Press Release

Quincy Institute Welcomes New Talent

September 17, 2020

WASHINGTON — The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft (QI) announced four additions to its team that will provide scholarship to challenge the emerging militarized competition with China, lead efforts to responsibly withdraw from Afghanistan and bring a powerful new conservative voice into the organization. The new hires bring the total number of permanent QI staff to 19, marking a 60+ percent staffing increase in the less than a year since the organization was launched.

Joining QI this month:

• As Director of the East Asia program, Michael D. Swaine–a scholar with 30 years of Asia experience at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and RAND

• As Senior Advisor and Contributing Editor, Kelley Vlahos–formerly of The American Conservative magazine  

• As Research Fellow for East Asia with a focus on China, Rachel Esplin Odell — formerly of Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School

• As Research Fellow for the Middle East with a focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan, Adam Weinstein–formerly of KPMG and the U.S. Marines. 

“That QI has been able to attract so much talent and expertise from across the foreign policy establishment in such a short time is testament to the strength of our record to date and, more importantly, to the strength of our vision for the future where peace is the norm and war is the exception,” said Lora Lumpe, QI’s CEO. “Michael, Kelley, Rachel, and Adam each bring to Quincy’s table a formidable set of skills and experience that together will broaden, deepen, and elevate Quincy’s work and allow us to go from strength to strength,” she added.

The transpartisan, action-oriented think tank, launched in December 2019, promotes military restraint in order to move U.S. foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace. Analysis by its experts routinely appears on the pages of the country’s leading newspapers, as well as on Responsible Statecraft, QI’s attached publishing platform. The institute focuses in particular on efforts to end the long running wars in the Middle East and seeks to prevent the emergence of a hot or cold war with China.   

Michael D. Swaine is currently a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he has worked for nearly twenty years. He is one of the most prominent American scholars of Chinese security studies. Formerly a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation, Swaine is a specialist in Chinese defense and foreign policy, U.S.-China relations, and East Asian international relations. He has authored and edited more than a dozen books and monographs, including Remaining Aligned on the Challenges Facing Taiwan (with Ryo Sahashi; 2019), Conflict and Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region: A Strategic Net Assessment (with Nicholas Eberstadt et al; 2015) and many journal articles and book chapters. Swaine is directing, along with Iain Johnston of Harvard University, a multi-year crisis prevention project with Chinese partners. He also advises the U.S. government on Asian security issues. Swaine will join QI on September 30.

“I am delighted to be joining the Quincy Institute as director of their new East Asia Program,” said Swaine. “QI’s mission to promote U.S. diplomatic engagement and military restraint is of particular relevance to the increasingly vital East Asian region, given the contentious, zero-sum rivalry now emerging between the United States and China. I look forward to working with my Quincy colleagues in developing a broad coalition in support of innovative U.S. policies that can reduce rivalry, while promoting greater peace, security and prosperity across the region and at home.”

Kelley Vlahos comes to QI from The American Conservative, where for the last three years she served as the magazine’s executive editor and co-host of the Empire Has No Clothes podcast. Before joining TAC in 2017, Vlahos served as a contributing editor to the magazine, reporting and publishing regular articles on U.S. war policy, civil liberties, foreign policy, veterans, and Washington politics since 2007. She also organized the magazine’s major annual foreign policy conference for the last three years. Vlahos was director of social media and a digital editor at WTOP News in Washington, D.C. from 2013 to 2017. Prior to that, she spent 15 years as an online political reporter for FOX News at the channel’s Washington, D.C. bureau, as well as Washington correspondent for Homeland Security Today magazine. Vlahos recently wrote stories in The American Conservative about the never-Trumpers bidding to influence Biden’s China policy and the foreign policy elite’s struggle for primacy.

Rachel Esplin Odell is an expert in U.S. strategy toward Asia, Chinese foreign policy, and the politics of international law. She recently completed her tenure as an International Security Fellow in the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School. Odell previously worked as a research analyst in the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, co-authoring several policy reports and organizing numerous public forums, government briefings, and Track II workshops. She has also served in the China Affairs bureau of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Odell most recently co-wrote a piece about the dangers of a new cold war with China in The New York Times and another about the rising conflict between Greece and Turkey over maritime law in the Washington Post.

Adam Weinstein is an expert on security, trade, and rule of law in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is a member of the American Pakistan Foundation’s Leadership Council. In 2012, Weinstein served as a U.S. Marine deployed to Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan in support of Australia’s 2nd Commando Regiment. Most recently, he has worked for KPMG’s international practice on U.S.-Asia trade, consulting on issues including incorporating human rights due diligence into supply chains, managing sanctions risk, and utilizing free trade agreements. Weinstein recently wrote about Pakistan’s potential role as a mediator between the U.S. and Iran in War on the Rocks and about Pakistani sectarianism in Foreign Policy magazine.