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.

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 Path Forward On Arms Control

by James Goodbyvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, August 31, 2017

We need a new ‘engine room’ with direct access to the president.

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The US Arms Control And Disarmament Agency In 1961–63

by James Goodbyvia Analysis
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Public policy issues involving a complex mix of problems, exemplified today by climate change and the threat of nuclear war, require governance by institutions whose mandates and cultures embrace technological expertise as well as diplomatic and military skills. This paper is a case study of how such an institution operated during the Kennedy Administration to deal with the growing threat of radioactive debris in the environment and the threat of nuclear proliferation, and also put US-Soviet relations on a new trajectory. The 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty might not have been concluded during the Kennedy Administration had the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency not been established in 1961.


Should We Trust Tillerson?

by Frederic B. Hill, James Goodbyvia Baltimore Sun
Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Donald Trump's nomination of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be the nation's next secretary of state — after a protracted consideration of candidates — suggests the president-elect understands the position must be filled by a person of character, depth and vision.

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Groundbreaking Diplomacy: An Interview With George Shultz

by James Goodby interview with George P. Shultzvia American Foreign Service Association
Thursday, December 8, 2016

Hoover Institution fellow George Shultz reflects on his tenure as Secretary of State in the Reagan Administration and the process of making foreign policy and conducting diplomacy during the decade leading up to the fall of the Soviet Union.


Imagining ‘A World Without Nuclear Weapons’

by George P. Shultz, James Goodby, Sidney D. Drell, Raymond Jeanlozvia The New York Times
Friday, April 15, 2016

“From Hiroshima to a Nuke-Free World” (editorial, April 13) underscored the need for “bolder action” than the Obama administration has been able to take in recent years to move toward its long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons, a vision that we share.

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A Nonproliferation Regime For The 21st Century

by James Goodby, Steven Pifervia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
We need new strategies to contain the spread of nuclear weapons.  
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A World Without Nuclear Weapons

by James Goodby, Steven Pifervia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

This is how we get there. 

Nuclear bomb's tell-tale mushroom cloud
Analysis and Commentary

Nuclear Non-Proliferation: We Must Keep Working For A World Without Nuclear Weapons (Yes, It's Possible)

by James Goodby, Steven Pifervia Fox News
Friday, April 24, 2015

At the Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference later this month at the United Nations, the five nuclear weapon states recognized by the Treaty will come in for critical scrutiny from an international community that regards current approaches to nuclear arms as inadequate.

The War that Must Never Be Fought

by James Goodbyvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 20, 2015

To eliminate nuclear weapons, we must first eliminate outmoded thinking

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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.