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In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche


Can the Quincy Institute Save America from Endless War?

A new think tank called the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft hopes to save America from endless war.

Interestingly, both leftist billionaire George Soros and libertarian money man Charles Koch contributed $500,000 to Quincy, The Week’s Damon Linker claims. Koch and Soros hope to promote a new rational foreign policy based on restraint, common sense, and diplomacy.

To achieve this goal, the Institute will try to organize a new generation of foreign-policy advisers and intellectuals dedicated to non-intervention. The hope is to provide an alternative to professional warmongers like John Bolton and Nikki Haley.

How Realistic is the Quincy Institute’s Agenda?

They named the institute for John Quincy Adams, America’s sixth president, and a prominent diplomat. Adams famously said, America “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.”

Correctly, the Institute’s website notes: “The foreign policy of the United States has become detached from any defensible conception of U.S. interests and from a decent respect for the rights and dignity of humankind.” To counter that the Institute plans to bring left and right wing foreign policy critics together to craft a new foreign policy of restraint.

Achieving restraint will be tough because interventionism is in Washington’s DNA. Notably, each of the last four presidents promised a foreign policy of restraint and a stop to endless war. However, no president delivered on those promises.

Bill Clinton (D-Arkansas), George W. Bush (R-Texas), and Barack Obama (D-Illinois) each practiced regime change, sanctions, preventive war, strategic airstrikes, drone attacks, and many other forms of unilateral intervention. Meanwhile, Donald J. Trump (R-New York) has brought us to the brink of war with Iran and Venezuela for reasons nobody can comprehend.

Can a Think Tank Wean America off Endless War?

Frighteningly, Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is doing her best to promote a conflict with China, The American Conservative reports. “Haley’s recommendations boil down to punitive economic measures and increased military spending,” The Conservative’s Daniel Larson observes.

Larson accuses Haley of presenting a “fantasy of principled foreign policy behavior to support her argument for a more aggressive and confrontational China policy.” In addition, Larson thinks Haley wants increased spending on nuclear weapons based on an illusion.

If Haley is what passes for foreign policy thought in America today, we vitally need the Quincy Institute. However, its job will be tough because in recent decades presidents of both parties are more apt to listen to paranoids like Haley than advocates of restraint.

A new foreign policy centered on diplomatic engagement and military restraint

Soros and Koch’s funding of the Institute proves thought leaders on both sides of the aisle agree America needs a new peaceful foreign policy. Moreover, there is no popular support for endless war or militarism in Middle America.

Notably, there is apparently no popular support for Haley’s anti-China rhetoric. Currently, there is no rampant anti-China hysteria comparable to the childish and popular Japan-bashing of the 1980s.

Consequently, I see no movies or TV shows portraying the People’s Republic or the Chinese as America’s enemies. A sure sign China-bashing does not sell. Thus, the Trump administration could involve America in a conflict with another superpower for which there is no support.

The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft is scheduled to open for business in November 2019. Hopefully, it will succeed in its mission to create a “new foreign policy centered on diplomatic engagement and military restraint.”

America needs a real foreign policy only time will tell if this think-tank can create it. Formulating such a policy is the easy part. Recent history teaches that the real challenge is getting politicians to practice restraint.

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