2008 – 2009

Robert H. Donaldson, University of Tulsa
“Russia, Georgia, and the United States: New ‘Cold War’ Brewing?”

The outbreak of war between Russia and Georgia on August 7-8 caught many of the world’s leaders—including those gathered in Beijing for the opening of the Olympics– by surprise. The subsequent weeks have been marked by intensive diplomacy and explosive rhetoric. Some American politicians, eager to “punish” Russia, have compared the events to Munich or the invasion of Czechoslovakia, sparking talk of a renewed period of “Cold War” between Russia and the West. Our September speaker, who has written and taught about Moscow’s foreign policy for more almost 40 years, will present some historical perspective on the conflict, with a particular look at U.S. options.

Robert Donaldson served as President of TU from 1990-96. Previously he was President of Fairleigh Dickinson University, New Jersey’s largest private university, and Provost of Lehman College of the City University of New York. He has also taught at Vanderbilt University and at Harvard University; the latter institution awarded his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political science. Dr. Donaldson has authored or co-authored six books and monographs and more than two dozen articles and book chapters. His latest book, with Joseph Nogee, is The Foreign Policy of Russia: Changing Systems, Enduring Interests; the fourth edition has just been sent to press.

Dr. Donaldson has lectured widely and has served as a consultant to several government agencies including the Department of State and the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College. In recent years, he has made numerous trips to Russia, where he helped establish programs in which the University of Tulsa participated. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Donaldson is also past president of the American Committees on Foreign Relations.


Melvin A. Goodman, retired CIA analyst
“Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA”

The Central Intelligence Agency has been immersed in controversy almost since its founding six decades ago. Recent events such as the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Iraq have ignited new concerns about failures of intelligence, and the CIA’s conduct of extraordinary renditions of accused terrorists and of covert actions in various parts of the Middle East have been the subject of recent books, articles, and movies (such as the current box office hits, Body of Lies and Burn after Reading).

Dr. Melvin Goodman was division chief and senior analyst at the Office of Soviet Affairs at CIA from 1966 to 1990. He was on assignment as a senior analyst at the Bureau of Intelligence and Research of the State Department from 1974 to 1976 and served as an intelligence advisor to the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks in Vienna and Washington. After leaving the CIA, Dr. Goodman was Professor of International Security Studies and chairman of the International Relations Department at the National War College. Most recently he has been a senior fellow and director of the National Security Program at the Center for International Policy in Washington.

Dr. Goodman is co-author of The Wars of Edvard Shevardnadze, The Phantom Defense: America’s Pursuit of the Star Wars Illusion, and Bush League Diplomacy: How the Neoconservatives are Putting the World at Risk. His latest book, published by Rowman and Littlefield this past spring, shares its title with that of his presentation to TCFR. Mel Goodman is a frequent commentator on the intelligence community in various media.

Members are also invited to attend a public lecture at TU on the CIA by noted scholar Dr. Loch Johnson on Monday, October 20 at 7:30 p.m. in Helmerich 219, and a panel discussion featuring Drs. Johnson and Goodman (and TU Professors Tom Buckley and Bob Donaldson) in the Chapman Hall Lecture Hall on October 21 at 4 p.m.


Peter Gubser, former President, American Near East Refugee Aid
“American Interests in the Middle East”

The period of transition between U.S. Presidential Administrations is a valuable opportunity to reassess America’s role in the world, as new leaders endeavor to determine whether past policies have adequately promoted America’s vital interests. In no region in which the U.S. is heavily engaged is this re-examination likely to prove more controversial than in the Middle East. Our November speaker has spent decades working in and writing about the region and is well positioned to discuss U.S. interests there.

From 1977 to 2007, Peter Gubser was President of American Near East refugee Aid. A non-political, non-sectarian charity with offices in Washington, DC, Jerusalem, Gaza, Amman, and Beirut, ANERA facilitates relief and long-term development in the West Bank, Gaza, Israel, Lebanon, and Jordan. Dr. Gubser, an author of many books and articles on the Middle East, especially on Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and related social and economic issues, is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Prior to joining ANERA, he was Assistant Representative with the Ford Foundation in Beirut, Lebanon and Amman, Jordan (1974-77).

Dr. Gubser was or is on the board of directors of the Global Development Forum, International College, International Service Agencies, Foundation for Middle East Peace, Builders for Peace, Healing Across the Divides, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, and InterAction. In 2007, he received the Humanitarian Award from the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area. He is now writing a biography of Saladin, the great Muslim leader of the twelfth century.

Dr. Gubser received his Ph.D. in Social Science from Oxford University, St. Antony’s College (1970), his M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the American University of Beirut (1966), and his B.A. in Political Science from Yale University (1964).


Erika B. Schlager, U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
“Inter-Ethnic Relations: Possession is 9/10ths of the Law”

The conflict between Georgia and Russia over the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is only the latest of many conflicts arising from efforts by minority ethnic groups to secede and form independent states. Several of these conflicts involve European states, including Kosovo, the Bosnian “Serb Republic,” Chechnya in Russia, the Basque region of Spain, and the Transdniestr region of Moldova.

Our December speaker will address the question of what principles can be used to determine whether such groups receive statehood. She serves as Counsel for International Law at the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (also known as the Helsinki Commission), a Congressionally-created bipartisan advisory agency mandated by law to strengthen U.S. government activities regarding the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Erika Schlager has served on U.S. delegations to the diplomatic negotiations of numerous OSCE meetings on human rights, democratic-institution building, conflict prevention, and the peaceful settlement of disputes. She follows a broad range of human rights concerns, including the situation of the Romani (Gypsy) minority in the OSCE region. She serves on the Board of Editors of the quarterly journal, the Helsinki Monitor.

Ms. Schlager was educated at the University of North Carolina and Greensboro, Harvard University, where she received a master’s degree in Soviet Studies, and George Washington University, which awarded her J.D. degree. She also studies at Warsaw University as a Fulbright Fellow and received a Diplôme from the International Institute of Human Rights Law in Strasbourg, France.


Edwin Truman, Peterson Institute
“Reform and Role of the International Monetary Fund in the Current Financial Crisis”

The current financial crisis is having massive adverse effects not only in the United States but across the globe. The International Monetary Fund is one of the institutions created at the end of World War II precisely for the purpose of avoiding the kind of financial chaos that contributed to Depression and War in the 1930s. Essentially unchanged in its governance since 1944, and widely criticized in many developing countries for pro-Western bias, is the IMF going to be able to play a positive role in the current crisis?

Our January speaker is very well qualified to address these issues and the broader subject of the global financial crisis. Edwin M. Truman, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics since 2001, served as assistant secretary of the US Treasury for International Affairs from December 1998 to January 2001. He directed the Division of International Finance of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 1977 to 1998. From 1983 to 1998, he was one of three economists on the staff of the Federal Open Market Committee.

“Ted” Truman has been a member of numerous international groups working on economic and financial issues. Dr. Truman, who holds a Ph.D. from Yale, has also been a visiting economics lecturer at Amherst College (where he earned his bachelor’s degree) and a visiting economics professor at Williams College. He has published on international monetary economics, international debt problems, economic development, and European economic integration. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of Reforming the IMF for the 21st Century (2006), A Strategy for IMF Reform (2006), Chasing Dirty Money: The Fight Against Money Laundering (2004), and Inflation Targeting in the World Economy (2003).


Peter W. Singer, Brookings Institution
“Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century”

“We are on the cusp of a massive shift in military technology that threatens to make real the stuff of I, Robot and the Terminator. More than twelve thousand robotic systems are now deployed in Iraq. Pilots sitting in Nevada are remotely killing terrorists in Afghanistan. And many of the most renowned science fiction authors are quietly consulting for the Pentagon on the next generation of warfare.” So says the dust jacket of the newest book (available for sale at the meeting) written by our February speaker.

Peter Warren Singer is Senior Fellow and Director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution. He is the youngest scholar named Senior Fellow in Brookings’s 90-year history. In 2005, CNN named him to their “New Guard” List of the Next Generation of Newsmakers. In his personal capacity, Singer served as coordinator of the Obama-08 campaign’s defense policy task force.

Dr. Singer is considered one of the world’s leading experts on changes in 21st century warfare. He has written for the full range of major media and journals, and he has provided commentary on military affairs for nearly every major TV and radio outlet. He is also a founder and organizer of the U.S.-Islamic World Forum, a global conference that brings together leaders from across the US and the Muslim world.

His first book Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry (Cornell University Press, 2003) pioneered the study of the new industry of private companies providing military services for hire. Dr. Singer’s next book, Children at War (Pantheon, 2005), explored the rise of another new force in modern warfare, child soldier groups. Dr. Singer’s new book, Wired for War (Penguin, 2009), looks at the implications of robotics and other new technologies for war, politics, ethics and law in the 21st century. Prior to his current position, Dr. Singer was the founding Director of the Project on U.S. Policy Towards the Islamic World in the Saban Center at Brookings. Singer received his Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.


Richard W. Murphy, retired Ambassador
“The U.S. and the Palestinian Crisis: How Did We Get Here and Where are We Going?”

The recent war between Israel and Hamas in the Palestinian territory of Gaza seemed yet again to dash any hope for a peaceful resolution to the long-standing Arab-Israeli conflict. Our March speaker, who will have just returned from a trip to the region, has been immersed for almost four decades in Middle Eastern issues at the highest levels of the U.S. government and in leading policy institutes.

Richard W. Murphy has served as U.S. Ambassador to Mauritania, Syria, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia. His last assignment in a brilliant diplomatic career was as Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs (1983-89). Ambassador Murphy subsequently became Director of Middle East Studies for the Council on Foreign Relations and President of the Middle East Institute.

Ambassador Murphy has bachelor’s degrees from Harvard University in History and Literature and from Emmanuel College of Cambridge University in Anthropology. After graduation and service in the military, he undertook Arabic language training at the Foreign Service Institute’s Field School in Beirut.

Mr. Murphy has received the President’s Distinguished Service Award three times and the State Department’s Superior Honor Award twice. In 1985 he was named Career Ambassador, a title held by only five serving officers at any given time. He is a frequent commentator for NPR, CNN, and the BBC, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Financial Times, among others.


Richard Millett, University of Missouri-St. Louis
“Is the Mexican Drug Crime Wave the Wave of the Future”

The increase in drug-related violence throughout Mexico has prompted State Department travel warnings and a series of high-level visits from American officials to their Mexican counterparts. Warnings that Mexico may be in the process of becoming a “failed state” have angered Mexican officials, who blame the U.S. for the high demand for illegal drugs and for the influx of guns.

Our April speaker is a highly respected specialist on Latin American politics who has written and spoken extensively on the impact of transnational criminal activity on Latin American democracies. Dr Richard L. Millett received his AB with honors from Harvard and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico. He taught at Southern Illinois University from 1966 through 1999. He has also taught at the University of Miami, St. Louis University, the Air War College, the Marine Corps University, Copenhagen Business School, and four universities in Colombia.

Richard Millett has published over one hundred items, including Colombia’s Conflicts: The Spillover Effects of a Wider War (2002), Beyond Praetorianism: The Latin American Military in Transition (1996), and Searching for Panama (1993). His co-edited volume (with Orlando Perez and Jennifer Holmes) Latin American Democracy: Emerging Reality or Endangered Species? was published by Routledge in January, 2009. His articles have appeared in Foreign Policy, The Wilson Quarterly, Joint Forces Quarterly, Journal of Inter-American Studies, Current History, The New Republic, and numerous other journals. He regularly travels to Mexico to participate in international security programs sponsored by the Law Faculty of the University of Nuevo Leon.


Adam Garfinkle, Editor, The American Interest
“How to Stop Worrying about Terrorism”

Almost eight years have passed since the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. During this time, no subject has been more central to the public dialogue about the U.S. stance in the world and our foreign policy priorities. Countless books and articles have been published about terrorism and counter-terrorism, including many in the two distinguished policy journals that have been edited by our May speaker.

Currently editor of The American Interest (and formerly the editor of The National Interest), Dr. Adam Garfinkle has had a luminous career as a scholar, writer and editor, and policy adviser. Just prior to the 2001 terror attacks, he was chief writer for the study group that produced the national security warning known as the “Hart-Rudman report.” Prior to this assignment, he had written extensively on Israeli politics and on Middle East diplomacy. His book Telltale Hearts: The Origin and Impact of the Vietnam Antiwar Movement, was named a “notable book of the year” (1995) by the New York Times. His forthcoming book (John Wiley, September 2009), has the alluring title, Jewcentricity: How the Jews Get Praised, Blamed and Used to Explain Nearly Everything. He has written essays for numerous policy journals and has appeared often on national and international electronic media.

Dr. Garfinkle served as a speechwriter for both of George W. Bush’s Secretaries of State, and has received awards from the Department of State and grants from the Fulbright Fellowship Program, the German Marshall Fund, and the U.S. Institute of Peace. He has been a professorial lecturer at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and has also taught at the University of Pennsylvania (from which he received his Ph.D.) and Haverford College.


Barbara Slavin, Washington Times
“The Iranian Elections and their Meaning for the U.S.”

The fate of President Obama’s planned diplomatic opening toward Iran may well depend on the outcome of Iran’s presidential election, scheduled for Friday, June 12. If hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is re-elected, it may prove impossible for the U.S. to negotiate a compromise that would avoid a confrontation over Iran’s nuclear program. Our June speaker, author of a recent book on Iran and the U.S., aptly entitled Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the U.S. and the Twisted Path to Confrontation, will provide timely perspective on this issue.

Prior to joining the Washington Times in July 2008 as Assistant Managing Editor for World and National Security, Barbara Slavin was senior diplomatic reporter for USA Today, responsible for analyzing foreign news and U.S. foreign policy. Beginning in 1996, she covered such key issues as the U.S.-led war on terrorism and in Iraq and the Arab-Israeli conflict. She accompanied three Secretaries of State on their official travels and also reported from Iran, Libya, Israel, Egypt, North Korea, Russia, China, and Japan. Ms. Slavin is a regular commentator on U.S. foreign policy on National Public Radio (on the “Diane Rehm Show”) and the Public Broadcasting System (on “Washington Week in Review”).

Barbara Slavin wrote her book on Iran, which she has visited seven times, as a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In 2007-08 she was a senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where she researched and wrote a report on Iranian regional influence. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Ms. Slavin received her B.A. in Russian language and literature at Harvard University and also studied at Leningrad State University.