Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Koch and Soros Join Forces in New Think Tank

An unlikely pair of billionaires are joining forces to start a new anti-war think tank called the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.  Here is more from The Boston Globe, which broke the news:

In one of the most remarkable partnerships in modern American political history, [George] Soros and Charles Koch, the more active of the two [Koch] brothers, are joining to finance a new foreign policy think tank in Washington.  It will promote an approach to the world based on diplomacy and restraint rather than threats, sanctions, and bombings.  This is a radical notion in Washington, where every major think tank promotes some variant of neocon militarism or liberal interventionism.
Since peaceful foreign policy was a founding principle of the United States, it's appropriate that the name of the think tank harken back to history.  It will be called the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a 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 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.
It aims to issue four reports before the end of 2019: two offering alternative approaches to the Middle East and East Asia, one on "ending endless war," and one called "democratizing foreign policy."

The piece notes that Trita Parsi, former President of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), is a co-founder of the think tank, along with Suzanne DiMaggio (at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace), Stephen Wertheim (Columbia University), and Andrew Bacevich (Boston University).  The National Interest also notes that journalist Eli Clifton is a co-founder.

Here is what Vox had to say about Washington, DC's newest think tank.  Here is Reason's reaction.  Bill Kristol does not seem to be a big fan.  The Washington Times likens the new think tank to "bringing another U.N. in America's gates."

The think tank's new website can be found here.  It is currently seeking a director of media relations.

Update I: "Can this new think tank clean up America's flabby foreign policy?"

Update II: Politico notes that donors now include Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Arca Foundation, and Ploughshares Found.

Update III: The Hill says that Quincy Institute (QI), which held its opening reception on Dec. 4, is now made up of 14 founding staff and 40 non-resident fellow.  It adds that an online publishing forum named Responsible Statecraft will display US foreign policy news and opinions.