Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts What Makes FPRI Different?

Think Tanks and Foreign Policy

Geopoliticus
February 15, 2018

What Makes FPRI Different?

How is the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) different from other think tanks? In some ways, as Vincent Vega said in Pulp Fiction, “it’s the little differences,” but in other ways, there are more significant dissimilarities. As most know, FPRI was founded at the University of Pennsylvania in 1955. What some may not know is that one of the reasons that it was founded, as related to me in a conversation with the late Harvey Sicherman, who served as president of FPRI from 1993 to 2010, was that it was seen as a way to democratize the analysis of foreign and defense policy. At the time, debate of such topics was largely the domain of communities in Washington, D.C., New York, and Boston, with more limited intrusion from outside voices. FPRI was also a reaction to, and a pushback against, the New Look policies of the Eisenhower administration. Books produced by Institute scholars such as Protracted Conflict discussed fighting the Cold War ideologically among other angles. (While some might fault that particular work for viewing world communism as a monolithic threat rather than as polycentric one, there are still good details to be found there about political warfare, Soviet political thought, and Russian history.)

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