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The presidency and endless war

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The presidency and endless war

William Antholis, Gina Bennett, Ashley Deeks, Eric Edelman, Seth G. Jones, Carter Malkasian , Stephen D. Mull, Aaron O’Connell, Anne Patterson, William B. Quandt, Marc Selverstone, Allan C. Stam, Stephen Wertheim, Katie Bo Williams, Brantly Womack, Philip Zelikow, Rebecca Zimmerman

Thursday, October 01, 2020
9:00AM - 1:00PM (EDT)
Event Details

This event was originally scheduled to take place in March 2020

 

READ THE ESSAYS

Since 1776, the United States has been at war 93 percent of the time—227 out of 244 years, according to Global Research. Why is that? And what does it mean for the future of our nation, at home and abroad?

This half-day public conference will focus on the roots, management, and direction of so-called “endless wars.” During the five sessions, speakers will consider the political, legal, military, cultural, and governance implications of remaining engaged in these indefinite conflicts, and the future prospects of fighting a “forever war."

The William and Carol Stevenson Conference is a biennial conference that focuses on issues of national and international importance. The Miller Center is deeply grateful to the Stevenson family for its support of our work.

 
9:05 – 9:15 a.m.: Opening remarks

  • William Antholis
  • Marc Selverstone

 

9:15 – 10:00 a.m.: Keynote

  • Eric Edelman in conversation with William Antholis

10:00 am – 11:00 a.m.: The roots of endless war

How has this era of “endless war” arisen? What historical developments contributed to its onset in the 20th century and sustained it into the 21st?

  • Seth Jones

  • Carter Malkasian
  • Anne Patterson
  • William Quandt

  • Rebecca Zimmerman, moderator

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Waging endless war at home and abroad

What lessons can be learned from the transnational struggle that escalated after 9/11? How enduring are the assumptions and conditions governing U.S. involvement in these conflicts? How could a future president reconceive U.S. engagement in this struggle?

  • Allan Stam 

  • Cassidy Dale 

  • Aaron O’Connell 
  • Ashley Deeks 

  • Stephen Mull, moderator

12:00 p.m. – 12:55 p.m.: The future of endless war

What are the assumptions, institutions, and processes that have conditioned our current era of endless war? How have civilian and military leaders processed the lessons from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? What are the fiscal implications of living in an era of endless war? How is it changing America’s system of government and reshaping politics, society, and culture? 

  • Brantly Womack 

  • Gina Bennett 

  • Stephen Wertheim 

  • Philip Zelikow  

  • Katie Bo Williams, moderator 


 
12:55 – 1:00 p.m.: Closing remarks

  • Marc Selverstone
When
Thursday, October 01, 2020
9:00AM - 1:00PM (EDT)
Where
Webinar
Speakers
William Antholis headshot

William Antholis

William Antholis serves as director and CEO of the Miller Center. Immediately prior, he was managing director at The Brookings Institution, and from 1995 to 1999 he served in government. At the White House, he was director of international economic affairs on the staff of the National Security Council and National Economic Council, where he served as the chief staff person for the G8 Summits in 1997 and 1998. Antholis is the author of Inside Out India and China: Local Politics Go Global and, with Strobe Talbot,Fast Forward: Ethics and Politics in the Age of Global Warming.

Gina Bennett

Gina Bennett

Gina Bennett is a seasoned counterterrorism specialist, adjunct professor at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, and board director and advisor at girlsecurity.org. Bennett authored some of the earliest warnings of the terrorism trends of the past two decades to include those about Osama Bin Laden and the extremist movement he fomented. Her 30-year career in the counterterrorism field includes authoring a National Intelligence Estimate; contributing to the formation of the targeting career discipline; and holding a variety of positions in Washington, D.C., and in the field. She is the author of two books in her “National Security Mom” series and an article, “Lessons Learned in Countering Terrorism,” in the Studies in Conflict and Terrorism journal. She was featured in in the 2015 Showtime documentary Spymasters, the HBO documentary Manhunt, and in the PBS documentary Makers: Women Who Make America.

Ashley Deeks

Ashley Deeks

Ashley Deeks, a Miller Center faculty senior fellow, is the E. James Kelly, Jr.—Class of 1965 Research Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law. Her primary research and teaching interests are in the areas of international law, national security, intelligence, and the laws of war. She has written articles on the use of force, executive power, secret treaties, the intersection of national security and international law, and the laws of armed conflict. She is a member of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Law and serves as a senior contributor to the Lawfare blog

Eric Edelman headsoht

Eric Edelman

Eric Edelman, a Miller Center practitioner senior fellow, retired as a career minister from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2009 after having served in senior positions at the Departments of State and Defense as well as the White House. As the undersecretary of defense for policy (2005–2009), he oversaw strategy development as the Defense Department’s senior policy official with global responsibility for bilateral defense relations, war plans, special operations forces, homeland defense, missile defense, nuclear weapons and arms control policies, counter-proliferation, counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism, arms sales, and defense trade controls. Edelman served as U.S. ambassador to the Republics of Finland and Turkey in the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations and was principal deputy assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney for national security affairs.

Seth G. Jones

Seth G. Jones

Seth G. Jones holds the Harold Brown Chair, is director of the Transnational Threats Project, and is a senior advisor to the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He teaches at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and the Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. Prior to joining CSIS, Jones was the director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corporation. He also served as representative for the commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, to the assistant secretary of defense for special operations. He is the author of A Covert Action: Reagan, the CIA, and the Cold War Struggle in PolandWaging Insurgent Warfare; Hunting in the Shadows: The Pursuit of al Qa’ida after 9/11; and In the Graveyard of Empires: America’s War in Afghanistan

Carter Malkasian

Carter Malkasian

Carter Malkasian was the special assistant for strategy to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford (2015–19). He has extensive experience working in conflict zones, including nearly two years in Garmser district, Helmand province, Afghanistan, as a State Department political officer and the district stabilization team leader. His 2013 book, War Comes to Garmser(Oxford University Press), a story of 30 years of conflict in an Afghan community, won the silver medal for the Council on Foreign Relations’ Arthur Ross Book Award. His newest book—Illusions of Victory: The Anbar Awakening and the Islamic State (Oxford University Press, 2017)—covers the successes and eventual failure of the famous Anbar awakening tribal movement and the corresponding U.S. military effort.

Stephen D. Mull

Stephen D. Mull

Stephen D. Mull is vice provost for global affairs at the University of Virginia. He has served as acting under secretary for political affairs at the U.S. Department of State, lead coordinator for Iran Nuclear Implementation (2015–17), and was the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Poland (2012­–15) and U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Lithuania (2003–06). Ambassador Mull is the recipient of the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, two Presidential Meritorious Service Awards, two Distinguished Honor Awards, the Baker-Wilkins Award for Outstanding Deputy Chief of Mission, two Superior Honor Awards, and more than a dozen Senior Foreign Service performance awards.  

Aaron O’Connell

Aaron O’Connell

Aaron O’Connell is an associate professor of history at the University of Texas. He previously served in the Obama administration as director for defense policy and strategy on the National Security Council staff. Prior to serving in government, he taught military history at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. In addition to his academic career, O’Connell is also a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, and in that capacity, he has served as a special advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon, to the commander of U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii, and to the ISAF commander in Afghanistan. He is the author of Underdogs: The Making of the Modern Marine Corps, which explores how the Marine Corps rose from relative unpopularity to become the most prestigious armed service in the United States. He is also the editor of Our Latest Longest War: Losing Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan, which is a critical account of U.S. efforts in Afghanistan since 2001. 

Anne Patterson

Anne Patterson

Anne Patterson retired in January 2017, after 43 years in the foreign service, with the rank of career ambassador. Most recently, she was assistant secretary of Near Eastern and North African affairs at the State Department. She served as the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, Pakistan, Colombia, and El Salvador.   Ambassador Patterson was also assistant secretary for international narcotics and law enforcement, deputy permanent representative at the U.S. mission to the United Nations in New York, and deputy inspector general of the State Department. In 2011, she was named one of Foreign Policy’s “100 Global Thinkers.” Post retirement, Ambassador Patterson heads the U.S.-Qatar Business Council and is a member of the Dow Jones oversight committee.  

William B. Quandt

William B. Quandt

William B. Quandt is the Edward R. Stettinius Professor of Politics, Emeritus at the University of Virginia. From 2000 to 2003, he also served as vice provost for international affairs at the University. He taught courses on the Middle East and American foreign policy until his retirement in 2014. Quandt has also served as a staff member on the National Security Council (1972–74, 1977–79). He was actively involved in the negotiations that led to the Camp David Accords and the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty. His books include Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli Conflict Since 1967Between Ballots and Bullets: Algeria’s Transition from Authoritarianism, and Camp David: Peacemaking and Politics.

Marc Selverstone

Marc Selverstone

Marc Selverstone is an associate professor in presidential studies at the Miller Center and chair of the Center’s Presidential Recordings Program. He earned a B.A. in philosophy from Trinity College (CT), a Master’s in international affairs from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in history from Ohio University. A historian of the Cold War, he is the author of Constructing the Monolith: The United States, Great Britain, and International Communism, 1945-1950 (Harvard), which won the Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. As chair of the Recordings Program, Selverstone edits the Secret White House Tapes of Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon. He is the general editor of The Presidential Recordings Digital Edition, the primary online portal for transcripts of the tapes, published by the University of Virginia Press.

Allan C. Stam

Allan C. Stam

A Miller Center faculty senior fellow, Allan Stam is professor of public policy and politics and former dean of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. Previously, he was director of the International Policy Center at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and professor of political science and senior research scientist at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. Among other books, he is the author of The Behavioral Origins of War (University of Michigan Press, 2004) and Why Leaders Fight (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

Stephen Wertheim

Stephen Wertheim

Stephen Wertheim is deputy director of research and policy at the Quincy Institute, which he co-founded, and a research scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. He is a historian of U.S. foreign relations and international order, specializing in concepts of global politics from the late nineteenth century to the present. He also writes essays on current affairs. He was previously a faculty member at Columbia University and Birkbeck, University of London, and received a PhD from Columbia University in 2015.

Katie Bo Williams headshot

Katie Bo Williams

Katie Bo Williams is the senior national security correspondent for Defense One, where she writes about defense, counterterror, NATO, nukes, and more. She previously covered intelligence and cybersecurity for The Hill, including in-depth reporting on the Russia investigations and military detention issues. Before her journalism career, Katie Bo worked in thoroughbred horse racing, helping breed, sell, and prepare the next generation of Kentucky Derby winners. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia. A native of Goochland County, Virginia, she now lives in Washington, D.C.

Brantly Womack

Brantly Womack

Brantly Womack holds the Miller Center’s C. K. Yen Chair and is a professor of foreign affairs at the University of Virginia. He received his BA degree in politics and philosophy from the University of Dallas, and after a Fulbright in philosophy at the University of Munich, earned his PhD in political science from the University of Chicago. He is the author of China Among Unequals: Asymmetric International Relationships in Asia and China and Vietnam: The Politics of Asymmetry, as well as more than 100 articles and book chapters. He edited China’s Rise in Historical Perspective, the product of a lecture series at the Miller Center, and Contemporary Chinese Politics in Historical Perspective. In 2011, Womack received the China Friendship Award for his work with Chinese universities. He holds honorary positions at Jilin University, East China Normal University, and Zhongshan (Sun Yat-Sen) University.

Philip Zelikow

Philip Zelikow

Philip Zelikow is the White Burkett Miller Professor of History and J. Wilson Newman Professor of Governance at the University of Virginia, where he has also served as dean of the Graduate School and director of the Miller Center. His scholarly work has focused on critical episodes in American and world history. His federal service during five administrations has included positions in the White House, State Department, and the Pentagon. His last full-time government position was as the counselor of the Department of State, a deputy to Secretary Condoleezza Rice. He directed a small and short-lived federal agency, the 9/11 Commission. He is one of the few individuals ever to serve on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Boards for presidents of both parties, in the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. 

Rebecca Zimmerman

Rebecca Zimmerman

Rebecca Zimmerman is an adjunct researcher at the RAND Corporation. Previously, she served as editor-in-chief at War on the Rocks, and as a policy researcher at RAND. She has more than 15 years of experience in foreign policy and national security, specializing in institutional culture and design, and operations overseas. She has spent years working in Afghanistan supporting U.S. efforts to develop Afghan governance, especially security sector governance, and has conducted research in Mali, the Philippines, and other conflict-affected areas where the U.S. is engaged. Her field experience has included supporting the standup of Village Stability Operations in Afghanistan, and interviewing members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines.