Power Sells Seychelles

Christen Corcoran

Many in this country are quite disturbed by the ongoing connections and possible corroboration between the Trump administration/campaign and other governments/corporations with questionable morality. From backdoor channels to the Russian oligarchy, to a very trusting relationship with the Abu Dhabi crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed, to creating a confidant in Erik Prince--the Trump family has kept close company with some of the richest figures on the international playing field. How can we understand the relationships Trump continues to foster and value globally?

Donald Trump is not a career politician, but he is a career member of the global capitalist class. He is not only wealthy, but uses that wealth to make himself a celebrity and a personal brand. He then cashed in that celebrity and economic status for political power by becoming the 45th President of the United States. Decisions he has made throughout his life have been made with the goal of becoming an accepted, fully, as a member of the global elite. This is an exertion of structural power.

Structural power is power that is stratified. Those with extreme money (capital) have access to resources and political power, and oftentimes use those capabilities to solidify structures to keep themselves as the “haves” of the international community. These individuals, even if they disagree with one another, will protect each other and the hierarchy of power in place. From their perspective, it is better for this extreme elite class to safeguard the status quo than it is to attack one another. They are scared if one card topples, then the whole tower will crash down with it, with every member of the elite being compromised. By protecting each other and the structures that be, they protect themselves.

At some point before Trump’s inauguration, there was a meeting in the Seychelles. The Seychelles is a nation in the Indian ocean which has positioned itself as a getaway, a safe haven, for the global elite. It where elite can go and meet in private, in secret.

In January of 2017, Erik Prince (asserting himself as a representative of Donald Trump), a Russian billionaire investment manager with close ties to the Kremlin, and a representative from the United Arab Emirates met in the Seychelles. At the very least, they spoke of their relationships vis a vis one another. While this may come as a surprise to the American public given the political history between these three nation states, if one were to analyze it from their personal ties to one another as members of the global elite, it begins to make more sense.

These individuals were not likely discussing the wellbeing of their respective nations: how to improve the human condition of their citizens. They were, however, far more likely to have spoken about their economic and political capabilities as individuals to help one another out. If these elite all have allies in one another, it makes the present structures of power even more powerful, which directly benefits them as individuals. This is an insurance policy. One that helps insure they stay on top of the mountain.

In light of the ongoing investigation of the relationship between Russia and Trump campaign, more and more of these closed door meetings have come to the surface, all with similar actors: extremely wealthy individuals seeking power. How they will use this power has been seen in Trump’s election, and moving forward we may see this play out in a variety of ways (i.e. keep your eyes on Iran).

Moving forward, it’s important that we look at ways to take away power from these elites. This will not be easy after all, they are writing and rewriting the rules to the game to suit them. This is not new, but it is getting worse. We are the first generation looking at a lower standard of living than our parents. If we want to change it, we need to first see, truly, what stands in our way. Our adversaries are not left vs right, but top down. Our adversaries to progress are not our neighbors but those on the tiny island of Seychelles, the elite, and their system of power.

(Published June 6, 2018)