Crafting a Feminist Foreign Policy

Imagining a brighter, more secure future with Lyric Thompson


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Being the president of a national security foundation has its perks. One of them, according to Joe Cirincione, is convincing the interesting people you meet in the conference room to join you in the podcast studio. 

This is precisely what happened with Lyric Thompson, the director of policy and advocacy at the International Center for Research on Women. Thompson’s organization is in the middle of a big project: providing the intellectual framework for a feminist foreign policy.

Her interview in the second part of the show provides a stark contrast with the problems discussed in the first part. In Early Warning and then in this week’s Question & Answer section, Michelle Dover, Hans Kristensen, Tom Collina and Joe Cirincione review four key problems with the current nuclear policy. 

These include the impending collapse of the last remaining nuclear restraint treaty (New START), the exploding nuclear weapons budget, the deployment of new “more usable” weapons on US submarines, and the risks of keeping scores of American nuclear weapons in Europe. 

Thompson is working on an alternative policy. She explained why on the show. 

“We got the best and brightest researchers, advocates, and thinkers together” to develop a better policy. “We want a peaceful planet. We want environmental integrity, we want gender equality,” she said.

“It’s about defense,” Thompson continued. “It’s about trade. We want a coherent approach that articulates what you are going to do differently toward those goals, and how you are going to apply it across all streams of foreign policy.”

There are antecedents for this way of thinking, including UN Security Resolution 1325, which is the cornerstone of the women, peace, and security agendaThompson and her colleagues are just beginning to apply this approach to a broader set of economic and security issues in the forthcoming report, Towards a Feminist Foreign Policy for the United States.  

“What I find so striking about this work,” said Michelle Dover, “is how it is trying to imagine what this world is that we want to see.” That “positive vision,” continued Dover, is coming at a particularly bleak time in American policy circles. 

Which makes the resilient optimism of people pushing this issue all the more surprising, agreed Thompson. 

For a copy of the draft report, go visit:

About Press the Button: in addition to "The Interview" in which Joe Cirincione sits down with prominent thinkers, legislators, activists, and grantees working on nuclear weapons issues for a short, illuminating conversation, episodes have two other segments: "Early Warning" — a round-up of the most pressing nuclear news in 7 minutes, roughly the same amount of time the US president has to authorize a nuclear weapons launch in the event of an incoming attack on the United States; and the "Q&A"   — a segment where Joe answers questions submitted by our listeners. 



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