>> i am a student studying in the university of maryland. i'm from afghanistan and arrived here almost four months ago. i really enjoyed your speech. it was great. i just wanted to make a comment about my country, afghanistan. one is talking about the elections. i was there during the elections and was working directly on the elections, and you were seeing that how things
were being arranged for fraud. and everybody was watching that, you know, and nobody was -- and we could see that this was the consequences or this would be the consequences of the elections. anyway, it's not a big deal in the eyes of afghans because it was the second election in the history of our country, and we were used to post presidents and kings. that's not a big deal. and right now we have to obviously find a way to work with the president and the administration, and the best thing we can do is to push the president to bring the right people on board, and secondly with regards to the engagement of the united states in afghanistan, irble say that, yeah, -- i shall say that we know and people talk about eight years of engagement in
afghanistan, but i'm telling you that it's not been eight years of engagement of the united states and the rest of the country's international community. it's been one year and a few months of engagement beginning in 2002 to 2003 when the united states went to iraq. and since then, we were seic that -- seeing that all the problems, all of the issues that were taking us to failure and were taking us to giving support to the taliban but we were just watching. and i hope -- and just i want to put an end to -- >> ask you the ask question,
please? we don't have time for a statement. >> i just wanted to finish my statement by saying that we have the chance to succeed in afghanistan because we have got the will of our people on all sides. thank you very much. >> just comment briefly. i think i agree with almost everything you said. carsi's problem is more here than it is there. and i certainly agree with everything you said about the impact of the war in iraq on this venture in afghanistan. >> we have a question over here. wait for the mike, please. >> you've already had one question today, sir. let's let people who haven't asked questions. >> i'll make it fast. i'm a journalist. you contrasted the situation in afghanistan facing us now with the situation facing the russians.
the soviets before. i really hate to ask this question but you sort of begged it with the comparison. the other comparison that's often made is the situation that obama is facing with what johnson faced in vietnam. so you know the question. >> the ghost of vietnam haunts this administration. it walks through the corridors of today's white house every day. it certainly walks through the corridors of the united states congress constantly. but afghanistan 2009 is not vietnam 1965 or not even 1961. it's a very different situation. we were attacked from afghanistan. the most successful foreign attack on the united states of america bar one wha? the royal navy's attack on our
capital in 1814 was carried out from afghanistan. those who did that are plotting today a repeat performance. in 2006 on the fifth anniversary of september 11, they planned a repeat performance which would have been more chilling and devastating than what happened on september 11, 2001, the so-called operation o vert, to blow up eight jumbo jets flying across the atlantic to the united states and canada. had that succeeded, more people would have died than died on september 1u9s. more importantly than that, the sbration airline business would have gone out of business. nobody in their right mind would get on an airplane and fly again. as bad as the veetcong were, as bad as the north veetmizz were, they had no design to attack the united states. the specter of the north vietnamese attacking seattle was entirely created by the johnson administration.
it had no basis in fact. secondly, we are not in afghanistan as a colonial imperialist power. there is not an american in america who wants to control afghanistan. to the contrary, we would like to get away as quickly as we can. the situation in vietnam, the united states was there with very little international legitimacy and was perceived to be the repeat colonialism of the french. i also don't think afghanistan today is the afghanistan with the soviet union. 2007. let's deal with the situation we have, not to an alies to other situations. >> what about the potential of creating -- do you know the
differences in the situation in afghanistan, the potential of a long, drawn out, draining war that ultimately would have to pull out of? >> certainly in terms of domestic politics there is a great parallel. the president finds himself in a terrible situation. all of the critics of the war are nancy pelosi democrats from san francisco, came bridge, and new york city. all the supporters of the war are sara palin republicans from alaska and arizona. it's a terrible place for a democratic president to be. people he has to convince to support him are his natural constituencies. he doesn't have to convince sara palin. she's just looking for the opportunity to say you're screwing it up. the politics of it are terrible for the president. >> you mentioned that we don't know where bin laden is and
there's been no credible reports and very few bad reports. but there have been reports over a number of years that he has if not stayed in iran gone back and forth to iran. there are reports in 2004, there are photographic evidence there that he was there until 2009. how do you evaluate those reports to the islamic republic and perhaps his sojourn there? >> i want to be absolutely explicit. the last time we had a solid piece of information about where osama bin laden was, was eight years ago. we don't have a clue where he is today. bob gates asked this question in meet the press this week and he said it's been a few years. i'm a big fan of bob gates. he's been my boss in more organizations than i can remember. but i think he was being a
little misleading. it's been eight years, mr. gates, since we had any idea where he was. has he been in iran? i don't rule out that possibility. al qaeda has been able to operate operational activity in iran on more than one occasion. we don't know what the relationship between the government of iran and that operational activity was. i would suggest to you that if the iranians want to give us trouble in the world in the next few years, one of the simplest ways for them to do it is to just allow a higher degree of al qaeda operational activity on their territory. since we have virtually no baseline as to what they allow, more of it coming will be hard to judge is it important, is it insignificant? where is this all coming from? the relationship between al qaeda and iran is a black hole.
>> i have a question about that syndicate of terrorist organizations you were referring to including the afghan taliban. and there was not a single afghan on the plane on nine 11 as far as i know, not a single afghan when one guy who was involved in anything which really happened in the terrorist field. and owe mar sending out, apart from this he is amlouing himself to use, but also in practice it doesn't mean anything. up to now. he is sending out messages which say come and talk to me. he is saying we're not threatening anyone. so why don't we give it a chance in a situation where we are not sure whether this strategy will work out or not? >> i think there are several questions buried in that one question. first of all, those chosen by osama bin laden to carry out
september 11th were chosen very, very carefully. and it was very deliberate that 15 of them were saudis. bin laden brilliantly realized that by putting 15 saudis on those airplanes he was going to create a crisis in u.s.-saudi relations, and he did. it was a brilliant piece of tactical advice. fe could have had all 19 saudis, he would have had all 19 saudis. but apparently he couldn't find enough people to fly who were capable of doing that. mull mar and negotiations, i don't think that's what he is saying. i think what he is saying is we are prepared to let you leave more or less gracefully. and then the islamic emrat of afghanistan will be recreated and we will talk to our fellow afghans about what their places will be in it. he is not offering negotiations with the karzai gft.
to the contrary he is saying he is a traitor. he deserves a traitor's response. that all said, i do not believe that all of the taliban is irreconcileable. i believe parts of the taliban may be prepared to break with omar and the philosophy of the jihad. they're not going to do it now. nobody in your right mind who is now a taliban supporter is going to break with that movement today. you'd be dead tomorrow morning and so would your family. if the momentum is shifted, and we can offer security and protection to people who break from the taliban, then we may begin to see fishrs within the taliban movement. if we do something simple, like pay afghan soldiers more money than the taliban pays their soldiers, we may also find that many people will shift over. we don't know.
that's why part of what i mean by saying we're going to know in 183407b9ses. in 18 months we will see whether fisures like this begin to develop nmt taliban. we will see whether resourcing the afghan army more properly brings recruits in who might otherwise go to taliban. i think we'll know that within that definite period of time. but i'm very skeptical of the notion that the taliban is at least be omar is the surea of the taliban is interested in anything like negotiations with the united states. if they are, there's a simple way for them to prove theirafee give us osama bin laden. >> we've got time for two more questions. >> thank you. i'm john with the american conservative magazine. not all the opposition to the war is leftist democrats. we were against the iraq war and also.
what about a defensive strategy? it's been promoted as william lind on fourth generation warfare. some of our writers, that america as a democracy we are incapable of really fighting against the guerilla's as we have been losing this consistently. the off shore balancing ideas, we should really be moving to a defensive strategy, which we could do well, et cetera. i again repeat, as a democracy, we can't with all the conflicting pressures here, have a coherent policy. for example, the settlements on the west bank. we can't stop them. >> the short answer to your question is we tried a defensive policy between 1998 when al qaeda declared war on us, and september 11, 2001. and we ended up with september 11, 2001. i sat in the situation room in the white house when we lobbed
cruise missiles at what we thought was osama bin laden's next known point of activity. that's a very difficult strategy to carry out because we have to be lucky in foiling every single plot that they come up with. they only have to be lucky once or twice to have devastating effects on us. we may get there. let me put a marker down here. i said in 18 months we will know. if it's not working, we need to be very honest and rigorous with ourselves and say it's not working. the pashe patient is dead. and then we may have to go to that strategy. but i would rather find out whether there is a better alternative to the one you're suggesting. >> i think -- there we go. i appreciate your remarks. i'm a former intelligence officer like you and former army officer. probably a lot of those types,
quite frankly, in this room. so here's the deal. five years ago, congress rejected by 402-2, that was the vote, a resolution to bring back the draft. so we're not willing to have our sons and daughters, our friends and neighbors, bear the burden. physically. the speaker has said there will be no war surtax. so we're not willing to embrace paying for this thing financially. one would say. what does that say about our level of commitment? if we take your proposition at face value, which is we have to find a way to mitigate this threat, i don't think you can completely eliminate it. and i think that's the big lie out there right now. that politicians on both sides of the aisle are saying that the threat can be made to permanently go away. not happening. when are we going to start talking honestly with each
other and the american people about that fact? and what are we going to do to get people to understand that if we're really going to engage in conflicts like this we're going to have to pay for them? thank you. >> it's a very good and very difficult question. it goes a little bit beyond my area of expertise. as i said, this is going to be a resource intense effort, and that has all kinds of implications for other things we want to do. i don't know whether the situation in iraq is going to get worse next year as many expect it will, but i think that the drawdown of iraq -- u.s. forces in iraq will be compelled fwi situation in afghanistan. we will not have the option of doing both at once. one great lie that has been exposed in the last decade is this. that the united states military can fight two medium-sized
conflicts at the same time. we can't do it. lesson to self-, if you're involved in one, don't start another one. that has implications in other places. the notion that the united states today could use military force against iran while it is bogged down in a quagmire in afghanistan and is trying to get out of one in iraq i think is lunesy. we couldn't -- we could not afford to do that. we simply could not afford to do that. that has implication force the future of iran's nuclear weapons development program. no president is going to take the military option off the table, but i think anyone who looks seriously at the united states military today like bob gates or admiral mullen would say to the president if he said let's start a third war, to president, you want to do that, it's your nickle, but here's my resignation. i'm not going with you. thank you very much.
[applause] >> bruce will be available -- [applause] >> bruce will be tivel sign the copies of his book. we'll break for ten minutes and then begin the next session. but bruce will be available outside. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> next, a discussion on future threats to the united states. after that, a special presentation of our documentary, the blare house, the president ds guest house. and later, a look at a former british ambassador to the u.s. testifying on british involvement in the war in iraq.
>> look at some of the possible threats to the u.s. in the future. part of a university of virginia forum marking 20 years since the fall of the berlin wall. this portion is an hour and 45 minutes. >> panel three of when walls came down. berlin, 9/11, and u.s. strategy in uncertain times. this is a 2009 william and carol stevenson conference here at the miller center at the university of virginia. i am not catteds lean mack namarea as you may have
guessed. i am john owen, on the faculty of the department of politics here at u.v.a. i'm very glad to be what you know, the whip cracker here on panel three to make sure every, everything moves along briskly and we keep within our time limits. let's get right to it if we could. i do want to thank ann for all that she has done to make this happening. and she seems to have left the room. thank you, ann, very much. the format will be as in other panels, after i am done in about 30 seconds we'll take our panelists in order. let me introduce them to you briefly. first is mary, who is professor of international relations at the university of southern california's school of international relations. professor serati is a historian. she has just come out with a
book with princeton university press, 1989 the struggle to create post-cold war europe. this just received the prize for distinguished scholarship in german and european studies. and she is currently at the american academy in berlin and came over for this event. so thanks for coming all that way. second, to professor's left is professor bruce comings, who is a distinguished service professor in history at the university of chicago. professor cummings is a well known expert in modern korean history, 20th century international history, u.s. -east asian relations, economy, and american foreign relations. author of many books and influential articles. next year yale university press is publishing his book, a dominion from sea to sea, pacific ascendancy and american
power. our third panelist is william wol forth, who is professor of government and chair of the department of government at dartmutsdz college. among his books is the most recent one, world out of balance. international relations theory and the challenge of american primesy. he is an influential interlock lar in a number of debates in international relations, including what it means to be living in a une polar international system. he is editor and chief of the journal security studies as well. so our first speaker will be mary elease serti. so i will hand it over to you. >> thank you very much. as john just said, i've just come out with this book, 1989, so i've got so many details and only 15 minutes in which to tell them. i will try to restrain myself
and i will be happy to take questions. this book is an international history of 1989. it builds on an early exceptional work, the best study of u.s. foreign policy in this period. i had the advantage of more sources having written this book more recently, so i had the opportunity to go to russia, poland, to germany, britain, and france and look at their documents on german unification as well as look at the materials in james bakers' collection and also in the bush library, which is also thanks, he chose to foot nothe his books, they were not available at the time but as a result of the his decision to feet note them it's been possible for scholars to request them and they are now available. so there is really a extraordinary source basis available on 1989 for his attorneys. it's in some ways -- historians, it's in some way
unusual because often times documents are kept closed for 20 or 30 years. . so you have to wait that long to look at the documents, and then four or five years to work on them. so usually there's this sort of 30 year gap between events and studies. and that's not the case here. i can talk a little bit about why but there has been a lot of decisions mad to release documents early. so as a result it's possible to leap frog over historical periods for which we still don't have the documents, indeed much of the reagan period, and move forward into the george hw bush period and do scholarship already. so that was, when i realized that was possible, when i realized these sources were open largely because of the personal decisions of policy makers kike coal and gorbechov to release them, that's when i decided to do this book. and the book is concerned with
the same themes of this conference. it's not an end of the cold war books. there are many out there already. that was not what i was trying to do. what i was trying to do was ask a different question, which is when international order collapses, when you have these dramatic moments that reveal that long-term social, economic, and military pressures have come together to produce a moment of great change, what does the day afterwards look like? how is policy makers respond to that? how do you try to master the chaos? how do you try to move forward? that was the question that interested me as specifically with regard to 1989. i should add on a personal note that i had a somewhat unusual per spective on the two events of interest. i was an undergraduate on a year of study abroad at the free university of west berlin
in the academic year 1988-1989. and while to my ever lasting regret i went back to the united states to go to graduate school in september 1989, i nonetheless had a good sense of -- i certainly didn't know the wall was going to come down. but thn you had the mass flow of reefies across central europe and so forth. so i had a clear sense of both of the cold war context which was in place at the start of my year in west berlin in the summer of 19 88 and then the changes. fast forward to 2001, and i was serving as a white house fellow. my first day as a white house fellow was september 4, 2001. so the first week went fine. but then, of course the events of september 1u9s occurred and -- 11th occurred. before when i was a student, i was in no way a position of authority, i was just a
spectator but with a seat close to the front. so for these two events i have personal recollections of the context. but as a scholar it's been gratifying to look at the original documents at what was going on at the real center of events. so that's enough about the background. let me give you a sense of what is in the paper and then more generally in the book. in both obviously, in the book at more length, i first try to establish a narrative of the sequence of events. it's a story full of a lot of chance and contingency, particularly the opening of the berlin wall which was accidental. that is well understood in europe. but cure yussly not understood in the english language literature. you keep seeing things appearing, u.s. foreign policy, that talk about the conscious decision of the east german government to open the wall, which there was not one. and it's important that it's accidental, because it catches
everyone unaware. so everyone is starting on a level playing field. and the date on which it occurs is significant because it happens early enough in the gorbechov's trajectory that he still has enough time to determine the outcome. of course, the wall was going to open at some point. but if it had happened a lot later, if it had happened after his authority had fallen apart, perhaps at the same time that the coup was going on in the soviet union, if it had happened after the violence in romania. so the fact that it owns by accident when it does is very significant. and when i looked at the documents from all these countries about this time period, i saw again and again that policy makers, to describe what was happening after the wall came down, used the language of architecture. bob did it again last night in his comments. they talked about gorbechov of course had been talking about a common european home. chole started talking about two
germanies under a european roof. baker reading a text was talking about a trance atlantic security architecture. so i decided to follow the lead of the historical actors and use that as the organizing metaphor for the book. and this is also the way that i addressed the question of how do policy makers respond in the aftermath of these dramatic events. so what i decided to do was think about what happened after november 1989 as an architectural competition, where you had different ark teshts proposing different blueprints in a highly competitive fashion to try to succeed, to try to be the one who could put down the blueprint for post cold war europe the fastest. and i found that worked well because as you know if you win an architectural competition, that doesn't mean you get to build anything. because immediately the people who lost sue you. they say the contest was
unfair. they say the people who commissioned it have second thoughts. so then there's a long process of realizing your model. and that was certainly the effect here as well. so in looking at all the documents, i saw four kinds of models that were at one point or another seriously proposed. i should say i'm trying to establish policies here. i'm not trying to say these were all equally likely but i find it very helpful to compare the path that was chosen with the paths that were not. in other words, with the counter fact tulls. and the four major models that i found after the wall came down were, and i'll describe these in more detail. restoration, revivalism, heroism and prefab. restoration is an architectural term basically meaning to copy something exactly. it means to basically rebuild something exactly like it looked before.
it's an attempt to do your best to recreate something exactly the way it was before. and i saw this in the immediate response of the soviet union which was to say 1989 is 194r5. world war ii just ended. we are going to have a four-power conference. we are going to have a peace treaty. and we're going to pretend that world war ii just ended and that's how we're going to resolve just what happened. and briefly, the other four powers play along. there is actually a four power actually only meeting. it completely shocked both the east and the west germans who felt that they were being treated like a protect rat. there's a sbeach by a russian leader saying we've just defeated the nazis. he will mutsdz coal deciding this would not stand rapidly proposed his model, which i
called revivalism. now, revivalism is an architectural term that's slightly different. it means building something that is informed by an older style but that is modernized, updated. it's something that thomas jefferson would have appreciated if you look around this campus, you can see how much he admired roman architecture but yet the red brick is american. so he felt he needed to counter this notion that it was 1945 and that he didn't matter and that germany didn't matter. and he proposed to revive a confederation. november 28, he proposed via his shocking ten-point speech, which no one knew about in advance, except the potential exception of the white house, that there should be a two german state over the course of decades he thought if he were extremely lucky, maybe two decades but probably a lot more, over a long period of time, two 21st century germanies would essentially
grow together in unity after the establishment of structures. so he proposed this model which he thought was very viable, not the least because the area known as germany had existd in a confederate state for a while. and this model was undone when he himself decided to withdraw it. he himself went to east germany and realized that he could aim higher. he could be the chancellor of of german unity. so he himself cut this and decided to push for rapid german unity. the russians in response to this abandoned their restoreation model and proposed what i call a heroic model. the term heroism unday in everyday like is an unambiguous term. it's a kind of fool heardy. it's a term used to describe the zion exercises of the mid
20th century often in the service of authoritarian regimes that were misguided. so he had a very vague scrigs of a common european house and that never became quickly enough. and it was interesting the hear how the u.s. knew that he hasn't firmed up his ideas and therefore they needed to move quickly before that could happen. and what eventually wins is what i refer to is the pre-fab model. that is the vision of washington, of coal and bush to take the prefabricated institutions of western unity, the transatlantic alliance of nato, the west german, which was supposed to self-destruct in the case of unity. it was supposed to be a temporary document. take these structures and duplicate them in the east. it's important when i say this to say i'm not trying to infer
by calling them pre-fab that these were somehow infearier. quite the contrary, these are some of the most successful that the quorled of international relations has ever seen. and it's currently a very unfashional term who see it as a sustainable way forward. so i'm not trying to imply these goods. what i'm trying to imply is these were shaped by the cold war, created by the west for the western alliance in the cold war. they were basically then duplicated and put down in the east. now, that is a perfectly fine solution. indeed, i see it as probably the only workable solution in this time period. but then you have to be honest about the problems that creates later, which is, is that fref pre-fab structure specific for the site that you just put it on? what problems are there with that on the new site? and so one of the problems that we see now still today is that the fact that there's been a perp pet wugs with a front line
with russia which did not have to be the outcome of 1989 and 1990. so two quick quotes from james baker. argued that russia, as the heir to the uss >>, if it embraced prefree markets and democracy should be part of nato. if you're going to have nato, you should extend it to russia. james baker also said that every solution to a big problem contains within itself the seeds of a future problem. and i found that to be a profoundly wise statement because the solution, the pre-fab solution which worked very well does contain within itself the seeds of problems that we're now seeing today in our relations with russia. thank you. >> thanks very much. bruce cummings. >> i'd like to thank the miller center and especially mel leffler for inviting me to this
conference. i commute from charlottesville because my wife works here. so it's nice to have an excuse to be here when i'm supposed to be in chicago on monday, tuesday. my paper i think has a fairly simple point that was also made in different ways by philip that the previous panel which is that the assumptions and premises that policy makers bring to bear, whether on predictable events or ones on a high probability or ones that are utterly surprising attempt to be very important in the way they filter information. i go on to talk about concepts and metaphors and how we sort of build up our assumptions. but the simplest line in the paper is the one about the plastic dummy that has sand in the bottom.
those are the assumptions and we push the dummy over, it comes straight back up. now, in the paper i take four case studies fairly briefly. one is 1945, the shattered world of 18945. the second is the fall of the berlin wall and the collapse of the soviet union that we've been talking about, and 9/11, and post cold war north korea. obviously, as an historian i bring to bear a different perspective external to the world of policy making and by virttu of working in chicago outside of the beltway debates. i've never been a policy maker. i've participated in a number of beltway debates. i don't remember winning any of them. but i have read thousands of policy papers in the course of my career both open and formerly top secret papers and that has taught me to be very humble before the task of making life and death decisions
and conditions of imperfect information and often not enough time. i think george cannon probably exemplifies the major point of my paper. george cannon was a person who had studied the turn of the century diplomacy of roughly around 1900. he had come to basic assumptions or logic that was fundamentally we are politic. that is what he brought to bear when he not only entered the foreign service but became head of policy planning in the state department in the late 19 40's. and even though there may be a billion e-mails in the bush administration, the most recent one, or a million papers in the truman administration, i think it's true that someone who knows what they're doing and has a clear logic that fits the events of the day and has access to a president or to a
secretary of state like dean atchison rises above the daily flux of all the papers and these days e-mails. kenen as you all know has a parse moan yuss theory that there were five industrial bases in the world that gave a country fundamental war making power on a major scale. we have four of them in our zones and the russians had one and containment was a fairly limited business of keeping things that way in the post war world. he also of course, as others have pointed out today, believed that through a deft and artful containment, that the soviet union over time would be forced to see the error of its ways and would change its system if not transform it or collapse. he was wrong for 40 years, roughly from 1947 to 89, or 91,
and then suddenly he was right. as i say in the paper, this also is a typical situation. i believe i've been right for 20 years that north korea is not going to collapse in the post war era but if it collapses tomorrow morning i'll look like a fool. i'll get to north korea a little bit later. once these things happen of course, something that a logic, world situation that kenen and others think they understand for four decades suddenly transforms itself when the object of your attention disappears. everyone has an explanation. the reagan arms buildup did it, or the bureaucratic collapse that others criticized coming into power with stalin did it. a whole host of other reasons can explain the collapse of the soviet union. but none of them have the virtue of having predicted it. i then get into maybe a
question that hasn't come up yet today, not how do we know when we're right about strategy or something like that but how do we know when we're wrong. and i think one of the most important aspects of trying to understand the world is to learn from our mistakes and learn from those times when we're wrong. there are a number of ways to figure this out. one of them is hagel cumming of history it slaps you in the face and you realize suddenly that your assumptions or your understanding of the world is in fact wrong. i think many people on the left on the world squail from 1989 to 1991 had a rude splap in the face from hagel's cunning of history. there are other exampleings, hour, where people get slapped in the face. a second way of thinking about learning how we're wrong is to
use gorbechov's phrase, life will teach us. when he was forging ahead from 1985 when he came to power until 1991, he often -- people would say how do you know if this will work? he would say life will teach us. i think that's a profound judgment because we all hopefully live long lives and as time goes by we find out whether our predictions, our theories, our strategies, carry any weight or not. but i think the most popular method of finding out we are wrong is having history prove it to us and we don't change one thing in our basic assumptions or beliefs. all you do is redefine the issue. i think many people on the left did that in 1989 and 1991. but i think we all do it all the time, that's the plastic
dummy with the sand in the bottom part of our consciousness. i think that history or life in gorbechov's sense can show us we're wrong and we continue with our basic assumptions because our world view, our assumptions are constituent to a world view. they embody our life experiences, character, and maybe even our soul. now, i don't have time in this prebtation to talk about each of the four cases that i take up in the paper. but, again, with dean atchison, present at the creation in 1945, you see someone who had evolved a very clear logic not for containing the soviet union but rather for reconstituting the world economy after the collapse of the world economy during the great depression and of course world war ii. in the paper i talk about his 1939 speech at yale about two
months after hitler invaded poland. it's a remarkable speech that essentially lays out the core principles of brent woods. free trade, principles to protect labor which didn't quite get into brent woods. the removal of exclusive or preferential trade arrangements. so on and so forth. i say in the paper, and this is something we could debate, that if you wanted to name one person who was constituent or the person who constituted a logic of the post world war ii era, it would be dean atchison, first in the treasury department and then the secretary of state, and then secretary of state under truman. so when you leap from 1945 to 1989 and the end of the cold
war and you enumerate the institutions that were built in the mid 19 40's by atchison and others, the world bank, the imf, the united nations, and a soft piece for japan and germany which was central to truman administration's policies, you see a world that could have been one world in the late 19 40's that turned into two worlds, a buy polar structure in 1947, but returns to one world in 1989 to 91. now, i haven't heard anybody else say this today. maybe it's so obvious that it doesn't wrire repetition -- require repetition, but it was possible in 1981 to see a long piece not in the cold war as john has said but a long piece developing in which it was ranking member impossible to imagine -- it was impossible to imagine the major powers not
counting russia and china. china was not a major industrial power at that time, fighting each other. so my colleague, john mirshime, is a friend of mine we have lunch every quarter at least, talking about the return of franco german enmitty with the french retargeting thy nuclear weapons on germany. and his back to the future article is simply i think profoundly mistaken and it's because of john mere shimer's assumption on how the world works. not everybody wanchts to agdries their power the way he thinks. so i don't want to dump particularly on john. the fact of the matter is that most of the realists got things wrong. so atchison wanted to reconstitute the world economy, number one. number two, he wanted a soft piece to reconstitute japan and germany as economic producers,
engines of the world economy, but not ones with the former military clout. and then, by 1947 and 48, the third major problem was how to contain the sofeyt union and its -- soviet union and allies. the one thing he never got straight was the enormous force deployed by anti colonial movements, in vietnam especially but in other places. it's hard for young people to recall how the towering influence of third world leaders just 30 years ago, and movements that obsessed the united states, again vietnam being a particularly good example. but atchison and ken and most of the people of their generation didn't believe that colonial people could raise a finger in their own defense or cause major problems. racial discrimination or racial prejudice was sometimes also involved with this. it was something entirely new in the world that you would have a 30 years war from 1945
to 75 that was fundamentally an anti-imperial war when all was said and done. anyway, one's crital ball from the stand point of atchison or kenen would have been predictive of the containment of the soviet union and they would have been flabbergasted if someone told them you would fight two major washes in korea and vietnam, you would have a stalemate in one and lose the other. so the sense that i try to develop in my paper, the level of assumptions, just didn't pay attention to so many millions of people who were at that time in colonies trying to get out from under them. a number of other points i wanted to make, but i see i have about four minutes left. my analysis of september 11th can be announced very briefly. i more or less agree with john mueller that we have grossly overestimated the threat that
came from that terrible act. on the other hand, i understand perfectly well what the policy makers, former policy makers in this room were saying just a few minutes ago about the extraordinary shock that this produced, the unknown fears that something like the anthrax attack, whatever you want to call that, would generate. and the idea that you don't know what's around the corner. i can understand that. i couldn't sleep for five days after 9/11. i was reading the newspaper and watching the television all the time. so it was an extraordinarily shocking event. but one of the things we need to do is to be able to step back from teevepbts and ask ourselves if these 19 high jackers resemble something like the soviet union and nazi germany and they clearly did not at the time. but the passage of time, again life seems to have told us i think that they got lucky, as
john said this morning. north korea. you can read what i have to say about north korea in the paper. i think my encounter with the beltway consensus on north korea, a bipartisan one over the last 20 years, has been that the images people have and the assumptions they make about north korea get in the way of figuring out a policy that actually might have an impact on that regime. i mean, on any gin day it looks like an opera boof of communism that you can't possibly take seriously, but my research and my career has taught me that you underestimate the north koreans at your peril. that happened when mcartsdzyur said he could turn back the north koreans with one hand tied behind his back. a month later he was saying better art tillry and service than the japanese did in world
war ii. it starts from there and just goes on. but if you have an independent army of over 1 million men, you have a garrison state dug into some 15,000 underground national security chambers or facilities afone type or another, and a leadership that believes that both the sovedwrets and the chinese have screwed them in recent years, the sove yets all the way along. you can begin to appreciate why that regime hasn't collapsed. there, we might discuss that in the question and answer period. in my last minute, i will tell you, please read my last section which where i quote freed reck mitcha on feta for and the way in which we human beings have a wonderful and a terrible tendency to think in metaphoric terms, to say the word terrorist and in our minds
conjures up someone who looks like bin laden, to say communist these days and smun who looks like kim jung i will in his pants suits with elevator shoes. but in general, to constantly try to examine and reexamine and then reexamine again the premises, conceptses, metaphors, assumptions we bring to wear on our work because the whole point of my paper is those things are more important than the daily of what kind of information might be coming across your desk as a policy maker or a scholar. thank you very much for your attention. >> thank you. bill. >> well, thank you, john. thanks again to jeff and mel for inviting me to the conference. thanks to the miller center for organizing. and thanks for all of you for bearing up this day and still being here look so attentive as the last speaker on the last panel goors up.
my paper holds a mirror up to us, independent, nongovernmental scholarly experts. for short i'll use the term scholars or experts. i ask how well do we do when paradigm shattering events happen? that we didn't do a particularly good job of predicting as scholars. my question i ask is how well do independent scholars do at top policy evaluation after events occur that alter the foundations of a major geopolitical equilibrium sf how well do dwow? and the key is that the a policy evaluation involves an assessment of a criticism of a gin policy, the one the government is contemplating, and implies an endorsement or recommendation of another policy. in either case it implies a forecast. namely the world will be better
off if you follow the policy i advocate. so how good are scholars at forecasting under these circumstances? i look look at these questions in the events considered by this project. 9/11 and the berlin, fall of the berlin wall. i break these down into four events. four decisions. the immediate decision that happens after the shock, and then the key follow-on decision. so the immediate decision in 89 is german, decision to support unification in nato. in 2001 is the response to use force. the follow i don't know is to expand nato to central europe, the follow i don't know decision in the second case is to seek a serious resolution of the iraq problem by use of force if necessary. if you look at these four decisions, what stands out from the outside expert community is opposition and criticism. at three of the four decisions
i think were opposed or strongly met with strong skepticism by strong majorities of outside scholarly experts. that is, the only exception is the invasion of afghanistan, which i think among security scholars, scholars of international security was widely endorsed, that immediate post 9/11 decision. all the other three met with opposition. what i want to do in the next few minutes is look at the conventional wisdom, what do we generally think ought to be the case about scholarly policy evaluation, and then very quickly look at the three cases in which you saw very strong scholarly consensus against the government's policy and ask in each case how well did we do. how well did the scholars do. so that's where i'm going. tonight talk about the conventional wisdom, which among scholars, is that the
government really ought the pay attention to us. now, of course normally how can the government pay attention to us? we're a squabbling bunch of this and that. but if the scholarly community, the independent experts converge on a position, a consensus among experts outside the government, at what the government is doing is a bad idea, why, there the view among scholars is they ought to pay heed to this consensus. and why? well, in part it's that scholars bring some pretty good assets to the table. they are independent, they are not necessarily in thraud to higher level bureaucrats, so that problem of toteying that does exist in government, i've heard where underlings say what they think their superiors want to exist. they're not involved too deeply in party politics. they tend to be democrat but not genera