MAJOR CONFERENCE 10/12: Cutting the Fuse


If you’re going to be in Washington next Tuesday, October 12, the New America Foundation and the University of Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism (CPOST) are hosting an important, all-day conference on Capitol Hill. The conference will run from approximately 8:30 am – 5:00 pm, covering a broad array of vital national security topics, featuring an all-star cast of scholars, thinkers, and practitioners. Click here to RSVP.
The University of Chicago Project on Security & Terrorism
and the New America Foundation
cordially invite you and your colleagues to a major national policy forum in the US Congress


8:30 am Registration – 5:00 PM Adjournment
The Congressional Auditorium
Visitor Center, U.S. Capitol
8:30 am
Registration & Coffee

9:00 am
Welcoming Remarks

Director, American Strategy Program, New America Foundation
Publisher, The Washington Note and Editor at Large, Talking Points Memo
9:10 am
Setting the Stage: Seeing Through the Fog of War to America’s Strategic Priorities at Home and Abroad

Chairman, Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment, Committee on Science & Technology
U.S. House of Representatives
Author, Character, Politics & Responsibility: Restarting the Heart of the American Republic
9:45 am
Changing Up America’s Strategic Options: The Navy’s Role in Offshore Balancing

Chief of Naval Operations
10:15 am
When the Ivory Tower Connects to Washington:
Empirical Research on Terrorism and Implications for Military Strategy


Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago
Director, University of Chicago Project on Security & Terrorism
Co-Author, Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It
11:00 am
Reviewing & Reconsidering US Strategy in the Middle East


Research Fellow, Hoover Institution
Senior Policy Advisor for National Security, McCain-Palin Campaign
Associate Professor, International Security Studies, US Military Academy


U.S. Special Operations Command, Office of the Secretary of Defense/Policy Special Operations & Combating Terrorism
Political Scientist, RAND Corporation
Author, In the Graveyard of Empires: America’s War in Afghanistan
Director, Geopolitics of Energy Initiative, New America Foundation
Publisher, Race for Iran
12:00 pm
Lunch & Blackberry Break

12:30 pm
U.S. Security in the Age of Emerging Threats

Former Governor of New Jersey
Chair, National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States (9/11 Commission)
1:15 pm
Thinking Through the New Security Puzzle: Terrorism & Asymmetric Threats

Nobel Laureate in Economics
Author, The Strategy of Conflict


Research Associate, Chicago Project on Security & Terrorism, University of Chicago
Former Acting National Intelligence Officer for Transnational Threats, Central Intelligence Agency
Author, The Interrogator (forthcoming)
2:15 pm
Through the Fog of War: Homeland Security and Civil Liberties


Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP
Adjunt Senior Fellow for International and National Security Law, Council on Foreign Relations
Former Legal Adviser, Department of State (2005-2009)
Senior Associate Counsel to the President and Legal Adviser, National Security Council (2001-2005)


Director, Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative, New America Foundation
Author, The Longest War: America and al-Qaeda Since 9/11 (forthcoming)
Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
Former Senior Policy Advisor, Office for Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, Department of Homeland Security
3:15 pm
Constraints, Austerity, and U.S. Foreign Policy

Professor of Public Policy and Political Science, Duke University
Co-Author, The End of Arrogance: America in the Global Competition of Ideas


British Ambassador to the United States, 1997-2003
Author, DC Confidential:The Controversial Memoirs of Britain’s Ambassador to the US
and Getting our Way: 500 Years of British Diplomacy
Whitney Shepardson Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
Professor of International Affairs, Georgetown University
Former Director for European Affairs, National Security Council
Author, How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace

Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute
Author, The Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes Us Less Safe, Less Prosperous, and Less Free
4:15 pm
America’s Strategic Choices: More Consequential Today than in Generations

Former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan
Former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Former Senior Director for Islamic Outreach & Southwest Asia, National Security Council
5:00 pm

— Andrew Lebovich


22 comments on “MAJOR CONFERENCE 10/12: Cutting the Fuse

  1. erichwwk says:

    Never said Obama was a pacifist. I consider him a murderer.
    That having been said, I consider the US miltary a far greater murderer.
    Many like to start the clock after 9/11/01. I maintain one should at least start the clock after the phony Desert Storm War.
    In any case, let’s try to get some realism, and base our decision on who is the greater terrorist on evidence, ala Robert Pape.
    Madeline Albright proclaimed on worldwide Television on May 11, 1996 that killing 500,000 Iraqi preschool children was “worth it.”
    Less than 3,000 Americans were killed at sites that Obama acknowledged (in his Dec. 2, 2009 speech at West Point) were “our military and economic nerve centers”. This translates to an al qaeda response of 1 American imperialist death for every 167 Iraqi child murdered.
    On what basis are you concluding that al qaeda is a more egregious murderer / terrorist?
    Or anyone else?
    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” — Upton Sinclair
    “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” — Frederic Bastiat


  2. Don Bacon says:

    Apples and oranges, nadine. Pacifists are against war but not in favor of crime.


  3. nadine says:

    erichwwk, you don’t seem to have noticed that Osama bin Laden is not a fellow pacifist.


  4. Ayse Veli says:

    I think that the relationship between the US and UK needs further exploring & I hope that too is discussed in this conference. Our new government (which we Lefties fondly refer to as The ConDems)is contradictory of its view on America. I don’t think that the Foreign Minister, William Hague has been clear on the UK’s views on Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan. The new Labour party leader Ed Miliband speaks often of how sorry he is for the Iraq war, and the only British politician who speaks sense on these matters is David Miliband. We are wasting time on looking back and not enough time forward planning. But what is paramount is that the US and UK needs to have a shared vision and be able to convince those countries and the people living in them that there is a diplomatic route to making Iraq and Afghanistan better…..and the US could stop using drones.


  5. DonS says:

    erichwwk, I agree with your sentiments including bringing pacifist representation in. With the rampant war hawks abounding, and the mushy middle of the roaders, it seems essential to have a voice from the pacifist angle heard. Finally I agree that pacifists represent sound realism and long term thinking. From my own observation pacifism is an active and powerful humanizing force actualizing the strongest and best of the human spirit. Why not legitimize this? Not much else seems to be working. It is true that such thinking is a threat to much of the ensconced war paradigm. That, to me, is also essential.


  6. erichwwk says:

    Nadine, I feel sorry for your apparent loss of your humanity,your ability to demonize other human beings, and perceive yourself to be of superior moral fabric.
    Not sure what would help. What worked for a NY white Jewish female friend was to marry a Muslim and live in an Arabian country. But then her head was on pretty straight to begin with. But I do hope you find some way out of your dilemma, and are able to rid your heart of the cancer that seems to be destroying your humanity.
    Most of the early nuclear weapons proponents were Jewish, whose concern and motivation for developing a nuclear weapon is understandable, if not justified. The majority (Ed Teller, one of those who earned his Phd under Werner Heisenberg, is a major exception)eventually became ardent pacifists. I hold many in the highest esteem (Joe Rotblat, Leo Szilard,Hans Bethe, Albert Einstin, II Rabi). You might consider trying to understand their transformation.
    I myself went through a similar metamorphosis, being born into the high tech weapons culture, and realizing through experience and observation, as Gandhi has stated, that force only seems to work, from the short term experience. In the long run it becomes counter-productive. We (pacifists) get there more out of realism and the ability to see long term, than we do out of short run warm fussy feeling.(Gandhi also said he would rather one were violent than a couch potato, it being easier to change from violence than from apathy and inaction.)
    Don Bacon.
    William Hartung does seem an obvious choice to include on the panel. Another would be Chalmers Johnson, Steve Clemon’s co-director on the Japanese Research Institute. I have never understood why the two don’t work closer together on military / empire issues. Daniel Ellsberg also comes to mind. Having him and Thomas Schelling on the same panel would be interesting.
    In any case, this panel seems to me to suffer the same shortcomings that Steve was among the first to recognize in Obama’s economic advisers, that they were all of one economic ideology, and hardly represented the “team of rivals”, so necessary to working towards “truth”.
    I look forward to the day ( and I am confident it will come)Steve recognizes this bias and the value in allowing pacifist representation into main stream think tanks.
    “Above all remember your humanity, and forget all the rest” — Joe Rotblat


  7. nadine says:

    “Dan, I’m sure Wiggie can’t see the hypocricy, or disconnect, of her (his?) argument. Its ironic that a President who is playing Wiggie and Nadine’s hand so faithfully is such a target of derision for them. In many areas Obama is better than a wet dream for those two.” (POA)
    There is no hypocrisy involved in not liking Obama’s Afpak strategy, just as it is no hypocrisy for Dan not to like the way Obama passed healthcare. The explanation is the same on both sides: even when Obama does something that ought to please some constituency, he makes such a mess of the policy that it doesn’t.


  8. nadine says:

    “On that basis it seems to me the the US is destined to lose. No one one the panel seems to me able to conceive that al qaeda may occupy the higher moral ground.” (erichwwk)
    A pacifist thinks radical Islamist jihadists may be occupying the higher moral ground! That’s rich! Obviously you believe in some kind of unilateral pacifism that doesn’t extend into the Muslim world.
    But thank you for so laying out so plainly the unholy alliance of the Left and Radical Islam, which contains one of the most complete double standards ever held in the mind of man. But then, the alliance need not address standards of conduct, only the the shared objects of hatred-America, Israel and the West.


  9. Don Bacon says:

    William D. Hartung is director of the arms and security initiative at the New America Foundation:
    “The Sustainable Defense Task Force has demonstrated that savings of nearly $1 trillion in Pentagon spending can be achieved over the next decade without diminishing our security.
    “It is clear that conventional military forces are of little value in confronting major challenges such as combating nuclear proliferation, preventing mass casualty terrorism, or restoring a vibrant economy


  10. erichwwk says:

    POA writes:
    “Tread lightly with your assignation of moral superiority, Eric. Those leaders who find your assessment offensive may employ their own criteria for morality by putting your “enemy combatant” ass in prison, sans legal representation, and shoving broomsticks up your rectum ’til you tell them what they want to hear.”
    Not to worry mate. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If doing those things to me creates some understanding on the part of our leaders as to why the educated, family folks are willing to give up their life for justice to their community, it is a price worth paying. I am trying to help restore America, not tear it down. History will eventually sort it all out, even if it is not in my lifetime.
    Also note that I said “may”. It is not up to me to judge, but rather to point out alternatives and possibilities, particularly those that are ignored. And to suggest that there are consequences –for the offspring of leaders that misbehave, if not for the leaders themselves.
    I’m well aware that “leaders” may find my statements offensive, and that statements have consequences. I am fairly familiar with the history of human justice activists, and the corpses along the way. Sophia Scholl lost her life, yet today has more respect in Germany than JS Bach or Albert Einstein. We all must die some day. The goal is not to extend life, but make it mean something. I would rather have the respect of my grandchildren and their grandchildren, than that of military thugs and pseudo-patriots,
    “Whatever you may suffer, speak the truth. Be worthy of the confidence of your associates. Consider what is right as what must be done. It is not necessary that you should keep your property, or even your life, but it is necessary that you should hold fast your integrity, but it is necessary that you should hold fast your integrity. — William Ellery Channing, to his son, a soldier in the Civil War.
    “There is nothing comparable in our history to the deceit and the lying that took place as official Government policy in order to protect [the nuclear arms] industry.”–Stewart Udall


  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, speaking about morality, it seems that the Arab League is pursuing the high moral ground by recognizing the futility of direct talks being conducted while Israel is still swallowing up Palestinian land.
    And I see Abbas has set up a meeting with Hamas. Of course, the Israelis will do anything in their power to derail any reconciliation, including employing assassinations and terrorism conducted deceptively and under false flag.
    If you want a chuckle, note how the propagandists at AIPAC describe this proposed meeting, and their colorful depiction of how Hamas gained power in Gaza…..
    Abbas to Meet with Hamas, but not Netanyahu
    Fatah and Hamas will hold reconciliation talks later this month.
    While Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refuses to hold direct talks with Israel, he is scheduled to meet with the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hamas, Agence France Presse reported Tuesday. “A joint meeting of Hamas and Fatah has been arranged for October 20 in Damascus after a previous meeting between us which had a measure of success,” said a senior Hamas official. In 2007, Hamas violently overthrew Abbas’ Fatah faction in the Gaza Strip and has imposed strict Islamic law over the coastal strip since taking power. Hamas’ charter calls for the elimination of Israel and says that peace talks with the Jewish state a “waste of time.” The terrorist group has launched thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians in recent years. On August 31, Hamas murdered of four Israeli civilians.


  12. Don Bacon says:

    I ran out of gas — but here’s some buzz on most of them.
    “From high technology to shipbuilding, defense-related industry provides thousands of jobs in Southwest Washington, while producing weapons and equipment critical to our national security. Working closely with members of the Oregon delegation, Congressman Baird obtained funding for a high speed semi-submersible delivery vehicle that is the state of the art for small, fast, and stealthy littoral zone combat vessels.” Baird, who is leaving Congress at year


  13. Carroll says:

    Huuumm …I see Obama has fired Gen Jones as head of National Security and replaced him with Thomas Donilon.
    This stovepiping the Obama circle with the bomb Iran crowd can’t be good.
    “But the Pentagon


  14. Carroll says:

    “Offshore balancing is a strategic concept used in realist analysis in international relations. The term describes a strategy where a great power uses favored regional powers to check the rise of potential hostile powers.”…..
    Using a ‘favored country’ to check other countries? What a swell idea. What’s wrong didn’t the meddler interventionalist ‘Concert of Great Powers’ as the new world order go over with the other great powers?
    O.K., I’am convinced…that the idiots putting this idea forth are all f****** retarded.
    I am sure countries that aren’t hostile now will become hostile under baby hegemons that will naturally use their Jr. hegemon status to also enforce some of their own particular interest that will tick off the ugly step children countries in the region.


  15. Don Bacon says:

    I’ll keep an open mind, but I don’t see any anti-war types that I’m familiar with on the panel, people like Andrew Bacevich, Ray McGovern, Tom Englehardt and Noam Chomsky. And who can expect much from the Chief of Naval Operations for heaven’s sake? Wait a sec — Admiral Roughead is going to speak about Offshore Balancing. What the heck is that?
    Offshore balancing is a strategic concept used in realist analysis in international relations. The term describes a strategy where a great power uses favored regional powers to check the rise of potential hostile powers.
    Robert J. Art is a principal proponent for Offshore Balancing as an alternative strategy to Preponderance. He and Kenneth Neal Waltz wrote a book: The Use Of Force. “The United States can pursue an alternative grand strategy without sacrificing its security. The debate between advocates of preponderance and offshore balancing, however, is about more than strategy; it is also about values. The United States is secure enough from external threat that, should it wish to do so, it could choose restraint over intervention, nation over empire, and an emphasis on domestic needs over external ambitions.”//
    Offshore balancing might make sense given the current situation of failed interventions, a broken military and deep financial and economic problems. Its opponents might see it as the strategy of a power in decline, and therefore to be avoided. It’s not a strategy that might provide military victories — but they have been nonexistent recently anyhow.
    So let’s see.


  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “No one one the panel seems to me able to conceive that al qaeda may occupy the higher moral ground”
    Now theres a dangerous train of thought to be pursuing. In a time when our increasingly fascist government is engaged in targeting those who dare speak out against war, how will they treat those who openly opine that our “enemies” may enjoy the high moral ground?
    We live in an age when technologically advanced weapons of mass destruction, such as white phosphorous bombs, can be used against civilian populations, yet when crude rockety is used in return, it is the employers of the crude rocketry that are deemed immoral.
    We decry the murder of defenseless civilians along purely political rules of engagement, while killing hundreds of thousands of such defenseless civilians for purely political motives.
    And we invade and occupy nations for possessing the very wares that we peddle to the global community at great profit.
    Tread lightly with your assignation of moral superiority, Eric. Those leaders who find your assessment offensive may employ their own criteria for morality by putting your “enemy combatant” ass in prison, sans legal representation, and shoving broomsticks up your rectum ’til you tell them what they want to hear.
    Or, more humanely, and with great moral clarity, they might just pop a cap in your head with no further adieu. Its all quite legal now, you know.


  17. erichwwk says:

    Muhammasd Yunus:
    “I believe that putting resources into improving the lives of the poor is a better strategy than spending it on guns.”
    “I believe terrorism cannot be won by the military action. Terrorism must be condemned in the strongest possible language. We must stand solidly against it and find all the means to end it. We must address the root cause of terrorism to end terrorism for all time to come. I believe that putting resources into improving the lives of the poor is a better strategy than spending it on guns.


  18. erichwwk says:

    First, I hope this conference will be videotaped, preferably in such a manner as it does not have to be viewed in real time.
    My comments elsewhere:
    NAF is making valuable contributions, including on military strategy.
    I am encouraged about the effort to base strategy on empirical evidence, and pursue what the data suggests in terms of base offshoring.
    I am disappointed in the refusal of the NAF to consider pacifism as a realistic alternative to “military only” solutions, despite the acknowledgment that when the use of force is perceived to be unjust, forceful responses are created.
    This reluctance seems to me to extend to the corruption of basic data. Thus Steve states:
    “Of course its true….” [the Saudi government invited in and agreed to host on a temporary basis US forces in order to help deter Saddam Hussein]
    While not disputing the invitation per se, to me the conditions under which this invitation was extended matters a great deal.
    “In war, some facts less factual-Some US assertions from the last war on Iraq still appear dubious.” Christian Science Monitor Sept. 6, 2002
    This narrowing of focus also extends to data harvesting, including only those facts that support the preconceived solution. Thus the military bases are mentioned, but not the other two grievances mentioned in February 23,1998 Fatwa.
    This Fatwa is archived at


  19. Don Bacon says:

    August 6, 2009
    Remarks by John O. Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism


  20. AddledAmerican says:

    Oops, sorry, that post belonged on the thread below this one. Moderator, if you feel inclined, please delete it.


  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “You mean because Obama has escalated the war in Afghanistan?”
    Dan, I’m sure Wiggie can’t see the hypocricy, or disconnect, of her (his?) argument. Its ironic that a President who is playing Wiggie and Nadine’s hand so faithfully is such a target of derision for them. In many areas Obama is better than a wet dream for those two.
    But surely one must agree with Wiggie that awarding Obama such a prize diminishes the whole Norwegian dog and pony show. This award,given to someone such as Obama, HAS been rendered irrelevent. I know nothing of Liu Xiaobo, so really can’t pass judgement on the fellow, deserving of the award or not. But due to Obama’s having had been awarded the prize, my immediate reaction to Liu’s award was skepticism. Just another political decision on the Norwegian’s part, that has nothing to do with actual constructive peace activism by the recipient???? Thats not my claim, but it is a reasonable assumption considering Obama’s award.
    The Norwegian’s diminished their own credibility, and will now pay the price. Unfortunately, so will recipients of this award who are actually deserving of it.


  22. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hey Andrew or Steve, when you see the “Honorable” Mr.Kean, ask him how much his company, Aramark has profited from these wars being waged under the scam known as the GWOT. It would be interesting to know, too, how many of the federal security agencies, born under this same scam, have uniforms and services supplied by Aramark.
    And, uh, tell him “Great job helping to bury the truth about 9/11”. He’s a real American hero.
    It will be interesting to see if this conference provides a real debate, or is just another podium from which the official marketing campaign for war can be hawked. With people like Kean selling their snake oil, I don’t hold out much optimism. Do these guys empty the blood out of their wallets before they come into the room, or do they walk around proudly dripping it for all to see?


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