Quincy Institute: A Think Tank Dedicated to Peace and Restraint

Originally appeared on The American Conservative.

Stephen Kinzer comments on the creation of a new think tank, The Quincy Institute, committed to promoting a foreign policy of restraint and non-interventionism:

Since peaceful foreign policy was a founding principle of the United States, it’s appropriate that the name of this think tank harken back to history. It will be called the Quincy Institute, an homage to John Quincy Adams, who in a seminal speech on Independence Day in 1821 declared that the United States “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.” The Quincy Institute will promote a foreign policy based on that live-and-let-live principle.

The creation of a think tank dedicated to “an approach to the world based on diplomacy and restraint rather than threats, sanctions, and bombing” is very welcome news. Other than the Cato Institute, there has been nothing like this in Washington, and this tank’s focus will be entirely on foreign policy. The lack of institutional support has put advocates of peace and restraint at a disadvantage for a very long time, so it is encouraging to see that there is an effort underway to change that. The Quincy Institute represents another example of how antiwar progressives and conservatives can and should work together to change U.S. foreign policy for the better. The coalition opposed to the war on Yemen showed what Americans opposed to illegal and unnecessary war can do when they work towards a shared goal of peace and non-intervention, and this institute promises to be an important part of such efforts in the future. Considering how long the US has been waging war without end, there couldn’t be a better time for this.

TAC readers and especially readers of this blog will be familiar with the people involved in creating the think tank:

The institute plans to open its doors in September and hold an official inauguration later in the autumn. Its founding donors – Soros’s Open Society Foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation – have each contributed half a million dollars to fund its takeoff. A handful of individual donors have joined to add another $800,000. By next year the institute hopes to have a $3.5 million budget and a staff of policy experts who will churn out material for use in Congress and in public debates. Hiring is underway. Among Parsi’s co-founders are several well-known critics of American foreign policy, including Suzanne DiMaggio, who has spent decades promoting negotiated alternatives to conflict with China, Iran and North Korea; the historian and essayist Stephen Wertheim; and the anti-militarist author and retired Army colonel Andrew Bacevich.

“The Quincy Institute will invite both progressives and anti-interventionist conservatives to consider a new, less militarized approach to policy,” Bacevich said, when asked why he signed up. “We oppose endless, counterproductive war. We want to restore the pursuit of peace to the nation’s foreign policy agenda.”

Trita Parsi and Andrew Bacevich are both TAC contributors and have participated in our foreign policy conferences in recent years. Parsi and I were on the same panel last fall at our most recent conference. I have also cited and learned from arguments made by Suzanne DiMaggio and Stephen Wertheim in my posts here. Their involvement is a very good sign, and it shows both the political breadth and intellectual depth of this new institution. I look forward to seeing what they do, and I wish them luck.

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter. This article is reprinted from The American Conservative with permission.

13 thoughts on “Quincy Institute: A Think Tank Dedicated to Peace and Restraint”

  1. A peace institute? Who the Hell is going to grant money to that ? Certainly not Sheldon Adelson or AIPAC.

    1. Cracked me up that between these two mega billionaires, this initiative is so serious that their foundations donated $500K apiece. That’s like me donating $1.58 in loose change. Tax writeoff, too, no doubt.

  2. “The Quincy Institute will invite both progressives and anti-interventionist conservatives to consider a new, less militarized approach to policy.”

    Ummm… most “progressives” voted for a hyper-militaristic candidate in the last presidential election.

    1. And the guy you apparently voted for hired John Bolton as his National Security Adviser and gave him a long leash. Along with declaring a fake “emergency” circumventing Congresssional oversight to try to sell arms to his personal friends, the Saudi royal family. Sounds like a real “conservative” to me.

  3. Very disappointed to see Bacevich as part of this organization. Parsi of course, got mega funding from NED, was all for ‘targeted sanctions’ and interference in Iran. Says a lot about the new organization.

  4. So how did Koch and Soros join force when he had this to say: “Koch disdains “big government” and the “political class.”[19] He believes billionaires Warren Buffett and George Soros, who fund organizations with different ideologies, “simply haven’t been sufficiently exposed to the ideas of liberty.”[19] Koch claimed “prosperity is under attack” by the Obama administration and sought to warn “of policies that threaten to erode our economic freedom and transfer vast sums of money to the state.”[32]

  5. This new institute is to be welcome, promoting ‘diplomacy and restraint rather than threats, sanctions, and bombing’. The biggest challenge is finding a way to avoid world war three. There is much talk of a New Cold War. Unfortunately that period 1948-1991 was the peace, a post-world war environment: we are now in a pre-world war environment.
    There have long periods of peace (or relative peace) throughout history. The Thirty Years Peace between the two Peloponnesian Wars, Pax Romana, Europe in the 19th century after the Congress of Vienna, to name a few. The Congress System finally collapsed in 1914 with the start of World War One. That conflict was followed by the League of Nations. It did not stop World War Two. That was followed by the United Nations and other post-war institutions. But all the indications are they will not prevent a third world war. A catastrophic global confrontation between the major nuclear powers will find one of those nations facing existential threat, having to resort to the fall-back position of deterrence doctrine – annihilation – because there is always the scenario where nuclear weapons will be used. For forty years leaders were able to avoid stepping over the precipice into the abyss because they could see it.

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