Jamestown Foundation

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Jamestown Foundation
FounderWilliam W. Geimer
Type501(c)(3) non-profit NGO[1]
Area served

The Jamestown Foundation is a Washington, D.C.-based conservative[2][3] defense policy think tank.[4] Founded in 1984 as a platform to support Soviet defectors, its stated mission today is to inform and educate policy makers about events and trends, which it regards as being of current strategic importance to the United States. Jamestown publications focus on China, Russia, Eurasia, and global terrorism.

Founding and mission[edit]

The Jamestown Foundation was founded in 1984 after Arkady Shevchenko, the highest-ranking Soviet official ever to defect when he left his position as Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, defected in 1978. William Geimer, an American lawyer, had been working closely with Shevchenko, and established the foundation as a vehicle to promote the writings of the former Soviet diplomat and those of Ion Pacepa, a former top Romanian intelligence officer; with the help of the foundation, both defectors published bestselling books.[5] The CIA Director William J. Casey helped back the formation of The Jamestown Foundation, agreeing with its complaints that the U.S. intelligence community did not provide sufficient funding of Soviet bloc defectors.[6][7] The foundation, initially also dedicated to supporting Soviet dissidents, also aided defecting intellectuals from the Eastern Bloc in disseminating their ideas in the west.[8]

According to its website: "The mission of the Jamestown Foundation is to inform and educate policy makers and the broader policy community about events and trends in those societies which are strategically or tactically important to the United States and which frequently restrict access to such information. Utilizing indigenous and primary sources, Jamestown's material is delivered without political bias, filter or agenda. It is often the only source of information which should be, but is not always, available through official or intelligence channels, especially in regard to Eurasia and terrorism." The Foundation describes its "unique ability to elicit information from those who have first-hand experience with the regimes and groups that threaten U.S. national security".[5][9] It claims to have "contributed directly to the spread of democracy and personal freedom in the former Communist Bloc countries."

Board of directors[edit]

In the past, Jamestown's board of directors has included Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor to U.S. President Jimmy Carter.[10] Jamestown's current board includes Dr. Michael Carpenter, the managing director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. Carpenter previously served in the Pentagon as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and in the White House as a foreign policy advisor to current President Joe Biden (when Biden was vice president under Barack Obama) as well as on the National Security Council as Director for Russia. Jamestown's board also includes Michael G. Vickers, who previously served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and whose role at the Central Intelligence Agency during the Soviet–Afghan War was famously featured in George Crile's 2003 book Charlie Wilson's War. [11]

As of 2021, the foundation's current board includes General Michael V. Hayden; Bruce Hoffman; Matthew Bryza; Robert Spalding, who acted as an architect of US-China strategy while serving on the National Security Council in the Donald Trump administration; Michelle Van Cleave; Arthur Waldron; and Timothy J. Keating,[12] while Jamestown's fellows included Vladimir Socor;[13] Janusz Bugajski; Paul Goble; Michael Scheuer (who claims to have been fired for criticizing the United States' relationship with Israel),[14] Thomas Kent, the former president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; Willy Wo-Lap Lam, a Hong Kong-based China specialist; Jacob Zenn, a leading expert on Boko Haram; and Stephen Ulph,[15] a leading expert on Jihadist ideology.

Current activities[edit]

Currently, its primary focus is on China, Eurasia, Russia, and global terrorism. As of 2008, its publications were Eurasia Daily Monitor,[16] Terrorism Monitor,[17] and China Brief.[18] Previous publications included Eurasia Security Trends, Fortnight in Review, North Korea Review, Russia and Eurasia Review, Russia's Week, Spotlight on Terror, North Caucasus Weekly, (formerly Chechnya Weekly)[19] and Recent From Turkey[20] and Terrorism Focus. Along with these publications, Jamestown produces occasional reports[21] and books.[22]

In 2018, it was embroiled in a scandal relating to one of the publications released by The Jamestown Foundation's publishing house. Strategies for Dealing with Russia under Late-Putin contained an excerpt suggesting that American policy should take measures to exacerbate and take advantage of Russia's demographic issues, insinuating that ethnic Russians are a problem for national security.[23] A spokesman balked at the accusations of Russophobia, calling the quote "pulled wildly out of context."[citation needed]

Nikolai Getman collection[edit]

The foundation hosted Russian artist Nikolai Getman's paintings of Gulag camps. Getman was imprisoned for eight years by the Soviet regime for participating in anti-Soviet propaganda as a result of a caricature of Joseph Stalin that one of his friends had drawn on a cigarette box. He survived, and for four decades he secretly labored at creating a visual record of the Gulag system.[24] In September 2009, the Jamestown Foundation transferred the Getman collection to the Heritage Foundation.[25]


In 2009 Russian government accused the research institute of spreading anti-Russian propaganda by hosting a debate on violence in the Russian republic of Ingushetia. According to a statement by the Foreign Ministry of Russia: "Organisers again and again resorted to deliberately spreading slander about the situation in Chechnya and other republics of the Russian North Caucasus using the services of supporters of terrorists and pseudo-experts. Speakers were given carte blanche to spread extremist propaganda, incite ethnic and inter-religious discord."[26] The Jamestown Foundation responded by saying that Russia felt threatened by it and was trying to intimidate it. Foundation president Glen Howard claimed that "they're intimidated by the power of the free word and this goes against the state manipulation of the media in Russia."[26]

An article published in the Jamestown Foundation publication China Brief was credited by a Taiwanese newspaper as prompting the Taiwanese government to conduct a review of the island's defense strategy. According to a 5 May 2010 report in the pro-Kuomingtang United Daily News, the China Brief article, "Taiwan's Navy: Able to Deny Command of the Sea?",[27] published on 16 April 2010 written by James Holmes and Toshi Yoshihara at the U.S. Naval War College, was reportedly the reason why the then Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou directed the Ministry of National Defense to re-evaluate the country's naval strategy. China Brief editor L.C. Russell Hsiao noted that this development was a major achievement for the publication and attests to the range and impact it has on the policy making community.[citation needed]

On 8 December 2011, Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, State Department Counterterrorism Coordinator for the Obama administration, praised Jamestown for its research and analysis of terrorism issues. In his keynote address given at Jamestown's Fifth Annual Terrorism Conference, Benjamin remarked: "Because of its [Jamestown's] commitment to serious scholarship and analysis on terrorism issues, I can't think of a more appropriate place to do an end-of-year reckoning on Al-Qaeda – an assessment that is particularly timely after such a remarkable year."[28]

The Jamestown Foundation has been criticized by the Right Web project based at the Institute for Policy Studies for alleged links to the CIA and for advancing a right-wing, neoconservative agenda.[6][7] In 2020 the organization was labeled "undesirable" by Russia, who stated that Jamestown sought to fan separatism in the country and constituted a security threat.[29]


  1. ^ Jamestown Foundation, Your Support Is Vital To The Jamestown Foundation
  2. ^ Shinkman, Paul (23 January 2019). "Russians' Confidence in Putin Drops". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  3. ^ "'Sangorians' take a page from insurgent playbook in fight against Taliban". France 24. AFP. 18 June 2021. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  4. ^ "Chinese Stealth Fighter Could Rival U.S.'s Best: Report". ABC News. Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  5. ^ a b Jamestown Foundation, Origins Archived 3 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b "Jamestown Foundation". Institute for Policy Studies. 28 May 2013. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  7. ^ a b Tsygankov, Andrei P. (2009). Russophobia : Anti-Russian Lobby and American Foreign Policy (in British English) (First ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 24, 36. ISBN 978-0-230-62095-7. Retrieved 5 January 2022.
  8. ^ "Who aids East bloc defectors in the US?". Christian Science Monitor. 2 July 1986. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved 19 April 2021 – via Christian Science Monitor.
  9. ^ "Support Jamestown - The Jamestown Foundation". jamestown.org.
  10. ^ "Brzezinski Joins Jamestown Foundation Board". Jamestown.
  11. ^ "Board Members - The Jamestown Foundation". jamestown.org. Archived from the original on 26 April 2009. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  12. ^ "Board Members". Archived from the original on 28 August 2008.
  13. ^ "Jamestown Fellows". Archived from the original on 28 August 2008.
  14. ^ Scheuer, Michael (10 February 2009). "Lobby? What Lobby?". antiwar.com. doi:10.5040/9781580818490.
  15. ^ "Towards a Curriculum for the Teaching of Jihadist Ideology". The Jamestown Foundation.
  16. ^ "Eurasia Daily Monitor - The Jamestown Foundation". jamestown.org.
  17. ^ "Terrorism Monitor - The Jamestown Foundation". jamestown.org. Archived from the original on 24 June 2009.
  18. ^ "China Brief - The Jamestown Foundation". jamestown.org. Archived from the original on 29 June 2009.
  19. ^ "North Caucasus Weekly - The Jamestown Foundation". jamestown.org.
  20. ^ "Turkey - The Jamestown Foundation". jamestown.org.
  21. ^ "Recent Reports". jamestown.org. Archived from the original on 2 February 2011.
  22. ^ "Books" webpage, jamestown.org.
  23. ^ связи, © ИноСМИ ru 2000-2020При полном или частичном использовании материалов ссылка на ИноСМИ Ru обязательна Сетевое издание — Интернет-проект ИноСМИ RU зарегистрировано в Федеральной службе по надзору в сфере (25 February 2019). "The Jamestown Foundation (США): три конференции и новый пакет антироссийских санкций". ИноСМИ.Ru.
  24. ^ Getman Archived 13 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 9 November 2010
  25. ^ "Heritage Exhibits Haunting 'Gulag Collection'". The Heritage Foundation. Archived from the original on 15 January 2011.
  26. ^ a b "Moscow criticises US think-tank over debate". Reuters.
  27. ^ "Taiwan's Navy: Able to Deny Command of the Sea?". The Jamestown Foundation.
  28. ^ Al-Qaida After Bin Laden: Remarks by Daniel Benjamin, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
  29. ^ "Russia moves to ban 'undesirable' U.S. research group". news.yahoo.com (in American English). Retrieved 10 April 2020.

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