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

Analysis and Commentary

The US Could Learn From How Eastern Europe Treats Its Soviet Oppressors’ Statues

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Friday, June 26, 2020

Statues and monuments — from Columbus to Confederates, presidents to priests — are heatedly being removed, defaced or destroyed. Police actions and popular protests have rekindled debates over American history that can be informed by how other countries have managed their tortured pasts and controversial memorials.

Analysis and Commentary

China’s Prying Eyes May Shut Down U.S. Universities’ Academic Freedoms | Opinion

by Markos Kounalakis
Thursday, June 18, 2020

During the height of the 1950s Red Scare, when there were Communists under every bed and spies in every closet, America saw threats to its national security everywhere. Justifiably, there were purges of those who really sought to sneak state secrets to the Soviets. War plans and bomb-making schematics were the most important of those confidential documents. Accusations abounded; not everyone was guilty. Fast forward to 2020, and the new Red Scare is Beijing, not Moscow. The fear is that China’s long reach is not only touching but grabbing some of America’s dominant industries, institutions, plans and, of course, people. Scientists and researchers are in the crosshairs. Dr. Charles M. Lieber, the Harvard professor who recently was arrested by U.S. officials for allegedly sending research to China — and lying about it to American authorities — pleaded not guilty on Tuesday.

Analysis and Commentary

Is It Really Still An Open Question Who Killed Sweden’s Prime Minister Olof Palme?

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Friday, June 12, 2020
One of the world’s most mysterious murders ultimately remains a cold — and now closed — case. In 1986, Sweden’s Prime Minister Olof Palme was gunned down on a busy downtown Stockholm street. Investigators just named the only suspect, a guy who committed suicide in 2000. For skeptics and conspiracy theorists, the mystery of who killed Palme lives.
Analysis and Commentary

America’s Greatest Strength Puts Its Weaknesses On Display Around The World

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, June 4, 2020

In 2001, New York and Washington, D.C., were attacked, and the world responded by saying, “We are all Americans.” The greatest ever military coalition formed to come to America’s defense. Nations — including Cuba, Iran, Libya, and North Korea — condemned the terrorist attacks. Countries rallied to express sympathy and send material support. That was then.


Markos Kounalakis On The John Batchelor Show

interview with Markos Kounalakisvia The John Batchelor Show
Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Markos Kounalakis discusses his Miami Herald article "In fight for Libya, Russia and Turkey keep a 19th-century war on the front burner."

Analysis and Commentary

In Fight For Libya, Russia And Turkey Keep A 19th-Century War On The Front Burner

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, May 28, 2020

Russia and Turkey just escalated their two-front war over which country will be the big dog in the Middle East. The two rivals have been at this game for a couple of centuries, but it just got a lot more serious this week when Russia introduced jet fighters into the Libyan civil war.


Markos Kounalakis: Reimagining Capitalism In A World On Fire

interview with Markos Kounalakisvia WorldAffairs
Monday, May 25, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Marko Kounalakis discuss,es with Harvard Business School professor Rebecca Henderson, how to reimagine capitalism in a way that aligns with our moral and ethical values.

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Let’s Get To The Meat Of The Matter — After COVID-19, We Have To Change The Way We Eat | Opinion

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, May 14, 2020

COVID-19 has changed everything, highlighting one of the meatier issues during this crisis: the politics of beef production and export. From ranches to feedlots, slaughterhouses to global markets, beef is now one of the most important products under threat in a high-stakes international food-supply game.

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If It’s Not One Thing, Then It’s A Swarm Of Murder Hornets

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, May 7, 2020

Just when you thought it was safe to go outdoors again — with face coverings, of course — news of a lethal, stinging insect could scare people back inside. The Asian giant hornet has just shown up in our beehives and on our doorsteps.

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A COVID-19 Pause On Mass Protests Won’t Shield Inept Or Authoritarian Leaders Forever

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Friday, May 1, 2020

Teenagers around the country have a very specific plan for what they will do when they are released from COVID confinement: party!