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

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.

Blundering toward a Second Cold War?

by Charles Hillvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, April 30, 2000

The Cold War has been over for nearly a decade, yet tensions between the United States on the one hand and Russia and China on the other remain extremely high. Hoover fellow Charles Hill explains how we can avoid a second Cold War.

The Lost Decade

by Charles Hillvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, January 30, 2000

The end of the Cold War presented a rich array of opportunities to make the world freer, safer, and more stable. The Clinton administration has squandered them. Hoover fellow Charles Hill explains what this administration has done wrong—and what the next one must do right.

Why East Timor Matters

by Charles Hillvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, January 30, 2000

East Timor has been in foment for decades. Yet last August, when the Timorese voted for independence from Indonesia, the United Nations and the Clinton administration were caught unprepared for the violence that erupted. Why? By Hoover fellow Charles Hill.

IT'S ALL FOREIGN TO ME: Clinton Administration Foreign Policy

with Charles Hill, Coit Blacker, Gloria Duffyvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, July 23, 1998

Charles Hill, Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Coit Blacker, Senior Fellow at the Institute for International Studies, Stanford University and Gloria Duffy, CEO of the Commonwealth Club of California, put the Clinton record to the test--how has the Administration fared on the host of threats and challenges facing the U.S.-- from Saddam Hussein to Boris Yeltsin, from China to India and Pakistan.

At the United Nations, We Should Pay Up and Behave

by Charles Hill, Stephen Stedman, Peter M. Robinsonvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, January 30, 1997

Two experts on the United Nations, Charles Hill, a Hoover fellow, and Stephen Stedman, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, recently spent an afternoon talking about the relationship between the United Nations and the United States. They argue that the United States has spent the last few years shoving the United Nations around. Hill and Stedman answered questions from Hoover fellow Peter Robinson.

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