Charles Hill

Research Fellow
Biography: 

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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Ten Ways to Rescue Mideast Policy

by Russell A. Berman, Charles Hillvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 24, 2017

In the Middle East the previous administration established neither democracy nor security—and now Russia is on the scene. 

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Islamism Implacable

by Charles Hillvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 27, 2017

The terrorists are in some way only Europe’s second-worst enemy. Europe’s worst enemy is itself. 

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Ten Proposals On The Middle East For The New US Administration

by Russell A. Berman, Charles Hillvia Analysis
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Of the foreign policy challenges that face the new administration in Washington, perhaps none is more significant than that of the Middle East.  From spawning terrorism to supplying the bulk of the world’s fuels to destabilizing Europe with a wave of migration, its problems reverberate far beyond its borders.  Under the Obama administration, Iran and Russia have been allowed to supplant the United States as a regional hegemon, and the result has been destabilizing to the point of threatening the international order. 

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Ten Proposals On The Middle East For The New U.S. Administration

by Russell A. Berman, Charles Hillvia Defining Ideas
Friday, January 13, 2017

The new administration will inherit a Middle East foreign policy in tatters—and the aspirations of Obama's 2009 Cairo speech have not been met.  

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The Saudis Feel Cornered

by Charles Hillvia Hoover Digest
Monday, July 11, 2016

Riyadh is at the center of a coming regional storm.

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The American Character

by Charles Hillvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, June 21, 2016

With the nation fractured, here’s a summer reading list—from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Cole Porter—that emphasizes our shared cultural heritage.   

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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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