Events

Webcast

A Long Goodbye: The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan

May 26, 2011 // 4:00pm5:30pm
The current conflict in Afghanistan looms large in the collective consciousness of Americans. What has the United States achieved, and how will it withdraw without sacrificing those gains? Artemy Kalinovsky's latest book entitled A Long Goodbye: The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan discusses how the Soviet Union confronted these same questions in the 1980s, and how the USSR's nine-year struggle to extricate itself from Afghanistan and bring its troops home provides a sobering perspective on exit options in the region.
Webcast

Death and Redemption: The Gulag and the Shaping of Soviet Society

May 19, 2011 // 4:00pm5:30pm
Death and Redemption examines the Gulag's role defining the border between reintegration into society and permanent removal through death. Steven Barnes focuses on Kazakhstan's Karaganda region, a location that hosted a number of Soviet detention institutions, and suggests that the Gulag should be construed as a "corrective facility," which gave its occupants a final chance to prove themselves through forced labor. Those who succeeded returned home after years of brutal, forced labor; the ones who "failed" died. Barnes traces the evolution of the Gulag from its origins post-1917, immediately following the Russian Revolution up to the death of Stalin in 1953. The author draws on recently declassified materials from Russia and Kazakhstan, including memoirs of survivors, to show that the Gulag as an institution remained closely linked to the Soviet idea of creating an utopian socialist society.
Webcast

Cold War on the Home Front: The Soft Power of Midcentury Design

May 18, 2011 // 4:00pm5:30pm
Greg Castillo, Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley will discuss his latest book, an in-depth history of how domestic goods and environments were exploited on both sides of the Iron Curtain to promote either capitalism or socialism.
Webcast

From Historian to Incidental Diplomat: The Writing of History Before and After Participating in its Making

May 18, 2011 // 2:30pm3:30pm
Former deputy foreign minister and negotiator for Armenia Gerard J. Libaridian will present a talk entitled From Historian to Incidental Diplomat: The Writing of History Before and After Participating in its Making drawing extensively on his own experience and revelations as a diplomat for Armenia and as a historian of Armenian foreign policy.
Webcast

The Invention of Ecocide

May 12, 2011 // 4:00pm5:30pm
As the American public began to question the war in Vietnam, a group of scientists deeply concerned about their government's use of Agent Orange and other herbicides started a movement to ban what they called "ecocide." U.S. Deptartment of State Historian David Zierler in his latest book entitled The Invention of Ecocide, traces this movement, from the 1940s, when weed killer was developed in agricultural circles and when theories of counterinsurgency were studied by the military.

An Incoherent Policy: Rule of Law Reform in Central Europe and Beyond

April 29, 2011 // 12:00pm1:00pm
Stephen Humphreys's analysis of rule of law theory and practice identified a wide gulf between the theory and the manner in which "rule of law" is promoted abroad. Moreover, according to Humphreys, the extraordinarily ambitious rule of law promotion project has devolved into an incoherent policy because it is treated simply as a technocratic exercise, with few resources and little controversy.

The Bush Administration's Decision for War in Iraq, 2003

April 27, 2011 // 4:00pm5:30pm
Wilson Center Public Policy Scholar Melvyn P. Leffler will review prevailing interpretations and suggest how his current research may refine our understanding of the decision to intervene militarily in Iraq in 2003.
Webcast

The Soviet Bloc as a Project of Globalization

April 21, 2011 // 12:00pm1:30pm
During a discussion held at the Wilson Center, Elidor Mëhilli argued that economic cooperation within the Soviet bloc should be viewed as a project of globalization characterized by intellectual and technical exchanges and implicit competition with the west. Mëhilli, a doctoral candidate in European and Eurasian history at Princeton University, focused on Albania, calling the small country in Southeast Europe an important laboratory for the "socialist experiment" and a useful case study to understand the nature of socialist exchange.

The Variable Impact of EU Conditionality: Differentiated Reforms in the Entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina

April 20, 2011 // 12:00pm1:00pm
Since the Dayton Peace Accord was signed 16 years ago, the European Union (EU) has been actively involved in Bosnia and Herzegovina in various capacities and has created a number of local institutions to support its four current missions. At the same time, the complicated state institutional structure in Bosnia means that the EU must simultaneously interact with a number of local and state-level institutions. Mujo Hadzic discussed a central puzzle: Does EU conditionality work in such a complex environment? Given this institutional complexity, Hadzic argued, both the Bosnian government and the EU struggle to speak with one voice, which dilutes the EU's impact and diffuses the energies of Bosnian institutions.
Webcast

The OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities: The Role in Conflict Prevention

April 13, 2011 // 2:00pm3:00pm
The fundamental changes after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the break-up of Yugoslavia required new approaches to international security, including the ability to prevent possible inter-ethnic tensions within and between states from developing into conflict. For almost two decades, the High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) has been active in conflict prevention based on the mandate established by OSCE participating states to provide early warning and early action in situations of tension involving national minority issues, if in the judgment of the High Commissioner these have the potential of developing into conflict, affecting pace, stability and relations between participating states.

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Experts & Staff

  • Christian F. Ostermann // Director, History and Public Policy Program; Global Europe; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
  • Laura Deal // Catalog Specialist
  • Pieter Biersteker // Editorial Assistant
  • Charles Kraus // Program Assistant
  • Evan Pikulski // Program Assistant
  • Roy O. Kim // Program Assistant
  • James Person // Deputy Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project