Markos Kounalakis

Visiting Fellow
Biography: 

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

Analysis and Commentary

That Little Fishing Boat Might Just Be A Weapon Of War

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, August 1, 2019

Deep-sea fishing charters are a staple of most American coastal marinas — from Miami to the San Francisco Bay. Boats loaded with fuel and fun rock their way out on gentle waves to open waters and ocean sunsets. Summer freedom at its finest.

Interviews

Markos Kounalakis: 'What Comes Next? How The World's Most Violent Places Recover'

interview with Markos Kounalakisvia World Affairs
Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Markos Kounalakis talks about how violent and weak states transform into stable ones.

Economics + Politics + A Dash Of Presidential Ego = Potential Disaster | Opinion

by Markos Kounalakis
Thursday, July 18, 2019

Twenty-first century voodoo economic theories pushed worldwide by populist politicians are speeding the world to the edge of a global downturn. One by one, democratically elected leaders are taking down their smart economists and promoting their own questionable — and politically motivated — ideas about interest rates and banking practices.

Analysis and Commentary

As The British Envoy Just Learned, Loose Lips Sink Diplomats

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, July 11, 2019

If the truth can set you free, then the British ambassador to Washington is now free as a bird. Unfortunately for him, he will no longer be soaring over America’s capital or hovering anywhere near the White House. In fact, the president made sure this British goose got cooked.

Analysis and Commentary

In A World Of Populist Tyrants, This Still Was A Good Week For Democracy

by Markos Kounalakis quoting Larry Diamondvia Miami Herald
Thursday, June 27, 2019

Democracy goes through ups and downs, even experiencing recessions like the stock market.

Analysis and Commentary

Understanding The Leadership Of Kim Jong Un

interview with Markos Kounalakisvia World Affairs
Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Markos Kounalakis talks with Anna Fifield, Beijing, bureau chief for the Washington Post and author of The Great Successor: The Divinely Perfect Destiny of Brilliant Comrade Jong Un, about how a better understanding of North Korea’s leader might lead to improved relations with the closed-off nation.

Analysis and Commentary

Political Power And Electrical Power Are Inextricably Linked. Ask Arnold Schwarzenegger

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, June 20, 2019

Earlier this millennium, a series of power brownouts and blackouts in California led to the recall of a sitting governor and a special election for his replacement: Arnold Schwarzenegger. Argentina’s leadership is running for reelection this October, and if it can’t keep the lights on, it may not be welcomed back to power.

Analysis and Commentary

Candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg Gets Foreign Policy

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Saturday, June 15, 2019

Mayor Pete is a breath of fresh air in a crowded field of candidates struggling for oxygen. His youth and wholesome demeanor present a clear contrast to today’s Oval Office occupant, while his military service gives him defense and national security credibility. Overall, the South Bend mayor feels comfortable and looks relaxed talking about foreign affairs and the future.

Analysis and Commentary

Americans Are Real Victims Of Our Trade War With Mexico And China

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Friday, June 7, 2019

America has declared war on China and Mexico, but it is a new style of warfare. Or at least it seems so. With the latest volley of levied and threatened tariffs on Chinese and Mexican exports, POTUS has thrust the U.S. into a new phase of economic warfare against both competitors and friends.

Analysis and Commentary

The Europeans Have A Different, Darker Green New Deal | Opinion

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, May 30, 2019
Continental elections last weekend gave anti-nuclear Green Parties a huge boost, installing the Greens into a European Parliament kingmaker role. As a result, the rest of Europe is likely to follow the lead of Germany’s environmental party and movement, turning further against civilian nuclear energy and, especially, against coal-fired plants.

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