The practical and moral failures of U.S. efforts to unilaterally shape the destiny of other nations by force requires a fundamental rethinking of U.S. foreign policy assumptions. So does the emergence of a multi-polar world in the 21st century where economic power is more evenly shared across nations. Yet the influence of the “military industrial complex” that President Eisenhower warned of has led to a situation where the foreign policy debate within Washington is intentionally constrained and fails to incorporate the diversity of views needed for that rethinking.
The Quincy Institute aims to lead this reconceptualization, and to do so in a way that serves both vital American interests and the broader shared interest in creating a more just and peaceful world. We believe that a foreign policy that emphasizes military restraint and diplomatic engagement and cooperation with other nations will serve American interests and values better than policies that prioritize the maintenance of U.S. global dominance through force.
As a research institution, we expose the dangerous consequences of an overly militarized American foreign policy and present an alternative approach that promotes local ownership and resolution of local issues. We connect and mobilize a network of policy experts and academics who are dedicated to a vision of American foreign policy based on military restraint rather than domination. We help increase and amplify their output, and give them a voice in Washington, including through our publishing platform Responsible Statecraft.
As an action-oriented think tank we serve as a resource for members of Congress, grassroots organizations, and emerging leaders in Washington on both sides of the political aisle and across the country who are open to our vision and values. We participate in national security debates taking place in Washington and around the country, both by developing compelling messaging and communications strategies and offering alternative policy and legislative ideas that implement our principles of a less militarized and more cooperative foreign policy.
The Quincy Institute promotes ideas that move U.S. foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace.
A world where peace is the norm and war the exception.
The Quincy Institute stands for responsible statecraft, defined as follows:
Responsible statecraft serves the public interest.
The foreign policy of the United States exists to secure the safety and well-being of the American people while respecting the rights and dignity of all.
Foreign policy should therefore derive from serious consideration of the public interest, accounting for the diversity of American society. It should not be driven by the preferences of a narrow elite in Washington. American foreign policy should change as American society and the world change.
Responsible statecraft engages the world.
The United States should engage with the world, and the essence of engagement is peaceful cooperation among peoples.
For this reason, the United States must cherish peace and pursue it through the vigorous practice of diplomacy. Building on a great achievement of the twentieth century — the liberation of most of humanity from colonial empires — the United States should welcome productive initiatives by other nations in the twenty-first century. It should not inhibit others from acting to solve common problems, reduce conflict, and provide for their own security.
Responsible statecraft builds a peaceful world.
The United States retains a strong interest in being a responsible and constructive member of the international community.
It should act so that others can model their conduct on its own. Therefore the United States should respect established international laws and norms, discourage irresponsible and destabilizing actions by others, and seek to coexist with competitors. The United States need not seek military supremacy in all places, at all costs, for all time.
Responsible statecraft abhors war.
The use of armed force, while sometimes necessary, does not constitute engagement in the world.
Force ends human life, displaces people, devastates communities, and damages the environment. In these ways, it prevents genuine engagement. Any resort to force should occur only as a last resort. The U.S. military exists to defend the people and territory of the United States, not to act as a global police force. The United States should reject preventive wars and military intervention to overthrow regimes that do not threaten the United States. Wars of these kinds not only are counterproductive; they are wrong in principle.
Responsible statecraft is democratic.
The American people have the right and responsibility to participate in the making of U.S. foreign policy.
They should engage in a robust and inclusive debate about America’s role in the world. Further, Congress must fulfill its duties in foreign policy, neither tolerating the usurpation of its Constitutional role by the executive nor abdicating its authority to declare war.
Chairman of the Board
Secretary and Treasurer
Managing Editor, Responsible Statecraft
Senior Advisor, Quincy Institute & Editorial Director of Responsible Statecraft
Director of Grand Strategy
Special Assistant & Non-Resident Fellowship Coordinator
Senior Advisor, Quincy Institute & Investigative Journalist at Large at Responsible Statecraft
Director of Development
Junior Research Fellow
Researcher & Senior Communications Associate
Senior Research Fellow
Deputy Communications Director
Eurasia Program Director
Contributing Editor, Responsible Statecraft
Director of Operations
Junior Research Fellow
Executive Vice President
Director of Communications
Director of Studies and Senior Research Fellow, Asia
Senior Research Analyst
Director, East Asia Program
The Quincy Institute advances its mission to promote ideas that move U.S. foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace with the philanthropic support of generous individuals and foundations. We are proud to recognize the following institutional supporters who help further our work. View a full list of Quincy Institute’s financial supporters here and our conflict of interest policy here. Our 2020 audit is here and our most recent IRS Form 990 can be accessed here.
Lawyers for Reporters and Steptoe & Johnson LLP are non-financial supporters of the Quincy Institute and we are deeply grateful for their support.