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 Myth of America's Decline: Politics, Economics, and a Half Century of False Prophecies (Liveright, 2013), Über-Power: The Imperial Temptation in America (W.W. Norton, 2006), The Limited Partnership: Europe, the United States and the Burdens of Alliance (Ballinger Pub Co, 1997) and coauthor of Eroding Empire: Western Relations with Eastern Europe (Brookings Institution Press, 1987). 

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

Is There an Obama Doctrine? Ending American Exceptionalism

by Josef Joffevia Advancing a Free Society
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Truman had a universal doctrine — “to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation.” Everywhere. So did Kennedy, who was willing to “pay any price, bear any burden… to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” So did George W.

Analysis and Commentary

Is There an Obama Doctrine? Ending American Exceptionalism

by Josef Joffevia Room for Debate (New York Times)
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Future historians will not accuse Mr. Obama of woolly-eyed idealism...But they [might] add that with his address on Libya he ended — or tried to end — America’s career as a power like no other...

Tyranny, the West, and the Rest

by Josef Joffevia Advancing a Free Society
Wednesday, March 16, 2011

When Casablanca’s corrupt police captain Louis Renault closes down Rick’s Bar Américain to please Major Strasser, he huffs: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” A second later, the croupier hands him a pile of money: “Your winnings, sir.” It

Analysis and Commentary

Tyranny, the West, and the Rest

by Josef Joffevia New Republic
Saturday, March 5, 2011

Why is everyone acting so shocked about Muammar Qaddafi’s crackdown...?

Analysis and Commentary

A Completely Unpredictable Revolution

by Josef Joffevia New Republic
Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mubarak, the military, and the future...

A Completely Unpredictable Revolution

by Josef Joffevia Advancing a Free Society
Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Only fools would predict the unpredictable, and thus with the course of the Egyptian revolution. Imagine yourself as a pundit in Paris at the start of the French Revolution, the mother of them all.

Why Tunisia Isn’t a Tipping Point for the Arab World

by Josef Joffevia Advancing a Free Society
Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How to explain the Tunisian revolution?

Analysis and Commentary

Why Tunisia Isn’t a Tipping Point for the Arab World

by Josef Joffevia New Republic
Tuesday, January 18, 2011

So will Tunisia become the first democracy in the Arab arc of authoritarianism? Don’t hold your breath...

Great Game without End

by Josef Joffevia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Nobody wins in Afghanistan—at least not soon. Western democracies need to stay nimble, reserve the power to strike, and remain patient. By Josef Joffe.

Analysis and Commentary

Less Than Zero: Bursting the New Disarmament Bubble

by Josef Joffevia Foreign Affairs
Friday, January 7, 2011

All previous attempts at total nuclear disarmament have failed, as strategic logic and state interest have prevailed over wishful thinking. A similar fate awaits Global Zero, the newest disarmament movement, for similar reasons...

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