Former New York Gov. George Pataki is joining a Cold War foundation to push national policy to end America's dependence on oil producers unfriendly to the United States.
The new direction for the American Security Council Foundation based in Washington will issue white papers and push business executives, opinion leaders and the public through media campaigns to boost America's energy independence protected by military might. Pataki said projects could include pushing for a transmission systems that could better take advantage of solar panel farms in the Southwest and wind farms in Plains.
He said the need for energy independence and military strength is as immediate as last week's frontpage headlines about Russian warships sailing into port in Venezuela as a show of strength to counter U.S. influence in Latin America. It was Russia's first such deployment in the Caribbean since the Cold War.
Venezuelan President "Hugo Chavez has been made to become the 21st century Castro, only with petro-dollars," Pataki told The Associated Press.
"He's a nightmare, not just for the United States' interest. He's become a nightmare for democratic forces throughout Latin America," Pataki said. "And he's being funded by us."
The foundation founded 50 years ago had its greatest influence during President Reagan's two terms and with the first Bush administration, during which the Berlin Wall was toppled. Now it seeks a new focus for its "peace through strength" mission.
Part of that will be Pataki's job. He will work with the board of retired generals to revive the foundation to restore its public voice and to try to provide input to the incoming Obama administration. Pataki, as it's unpaid co-chairman, will be involved in the reorganization that will include revising the investments by which the foundation is funded. For example, IRS records show the foundation has held investments in Chevron and Exxon Mobil.
"Our country is facing critical economic and security challenges and the American Security Council Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that America remains strong," said the foundation's chairman, retired Army Brig. Gen. Donald B. Smith. "We are proud to enlist the efforts of Governor Pataki who provided critical leadership both in the aftermath of the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001, and as an innovator on energy policy."
Pataki, 63, was seen as a possible presidential candidate in 2000 and 2008. He is also in private practice in the Manhattan law firm of Chadbourne & Parke. He left Albany in 2006 after his third term as governor.