The Ideas Industry



Tuesday, October 14th

8:30-9:00 Registration and coffee

Welcome and Introduction

Daniel W. Drezner, The Fletcher School*
James Stavridis, The Fletcher School*


What Think Tanks Can and Cannot Do for American Foreign Policy

Keynote address:  Michèle Flournoy, Center for New American Security

10:05-10:30 Coffee Break

The Evolution of Foreign Policy Think Tanks

What is the comparative advantage that think tanks offer to the policy universe?  Has that comparative advantage changed over time?  Has the power and purpose of think tanks changed over the years?  Is there any difference between foreign policy think tanks and those devoted to domestic policy as well?  How can one measure the “impact” of think tanks on US foreign policy and world politics? 

Daniel W. Drezner, The Fletcher School, chair
Ted Piccone, Brookings Institution
Xenia Wickett, Chatham House
Andrew Selee, Wilson Center
Rachel Bronson, Chicago Council on Global Affairs

11:45-12:00 Coffee break

Have Think Tanks Constrained the Foreign Policy Debate?

What is the best role for think tanks in the marketplace of foreign policy ideas?  Do mainstream think tanks constrain foreign policy thinking to maintain insider access?  Does funding impose any constraints on the outputs of think tanks?  Does the current collection of think tanks possess any systematic “blind spots”? 

Richard Eichenberg, Tufts University, chair
James Lindsay, Council on Foreign Relations
Justin Logan, Cato Institute
Danielle Pletka, American Enterprise Institute
Stephen M. Walt, Harvard University

1:30-2:30 Lunch

Does Partisanship and Foreign Policy Expertise Mix?

Why have recently-created think tanks been more partisan in orientation?  Are “nonpartisan think tanks” an oxymoron in the present political environment?  What is the effect of more partisan policy analysis on the foreign policy debate?  Has the rise in partisan think tanks coarsened the policy debate, or simply exposed pre-existing ideological fault-lines? 

William Martel, The Fletcher School, chair
Jonathan Monten, University of Oklahoma
Kim Holmes, Heritage Foundation
Susan Marquis, RAND Corporation
Hayes Brown, Center for American Progress

4:00-4:15 Coffee break

Foundations, the Academy and Think Tanks in the 21st Century

Beltway-based think tanks are not the only foreign policy game in town.  How should other actors – funders, foundations, the academy – respond to the changes in the think tank universe?  What is the proper relationship between funders, scholars and think tanks?  Are there some sources of money – i.e., foreign governments.

Brooke Williams, Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, chair
Ken Silverstein, First Look Media
Heather Hurlburt, New America Foundation
James G. McGann, University of Pennsylvania
Amy Oakes, College of William and Mary

5:30 Attendees departs