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

World Affairs: The Secret World Of Kidnapping, Hostages And Ransom

with Markos Kounalakisvia Maine Pubic
Thursday, April 11, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Markos Kounalakis talks with Joel Simon, author of the new book We Want to Negotiate: The Secret World of Kidnapping, Hostages and Ransom, about the conflicts and consequences in negotiating with terrorists and paying ransom.

Interviews

Marko Kounalakis: World Affairs

interview with Markos Kounalakisvia Maine Public
Thursday, April 11, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Marko Kounalakis talks with Matthias Lüfkens, founder of Twiplomacy, and Charlie Warzel, op-ed journalist for The New York Times, concerning leadership and governance in 280 characters or less.

Trump Strikes Out In Rejecting Cuban Baseball Agreement | Opinion

by Markos Kounalakis
Thursday, April 11, 2019

Baseball is a colorful sport where bleacher bums spend entire games browbeating umps for making early-inning bad calls. President Trump has made a lot of bad calls during the past two years, but none is likely to incense the general public more than his decision to dump the Major League Baseball Cuban player agreement.

Analysis and Commentary

Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Could Be ‘Mar-A-Leako’ To Our Enemies

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, April 4, 2019

Friends and foes, foreign born and homegrown, regularly try to breach the tight security that surrounds an American president. No barrier is too big or technological hindrance too intimidating to stop concerted attempts to access the president and his data. While the risks of getting caught are huge, the rewards for success are immense.

Analysis and Commentary

Brexit Has Become A Royal Pain. Queen Elizabeth Needs To Step In And Take A Stand

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, March 28, 2019

Queen Elizabeth II may be the only person who can fix the Brexit mess. She has the power to wave her scepter and declare a solution. It’s a power that the royals have not exercised in years, but at 92 years old and with her nation riven, the Sovereign should step in and decide on the United Kingdom’s sovereignty.

Interviews

Marko Kounalakis On Bloomberg Daybreak (13:01)

interview with Markos Kounalakisvia Bloomberg
Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Marko Kounalakis discusses Brexit and notes everything is on the table. Kounalakis talks about what happens next, whether May's bet will payoff, and ultimately if there will be a soft Brexit. 

Milan Fashion Houses Are Hitting The Wrong Advertising Note

by Markos Kounalakis
Friday, March 22, 2019

Milan fashion houses are finding that their dramatic styles and remarkable statements are looking threadbare. A recent Gucci advertisement for a blackface tunic is only the latest entry in the insensitivity sweepstakes that designers are increasingly winning. Read more here: https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article228269354.html#storylink=cpy

Analysis and Commentary

There’s A Renaissance On The African Continent That The U.S. Can’T Afford To Dismiss | Opinion

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, March 14, 2019

Ethiopia is the latest nation where an international aviation accident is in sharp focus, but the country itself is treated merely as the hazy backdrop and tragic context for a larger geopolitical story. This one involves Boeing, China trade wars and the credibility of American regulatory institutions.

Analysis and Commentary

Markos Kounalakis: The End Of The Current World Order: Eroding Democracies And Rising Nationalism

interview with Markos Kounalakisvia World Affairs
Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Marko Kounalakis moderates a discussion that explores the rise of right-wing nationalism in Eastern Europe and the forces fueling the erosion of democracies worldwide. 

Featured

The Tension Is High In Venezuela’s Standoff, But No One Can Afford To Shoot First | Opinion

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, March 7, 2019

Venezuela’s Interim President Juan Guaidó and questionably-elected President Nicolás Maduro are gunning for each other, but with no intention to shoot. In Hollywood, this is called a “Mexican standoff.”

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