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Soros, Koch Partner to Launch Foreign Policy Think Tank

Rows of small U.S. flags planted in the grassTwo mega-philanthropists at opposite ends of the political spectrum—George Soros and Charles Koch—have teamed up to launch a think tank focused on shifting U.S. foreign policy away from "forever war," the Boston Globe reports.

To open this September in Washington, D.C., the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft will be "an action-oriented think tank that [lays] the foundation for a new foreign policy centered on diplomatic engagement and military restraint," the organization's website states. Quoting an 1821 speech by then-Secretary of State John Quincy Adams in which Adams argued that America "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy," the think tank will promote ideas that move U.S. foreign policy away from "endless war" in which "political leaders have increasingly deployed the military in a costly, counterproductive, and indiscriminate manner."

Soros's Open Society Foundations and the Charles Koch Foundation have each contributed half a million dollars to fund the think tank's launch, while a handful of individual donors have contributed another $800,000, the Globe reports. By next year, the institute hopes to have a $3.5 million budget and a staff of policy experts who will produce material for use by Congress and in public debates; it also plans 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 another on democratizing foreign policy.

"This is big," said Trita Parsi, former president of the National Iranian American Council and a co-founder of the think tank. "It shows how important ending endless war is if [Soros and Koch are] willing to put aside their differences and get together on this project. We are going to challenge the basis of American foreign policy in a way that has not been done in at least the last quarter-century."

"The current moment presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring together like-minded progressives and conservatives and set U.S. foreign policy on a sensible and humane footing," the institute states on its website. "Our country's current circumstances demand it."

This news item is reprinted from Philanthropy News Digest.

Stephen Kinzer, "In an Astonishing Turn, George Soros and Charles Koch Team Up to End US 'Forever War' Policy." Boston Globe 06/30/2019.

Topics: PND Think Tanks Philanthropy News Digest