The presidency and endless war

Since 1776, the United States has been at war 93 percent of the time—227 out of 244 years, according to Global Research. Why is that? And what does it mean for the future of our nation, at home and abroad? This half-day public conference will focus on the roots, management, and direction of so-called “endless wars.” During the five sessions, speakers will consider the political, legal, military, cultural, and governance implications of remaining engaged in these indefinite conflicts, and the future prospects of fighting a “forever war.” The William and Carol Stevenson Conference is a biennial conference that focuses on issues of national and international importance. The Miller Center is deeply grateful to the Stevenson family for its support of our work.

9:05 – 9:15 a.m.: Opening remarks

  • William Antholis
  • Marc Selverstone

9:15 – 10:00 a.m.: Keynote

  • Eric Edelman in conversation with William Antholis

10:00 am – 11:00 a.m.: The roots of endless war

How has this era of “endless war” arisen? What historical developments contributed to its onset in the 20th century and sustained it into the 21st?

  • Seth Jones
  • Carter Malkasian
  • Anne Patterson
  • William Quandt
  • Rebecca Zimmerman, moderator

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Waging endless war at home and abroad

What lessons can be learned from the transnational struggle that escalated after 9/11? How enduring are the assumptions and conditions governing U.S. involvement in these conflicts? How could a future president reconceive U.S. engagement in this struggle?

  • Allan Stam
  • Cassidy Dale
  • Aaron O’Connell
  • Ashley Deeks
  • Stephen Mull, moderator

12:00 p.m. – 12:55 p.m.: The future of endless war

What are the assumptions, institutions, and processes that have conditioned our current era of endless war? How have civilian and military leaders processed the lessons from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? What are the fiscal implications of living in an era of endless war? How is it changing America’s system of government and reshaping politics, society, and culture? 

  • Brantly Womack
  • Gina Bennett
  • Stephen Wertheim
  • Philip Zelikow
  • Katie Bo Williams, moderator

12:55 – 1:00 p.m.: Closing remarks

  • Marc Selverstone