Game of Thrones 2016: Are we to see Bush-Clinton dynasties battle?

John Wight
John Wight has written for newspapers and websites across the world, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal. He is also a regular commentator on RT and BBC Radio. John is currently working on a book exploring the role of the West in the Arab Spring. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnWight1
Former President George Bush, facing camera, is hugged by his son Jeb November 6 at the formal opening of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum (Reuters)
The 2016 US Presidential vote is shaping up to be a contest between Hillary Clinton, Democrat and Jeb Bush, Republican – which is further evidence of the soap opera that is US democracy, replete with comedy, farce, and intrigues of dynastic rule.

Both dynasties are drenched in blood and both symbolize the role of money, patronage, and elite Ivy League universities when it comes to the distribution of economic and political power in the land of the free.

Hillary Clinton, ex US Secretary of State and wife of former two-term president Bill Clinton, is intent on being the first female to occupy the White House. She is renowned as a tough, intelligent cookie with a strong attachment to US global hegemony and the expansion of NATO.In other words she’s a hawk.

Jeb Bush, meanwhile, carries with him the reputation of being smarter than his elder brother, George W (or ‘Dubya’), who as with Bill Clinton served two terms as the nation’s leader, leaving a trail of mayhem and destruction behind him in the process. He is most famous for his abuse of the English language, spouting malapropisms and non sequiturs with the same reckless abandon he tore up Afghanistan and Iraq.

When it comes to Bill Clinton, the man George W replaced after a bitterly contested 2000 election against Al Gore – a result which by the way hinged on his brother Jeb arranging for black voters to be stricken from the voter rolls in Florida, where the younger Bush sibling was governor at the time – he was no slouch either when it came to asserting US interests with Cruise missiles. Clinton was at the helm during America’s participation in the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, during which an air war was unleashed on the Serbs in 1999, which killed some 500 civilians. He also ordered a missile attack on a baby milk factory in the Sudan – a perfect example of the exercise of US imperial if ever there was one.

The Bush dynasty goes back much further. It begins with the emergence of Samuel Prescott Bush through the elite environs of Yale University in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century to become prominent with the then Rockefeller-dominated US steel industry. During the First World War he was in charge of handing out government contracts to arms and ammunition suppliers, a position combining political and economic clout.

His son, Prescott Bush, served with the US Army in the First World War, after which he married the daughter of George Herbert Walker, who was prominent in banking and business. Bush went to work for his father in law, who in the mid-1920s made him vice-president of W. A. Harriman & Company. This is where the story gets interesting.

Former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush (Reuters / Mario Anzuoni)

W. A. Harriman & Company was a key investor in German industry by the late 1920s, particularly in steel, forming a partnership with German industrialist Fritz Thyssen. Fritz Thyssen was also one of the Nazi Party’s most prominent supporters and financial backers throughout its rise to power in 1933, when Hitler was made German Chancellor.

In the ever-murkier world of US corporate and business ties to the Nazi regime, Prescott Bush was an important player in the German Steel Trust, which emerged as a result of the partnership between W. A. Harriman and Fritz Thyssen. In fact, it was such a close business partnership that when Hitler made himself dictator of Germany they moved to establish credit for the Nazi regime, using the Dutch bank, BHS, which they had also founded. This bank was the registered owner of the Union Banking Corporation in the US, in which Prescott Bush was a major shareholder, and which according to primary sources helped finance Germany’s armaments industry under the Nazi dictator.

George H. W. Bush, the first Bush President of the United States, also came up via Yale University and like his father was a member of its elite Skull and Bones Society, which counts among its alumni a who’s who of past and present prominent US businessmen, politicians, and establishment figures.

George Bush Senior also saw action as a navy pilot during the Second World War. After the War, and after graduating from Yale, he moved to Texas, where he formed his own oil company (as you do).He entered politics soon thereafter, though it wasn’t until 1966 that he got elected to Congress. From 1976 to 1977 he served as the Director of the CIA. He then went on to serve as Ronald Regan’s vice president, before taking over as president in 1989 and serving one term, losing out to a young Bill Clinton in 1992.

The Clinton dynasty may not involve as much intrigue, but it is every bit as sordid. As we have seen it begins with Bill, who in the sixties was a Rhodes Scholar student to Britain’s prestigious Oxford University, where he sat out the Vietnam War. In this he has something in common with George W. Bush, who likewise arranged an opt out of serving in Vietnam, using family connections to secure the role as pilot with the Texas Air National Guard, which provided him with an exemption from being drafted overseas.

Here, then, we have two political dynasties that have been at the forefront of US politics for the past three decades. Bush-Clinton, Clinton-Bush - it almost feels like we’re on a carousel unable to get off, what with the extent to which both families have dominated US politics in modern times.

Get set for the latest chapter in 2016.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.