By Will Banyan Copyright © 16 September 2012

James Perloff is one of the more celebrated authors in the John Birch Society’s pantheon of “experts”. His book The Shadows of Power: The Council on Foreign Relations and the American Decline (1988) was a top-seller, clearing at least 100,000 copies by 1994. One struggles to find a critical word about it, save for the occasional disgruntled buyer on Amazon. Since publishing The Shadows of Power, Perloff’s contributions to JBS publications have been sporadic as he pursued his bigger interest of defending “creation science” from the travails of evolutionary theory. Only in the past five years has he made something of a comeback to the pages of The New American, offering a number of articles on the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the “betrayal” of China into Communism, US integration with the European Union, the downfall of the Shah of Iran, and various episodes in US history.

Despite the praise heaped upon Perloff, his research is as slipshod and ideologically motivated as that offered by his colleagues, including JBS President John McManus. The Shadows of Power was replete with risible and inaccurate claims. His book describes the CFR as the Establishment’s “chief link” (p.5) to the US Government and credits it with having “exercised decisive impact on US policy” (p.7). That is, in itself, not that controversial having been detailed in Laurance Shoup and William Minter’s better documented study Imperial Brain Trust: The Council on Foreign Relations and United States Foreign Policy (1977). What distinguishes The Shadows of Power is Perloff’s innocent airing of “charges” that the CFR “holds two particularly unwholesome doctrines.”

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