American Enterprise Institute

The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) is an extremely influential, pro-business right-wing think tank founded in 1943 by Lewis H. Brown. It promotes the advancement of free enterprise capitalism, and succeeds in placing its people in influential governmental positions. It is the center base for many neo-conservatives.

More recently, it has emerged as one of the leading architects of the Bush administration's foreign policy. AEI rents office space to the Project for the New American Century, one of the leading voices that pushed the Bush administration's plan for "regime change" through war in Iraq. AEI reps have also aggressively denied that the war has anything to do with oil.

American Enterprise Institute (AEI) serves as home base for a long list of influential figures, including several former George W. Bush administration officials like John Bolton, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, John Yoo, and David Frum. President Bush highlighted the institute's standing in the policy world during a January 2003 speech at an AEI dinner celebrating neoconservative forefather Irving Kristol. After commending AEI for having "some of the finest minds in our nation," the president said: "You do such good work that my administration has borrowed 20 such minds."

Having helped lead the effort to push public support for the U.S. invasion of Iraq—including by creating influential advocacy groups like the Project for the New American Century (PNAC)—AEI writers and scholars turned their attention to Iran and other Mideast hotspots during the final years of George W. Bush's administration.

The Guardian reported further that AEI "has received more than $1.6m from ExxonMobil, and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration. Lee Raymond, a former head of ExxonMobil, is the vice-chairman of AEI's board of trustees"

Among AEI's more outspoken scholars on expanded U.S. intervention in the Middle East have been Michael Ledeen and Reuel Marc Gerecht.

"Introduction to 2005 Irving Kristol Lecture
Christopher DeMuth
President, AEI

Vice President and Mrs. Cheney, President Aznar, distinguished guests, welcome to the American Enterprise Institute(s 2005 Annual Dinner and Irving Kristol Lecture. My AEI colleagues and I are very gratified that such a large and accomplished congregation should be gathered here this evening. We are especially grateful for the generous support of our good friends at Pfizer and of the esteemed ladies and gentlemen of our Dinner Committee.

President Bush(s bold recasting of American foreign policy, and stirring recent developments in Iraq, Ukraine, Afghanistan, and now throughout the Middle East, maybe more this afternoon, maybe Iran is next, have given us what Michael Novak wrote of in a 2004 book--“some faint reason to believe that the narrative of liberty will not be finished until it has suffused every society on Earth.” (Link)


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By Michael Ledeen:
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Creative Destruction
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