David Petraeus moves to Wall Street

Gawker: David Petraeus’ road to redemption has reached its gilded destination. As we first reported in April, the disgraced former CIA director will join Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the private equity giant best known for “large debt-fueled corporate takeovers.”

How exactly does experience designing failed counter-insurgencies translate to an expertise in high finance? “As the world changes and we expand how and where we invest, we are always looking to sharpen the ‘KKR edge,’” cofounder and co-CEO Henry Kravis said of his new hire.

Petraeus will sharpen edges as chairman of the newly-formed KKR Global Institute, where his team will include Ken Mehlman, the former Bush campaign manager and onetime chairman of the Republican National Committee, who has been with KKR since 2008.

George Anders writes: Petraeus’s new job calls for him to get into the “thought leadership” business. As my colleague Halah Touryalai reports, his global institute is expected to address “macro-economic issues like the role of central banks in the world since the crisis, changes in public policy, and other areas where KKR has interests.”

In essence, KKR wants Petraeus, a former four-star general with a uniquely intellectual bent, to help establish the private-equity firm as a citadel of big-picture insights. That would be a welcome change for Kravis and Roberts, who doubtless have grown tired of endless allusions to “Barbarians at the Gate,” an archly titled account of KKR’s 1988 takeover battle for RJR Nabisco.

Blackstone has always had a bit of geopolitical cachet, thanks to founding partner Pete Peterson’s days as Commerce Secretary and his ongoing interest in fiscal policy and Social Security. Carlyle at one time had former President George H.W. Bush as an adviser, helping to buttress that firm’s image as deeply connected to the political realm. Now it’s KKR’s turn to try.

Such has become the nature of power in government: that “service to the nation” turns out to merely be a stepping stone to the advancement of self interest. Whatever Petraeus’ precise value to KKR turns out to be, he will be establishing himself within what has become a transnational system of governance in which representation is limited to the interests of shareholders and power can freely be exercised without democratic irritations like the need for accountability and transparency.

Right-wing nuts who arm themselves in fear of the creation of World Government don’t seem to have noticed that it’s already here — even if it’s more amorphous and less centrally organized than conspiracy theorists might imagine.

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