Foreign Policy

Charles Koch, George Soros Help Fund Think Tank Opposed To 'Endless War'

Welcome to 21st-century politics (finally) with creation of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.

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The Boston Globe reports the "astonishing turn" that organizations created by libertarian billionaire Charles Koch and progressive billionaire George Soros are helping to fund a new think tank, the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. The new group is committed to promoting "ideas that move U.S. foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace."

From the Globe's write-up:

It will promote an approach to the world based on diplomacy and restraint rather than threats, sanctions, and bombing. This is a radical notion in Washington, where every major think tank promotes some variant of neocon militarism or liberal interventionism. Soros and Koch are uniting to revive the fading vision of a peaceable United States. The street cred they bring from both ends of the political spectrum—along with the money they are providing—will make this new think tank an off-pitch voice for statesmanship amid a Washington chorus that promotes brinksmanship….

The institute plans to open its doors in September and hold an official inauguration later in the autumn. Its founding donors—Soros's Open Society Foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation—have each contributed half a million dollars to fund its takeoff. A handful of individual donors have joined to add another $800,000. By next year the institute hopes to have a $3.5 million budget and a staff of policy experts who will churn out material for use in Congress and in public debates. Hiring is underway. Among [Trita] Parsi's co-founders are several well-known critics of American foreign policy, including Suzanne DiMaggio, who has spent decades promoting negotiated alternatives to conflict with China, Iran, and North Korea; the historian and essayist Stephen Wertheim; and the anti-militarist author and retired Army colonel Andrew Bacevich.

William Kristol, the former chief of staff for Vice President Dan Quayle, co-founder of The Weekly Standard, and a proponent of military intervention, was quick to sum up the response of "neocon militarism" and "liberal interventionism":

It's a sad, empty rejoinder to equate any change from the foreign policy status quo to isolationism and appeasement, but there you have it. For those of us not uncritically wedded to a vision of American power that, among other things, largely waves away the disasters of post-9/11 foreign policy, the Koch-Soros partnership is a welcome sign that worn-out, old political coalitions are making way for new alliances. In fact, this isn't even the first time that the libertarian and progressive have teamed up. As Davis Richardson of The New York Observer reported just a couple of weeks ago, Koch and Soros are both helping to fund Communities Overcoming Extremism: The After Charlottesville Project, which seeks to help the "private tech sector" develop "best practices on the fight against hate and extremism online." Koch and Soros also both share longstanding, overlapping interests in promoting free speech and civil discourse and reforming drug policy and criminal justice. (Disclosure: Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this website, receives funding from the Charles Koch Institute.)

Expect this sort of latest politics-makes-odd-bedfellows moment to become the new normal as more and more Americans—whether of the donor class or simply the voting public—increasingly evacuate old ideological identities. Indeed, Donald Trump, who could barely have passed as a Republican a few decades ago, represents how up for grabs politics has become. As we step out of inherited identities and comatose political coalitions, all sorts of possibilities emerge. In The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America (2011/2012), Matt Welch and I wrote:

Americans who secede from political tribes, yet remain fully or sporadically involved in politics, scare the bejesus out of politicians. Through peaceful resistance, ephemerally organized swarms, blatant disregard of immoral laws, and more, we can create a permanent nongoverning minority, where blocs retain their potency by refusing to be co-opted and focusing on ways that the government is conspiring to keep them less free.

The Quincy Institute, drawing financial and ideological support from parts of the political spectrum that aren't supposed to row in the same direction, is the latest sign that a 21st-century politics, one rooted in the way we live now and committed to finding answers to our present and future predicaments, is at long last emerging.

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  1. Wait a sec…

    “As Davis Richardson of The New York Observer reported just a couple of weeks ago, Koch and Soros are both helping to fund The After Charlottesville Project, which seeks to help the “private tech sector” develop “best practices on the fight against hate and extremism online.” Koch and Soros also both share longstanding, overlapping interests in promoting free speech” etc.

    We know what the tech sector’s, and their government regulators’, ideas of “best practices” are. What alternative ideas, if any, are Kocros promoting?

  2. If they merge their enterprises, will it be SorKoch Industries?

    1. Kocros, SorKoch….take it easy, Mikey.

      1. Booooooooo

        1. Take that bed sheet off, Nardz, you are not scaring anyone.

  3. Personally I’d rather see the Kochs and Soros jointly create another think tank dedicated to promoting open borders. You can never have too many of those.

    #AbolishConcentrationCamps
    #ImmigrationAboveAll
    #BillionairesKnowBest

    1. Those who think don’t support open borders.

      1. Those who blindly follow Trump only support one-way borders: exports, not imports, and deportations instead of tourists or immigrants.

        They are so lame, they believe that exports make you rich and imports impoverish you.

        1. And those who blindly follow Marx or Mao support universal sharing and regulated equality.

          They believe that taking my stuff away makes me “richer”–beyond lame.

          1. What the hell’s that got to do with open borders? Marx and Mao and their ilk want closed borders too.

            Freedom means freedom for all, not for you to dictate who I do business with or who visits me or who I hire or rent to. Fuck off, slaver. You’ve got far more in common with Marx and Mao than libertarians and individualists.

            1. Everything is about open borders, and it’s always been that way.

            2. oh stop the affectation, dullard

            3. Freedom means free to enjoy the fruits of one’s labors, including property. Open borders is an assault on property rights, and thus on freedom.

            4. Open borders as a theory is fine…

              The problem is reality. In a world where almost everybody is a low skilled, uneducated person, who doesn’t have any literal or human capital to bring to the table… Opening up the borders to 1st world nations can only have one effect: Destroying the standard of living there, and leveling it out with the rest of the world.

              That’s AWESOME for some illiterate peasant… And horrible for people whose ancestors built first world nations through their own blood, sweat, and tears.

              I don’t have pathological altruism, so I say let the rest of the world work their way to first world status on their own. Anybody who doesn’t accept the fact that first world nations MUST be destroyed with open borders is lying to themselves.

              If you’re so insane you accept that and still want to do it for ideological reasons… Well at least you’re being honest. I don’t agree, but you are honest. People who deny it are either fools or liars.

        2. I am referring exclusively to unrestricted immigration. As far as I am aware, that is the typical meaning of “open border” theory.

        3. please expand in detail on the tourist part, dullard

  4. Charles Koch and George Soros getting together is completely crazy. It’s crazy like the idea of Popper and Hayek being friends is crazy!

    “We became ultimately very close friends, although we had not known each other in Vienna. And to a very large extent I have agreed with him, although not always immediately. Popper has had his own interesting developments, but on the whole I agree with him more than with anybody else on philosophical matters.”

    —-Friedrich Hayek, 1978

    http://hayekcenter.org/?p=628

    . . . okay, well, maybe that’s not so crazy after all.

    1. Or Ginsburg and Scalia.

      1. My point is not that people with completely opposite philosophies can be friends. My point is that Soros and Koch aren’t coming from what is, essentially, the same philosophy.

        Soros is a disciple of Popper.

        If Koch’s philosophy is coming from the same source as Hayek, then their respective philosophies aren’t opposite–since Hayek and Popper sang from each other’s songbooks.

        If people find these two together as being surprising and strange, it shouldn’t be because they think either Soros’ or Koch’s philosophy must have changed. It’s because they didn’t really understand those philosophies in the first place–especially Soros’.

        1. Thanks for the explanation. I was just yukking it up, as usual.

        2. Always glad to see a little libertarian love for Popper! Good comment.

          Also, since it’s the Reason boards, fuck you, Ken!

        3. Soros is a disciple of Popper.

          More importantly, Soros is a psychopath.

          The Koch brothers are just fools.

  5. Cats and dogs living together.

  6. “It is good that warriors such we meet in the struggle of life…. or death. It shall life.”

    1. Jesus christ. I fucked it up. Sorry Ten Bears.

        1. Apology accepted. If you continue and apologize for your leftism, we’ll really forgive all.

      1. Cultural appropriation never works – – – – –

  7. “The Quincy Institute, drawing financial and ideological support from parts of the political spectrum that aren’t supposed to row in the same direction”

    To whatever extent the left has latched onto Soros, it’s mostly been to take his money and defend him against the sticks and stones being thrown at him from the right–just because they’re coming from the right. Soros’ ideology comes from Popper, from which the modern progressive can draw only incidental support. For those of you who don’t know, Soros is a disciple of Popper, especially Popper’s ideas in The Open Society and its Enemies, with which rational libertarians will find little to quibble. In fact, it reads today like it might have been written about progressives circa 2020.

    “Plato’s hatred of democracy led him, says Popper, “to defend lying, political miracles, tabooistic superstition, the suppression of truth, and ultimately, brutal violence.” Popper feels that Plato’s historicist ideas are driven by a fear of the change that liberal democracies bring about. Also, as an aristocrat and a relative of one-time Athenian dictator Critias, Plato according to Popper was sympathetic to the oligarchs of his own day and contemptuous of the common man.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Open_Society_and_Its_Enemies#Summary

    After going after the elitists in that work, Popper goes on to eviscerate Marx.

    If I had to boil down my critique of Soros, it boils down to what I’ve come to see as his “both-sides-ism”. I think he’s taking his ideas about “reflexivity” seriously, and, by taking the opposite side of something, he means to bring about a better world by manipulating people’s perception of reality. When Soros is funding opposition to right wing groups in eastern Europe, that seems necessary. When he reacted to George W. Bush’s imperial presidency by funding leftist groups in the U.S.–groups that present a bigger threat of authoritarianism from the left than the people on the right he opposed–he became a victim of what I’m calling “both-sides-ism”. He became part of the problem.

    1. Soros is a totalitarian piece of shit who wants to destroy the middle class and usher in the era of morlocks serving eloi.

      1. I think Soros is horribly wrong about a number of things.

      2. Morlocks? You mean more locks (of hair?). As I am slowly but surely going bald, so I am way-way-WAAAY in favor of more locks!

        (I have never seen more locks eating eloi, I am not sure where that rumor comes from… I think it is neither hair nor there!)

    2. Popper is like applying quantum mechanics to an apple landing on your head.

      1. A lot of what they both did was about epistemology and methodology. Follow their mirrored thinking on how we know what we know, and you will often come to the same conclusions they do. This is not to say that they’re incapable of being wrong, but, my goodness, are they ever right about some really important things.

    3. Popper feels that Plato’s historicist ideas are driven by a fear of the change that liberal democracies bring about

      I don’t know of any “liberal democracy” in existence; all current democracies are “social democracies”, i.e., democracies in which the supposed collective good overrides property rights, freedom of speech, and freedom of association.

      AFAIK, neither Popper nor Soros advocate liberal democracy, they advocate social democracy.

      1. in that particular passage, I believe he was contrasting Athenian democracy with the rule of the 400.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athenian_coup_of_411_BC

        1. How does it make sense to ascribe to Plato fears about two concepts that wouldn’t even be conceived of until more than two millennia later?

  8. […] “The Quincy Institute, drawing financial and ideological support from parts of the political spectrum that aren’t supposed to row in the same direction, is the latest sign that a 21st-century politics, one rooted in the way we live now and committed to finding answers to our present and future predicaments, is at long last emerging,” wrote Gillespie. […]

  9. This great news. First we can always use another group to support peace. But even better is that it shows that people with different points of view can come together on things. Right now there is too much tribalism. People support ideas they oppose because well it is our side’s position. Even worse they support something because the other tribe opposes it. This often means that the ten percent who really support a position dominate, not the remaining 90 percent that have no strong opinion. So good luck to Koch and Soros in this endeavor.

    1. “people with different points of view can come together on things”
      Not according to the latest media darling, Sen. Kamala Harris.

      1. That’s because Harris, and her ilk, would have no purpose in a more rational, cooperative society.

      2. Tribalism is a problem and I would say the recent trashing of Justin Amash shows what we are facing. Hopefully Koch and Soros will not be the only case of people coming together. I would say the recent passage of the border funding bill shows the power of the center.

    2. I’d like to wish this institute good luck. But it is 100% guaranteed that both Soros and Koch will continue funding ONLY DeRps – and they will not change their donation patterns to prioritize this issue over their existing issues. Nor will they stop influencing the govt to give them THEIR cronyist advantages in foreign policy stuff.

      So this is just another example of billionaires buying goodwill so they can continue to manipulate the sameoldsameold.

  10. Bob Conquest. Second law.

    That is all.

  11. Let’s be honest, Soros and Kotch are rich people, not philosophers. They have political/philosophical interests, hence the way they throw their money around, but we shouldn’t necessarily take their ideas too seriously and act like they consistently represent certain political philosophies. They are billionaires, and that’s pretty much it.

    1. Oh my goodness they aren’t consistent and trooooooo? Here I was happy to see there would be a well-funded anti-war contingent in Washington, but if the men who fund it aren’t consistent…I mean, what’s the point? Why even bother?

      All has already been lost.

      1. I actually think an anti-war institute funded by pretty much anybody is a good idea. Trying to rationalize how and why these two are backing the same think tank, on the other hand, is probably beyond hopeless.

  12. The After Charlottesville Project, which seeks to help the “private tech sector” develop “best practices on the fight against hate and extremism online.”

    Wait, did we just go off the rails here?

    1. Better living through search-and-delete bots.

  13. “It will promote an approach to the world based on diplomacy and restraint rather than threats, sanctions, and bombing.”

    Hell yes. Worked wonders for Great Britain. Twice.

    Truth. You cannot negotiate with your executioner.

    1. Fuck yeah! Sustained war with the enemy is the only way.

      1. Ideally you’d just go in and kill them all, but some pussies who shall not be named will get their bobby brooks in a twist and somehow it will become my problem.

      2. could be depending on the circumstances

      3. I see you can only think in false dichotomies.

  14. […] weekend, the globalists George Soros and the Koch Brothers announced a partnership to fund the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft to allegedly oppose endless […]

  15. “We shouldn’t take war personally. Its only business.”

    I’m sure Soros would agree with that.
    After all, anything to make a One World Order dimwit like him can’t be all bad.

  16. Only a complete fool would believe that George Soros is truly “ant-war”, or that this relationship is new. Soros has been busy co-opting Reason for quite a while now, but it’s nice of Koch to confirm what I’ve known for years (I mean this has been blatantly obvious to anyone with a brain).

    A truly principled anti-war person, Justin Raimondo, just died, and the Kochsuckets barely mentioned it as a throwaway line in the Roundup.

    1. Of course they barely mentioned it. Raimondo committed the ultimate heresy for the progressives at Reason by supporting Trump in 2016.

      Trump’s been the most peaceful President we’ve had since Reagan (no new wars started and he opted out of one already) and yet the “anti-war” Koch brothers and George Soros have done nothing but demonize him and accuse him of being a warmonger. And yet when Obama was waging no less than seven undeclared wars (two of which he started) you heard fuck-all from the “principled” and “libertarian” Kochs about it.

      Soros and Koch are not palling up out of some noble principle, they’re running a game to push personal agendas that are detrimental to this country and Reason is the propaganda wing.

      1. Trump is uncouth. Didn’t you know? How can anyone support someone so without good manners! Policy? That’s beneath them. When he learns to use the correct fork they might accept him.

      2. Yep. It truly is pathetic though just how easily and cheaply some people will sell out their principles for a few extra bucks.

    2. A truly principled anti-war person, Justin Raimondo, just died, and the Kochsuckets barely mentioned it as a throwaway line in the Roundup.

      This ^

  17. […] “Charles Koch, George Soros Help Fund Think Tank Opposed To ‘Endless War,’” by Nick Gillespie […]

  18. Who cares what little Billy Kristol thinks or says anyway? The idiot chickenhawk who never served, but is fine with sending American kids overseas to die.

  19. […] “Charles Koch, George Soros Help Fund Think Tank Opposed To ‘Endless War,’” by Nick Gillespie […]

  20. and what if diplomacy cannot solve opposing strategic views

    1. Then the UN passes a resolution and peace endures for generations.
      Ask any Israeli.

      1. “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.”

        Abba Eban

  21. […] “Charles Koch, George Soros Help Fund Think Tank Opposed To ‘Endless War,’” by Nick Gillespie […]

  22. […] “Charles Koch, George Soros Help Fund Think Tank Opposed To ‘Endless War,’” by Nick Gillespie […]

  23. […] “Charles Koch, George Soros Help Fund Think Tank Opposed To ‘Endless War,’” by Nick Gillespie […]

  24. It is good that there is a think tank trying to find ways to resolve international crisis without the need for war.

    Tho, it is undeniable that both Soros and Koch were allegedly the masterminds behind a number of freaky conspiracy theories, tho allot of them are likely BS, I’m not surprise there will be a number of people who are extremely against this new Think Tank

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  26. I’m as non interventionist as they come… But somehow I just don’t trust this.

    The Koch brothers have funded some good stuff, and also some pretty awful stuff… But Soros, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single thing that man did that wasn’t sketchy as fuck. The Koch brothers are definitely hardcore globalists, which I oppose, as is Soros… So I have a sneaking suspicion the benign sounding anti war stance will meld into something awful. “Everybody should give up their national armies, and we’ll all just trust the UN to run everything!” Meanwhile the western world disarms, and allows crazy regimes to continue running amok, while China finally catches up to us technology wise… Something like that.

    I will tentatively hope for the best here, but I bet this will go wrong.

  27. You know what’s worse than endless war? Endless oppression.

  28. The After Charlottesville Project, which seeks to help the “private tech sector” develop “best practices on the fight against hate and extremism online.”

    You know what no one ever asks?

    No one ever asks what Heather Heyer was doing when she got hit by that car in Charlottesville.

    Hours after the protest, Heather was part of a mob of people who’d surrounded and was blockading and beating on two cars in an intersection.

    Go watch the videos. It’s all there. The timestamps show that the protest at the park was long over, and the videos show the mob in the intersection before, during and after the car hits.

    Does anyone deserve to be killed for protesting? Sometimes, yes. It all depends on HOW you’re protesting. If you’re physically attacking people as part of your protest you are saying that you’re accepting that people might physically defend themselves, and without pre-set rules, that defense is likely to include fatal options.

  29. I wouldn’t trust Soros with anything. the Koch’s are sleeping with a snake

    1. We can expect many, many articles going forward from Welch, Gillespie, and their minions explaining to us why Soros is America’s most genuine libertarian.

      1. Ugh… You’re probably right. 🙁

  30. It will promote an approach to the world based on diplomacy and restraint rather than threats, sanctions, and bombing.

    That’s the typical false dichotomy: either surrender national sovereignty to “international diplomacy” or engage in war. It’s no wonder Koch and Soros get together on this.

    How about the US stop messing in other nations’ affairs altogether? How about we stop trying to “democratize” other nations or bring down foreign dictators or negotiate “trade deals”?

  31. […] whole new alliances—such as the one between George Soros and the Koch brothers helping to fund a non-interventionist think tank—are busting out all over the […]

  32. […] whole new alliances—such as the one between George Soros and the Koch brothers helping to fund a non-interventionist think tank—are busting out all over the […]

  33. […] fact even Washington DC’s flagship “libertarian” think tank, the Koch-funded CATO Institute, is hosting “regime change” conferences aimed at the overthrow of the […]

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