New Committee for East-West Accord

by Ellen Mickiewicz, James R. Shepley Professor of Public Policy, Duke University 

During the Cold War, the Committee for East-West Accord was formed to promote discussion and debate about and with the Soviet Union.  George Kennan was a principal founder, together with prominent scientists, public intellectuals, private-sector leaders, academics and political figures.  At the time the famous Doomsday Clock of the non-partisan Bulletin of Atomic Scientists was ticking down to nuclear confrontation.  

The Bulletin has now set the clock to three minutes to midnight, warning that “the mind-numbing possibility of nuclear annihilation as a result of a deliberate attack on the other by the United States or Russia seems a thing of the past, yet the potential for an accidental, unauthorized, or inadvertent nuclear exchange between the United States and Russia remains.”

In 2015, a new Committee was formed to promote serious exchange of ideas and discussion of policy toward Russia at a time when the space for cooperative discussion is much narrower than only a few years ago. Yet, there are new channels, new media, to promote informed debate and consideration of proposals, and policies among Americans of different views.

The founding members of the new Committee on East-West Accord are former Senator Bill Bradley, who advocated a successful large-scale exchange of young people; Stephen Cohen, Professor Emeritus at New York and Princeton Universities; Gilbert Doctorow, whose field is Russian history and who has served US and UK multinationals as marketing director; Jack F. Matlock, Jr., career diplomat, noted author, and Ambassador to the Soviet Union, appointed by two Presidents (Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush); John Pepper, former Chairman and CEO of Procter and Gamble; William J. vanden Heuvel, appointed Ambassador to the United Nations by President Jimmy Carter; and myself, James R. Shepley Emeritus Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Duke University.

We hope you will take a look at the Committee’s website and contribute your insights and expertise.