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

The Great Unraveling, Cont’d

by Josef Joffevia The American Interest
Friday, July 6, 2018

Donald Trump’s upcoming schmooze fest with Vladimir Putin at their July 16 summit confirms Europe’s worst fears: No. 45 really does want to wreck the American-built global order.

Analysis and Commentary

There Are No Curses Or Super Powers In The World Cup

by Josef Joffevia The Washington Post
Friday, June 29, 2018
Human beings love to look for signs that prove divine grace or damnation — such as the handwriting on the wall that presaged the demise of Babylon’s king Belshazzar 2,500 years ago, as recounted in the Book of Daniel. Closer to home, we have the Curse of the Billy Goat foretelling in 1945: “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.” They didn’t triumph in the World Series for 71 long years after that.

The Greatest Miscalculation Of Angela Merkel’s Career

by Josef Joffevia The Washington Post
Thursday, June 21, 2018

She used to be the queen, nay, empress of Europe, but now Angela Merkel, 63, is "a chancellor on the way out," as the German magazine Der Spiegel just put it.

Analysis and Commentary

What Critics Left And Right Get Wrong About ‘Fauda’

by Josef Joffevia Tablet Magazine
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

If a Jew sympathetic to Israel and a pro-Palestinian critic writing for the Guardian both dislike the Netflix hit Fauda, now in its second season, it can’t be all bad. In fact, it is a series that like Homeland and Breaking Bad has cracked the mold and pushed the genre into uncharted TV territory.

Analysis and Commentary

Mission: Kimpossible

by Josef Joffevia The American Interest
Monday, June 11, 2018

Kim Jong-un may promise Donald Trump the moon when the two meet on Singapore’s Santosa Island. But he won’t deliver. History provides some key clues why North Korea will not part with its nukes.


Italy’s Populist Flirtation Won’t Last

by Josef Joffevia The Wall Street Journal
Sunday, June 3, 2018

[Subscription Required] The new right-left coalition will be hampered by the nation’s debt—and their own internal discord.

Analysis and Commentary

R.I.P. Pierre Hassner, 1933-2018

by Josef Joffevia American Interest
Friday, June 1, 2018
It is no accident that modern international relations was essentially invented in the United States after World War II. Suddenly, a global power needed a global map to make sense of two revolutionary transformations: nuclear weapons and bipolarity.
Analysis and Commentary

Let’s Dance The Machiavelli

by Josef Joffevia The American Interest
Friday, May 4, 2018

Go with the Florentine maestro of hardball politics: it’s better to be feared than loved.

Analysis and Commentary

Donald Trump’s Not-So-Grand Strategy

by Josef Joffevia The American Interest
Friday, April 6, 2018

The President committed a double folly this week: starting a trade war against China while pleasing Russia and Iran with a promised pull-out from Syria.

Background EssayAnalysis and Commentary

Sanctions: The Record And The Rewards

by Josef Joffevia Strategika
Thursday, March 29, 2018

Why are sanctions so popular? Because “there is nothing else between words and military action to bring pressure upon a government,” explains Jeremy Greenstock, Britain’s long-term ambassador at the UN. It is bloodless—warfare on the cheap. Nonlethal means are the main attraction for democracies loath to go to war in remote places against states that do not pose an existential threat.