Alex Abella

RAND’s Empire


Alex Abella, reporter, screenwriter and author of Soldiers of Reason: The RAND Corporation and the American Empire, discusses the origin and mission of the RAND Corporation, his access to the RAND archives in order to research its history, well known public figures that were once a part of RAND, how RAND brings its ideas into the attention of public policy officials, how instrumental RAND has been in formulating U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War, the foundation of rational choice theory in public policy, the problems with RAND’s studies on the Soviet Union’s nuclear and military forces, RAND’s effect on John F. Kennedy’s administration, RAND’s undermining of the policy of détente, the links between RAND, Ahmed Chalabi, and the Iraq War, Leo Strauss, the Project for the New American Century, and the culture at the RAND Corporation.

MP3 here. (15:52)

Alex Abella is a New York Times Notable Book author, Emmy-nominated TV reporter and screenwriter. He is the author of his new book, Soldiers of Reason: The RAND Corporation and the American Empire. Abella’s non-fiction work includes Shadow Enemies, a non-fiction account of a plot by Adolf Hitler to start a wave of terror and destruction in the United States. Abella’s other writings include a legal thriller, The Killing of the Saints, featuring a Cuban-American hero, Charlie Morell, who’s a lawyer and private investigator. The novel, published by Crown in 1991, was a New York Times Notable Book. Paramount Pictures optioned The Killing of the Saints and commissioned Alex to write the screenplay. Alex’s second novel, The Great American, was published by Simon & Schuster in 1997. The Great American recounts the true adventures of William Morgan, a U.S. Marine who fought in the mountains of Cuba with Fidel Castro. The sequels to The Killing of the Saints, Dead of Night and Final Acts, were published in quick succession. The trilogy has won praise from critics and prominent writers such as Michael Connelly, T. Jefferson Parker and Robert Ferrigno.

3 thoughts on “Alex Abella”

  1. Another nice book on the same theme that is currently sitting on my shelf while I try to bring home the bacon is:

    “Blind Oracles: Intellectuals and War from Kennan to Kissinger”

    It’s heavy going, so read it on the beach while you are alone.

  2. Hello? Eisenhower, in The Power Elite, was used as the original example of a leader coming out of this military-industrial-educational complex. (Most people edit out the educational part!) Did the RAND Corporation also sell us the idea of a Jewish state, by any chance? Tell the truth, were these charming think tank people mostly Jewish Zionists? Didn’t they create a Jewish Zionist Empire?

  3. Just to set the record straight: Eisenhower said “military-industrial-Congressional” complex. His advisers made him take it out. And the rest, as they say, is …the last half of twenthieth century history.

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