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 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

Analysis and Commentary

In Memoriam: Helmut Kohl (1930-2017)

by Josef Joffevia The American Interest
Saturday, June 17, 2017

Kings get monuments when they die. Democratic leaders usually slink off into obscurity once they are out. Helmut Kohl deserves the former fate.

Analysis and Commentary

How Trump Is Like Obama

by Josef Joffevia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, June 13, 2017

There’s more continuity than difference between ‘nation-building at home’ and ‘America First.’

The German Mujahidy, by Boualem Sansal
Analysis and Commentary

Can The Holocaust Be Explained?

by Josef Joffevia Wall Street Journal
Friday, April 14, 2017

A new batch of books by Laurence Rees, Peter Hayes and David Cesarani tries to crack the puzzle: Why the Jews? And why the Germans? Josef Joffe reviews.


An Island Nation Chooses Non-Splendid Isolation

by Josef Joffevia Financial Times
Thursday, March 30, 2017

After Brexit, Britain and Europe will both be less than the sum of their parts.

Analysis and Commentary

An Axe Hangs Over The Liberal Order. Can Merkel Convince Trump To Put It Down?

by Josef Joffevia Guardian
Friday, March 17, 2017

Angela Merkel’s trip to Washington will be no love fest, but the two leaders have more in common than we’d like to think.

Analysis and Commentary

Germany Has Taken Itself Out Of The Nuclear Running

by Josef Joffevia Financial Times
Monday, February 13, 2017

[Subscription Required] By 2023, the country will have none of the wherewithal for a weapons option.

Related Commentary

The Kazakh Connection And The Future of Russia’s Borders

by Josef Joffevia Strategika
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Since Putin’s return to the presidency in 2012, Russian revisionism has focused on the western reaches of the former Soviet Union. He has annexed Crimea and unleashed his surrogate forces in Southeast Ukraine. He has tested NATO defenses in the Baltic and North Sea, while intimidating Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. He has expanded his military across the board to raise the price of Western counter-escalation.

Analysis and Commentary

Trump Has Bared His Fangs To Merkel. He Will Do Untold Damage To Europe

by Josef Joffevia The Guardian
Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The president elect praises Brexit, cosies up to Putin and promises to take an axe to Nato and established trading systems. Prepare for a remake of the 1930s.

Analysis and Commentary

After Berlin, Angela Merkel’s Open Door To Migrants Might Slam Shut

by Josef Joffevia The Guardian
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
The German Christmas market attack, if indeed it was carried out by a refugee, will force the chancellor to appear tough as she faces re-election.
Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Trump And Putin: Buddies Now, Buddies Forever? The History Of The U.S.-Russian Relationship Says “No”

by Josef Joffevia Military History in the News
Monday, December 19, 2016

Donald Trump’s love affair with Vladimir Putin is not new. In 2007, he applauded him for “doing a great job.” In his 2011 book Time to Get Tough, he avowed his “respect.” Two years later, he wondered if Putin will be his “best new friend.” In 2015, he announced: “I think I’d get along very well with Vladimir Putin.” In return, Putin praised Trump as a “talented person.” And so it went all the way to the most recent tweet where the president-elect scorned the CIA for reporting that the Russians had tried to manipulate the election.