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A Policy Dialogue


The George Bush Presidential Library
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University and
The Center for the Study of the Presidency

Washington, D.C.
Fall 2000


For over two centuries, the geographic good fortune of wide oceans and prudent diplomacy insulated America from enemies and potential adversaries. Even during the Cold War, the challenges to U.S. security and interests were highly linear and well defined. Indeed, during this period and despite the catastrophe in Vietnam, U.S. Presidents consistently and successfully engaged America's allies to influence and shape the global strategic environment and to constrain America's adversaries.

Following the end of the Cold War, the strategic environment changed rapidly and dramatically: Failing Third World states, the resurgence of ethnic conflicts, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the spread of advanced missile technologies among rogue nations, and the increase in - and changing nature of - terrorism. Moreover, as the sheer number of threats to U.S. security has mounted, so too has their complexity. A growing number of ethnic and humanitarian tragedies demand international attention and, sometimes, intervention. The United States has intervened militarily 39 times in more than 30 countries since 1989, compared to only 10 times (including Korea and Vietnam) in the 40 years of the Cold War. No fact speaks more eloquently to the great difficulty of shaping the global strategic environment.

Each new administration brings with it renewed hope. Unfortunately, most Presidents consider themselves exempt from past failures. Filled with electoral hubris, each expects to overshadow the accomplishments of his predecessor. Few pay close attention to the hard lessons of experience: How a Presidency can go wrong, and how it attains greatness.

Because the current U.S. national security structures and decision-making processes built during the Cold War are outdated and inadequate to meet the challenges of tomorrow, a major objective of the next President must be to avoid miscalculations and miscommunications that have plagued us in interventions from Korea to Kosovo. Furthermore, a growing number of experts believe that a fundamental "strategic reformation" of national security structures and processes is needed if the U.S. is to use effectively its preponderant political, economic, and military power.

Failure to engage in such reform will be costly. Because we have failed to adapt our military and diplomatic cultures to new strategic realities, our freedom of action is constrained and national options are not fully employed. Too often we fail to prevent conflicts from emerging and, once engaged, suffer the danger of squandering our vital national resources on protracted conflicts where U.S. interests are unclear and outcomes are uncertain. In short, we increasingly find ourselves in a reactive posture and may already have lost the art of shaping the strategic environment.

In response to these concerns, the Center for the Study of the Presidency recently convened noted Presidential scholars and seasoned experts in diplomacy, history, and military strategy to examine Presidential decision-making during past U.S. military interventions and to discuss the use of preventive diplomacy as an alternative strategy. The goal was twofold: To distill key lessons learned that the President-Elect might turn to in deciding when, how, and why to employ military force to protect U.S. interests; and to strengthen the mechanisms and resources for integrated diplomatic efforts to prevent conflict whenever possible.

In short, this volume identifies the core principles of U.S. military intervention and suggests preventive diplomacy and defense strategies for this new era. We hope that the dialogue beginning In Harm's Way: Intervention and Prevention helps build an institutional memory that the new President might draw upon in times of crisis, and that the White House, Congress, and the national security community engage in a fundamental strategic reformation, comparable to the Truman-Eisenhower initiative that prepared us for the Cold War.

David M. Abshire


David M. Abshire, President, Center for the Study of the Presidency, Vice Chairman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, former Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations, Ambassador to NATO, and Special Counsellor to the President of the United States of America with Cabinet Rank.

Andrew Bacevic, Director, Center for International Relations, Boston University, and former Executive Director of the Foreign Policy Institute, School for Advanced and International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University.

John R. Bolton, Senior Vice President, American Enterprise Institute and former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations.

George H. W. Bush, former President of the United States of America, Director of Central Intelligence, and Ambassador to the United Nations.

Ashton Carter, Professor, The John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs.

Michael Duffy, Washington Bureau Chief and National Political Corespondent, Time magazine, and former Pentagon and Congressional Correspondent.

Mickey Edwards, Professor, The John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, former member of Congress and Chair, House Republican Policy Committee.

Richard Falkenrath, Professor, The John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and Consultant to the Defense Science Board and the RAND Corporation, and a Visiting Research Fellow, German Society of Foreign Affairs.

Aaron Friedberg, Professor of Politics and International Affairs and Director, Research Program in International Security, Princeton University, and former Fellow, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Norwegian Nobel Institute, and the Center for International Affairs, Harvard University.

John Hamre, President, Center for Strategic and International Studies, and former Deputy Secretary of Defense, Under Secretary of Defense, and Staff, Senate Armed Services Committee.

Lt. General Howard D. Graves, Chancellor, Texas A&M; University System, former Vice Director of the Joint Military Staff, former Commandant of the United States Army War College, and former Superintendent of the United States Military Academy. Richard N. Haass, Director of Foreign Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution, former Special Assistant to the President, National Security Council Staff, and Director of National Security Programs, Council on Foreign Relations.

J. Bryan Hehir, Professor of the Practice of Religion in Society and Dean, Harvard Divinity School, and former Director, Office of International Affairs, U.S. Catholic Conference.

Robert E. Hunter, Senior Advisor, RAND Corporation, former Ambassador to NATO, National Security Council Staff, Vice President for International Politics and Director of European Studies, Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Samuel Huntington, Director, The Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, Harvard University, Chairman of the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, and former White House Coordinator of Security Planning for the National Security Council.

Dwight Ink, former Assistant Administrator, United States Agency for International Development, President, Institute of Public Administration, and Assistant General Manager, United States Atomic Energy Commission.

Zlatko B. Kovach, Senior Research Associate, Center for the Study of the Presidency, and former Staff, the World Bank and International Crisis Group.

Anthony Lake, Professor, Georgetown University, and former National Security Advisor, State Department Staff, and Aide to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Thomas Patrick Melady, Advisor to the United Nations, former Ambassador to Burundi, Uganda, and the Vatican, Senior Advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations General Assembly, and President of Sacred Heart University.

Joseph Nye, Dean, The John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Chairman of the National Security Council Group on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and former Deputy Undersecretary of State for Security Assistance, Science and Technology.

Robert Oakley, Senior Advisor, Institute for National Strategic Studies, and former Senior Director for Middle East and South Asia, National Security Council, Coordinator for Counter-terrorism, Department of State, Ambassador to Pakistan, Somalia, and Zaire, and U.S. Special Representative to Somalia.

Henry Owen, Senior Advisor, Salomon Smith Barney, and former Chairman of the Policy Planning Council, Department of State, Head, Foreign Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution, and Ambassador-at-Large in charge for International Economic Affairs.

Michael Palaschak, Senior Analyst, International Security Affairs, Center for Strategic and International Studies and former Senior Analyst, Strategic Assessment Center, Science Applications International Corporation.

Thomas R. Pickering, Undersecretary for Political Affairs, Department of State, and former Ambassador to the Russian Federation, India, Israel, Jordan, Nigeria, El Salvador, and U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Gilbert A. Robinson, National Director, Center for the Study of the Presidency, and former Ambassador-at-Large, Deputy Director of the United States Information Agency, and Chairman of the New York Board of Trade.

James R. Schlesinger, former Secretary of Defense, Energy, and Director of Central Intelligence.

Peter W. Rodman, Director, National Security Studies, The Nixon Center, former Special Assistant to Presidents Reagan and Bush for National Security Affairs, and Director, Department of State Policy Planning Staff.

Gordon L. Streeb, Associate Executive Director for Prevention and Resolution of Conflict, The Carter Center, and former Ambassador to Zambia.

Shirley Anne Warshaw, Professor of Political Science, Gettysburg College, and Vice Chair, National Advisory Council, Center for the Study of the Presidency.

Sidney Weintraub, William E. Simon Chair of Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies and Professor Emeritus, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin.

Samuel R. Williamson, Professor of History, Vice Chancellor and President Emeritus, University of the South, former Professor of History, United States Military Academy and Harvard University, Assistant to the Dean, Harvard College, and Provost, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Table of Contents




List of Participants

Table of Contents

Emerging Themes
Zlatko Kovach, Senior Research Associate, Center for the Study of the Presidency
Michael Palaschak, Senior Research Analyst, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Johan Czerwinski, Research Assistant to the President, Center for the Study of the Presidency

Proposed Presidential Strategic Reformation
David Abshire, Center for the Study of the Presidency


Key Questions and Conference Objectives
David M. Abshire, Center for the Study of the Presidency

Presidential Criteria: The Politics And Ethics of Intervention
Richard Haass, The Brookings Institution
J. Bryan Hehir, Harvard University

Constitutional Basis for Intervention
Shirley Anne Warshaw, Gettysburg College

Defining the Mission and Achieving It: Ends versus Means
Peter Rodman, The Nixon Center

A Classification of U.S. National Interests
Intervention Doctrines of Various Administrations
A Classification of Current Security Threats

Defining the U.S. Role Internationally
Thomas Pickering, Department of State

Coalitions and Burden Sharing
Robert Hunter, The RAND Corporation

The Media and Public Support
Michael Duffy, Time Magazine

From a President's Point of View: Presidential Decision-Making
and Military Interventions

Former President George H.W. Bush


Investment in Prevention Costs Less, Yields More
Robert Oakley, Institute for National Strategic Studies

The Role of the Private Sector in Conflict Prevention
Sidney Weintraub, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Non-governmental Organizations In Conflict Prevention
and Resolution

Gordon L. Streeb, The Carter Center

Reconciliation and Humanitarian Relief
Thomas Patrick Melady, Advisor to the United Nations

Preventive Diplomacy and the Role of the United Nations
John Bolton, American Enterprise Institute

Can United Nations Reform Improve Preventive Diplomacy?
Robert Oakley, Institute for National Strategic Studies

A Dialogue on the Reform of 21st Century U.S. Security Structures
Selected Participants The John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Towards a Unified U.S. Foreign and Defense Policy
John Hamre, Center for Strategic and International Studies
James Schlesinger, Former Secretary of Defense

Preventive Diplomacy Must Match Changing Realities
Thomas Pickering, Department of State

Future Threats
Anthony Lake, Georgetown University
Comments compiled from Six Nightmares: Real Threats in a Dangerous World and
How America Can Meet Them

Strategic Papers

Miscalculation and International Crises: A Short Essay on the Obvious, Or Was It So Obvious?
Samuel Williamson, The University of the South

The Making of American National Strategy 1948-2001
Aaron Friedberg, Princeton University

Restructuring Foreign Economic Policy: The World Bank, IMF, and WTO
Henry Owen, Salomon Smith Barney

Intervention Case Study Briefs



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