New Soros/Koch-Funded Think Tank Claims to Oppose US Forever War
Brought to you by boosters of war on Syria and Venezuela
Editor’s note: The money comes from people who oppose some wars because they hamper the ability of the US to wage other military and non-military interventions. These are people who dislike the Iraq war because it bogged down the US military for a decade and because it reduced the US moral standing in the world, and enthusiasm for war in the US. However they adore brief wars like Kosovo which in their mind increased the US moral standing in the world, and again in their mind served as good advertisment for US power and military interventionism in the world. What Kochs, and especially Soros want is simply a smarter Empire; more Bill Clinton and less George W. Bush.
If you were to have asked me what news reports I definitely did not expect to see when checking my news feed this morning, “Malignant plutocrats join hands across partisan divide to end America’s forever war” would probably have been among my first guesses. And yet, weirdly, here we are.
A new Boston Globe article titled “In an astonishing turn, George Soros and Charles Koch team up to end US ‘forever war’ policy” reports that the two influential billionaires have chipped in a half a million dollars apiece to start a new DC think tank with the goal of doing the exact opposite of the sort of thing that billionaire-funded DC think tanks normally do.
“Besides being billionaires and spending much of their fortunes to promote pet causes, the leftist financier George Soros and the right-wing Koch brothers have little in common,” the report begins. “They could be seen as polar opposites. Soros is an old-fashioned New Deal liberal. The Koch brothers are fire-breathing right-wingers who dream of cutting taxes and dismantling government. Now they have found something to agree on: the United States must end its ‘forever war’ and adopt an entirely new foreign policy.”
“In concrete terms, this means the Quincy Institute will likely advocate a withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and Syria; a return to the nuclear deal with Iran; less confrontational approaches to Russia and China; an end to regime-change campaigns against Venezuela and Cuba; and sharp reductions in the defense budget,” the article reads.
Responses to this news from Twitter’s blue-ticked commentariat have been largely supportive.
“Great to see that avoiding really stupid, costly wars has support across party lines,” tweeted author and professor Max Abrahms.
“Certainly understand skepticism of Soros and Koch money but with a platform of ending endless war and Trita Parsi at the helm, this sounds very promising and is sorely needed as we inch towards catastrophic nuclear war,” said journalist Dan Cohen.
“A new foreign policy think tank that will ‘promote an approach to the world based on diplomacy and restraint rather than threats, sanctions, and bombing.’ YES PLEASE,” tweeted In The Now’s Rania Khalek.
“Finally. A think tank that aims to fight the blob and endless war. Hope Stephen Walt will be involved,” tweeted foreign policy analyst Joshua Landis.
Finally. A think tank that aims to fight the blob and endless war. Hope @stephenWalt will be involved. @stephenkinzer writes, “In an astonishing turn, Soros and Charles Koch team up to end US ‘forever war’ policy” Congrats to @tparsi https://t.co/pvFE4wFJjz
— Joshua Landis (@joshua_landis) June 30, 2019
I've got a bridge on sale. You seem very interested in buying such. Gimme a call.
— Moon of Alabama (@MoonofA) June 30, 2019
Others have been a touch more skeptical.
“Hi Joshua, I’ve got a bridge on sale. You seem very interested in buying such. Gimme a call,” Moon of Alabama tweeted at Landis.
Such skepticism is warranted. It is true that the Quincy Institute’s co-fouder Trita Parsi has been a vocal opponent of US imperialism towards Iran and elsewhere, but it is also true that the Kochs and Soros have both acted as toxic facilitators of US imperialism.
The report claims that the new think tank seeks an end to America’s regime change agenda in Venezuela, for example, yet investigative journalist Greg Palast reports that the Koch brothers have been a major driving force behind that very agenda. The group claims to seek a de-escalation against Syria, yet investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley and alternative media outlet Mintpress News have documented extensive ties between George Soros and the various NGOs and narrative management operations which have been facilitating the agenda of toppling Syria’s government.
In 2014 journalist Mark Ames observed that Soros “funded many of the NGOs involved in ‘color revolutions’ including small donations to the same Ukraine NGOs that Omidyar backed. (Like Omidyar Network does today, Soros’ charity arms — Open Society and Renaissance Foundation — publicly preached transparency and good government in places like Russia during the Yeltsin years, while Soros’ financial arm speculated on Russian debt and participated in scandal-plagued auctions of state assets.)”
Charles Koch has been a major donor to the Iraq-raping think tank American Enterprise Institute, which has returned the favor by aggressively churning out narrative management on the public image of the Koch brothers. George Soros is a major funder of the NATO narrative management firm Atlantic Council, which has been a driving force behind the campaign manufacturing consent for escapations against Russia, something the Quincy Institute claims to oppose.
So if you’re interested in viewing world events through a lens that is untainted by corrupt narrative management, some skepticism of this new Quincy Institute is not just appropriate, but absolutely required.
The term “think tank” almost always refers to a group of academics hired by plutocrats to come up with reasons why it is very good and smart to do something very evil and stupid, and then to market those reasons at key points of influence. They are key tools of narrative management for the billionaire class, and the interests of the billionaire class are rarely in alignment with those of ordinary people. This is especially true when said billionaires are operating in a bipartisan manner.
But the good news is that all we have too do to know the truth about this new group’s purposes is watch its behavior over time, and pay attention to who benefits from the narratives it ends up pushing. Just make a mental note of the information you have about it now, and pay attention to what’s happening when you see the words “Quincy Institute” in reports from the political/media class going forward. If this think tank is what it claims to be, we will see this proven over time in the effects it has on dominant narratives and government policy. If it isn’t, we’ll see that, too.
I made a comment expressing skepticism over at The American Conservative and that post was promptly removed.
At least I know their position on free speech.
Come into my parlor said the cat to the bird.
This is nothing new. Jews have always played both sides.
“The term “think tank” almost always refers to a group of academics hired by plutocrats to come up with reasons why it is very good and smart to do something very evil and stupid, and then to market those reasons at key points of influence.”
Something very true.
I’ve long compared the pseudo-academic environment of “think-tanks” to actors in television commercials who wear white lab coats and carry clip boards, pretending to be doctors or scientists while recommending some over-the-counter remedy such as headache pills.
The larger “think-tanks” have “Fellows” and “Distinguished Fellows” and “Chairs,” etc., mimicking some authentic academic institutions. They provide mechanisms for rewarding people who have performed well outside the world of “think-tanks” – as political or advocacy figures and selected academics – with elevated, well-rewarded, undemanding positions – almost “golden-handshake retirements” – while giving them increased means of reaching audiences with their views.
And their output at the “think-tank” organizations – in the form of papers or studies or lectures – provides readily available resource material to distribute to the public, carrying an imprimatur of seeming authenticity.
Our mainstream press, always on the look-out for stuff to fill columns or airtime at no cost, is a key distribution target. They often run the stuff without critical examination, much as though they were new findings from scientific or academic study.
All of their output – all of it – has a point of view, one way or another, varying with the slant of the particular “think-tank.” Genuine scientific research explores what happens, phenomena, and it does not promote a point of view.
Of course, true science embraces whatever the careful, controlled observation of phenomena shows, even if that contradicts an earlier understanding of the same phenomena. Thus, new theories displace older ones.
That’s how science makes progress. Indeed, it is never static, always busy observing and testing, always ready to come to new generalizations if they are warranted.
But that is not at all what “think-tanks” do. “Think-tanks” are in the business of supplying arguments for a point of view. They are, indeed, unscientific.
The degraded state of our universities and colleges has made the job of “think-tanks” easier by making what were clear lines of difference less clear.
Unfortunately, our society has experienced a huge inflation in academic institutions, and many institutions of “higher learning” today are run almost as intellectual-entertainment profit centers rather than as scrupulous academic centers. Students and their dollars are lured to courses of study which are neither very academic nor likely to provide any future genuine career, but they may be interesting.
So, increasingly in recent decades, the distinction between “think-tanks” and at least a good number of “for profit” academic departments and institutions becomes less clear. There seems to be almost a form of increasing entropy in intellectual matters.
three of the most prominent reptilian malignancies on the face of the planet initiate a think tank. lmao
what the hell is there to think about?
just get out of other people’s countries.
it isn’t rocket science, you mentally deficient squids.