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

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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.

EssaysBlank Section (Placeholder)

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

by Josef Joffevia Hoover Institution Press
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.


Stop Worrying About Israel

by Josef Joffevia Tablet Magazine
Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Jewish State ‘has never been in a better strategic position than where it is today.'

Featured CommentaryAnalysis and Commentary

A Non-nuclear Germany: Today, Tomorrow, Forever

by Josef Joffevia Strategika
Friday, December 4, 2015

Those who used to worry endlessly about the “N + 1” problem—rampant proliferation—in the Sixties would be quite surprised some fifty years later. As the consensus of the strategic community had it at the time, there were some twenty countries with the industrial base capable of building nuclear weapons—and would do so in short order.

Featured AnalysisFeatured

How To Prevail: Do What The West Does Best And Turn Asymmetrical Warfare Against Terror International

by Josef Joffevia The Caravan
Friday, December 4, 2015

A word of comfort first: Terror, no matter how spectacular, cannot score strategic victories against the West. “Strategic failure” means ISIS cannot break a nation-state’s will, nor render it defenseless the way Hitler’s armies subjugated France and Poland in a matter of weeks.


The Man Who Saved Germany’s New Democracy

by Josef Joffevia Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Helmut Schmidt saw his country through terrorism and Soviet intimidation with its liberty intact.