A Washington Think Tank Wants to Remake John Quincy Adams into an Anti-Israel Anti-Interventionist, but He Was Neither

March 19 2021

Funded by the left’s billionaire bogeyman Charles Koch and the right’s bogeyman billionaire George Soros, the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft—named for President John Quincy Adams—was founded in 2019 to promote an alternative to what it sees as an “interventionist” trend in U.S. foreign policy. Many of its scholars seem particularly vexed that America might be insufficiently timid in its relations with totalitarian countries that seek to do it harm. Mike Watson explains:

[The institute’s] mantra is Adams’s pithy quotation that America “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” . . . According to documents published on its website, the Quincy Institute wants to “reduce U.S. military operations in the Taiwan Strait,” concede Chinese military dominance in the South China Sea, “significantly withdraw troops” from the Middle East, offer Iran billions of dollars of IMF loans “to fight the coronavirus pandemic,” slash American commitments to NATO, and reduce the military budget.

The recommendations [it makes] on the Middle East and Iran are of particular note. For among the Quincy Institute’s coterie of experts are numerous figures who have been publicly antagonistic toward Israel and America’s close relations with the Jewish state. These include Lawrence Wilkerson, a bitter critic of “the Jewish lobby in America”; the indefatigable investigators of American Jews’ dual loyalties, Paul Pillar and Chas Freeman; and leading “Israel Lobby” conspiracy authors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.

Bear in mind, the institute is named after a man who in 1825 endorsed “the rebuilding of Judea as an independent nation.” That the anti-Zionist scholars of the Quincy Institute are at odds here with their organization’s namesake is not surprising. In fact, they misunderstand John Quincy Adams’s foreign-policy thinking in general.

As Watson goes on to explain, Adams—a devout Christian—was deeply committed to spreading the ideals of the Declaration of Independence, supported military interventions in the Mediterranean, the Pacific, and Colombia, and not coincidentally was one of the Congress’s most outspoken and passionate opponents of slavery. While he indeed cautioned against entanglements in Latin America that he viewed as imprudent, his approach can best be summed up in the advice he gave to President Monroe at a moment of conflict with Spain: “it was better to err on the side of vigor than on the side of weakness.”

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Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Semitism, Christian Zionism, Iran, Israel Lobby, U.S. Foreign policy

Why the Recent Uptick of Israeli Activity in Syria?

Sept. 23 2022

On September 16 and 17, the IDF carried out airstrikes in the vicinity of Damascus, reportedly aimed at Iranian logistical centers there. These follow on an increase in the frequency of such attacks in recent weeks, which have included strikes on the Aleppo airport on August 31 and September 6. Jonathan Spyer comments:

The specific targeting of the Aleppo airport is almost certainly related to recent indications that Iran is relying increasingly on its “air bridge” to Syria and Lebanon, because of Israel’s successful and systematic targeting of efforts to move weaponry and equipment by land [via Iraq]. But the increased tempo of activity is not solely related to the specific issue of greater use of air transport by Teheran. Rather, it is part of a broader picture of increasing regional tension. There are a number of factors that contribute to this emergent picture.

Firstly, Russia appears to be pulling back in Syria. . . . There are no prospects for a complete Russian withdrawal. The air base at Khmeimim and the naval facilities at Tartus and Latakia are hard strategic assets which will be maintained. The maintenance of Assad’s rule is also a clear objective for Moscow. But beyond this, the Russians are busy now with a flailing, faltering military campaign in Ukraine. Moscow lacks the capacity for two close strategic engagements at once.

Secondly, assuming that some last-minute twist does not occur, it now looks like a return to the [2015 nuclear deal] is not imminent. In the absence of any diplomatic process related to the Iranian nuclear program, and given Israeli determination to roll back Iran’s regional ambitions, confrontation becomes more likely.

Lastly, it is important to note that the uptick in Israeli activity is clearly not related to Syria alone. Rather, it is part of a more general broadening and deepening by Israel in recent months of its assertive posture toward the full gamut of Iranian activity in the region. . . . The increasing scope and boldness of Israeli air activity in Syria reflects this changing of the season.

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Read more at Jonathan Spyer

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria, War in Ukraine