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

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.
Interviews

Markos Kounalakis: Trump And Abe Discuss North Korea, Trade And Iran During Japan Visit

interview with Markos Kounalakisvia CBS News
Monday, May 27, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Markos Kounalakis discusses President Trump's visit to Japan where President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talked about North Korea. President Trump said he isn't bothered by North Korea's latest missile tests.

Analysis and Commentary

Trump Has Traded American Values, Interests And Dignity For The False Promise Of Putin’s Friendship

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, May 23, 2019

Donald Trump is likely to go down as the president who lost Russia. Not for lack of trying to make good with Moscow. In fact, it is because he has tried so hard to make it right and to pursue a personal and respectful relationship with Vladimir Putin that his ability to make any meaningful deals with Russia is doomed.

Analysis and Commentary

If We Go To War With Iran, Blame President Jimmy Carter

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, May 16, 2019

immy Carter may be the one to blame if President Trump goes to war with Iran, thanks to his handed-down Carter Doctrine. The 94-year old ex-president is recovering from a turkey shoot hip injury, but while he was in the White House refusing to pardon Thanksgiving turkeys, he changed the course of America’s Iran policy.

Analysis and Commentary

In Ukraine, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Voting Booth . . .

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, May 9, 2019

A funny thing happened on the way to the polling booth in Ukraine. Citizens chose a comedian to be their next president. No joke.

Analysis and Commentary

Venezuelans Will Have To Fight For Their Democracy. Trump Can’t, And Won’t, Do It For Them

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, May 2, 2019

American presidents — and all political leaders — inevitably face trade-offs between conflicting priorities. In Venezuela, President Trump is stuck between a policy rock and a preference hard place, caught between a democratic and humanitarian demand to side with the Venezuelan people and the tough reality that there is very little he can — or really wants — to do.

Interviews

Markos Kounalakis: Will Guaido's Uprising Save Venezuela?

interview with Markos Kounalakisvia CBS
Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Marko Kounalakis discusses the influence of the Russians in Venezuela and whether the uprising and Juan Guaido can save Venezuela.

Analysis and Commentary

The Death Penalty? Kill It Off, Around The World

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, April 18, 2019

Newspaper columnist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing is the latest high-profile example of a sovereign meting out extreme justice and capital punishment. CIA analysts concluded that Khashoggi was brutally killed last October inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey. And, shockingly, it was legal.

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