Charles Hill

Research Fellow

Charles Hill, a career minister in the US Foreign Service, is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. Hill was executive aide to former US secretary of state George P. Shultz (1985–89) and served as special consultant on policy to the secretary-general of the United Nations (1992–96). He is also the Brady-Johnson Distinguished Fellow in Grand Strategy and a senior lecturer in humanities at Yale.

Among Hill's awards are the Superior Honor Award from the Department of State in 1973 and 1981; the Presidential Distinguished Service Award in 1987 and 1989; and the Secretary of State's Medal in 1989. He was granted an honorary doctor of laws degree by Rowan University.

In 1978, Hill was deputy director of the Israel desk and became political counselor for the US Embassy in Tel Aviv in 1979. He was named director of Israel and Arab-Israeli affairs in 1981, and he served as deputy assistant secretary for the Middle East in 1982.

Hill began his career in 1963 as a vice consul in Zurich, Switzerland. In 1964, he became a Chinese-language officer in Taichung, Taiwan, and in 1966 was appointed as a political officer in Hong Kong. He was involved in the 1974 Panama Canal negotiations, becoming a member of the policy planning staff as a speechwriter for Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1975.

During 1970, he was a fellow at the Harvard University East Asia Research Center. He was a Clark Fellow at Cornell University in 1989.

He received an AB degree from Brown University in 1957, a JD degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1960, and an MA degree in American studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1961.

Hill has collaborated with former UN secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali on Egypt's Road to Jerusalem, a memoir of the Middle East peace negotiations, and Unvanquished, about US relations with the United Nations in the post–cold war period. His book Grand Strategies: Literature, Statecraft, and World Order was published by Yale University Press in 2010. Hill’s most recent book is Trial of a Thousand Years: World Order and Islamism (Hoover Institution Press, 2011).

His research papers are available at the Hoover Institution Archives.

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Recent Commentary

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The Perils Of “Perfecting”

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Wednesday, May 11, 2016

“A Spectre is Haunting Europe” – again. Now, as in Marx’s proclamation, an idea generated in Europe has had consequences elsewhere that threaten modern civilization. Modernity’s world-spanning influence has been accurately and derogatorily labeled “Eurocentric.”

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The End of Modernity

by Charles Hillvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 18, 2016

When it should act, America hesitates—and around the world, hard-won freedoms slip away.

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As Seen By The Saudis

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Monday, February 22, 2016

Perhaps no grand strategic moment has been caught by the camera in such an unposed yet meaningful way. There on the heavy cruiser USS Quincy at anchor in Egypt’s Great Bitter Lake, is President Roosevelt, fresh from Yalta, on his way back across the Atlantic, having tea with Ibn Saud Abdul-Aziz, King of Saudi Arabia. An American orderly squats before His Highness to ask how he likes his tea.

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The End of Modernity

by Charles Hillvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, January 7, 2016

Recent events suggest that the Westphalian state system and its democratic values are withering away. 

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America’s Language Problem

by Charles Hillvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Before the collapse of Athens, words lost their meaning—and the same thing is happening in our country today.

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The Obama Declaration

by Charles Hillvia The Caravan
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

World-historical changes are not conveniently demarcated by the turn of the centuries, but the 21st century looks like the opening of a new “paradigm” that might replace what has been called “The Modern Era” itself.

Charles Hill and General James Mattis on the Iran Deal, Democracy, and Freedom
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Charles Hill And General James Mattis On The Iran Deal, Democracy, And Freedom

interview with Charles Hill, General Jim Mattisvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Recorded on  July 16, 2015 - Hoover fellows Charles Hill and James Mattis discuss the Iran deal and the state of the world on Uncommon Knowledge with Hoover fellow Peter Robinson. In their view the United States has handed over its leading role to Iran and provided a dowry along with it. 

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Sledgehammers Of Ideology

by Charles Hillvia Hoover Digest
Friday, June 19, 2015

Jihadists are trying to destroy history—in the halls of Iraq’s museums, quite literally. Standing in their way: a civilization that cherishes both political and artistic freedom.

Political Islam: Will It Bury Us?

by Charles Hillvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 20, 2015

Said to have “no place in the modern world,” Islamist extremists may bury that modern world.

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ISIS’s Sledgehammer Against Civilization

by Charles Hillvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What we lose when ideologies like Islamism catastrophically destroy our precious cultural artifacts.