Past episodes
About Uncommon Knowledge

For more than a decade the Hoover Institution has been producing Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, a series hosted by Hoover fellow Peter Robinson as an outlet for political leaders, scholars, journalists, and today’s big thinkers to share their views with the world. Guests have included a host of famous figures, including Paul Ryan, Henry Kissinger, Antonin Scalia, Rupert Murdoch, Newt Gingrich, and Christopher Hitchens, along with Hoover fellows such as Condoleezza Rice and George Shultz.

Uncommon Knowledge takes fascinating, accomplished guests, then sits them down with me to talk about the issues of the day,” says Robinson, an author and former speechwriter for President Reagan. “Unhurried, civil, thoughtful, and informed conversation– that’s what we produce. And there isn’t all that much of it around these days.”

The show started life as a television series in 1997 and is now distributed exclusively on the web over a growing network of the largest political websites and channels. To stay tuned for the latest updates on and episodes related to Uncommon Knowledge, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Uncommon Knowledge by topic: Global Cooperation and Relations

July 4, 2013 | Recorded on July 4, 2013

Crisis Management: Kissinger, McNamara, and Rice

Condoleezza Rice (left), the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Publ
Image credit: Steve Gladfelter, Stanford Visual Arts

This week Uncommon Knowledge brings us interview excerpts from two former secretaries of state and Hoover fellows Henry Kissinger and Condoleezza Rice, and former secretary of defense Robert McNamara. All three have influenced American foreign policy through the years and through different crises, and all three believe that the United States possesses a particular responsibility in the world. (25:47)

June 14, 2013 | Recorded on June 4, 2013

Senator Rand Paul discusses individualism, freedom, and national security on Uncommon Knowledge

Senator Rand Paul

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, Senator Rand Paul discusses his political ideas, ideals, and philosophies, noting that “we’re all born with an instinct towards individualism.” He gives his insights into dealing with immigration, unemployment, foreign policy, national security, taxes, personal responsibility, and many other issues. Senator Paul’s unique perspective and solutions could be a starting point for getting the United States back on track. (39:23)

April 18, 2013 | Recorded on April 16, 2013

John O'Sullivan remembers Margaret Thatcher on Uncommon Knowledge

John O'Sullivan

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, journalist and author John O'Sullivan discusses the unique and memorable career of the late Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of the United Kingdom. (44:12)
“Mrs. Thatcher loved people who argued with her. She loved debate. She loved rhetorical combat. That was all important to her. People who argued with her went up in her estimation and she tended to like them.”

August 1, 2012 | Recorded on July 11, 2012

Charles Hill and Fouad Ajami

Charles Hill and Fouad Ajami on Uncommon Knowledge

This week on Uncommon Knowledge Hoover fellows Charles Hill and Fouad Ajami discuss the Middle East: its past, present, and future.
“If you take a look at the authoritarian world of today, the Arab world looks bereft of democratic tradition, but that wasn’t always the case.”

July 18, 2012 | Recorded on June 25, 2012

George W. Bush

George W. Bush

This week on Uncommon Knowledge President George W. Bush discusses postpresidential life and his work at the Bush Institute. (1:03:21)
“I believe we are a blessed nation; that is, therefore, we have a sense of responsibility to the extent we can to help others. In this case there was a pandemic destroying an entire generation of people. And I didn’t see how I could be president of a powerful, the most powerful, and the richest nation and not lend our support to saving lives. It would have been unconscionable not to act. So I thought it was in our moral interest to act. I also knew it was in our national security interest to act.”

April 25, 2012 | Recorded on February 29, 2012

Pat Buchanan on Suicide of a Superpower

Pat Buchanan on Suicide of a Superpower

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, author and commentator Pat Buchanan discusses the disintegration of the United States as a superpower and a united nation.
“Why are you bringing in each year one million people to work in the United States when we have twenty-three million people who are unemployed or underemployed. What are you doing to your own people, black, white, Asian, whatever, by bringing in new workers when you have this enormous unemployment problem. It does not make sense.” (1:00:41)

January 11, 2012 | Recorded on October 17, 2011

The Storm of War

Andrew Roberts

This week on Uncommon Knowledge historian Andrew Roberts discusses, with Hoover research fellow Peter Robinson, his book The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War. In the book, Roberts investigates what led up to the war, the historical factors responsible for Hitler’s rise to power, Hitler’s shortcomings as a military leader, Nazi Germany’s defeat, and Allied contributions to the victory. (38:15)

December 14, 2011 | Recorded on November 11, 2011

James Delingpole: Great Britain, the Green Movement, and the End of the World

James Delingpole

This week on Uncommon Knowledge columnist James Delingpole discusses, with Hoover research fellow Peter Robinson, the European Union, the Green movement, and socialized medicine. (47:41)

July 29, 2011 | Recorded on July 14, 2011

Fouad Ajami and Charles Hill—Trials of a Thousand Years

Charles Hill and Fouad Ajami on Uncommon Knowledge

Of Persian descent, Fouad Ajami was raised in Lebanon and came to the United States at age eighteen. He is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the winner of this year’s Breindel Journalism Award.

During his career at the State Department, Ambassador Charles Hill served as an adviser to Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz. Hill is a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the diplomat-in-residence at Yale. He is the author, most recently, of Trial of a Thousand Years: World Order and Islamism.

June 3, 2011 | Recorded on May 17, 2011

Michael Chertoff — Threat Levels

Michael Chertoff is interviewed on Uncommon Knowledge

A former federal prosecutor and federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Michael Chertoff was Secretary of Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009. He is also the founder of the Chertoff Group, a security and risk-management firm, and the author of Homeland Security: Assessing the First Five Years.