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

In the News

US Scholar Claims MLB All-Star Game Could Save Taiwan

mentioning Markos Kounalakisvia Taiwan News
Friday, April 16, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow says Taiwan game would raise awareness of Chinese threats against country.

Analysis and Commentary

MLB's All-Star Game Can Save Taiwan

by Markos Kounalakisvia The Hill
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Major League Baseball just missed a great opportunity to seed new markets, build its brand and address growing anti-Asian sentiment in the United States. Instead of moving its all-star game from Georgia to Colorado, it should have taken this summer’s game farther afield to a surprising new venue: Taiwan.
Analysis and Commentary

Freedom Media

by Markos Kounalakisvia Editor and Publisher
Thursday, April 1, 2021

(Page 28) New project will address challenges in open media ecosystem. 

Analysis and Commentary

Our Freedoms Come At A Cost, One That Americans Still Are Willing To Pay

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, November 5, 2020

Elections are really complex accounting practices. It’s not just a final vote count that is fraught and difficult. Citizens going to the polls must consciously make multiple personal calculations: Will taxes rise? How much should individuals pay for healthcare? Must we spend heavily on defense?

“A Christmas Carol” — Courtesy of the Chinese Navy

by Markos Kounalakisvia Washington Monthly
Tuesday, November 3, 2020

The ghost of Christmas future may see Beijing reach across the Taiwan strait to “reunite” the country and find a motherlode of microprocessors.

Where In The World Would Trump Go If He Lost And Left The Country? He’s Got Options | Opinion

by Markos Kounalakis
Thursday, October 29, 2020
Losing an election can be tough. President Trump has publicly mused that being defeated could be so devastating it could cause him to leave the country.

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.