NED welcomes Congressman Joaquin Castro, Dr. Amaney A. Jamal, and Senator Todd Young to Board of Directors. [Source:]

New Appointees Picked to Pursue Same Imperialist Goal of Fomenting Disruption and Regime Change in Countries that Won’t Toe U.S. Line

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is an innocently named, “wolf-in-sheep’s clothing” offshoot of the CIA that funds dissident foreign organizations and media trying to overthrow their own governments in countries targeted by the U.S. for regime change.

In February, the NED announced as new board members Democratic Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro, Indiana Republican Senator Todd Young, and Princeton University Dean Amaney A. Jamal.

But the new members will eagerly follow the old CIA playbook, which is precisely why they were appointed.

Castro’s selection is a particularly clever one, the perfect choice to cloak the NED with a progressive veneer since he is known for opposing Donald Trump’s immigration policy and supporting the rights of Mexicans living in the U.S. as a six-term congressman from San Antonio, where he also founded a large literacy campaign and book drive.

Paradoxically, Castro is a gung-ho supporter of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which led to mass migration from Mexico because the loosening of trade restrictions allowed for cheap U.S. imports into Mexico that destroyed its agricultural sector.

Democratic Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro. [Source:]

In December 2020, Castro narrowly lost in a bid to become chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

He was endorsed by 50 progressive organizations, including the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats, who believed that Castro “demonstrated a strong commitment to bringing a diversity of voices into discussions on foreign policy” and “embodied a progressive vision for the U.S. in the world which prioritized diplomacy and multilateralism over militarism.”

Castro indeed spoke out against U.S. sanctions on Iran and called to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. However, he has also endorsed a near trillion-dollar military budget enshrined in the 2022 NDAA and advanced disinformation in support of a U.S. regime change operation in Syria by claiming that the Bashar al-Assad government had carried out a chemical gas attack in Douma.

Castro further praised the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as “the single most important military alliance that has set the foundation for national security in the last 70 years,” and adopted a hawkish stance on Ukraine, calling for extending the Russia sanctions to the social and cultural realm by “making sure that sporting organizations and other American organizations [and] international organizations aren’t doing any kind of business or work in Russia.”

Joaquin Castro is a regular guest and guest host on MSNBC. [Source:]

In a statement on his website, Castro remarked: “The world must send a powerful message that Vladimir Putin’s brutality against Ukraine has left Russia isolated on the international stage. I applaud the important steps that the International Olympic Committee, FIFA, Eurovision, and other groups have taken to bar Russia from participating in their events, but the people of Ukraine deserve a coordinated response. I strongly urge the Biden administration to work with our allies to stop international sporting and cultural revenues and accolades from flowing to Russia. Putin’s criminal regime must continue to pay a high price for the invasion of Ukraine.”

This statement must have attracted the notice of the NED, which has enthusiastically supported the war in Ukraine and provided extensive support to civil society groups in Russia opposing Vladimir Putin.

An archived webpage from February 25, 2022, since deleted, showed that the NED granted $22,394,281 in the form of 334 awards to Ukraine between 2014 and that date.


This aid was crucial in supporting the 2014 Maidan coup that toppled pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych and set the groundwork for the war that followed.

In Castro’s view of events, “Russia’s unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine” was the “culmination of a pattern of aggression against its neighbors, including the agitation of separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea in 2014, and a war against Georgia in 2008.”

CAM has amply documented, however, that Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine was triggered when Ukraine stepped up military attacks on eastern Ukraine, whose people voted for greater regional autonomy following the 2014 U.S. backed coup, and that U.S. provocations were part of a geopolitical scheme to bog down Russia in a quagmire, bankrupt its economy and cause civil unrest that would lead to the overthrow of Vladimir Putin.

Russia also was never an aggressor in Georgia—an EU investigation determined that Georgia had provoked the 2008 conflict after the U.S. sponsored a color revolution that brought to power neo-conservative Mikheil Saakashvili, who launched an indiscriminate assault on South Ossetia.

Castro is ignorant of the true causes of the Georgia war, reflexively blaming Russia, which is what the CIA wants everyone to believe. [Source:]

Rockefeller’s Man on China

Castro’s wrong-headed views about Russia run parallel with his outlook toward China. In June 2021, he sponsored legislation that was designed to monitor and address China’s alleged censorship and intimidation strategies affecting Americans and American businesses.

Castro claimed in a statement that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was “weaponizing access to its domestic economy to restrict the ability of Americans to freely express themselves. From Hollywood and the National Basketball Association to U.S. hotels and airlines, China’s bullying of Americans with intimidation and censorship is unacceptable and must be held accountable.”

However, Americans were the ones bullying China when they a) encircled it militarily, b) armed its historic adversary, Taiwan, to the teeth and sent Special Forces there, c) denounced China in international forums, and d) blamed China unfairly for starting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Castro’s remarks fit with a Sinophobic discourse—prevalent as much among Democrats as Republicans—lending support for a further ramping up of the U.S. military presence in Southeast Asia and which have caused a spike in domestic hate crimes against Asian-Americans.

Evidence of Castro’s close alignment with the interests of the CIA was apparent in his being hosted by the Asia Society in October 2018.

The Asia Society is a CIA-front organization that promotes U.S. imperial intervention in the Asia-Pacific, often through soft power. Castro was introduced at his talk by Charles Rockefeller, whose oil-stained family helped found the Asia Society years earlier.

Charles Rockefeller
Charles Rockefeller [Source:]

After he took to the podium, Castro thanked the Rockefeller family for their years of philanthropy and support for the Asia Society, which he said had helped “forge important alliances for the U.S. in Asia.”

These alliances included some of the region’s most sordid dictatorships (Suharto, Marcos, Rhee, Diem, Thieu-Ky), which provided the Rockefeller family with huge oil revenues, though Castro of course left this out.

Castro advocated a “compete, not cheat” strategy toward China, insinuating like Donald Trump and Joe Biden that China was the one cheating.

However, the U.S. was the country that engaged in currency manipulation of the Chinese renminbi by pressuring for its devaluation, and which spied on and tried to sabotage Chinese companies, like telecommunications giant Huawei, whose CEO was arrested in Vancouver under fraudulent pretexts.[1]

Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested under fraudulent pretexts as part of the U.S. economic war on China that Castro supports. [Source:]

Castro said that he supported U.S. policing of the South China Sea to counter alleged Chinese aggression over strategic islands, to which China actually had a legitimate historical claim.

According to Castro, countries like Vietnam looked to the U.S. to secure freedom of navigation on the South China Sea—forgetting the history of the Vietnam War and the fact that the sea was called South China and not United States sea.

At the end of his talk, Castro advocated for robust U.S. global leadership in standing up to autocracy and promoting human rights, stating that, while the U.S. “couldn’t fight every battle, there were ‘humanitarian crises’ that called to us and where we should act where we can.”

These views correlate well with the NED’s mission, which is to publicize human rights abuses in countries that the U.S. targets for regime change and to help lay the groundwork for military intervention, color revolutions and coup d’états that are rationalized on “humanitarian grounds.”

Is that a gift? Illustration: Liu Rui/Global Times

Following in the Footsteps of an NED Luminary

Todd Young, a Republican Senator from Indiana since 2017, is another appropriate choice to join the NED’s board because of his bellicose position toward China and expertise in the transition from centrally planned economies to free markets in Eastern Europe—which the NED has long supported.[2]

A person in a suit and tie

Description automatically generated with medium confidence
Todd Young [Source:]

Young, after working for The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, became in 2001 an aide to Richard Lugar (D-IN), a member of the NED’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2001. The keynote speaker at the 1972 Republican National Convention which re-nominated Richard Nixon for president, Lugar helped the NED to establish the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA), promoting “independent media” in foreign countries that advanced the U.S. line on foreign affairs.

In 2001, Lugar, who had a background in Navy intelligence and was a staunch supporter of free-trade agreements that harmed American workers, was awarded the NED’s Democracy Service Medal for his lifelong contribution to the “cause of democracy and human freedom.” 

Photo of Senator Richard G. Lugar (1932 - 2019)
Senator Richard G. Lugar [Source:]

Between 1985-1987 and 2003-2007, Lugar served as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he provided a “reliable vote for President Bush on the Iraq War,” the greatest foreign policy disaster of the last generation.

Young followed his mentor by supporting more foreign policy disasters, endorsing the provision of billions of dollars of U.S. military aid to Ukraine, the ratcheting up of sanctions directed against Russia, and escalation of military provocations directed at China.

On February 8, 2023, Young promoted a bill with Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) to strengthen U.S. diplomatic efforts to end the conflict between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Tibet.

While noble in theory, the bill was deceptive in suggesting that the PRC was the aggressor, when historically the CIA had supported the rebellion of the Tibetan lamas in order to destabilize China.

Young was generally a proponent of an aggressive U.S. foreign policy approach to China, stating that “helping Taiwan shore up its defenses to thwart the Chinese Communist Party’s ambitions must be a top U.S. national security priority.”

This accords well with the ideological vision of the NED which has worked for decades to support right-wing anti-communist dissidents within China, and has had “an enduring and profound relationship with Taiwan,” to quote NED President Damon Wilson, when the UN considers Taiwan to be part of the Chinese mainland.[3]

NED President Damon Wilson with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in March 2022. [Source:]

Ties Between the CIA and Academia

The appointment of Dr. Amaney Jamal, the dean of Princeton’s prestigious School of Public and International Affairs, embodies the long-standing link between Ivy League academics and the NED.

Amaney Jamal [Source:]

At the NED’s inaugural conference, Harvard Professor and former National Security Council (NSC) staffer Samuel Huntington spoke about a new “third wave of democracy,” that he said the U.S. was in a strong position to try to advance.

A person wearing glasses

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Samuel P. Huntington [Source:]

The daughter of Palestinian immigrants who obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2003, Amaney Jamal is an acolyte of Huntington. Her book, Of Citizens and Empires: Pro-American Democracy or No Democracy at All? (Princeton University Press, 2012) tries to analyze how and why Huntington’s esteemed “third wave” did not extend to the Middle East in the 1990s and 2000s, focusing considerably on how anti-American sentiments undermined democratic development and hampered U.S. democracy promotion efforts because the U.S. feared bringing anti-American groups to power if there were genuine democracy.

Of Empires and Citizens: Pro-American Democracy or No Democracy at All? -  Kindle edition by Jamal, Amaney A.. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle  eBooks @

While there is some merit to her argument, Jamal’s book does not address in any depth the damaging effects of U.S. imperial intervention. She considers U.S. democracy promotion efforts as sincere around the world and neglects U.S. support for Islamists in Afghanistan, Syria and elsewhere. She also gives weight to the view of those who believe that U.S. hegemony is essential in bringing international investment, security and economic development, confining her study primarily to Jordan and Kuwait where people are most likely to hold this latter view.

Jamal furthermore can be seen as adopting an ethnocentric framework in the assumption that the money-saturated U.S.-style political democracy is the highest form of political development. The book fails in turn to shed light on indigenous Arab political traditions that might well be effectively reinvigorated.

Jamal’s academic framework, however, accords with that of the NED in striving to promote the American political model in the Middle East—whether the people of the region want it or not—and in her assumption that that model is good for everyone.

As a bonus, the NED gets the first Arab-American woman on its board who has written studies on the discrimination of Arab-Americans after 9/11 and could make future inroads in the Middle East.

She and Castro help to give the NED a progressive veneer by presenting a diverse face to the public. But that diversity is mostly superficial because Jamal’s and Castro’s worldview reinforces that of the white men who have traditionally managed and run the U.S. Empire.

  1. See William F. Engdahl, Target China: How Washington and Wall Street Plan to Cage the Asian Dragon (Progressive Press, 2014); A.B. Abrams, China and America’s Tech War: From AI to 5G: The Struggle to Shape the Future of World Order (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2022).

  2. Young served as a Congressman from 2011-2017.

  3. In August 2022, the spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “The policy of the United Nations on [the Taiwan issue] is that we are guided by General Assembly Resolution 2758 from 1971 on one-China,” which expelled the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek from the UN. Chiang Kai-shek had established a dictatorship in Taiwan, with U.S. backing, after he fled China following the defeat of the Guomindang in China’s civil war in 1949. For the previous four years, Taiwan had been restored to Chinese sovereignty after a long period of occupation by the Japanese.

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About the Author


  1. Further to my previous comment, although I was not able to verify the precise amount that NED gives to Ukraine, after doing some additional research, I came to the conclusion that NED gives a “substantially large amount of money” to Ukraine I am not giving an opinion as to whether this is right or wrong. I am just reporting my conclusion.

  2. When I checked the web site for National Endowment for Democracy I was only able to find data for many countries for the year 2021 as shown in the link below:

    Ukraine data was found in the region labeled EUROPE REGIONAL 2021 which includes several European countries all grouped together. In this group I found the following grant related to Ukraine:

    Promoting Security Reforms in Ukraine and Moldova
    Public Summary: To promote reforms in the security sector in Ukraine and Moldova. The organization will convene virtual and in-person high-level meetings between EU and national policymakers, experts, and civil society activists. It will publish a policy paper to outline how EU policy shifts can strengthen Moldovan and Ukrainian resiliency to hybrid threats, disinformation and propaganda. It will also develop individual road maps for Ukraine and Moldova with specific policy recommendations.

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