Miller Center

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When Walls Came Down

Berlin, 9/11, and U.S. Strategy in Uncertain Times

The 2009 William and Carol Stevenson Conference

Twenty years ago the Berlin Wall fell, leaving the Bush and Clinton administrations with a geopolitical map that had to be completely redrawn. Twelve years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a small group of terrorists hijacked commercial jets and flew them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In both cases—when the walls fell—Americans had to reconsider what kind of world they faced, what type of world they wanted, and how to manage it.

Organized by GAGE Faculty Associates Melvyn Leffler and Jeffrey Legro, this conference brings together scholars and former policymakers to reflect on how U.S. leaders have navigated periods of international uncertainty in the recent past, and examines how to better anticipate, understand, and manage a dynamic global arena in the years ahead.

In Uncertain Times: American Foreign Policy After the Berlin Wall and 9/11, by Melvyn P. Leffler and Jeffrey W. Legro, was published by Cornell University Press in 2011. Read more about the book.


Conference Agenda & Video

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A Conversation with Robert Zoellick

Robert Zoellick served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of State from 2005-2006 and the U.S. Trade Representative from 2001-2005. He held various positions at the Department of the Treasury under Secretary James A. Baker, III, and was Under Secretary of State for Economic and Agricultural Affairs and White House Deputy Chief of Staff under George H.W. Bush. He served from 1993-1997 as Executive Vice President of Fannie Mae and from 2006-2007 as Vice Chairman, International of the Goldman Sachs Group, and Managing Director and Chairman of Goldman Sach's Board of International Advisors. He became the 11th president of the World Bank Group in 2007.

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A Conversation with Paul Wolfowitz

Paul Wolfowitz was U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense from 2001-2005 and President of the World Bank from 2005-2007. From 1989 to 1993, he served as Undersecretary of Defense for Policy in the administration of George H.W. Bush. He was appointed Ambassador to Indonesia in 1986, and was Professor of International Relations and Dean of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University from 1994-2001. He is currently a visiting scholar in foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He is chairman of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council.

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Panel I: Faulty Lessons, Inflated Threats

John Mueller is the Woody Hayes Chair of National Security Studies at the Mershon Center and Professor of Political Science at Ohio State University. His most recent books are Atomic Obsession (forthcoming) and Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them. He has been a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Odd Arne Westad is Professor of International History, Director of IDEAS, and Co-Director of the Cold War Studies Centre at the London School of Economics. He is editor of the journal Cold War History and co-editor (with GAGE Faculty Associate Melvyn Leffler) of the forthcoming three-volume Cambridge History of the Cold War. His 2006 book, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times, was awarded the Bancroft Prize, the Akira Iriye International History Book Award, and the Michael Harrington Award from the American Political Science Association.

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Panel II: Opportunities, Dangers and Strategy

Eric Edelman was U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from 2005-2009, and Principal Deputy Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs from 2001-2003. Edelman received the Secretary of Defense's award for Distinguished Civilian Service and is a two-time recipient of the State Department's Superior Honor Award. In 2009, Edelman was awarded the Secretary of Defense award for Distinguished Public Service. He is currently a distinguished fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA).

Walter Slocombe was Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from 1994-2001. He was Senior Advisor for National Defense in the Coalition Provisional Authority for Iraq in 2003. In 2004, President George W. Bush appointed him to the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction. He is a four-time recipient of the Defense Department's Award for Distinguished Public Service. He currently practices law with the Washington firm of Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered, and is Secretary of the Atlantic Council of the United States.

Philip Zelikow is White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He is co-editor, with Ernest May, of Dealing with Dictators: Dilemmas of U.S. Diplomacy and Intelligence Analysis, 1945-1990. Zelikow was Director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs (1998-2005) and led three national bipartisan commissions, including the 9/11 Commission. His most recent government service was as the Counselor of the Department of State, a deputy to Secretary Rice. Zelikow is a member of the advisory panel for global development of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Panel III: Planning, Power and Regional Priorities

Burce Cumings is the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in History at the University of Chicago. His book, The Origins of the Korean War, won the John King Fairbank Book Award of the American Historical Association and the Quincy Wright Book Award of the International Studies Association. In 2007 he won the Kim Dae Jung Prize for Scholarly Contributions to Democracy, Human Rights and Peace. Cumings' Dominion from Sea to Sea: Pacific Ascendancy and American Power will be published by Yale University Press in 2010.

Mary Elise Sarotte is Professor of International Relations at the University of Southern California's School of International Relations. Sarotte was a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where she worked on her forthcoming book, 1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe. She served as a White House Fellow in 2001-2002, and is a member of the Royal Historical Society and the Council on Foreign Relations.

William Wohlforth is the Daniel Webster Professor of Government and Chair, Department of Government, at Dartmouth College. His newest book is World Out of Balance: International Relations Theory and the Challenge of American Primacy. He is Associate Editor of Security Studies and a member of the editorial board of International Security.