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

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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Analysis and Commentary

The Long, Painful End Of Angela Merkel

by Josef Joffevia Politico
Monday, October 29, 2018

How the mighty have fallen. Angela Merkel, the eternal chancellor of Germany, the uncrowned queen of Europe, took refuge Monday from her party’s catastrophic showing in state elections in Hesse in a tactical retreat.

Analysis and Commentary

Bavarian Beer And Globalization

by Josef Joffevia The American Interest
Thursday, October 4, 2018

Why are ordinary folks willing to spend $13.50 for a mug of beer, and why are the grandees of global business willing to drop half a million for a “strategic partnership” with the World Economic Forum? The answers are not so far apart.

Analysis and Commentary

Is Germany Slouching Toward Weimar Again?

by Josef Joffevia The Wall Street Journal
Sunday, September 23, 2018

[Subscription Required] No. Today’s immigration problem is much more limited than the social ills of the interwar period.

Analysis and Commentary

A Power Struggle In Berlin Masquerades As A War Between Good And Evil

by Josef Joffevia The Washington Post
Thursday, September 20, 2018

[Subscription Required] Germans are not renowned for their sense of humor, but this farce beats Monty Python. Imagine that President Trump had dismissed his FBI director by promoting him to undersecretary in the Justice Department, with a higher rank and salary.

Analysis and Commentary

America, The Forever Has-Been?

by Josef Joffevia The American Interest
Thursday, September 6, 2018

In the years following the global financial crisis, the United States has increasingly ceded its leadership in the world, while China has rushed in to fill the gap left behind.

Analysis and Commentary

Europe’s White-Knuckle Ride From Defeat To Prosperity And Crisis

by Josef Joffevia Financial Times
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

[Subscription required] Ian Kershaw’s new book offers an expert and meticulous look at the events that shaped the continent as it embarks on a new chapter in history.

Analysis and Commentary

A Report From The Trade Wars

by Josef Joffevia The American Interest
Monday, August 13, 2018

In a trade war, one folly begets the next. Take Donald Trump’s opening shot: a punitive tariff of 25 percent on steel. Alas, what is supposed to shrink an endemic trade deficit and intimidate rapacious foreigners has hit hardest at home. While U.S. steel manufacturers are gaining protection from more efficient competitors, the country as a whole is footing the bill.