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27 Apr, 2018 13:00

Neocons & Russiagaters unite! New think tank will protect democracy from Russia, sell books

Neocons & Russiagaters unite! New think tank will protect democracy from Russia, sell books

A group of neocon heartthrobs have banded together with an eclectic array of Russiagaters to form a visionary organization committed to protecting Western democracy. You can also pre-order their book, according to their website.

Chaired by pompous chess wizard turned Kremlinologist Garry Kasparov, the brand-new Renew Democracy Initiative (RDI) is the latest three-letter-initialism non-profit devoted to “the defense of democratic freedom and prosperity.” The trailblazing think tank has already sent shockwaves through Washington, DC and every European capital.

Celebrated war cheerleader Max Boot, who serves on RDI’s board of directors, announced the creation of this highly original organization in a Washington Post op-ed. Interestingly, the unveiling started with a laundry list of 10 other groups that are already “protesting Trump and championing democracy.”

So why does the world need RDI, then? Because RDI is different – some might even say “special.” Unlike the dozens of other well-financed bastions of status-quo thinking, RDI aims to “unite both the center-left and center-right” by promoting “liberty, democracy and sanity in an age of discord.” And where will this much-needed sanity come from? From RDI’s all-star team of important intellectuals and free thinkers, of course – some of whom just happen to be really tight with the other 10 groups mentioned in Boot’s WaPo piece. Dear Mr. Boot: does fighting Putin with the Committee to Investigate Russia allow enough spare time to fight Putin with the Renew Democracy Initiative? Curious minds want to know.

But Boot isn’t the only prominent sage of sanity to populate RDI’s board of directors. Aside from Kasparov (who once famously wrote: “Donald Trump gets more attention and condemnation for sounding like Hitler than Vladimir Putin gets for acting like Hitler”), RDI also enjoys the astute counsel of famous WaPo wordsmith Anne Applebaum. Applebaum is not a chess player, but she did once write an op-ed entitled “Should We Assassinate Saddam?” – proving herself to be a master of daring, if not unsound, gambits.

The organization’s president, Richard Hurowitz, is a failed hedge fund manager, amateur novelist, and member of the Council on Foreign Relations. (His RDI bio boasts that his defunct Octavian Advisors “was named one of the top large global hedge funds by Bloomberg.” No mention of it shuttering in 2012, though.)

Other board members of note include Karl-Theodor Zu Guttenberg, a German aristocrat who grew up in a centrist, democracy-filled castle. He resigned as minister of defense in 2011, after it was revealed that he had plagiarized his doctoral dissertation. 

The organization’s signatories are a who’s-who of the ‘Putin is hiding under your bed!’ lecture circuit; Anders Aslund, Ian Bremmer, Bill Kristol, Michael McFaul and Radek Sikorski have all endorsed RDI’s manifesto, which calls for “fresh thinking” and urges “the best minds from different countries to come together for both broad and discrete projects in the service of liberty and democracy in the West and beyond.”

Some may accuse RDI of being a cookie-cutter non-profit that peddles in mindless clichés – but you would be very seriously mistaken if you thought this. Because even in its infancy, the organization has already launched a brave initiative urging freedom-lovers to buy a book co-authored by Applebaum and Kasparov.

“Liberal democracy is in crisis around the world, besieged by authoritarianism, nationalism, and other illiberal forces. Far-right parties are gaining traction in Europe, Vladimir Putin tightens his grip on Russia and undermines democracy abroad, and America struggles with poisonous threats from the right and left,” RDI writes. The solution? Pre-order their fancy book on Amazon.

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