That, my friends, is a quote from President Eisenhower's Farewell Address to the Nation on January 17, 1961. You may have heard of it before. It's referred to sometimes as the "military-industrial complex" speech, and it's quite a favorite amongst the conspiracy theory crowd.
The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
Of course, what are the odds that the interest of our nation "could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite".
To answer that, let me introduce Craig Stapleton, US Ambassador to France from June 2005 to July 2009. France - indeed, the entire European Union - is hesitant to adopt the use of genetically modified organisms. In 2007, France decided to suspend cultivation of a Monsanto product - MON 810 - on the grounds that the French government isn't convinced that it can be grown without risk. So, Ambassador Stapleton, how did you suggest that the United States handle this?
Mission Paris recommends that that the USG reinforce our negotiating position with the EU on agricultural biotechnology by publishing a retaliation list when the extend "Reasonable Time Period" expires.Retaliation, Ambassador Stapleton? Against who?
Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits.Bear in mind, that we are now talking about retaliating against all of Europe for one nation's unwillingness to allow the cultivation of a single product of a single American company. It's not as if France was unilaterally banning imports of all seed grown in the United States. Monsanto is one company, and MON810 is just one of their products.
So, the next time someone tells you we have a free-market economy, look at Monsanto and the US retaliation list. Look at Goldman Sachs and AIG and Citigroup and General Motors and Bank of America, and remember the bailouts.