On September 16, 1992, he famously made a billion dollars in one day by betting against the Bank of England and the pound sterling. In July 1997, he contributed to the Southeast Asian financial crisis by shorting the Thai bath. In early 2000, he supposedly suffered losses on tech stocks, but some analysts now suggest that the burn of the NASDAQ was controlled and that Soros helped to start the fire. By last November, he was betting the U.S. dollar would plummet. As the London Independent reported (November 28, 2003), his activities were contributing to a growing belief on Wall Street that the dollar would slide even further.
There is nothing new in Soros’ approach to making money or in the ability of such a person to make an impact, invariably detrimental, on his host society’s morals and culture. What is new with Mr. Soros-in addition to the implausible claim that a private speculator could get as far as he has unaided by any established financial interests-is his systematic, concerted effort to use a large part of his fortune to promote his peculiar social and political views. He does so through a global network of “nongovernmental organizations” named after himself and active primarily in Eastern Europe but also in Africa, Latin America, and the United States. At age 75, money is not his object but his tool. He has used it to develop a well-coordinated global operation centered on the Open Society Institute (OSI) in New York, which funds a network of subsidiaries in over 50 countries.
Even before the Open Society network came into being, Soros’ blueprint for postcommunist “shock therapy” reform had been put to the test. First came Poland, where the first postcommunist prime minister, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, was close to Soros and subsequently remained associated with his local subsidiary, the Stefan Batory Foundation. In his book Underwriting Democracy, Soros says that he personally prepared the broad outlines of Poland’s comprehensive economic reform:
I joined forces with Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Harvard University, who was advocating a similar program, and sponsored his work in Poland through the Stefan Batory Foundation . . . The IMF approved and the program went into effect on Jan. 1, 1990. It was very tough on the population, but people were willing to take a lot of pain in order to see real change.
Poland was only a start, however; far more important to his goals was his association in 1991-92 with Russia’s “reformist” leaders Anatoly Chubais and Yegor Gaidar and their Harvard guru Sachs. Within a year of their “shock therapy,” hyperinflation had wiped out Russians’ savings and the long-suffering middle class with it. Pensioners were literally starving. The parallel “privatization” of Russia’s huge resources-timber, oil, gas, chemicals, media-created the robber oligarchs and contributed to Russia’s effective deindustrialization. The country was lowered into neocolonial dependence: a supplier of energy and raw materials and an importer of high technology and manufactured goods. Nevertheless, in early 1993, Soros felt that Russia had not gone far enough: “The social safety net would also provide a powerful incentive to shut down loss-making enterprises. Factories could be idled and the raw materials and energy that go into production could be sold for more than the output.”
George Soros is out to deconstruct nations and states as Europe has known them for centuries, with Russia always the main prize. In an interview with the Moscow daily Komersant (August 8, 1997), he declared that “a strong central government in Russia cannot be democratic.” “The rescue of a free Russian economy depends on the attraction of Western investments,” he added, and, to that end, “Russia’s general public must accept the ideology of an open society.”
By that time, a total of 29 “Soros Foundations” were active in every postcommunist country. In 1994, his foundations spent a total of $300 million; by 1998, that figure had risen to $574 million. These are enormous sums in an impoverished and vulnerable Eastern Europe.
Those foundations say that they are “dedicated to building and maintaining the infrastructure and institutions of an open society.” What this means in practice is clear from their many fruits. Regarding “women’s health” programs in Central and Southeastern Europe, for instance, one will look in vain for breast-cancer detection or prenatal or postnatal care. Soros’ main goal is clear and frankly stated: “to improve the quality of abortion services.” Accordingly, his Public Health Program has supported the introduction of medical abortion in Albania, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovakia and the introduction of manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) abortion in Macedonia, Moldova, and Russia. In addition,
OSI has also worked with international and local NGOs to respond to the growing strength of the antiabortion movement. Through its influence on ministries of health and hospital administrators, that movement has made strides in reducing access to abortion . . . OSI will continue to support training in quality of care and efforts to keep abortion legal, safe, and accessible for all women in the region.
Why is Soros so interested in promoting more abortions in Eastern Europe? Overpopulation cannot be the reason: The region is experiencing a colossal demographic collapse and has some of the lowest fertility rates in the world. Unavailability of abortion cannot be the answer either: According to a recent U.N. report, five European countries had more abortions than live births in 2000-the Russian Federation, Bulgaria, Belarus, Rumania, and Ukraine. Overall, the report said, abortion rates are “substantially higher in central and eastern Europe and the CIS countries than in western Europe and North America.” The only logical answer is that Soros wants as few Russians and others born into this world as possible.
Soros’ public-health programs also “support initiatives focusing on the specific health needs of several marginalized communities” and promote “harm reduction”: “Its primary goal is to empower drug users to protect their health. Needle/syringe exchange and substitution therapies (e.g., methadone) are at the center of harm reduction health interventions.” His “harm reducers” have expanded their work with special initiatives on “sex workers” and prisoners and launched a policy initiative that attempts to ensure that “repressive drug policies do not impede the expansion of harm reduction efforts.”
Over the past five years, the Soros network has given a successful start to previously nonexistent “gay” activism in almost all of its areas of operation. The campaign for “LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] Rights” is directed from Budapest, where Miriam Molnar’s 1999 policy paper published by OSI defined the “problem” as discrimination and the low level of acceptance, visibility, and political representation of LGBT’s. It was necessary either “to convince the society to accept LGBT people as equal and let the society make pressure [sic] to the politicians (through media) to change laws” or “to convince the politicians that LGBT people are equal and that they need help in convincing the rest of the society.” The overall goals were to generate discussion about LGBT identity within the community, to make them visible and “create a positive image,” and to establish regular forums of discussion with other groups in the region. Specific tasks included the development of websites in English with subsites in local languages, the establishment of task forces that would react to all “homophobic” media outbursts in one “Pink Book,” and the organization of two-week summer schools for teachers that would “provide training about discrimination of [sic] LGBT people, disabled people, overweight people etc.”
In November 1999, a pilot project began at the Center for Publishing Development (OSI Budapest) on homosexual books in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, and Slovakia. That same year, Nash Mir (Our World) Gay and Lesbian Center announced that it had been registered as an NGO in the Ukraine. From that moment, the group was free to pursue its stated goals, including “fight against sexual-orientation discrimination” and “homophobic sentiments in societal consciousness” and “assistance to upbringing of gays’ and lesbians’ self-consciousness as equal and valuable members of society.” The group expressed gratitude for its legalization to the “Ukrainian branch of Soros Foundation Network (Renaissance Foundation) which lobbied our question in the Ministry of Justice and render [sic] legal assistance to us.”
Gay.ru is a Soros-funded Moscow NGO that has developed “into an established and recognized Russian gay and lesbian center” and “the clearing house for lesbian and gay groups scattered across the country”:
We keep contacts with all existing gay, lesbian, and AIDS organizations in Russia and maintain on-going correspondence and reporting to international gay and lesbian organizations . . . We have collected the biggest off-line library that features over a hundred Russian titles and some fifty English classic books on gay studies. It was greatly enhanced by the Core Collection on Gay and Lesbian Issues awarded to us by the Soros Foundation in 2000.
In Bucharest, Monika Barcsy of the local Soros branch bewailed the fact that, in Rumania, “the homosexual identity is stigmatized” and is one of the main bases for treating individuals as “the others” in an attitude of intolerance. Their families became the victims of prejudice “just because the society is unable to accept the legitimacy of same-sex relations as a ‘normal’ manifestation.” The author singles out the Rumanian Orthodox Church as a prime culprit: “The problem is that many Christian Orthodox students’ organizations and other student groups support the church.” In 1994, she points out, more than 100 theology students began a series of demonstrations in front of Rumania’s parliament against homosexual propaganda in the media and collected signatures demanding legislation to criminalize same-sex relations. Barcsy concludes by reiterating the standard Soros line:
Gay men and lesbians need rights that guarantee them the expression of their identity in the public sphere . . . [T]he legal status of gays and lesbians, their ability to move and appear in public, to speak out and act together should be considered a very good test of the civic openness. [It] can’t be resolved with the new laws made under the pressure of different human rights organizations. Romania needs . . . to ameliorate the negative responses towards the homosexuals from the majority population . . . There are “problems” with the society as a whole, and the society’s mentality can’t be changed overnight.
A key pillar of Soros’ activities is his dictum that “no-one has a monopoly on the truth” and that “civic education” should replace the old “authoritarian” model. Civic education does not have to be “just a dialogue” between a teacher and students, he says; in addition, “we have projects like health education, where people use new ways to discuss issues like hygiene, diet, and sex.” While “this does not sound like traditional civic education,” he continues, it is “a new way for teachers to relate to their pupils,” just as citizens must relate in new ways to governments and elected officials in societies trying to become more open and democratic.
Accordingly, throughout postcommunist Eastern Europe, the Soros Foundation’s primary stated goal is to “democratize the education system” by “instituting curriculum reforms.” What this means in practice has been demonstrated over the past three years by Serbia’s education minister Gaso Knezevic, a friend and confidante of Soros. Since the first day of his tenure, Mr. Knezevic has insisted that schools must be transformed from “authoritarian” institutions into “exercise grounds” for the “unhindered expression of students’ personalities in the process of equal-footed interaction with the teaching staff, thus overcoming the obsolete concept of authority and discipline rooted in the oppressive legacy of patriarchal past.” Mr. Knezevic started his reform with primary schools, with a pilot program of “educational workshops” for children ages 7 to 12. The accompanying manual, financed by the Open Society, rejects the quaint notion that the purpose of education is the “acquisition of knowledge” and insists that the teacher has to become the class “designer” and that his relationship with students should be based on “partnership.”
In Russia, Soros’ associates exercise great control over the selection of textbooks for Russian schools. According to a press release by the Gaidar Youth Library, financial support from the Open Society Institute provided it with computers, videocassettes, and CD’s, all of which made “special training” for the children of “underprivileged people” possible in the library:
We organized a special seminar “Children’s rights nowadays” for all specialists who took part in our project . . . The working group of the program “The Circle of Friends” is grateful to the “Open Society” Institute (Soros Fund, Budapest) for the opportunity to realize this project in a full volume.
In 1999, the Moscow Open Society office started a major five-year project, “The Development of Education in Russia.” Its goal is to “reeducate rural teachers at a cost of US $100-150 million” (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 19, 1998). It is also applying a program called “Tolerance” in Russian secondary schools, but its masterminds may have made a linguistic blunder. According to a Russian critic of the program,
The Russian translation of this Latin word-tyerpimost-has the dual meaning of prostitution and could be confused with doma tyerpimosti, houses of ill fame . . . How come this financial manipulator tries to teach us about tolerance, us who grew up with Leo Tolstoy, one of the first philosophers of non-violence? . . . But Mr. Soros is also a horribly distorted mirror, which should make us see our own, present image, without blinking or turning away. There are times when evil can become an eye-opener, when its derisive laughter can waken us up and help regaining our strength. We should not miss this opportunity.
A first step in that direction may have been taken last November 7, when the OSI Moscow office was raided by a private security company hired by the owner of the building with whom the foundation was engaged in a protracted legal battle. Only weeks before, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the billionaire oligarch and OSI Moscow executive director who has his own NGO called the Open Russia Foundation, was arrested and charged with tax evasion, theft, forgery, and fraud. Soros denounced the arrest as an act of “persecution” that should disqualify Russia from belonging to the G-8 group of industrialized countries. “I believe that he acted within the constraints of the law. I am doing the same in the United States,” said Soros, alluding to his multimillion-dollar donations toward “regime change” in Washington next November. The American press indignantly reported that the raid was directed against a philanthropic organization that had spent “more than $US 1 billion on charitable projects in Russia in the past 15 years.”
“Racism” is Soros’ regular obsession, but he faced the potential problem of finding it in racially nondiverse Eastern European countries. This has been resolved by identifying a designated victim group-Gypsies! “Few minority groups in Europe face as much social, economic, and political discrimination as do Romani people,” says OSI. Being a “Roma activist” has become a lucrative designation within the community. Seventy of the most promising ones came to the conference “Roma in Expanding Europe: Challenges for the Future,” held in Budapest last summer, at which Soros inaugurated a “Decade of Roma Inclusion.” The conference offered policy recommendations, some of which could have been written by Jesse Jackson: first, obligatory and free preschool education in desegregated classrooms; second, Romani assistants in the classroom, especially in preschool; third, antibias training for teachers and school administrators; and fourth, integration of Romani history and culture in textbooks at all levels.
Legally mandated affirmative-action programs for Roma in high schools and universities were recommended by the delegations of Rumania and Serbia-Montenegro. On employment, the conference recommended tax incentives for those who employ Roma and access to low-interest credit for small Roma-owned family businesses. The Czech and Slovak delegations also proposed setting aside a percentage of government contracts for Roma construction firms. In the area of housing, specific demands were made to combat “racism and discrimination,” including the “legalization” of shantytowns and “equal access” to municipal housing. The conference concluded that combating racial discrimination against Roma must be pursued through the adoption of comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation complying with the requirements of the E.U. Race Equality Directive.
The Rumanian delegation demanded that the Bucharest government recognize the Roma holocaust by issuing a public apology along with urgent adoption of a reparations package. The European Union was asked to make sure that Roma are broadly involved in the design, implementation, and evaluation of all E.U. spending on Roma projects.
Soros’ “programs” would have been deemed laughable or outrageous in their target countries only a decade ago. No one is laughing today, however. For thousands of young Eastern Europeans, to become a “Soroshite” represents today what joining the Party represented to their parents: an alluring opportunity to have a reasonably paid job, to belong to a privileged elite, and, for many, to travel abroad. The chosen few go to Soros’s own Central European University in Budapest, where they are taught that affirming a scientifically grounded truth is “totalitarian” and that the sovereign nation-state is evil.
There is not one patriot (Russian, Croat, Latvian, Serb, Rumanian, Hungarian) or one practicing Christian on Soros’ payroll. In all postcommunist countries, Soros relies on the sons and daughters of the old communist establishment, who are less likely to be tainted by any atavistic attachments to their native soil, culture, and traditions. The more successful among them-and the most loyal-may spend years drifting from one “project” to another, and some have been living that way for more than a decade. Soros has revealed (in Underwriting Democracy) that his Open Society foundations will help create an international web, at the heart of which will be the computerized base of personal data that will enable Western multinationals to find the local candidates they need.
These new janissaries, just like those of the Ottoman army of old, have to prove their credentials by being more zealous than the master himself; as the Balkan proverb has it, “a convert is worse than a Turk.” Nobody is more insanely vehement in his insults against the Serbian people and their history, religion, art, and suffering than a dozen Serb-born columnists who are on the payroll of Sonja Licht, Soros’ Gauleiter in Belgrade.
Hoi polloi are force-fed the daily fare of OSI agitprop by “the Soros media”-the term now exists in over a dozen languages-from the Gazeta Wyborcza in Warsaw to Danas (Today) in Serbia, the Monitor in Montenegro, the Markiza TV channel in Bratislava, and Vreme weekly and the B-92 electronic media conglomerate in Belgrade. They invariably parrot Soros’ views and ambitions, reflected by the agenda of the local Soros foundation at home and, in world affairs, by the International Crisis Group (ICG), largely financed by Soros and run by his appointees.
Soros’ agenda in world affairs is clear from the fact that his appointees include Gen. Wesley Clark, who commanded NATO forces in the war against Serbia in 1999; Louise Arbour, the former chief prosecutor of the Yugoslav war-crimes tribunal at The Hague; former assistant secretary of state Morton Abramowitz, an enthusiastic supporter of Bosnian Muslims and Albanians in the wars of Yugoslav succession; and former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, whose visceral Russophobia aided and abetted the rise of Osama bin Laden and his jihadist cohorts.
As Gilles d’Aymery noted two years ago, Soros is not just the power behind the Open Society Institute, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the National Endowment for Democracy, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the International Crisis Group:
[L]ike an immense Jules Verne octopus, [he] extends his tentacles all over Eastern Europe, South-Eastern Europe, the Caucasus as well as the republics of the former Soviet Union. With the help of these various groups [it is possible] not only to shape but to create the news, the agenda and public opinion to further aims which are, in short, the control of the world, its natural resources and the furtherance of the uniform ideal of a perfect world polity made in America.
That polity will not be “American” in any recognizable sense if Soros has his way, however. Here, he supports increased government spending and tax increases, drug legalization, euthanasia, open borders and immigration, immigrant entitlements, feminism, free abortion on demand, affirmative action, and “gay” rights. He opposes the death penalty in any circumstance. One of the trustees of OSI is Lani Guinier, the law professor whom Bill Clinton tried to nominate as head of the civil-rights division of the Department of Justice but changed his mind when she was found to favor minority veto power over legislation. Its president is Aryeh Neier, who had for 12 years been executive director of the Soros-funded Human Rights Watch and, before that, national director of the American Civil Liberties Union for eight years.
That he is anti-Bush is unremarkable, but Soros’ statement last December that the defeat of the President is “a matter of life and death” was silly. His largesse to Bush’s foes-although substantial-does not reflect the stated urgency of the moment: $15 million for America Coming Together; $3 million for John Podesta’s new think tank; and $2.5 million for MoveOn.org falls far short of a month’s cost of running his many foundations around the world.
Soros remains primarily committed to destroying the remaining bastions of the family, sovereign nationhood, and Christian Faith east of the Trieste-Stettin line. He senses that his full-throttle intervention in America is not necessary, because things are gradually going his way anyway. No matter who is his party’s anointed candidate come next November, the real choice will be between George and Gyorgy, and that is not much of a choice.
Chronicles’ foreign-affairs editor Srdja Trifkovic is the author of The Sword of the Prophet: Islam-History, Theology, Impact on the World.