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Social Science and Public Policy

Stephen Biddle: War Termination and Ukraine

February 16, 2024 at 12:00pm1:30pm

Eggers Hall, 341

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Moynihan Institute’s Program for the Study of Global Politics welcomes Stephen Biddle from Columbia University.

How can the war in Ukraine be brought to a successful conclusion? One camp argues that the only way is to enable military victory for Ukraine. Another argues that only a negotiated settlement is possible, and that the United States should thus pressure Ukraine to accept compromise terms. In fact, both camps are deeply flawed in ways that reflect incomplete understandings of the underlying theory of war termination. This talk will consider the logic and empirical record of war termination, derive from this a series of consequences for the conduct of the Ukraine war, and explore the implications for U.S. policy and strategy more broadly, and for scholarship in international relations theory.

Stephen Biddle is professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University, and adjunct senior sellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. His research focuses on U.S. defense policy, international security, the conduct of war, military technology, and the analysis of recent combat operations. He has served on the Defense Department’s Defense Policy Board, as a member of strategic assessment teams under Generals David Petraeus and Lloyd Austin in Iraq and Stanley McChrystal in Afghanistan, as an expert witness for House and Senate committees on military matters, and on a variety of other government advisory panels and analytical teams. 

This event was first published on January 23, 2024 and last updated on February 9, 2024.

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