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 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

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Who Runs The World?

by Josef Joffevia Military History in the News
Monday, December 5, 2016

According to the conspiracy theorists, it is, or used to be, the Jews, the Freemasons or the Bolsheviks who ran the world. Or Bilderberg and the Council on Foreign Relations. Wrong. It is Goldman Sachs, as a very sober, factual piece in the Financial Times has it.

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EU And NATO: Obsolete Or Obstinate?

by Josef Joffevia Analysis
Monday, October 31, 2016

Could the European Union fall apart? Would that end NATO, too? Or will the EU’s troubles lead to a more robust defense? “No” to all of the above. To begin, Brexit will not unleash mass defection because a) the 27 remaining nations are far more deeply integrated, and b) they regard the benefit-cost ratio far more favorably than does Britain. At heart an American alliance, NATO will endure, as it has for 70 years, as long as the U.S. guarantee holds. Precisely for that reason, the Europeans will not move toward an autonomous defense. Yet if the U.S. withdraws its umbrella, it is just as likely that Europe would seek safety in accommodating Russia.

Why The Rest Of The World Would Hand Clinton A Landslide Victory

by Josef Joffe
Thursday, September 29, 2016

For a country supposedly in decline, the United States is getting a lot of attention these days. Millions of people around the world, not counting 84 million in the United States, were glued to screens watching the Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump bout on Monday. Vladimir Putin is the new czar of Russia, and Xi Jinping the emperor of China. 

Featured

Stiffening The American Spine

by Josef Joffevia Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Denmark’s former prime minister exhorts Americans to resist retreat. ‘Leading from behind’ may work with grazing sheep. It doesn’t in wolf country.

Related Commentary

Increasingly Isolated, Israel Must Rely On Nuclear Deterrence

by Josef Joffevia Strategika
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Five years ago, Jeffrey Goldenberg published “The Point of No Return” in The Atlantic. In 10,000 words, he laid out the pressing rationale for an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Like many such pieces, it prompted this author to formulate a law: “The U.S. can do it, but won’t; Israel wants to, but can’t.”

Featured

Convenience, Not Common Culture, Holds Europe Together — Just

by Josef Joffevia Financial Times
Friday, August 26, 2016

[Subscription Required] The EU’s multiple crises will not yield to invocations of its glorious past.

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Trump To NATO: “Pay Up, Or We Won’t Protect You!”

by Josef Joffevia Military History in the News
Monday, August 8, 2016

Donald Trump’s threat—pay or perish—as delivered to the Baltic states, is foolish, but not new. Indeed, it is almost as old as the Atlantic Alliance. The Europeans, runs an ancient mantra, were always paying too little for their defense. They certainly did not when compared to the United States. While the U.S. postwar historical average was around 5 to 6 per cent of GDP, with sharp spikes during the country’s post-1945 wars, the Europeans devoted about one-half as much, with Britain and France as notable exceptions.

Featured

It Couldn't Happen Here, Until It Did – Now Germany Has Joined The Mass Killing Club

by Josef Joffevia The Guardian
Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Munich gunman reportedly read up on US school shootings. But no end of experience will help us stop such lone-wolf attacks, terror-inspired or not.

Analysis and Commentary

Strategika: Issue 33: The Strategic Ramifications Of A Fractured EU

by Andrew Roberts, Angelo M. Codevilla, Josef Joffevia Strategika
Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The latest issue of Strategika is now online.

Featured CommentaryFeatured

Brexit: How Much Contagion, How Many Strategic Consequences?

by Josef Joffevia Strategika
Friday, July 1, 2016

Will Britain’s departure from the EU set off a stampede, prompting other members to bolt? The probability ranges from “very low” to “nil.” Like Tolstoy’s oft-invoked unhappy family, every EU member is unhappy in his own way, but none will take the plunge. For one, everyone is feeling in his own body politic Britain’s buyer’s remorse on the day thereafter. The pound took the largest hit in more than thirty years.

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