What a Foreign Policy For the Middle Class Looks Like: Realism and Restraint Amid Global Conflict

This question has attracted growing attention in recent years, as Americans have tired of sending their money and their family members to fund and fight foreign conflicts not vital to their own safety and security. They have questioned why American manufacturing jobs that once underpinned thriving Midwestern communities are now in China and Mexico. And they wonder why government officials and media titans are so slow to address their concerns and so quick to label them “isolationists” for asking.

What should be done? The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and The American Conservative brought together Congressional representatives, journalists, and thought leaders to provide answers, including keynotes from Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH), Senator Rand Paul, & former presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy.

Event Rundown:

Welcome Remarks from Kelley Vlahos

Keynote: Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH)

Panel: American Security – Are Status Quo Policies Abroad Keeping Us Safe at Home?


  • Representative Warren Davidson (R-OH)
  • Branko Marcetic – Reporter, Jacobin
  • Helen Andrews – Senior Editor, The American Conservative
  • George Beebe (Moderator) – Grand Strategy Director, Quincy Institute

Keynote: Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

12:30 – 1:30: Panel: American Prosperity – Competing with China While Avoiding Military Confrontation


  • Saagar Enjeti – Co-Founder & Co-Host, Breaking Points
  • David Goldman – Deputy Editor, Asia Times
  • Jake Werner – Deputy East Asia Director, Quincy Institute
  • Kelley Vlahos (Moderator) – Editorial Director, Responsible Statecraft

1:45 – 2:15: A Conversation with Vivek Ramaswamy; moderated by Curt Mills, Executive Director of The American Conservative


Senator J.D. Vance

J.D. Vance (R-OH) has served as the junior Senator of Ohio since 2022. Vance grew up in the Rust Belt city of Middletown, Ohio, and the Appalachian town of Jackson, Kentucky. He enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school and served in Iraq. A graduate of the Ohio State University and Yale Law School, Vance became known for his 2016 book 'Hillbilly Elegy', a memoir chronicling his time growing up in the Rust Belt.

Senator Rand Paul

Rand Paul (R-KY) has served as the Junior Senator of Kentucky since 2011. A member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Paul has been a staunch critic of American military interventionism throughout his time in office. He is the son of long-time Texas House representative Ron Paul.

Vivek Ramaswamy

Vivek Ramaswamy is a biotech entrepreneur who drew national attention with his bid for the Republican nomination in the 2024 U.S. presidential election. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Ramaswamy notably advanced a doctrine of foreign policy realism during his presidential run.

Rep. Warren Davidson

Warren Davidson (R-OH) has served the eighth district of Ohio since 2016. An army veteran, Davidson has been a noted skeptic of American's military presence in the Middle East and involvement in the war in Ukraine.

Helen Andrews

Helen Andrews is a senior editor at The American Conservative. She has worked at the Washington Examiner and National Review, and as a think tank researcher at the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney, Australia. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, First Things, The Claremont Review of Books, Hedgehog Review, and many others.

Branko Marcetic

Branko Marcetic is a reporter and staff writer with Jacobin magazine and the author of Yesterday’s Man: the Case Against Joe Biden. He was also a 2019-2020 Leonard C. Goodman Institute for Investigative Reporting fellow at In These Times and has appeared frequently in the magazine.

George Beebe

George Beebe is Director of the Grand Strategy program at the Quincy Institute. He spent more than two decades in government as an intelligence analyst, diplomat, and policy advisor, including as director of the CIA’s Russia analysis and as a staff advisor on Russia matters to Vice President Cheney. His book, The Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral into Nuclear Catastrophe (2019), warned how the United States and Russia could stumble into a dangerous military confrontation.

Kelley Vlahos

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos is a senior advisor at the Quincy Institute and editorial director of its online magazine, Responsible Statecraft. Previously she served as executive editor managing editor, and longtime foreign policy/national security writer at the American Conservative magazine. She also spent 15 years as an online political reporter for Fox News.

Jake Werner

Jake Werner is the Acting Director of the East Asia program at the Quincy Institute. His research examines the emergence of great power conflict between the U.S. and China and develops policies to rebuild constructive economic relations. Prior to joining Quincy, Jake was a Postdoctoral Global China Research Fellow at the Boston University Global Development Policy Center.

David Goldman

David Goldman is Deputy Editor of Asia Times and a Washington Fellow of the Claremont Institute. He is also a contributing editor at American Affairs. Formerly he headed several research departments at major Wall Street firms, and was a partner at the Hong Kong investment bank Reorient Group. His book, "You Will Be Assimilated: China's Plan to Sino-Form the World" was published in 2020.

Saagar Enjeti

Saagar Enjeti is co-host of the popular political podcast, Breaking Points. Before that he co-hosted The Hill's Rising podcast. He is also a Tony Blankley fellow at the Steamboat Institute. He previously served as media fellow at Hudson Institute, and White House Correspondent for the Daily Caller.

Curt Mills

Curt Mills is the Executive Director of The American Conservative, where he previously served as senior reporter and contributing editor. He specializes in foreign policy and campaign coverage and has worked at The National Interest, U.S. News & World Report, Washington Examiner, and the Spectator.