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Welcome to the new Responsible Statecraft!

Welcome to the new Responsible Statecraft!

Analysis | QiOSK



Welcome to the new Responsible Statecraft website! If you’re a new reader, we’re delighted that you are checking us out and we hope you find the content engaging and enlightening. If you’re a long-time fan of “realism and restraint,” we know you’ll find plenty here of interest. If you’re a skeptic or even a critic of our work, we hope we can persuade you to consider the arguments here for a more sensible and successful foreign policy for the United States.

Here are three reasons why the content you’ll find at Responsible Statecraft is so valuable.

First and foremost, U.S. foreign policy has been underperforming for decades. Instead of pursuing policies that made Americans more secure, more prosperous, and advanced core U.S. values, leaders from both political parties have repeatedly acted in ways that undermined each of these goals. They have waged long, costly, and unsuccessful wars based on dubious justifications and sustained by wishful thinking instead of hard-headed analysis. Ideologically-driven efforts to expand a U.S.-led order without limits have exacerbated great power tensions and unwittingly helped provoke a tragic conflict in Ukraine.

Responsible Statecraft is must-reading because it offers clear alternatives to the policies that have repeatedly failed, based on time-honored principles of realism and restraint.

Second, Responsible Statecraft and the Quincy Institute are committed to restoring a better balance between defense and diplomacy in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. The United States needs a strong defense, but it also needs well-funded, well-trained, and highly competent diplomatic institutions. Its leaders need to use that capability as often and as seriously as they employ the mailed fist.

Some of America’s greatest foreign policy triumphs — the Marshall Plan, the creation of the Bretton Woods institutions, the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, the peaceful reunification of Germany, etc. — were won not on a battlefield but across a negotiating table, yet that lesson seems to have been lost on recent administrations. During the “unipolar moment,” U.S. leaders tended to issue ultimatums, ratchet up sanctions, or reach for the sword, instead of engaging in the hard bargaining and empathy that can resolve conflicts without recourse to force.

At RS, we endeavor to showcase the work of staff and outside contributors — journalists, academics, former government officials and military — that seek this alternative vision.

Third, public policy is more successful when alternatives are widely and openly debated. Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. foreign policy establishment (aka “the Blob”) has embraced a set of orthodoxies that were rarely questioned no matter how often they failed. Those who embrace these ideas are rarely held accountable for the unhappy results that their decisions produced and top officials never seemed to learn from past mistakes. As Walter Lippmann once warned, “when all think alike, no one thinks very much.”

RS and Quincy think differently. We are committed to publishing alternative perspectives on contemporary U.S. foreign policy, grounded in serious scholarship and a realistic understanding of the forces that shape state behavior and global outcomes. RS represents no special interests or political party but exists to give a platform for a wider range of discussion even when consensus remains elusive. Policymakers, pundits, and the public need to know that there are alternatives and be encouraged to weigh the pros and cons carefully. Open and honest debate makes it more likely that we will choose the right approach and makes it easier to identify and revise policies that aren’t working as we hoped.

We now face an unprecedented set of global challenges, all of them occurring at once. We need ideas and approaches that are informed by past experience but are not mired in outdated conventional wisdoms. Responsible Statecraft is dedicated to providing these perspectives. Our impact is growing, requiring the new, dynamic platform you see today. I’m proud to be part of their team, and that’s why you should keep reading. Enjoy!

Analysis | QiOSK
Finlandize Ukraine
File:Finland and Ukraine flags 20220613.jpg - Wikipedia

Finlandize Ukraine

Europe

The Russian conquest of Avdiivka is unlikely to alter the war’s basic realities. Although delays in the delivery of aid to Ukraine have raised Russian hopes, no meaningful changes on the battlefield are near. The Russians cannot drive to Kyiv; the Ukrainians cannot eject the invaders.

The first phase of the war in Ukraine is drawing to a close. Both sides are coming closer to acknowledging what has been clear to the rest of the world for quite some time: the current stalemate is unlikely to be broken in any significant way. This round of the war is going to end more-or-less along the current front lines.

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Ukraine's tragedies: A 'good deal' for some war supporters

A Ukrainian serviceman stands at his position in a trench at a front line on the border with Russia, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Sumy region, Ukraine January 20, 2024. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Ukraine's tragedies: A 'good deal' for some war supporters

Europe

For a conflict discussed in starkly moralistic terms, the ways the Ukraine war is talked about by its most enthusiastic Western supporters can be remarkably cynical about the human carnage involved.

“Aiding Ukraine, giving the money to Ukraine is the cheapest possible way for the U.S. to enhance its security,” Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor-in-chief of the Economist, recently told the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart. “The fighting is being done by the Ukrainians, they’re the people who are being killed.”

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10 years later: Maidan's missing history

Protestors confront police in Kyiv, Ukraine, as anti-government protests turn violent. (Lena Osokina/ Shutterstock)

10 years later: Maidan's missing history

Europe

The revolutionary violence that swept Kyiv’s Maidan Square on the night of February 21, 2014 unleashed the forces of Ukrainian nationalism and, ultimately, Russian revanchism, and resulted in, among other things, the first full-scale land war in Europe since 1945.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has called the Maidan the “first victory” in Ukraine’s fight for independence from Russia. Yet too often lost in the tributes to Ukraine’s ‘Revolution of Dignity’ are two simple, though ramifying, questions: What was the Maidan really about? And did things have to turn out this way?

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Israel-Gaza Crisis

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