Friday, February 12, 2016

Could Falling Oil Prices Collapse a Think Tank?

Rapidly falling oil prices are having a ripple effect across the globe, and US think tanks are not immune to the dramatic drop in prices.

Here is an example from the Free Beacon of how oil prices are impacting the venerable think tank Brookings Institution:
The Brookings Institution will not hold its annual Doha energy conference this year amid reports that Qatar and other petroleum-rich countries are cutting spending due to the global oil market collapse.
Brookings, a Washington-based think tank that received nearly $4 million from the Qatar government in 2015, according to disclosure reports, declined to give a reason for why the conference is not being held this year.
“Unfortunately the [Brookings Doha Center] will not be organizing an energy forum in 2016,” said Kais Sharif, program and events manager for the Brookings Doha Center. “However, we are very optimistic that our next forum will take place in March/April 2017 and we will start planning for it in fall.”

The article also notes that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia - two prolific think tank funders - are also planning to tighten their belts due to low oil prices.

Among other think tanks, the UAE gives funding to Atlantic Council, as well as the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Center for American Progress (CAP), and Aspen Institute.

In 2014, the New York Times wrote a piece on foreign governments funding US think  thinks tanks, with a particular focus on Brookings and the funding it receives from Middle East countries.

The good news is that very few think tank rely solely on oil companies or oil-producing countries for funding.  But will oil companies like Exxon continue to throw big money at think tanks?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Think Tank Third Way Hates Sanders, Loves Clinton

The center-left think tank Third Way and its scholars do not have nice things to say to Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Just check out some of the recent tweets:






And in an apparent nod to Hillary Clinton, Third Way retweeted this:

Can you guess which side Third Way is on?

But that should be no surprise.  Third Way has a number of Clinton connections.  For example, Third Way co-founder Matt Bennett worked on both of the presidential campaigns of Bill Clinton.

Even though Third Way is careful to label itself simply as a "centrist" think tank, it is widely known that Third Way is first and foremost a Democratic think tank.  Some have labeled it the "Wall Street Wing of the Democratic Party."

In 2013, Third Way sparked at war in the Democratic Party when President Jon Cowan and Senior Vice President for Policy Jim Kessler wrote an op-ed arguing that the Democratic Party should not embrace the economic populism of people such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).


Update: The Union for Non-Profit Workers, the DC-based local union of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) has endorsed Bernie Sanders for president.  The Clinton-backed think tank Center for American Progress (CAP) has just unionized with IFPTE, probably making for some awkward political battles within the think tank.

PIIE Bashes Tufts for Its Competing Trade Study

The pro-traders at Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) do not seem to like competition when it comes to free trade studies.

In a blog post, PIIE scholar Robert Lawrence defended his think tank's recent study on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), arguing that it is far superior than a Tufts University study on TPP that was just released but had very different findings.

Lawrence argues that the Tufts study, which estimates that TPP would reduce US income by 0.5%, reduce employment by almost half a million jobs, and increase income inequality, has faulty methodology.  Among other things, the PIIE study predicts that TPP would raise real incomes 0.5% by 2030.

Scholar Jared Bernstein, a former top economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden and Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBBP), defended the Tufts study at the National Press Club.

The PIIE study, entitled "The Economic Effects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership: New Estimates," was written by Peter Petri and Michael Plummer.  The Tufts study, entitled "Trading Down: Unemployment, Inequality and Other Risks of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement," was written by Jeronim Capaldo and Alex Izurieta, with Jomo Kwame Sundaram.

The Tufts study cites a couple of PIIE studies in its reference section, and likewise, the PIIE study cites a couple of Tufts studies, including the most recent one.

Lawrence has been a Nonresident Senior Fellow at PIIE since 2001, and is the Albert L. Williams Professor of Trade and Investment at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Think Tank Watch is not taking sides, but we predict that both of the predictions in the study will be wrong.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Think Tank Quickies (#205)

  • German think tank (Friedrich Naumann Foundation) pulling out of Egypt over restrictions.
  • Peterson Institute (PIIE) releases new book on moral conflicts of globalization.
  • CSIS launches Task Force on Women's and Family Health.
  • Andrew Taylor, Executive Chairman of Enterprise Holdings, joins CSIS Board of Trustees.
  • Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Michael Fuchs joins CAP as Senior Fellow.
  • Former broadcast journalist Michael Golden joins CAP as Senior Fellow; Paul Verkuil, 10th Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the US, joins CAP as Senior Fellow.
  • James Murdoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox, joins CNAS Board of Directors; selects 9 new members to Board of Advisors
  • CNAS announces NextWare Cyber Collaboration Toolkit.
  • Joshua Kurlantzick of CFR: Stop being so mean to China.
  • President of AEI Arthur Brooks: Do more corpse meditation
  • Think tanks and influence by Anna Longhini. 
  • Stephen Cook on the charitable status of some think tanks.
  • More think tanks setting up base in India.
  • How professional translation can help think tanks have a global impact.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Chocolate Milk-Gate & How Not to Roll Out a Think Tank Study

For those thinks tanks who are about to release an important study this year, we only have one piece of advice for you: Do not follow in the footsteps of the University of Maryland.  Here is more from the Washington Post:

The bulletin atop a University of Maryland news release was provocative: “Concussion-related measures improved in high school football players who drank new chocolate milk, U-Md. study shows.”
But an update posted below that finding in late December added a backpedaling caveat rarely seen from a major research university: “This press release refers to study results that are preliminary and have not been subjected to the peer review scientific process.”
The December news release touting a beverage called Fifth Quarter Fresh has become a significant embarrassment in College Park as officials scramble to learn how and why it was published prematurely. The beverage is produced by a small western Maryland company that helped fund the study, through a program based at U-Md. that connects businesses with universities for product-development research.

Universities and think tanks receive corporate funding all the time (including money for corporate-sponsored research), but chocolate milk being good for concussions?  Really?!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Meet the US's Top 25 Think Tanks in 2016

The following is from the just-released University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings:
  1. Brookings Institution
  2. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP)
  3. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  4. Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)
  5. Wilson Center
  6. Cato Institute 
  7. RAND Corporation
  8. Heritage Foundation
  9. Center for American Progress (CAP)
  10. National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
  11. Pew Research Center
  12. American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
  13. Center for a New American Security (CNAS)
  14. Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE)
  15. World Resources Institute (WRI)
  16. Atlantic Council
  17. Urban Institute
  18. James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy
  19. Hoover Institution
  20. Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
  21. Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
  22. US Institute of Peace (USIP)
  23. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBBP)
  24. Stimson Center
  25. Center for International Development (CID) 

The 2016 think tank rankings "cheat sheet" can be found here.

Meet the Top 25 Think Tanks in the World in 2016

The following rankings are from the University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings which have just been released.
  1. Brookings
  2. Chatham House
  3. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP)
  4. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  5. Bruegel
  6. Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)
  7. International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)
  8. RAND Corporation
  9. Wilson Center
  10. Amnesty International
  11. Cato Institute
  12. Heritage Foundation
  13. Fundacao Getulio Vargas (FGV)
  14. Transparency International (TI)
  15. Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA)
  16. French Institute of International Relations (IFRI)
  17. Fraser Institute
  18. German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP)
  19. Center for American Progress (CAP)
  20. Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE)
  21. Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)
  22. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
  23. Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
  24. Carnegie Moscow Russia
  25. Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) 

Here is Think Tank Watch's "cheat sheet" for the 2016 think tank rankings.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

2016 Think Tank Rankings - Cheat Sheet

The University of Pennsylvania has just released its annual think tank rankings list - the 9th version of its extensive rankings of the world's think tanks.  As always, it is no surprise that Brookings remains the world's #1 think tank.

Following are the top think tanks in many of the major categories.

Top Think Tanks Worldwide (US & Non-US):
  1. Brookings
  2. Chatham House
  3. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP)
  4. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  5. Bruegel
  6. Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)
  7. International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)
  8. RAND Corporation
  9. Wilson Center
  10. Amnesty International

Top Think Tanks in the United States:
  1. Brookings
  2. CEIP
  3. CSIS
  4. CFR
  5. Wilson Center
  6. Cato Institute
  7. RAND Corporation
  8. Heritage Foundation
  9. Center for American Progress (CAP)
  10. National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Top Think Tanks in Sub-Saharan Africa
  1. Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA)
  2. IMANI Center for Policy and Education
  3. Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA)
  4. Botswana Institute for Development Analysis (BIDPA)
  5. African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)

Top Think Tanks in Mexico and Canada:
  1. Fraser Institute
  2. Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales (COMEX)
  3. Fundar, Centro de Analisis e Investigacion
  4. C.D. Howe Institute
  5. Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)

Top Think Tanks in Central and South America:
  1. Fundacao Getulio Vargas (FGV)
  2. Comision Economica para America Latina (CEPAL)
  3. Fundacion para la Educacion Superior y el Sesarrollo
  4. Centro Brasileiro de Relacoes Internacionais (CEBRI)
  5. Consejo Argentino para las Relaciones Internacionales (CARI)

Top Think Tanks in Central Asia:
  1. Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  2. Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies (KazISS)
  3. Caucasus Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development (CIPDD)
  4. Armat Center for the Development of Democracy and Civil Society
  5. Caucasus Research Resource Center

Top Think Tanks in China, India, Japan and Korea:
  1. Korea Development Institute (KDI)
  2. Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA)
  3. Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  4. China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR)
  5. Asia Forum Japan (AFJ)

Top Think Tanks in Southeast Asia and the Pacific:
  1. Australian Institute for International Affairs (AIIA)
  2. Centre for Strategic Studies (CSS)
  3. Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  4. Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS)
  5. Lowy Institute for International Policy

Top Think Tanks in Central and Eastern Europe:
  1. Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM)
  2. Carnegie Moscow Center
  3. Center for Social and Economic Research (CASE)
  4. Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO)
  5. Razumkov Centre

Top Think Tanks in Western Europe:
  1. Chatham House
  2. Bruegel
  3. French Institute of International Relations (IFRI)
  4. Amnesty International
  5. Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

Top Think Tanks in Middle East and North Africa (MENA):
  1. Carnegie Middle East Center
  2. Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS)
  3. Brookings Doha Center
  4. Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  5. Al Jazeera Centre for Studies (AJCS) 

Top Defense and National Security Think Tanks:
  1. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  2. International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)
  3. RAND Corporation
  4. Brookings
  5. Chatham House

Top Domestic Economic Policy Think Tanks:
  1. Brookings
  2. NBER
  3. Adam Smith Institute (ASI)
  4. Cato Institute
  5. Peterson Institute for International Economics

Top International Economics Think Tanks:
  1. Peterson Institute for International Economics
  2. Bruegel
  3. Brookings
  4. NBER
  5. Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)

Top Education Policy Think Tanks:
  1. Urban Institute
  2. Brookings
  3. Cato Institute
  4. National Institute for Educational Policy Research (NIER)
  5. RAND Corporation

Top Energy and Resource Policy Think Tanks:
  1. Institute of Energy Economics (IEEJ)
  2. James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy
  3. World Resources Institute (WRI)
  4. Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES)
  5. Center for Science of Environment, Resources and Energy

Top Environment Policy Think Tanks:
  1. World Resources Institute (WRI)
  2. Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)
  3. Worldwatch Institute
  4. Brookings
  5. Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)

Top Foreign Policy and International Affairs Think Tanks:
  1. Chatham House
  2. Brookings
  3. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP)
  4. Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)
  5. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) 

Top Domestic Health Policy Think Tanks:
  1. Cambridge Centre for Health Services Research (CCHSR)
  2. Bloomberg School of Public Health Research Centers (JHSPH)
  3. RAND Corporation
  4. Brookings
  5. Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy (KPIHP)

Top Global Health Policy Think Tanks:
  1. Cambridge Centre for Health Services Research
  2. Bloomberg School of Public Health Research Centers
  3. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  4. Brookings
  5. RAND Corporation

Top International Development Think Tanks:
  1. Brookings
  2. Chatham House
  3. Korea Development Institute (KDI)
  4. Wilson Center
  5. Center for International Development (CID)

Top Science and Technology Think Tanks:
  1. Max Planck Institutes
  2. Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF)
  3. Center for Development Research (ZEF)
  4. Battelle Memorial Institute
  5. Institute for Future Engineering (IFENG)

Top Social Policy Think Tanks:
  1. Urban Institute
  2. Brookings
  3. Fraser Institute
  4. Center for Social and Economic Research (CASE)
  5. RAND Corporation

Best For-Profit Think Tanks:
  1. McKinsey Global Institute (MGI)
  2. Deutsche Bank Research
  3. Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)
  4. Oxford Analytica
  5. Nomura Research Institute (NRI) 

Best Government-Affiliated Think Tanks:
  1. Development Research Group, World Bank
  2. Asian Development Bank Institute
  3. Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  4. Royal United Services Institute
  5. World Bank Institute

Best University-Affiliated Think Tanks:
  1. Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
  2. Center for International Development (CID)
  3. IDEAS/Public Policy Group
  4. James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy
  5. Institute of Development Studies (IDS)

Think Tanks With Outstanding Policy-Oriented Research Programs:
  1. Chatham House
  2. Brookings
  3. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  4. RAND Corporation
  5. Bruegel

Think Tanks With Most Significant Impact on Public Policy:
  1. Brookings
  2. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  3. Council on Foreign Relations
  4. Chatham House
  5. Amnesty International

Think Tanks With the Best Use of Media (Print or Electronic):
  1. Center for Strategic and International Studies
  2. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  3. Brookings
  4. Council on Foreign Relations
  5. Chatham House

Think Tanks to Watch:
  1. Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  2. Association for International Affairs (AMO)
  3. Institute for International Policy Studies (ISPI)
  4. Wilson Center
  5. Atlantic Council

Here is last year's cheat sheet compiled by Think Tank Watch.

Remember, you may want to be careful about reading too much into these rankings, which have numerous flaws and biases.

Paul Light: Think Tanks Don't Think About Policy Implementation

In a recent interview with Federal News Radio, Paul Light, a professor at New York University (NYU) and founding principal investigator of the Global Center for Public Service, has some tough words for think tanks:
What policymakers to on Capitol Hill, and in academia, and think tanks is that they generate these complicated policies and assume that you can just chuck the policy over to the bureaucracy and it will be implemented.  That is just not true.
Some of these policymakers have a certain arrogance as they are drafting legislation.  They don't know much about implementation.  They don't think for a second about implementation.
If you run your finger down the phone books of think tanks around Washington you will rarely find anybody on the team on the scholars list who specializes in implementation.  It's just a non-starter.  It's so boring for most people.  They don't think about it because it's not what turns their boards on and it's not what raises money.

Dr. Light is not speaking out of thin air.  He was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and Founding Director of the think tank's Center for Public Service.  He was also Vice President and Director of the think tank's Governmental Studies Program.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Best Description of Political Leanings in a Think Tank Paper

Think tankers often describe their politics leanings as conservative, or liberal, or moderate.  Those are way too safe and boring.

In a Cato Unbound essay, Eliezer Yudkowsky, co-founder of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, describes his politics leanings in a much more precise way:
When people ask me about my politics these days, I sometimes describe myself as “a very small-‘l’ libertarian.” I am—like many libertarians, in my admittedly skewed Silicon Valley experience—just another pot-decriminalizing, prostitution-supporting, computer-programming, science-fiction-reading, Bayesian-statistics-promoting, mainstream-economics-respecting, sex-positive, money-positive, polyamorous atheistic transhumanist government-distrusting minarchist.

Cato Unbound is the monthly only magazine and discussion forum of the libertarian think tank Cato Institute.  Each month is presents a big-picture topic by an important thinker.  Its current editor is Jason Kuznicki.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Now Unionized: Center for American Progress

The liberal think tank Center for American Progress (CAP), which has deep ties to Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration, has unionized with the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE).

Here is more from Huffington Post:
Workers at the influential liberal think tank unionized with the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, the union told The Huffington Post. Leadership at CAP voluntarily recognized the staffers' request, enabling them to avoid a secret-ballot election. Management will now bargain with the union.
"It reflects our progressive values," Alyssa Peterson, a CAP staffer who works on poverty issues, said of the decision to unionize. "We saw it as a natural extension of our institutional support for collective bargaining."
The move comes just four months after the staff of ThinkProgress, CAP's popular, left-leaning news site, announced that they were unionizing. That campaign was part of a wave of six successful union drives at digital media outlets over the past year, including The Huffington Post. 
CAP staffers had talked for years about organizing into a union, though discussions began in earnest in May, according to Peterson.

Neera Tanden, CAP's current president, reportedly said that the think tank's management remained neutral about the decision, and Huffington Post notes it would have been scandalous if pro-union CAP had not.

IFPTE already represents other think tanks such as the union-backed Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).

Record Snow Grinds Think Tank Land to a Halt

Record snow which has blanketed Washington, DC, the home of the densest concentration of think tanks in the world, has forced the closing of nearly all of the 396+ think tanks in the city.

The Brookings Institution said that its Washington office is closed on January 25 due to the snow, and events scheduled for the day are postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which is also closed, cancelled today's event on Russia.  Heritage Foundation cancelled its event on Margaret Thatcher.  Center for American Progress (CAP) and Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) are also among the numerous think tanks that had to cancel events.

American Enterprise Institute (AEI) scholar Gus Hurwitz took the opportunity to write about airlines, markets, and "Snowmageddalypse 2016."

Due to the large amount of snow, think tanks could also be closed on Tuesday and possibly beyond that.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Think Tank Quickies (#204)

  • Spiritual leader Marc Gafni: "Thank God I run my own think tank, otherwise I'd never get a job."
  • Think tanker Peter Singer wants this obituary: "A wonk's wonk...A wonk so wonky he once conducted a study of think tanks themselves."
  • Meet the 300+ corporations sponsoring the 7 think tanks dominating the TTIP trade debate.
  • Too many think tanks are just "kool-aid fueled group think."
  • How Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is turning the House into an election year think tank.
  • Bruegel to host panel discussion on why think tanks matter during launch of UPenn's 2015 think tank index.
  • Heritage Foundation welcomes Beverly Hallberg, President of District Media Group, as Visiting Fellow in Communications. 
  • CFR brings on new scholars for its David Rockefeller Studies Program: Reuben Brigety, Robert Litan, and Matthew Taylor; economist Brad Setser returns to CFR.
  • Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" wins 2015 CFR Arthur Ross Book Award.
  • CFR web hub offers resources on 2016 presidential candidates' views on foreign policy.
  • Victoria Ransom and David Burke join Carnegie Endowment Board.
  • Leaders of Center for a New American Security (CNAS), US Institute of Peace (USIP), and Carnegie Endowment (CEIP), launch Study Group on Fragility.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Carnegie India to Launch in April 2016

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) announced today the launch of Carnegie India, a branch of the think tank which will open in New Delhi.  The new think tank, which will open in April 2016, will be Carnegie's sixth international center.  CEIP is headquartered in Washington, DC and has branches in Beijing, Beirut, Brussels, and Moscow.

C. Raja Mohan, a Nonresident Senior Associate at Carnegie since 2012, will serve as the founding director of Carnegie India.  Shivnath Thukral, former group president of corporate branding and strategic initiatives at Essar, will serve as Carnegie India's Managing Director.

Carnegie India has been supported by Carnegie India's Founders Committee, a group of Indian and international donors co-chaired by former cabinet secretary and Indian ambassador to the US, Naresh Chandra, and former US Ambassador to India, Frank Wisner.

Others on Carnegie India's Founders Committee include:  Carnegie Corporation of America, Shobhana Bhartia/HT Media, C.K. Birla, General Electric, Gilead Sciences, Chip & Cheryl Kaye/Warburg Pincus Foundation, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Sunil Mittal, The David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Saroj Poddar, G.M. Rao, Tata Sons Ltd., and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.

Carnegie is not the first major US think tank to open a branch in India.  Several years ago, the Brookings Institution opened a think tank in New Delhi, the same city where Carnegie's new think tank will be located.

India only has 192 think tanks according to the latest University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  With a population of 1.25 billion, that means India has one think tank for every 6.5 million people.  As a comparison, the US, with 1,830 think tanks and a population of around 320 million people, has one think tank for every 175,000 people.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Top 10 Perks of Being a Nonresident Senior Fellow at a Think Tank

This is a 2013 piece from Daniel Drezner that Think Tank Watch just came across.  At that time, Drezner had just become a Nonresident Senior Fellow with the Managing Global Order project at the Brookings Institution.  [The project became the Project on International Order and Strategy (IOS) in February 2014, perhaps because the original name was too much of a target for conspiracy theorists.]

Here is the list:

10) Now all of my talks can be shorter. Before any academic or policy talk, a speaker usually receives an introduction in which the convenor reads the person’s bio. If the speaker has lots of awards, affiliations, and publications, then this process can take a while, cutting into the speaker’s allotted time. Secretly, all speakers want this, cause it means they don’t have to remble on as long. Adding the Brookings affiliation will cut my talks by at least thirty seconds.
9) I’m now one affiliation away from the PACT. A key plot device in 30 Rock was Tracy Morgan’s quest for the EGOT — Emmy, Grammy, Tony and Oscar awards. Foreign policy wonks have a similar quest, except it operates by affiliations: Press, Academia, Consulting, and Think Tankery. Adding my nonresident senior fellow appellation to being a Fletcher professor and a contributing editor here at FP, I now have a PAT. The only thing missing is the for-profit consulting gig. I’m looking in your direction, Stonebridge Group and/or McKinsey!!
8) 50,000 frequent flyer miles with an airline of my choice. This sounds like a great perk, but really, it’s just so that I can be conversant in frequent flyer-speak when bumping into other nonresident senior fellows at conferences:
ME: So did you get upgraded on this flight?
OTHER WONK: Oh, yeah, but that’s because I’m Super Premium status. You?
ME: No, and I was willing to use miles too!!
OTHER WONK: Oh, no, never use your own miles!! See, what you should do it… [long disquisition about the art of frequent flyer mile management.]
You get the idea. 
7) Officially one of the old boys now. The "senior" is a tipoff — I can no longer declare "Young Turk" status. Instead, I’m clearly part of an old boy network of some kind or another. Which will, inevitably, lead to attacks from Glenn Greenwald. 
6) Attract a much better class of groupies. Oh, sure, as a full professor I get the entreaty from a student willing to do just about anything to get an RAship/grad school admission/job. DC, however, attacts a much more desperate and stylish set of aspirants. Indeed, within 24 hours of becoming a nonresident senior fellow, my LinkedIn profile was beseiged with requests ranging from "I’m just dying to polish your memos" to "I feel like I’m the only research assistant who gets you — I mean, really gets you!!" 
5) One free black helicopter ride. I have every confidence that the sovereigntists in the crowd are already freaked out by the "Managing Global Order" moniker. AS YOU SHOULD BE!!! Who do you think supplies the black helicopetrs to the United Nations? Before we do, however, a nonresident fellow can pick where in the country the brand-spanking new black helicopter can buzz, just to freak out some locals. I, for one, am looking forward to a quick, below-the-radar trip through the Texas panhandle. 
4) Playing the Lincoln card.  All nonresident senior fellows run into bureaucratic impediments at some point or another.  Once a year, I can pull the Lincoln card out of my wallet, and utter the following: "I am a nonresident senior fellow, clothed in IMMENSE POWER!  You will procure me these PowerPoint slides." 
3) Preferential treatment at the Old Ebbitt Grill.  For years, I used to make reservations at this venerable DC establishment and still find myself cooling my heels and not impressing my date as more distinguished Beltway denizens would just waltz on in.  Not anymore!!  Now I just flash your "Nonresident Senior Fellow" gold card to the maitre d’hotel and — KABLAMM!! — my date and I are enjoying the finest champagnes in the land.  This is a much more civilized way of exerting power than the more old-fashioned method in which — as I understand it — the men simply unzipped their flies and compared penis sizes. 
2) At least ten more seconds of air time on CNN. Cable news nets will let senior nonresident fellows blather on for at least two more sentences before interrupting duing an interview. 
1) "Nonresident Casual Fridays." One Friday, every other month, the nonresident fellows show up at the Brookings Institution very early, camp ourselves in the offices of the resident fellows, and scare the bejeezus out of them when they walk in. Alternatively, we prank call the senior resident fellows, pretending to be a White House flack asking for permission to vet them for a prominent subcabinet position.

He notes that being a Nonresident Senior Fellow is "almost as cool" as being a full professor.  Considering that nonresident fellows and nonresident senior fellows at think tanks are almost never paid, we would think so.

And although unpaid, it doesn't mean that nonresident fellows can't be fired.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Saudi Arabia's Think Tank Allies Jump to Its Defense

Here is more from The Intercept:
Saudi Arabia’s well-funded public relations apparatus moved quickly after Saturday’s explosive execution of Shiite political dissident Nimr al-Nimr to shape how the news is covered in the United States.
A Politico article about the rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran by Nahal Toosi...quoted three sources: the State Department, which provided a muted response to the executions; the Saudi government; and Fahad Nazer, identified as a “political analyst with JTG Inc.” Nazer defended the executions, saying that they served as a “message … aimed at Saudi Arabia’s own militants regardless of their sect.”
What Politico did not reveal was that Nazer is himself a former political analyst at the Saudi Embassy in Washington. He is currently a non-resident fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, a think tank formed last year that discloses that it is fully funded by the Saudi Embassy and the United Arab Emirates.
An editorial published by the Wall Street Journal approvingly quoted Joseph Braude of the Foreign Policy Research Institute claiming that Nimr was a violent extremist who advocated a “military option” against Saudi Arabia. But as journalists and editors from the Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian, the BBC, and other prominent outlets have reported, Nimr advocated nonviolence and encouraged his followers to protest peacefully. Braude did not provide any evidence for his claims beyond anonymous “Saudi sources.”
Braude is a contributor to several Saudi-owned media outlets, including Al Arabiya and Al Majalla, a magazine owned by a member of the Saudi royal family. Neither of these affiliations were disclosed in the Wall Street Journal editorial. (Braude was also convicted in 2004 of attempting to smuggle 4,000-year-old artifacts looted from the Iraqi National Museum after the fall of Baghdad into the United States.)

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch piece on the above-mentioned Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington (AGSIW), and here is a biography of Fahad Nazer.  Here is a biography of the above-mentioned Joseph Braude, a Senior Fellow at the Philadelphia-based think tank Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI).

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Matt Ridley's New Book Bashed for Overreliance on Think Tanker

In a new review of Matt Ridley's new book "The Evolution of Everything," Jim Tankersley, the economic policy correspondent for The Washington Post, takes a swipe at Ridley for being overly reliant on the work of a think tank expert.  Here is more:
Like a cable-news junkie, he skips past volumes of rigorous scholarship and comes to rest on almost anything that supports his convictions.
This is particularly true in Ridley’s economics chapters. His theory of the 2008 financial crisis — that it was caused mainly by federal government policy — draws largely on the work of one conservative economist, Peter Wallison of the American Enterprise Institute, whose theories are, to put it mildly, not widely shared in the field.

Peter Wallison, who was in the Ronald Reagan Administration, is the Arthur F. Burns Fellow in Financial Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).  All of his work can be found here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Vox to Launch New Think Tank Section

Vox.com is looking to hire a think tank editor as it plans to launch "Vox Think Tank," a new section that aims to highlight reports and ideas from think tankers and academics.

Here is more from a Vox Media job announcement:
Vox.com is a user’s guide to the news, helping readers make sense of everything from the 2016 presidential campaign to the loopholes in corporate tax policy to NASA's Pluto mission. We want to create the single best resource for news consumers anywhere.
We are on the hunt for an editor to launch and run Vox Think Tank, a new section that will bring in outside voices to explain politics and policy through insightful research, ideas, and data. It will showcase academics, scholars, and practitioners whose knowledge and expertise should be central to coverage of politics and policy — and the editor will work with those contributors to make sure their pieces are written and framed so they can find a mass audience online.
This is an exciting opportunity for an aggressive editor who is passionate about the ideas that animate and explain politics and policy. The editor will shape the vision and tone for this project and own its success. The ideal candidate is familiar with poli-sci and think tank worlds and is eager to bring the smartest work to a wide audience.
Responsibilities:
—Launch, run, and shape new section.
—Convince top academics and thinkers to contribute.
—Spot smart ideas in academic and think tank circles and bring them to a wide audience.
—Work with contributors who may not be accustomed to writing for a general audience. This may require aggressive edits.
—Experiment with different forms of content from graphics to text explainers to lists.
—Manage freelance budget.

Requirements:
—A demonstrable familiarity with the think tank/poli-sci worlds.
—Deep interest in politics, policy, and political science.
—Experience editing stories that pop on the internet.
—Headline-writing magic.
—At least three years of experience writing and editing.

Based on the job description, it appears that the new section will mirror Wall Street Journal's "Think Tank," a feature on WSJ.com started in 2014 that draws news and analysis from outside contributors across the political spectrum.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Think Tank Quickies (#203)

  • PR firm FitzGibbon Media, which had Center for American Progress (CAP) as a client, closes after founder is accused of sex assault.
  • Think tanks weigh in on Donald Trump's tax plan.
  • Michael Massig: Think tank philanthropy and the 1 percenters.
  • Little funding available for new Russia positions at think tanks.
  • Outgoing Chief of Staff to Sen. Thom Tillis (John Mashburn) worked for two conservative think tanks.
  • Ihor Zozak advises think tanks around the world on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
  • Book: How Think Tanks Shape Social Development Policies (China edition). 
  • How do we measure success among think tank economists?
  • Scientific American lists "most popular science studies of the year," determined in part by references from think tanks.
  • Bloomberg: At least 9 US think tanks released reports endorsing crude oil exports.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Think Tank: You Can't Live in DC on a Think Tank Salary

The liberal think tank Economic Policy Institute (EPI) has developed a Family Budget Calculator that tallies the annual income needed to support a family of four to cover the cost of seven needs: transportation, food, housing, child care, taxes, and "other necessities."

Here is a chart from the Washington Post comparing the 10 largest US metro areas by population (including Washington, DC - the home of hundreds of think tanks) showing the annual cost of living.

The average annual cost for a family of four to live in Washington, DC - the home of 396 think tanks and counting - is $106,493.  The average think tank salary is somewhere between $47,000 and $66,000.

It shows that in Washington, DC, if you work at a think tank and are the sole breadwinner with a family, you basically will not be able to live in Washington (unless you are at the upper echelons).  Happy think tanking!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Do Think Tanks Make Americans Skeptical About Climate Change?

Do think tanks contribute to the fact that so many Americans are skeptical about climate change?  Here is more from a new Yale study, as detailed in the Washington Post:

Climate change has long been a highly polarizing topic in the United States, with Americans lining up on opposite sides depending on their politics and worldview. Now a scientific study sheds new light on the role played by corporate money in creating that divide.
The report, a systematic review of 20 years’ worth of data, highlights the connection between corporate funding and messages that raise doubts about the science of climate change and whether humans are responsible for the warming of the planet. The analysis suggests that corporations have used their wealth to amplify contrarian views and create an impression of greater scientific uncertainty than actually exists.
“The contrarian efforts have been so effective for the fact that they have made it difficult for ordinary Americans to even know who to trust,” said Justin Farrell, a Yale University sociologist and author of the study, released on Monday in the peer-reviewed journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
Numerous previous studies have examined how corporate-funded campaigns have helped shape individual views about global warming. But the Yale study takes what Farrell calls the “bird’s-eye view,” using computer analytics to systematically examine vast amounts of printed matter published by 164 groups—including think-tanks and lobbying firms—and more than 4,500 individuals who have been skeptical of mainstream scientific views on climate change.
The study analyzed the articles, policy papers and transcripts produced by these groups over a 20-year period. Then it separated the groups that received corporate funding from those that did not.
The results, Farrell said, revealed an “ecosystem of influence” within the corporate-backed groups. Those that received donations consistently promoted the same contrarian themes—casting doubt, for example, on whether higher levels of man-made carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere were harmful to the planet. There was no evidence of such coordination among the non-funded groups.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch piece on whether new think tanks are needed to address climate change.

President of CAP Wants Half-Female Cabinet for Hillary

Neera Tanden, the President of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress (CAP) who has close ties to Hillary Clinton, is calling for a large percentage of females to hold Cabinet positions when the new US president takes office in 2017.  Here is more:
If half of the members of Canada’s Cabinet can be female, why couldn’t we get to 50 percent­, too? We’re talking about finding, at minimum, 11 women out of the almost 160 million in this country who could serve in the Cabinet at once...
What would that Cabinet look like? It’s not hard to imagine that, in 2017, a Michèle Flournoy, former undersecretary of defense for policy, could become the first female defense secretary, or a Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, could become the first woman as Treasury secretary. For a Republican Cabinet, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez would be more than qualified to lead the Justice Department, and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley would be a highly capable choice to head the Department of Homeland Security.

CAP is known to have greatly influenced a number of policies in the Obama Administration, and will likely have a massive influence on a Hillary administration should she become president.

Will Snapping be the New Clapping at Think Tanks in 2016?

This from the New York Times:
In a culture ruled by the instant feedback loop of retweets, likes and hearts, the snap (and by “snap” we mean the old-fashioned act of brushing the thumb and middle finger against one another in an effort to make a popping sound) is more often being used as a quiet signal of agreement or appreciation in conferences, university auditoriums, poetry slams and even at dinner tables.
 As opposed to a single snap, often affected with the sassy wag of a hand and the utterance, “Oh, snap!” to signify that someone has just been stung by a verbal zinger, snapping repeatedly for a sustained several seconds is a way for audience members and classroom denizens to express approval without completely disrupting a lecture, speech or performance.

Think Tank Watch is happy to report that in the conservative, stuffy, and button-down atmosphere of Washington, snapping is not being used at most think tanks.

But should any snapping take place, please report to Think Tank Watch immediately.

Think Tank Quickies (#202)

  • Justin Sandefur of CGD: "Biggest lesson so far in think tank land: The returns to being opinionated & sounding authoritative are disturbingly high."
  • Creator of new ranking of influential think tanks working to fix flaws in ranking.
  • Libertarian Niskanen Center started new Center for Climate Science to scrutinize deniers' arguments.
  • Wonky holiday gear from Brookings.
  • Book: Think tanks and the Economic Counter-revolution, 1931-83.
  • Tim Carney: Liberals at liberal think tank thinks liberal think tank should only work with other liberal think tanks.
  • Public Accountability Initiative: Oil tanks - oil industry ties behind think tanks' push to repeal the crude oil export ban.
  • Influence of think tanks on the TTIP debate (in Dutch).
  • UK's Independent: Lord Lawson's climate think tank under review after adviser offers to write paper for sham oil company.
  • Can think tanks use Google's best practices for fostering creativity and innovation?
  • New think tank to research freelancing (Centre for Research on Self-Employment, or CRSE).
  • The Economist: Thoughtful centrists have begun urging Democrats to prepare for divided government, notably at a recent meeting at Third Way.
  • Ted Cruz rating near-perfect on Heritage Action scorecard.
  • Washington Post: American academics, particularly those who need access to China to conduct research, have to watch their words, because if China disapproves of their views it will not let them in.
  • Brookings scholar J.M. Berger suggests other think tankers underestimated Islamic State (ISIS), but he did not.
  • Nikkei runs one of Japan's major think tanks, the Japan Center for Economic Research. 
  • In conjunction with the Open Technology Institute at New America Foundation, Travis Moore launches new technology fellowship known as "TechCongress." 
  • Several think tankers on the WSJ's CEO Council "participating guest" list for 2015, including Martin Baily (Brookings), Doris Meissner (Migration Policy Institute), Danielle Pletka (AEI), Strobe Talbott (Brookings), Neera Tanden (CAP), and John Podesta (CAP founder).

Monday, December 14, 2015

New List: 50 Most Influential Think Tanks

TheBestSchools.org has just released a new list of the 50 most influential think tanks in the United States, compiled using a set of criteria that no other entity has done in the past.

The rankings are based on the popularity of a think tank's website, average yearly revenue of a think tank, average number of printed media references per year by outside organizations, and the number of categories in which a think tank was ranked by the University of Pennsylvania.

Think Tank Watch should point out that the list from TheBestSchools.org includes a number of institutions that are not generally considered think tanks.

Here is a list of the top 25:
  1. Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
  2. Earth Institute
  3. Heritage Foundation
  4. Human Rights Watch
  5. Kaiser Family Foundation
  6. Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)
  7. Brookings Institution
  8. Cato Institute
  9. Ludwig von Mises Institute
  10. American Enterprise Institute (AEI) 
  11. RAND Corp.
  12. Center for American Progress (CAP)
  13. Alan Guttmacher Institute
  14. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBBP)
  15. National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
  16. Electronic Privacy Information Center
  17. Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE)
  18. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  19. Urban Institute
  20. Economic Policy Institute (EPI)
  21. Aspen Institute
  22. Wilson Center
  23. Hoover Institution
  24. Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
  25. Center for Immigration Studies

Here is how the latest University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings have ranked what it considers to be the top think tanks.

Over the years there have been a number of different ways that people and organizations have ranked think tanks, including this one by the Center for Global Development (CGD).

Here is a ranking of think tanks by media citations from Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR).

Update: Alejandro Chafuen, President of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, has already found major mistakes in TheBestSchools.org think tank rankings.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Professor Interrogated by Iran About Inner Workings of Think Tank


Haleh Esfandiari, a scholar who spent more than 100 days in solitary confinement in Iran's Evin Prison in 2007, says that she was interrogated by the Iranians about her work at the Washington, DC-based think tank Wilson Center.  Here is more from The Washington Diplomat:
Haleh Esfandiari is perhaps best known for spending 105 days in solitary confinement in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison in 2007, but it was her highly respected work as director of the Middle East Program at the Wilson Center in D.C. that put her behind bars.
Not that the Iran-born professor, author and think tank scholar did anything wrong. Quite the contrary, she had simply spent a lifetime studying, dissecting and challenging Middle Eastern politics, culture and policy. The Iranian government, however, saw her as part of a subversive U.S. plot to overthrow the clerical regime.
Iranian intelligence spent months interrogating Esfandiari on the inner workings of the Wilson Center and her connections to opposition activists inside Iran. Back home, the scholar’s friends and family mobilized a high-profile campaign to get her released.
Esfandiari, a former journalist in Iran who founded the Wilson Center’s Middle East Program in 1997, was eventually released and wrote a book about her experience titled “My Prison, My Home: One Woman’s Story of Captivity in Iran.” The book was published in 2009 and Esfandiari went back to the Wilson Center to resume her leadership of the Middle East Program.

Here is the Wilson Center biography of Dr. Esfandiari, which notes that she is no longer the Director of the Middle East Program at the think tank.

Head of New AIIB Invites US to Join Bank at Brookings

Jin Liquan, president-designate of the new China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), formally invited the United States to join the bank during a talk at the Brookings Institution.

Here is how the New York Times framed the invitation:
He [Jin Liquan] is not giving up on the United States, even if his chances are remote.  "We have a standing invitation" for the United States to join the bank, Mr. Jin said, during an appearance at the Brookings Institution.  "Anytime you think you are ready, pick up the phone, give me a ring."

He made the comment at this event at Brookings.

Here is what Brookings scholar David Dollar has written about the AIIB.  Here is what Brookings scholar Jonathan Pollack says about how the US will respond to AIIB's expanding membership.  Here is what Brookings scholar Thomas Wright says about AIIB.  And here is what Brookings fellow Philippe Le Corre says about AIIB.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

CSIS President Has Warned of Cyber Pearl Harbor Since 90's

Dr. John Hamre, President and CEO of the Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), is warning of a cyber Pearl Harbor, saying that hostile foreign intelligence and militaries are prepared to wage war now.  Here is more from Dr. Hamre, who reflects on the term he had used for nearly two decades:
In November 1997 I was asked to testify at a Senate hearing concerning the growing worry about cybersecurity. At the time, I was deputy secretary of the Defense Department, and that hearing followed an unexplained electricity blackout in San Francisco that left 125,000 people in the dark for a day. Fears were rising that malicious hackers had somehow taken down the grid. I warned the Senate that America was facing the prospect of an “electronic Pearl Harbor.” 
The phrase became a touchstone in the long national argument over cybersecurity, for better or worse. I was not the author of the phrase. That honor goes to a dear friend of mine, retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Tom Marsh, who had just led a national commission looking at cyber vulnerabilities. Tom came to my office to summarize the findings and used the Pearl Harbor metaphor.
I don’t regret using the Pearl Harbor analogy, but in retrospect it was a mistake to use the analogy when I did. We used the vocabulary of war, because that was what we do at the Defense Department. But for most Americans, war is the Pentagon’s business, not theirs.  Ninety-nine percent of American cyberspace is in the private sector, and at the time, the war metaphor didn’t connect. In fact, it backfired: It earned me notoriety as a demon in progressive left, cyber-libertarian circles. But it didn’t mobilize the national awareness of the peril we were in.

The full piece in Politico can be read here.  And here is a piece from 1997 documenting Hamre's comments on an electronic Pearl Harbor when he was at the Department of Defense.

Here is a recent Think Tank Watch piece on why reading think tank reports can actually harm your company.  It notes that a number of think tanks have been victims of numerous cyber attacks.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Think Tank Quickies (#201)

  • Will some of Mark Zuckerberg's billions in donations go to think tanks? 
  • Kevin Allen starts #CloudMinds, a traveling think tank.
  • AEI to participate in January presidential forum.
  • Picture: Is this what all think tanks look like?
  • The sweet gig of being a bureaucrat, by Mac Zimmerman of AFP, quoting Cato & CEI studies.
  • Hillary Clinton does Brookings AGAIN (with Saban Forum 2015).
  • Zaid Jilani: "Only good food" in DC is free food you get at think tank events.
  • Hotel Zed in Victoria, BC launches think tank space.
  • Simon Marks: Virtually all DC think tanks need to address issues with in-house audio systems.
  • What do academic think tanks offer to young researchers?
  • Rohinton Medhora and John Boer: The rise and influence of foreign policy think tanks.
  • Russia Insider: Think tanks heavily influence US decision-making policy.
  • On Think Tanks: How think tanks can attract and retain talent.
  • Brookings experts in Esquire.
  • Think tanks helping get property back?
  • Chatham House: Reduce meat consumption or we will all burn.
  • Trailor for A Very Heavy Agenda: Role of neocon think tanks (video).
  • US Chamber: "In a city full of think tanks we are a 'do' tank."
  • Third Way "exposed."

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Will Wilson Center Have to be Renamed?

As you may have heard by now, Princeton University students are demanding the removal of all references to former US president Woodrow Wilson.

That movement got Think Tank Watch wondering if people are going to start protesting about one of the US's top think tanks - Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars based in Washington, DC.

That think tank, also known as the Wilson Center, is chartered by the US Congress as the official memorial to President Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States.

If the name is forced to change, will its official office location also have to change?  After all, a part of its official address is "One Woodrow Wilson Plaza."

If the name changes, we were wondering what a good name would be.  Please send thoughts to info (at) thinktankwatch.com.  We will plan to publish the best ones.

Monday, November 30, 2015

New Think Tanks Needed to Solve Climate Change?

Many think tanks work around the clock to address climate change issues.  Nevertheless, there are calls for even more think tanks to help solve the problem.  Here is more from Xinhua:
A senior Chinese academic has called for the government to spark an "energy revolution" by forming specialist policy think tanks and building showcase projects as well as pouring in investment and encouraging innovation.
China lags behind developed countries in the energy sector, relying on imported core technology, warned Xie Kechang, vice president of the Chinese Association of Science and Technology and a member of Chinese Academy of Engineering.
The country should formulate a blueprint for developing energy technology focusing on greater efficiency, use of fossil fuels, smart power grids, renewable resources and advanced nuclear power, said Xie.

According to the latest ranking, the top energy and resource policy think tanks in the world are:
  1.  Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES)
  2. World Resources Institute (WRI)
  3. Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ)
  4. James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy
  5. RAND Corporation
According to the latest rankings, the top environment think tanks in the world are:
  1. World Resources Institute
  2. Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)
  3. Worldwatch Institute
  4. Brookings Institution
  5. Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)

The International Center for Climate Governance also has a worldwide "observatory" of climate change tanks.  As of this month, it has mapped 310 think tanks.

Here is a Bloomberg piece from today which quotes Robert Brulle, a sociology professor at Drexel University, saying that "corporate funders create and and support corporate think tanks which then pass off climate misinformation as valid."

Here is a Think Tank Initiative piece on think tanks at COP21.   And here is a list of what European think tanks are saying about COP21.

Oren Cass, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, opines about why the Paris climate deal is meaningless.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Think Tanks Help in Fight With ISIS

Think tanks are working at a furious pace to publish reports and analysis on Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), hold events on how to defeat ISIS, convey study groups to research ISIS, get scholars to talk about ISIS in the media, and advise policymakers on steps moving forward.

Following is the ultimate guide to what top think tanks experts are saying about ISIS.  Please note that this list will be updated periodically.

Brookings:
  • Philippe Le Corre: Hollande comes to Washington: Can France and the US lead the fight against ISIS?
  • Shadi Hamid: The perils of Islamic apologetics: Does ISIS really have nothing to do with Islam?
  • Bruce Reidel: Saudi Arabia is part of the problem and part of the solution to global jihad; and Modeled on Mumbai?  Why the 2008 India attack is the best way to understand Paris.
  • Mara Revkin and William McCants: Is ISIS good at governing?
  • William McCants: Post-Paris, how should we think about the relationship between ISIS and Islam; and How the Islamic State declared war on the world.
  • William Galston: Hillary Clinton lays out a strategy for defeating ISIS.
  • Javier Lesaca: Fight against ISIS reveals power of social media.
  • Jeremy Shapiro: How not to overreact to ISIS.
  • Alberto Fernandez: Four ways to counter ISIS propaganda more effectively.
  • Daniel Byman: Why ISIS might regret the decision to go global; and Five things to know about the Paris attack.
  • Hafez Ghanen: Economic inclusion can help prevent violent extremism in the Arab world.
  • J.M. Berger: How terrorist recruit online (and how to stop it).
  • Fred Dews: ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State?  A terminology primer.

Council on Foreign Relations (CFR):
  • Richard Haass: After Paris.
  • Max Boot and Jeane Kirkpatrick: Islamic State's achilles' heel: its Sunni identity; and To defeat ISIS, it must be an American fight; and How to fight a real war on ISIS.
  • Philip Gordon: How to address the cause, not the symptoms, of ISIS.
  • Zachary Laub and Jonathan Masters: Islamic State backrounder.
  • Micah Zenko: Can thinking like a terrorist prevent attacks on airplanes?
  • Steven Cook: The Islamic State and the aftermath of Paris.
  • Farah Pandith: Islamic State dominates the digital battlefield.
  • Gayle Tzemach Lemmon: What will change now?
  • Graeme Wood: ISIL: Who is calling the shots?

American Enterprise Institute (AEI):
  • John Bolton: To defeat ISIS, create a Sunni state; and Four important lessons the world must learn from the French tragedy.
  • Ramesh Ponnuru: Call Islamic terrorism what it is.
  • Frederick Kagan and Kimberly Kagan: Do's and Dont's - How the US should respond to the Paris attacks; and What to do and don't do in response to the Paris attacks.
  • Marc Thiessen: ISIS terrorists have already infiltrated America posing as refugees.
  • J. Matthew McInnis: After Paris, can Iran be counted on to help defeat ISIS?
  • Karlyn Bowman, Heather Sims, Eleanor O'Neil: AEI Political Report - The terrorist threat now.
  • Gary Schmitt: After Paris - More to come?
  • Dalibor Rohac: Five lessons from the Paris attacks for Europe.
  • Danielle Pletka: On the Paris terrorist attacks.

Center for a New American Security (CNAS):
  • Richard Fontaine: ISIS in the aftermath of the Paris attacks. 
  • Robert Kaplan: ISIS and the logic of anarchy.
  • Alex Velez-Green: A better, smarter approach to beating ISIS.

Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS):
  • Anthony Cordesman: Paris, ISIS, and the long war against extremism; and Paris, ISIS and the rush to "war." 
  • Simond de Galbert: The stakes for France as Hollande rallies against Islamic State; and After the Paris attacks, France turns to Europe in its time of need.
  • Thomas Sanderson: The Paris attacks (Q&A)

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP):
  • Joseph Bahout: ISIS and Syria - What to do and not do about it.
  • Marc Pierini: Pressures on the West to shift strategies against the Islamic State.
  • Alex Velez-Green: A better, smarter approach to beating ISIS.

US Institute of Peace (USIP):
  • Gopal Ratnam: ISIS isn't the deadliest extremist group.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Think Tank Quickies (#200)

  • Center for a New American Security (CNAS) announces formation of ISIS Study Group.
  • CNAS announces new project on the future of ground forces.
  • Canadian Ambassador to US Gary Doer named Co-Chair of Canada Institute Advisory Board at Wilson Center. 
  • Wilson Center gets a new website in November.
  • Amb. Ryan Crocker named Distinguished Fellow at Wilson Center.
  • Wilson Center award honors Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.
  • Meet the Wilson Center's Polar Initiative.
  • AEI launches new app for iPad. 
  • Kirsten Madison, formerly at the White House, State Department, DHS, and US Senate, joins AEI as Resident Fellow and Deputy Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies.
  • AEI hires three for its Economic Policy Studies team: Eric Belasco, Benedic Ippolito, and Lawrence Mead.
  • Brookings appoints Janice Eberly and James Stock as co-editors of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (BPEA).
  • Brookings launches Brookings China Council to coincide with state visit of President Xi Jinping.
  • Brookings announces the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking.  (Robert Bass is president of Keystone Group.)
  • CFR hires two new adjunct senior fellows: Esther Brimmer (formerly at the State Dept.) and Gordon Goldstein (Managing Director at Silver Lake). 
  • Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at CFR; Chris Christie to speak at CFR on Nov. 24.
  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) appoints Tim Maurer for the think tanks new cyberpolicy initiative.
  • CEIP and Chicago Council on Global Affairs launch task force on US policy toward Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia.
  • PIIE appoints Pedro Nicolaci da Costa (previously with Reuters & WSJ) to help with social media.
  • CSIS hires Jeff Rathke, a former Foreign Service officer, as Deputy Director and Senior Fellow of the Europe Program; also hires Lisa Sawyer Samp (formerly at DoD) for Int'l Security Program.
  • CSIS names nine new members to its Board of Trustees, including Erskine Bowles, William Daley, Stanley Druckenmiller, Martin Edelman, Elizabeth Holmes, Ron Kirk, Leon Panetta, Bob Schieffer, and Frances Townshend.
  • CSIS announces Marshall Program on Science and National Security.
  • Cato Institute names Robert Gelfond, CEO/Founder of Macro Quantitative Strategies, to its Board.
  • CAP launches national grassroots effort to raise awareness for nutrition assistance programs.
  • Atlantic Council holds Energy & Economic Summit in Istanbul, Turkey Nov. 18-20.
  • Atlantic Council, US Embassy Islamabad, and Meridian International Center announce 2015 Emerging Leaders of Pakistan (ELP) Fellows.
  • Atlantic Council presented annual Global Citizen Awards on Oct. 1 to Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, and Yu Long; Henry Kissinger accepts Distinguished Service Award, IMF's Christine Lagarde presents award to Draghi.
  • Atlantic Council and The Defense Entrepreneurs Forum (DEF) announce partnership.
  • Columnist Reihan Salam and Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin join NAF's Board of Directors.
  • Secretary of State John Kerry delivers Syria policy speech at USIP.
  • USIP lights headquarters blue for UN anniversary.
  • Henry Rowen, second president at RAND Corp., passes away.