Markos Kounalakis

Visiting Fellow
Biography: 

Markos Kounalakis, Ph.D. is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Center for Media, Data and Society at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. He is a presidentially appointed member of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

He is president and publisher emeritus of the Washington Monthly and writes a foreign affairs column for the The Sacramento Bee and McClatchy-Tribune News.  He is currently writing a book on the geopolitics of global news networks.

A political scientist in the international relations subfield, Dr. Kounalakis has developed an interdisciplinary specialization in global media effects on foreign policy.  His research bridges theories of communications, soft power, neoclassical realism and rising powers. He earned his BA with honors from the University of California, Berkeley (1978, Political Science), MSc at Columbia University (1988, Journalism), and his Ph.D., Summa Cum Laude, at Central European University (2016, Political Science/International Relations).

Dr. Kounalakis was a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow in Europe (1988-89), studying at both the Bundesakademie für öffentliche Verwaltung in Bonn, Germany, and the École Nationale d'Administration in Paris (1989). As an international journalism graduate fellow at the University of Southern California (1995-96), he spent time at El Colegio de Mexico in Mexico City (1996), Guatemala (1995), and Cuba (1996), and was awarded a Master’s level international journalism certificate.  A frequent Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution (2003-2009), he returned to work as a Visiting Fellow in 2013.

Professionally, Kounalakis is a veteran print and network broadcast journalist and author who covers wars and revolutions, both civil and technological. 

In the 1980s & 1990s, he reported the overthrow of communism for Newsweek in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria and the outbreak of ethnic strife and war in Yugoslavia. He was based in Rome, Vienna and ran the magazine’s Prague bureau.

After Newsweek, he worked in the U.S.S.R. as the NBC Radio and Mutual News Moscow correspondent covering the fall of the Soviet Union as well as the war in Afghanistan. Kounalakis has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, the International Herald-Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Dallas Morning NewsThe Miami Herald, and many other regional and international newspapers and magazines. 

He has written three books, Defying Gravity: The Making of Newton (Beyond Words Publishing, 1993), Beyond Spin: The Power of Strategic Corporate Journalism (coauthor, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1999), and Hope is a Tattered Flag: Voices of Reason and Change for the Post-Bush Era (PoliPointPress, 2008).  Reflections 1989-1992 (Ernst Galeria Press, 2012)

Dr. Kounalakis serves on the Board of Councilors at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism; and the Board of Advisors at USC’s Center on Public Diplomacy (CPD).  He is a former member of the Board of Advisors at Georgetown College; a former member of the Wilson Council at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (WWICS); a former member of the Board of Directors at the Center for National Policy (CNP); and former vice chairman of the Board of Advisers for the Southeast Europe Project at WWICS.

He served as chairman of Internews Network (2002-4); vice chairman of the California State World Trade Commission (2001-3); member of the Board of Trustees of the Western Policy Center (2001-5); member of the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of the World Affairs Council of Northern California (2006-8); and member of the National Governing Board of Common Cause (2006-8). In June 2003, he chaired a multinational reconstruction conference in Athens, Greece, at which Iraq’s media laws were drafted.

Dr. Kounalakis is married to Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis, the lovely and talented mother of his two sons, Neo and Eon, and the former US ambassador to the Republic of Hungary. 

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Recent Commentary

Under Trump’s “Sovereignty Doctrine,” Foreign Tyrants Have Nothing To Worry About

by Markos Kounalakis
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Jamal Khashoggi’s horrific murder was a message to journalists, dissidents and regime critics everywhere. You are never safe. Anywhere, anytime.

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The Mayor of Tech Territory

by Markos Kounalakisvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 29, 2018

Cyberspace is often compared to the Wild West—but eventually the West was won and the frontier tamed. It’s time for our virtual villages to get civilized.

Analysis and Commentary

The Impatience Of China’s Xi Jinping, China

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Friday, October 26, 2018
China is a methodical nation that cautiously plays the long game. That’s the story China likes to tell about itself and the one it would like the world to believe. Unfortunately for China, that once-credible narrative is now a full-blown myth.
Analysis and Commentary

Italy’s Impudence Will Take Down The Global Economy

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, October 18, 2018
Wall Street is preparing for the next global recession. Reliable Saudi oil supplies are threatened, China’s domestic economy is ripe for a reckoning and American tariff wars are cranking up. The last thing the global economic system needs right now is a petulant, provocative, debt-ridden and budget-busting Italy.

Haley Leaves The Stage As America Prepares To Assert A Harsher Global Vision

by Markos Kounalakis
Thursday, October 11, 2018

Nikki Haley is getting out just in time. With Venezuela on the brink of collapse and renewed Iran sanctions kicking in on Nov. 5, Haley will be on her way out the U.N. door as the world comes knocking on it to call for greater American accountability and support.

Analysis and Commentary

In Cold War 2.0 Between The US And China, Put Your Money On Beyoncé

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, October 4, 2018

Beyoncé and Jay Z are proving that America has the diversity and creativity to survive the new China challenge. The musical duo inspires a new generation, shows America’s cultural strength, resilience and power — and just may help lead the world out of the new Cold War.

Analysis and Commentary

Iran And United States Play A High-Stakes Game Of Chicken

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, September 27, 2018

Iran and America entered a new and intense phase of word-slinging and trash-talking this week. Wars of words can sometimes lead to shooting wars or they can raise the stakes so high that negotiations become necessary to skirt conflict. Which will it be with Iran? Future talks or terror?

Analysis and Commentary

Chinese Agents Posed As Journalists In US. And The US Just Did Something About It

by Markos Kounalakisvia McClatchy DC
Friday, September 21, 2018

China’s television network and news wire service have long worked as intelligence gathering operations around the world and in the United States. The American government just did something about it.

Analysis and Commentary

North And South Korea Take America For A Ride

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Friday, September 14, 2018
Typhoon Soulik recently raced towards the Korean Peninsula, but neither Seoul nor Pyongyang are letting the weather — or America — get in the way of a budding Korean romance.
Analysis and Commentary

Our Troops Are Dying For A Lost Cause. We’ve Got To Get Out Of Afghanistan.

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, September 6, 2018

Twenty-seven years ago, I was in Afghanistan to watch the Russians cut and run from a military quagmire and failed occupation that helped bring down the Soviet Union. In 2018, America is ready to walk away from a similarly failed military adventure. As Lt. Col. John W. Nicholson Jr., the exiting American and NATO forces’ commander in Afghanistan put it: “It is time for this war in Afghanistan to end.”

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