Nearly two hundred years ago, John Quincy Adams, while serving as U.S. Secretary of State, cautioned against the temptation of going abroad “in search of monsters to destroy.” Doing so, he foresaw, would mire the United States “beyond the point of extrication” in needless wars, thereby putting American liberty itself at risk.
Tragically, the circumstances that Adams warned about only too accurately describe the situation in which the United States finds itself today. Far too broad a cross section of the foreign policy establishment accepts perpetual war as a normal condition, willfully blind to the immense harm done as a consequence of recklessly conceived and ineptly conducted armed interventions.
We and our colleagues established the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft to bring about a fundamental reorientation of U.S. foreign policy. We aim to change the prevailing mindset that defines American leadership in military terms. The Quincy Institute stands for restraint and realism in the use of force. We believe that peaceful engagement offers the most effective way to advance U.S. interests and to promote the wellbeing of the planet as a whole.
You may hear the QI described as isolationist. We are anything but. We believe that the United States must be globally engaged in ways that advance the cause of peace rather than fostering violence and instability. We advocate patient, persistent, and creative diplomacy.
You may hear the QI described as anti-military. Nothing could be further from the truth. We oppose “wars of choice” that put the lives of our troops needlessly at risk. We favor a military establishment sized and organized to protect the nation’s vital interests. The appropriate purpose of America’s armed forces should be to defend and deter, not regime change, imperial policing, or imposing democracy at gunpoint.
The QI is transpartisan. We will collaborate with progressives, centrists, and conservatives to establish a new American national security strategy that moves the nation from militarism. We align with no political party. We do not accept funding from foreign government sources. We welcome intellectual, political, and financial support from those who share our principles.
On behalf of the Quincy Institute’s staff, board, and supporters, we invite you to learn more about our work. The journey ahead will no doubt be a long and challenging one. We begin that journey with a sense of eagerness and determination.
Andrew Bacevich, President
Suzanne DiMaggio, Chairman