Stephen Wertheim makes the case for the Quincy Institute in response to some lazy hawkish smears:
How will the Quincy Institute change this state of affairs? For one, it will promote different ideas, starting with a genuine abhorrence of war. Some politicians and pundits not only tolerate war but extol it. They fetishize the use of force as the acid test of U.S. global “engagement.”
We reject such thinking. War is sometimes necessary as a last resort, but war kills and maims, preventing genuine engagement with others. Quincy stands for peaceful cooperation among people, pursued through vigorous diplomacy and exchange.
Our foreign policy has become increasingly militarized for the last twenty years, and it is no accident that our foreign policy has been remarkably unsuccessful in advancing U.S. interests and promoting international security during that same period. Our political leaders resort to force quite easily and frequently do so well before all other options have been exhausted. Few war supporters admit to being reflexively pro-war, but their record and their reactions to each new conflict on the horizon tell us otherwise. Their allergic and hostile reaction to the creation of the Quincy Institute shows that the one thing they loathe above all else is principled opposition to unnecessary foreign wars. As the exceptionally weak and tired attacks on the QI and its founders have proven, defenders of the militaristic status quo don’t have good arguments for their side and have to fall back on baseless smears and insults. They have to misrepresent what the Quincy Institute stands for because they cannot win the argument against those promoting the cause of peace and restraint.
In another two months, U.S. forces will have been fighting in Afghanistan for 18 years straight, but we are still treated to patronizing and dismissive rhetoric that the U.S. isn’t really at war. It may be true that most of the country hasn’t been mobilized to fight, and the burden of fighting open-ended conflicts in multiple countries falls heavily on the volunteer military, but there is no question that the U.S. government is engaged in hostilities against several enemies on more than one continent. Perpetual war has become so routinized and commonplace that it goes on in the background almost without question. The official line is that this all has something to do with our security, but the gap between rhetoric and reality has rarely been wider or more yawning. Perpetual war does not make the U.S. any safer, and it has directly contributed to the increase in the number and extremism of terrorist organizations overseas. The U.S. has privileged military responses to a problem that does not admit of a military solution, and it has put enormous strain on the military for the sake of waging unwinnable wars that do nothing except sow more instability and foment more hostility to the United States. That is the bad cause that the Quincy Institute’s critics want to defend, and that is why the Quincy Institute is already winning.