Stephen D. Krasner

Senior Fellow, Emeritus
Research Team: 
Awards and Honors:
American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Stephen Krasner is an emeritus senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

He was also a member of the political science department at Stanford University, where he held the Graham H. Stuart Chair in International Relations and was a senior fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute. From 2005 to 2007 he served under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as the director of policy planning at the State Department where he worked on foreign assistance reform and other projects. Krasner also spent a year in Washington at the beginning of the Bush administration, first on policy planning at the State Department and then with Rice at the National Security Council. He helped formulate the Millennium Challenge Account, a new approach to development assistance that ties increased aid to improving governance, such as curbing corruption.

At Stanford, Krasner has served as deputy director of the Freeman Spogli Institute and as director of the institute’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law. In 2003 and 2004 he served as a member of the board of the United States Institute of Peace.

He came to Stanford in 1981 from Harvard University and the University of California, Los Angeles. At Stanford, he was chairman of the political-science department from 1984 to 1991. He is widely known in academic circles for his work on international political economy and sovereignty.

His major publications include Defending the National Interest: Raw Materials Investment and American Foreign Policy (1978), Structural Conflict: The Third World against Global Liberalism (1985), and Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy (1999). Publications he has edited include International Regimes (1983), Exploration and Contestation in the Study of World Politics (co-editor, 1999), and Problematic Sovereignty: Contested Rules and Political Possibilities (2001). He received a B.A. degree in history from Cornell University, an M.A. degree in international affairs from Columbia University and a Ph.D. degree in political science from Harvard. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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Recent Commentary

“Good Enough” Governance

by Stephen D. Krasnervia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 20, 2015

In both wars and nation building, America has sacrificed the good to pursue the perfect. We need to temper our ambitions.

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Failed States And American National Security

by Stephen D. Krasnervia Defining Ideas
Thursday, April 16, 2015

Governments are responsible for policing their own territory.

Analysis and Commentary

Our mistake: Thinking That All Countries Should Be Structured Like U.S.

by Stephen D. Krasnervia Los Angeles Times
Thursday, January 8, 2015

The United States has the most potent military in terms of firepower and operational capacity in history. Our military overthrew Saddam Hussein and crushed the Taliban in a matter of weeks. Our forces can direct a rocket from Nevada through a window in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and nimbly set up nearly 20 Ebola treatment centers in Liberia.

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Transnational Terrorism

by Stephen D. Krasnervia Analysis
Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Given the low probability of a mass casualty terrorist attack and the lack of new attacks since 9/11, the U.S. is probably devoting too many resources to fighting terrorism. However, no political leader could endorse this conclusion, so the challenge of counterterrorism policy is channeling the political will terrorism engenders effectively.

Analysis and Commentary

Well-governed Failed States? Not an Oxymoron!

by Stephen D. Krasner, Thomas Rissevia Washington Post
Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The rise of yet another transnational terrorist organization – the Islamic State – has once again put failing and failed states into the limelight. We usually connect failed states with utter governance breakdown.

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China Ascendant?

by Stephen D. Krasnervia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Will the country’s rise disrupt the international order the way Germany’s did in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? 

Beijing, China
Analysis and Commentary

The Foreign Policy Essay: Domestic Politics and Foreign Policy—Better Than It Looks

by Stephen D. Krasnervia Lawfare
Monday, February 24, 2014

Editor’s Note: As the United States confronts a range of challenges in the coming decades, pundits and policymakers alike fret that partisan polarization, growing isolationism among the American people, and political institutions that are not up to the tas

Global Puzzle Pieces
Second Term ChallengesAnalysis and Commentary

Contracting Out: Sovereignty and Security

by Stephen D. Krasnervia The Briefing
Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Threats to American national security come from three sources: major powers, malevolent states, and weak or failed states.   There is, obviously, nothing new about tension with another major power, with the most obvious current challenge coming from China.

Cloud of inner Mongolia
Analysis and Commentary

Mongolia's Next Challenge

by Stephen D. Krasnervia Wall Street Journal Asia
Monday, September 24, 2012

American commentators have the unfortunate tendency to view democratizing countries, even those emerging from decades of repression and dictatorship, through an idealized lens that would leave even the United States out of focus. Mongolia is a case in point.


Protest against Bashar al-Assad
Analysis and Commentary

How to bring Bashar Assad to the table

by Stephen D. Krasner, David F. Gordonvia Politico
Wednesday, May 30, 2012

[The] choice between diplomacy and military measures is a false one...Effective economic coercion offers the best opportunity to quickly cow the Assad regime...