In a new In House Warrior special series, co-hosts Richard Levick and Julian Pecquet, editor of the Foreign Lobby Report, explore Middle East politics with Trita Parsi, award-winning author and the 2010 recipient of the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order and an expert on US-Iranian relations.
The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft was barely a couple of months old when COVID-19 shut down America.
Just like that, the dovish think tank’s already formidable ambition of forcing a paradigm shift toward military restraint in US foreign policy became even more daunting.
The growing bipartisan support for ending the “endless wars” in the Middle East became less of a priority. Meanwhile the team of people assembled thanks to generous funding from the likes of George Soros on the left and Charles Koch on the right had to learn to work together without ever having met.
But the think tank’s co-founder and executive vice-president, Trita Parsi, says the epidemic has also vindicated the Quincy Institute’s mission.
“Here you have a scenario in which by now 220,000 or so Americans have died – more Americans killed than in the last 10 or so wars. And the US military and this bloated Pentagon budget and this militarization of our foreign policy was completely useless in dealing with this threat,” Parsi told The Influencers, a new podcast co-hosted by Foreign Lobby Report Editor Julian Pecquet and Richard Levick of the international communications agency Levick.
The moment, Parsi said, calls out for the kind of innovative work the Quincy Institute is doing in terms of creating actionable policies around the academic theory of restraint in global affairs. Traditional think tanks are largely absent from that space, he said, pointing to last year’s debate over ending US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, in which advocacy groups provided much of the analysis.
“We felt that the [existing] think tanks … are rarely producing intellectual work that goes in the direction that a lot of advocacy organizations that have been pushing for more diplomacy, pushing for a less militarized foreign policy were looking for – the type of intellectual validation of what they were doing,” Parsi said…Read more