Peter Berkowitz

Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow
Awards and Honors:

Peter Berkowitz is the Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. In 2019-2021, he served as the Director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, executive secretary of the department's Commission on Unalienable Rights, and senior adviser to the Secretary of State. He is a 2017 winner of the Bradley Prize. At Hoover, he is a member of the Military History/Contemporary Conflict Working Group. In addition, he serves as director of studies for The Public Interest Fellowship.

He studies and writes about, among other things, constitutional government, conservatism and progressivism in the United States, liberal education, national security and law, and Middle East politics.

He is the author of Constitutional Conservatism: Liberty, Self-Government, and Political Moderation (Hoover Institution Press, 2013); Israel and the Struggle over the International Laws of War (Hoover Institution Press, 2012); Virtue and the Making of Modern Liberalism (Princeton University Press, 1999); and Nietzsche: The Ethics of an Immoralist (Harvard University Press, 1995).

He is the editor of seven collections of essays on political ideas and institutions published by the Hoover Institution: Renewing the American Constitutional Tradition (2014); Future Challenges in National Security and Law (2010); The Future of American Intelligence (2005); Terrorism, the Laws of War, and the Constitution: Debating the Enemy Combatant Cases (2005); Varieties of Conservatism in America (2004); Varieties of Progressivism in America (2004); and Never a Matter of Indifference: Sustaining Virtue in a Free Republic (2003).

He is a contributor at RealClearPolitics, and has written hundreds of articles,essays and reviews on a range of subjects for a variety of publications, including The American InterestAmerican Political Science ReviewThe AtlanticThe Chronicle of Higher EducationClaremont Review of BooksCommentaryFirst ThingsForbes.comHaaretzThe Jerusalem PostLondon Review of BooksNational JournalNational ReviewThe New CriterionThe New RepublicPolicy ReviewPoliticoThe Public InterestThe Times Literary SupplementThe Wall Street JournalThe Washington PostThe Weekly StandardThe Wilson Quarterly, and the Yale Law Journal.

In addition to teaching regularly in the United States and Israel, Dr. Berkowitz has led seminars on the principles of freedom and the American constitutional tradition for students from Burma at the George W. Bush Presidential Center and for Korean students at Underwood International College at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.

He taught constitutional law and jurisprudence at George Mason University School of Law from 1999 to 2006, and political philosophy in the department of government at Harvard University from 1990 to 1999.

He holds a JD and a PhD in political science from Yale University, an MA in philosophy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a BA in English literature from Swarthmore College.

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Recent Commentary


The China Challenge: Response And Restatement

by Peter Berkowitzvia American Purpose
Friday, April 8, 2022

From 2019 through 2021, I served as director of the U.S. Department of State Policy Planning Staff. Its then-members contributed to researching, drafting, and editing the report The Elements of the China Challenge. On behalf of the team, I thank the distinguished experts who wrote essays for this symposium; the editors of American Purpose, who organized it; and the Hoover Institution, which co-sponsored it.

Analysis and Commentary

Too Good To Be True: The Virtues And Vices Of Common-Good Constitutionalism

by Peter Berkowitzvia The Washington Free Beacon
Sunday, March 20, 2022

In 1785, James Madison argued in his "Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments" that the bill before the Virginia General Assembly to provide financial support "for teachers of the Christian religion" represented "a dangerous abuse of power."

Analysis and Commentary

Problems Abound But Liberal Democracy In Israel Perseveres

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, March 6, 2022

TEL AVIV—To the casual observer abroad, Israel may appear embattled. More than a few Israelis here share the perception. Particularly in the face of Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, however, it is crucial to maintain perspective. 


Natcons,’ Progressive Elites, And Illiberal Overreach

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Friday, February 18, 2022

In the “Discourses on Livy,” Machiavelli asks whether the nobles – these days we speak of the elites – or the people are better guardians of freedom. Acknowledging that “there is something to say on every side,” the cunning student of cunning sees threats to freedom emanating from both camps. Critics of the nationalist turn within American conservatism – and the national conservatives themselves – would do well to keep in mind Machiavelli’s supple assessment.

Policy BriefsFeatured

Peter Berkowitz Emphasizes The Value Of America’s Style Of Government

by Peter Berkowitzvia PolicyEd
Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Peter Berkowitz provides historical examples that emphasize how the American form of government has played a role in ensuring the rights and freedoms of all peoples.


Cotton Letter Lessons For The Biden Administration

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, February 6, 2022

To salvage the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – commonly referred to as the Iran deal – the Biden administration eased U.S. sanctions on Tehran, withdrew the Trump administration’s terrorist designation of the Iranian-backed Houthi insurgents in Yemen, and urged the Islamic Republic of Iran to resume talks over its nuclear program.

Pillars of Wisdom

by Peter Berkowitzvia Hoover Digest
Monday, January 31, 2022

Five points Americans should absorb from decades of unusually bitter politics.


The Debate Over 'Common-Good Conservatism'

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, January 16, 2022

In the face of progressives’ persistence in portraying contemporary conservatism as a mortal threat to American democracy, conservative intellectuals have launched the latest round in a learned and hard-hitting debate — as old as the post-World War II conservative movement — about the character of the conservative task.


Peter Berkowitz On The John Batchelor Show

interview with Peter Berkowitzvia The John Batchelor Show
Monday, January 10, 2022

Hoover Institution fellow Peter Berkowitz discusses his Real Clear Politics column "David Brooks' Requiem for Conservatism's Most Recent Death."


David Brooks' Requiem For Conservatism's Most Recent Death

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, January 2, 2022

Bolstered by Barack Obama’s historic 2008 presidential run, leading pundits — George Packer in The New Yorker, E.J. Dionne in the Washington Post, and Sam Tanenhaus in The New Republic — proclaimed the death of conservatism. Such announcements are back in fashion and no less suspect.