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


The Backlash That Became Brexit

by Josef Joffevia Wall Street Journal
Monday, June 27, 2016

Tired of being ignored in favor of liberal grievances, the middle clings to the one thing that keeps them relevant: their vote.

Analysis and Commentary

‘The Secret War,’ By Max Hastings

by Josef Joffevia The New York Times
Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Spying is the second-oldest profession, at least according to the Bible. In the Book of Numbers, Moses sends off a dozen sleuths to case out Canaan: “See what the land is like and whether the people there are strong or weak, few or many. Do their cities have walls around them?” Yet for the next 3,500 years or so, the intel business did not grow much.

Analysis and Commentary

The New American Isolationism Will Outlive Barack Obama

by Josef Joffevia Tablet Magazine
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

With Trump, Clinton, Sanders, or Cruz, the United States is likely to consolidate a risky retreat from the global stage.

Analysis and Commentary

Assessing Obama's Presidency: Two Views

by Jörg Lau, Josef Joffevia Handelsblatt Global Edition
Friday, April 22, 2016

[Registration Required] As Barack Obama nears the end of his stint as U.S. president, it’s time to evaluate his foreign policies. A pair of writers from German weekly newspaper Die Zeit answer this question: Did Mr. Obama improve the world?

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Rocketing the Casbah

by Josef Joffevia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 18, 2016

In proclaiming a state, ISIS surrendered a strategic advantage, giving its bombs a return address.

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A Single British Soldier: On Extended Deterrence and Security Guarantees for America's Allies

by Josef Joffevia Analysis
Thursday, March 24, 2016

Reliable guarantees do not come on paper, as the protector can always opt out. The most effective pledge in history, by the United States to Cold War Europe, did not rest on the NATO treaty, which contains no automatic obligation. The real commitment was embodied in 300,000 US troops plus their nuclear weapons on the firing line. These kept the peace because they spelled out to the Soviet Union that an attack on the allies was an attack on America itself. This lesson holds for the future, as well. The guarantor must tie his hands, and he does so with maximal credibility by putting his own forces in harm’s way.


Obama Is Not A Realist

by Josef Joffevia The Atlantic
Thursday, March 10, 2016

He’s an isolationist with drones and special-operations forces.


Merkel’s Migration Plan Will Turn Greece Into A Huge Campsite

by Josef Joffevia The Guardian
Monday, March 7, 2016

The German chancellor can save her open-door policy, but she’ll have to spend billions on a pay-off.

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Analysis and Commentary

David Cameron’s Gamble Is Paying Off

by Josef Joffevia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The prime minister knows the European Union can’t afford to lose Britain.

Analysis and Commentary

Germany’s Road To ‘No We Can’t’ On Migrants

by Josef Joffevia Wall Street Journal
Monday, January 18, 2016

Germans are quickly realizing they can’t easily integrate the new arrivals they have, let alone the millions more on the way.