Friday, April 30, 2021

Brookings Not Ready to Voluntarily Recognize Union

Here is more from Brookings United, which is made up of nearly 200 non-supervisory workers at the Brookings Institution:

We are writing to share two updates. First, yesterday was the deadline that we gave Brookings for responding to our request for voluntary recognition. Unfortunately, Brookings senior management has informed us that they have not yet reached a decision, and will not be giving us an answer at this time.

We are disappointed in this answer, in particular because it does not respect the timeline that we had requested from management. This should be an easy decision for Brookings given that its own research demonstrates, time after time, the importance of unions.

While we hope that this isn’t the case here, slow-walking is a tactic that some employers use to dilute the strength and momentum of workers’ organizing efforts. In the event that Brookings does not want to recognize our union, we are likely to hear significantly more delays. Management at the Urban Institute, a similarly-minded organization whose union requested recognition on the same day as us, already signaled their intent to begin voluntary recognition last week.

We have requested that management give us an answer on their intent to voluntarily recognize our union by this Friday, April 30. We also wanted to share that support for our effort is widespread and growing within the Brookings community. Yesterday 45 scholars and senior staff members (and growing!) signed a public letter requesting that Brookings voluntarily recognize our union. 


Brookings employees formed a union on April 13, and here are some of the reasons given as to why a union was formed.  Here is a previous Think Tank Watch piece about the union push at major US think tanks. 

Update: On April 30, Brookings United said that the Brookings Institution has signaled its intent to begin voluntary recognition of the union.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Russians Pranking Washington Think Tanks?

This is from an opinion piece in the Washington Post by Atlantic Council scholars Melinda Haring and Damon Wilson:

Early this month, senior staff here at the Atlantic Council received an email claiming to come from Leonid Volkov, the chief of staff to imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Volkov is someone we know and respect, so we immediately opened the message. The email was well-written and sympathetic. It praised our work and requested an on-camera meeting with the top three executives at our organization, one of Washington’s leading think tanks.

But the message was fake. The people who sent it were trying to lure us into a potentially sensitive or even embarrassing online conversation. Spear-phishing attempts like this have been arriving more and more frequently in in-boxes at think tanks and nongovernmental organizations in Washington and elsewhere. Thankfully, we smelled a rat and contacted Volkov through other means to check whether he had sent the message. He had not. With that confirmed, we warned our colleagues in other organizations, some of whom had received the same note on the same day.

In March, the leaders of another Washington-based nongovernmental organization received a similarly personalized email with a request for an on-camera meeting. The set-up was similar: The message claimed to come from exiled Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.


The two Atlantic Council scholars say they suspect Russia is behind this, but they aren't 100% sure.  They note that the Russian Prosecutor General's Office named the Atlantic Council an undesirable organization in 2019, adding that the think tank is often the target of cyberattacks "mostly designed to gain information about our staff, our work, and our engagements." 

They also note that back in 2014, a denial-of-service attack against Atlantic Council brought down its website as it was hosting then-Vice President Joe Biden for a major conference promoting a "whole and free" Europe.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Lobbying Firm Arranged Think Tank Visits for Ukraine

Here is more from the New York Times:

In the weeks before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was elected in April, his advisers quietly worked with a Washington lobbying firm, Signal Group, to arrange meetings in Washington with Trump administration officials, as well as congressional offices and think tanks that focus on Ukraine-United States relations.

Ms. Heather Conley, who is director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was among the think tank officials who met with one Mr. Zelensky’s advisers in April in a meeting arranged by Signal and Mr. Marcus Cohen.

They discussed Mr. Zelensky’s anticorruption and economic overhaul plans, Ms. Conley said, adding, “Ukraine faces a fraught landscape in Washington — with or without a lobbyist.”


A number of think tanks are deeply involved in US-Ukraine affairs.  In 2019, a group of 10 think tanks held an event on US strategic interests in Ukraine that included CSIS, Atlantic Council, American Enterprise Institute (AEI), American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC), Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Heritage Foundation, Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), German Marshall Fund (GMF), and Jamestown Foundation.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Think Tank Quickies (#409)

  • Lots of think tank anecdotes in Josh Rogin's new book Chaos Under Heaven. He notes that Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's Ashley Tellis, who was considered for the US ambassador to India post, did not get that position because it was unearthed he wrote something critical of Trump.  And it is still unclear why CSIS's Victor Cha didn't get the Korea ambassadorial post.
  • Flashback I: Kiron Skinner, a Hoover Institution researcher, took leave from the think tank to serve as the State Dept.'s director of policy planning, only to be forced out.
  • Flashback II: In 2010 Michael Flynn co-wrote a piece with Matt Pottinger and Paul Batchelor on Afghanistan for CNAS; Mike Flynn was at USIP's "Passing the Baton 2017." 
  • Flashback III: Center for Carbon Removal rebrands as Carbon180.
  • The Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security (DMGS), a strategic ally of the Heritage Foundation, closed its doors on July 31, 2020.
  • CCP think tanker on China's strategy to win global hegemony and put the US under CCP control
  • Q&A with Joseph Nye on moving between academia and government, intel work and policymaking.
  • How Clubhouse is like a DC think tank event.
  • Ethical dilemmas of the China scholar.
  • Slovenian think tank report upsets Bulgarians.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Thea Lee Becomes 5th Think Tank President to be Tapped by Biden

Ms. Thea Lee, the head of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), will become the fifth think tank president to be tapped by the Biden Administration.

In an April 22 statement, Lee, who became president of the union-friendly think tank in 2018, said that she has accepted a job in the Biden Administration and will be leaving EPI on May 7.

EPI's board of directors, led by Board Chairman Richard Trumka and the executive committee, will organize a national search for the next president.  In the meantime, John Schmitt will be the interim president of EPI.

Dr. Schmitt has been vice president of EPI since Jan. 1, 2018.  He started his career as an economist at the think tank from 1995 to 2001.  He later spent 10 years as a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) and was research director at the Center for Equitable Growth.

There are now more than 100 think tankers in senior-level positions within the Biden Administration, according to Think Tank Watch's latest count.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Cryptocurrency Think Tanks Gaining Influence in Washington

While crypto-art is now funding think tanks, several entities that are being called cryptocurrency think tanks have have been garnering more attention recently.

One example is the Cryptor Foundation, which bills itself as the first crypto-related think tank and endowment fund formally based on bitcoin.

Swiss-based 2B4CH is often described as a cryptocurrency think tank, as is the Washington, DC-based Coin Center, which was launched in 2014.

Here is more from Bloomberg about Coin Center's recent activities: 

Coin Center, a Washington-based think tank and cryptocurrency advocacy group, since December has garnered more than $300,000 through a fundraising drive with mostly individual donors contributing small amounts of cryptocurrency. It also received $2 million from crypto-investment firm Grayscale Investments LLC and $1 million from Twitter-founder Jack Dorsey, whose other firm, Square Inc., recently made a $30 million investment in Bitcoin.

Coin Center executive director Jerry Brito said that, for now, his group is saving the money as a war chest in case it needs to fight a larger lobbying battle or file a lawsuit over the new regulations.


Here is more about Coin Center's Executive Director Jerry Brito.

There is also the Toronto-based Blockchain Research Institute (BRI), which does work on cryptocurrencies.

As the number of crypto-related think tanks increase, crypto-related lobbying activity is also increasing.

Think Tank Watch will be watching closely to see if think tanks start snapping up virtual real estate and creating their own virtual think tanks.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Think Tanker Blocked from Joining Biden Administration

More than 100 think tankers have landed in the Biden Administration, but a handful have been blocked either by the Senate confirmation process or the Biden team's own internal vetting.

Here is the latest example from Politico:

A Russia expert whose bid to join the Biden National Security Council sparked an outcry among prominent critics of the Kremlin is no longer under consideration for the role, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Matthew Rojansky, the director of the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute, was being considered for the position of Russia director on the NSC — an influential role that would make him a key touchpoint between the various Cabinet agencies seeking to drive a concerted response to Russia’s aggressive moves in Eastern Europe and beyond.

But several current and former senior officials warned the White House against hiring Rojansky, arguing that appointing him would signal a conciliatory U.S. policy toward Moscow, said the people, who requested anonymity to describe the internal deliberations.

Rojansky was initially recommended to the White House by former California congresswoman Jane Harman, who is the president emerita at the Wilson Center, where Rojanksy serves. Those individuals familiar with the matter said Harman’s recommendation was routed through the Office of the Vice President.


Here is a list of think tankers who have gone into the Biden Administration.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Think Tank Decoupling Heats Up as China Blocks CSIS Website

 Here is more from the South China Morning Post:

Beijing has blocked the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) website in China, after the Washington-based group released a piece criticising the country’s sanctions on a European think tank.
This latest page in deteriorating US-China relations comes as academic exchanges wither and the Communist Party steps up efforts to spread its world view well beyond its borders, scholars say.

“It’s ironic that this piece would generate that response from China, given that the whole point was to … reduce restrictions, which is what China’s been pushing for in arguing against decoupling,” said CSIS fellow Scott Kennedy, who co-wrote the critique.

According to China Firewall Test, a monitoring site, the conservative Heritage Foundation and libertarian Cato Institute websites are blocked, while the conservative American Enterprise Institute is not.

And centrist Brookings Institution and CSIS are blocked while the progressive Centre for American Progress is not.

AEI fellow Derek Scissors said he has had articles blocked that question Chinese economic statistics, something Premier Li Keqiang did in 2007 as then-Liaoning Communist Party head citing “man-made” numbers, according to WikiLeaks.


China sanctioned the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) on March 22, and in response, CSIS scholars released a statement denouncing the sanctions, a move that apparently led China to block CSIS's website.

China's move also comes as CSIS hosted Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga for an event at the think tank.

Here is a 2019 Think Tank Watch piece about the US think tanks that China blocks.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Think Tank Quickies (#408)

  • CFR President Richard Haass: The New Concert of Powers. 
  • Greatest-ever name for a think tank has been identified: Knowledge Center for Maneuvering in Shallow and Confined Water (link here).
  • New think tank (Council on Geostrategy) explores challenges as "Global Britain" returns to the Indo-Pacific.
  • ASPI, sycophancy, and the deepening corruption of Australia's strategic mindset, via Michael McKinley.
  • "When I see all the 29+ year olds in think tanks with 'senior' titles to compensate lack of money for a real raise."
  • Valdai Discussion Club: Think tanks and US foreign policy.
  • Former French Ambassador to US Gerard Araud bashes US think tanks.
  • Urban Institute report: Norms and narratives that shape US charitable and philanthropic giving. 
  • LSE on the absurdity of university rankings.
  • Pic: Outdoor chess at RAND Corp.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Karen Donfried Becomes 4th Think Tank President Tapped by Biden

Dr. Karen Donfried, the President of the Washington, DC-based think tank German Marshall Fund (GMF), has become the fourth think tank president to be nominated for a post in the Biden Administration.

On April 15, the White House announced its intention to nominate Donfried as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

Before assuming the presidency of GMF in April 2014, Donfried was the Special Assistant to the President and and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council (NSC).  Prior to that she served as the National Intelligence Officer for Europe on the National Intelligence Council (NIC).

Who are the other three think tank heads who received a Biden nomination?  Heather Boushey, who was President and CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, is now a Member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA).

Bill Burns, who was President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is now Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress (CAP), was tapped to be Biden's Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) but her nomination was later pulled.

Here is a list from Think Tank Watch of think tankers who are now in the Biden Administration.  It also lists Trump Administration officials who have gone into think tank land.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Trump Alumni Launch "America First" Think Tank

 Here is more from Axios:

A constellation of Trump administration stars today will launch the America First Policy Institute, a 35-person nonprofit group with a first-year budget of $20 million and the mission of perpetuating former President Trump's populist policies.

Why it matters: Two top Trump alumni tell me AFPI is by far the largest pro-Trump outside group, besides Trump's own Florida-based machine.

In the coming months, the group plans to take a large office space near the U.S. Capitol as a symbol that it'll fight to be a muscular, well-heeled center of the future of conservatism.

  • I'm told that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are informal advisers.

The president and CEO is Brooke Rollins, a Texan who was head of Trump's Domestic Policy Council.

The board chair is Linda McMahon, who was a member of Trump’s Cabinet as the administrator of the Small Business Administration, after winning fame as a pro-wrestling entrepreneur.

  • The vice chair is Larry Kudlow, Trump's economic adviser, a longtime CNBC personality who's now a Fox Business host.

AFPI — now based in the Crystal City area of Arlington, Virginia — has been in the planning stages since December.

  • The group will also have offices in Fort Worth, where Rollins remains based, Miami and New York. Rollins plans to move the group to Washington to be closer to the action.

The group includes 20 policy areas, many run by Trump alumni:

  • Former Energy Secretary Rick Perry heads the Center for Energy Independence.
  • National security will be co-chaired by John Ratcliffe, Trump's last director of national intelligence, and retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who was national security adviser to Vice President Pence.
  • Jack Brewer, a former NFL player and advisory board member of Black Voices for Trump, heads the Center for Opportunity Now, focused on an "underserved community agenda."
  • Paula White-Cain, a Trump spiritual adviser, will head a Center for American Values, focused on religious freedom and the Second Amendment.
  • Former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi will head a law and justice center.
  • Scott Turner will head the Center for Education Opportunity.


AFPI appears similar to the think tank-like entity that former Vice President Mike Pence just launched called Advancing American Freedom (AAF).

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Union Push at Major US Think Tanks

Here is more from Politico:

Workers at two of the largest, most influential think tanks in Washington, D.C. are forming a union, adding to a growing trend in white-collar collective bargaining.

Staff at the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute on Tuesday asked their employers to grant them voluntary recognition — which doesn't require a secret ballot election — of their unions, which are affiliated with the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union, IFPTE Local 70.

The NPEU has successfully organized several other prominent think tanks in the D.C. area, including The Center for American Progress, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Economic Policy Institute, National Immigration Law Center, and the National Women’s Law Center, among others. 

The nearly 200 employees forming a union at Brookings say they want to improve diversity, retention, and paid family and parental leave, among other issues, NPEU says.

Similarly, The Urban Institute Employees’ Union, which would represent nearly 250 workers, says it’s looking to ensure that the think tank supports its diverse staff through “equitable pay, treatment, promotion processes, access to leadership positions, and mental health resources.”


Here is a past Think Tank Watch piece about unionization efforts at CBPP, and here is one about unionization efforts at CAP.  And here is one entitled "Think Tank Workers are Unionizing and Bosses Aren't Happy."

Here is a recent Think Tank Watch piece about the major union AFL-CIO starting its own think tank.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

R Street Institue Suing Former Employee Over "Side Gig" Work

 Here is more from

R Street Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based public policy organization, sued the former director of its criminal justice and civil liberties program Thursday in Virginia Eastern District Court over alleged misappropriation of trade secrets, interference with donor relationships and other breaches. The 73-page complaint, filed by Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, contends that attorney Arthur Rizer misused RSI resources and diverted opportunities away from the plaintiff for personal gain. Counsel have not yet appeared for the defendants. The case is 1:21-cv-00401, R Street Institute v. Rizer d/b/a Arrow Consulting, LLC et al.


The full lawsuit can be found here.  Among other things, R Street Institute (RSI), headquartered in Washington, DC, says that Mr. Rizer repeatedly diverted work from RSI to his own consulting firm and used RSI resources to perform that work, charging expenses related to that work to RSI.

It is extremely common for think tankers to have a side hustle, often taking on numerous consulting gigs and/or starting their own consulting firms to siphon off work from their own think tank.

Some think tanks have mandatory conflict of interest (COI) disclosure forms that their scholars have to fill out annually, but others do not.  Even scholars who are supposed to disclose COIs often fail to do so.

According to his LinkedIn page, Dr. Rizer was Director of Justice Policy and Senior Fellow at R Street Institute from Aug. 2016 to Jan. 2021.  He is now Vice President of Technology, Criminal Justice, and Civil Liberties at the Lincoln Network.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Think Tank Quickies (#407)

  • Carnegie launches Africa Program; Zainab Usman will be the founding director.
  • US military's "maximum pressure" in South China Sea "unprecedented," says Beijing think tank South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI).
  • Big tech taps libertarian think tank lifeline in DC.
  • Employ America: A left-learning think tank that advocates for the Fed to let the economy run hot.
  • Author bashes CFR's Ray Takeyh for a critical review of his book, citing conflicts of interest.
  • Jake Sullivan penned a piece by Jennifer Harris of the Roosevelt Institute in Feb. 2020 which outlines a strategy that some are calling "Sullivan's Law."
  • AEI's Leon Aron: Could Putin launch another invasion? 
  • How do I chat up an economist at a think tank event?
  • Ryan Anderson, President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center: "Amazon won't let you read my book."
  • Pic: A nice outdoor think tank.

Friday, April 9, 2021

CAP Has Stocked Biden Administration with Nearly 60 Policy Wonks

The Biden Administration has been hiring think tankers at an extremely rapid pace, with a number of high-level positions being filled by those from the Brookings Institution, Center for a New American Security (CNAS), Atlantic Council, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and many others.

The Center for American Progress (CAP) has been one of the biggest sources of talent for the Biden Administration.  Here is ore from Business Insider:

A liberal think tank launched as a counterweight to President George W. Bush's administration is filling the ranks of the Biden administration. 

At least 56 alumni of the Center for American Progress are now working inside the White House and in agencies across the federal government, according to an Insider analysis of administration announcements and career networking sites.

They're not just any government jobs, either: CAP alumni fill some of the most important positions in Washington. Among them are President Joe Biden's new secretary of Veterans Affairs, the top White House economic policy advisor, and the chief of staff at the Pentagon. 

Even Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain, served on the board of the think tank's political arm. And CAP's most visible member, President and CEO Neera Tanden, would be serving as White House budget director, but the administration pulled her nomination in the face of opposition from Senate Republicans.


Business Insider notes that of the 56 CAP alumni known to be serving in the Biden Administration, 18 of them were affiliated with the think tank until this year.  The others include former senior fellows, policy analysts, and a handful of former CAP interns.

CAP has a staff of around 300 people.

Here is Think Tank Watch's list of think tankers that have gone into the Biden Administration.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Mike Pence Starts Think Tank-Like Entity With Heritage Influence

Here is more from Axios:

Former Vice President Mike Pence today launches Advancing American Freedom, a policy and advocacy organization "to promote the pro-freedom policies of the last four years."

The big picture: After lying low since the inauguration 77 days ago, Pence said the 501(c)(4)'s goals include "promoting traditional conservative values and promoting the successful policies of the Trump administration."

  • The group also will "oppose the expansion of government" under the Biden administration.

Why it matters: Pence, 61, is automatically part of 2024's opening top tier, and is giving a sense of his early message as he reengages in public life.

  • His first major open-press speech will be April 29, to the Palmetto Family Council in Columbia, S.C.

The advisory board includes Kellyanne Conway, Jim DeMint, Ed Feulner, former Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Newt and Callista Gingrich, Heritage Foundation President Kay James, Larry Kudlow, Robert Lighthizer, Club for Growth President David McIntosh, Ed Meese, Rick Santorum, Seema Verma, Russ Vought and Scott Walker.


Paul Teller will be the executive director of Advancing American Freedom (AAF).  Others on the advisory board include Andrew Wheeler, Scott Turner, John Ratcliffe, Star Parker, Lisa Nelson, Penny Nance, Jenny Beth Martin, Robert Jeffress, Rebecca Hagelin, Doug Ducey, Marjorie Dannenfelser, Jim Daly, Ken Cribb, Kelly Craft, David Bernhardt, and actor Kirk Cameron.

Mike Pence, who became a distinguished visiting fellow at Heritage in February, has been rumored to be a possible replacement for the president of the Heritage Foundation after current president Kay Coles James recently announced that she is stepping down from that post.

Jim DeMint and Ed Feulner are both former presidents of the Heritage Foundation.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Crypto Art is Now Funding Think Tanks

 Here is more from The Atlantic:

The think tank Carbon180 is, as far as I know, the only American nonprofit dedicated to studying the removal of carbon-dioxide pollution from the atmosphere. It is not a very large organization. When such things are possible, its 15 employees are headquartered in a renovated concert hall turned co-working space in Washington, D.C., a building notable as the site of the first Beatles concert in the United States.

Beyond this coincidence, Carbon180 has “no preexisting relationships with famous people,” Noah Deich, its president and co-founder, told me last week.

Yet famous people have recently started to cultivate relationships with Carbon180. In the past few weeks, a growing list of celebrities have named Carbon180 as a beneficiary of their auction of “nonfungible tokens,” or NFTs, despite neither Deich nor the group seeking out their backing.

To give some sense of the scale: The experimental-pop musician Grimes, who has pledged a portion of her NFT sales to Carbon180, sold $6 million worth of digital-art NFTs last month—which is more than double Carbon180’s annual budget of $2.7 million. So Deich is delighted by the sudden support (even if it’s not yet clear what exact portion of these proceeds will be donated, or when that transfer might happen).


Carbon180, which was formerly the Center for Carbon Removal, describes itself as a climate-focused NGO rather than a think tank.

This is the first known instance of crypo art funding a "think tank."  Some think tanks, such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), accept bitcoin donations.  

The oldest free-market think tank in the US, the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), is another think tank accepting bitcoin donations.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Think Tank Quickies (#406)

  • Daily Caller: Atlantic Council ignored anti-corruption activist's warnings about Burisma.
  • Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy releases first independent report into Xinjiang genocide allegations; claims evidence of Beijing's "intent to destroy" Uighur people.
  • Recent CSIS task force comprised of former spies: Five Eyes intelligence alliance should create a shared cloud serve on which to store data.
  • Think tank donors don't want galas, glossy annual reports, or generic requests for money.
  • Do audiences treat think tank presenters differently because of their gender?
  • Michael Dukakis Institute: "A technology and leadership think tank in Boston."
  • There's nothing new about politicians speaking at think tanks, but the boom in virtual conferences has given the organizations unprecedented reach.
  • Pakistan's PM Imran Khan launches 1st of its kind advisory portal set up by the National Security Division to engage think tanks and academia in policy making.
  • India's top economic policy think tanks and the changes in their leadership.
  • Atlantic Council: A mom's guide to coercion and deterrence.

Monday, April 5, 2021

China Bashes Yet Another DC Think Tank Report

China is getting much more outspoken in its effort to discredit various US think tanks and think tank reports that are critical of China policy.  Here is the latest example from Global Times, which is published by the People's Daily, the official newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party:

The Washington DC-based so-called think tank Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy (NISP) which recently released its fake report on Xinjiang to smear China is found to be of dubious origins with ulterior motives. The institute is also closely linked to the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), an organization suspected of funding terrorism, experts told the Global Times. 

Established in 2019, the NISP, which was formerly named the Center for Global Policy, labeled itself a "nonpartisan think tank in Washington DC" on its website, working to "enhance US foreign policy based on a deep understanding of the geopolitics of the different regions of the world, and their value systems." However, its independence and objectivity have been questioned by many media outlets and experts.

The Global Times found that Adrian Zenz was one of the "star contributors" of this "think tank." Adrian Zenz, born in 1974, is an infamous anti-China pseudo-scholar. He is on China's sanctions list against EU individuals and entities due to his repeated lies and provocations against Xinjiang.

The NISP's "academic cadre" is also filled with people with the US military or affiliations to government departments and organizations. 

For example, Gen. Robert Spalding has worked in the positions of strategy and diplomacy within the Defense and State departments for more than 26 years, and his "research output" at the NISP was only an opinion piece attacking Huawei. Ilan Berman, another contributor, is senior vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington DC. 

The NISP claimed to be a division of the Fairfax University of America (FXUA) and receives funding from this university. However, the school's credentials were in doubt, and it was severely criticized by local regulators and nearly closed at one time.


Earlier this year, the Chinese government was very critical of an anonymous Atlantic Council paper on US-China relations called "The Longer Telegram."

In March, China sanctioned the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS), Europe's leading think tank on China.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Is Stanford Trying to Cut Ties with the Hoover Institution?

Here is more from The Daily Wire:

Earlier this month, a group of Stanford University professors presented and published a memo accusing Hoover Institution fellows of being conservative, which they are, but argued they needed to be censured because the majority of the Stanford community disagreed with their views.

It appears the professors’ attempt to silence the Hoover fellows has failed, according to The Federalist.

“Despite a months-long campaign of demonization directed at Victor Davis Hanson, Niall Ferguson, and Scott Atlas — amplified with support from The Stanford Daily — the assault ended without condemnation of the trio or Hoover,” the outlet reported.

As the three fellows wrote last week, Stanford’s president, provost, and former provost defended the think tank and academic freedom in general.

Instead of the public condemnation and silencing demanded by the Stanford professors, Provost Persis Drell and Hoover Institute director Condoleezza Rice were asked to “to present a report to the body later this year about ‘increasing interaction’ between the university and the think tank,” The Federalist reported.


Here is the presentation by professors Joshua Landy, Stephen Monismith, David Palumbo-Liu, and David Spiegel.

The Daily Wire notes that this is not the first time that Stanford has attempted to cut ties with Hoover.  Here is a New York Times piece from 1983 entitled "Stanford Liberals Question School's Tie to Hoover Institution."

The Federalist notes that Hoover, which was initially founded in 1919 as a library by Stanford alumnus Herbert Hoover, has a $450 million endowment and a $50 million annual budget.

It also notes that although Hoover is a part of Stanford, it has an independent board of overseers.

Here is a piece by Stanford Political Journal entitled "100 Years of Hoover: A History of Stanford's Decades-Long Debate Over the Hoover Institution."

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Think Tank Quickies (#405)

  • A Roadmap for US Global Leadership, from the US Global Leadership Commission, analyzed over 100 foreign and security policy reports to pinpoint key areas of consensus.
  • A phrase not in a think tankers vocabulary: "I don't know enough about this to have an opinion."
  • What was the last think tank event you went to before lockdown?
  • Scotland needs more think tanks.
  • Hillary Clinton does Atlantic Council event.
  • AEI: Dire need to reopen schools ASAP.
  • 42% of RAND Corp.'s US-based research staff identify as female.
  • How an Albany think tank exposed Andrew Cuomo's coronavirus coverup.
  • There was an episode of Star Trek: Voyager featuring a think tank for hire guest-starring Jason Alexander?
  • Campbell Collaboration produces and disseminates high-quality open access systematic reviews and evidence synthesis methods.