Thursday, October 29, 2015

Rothkopf: Your Bold Think Tanks Idea Means no Government Job

Here is what David Rothkopf says about modern day think tanks in his new TED talk:
...And the other problems came from the fact that in Washington and in many capitals right now, we're in a creativity crisis. In Washington, in think tanks, where people are supposed to be thinking of new ideas, you don't get bold new ideas, because if you offer up a bold new idea, not only are you attacked on Twitter, but you will not get confirmed in a government job. Because we are reactive to the heightened venom of the political debate, you get governments that have an us-versus-them mentality, tiny groups of people making decisions. When you sit in a room with a small group of people making decisions, what do you get? You get groupthink. Everybody has the same worldview, and any view from outside of the group is seen as a threat. That's a danger. You also have processes that become reactive to news cycles. And so the parts of the U.S. government that do foresight, that look forward, that do strategy -- the parts in other governments that do this -- can't do it, because they're reacting to the news cycle. And so we're not looking ahead.

This is not the first time that Rothkopf has taken a swipe at think tanks.  Last year, Think Tank Watch wrote about how Rothkopf thinks that little bold thinking goes on at US think tanks.

And Rothkopf is not the only one making this argument.  For example, Didier Jacobs just wrote a piece in Foreign Policy about groupthink at think tanks.

Mr. Rothkopf, who is CEO and Editor of the FP Group, has a deep connection to a variety of think tanks.  For example, he is a Visiting Scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), and is on the International Advisory Council of US Institute of Peace (USIP).  He was also on the Advisory Committee of the Center for Global Development (CGD), and he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).