When the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft was founded in 2019, the mainstream media celebrated its emergence as a beacon of hope for a more restrained American foreign policy. Two years later, the humiliating failure wrought by the toxic mix of isolationism and anti-Americanism at the heart of the Quincy Institute is on full display.
Charles Koch, once pilloried for his conservative politics, was celebrated for a collaboration with George Soros that aimed to "bring an end to America's age of endless wars and to reduce the nation's military footprint around the world."
While the left and right alike remain allergic to bipartisanship, the so-called transpartisanship of the Quincy Institute's retrenchment remains very much in fashion in Washington. It can now claim full credit for the foreign policy debacle in Afghanistan.
The institution itself—and the White House—agrees. The Quincy Institute trumpeted its "success" in a Monday night email. "We knew that if we could bring the forces against endless war on the Left and the Right together, we could achieve the impossible," the Quincy Institute wrote to supporters. White House chief of staff Ron Klain, for his part, retweeted the top Koch aide William Ruger’s wet kiss to Biden: In Ruger’s view, the president is "showing the requisite realist spine America needs at the moment." Congratulations!
Quincy cheered President Joe Biden's announcement in April that the United States would leave Afghanistan, sneering that that "the military high command's never-ending urge to stick with a failed war was complemented by the inside-the-Beltway Blob's doomsday scenarios and tired nostrums."
The Soros network may have been pushing on an open door with Democrats, but Charles Koch gets the credit for doing the heavy lifting to provide intellectual cover for isolationists on the right.
That's in part why President Donald Trump nominated Ruger, to serve as ambassador to Afghanistan in the last days of that administration. We opposed that nomination, but we now regret he wasn't there this week to see the fruits of his labor.
This precipitous and calamitous withdrawal had "transpartisan" advocates. But the slogans, the white papers, the research and reports, and the veneer of professionalism and academic rigor used to justify the reckless policy came largely from Koch, Soros, and their army of "restrainers."
A recent article from the Quincy Institute's Responsible Statecraft blog posed a question that gets to the core of its naïve worldview:
What would our world actually be like if you simply declared peace and came home?
Now they know the answer. The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft has brought us the single most irresponsible bit of American statecraft in 50 years. This travesty—and all the death and destruction that will flow from it—is their first great achievement. Let's hope it is also their last.