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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Interviews

Markos Kounalakis: US-China Relations: Reflections On A Gathering Storm

by Markos Kounalakisvia WorldAffairs
Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Marko Konalakis interviews David Lampton concerning how Beijing and Washington could diffuse the disruptive tensions of this growing rivalry.

Interviews

Markos Kounalakis: British Parliament Stalls Brexit Plan

interview with Markos Kounalakisvia CBS News
Saturday, October 19, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Markos Kounalakis discusses U.K. lawmakers voting to withhold approval of a full British withdrawal from the European Union, as well as whether this is a big setback for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Putin, Assad, Erdoğan And Khamenei — The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse 2.0 | Opinion

by Markos Kounalakis
Thursday, October 17, 2019

Texas tornadoes are potentially caused by the “flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil” according to the Butterfly Effect theory. Determining the ultimate cause and effects in weather is a tough call, however, given how many random physical factors ultimately come into play. But it’s fascinating to think that a distant and peacefully fluttering butterfly has so much potential power.

Interviews

Markos Kounalakis: Brexit Negotiations Go Down To The Wire

interview with Markos Kounalakisvia Yahoo News
Sunday, October 13, 2019

(4:17) Hoover Institution fellow Markos Kounalakis discusses the latest on negotiations concerning Brexit and notes that time is running out to negotiate a withdrawal agreement.

Analysis and Commentary

Trump Has Robust, Sensible Foreign Policy Goals. But He Doesn’t Have Any Follow-Through

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, October 3, 2019

Donald Trump’s successful 2016 road to the White House was paved with irreverent campaign rhetoric and a world of good intentions regarding American foreign policy. Like Barack Obama before him, he called the Iraq War a mistake and recognized China as a rising global competitor.

While The U.S. Snoozes, Putin And Xi Are Having A Bromance And Flexing Their Global Muscle | Opinion

by Markos Kounalakis
Thursday, September 26, 2019

America is looking inward, resembling a sullen, sometimes confused navel-gazing couch-potato. It’s tired of going outside and bored with the world.

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

Believe It Or Not, Democracy Will Live Or Die At The Shopping Mall

by Markos Kounalakisvia Miami Herald
Thursday, September 19, 2019

Globally, malls have become renewed public squares. They also are where a revived Chinese democracy movement is finding a home. Demonstrators, peacefully gathering , singing songs of freedom and waving Hong Kong flags, are defying Beijing by packing into places like the Amoy Plaza megamall.

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.

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