Josef Joffe

Distinguished Visiting Fellow

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

Analysis and Commentary

Where In America Is Charlie Hebdo?

by Josef Joffevia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, January 13, 2015

America’s culture and politics is at once more permissive and reserved.

Athens, Greece
Analysis and Commentary

No Exit For Greece

by Josef Joffevia New York Times
Monday, January 12, 2015

Another Chapter 11 for Greece, the third in five years — and no exit in sight. The Greeks won’t do the eurozone the favor of absconding from the common currency. Never mind that they should never have been accepted in the first place, when they cooked the books to look prim and proper.

Analysis and Commentary

A Debate About Security

by Josef Joffevia Chronicle Herald (Canada)
Friday, November 21, 2014

Ideas are the best force-multipliers. They incite and intoxicate, making men fight to the death and fuelling boundless cruelty. Muslim armies pushed all the way to Spain and Persia under the green flag of the Prophet.

Analysis and Commentary

Germany Exports Massive Amounts of Arms, Hypocrisy

by Josef Joffevia Reuters
Monday, September 22, 2014

Who is the world’s No. 3 arms exporter, after the United States and Russia? Surprise. It is Germany, a country bound by law to supply only allies and peaceable folks like (neutral) Switzerland or Sweden. Off limits are “areas of tension” — bad neighborhoods that actually need the stuff.

Analysis and Commentary

Germans Learn Why Friends Spy on Friends

by Josef Joffevia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

'It is hard not to write satire," the Roman poet Juvenal famously quipped, adding: "I get an itch to run off beyond the Sarmatians and the frozen sea every time those men, who pretend to be paragons of virtue and live an orgy, dare to spout about morals."

Poster Collection, INT 00398, Hoover Institution Archives.
Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Strategika: “A Brief History of Nuclear Weapons” with Josef Joffe

by Josef Joffevia Strategika
Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How and Why Countries Decide to go Nuclear.

Analysis and Commentary

Of Spycraft and Statecraft

by Josef Joffevia Wall Street Journal
Thursday, July 17, 2014

"Gentlemen don't read each other's mail," expounded Henry Stimson when explaining why he had closed the State Department's code-breaking office in 1929. Gentlemen no longer populate the spy business, and the United States has 16 intelligence outfits rather, than none as in the 1930s, with at least $80 billion in spending-money per year.

Harold Melvin Agnew Motion Picture Film, Hoover Institution Archives.
Background EssayAnalysis and Commentary

A History of Nuclear Choices

by Josef Joffevia Strategika
Sunday, June 1, 2014

The question “Should more of our European or Pacific democratic allies possess nuclear weapons?” harbors two unspoken ones. First, why do nations go nuclear? Second, will America’s allies do so if U.S. security guarantees wane in this era of retraction and disarmament? A quick history of the nuclear age reveals many mixed motives and only a tenuous relationship between great-power assurances and client-power abstinence.

US-China Relations
Analysis and Commentary

U.S. Is No. 1, China Is So Yesterday

by Josef Joffevia Bloomberg View
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
The Myth of America’s Decline: Politics, Economics, and a Half Century of False Prophecies

The Myth of America in Decline

by Josef Joffevia Fellow Talks
Monday, May 5, 2014

Josef Joffe, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, discussed the long tradition of American declinism in his talk entitled “The Myth of America in Decline.”