Markos Kounalakis

Visiting Fellow

Markos Kounalakis, Ph.D. is a Visiting Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a Senior Fellow at the Center on Media, Data, and Society at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.

He is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated foreign affairs columnist, author, and scholar. Wars and revolutions are where he cut his teeth as a foreign correspondent.

His columns appear weekly in the McClatchy chain of 30 newspapers from Sacramento, California to Miami, Florida. His work is in global syndication and read worldwide from South Korea to the Middle Eastern Gulf states. In 2018, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists recognized “Kounalakis’s world affairs columns not only offer strong prose and strong opinions, they offer an education.”

Newsweek and NBC-Mutual News posted him as a foreign correspondent in news bureaus in Italy, Austria, Czechoslovakia and the USSR. Both in superpower capitals and regional outposts, Kounalakis covered dramatic political and military developments at the end of the 20th century – from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the street protests in Budapest, the Velvet Revolution in Prague, revolutionary movements in Bulgaria, and the violent overthrow of the Romanian regime. He was present at the Warsaw Pact meeting where the organization was dissolved. He covered the early phases of Yugoslavia’s civil war and went to Afghanistan with the Soviets to cover the last stages of their military occupation and rise of the Mujahedin.

Dr. Kounalakis later became the president and publisher of the Washington Monthly magazine and host of the POTUS ’08 satellite-distributed program “Washington Monthly on the Radio.” Earlier in his journalism career he co-produced and co-hosted the weekly syndicated radio program, “Spotlight on World Affairs.” He is currently a co-host of the public broadcasting “World Affairs” program. He frequently appears on television as a foreign affairs analyst.

Books he has authored are wide-ranging – from the Silicon Valley’s global technological revolution to America’s geopolitical struggles with China and Russia. His latest book, “Spin Wars & Spy Games: Global Media and Intelligence Gathering”, was published by the Hoover Institution Press in 2018.

Dr. Kounalakis earned his Political Science Ph.D. summa cum laude in the International Relations subfield from Central European University, MSc at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and his Political Science BSc at the University of California, Berkeley. As an International Journalism Fellow at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School, he studied and researched in Guatemala and Cuba and at El Colegio de México in Mexico City. He was a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow in Europe, studying at both the Bundesakademie für öffentliche Verwaltung in Bonn, Germany, and the École Nationale d'Administration in Paris.  

In 2017, President Barack Obama appointed Dr. Kounalakis to the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Dr. Kounalakis is married to Eleni Kounalakis, the former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary and current Lt. Governor of the State of California, making him California’s “Second Partner.” The family has two teenaged boys anagrammatically named Neo and Eon.

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Recent Commentary

Kamala Harris’ Cultural Background Will Make Her A Player On The Global Stage | Opinion

by Markos Kounalakis
Thursday, October 22, 2020
California is waiting to be welcomed back into the national conversation after four years of disrespect and neglect from the White House. In a Joe Biden-Kamala Harris administration, not only will California’s favorite daughter bridge the widened — and widening — federal-state divide, she will team with a President Biden to rebuild America’s powerful role in the world.
Analysis and Commentary

The ‘Quad’ Nations, Including The U.S., Play A High-stakes Game With China

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Friday, October 9, 2020

Cricket or baseball? Can these two bat-and-ball sports, and the nations that support them, find a common language and work toward common goals — not just in sport, but in loose alliance? Four countries that are big into cricket and baseball are also working together trying to keep the world safe for democracy.


Markos Kounalakis: The New Silk Road – China's Challenge For Global Leadership

interview with Markos Kounalakisvia World Affairs
Friday, October 2, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Markos Kounalakis discusses the new Silk Road and China's challenge for global leadership.

Candidates Can’t Forget That International Tensions Come To Roost In The U.S., Too | Opinion

by Markos Kounalakis
Thursday, October 1, 2020

The presidential debate Tuesday devolved into a political food fight, where assaulting speech became a verbal pie in the public’s face. Lost in the noise was any calm substance or serious questions about foreign policy.

Markos Kounalakis: The Future Of US Global Leadership

interview with Markos Kounalakis
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Marko Kounalakis discusses the future of global leadership.

Analysis and Commentary

Trump Scapegoats China, But Banks And Businesses Operating There Are The Real Thieves

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Friday, September 25, 2020
China was America’s whipping boy again this week. President Donald Trump used his United Nations General Assembly speech to accuse and to threaten Beijing for its role in covering up the early stages of the pandemic. He said that the U.N. “must hold China accountable for their actions.”
Blank Section (Placeholder)PoliticsAnalysis and Commentary

Area 45: Foreign To This Election

interview with Markos Kounalakisvia Area 45
Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Markos Kounalakis discusses unrest in Egypt and Iran – and offers a few foreign policy questions in advance of next week’s presidential debate.

Analysis and Commentary

In Iran And Egypt, The Pursuit Of Happiness Is Almost Criminal

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Friday, September 18, 2020

John Lewis was recently laid to rest and as his coffin was being walked out of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, everyone in the pews was asked to dance to Lewis’s favorite Pharrell Williams song, “Happy.” Solemnity mixed with sheer joy that day to span the spectrum of Lewis’s life — from struggle to song. Congressman Lewis loved this song and it showed. 


Markos Kounalakis On The John Batchelor Show

interview with Markos Kounalakisvia The John Batchelor Show
Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Markos Kounalakis discusses his Miami Heraldarticle "Why is America shielding foreign terrorists from the death penalty?"

Why Is America Shielding Foreign Terrorists From The Death Penalty?

by Markos Kounalakis
Thursday, September 10, 2020

In July, the U.S. attorney general directed his Department of Justice to resume the death penalty. Since his directive this summer, he’s used lethal injection to kill five federal Death Row inmates.