Josef Joffe

Distinguished Visiting Fellow
Biography: 

Josef Joffe, a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, is publisher/editor of the German weekly Die Zeit.

His areas of interest are US foreign policy, international security policy, European-American relations, Europe and Germany, and the Middle East.

His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, Commentary, New York Times Magazine, New Republic, Weekly Standard, Newsweek, Time, and Prospect (London).

His second career has been in academia. A professor of political science (by courtesy) at Stanford, he is also a senior fellow at Stanford's Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies. In 1990–91, he taught at Harvard, where he remains affiliated with the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies. He was a professorial lecturer at Johns Hopkins (School of Advanced International Studies) in 1982–84. He has also taught at the University of Munich and the Salzburg Seminar.

His scholarly work has appeared in Foreign Affairs, National Interest, International Security, and Foreign Policy. He is the author of The Limited Partnership: Europe, the United States and the Burdens of Alliance and The Future of International Politics: The Great Powers (1998) and coauthor of Eroding Empire: Western Relations with Eastern Europe. His most recent book is Über-Power: The Imperial Temptation in America (W.W. Norton). In 2013, Norton will publish At the Cassandra Crossing: The False Prophecies of American Decline.

Joffe serves on the boards of the American Academy, Berlin; Aspen Institute, Berlin; Leo Baeck Institute, New York; and Ben Gurion University, Israel. He is chairman of the Abraham Geiger College, Berlin.

In 2005, he founded the American Interest (Washington, DC) with Zibigniew Brzezinski, Eliot Cohen, and Francis Fukuyama. He is also a board member at International Security, Harvard University, and Internationale Politik, Berlin.

Among his awards are honorary doctoral degrees from Swarthmore College in 2002 and Lewis and Clark College in 2005; the Theodor Wolff Prize (journalism) and Ludwig Börne Prize (essays/literature), Germany; the Scopus Award of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem; and the Federal Order of Merit, Germany.

Raised in Berlin, he obtained his PhD degree in government from Harvard.

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Recent Commentary

In the News

Pompeo Begins A Divisive March Through Europe

quoting Josef Joffevia The Washington Post
Tuesday, February 12, 2019

On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Hungary, the first destination on a five-day trip through Europe. He’s also scheduled to visit Slovakia and Poland, where he will chair a conference on the Middle East, before heading home via Brussels and Reykjavik, Iceland. The State Department billed his stops in Central Europe as a return to a part of the world that 30 years ago “tore down the Iron Curtain to reclaim their freedom and sovereignty.”

Analysis and Commentary

Is It Really RIP For The LIO?

by Josef Joffevia The American Interest
Thursday, February 7, 2019

Lamenting the “collapse” or “end” of the Liberal International Order has grown into a cottage industry of pundits and professors. But is the LIO really dying?

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The Ghost of Weimar?

by Josef Joffevia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 25, 2019

Germany today possesses peace, prosperity, democracy—and episodic violence like that which led to the rise of the Nazis. A report from the heart of Europe.

Analysis and Commentary

Europe Does Not Exist

by Josef Joffevia Commentary
Thursday, January 24, 2019

By the numbers, the European Union is a giant. Its economy exceeds China’s by $7 trillion and is just a bit smaller than America’s $20 trillion. Russia? Its GDP of $ 1.7 trillion is petty cash. On paper, the EU nations marshal as many soldiers as does the United States, and half a million more than Russia. Their combined population dwarfs both. But if one measures by its weight in world affairs, Europe is a runt.

Analysis and Commentary

How Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy Defies America’s Best Interests

by Josef Joffevia The American Interest
Monday, January 7, 2019

At half-time, Donald Trump has demolished a lot and rebuilt nothing. Even his short-term foreign policy successes have proven brittle. And in the longer term, his not-so-grand strategy—aka “America First”—may well prove costly, as it always has for America.

Analysis and Commentary

Der Spiegel’s First-Class Faker

by Josef Joffevia Politico
Friday, December 21, 2018

Fake news wasn’t invented by the Russians. The New York Times had Jayson Blair, who faked dozens of articles and interviews over the years. U.S.A. Today had Jack Kelley, who made up sensational stories about events he had not witnessed and places he had not seen. In both cases, the editors were forced to resign.

Featured

Succession Politics In Post-Merkel Germany

by Josef Joffevia The American Interest
Wednesday, December 12, 2018

While Europe’s key powers—Britain, France and Italy—are succumbing to the populists in the streets and in parliament, Germany is the default anchor of continuity and stability.

Analysis and Commentary

George Bush Led The Biggest Diplomatic Triumph Since Jefferson

by Josef Joffevia The Wall Street Journal
Monday, December 3, 2018

What are the three most glorious moments of American diplomacy? One is the Revolutionary War, when the Founding Fathers roped France into an alliance against Britain that saved the novus ordo seclorum from death in infancy. Another is the Louisiana Purchase, by which Thomas Jefferson doubled the size of the country for a mere $15 million (around $300 million today). The third was a triple win engineered by George H.W. Bush: victory in the Cold War, the reunification of Europe and Germany, and the collapse of the Soviet Union on Christmas 1991.

Background EssayFeatured

The Structure of the Contemporary International System

by Josef Joffevia Strategika
Thursday, November 15, 2018

A monopoly obtains when one firm is free to set prices and output while keeping ambitious newcomers out of the market. The best example is Standard Oil in the late 19th century. Ruthlessly undercutting competitors, the company ended up controlling 90 percent of refined oil flows in the United States. The United States never had that kind of overweening power in the international “market.” It may have come close to unipolarity in the 1990s when its mortal rival, the Soviet Union, had committed suicide. Yet the contemporary world is no longer unipolar. Neither is it bi- or multipolar.

Analysis and Commentary

The Iceman Cometh

by Josef Joffevia The American Interest
Friday, November 9, 2018
“Liberal International Order“ rates some 100,000 entries in Google, preferably with “collapse” or “R.I.P.” appended. The doomsayers have a point. Born in 1945, the LIO was an American project secured by American power. Now, it is being undone by America as Donald Trump is putting the axe to what his 12 predecessors since Harry S. Truman had safeguarded.

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