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

John Bolton’s Baby Was Bombing Iran. Now What?

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Friday, September 13, 2019

Iran and America are entering an intense face-off phase now that the NSC’s John Bolton is no longer around to push for bombing Tehran.

Interviews

Markos Kounalakis With Larry Diamond: Saving American Democracy

with Larry Diamond, Markos Kounalakisvia World Affairs
Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Hoover Institution fellows Markos Kounalakis and Larry Diamond discuss Diamond's new book, Ill Winds: Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American ComplacencyDiamond argues that we are at a pivotal point where either a new era of tyranny or democratic renewal could be ushered in around the globe. This next era will depend on political reforms and political leadership from the United States and other free republics.

In the News

Spin Wars And Spy Games: Global Media And Intelligence Gathering

featuring Markos Kounalakisvia Commonwealth Club
Monday, September 9, 2019

As most long-standing news outlets have shuttered their foreign bureaus and print operations, the role of Global News Networks (GNNs) as information collectors and policy influencers has changed. Western GNNs are both untethered to government entities and able to produce accurate yet critical situational analyses. But due to the emergence of other GNNs owned or directed by national governments, the global news cycle has become thoroughly manipulatable.

Hong Kong Umbrella Revolution Collection, Box 2, Hoover Institution Archives
Analysis and Commentary

Hong Kong Protesters Teach China A Thing Or Two, But They Need Their Own History Lessons, Too

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, September 5, 2019

Pencils sharpened. Check. Lunches packed. Check. Yellow helmets and gas masks. Check.

Don’t Be Fooled By Kim’s Boyish Grin

by Markos Kounalakis
Thursday, August 29, 2019

Dog legs were first mistaken by the youthful American delegation to be a unique delicacy on the North Korean dinner menu. Pyongyang’s foreign minister, bemused, clarified for the 48 red-capped youths representing every state but New York and California that they were a recurring feature of the new Trump Wonsan Golf Paradise.

Analysis and Commentary

Wedding Bomb A Signal That Terrorists Will Rule In Afghanistan Once U.S. Troops Leave

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, August 22, 2019

Weddings on a summer eve remind us of the excitement of young romantic love. The bride’s smile, the groom’s unbounded enthusiasm. It’s all so lovely. Unless, of course, a wedding turns into a bloodbath, murdering nearly everyone in the party and reminding the world that ISIS kills not only people, but beauty and hope, too.

Interviews

Markos Kounalakis: Winners Take All: How Philanthropists Hoard Progress

interview with Markos Kounalakisvia WorldAffairs
Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Markos Kounalakis talks with Anand Giridharadas, author of the new book Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, about how philanthropists are preserving the very structures at the root of societal inequity.

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.

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