The Fait Accompli in the 21st Century Security Landscape: From Crimea to Doklam to the Spratly Islands


From Ukraine to the South China Sea, the fait accompli reappears time and again as the strategy of choice to challenge the status quo, imposing losses in a calculated gamble that victims will relent rather than escalate. The Stimson Center is pleased to host Dan Altman, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Georgia State University, who argues that the fait accompli deserves more attention than it receives. Altman will chart the rise of the fait accompli by surveying the modern history of territorial aggression. He will explain why the concept is so useful for understanding recent conflicts in Crimea, Doklam, and the Spratly Islands and conclude with implications for near-future scenarios featuring territorial seizures by Russia or China. Olga Oliker, Senior Adviser and Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at CSIS, and Joshua Rovner, Associate Professor in the School of International Service at American University, will offer comments. Sameer Lalwani, Co-Director of Stimson’s South Asia Program, will moderate the discussion. 

WHAT: An on the record discussion with Dan Altman on recent controversial landgrabs and disputes, with insight for possible future scenarios and policy options. Lunch will be served.
WHERE: Stimson Center, 1211 Connecticut Avenue NW, 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20036
WHENThursday, October 19, 2017, 12:15 PM – 2:00 PM (Lunch will be served at 12:15 and the program will begin promptly at 12:30)
LIVESTREAM: A link to the livestream will appear on this page prior to the start of the event.
RSVP: Click here to RSVP for the event.
FOLLOW@StimsonCenter on Twitter for event news and use #StimsonToday to join the conversation.



Dan Altman is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Georgia State University. He is developing a book manuscript, Red Lines in International Politics, that explores how and why some red lines effectively constrain behavior while others do not. 

Olga Oliker is a Senior Adviser and Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). Her recent research has focused on military, political, economic, and social development in countries in transition, particularly in Russia, Ukraine, and the Central Asian and Caucasian successor states to the Soviet Union.

Joshua Rovner is an Associate Professor in the School of International Service at American University. His research interests include intelligence, strategy, nuclear weapons, and U.S. defense policy. Rovner is the author of Fixing the Facts: National Security and the Politics of Intelligence and co-editor of the forthcoming volume Chaos in the Liberal Order: The Trump Presidency and International Politics in the 21st Century.

Sameer Lalwani is a Senior Associate and Co-Director of the South Asia Program at the Stimson Center where he researches deterrence, inter-state competition, and counterinsurgency. He is the co-editor of a forthcoming volume on crisis management in South Asia. 


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