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

Analysis and Commentary

The Six-Front War

by Charles Hillvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, October 7, 2002

For a decade now, the state has been undermined from below while ceding sovereignty to higher levels.

The Myth and Reality of Arab Terrorism

by Charles Hillvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Hoover fellow Charles Hill on the roots of terrorism.
SIDEBAR: A Herculean Task.

War and the National Character

by Charles Hillvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, January 30, 2002

The terrorist attacks may have transformed the American character in ways the terrorists could never have anticipated. By Hoover fellow Charles Hill.

In, Out, and Down: Games Nations Play with America

by Charles Hillvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, October 30, 2001

It’s not easy being the world’s sole superpower. Hoover fellow Charles Hill reflects on the challenges of confronting a contentious post–Cold War world.

What Tocqueville Knew about Religion

by Charles Hillvia Hoover Digest
Monday, July 30, 2001

Although in many parts of the world religious beliefs have led to bloodshed, in the United States religion, as Tocqueville himself understood, actually plays a unifying role. By Hoover fellow Charles Hill.

The Europeanization of the United States

by Charles Hillvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 30, 2001

Why some bad ideas simply refuse to die. By Hoover fellow Charles Hill.

Follow the Flag

by Charles Hillvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 30, 2000

The politics of entire peoples are expressed through small pieces of cloth hoisted at the ends of poles. Hoover fellow Charles Hill on the potent symbolism of national flags.

Analysis and Commentary

From “Rogues” to Rivals?

by Charles Hillvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, August 28, 2000

There is a sense that ex-rogues pose no threat, harming their own people more than others.

Negotiations Lite

by Charles Hillvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, July 30, 2000

Attempting to produce a string of triumphant Rose Garden signing ceremonies, the Clinton administration has blundered into one disastrously flawed peace agreement after another. Hoover fellow Charles Hill explains why short-term diplomatic "successes" so often turn into long-term disasters.