James Goodby

Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow

James E. Goodby has served in the US Foreign Service, achieving the rank of Career Minister, and was appointed to five ambassadorial-rank positions by Presidents Carter, Reagan, and Clinton, including ambassador to Finland. He taught at Georgetown, Syracuse, and Carnegie Mellon Universities and is Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at Carnegie Mellon. Ambassador Goodby has worked with former Secretary of State George Shultz at Hoover since 2007. He is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a senior fellow with the Center for Northeast Asia Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution.

He was a Distinguished Service Professor at Carnegie Mellon University from 1989 to 1999 and is now a professor emeritus. Selected for the US Foreign Service through competitive examinations in 1952, Goodby rose to the rank of career minister in the Senior Foreign Service and was given five presidential appointments to ambassadorial rank, including ambassador to Finland (1980–81). During his Foreign Service career he was involved as a negotiator or as a policy adviser in the creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the negotiation of the limited nuclear test ban treaty, START, the Conference on Disarmament in Europe, and cooperative threat reduction (the Nunn-Lugar program).

Goodby is the author and editor of several books. His most recent publication is Deterrence: Its Past and Future—Papers Presented at Hoover Institution, November 2010 (Hoover Institution Press, 2011) edited with George P. Shultz and Sidney D. Drell. He also wrote At the Borderline of Armageddon: How American Presidents Managed the Atom Bomb (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006). With Sidney Drell he wrote The Gravest Danger: Nuclear Weapons (Hoover Institution Press, 2003) and the essay A World without Nuclear Weapons: End-State Issues (Hoover Institution Press, 2009). Goodby coedited Reykjavik Revisited: Steps toward a World Free of Nuclear Weapons (Hoover Institution Press, 2008) and contributed essays to Reykjavik Revisited and Implications of the Reykjavik Summit on Its Twentieth Anniversary (Hoover Institution Press, 2007).

Goodby’s awards include the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the State Department’s Superior and Distinguished Honor Awards, and the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Germany. He was named a Distinguished Fellow of the US Institute of Peace in 1992. He was the recipient of the inaugural Heinz Award in Public Policy in 1995. In 1996, he was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree by the Stetson University College of Law.

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Recent Commentary

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The Nuclear Dilemma

by James Goodbyvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The world's nuclear stockpiles are shrinking. But that doesn't mean the world is a safer place. 

Challenging the Assumptions of Classical Nuclear Deterrence Theory: The War That Must Never Be Fought

by James Goodby, Benoît Pelopidas, Steven Pifervia Analysis
Thursday, March 12, 2015

The first three chapters of this book ask whether the conventional wisdom regarding deterrence based on the threat of a nuclear attack remains valid in present geopolitical circumstances, especially from an American point of view.  The authors build a case for challenging the status quo.

The Global Commons - Building a New Cooperative Security Regime: The War That Must Never Be Fought

by James Goodby, Steven Pifervia Analysis
Thursday, March 12, 2015

The cooperative nuclear control regime that was built up over decades has shown serious signs of decay.

Nuclear bomb's tell-tale mushroom cloud
Featured Commentary

The End of a Nuclear Era

by James Goodbyvia New York Times
Wednesday, August 14, 2013

U.S. arms control policies have been overly preoccupied with negotiating with Russia.

Hoover fellow George Shultz 'walks the talk' on clean energy
Featured Commentary

New nuclear treaty is the latest crusade of George Shultz--at 90

by James Goodbywith George P. Shultzvia San Jose Mercury News
Tuesday, December 14, 2010

History is made by individuals, and once in a while events come along to remind us of that...

The Gravest Danger: Nuclear Weapons

The Gravest Danger: Nuclear Weapons

by James Goodby, Sidney D. Drellvia Books by Hoover Fellows
Friday, April 16, 2010

"To avoid nuclear war and to contain and gradually to diminish the potential for nuclear devastation: these are the most compelling imperatives of our time."

Nuclear Weapons
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Time for the Test Ban

by James Goodbyvia Advancing a Free Society
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The presidents of the United States and Russia have proclaimed that they will work for a world without nuclear weapons. Vice President Joe Biden reaffirmed that goal in a recent major policy speech.

book cover

A World Without Nuclear Weapons: End-State Issues

by Sidney D. Drell, James Goodbyvia Books by Hoover Fellows
Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A world without nuclear weapons is a goal worth pursuing in itself. Beyond that, and most importantly, endeavoring to achieve that goal will also invigorate efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. But the road will not be an easy one.

Featured Commentary

Putin fiercely guards reach of 'post-Soviet' Russia

by James Goodbyvia Washington Times
Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Russian invasion of Georgia is the culmination of a years-long crisis that stems from different perceptions about Russian and U.S. interests and influence in the former Soviet lands around Russia's borders...

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The Gravest Danger

by James Goodby, Sidney D. Drellvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 30, 2004

Nuclear weapons could only too easily fall into the hands of rogue states and terrorists. Hoover fellow Sidney Drell and James Goodby explain how to prevent that from happening.