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...
His reading list focuses on how liberty is won, lost, and neglected. By Jonathan Rauch.
Parsing the State Department Policy Planning Staff’s New China Report with Peter Berkowitz.
Bill Hagerty and Peter Berkowitz discuss U.S. Foreign Policy Strategy in the Indo-Pacific on Wednesday, March 24 at 3:30 PM Eastern.
What happens when South Korean students take a close look at American democracy. By Peter Berkowitz.
The Arab struggles may be new, but American goals are not. Three recent presidents laid the groundwork. By Peter Berkowitz.
Peter Robinson and Stephen Kotkin discuss Trump’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, Kotkin’s thoughts on the Chinese leadership class and the advantages they may seek to exploit, and which country—China or the United States—will come to represent the more successful or compelling model to other nations.
Thirty-four years ago, on June 12, 1987, Ronald Reagan stood before the Berlin Wall to deliver an address. Just over two years later, on November 9, 1989, the East German government suddenly announced that it had decided to permit free passage between East and West Berlin—the Berlin Wall had ceased to function. To commemorate one of the seminal events of the 20th century, the Reagan Institute invited Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson to participate and record a panel discussion.
To succeed in the war on terror, Philip Bobbitt insists, the West needs an entirely new conceptual framework.
By Peter Robinson.
Building an Alliance of Democracies.
Hoover research fellow Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s new book is Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women’s Rights. It examines the sharp rise in the number of sexual assaults in Western Europe that coincides with the sharp rise in illegal immigration from Muslim-majority countries.
Analyzing the future of democracy with former prime ministers and presidents. Featuring Nick Clegg, Felipe Calderón, Toomas Henrik Ilves, and Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist, insists that we humans must face the truth about ourselves—no matter how good it might be. An interview with Peter Robinson.
Security in the Age of Liberal Democratic Erosion will focus on the critical security challenges facing liberal democracies and examine the threats of external adversaries and how democracies can respond.
The Hoover Institution held its annual Spring retreat on Wednesday, April 20, 2015. The conference offered presentations by Hoover fellows on a wide range of public policy issues, from U.S. history to foreign policy to the environmental and economic challenges of the future.
The Bush administration always insisted that encouraging democracy abroad was critical for international security. Europeans—surprise!—now agree. By Amichai Magen.
Hoover fellow Michael McFaul, who has the president’s ear on Russia, argues that promoting freedom is both moral and wise.
China has come to Africa. Can U.S. policy makers find ways to mesh, not clash, with Beijing’s interests? By Christopher C. Starling.
The Scheinman collection brings to life the story of how two friends, a white American and a black Kenyan, helped African democracy bloom. By Tom Shachtman.
For almost three decades the U.S. embargo of Cuba was part of America's cold war strategy against the Soviet bloc. It should have been lifted after that ‘‘war’’ ended since Castro ceased to threaten the United States and its neighbors and adopted the standard rules of international behavior. But inertia, a powerful Cuban American lobby, and misguided politicians set new demands: democracy, improved human rights, and economic reform. When Castro demurred we tightened the sanctions in 1992 and again in 1996 with the Helms-Burton Law. The United States has never committed the resources necessary to overthrow Castro, however, and the pressures we have applied have utterly failed to advance the three objectives. Worse yet, in the post–cold war world the policy and political outlook that sustain it have become a strategic liability. They promote conflict, both within Cuba—where a crisis might draw in the U.S. military—and abroad, as occurred in 1999–2000 after the arrival in Florida of the rafter boy, Elián González. They allow pressure groups to stand in the way of the policy-making process of the U.S. government. For example, the lobby manipulated wishy-washy politicians in 1998–1999 and got the president to turn down a widely supported proposal for a bipartisan commission to conduct the first comprehensive evaluation of the policy in four decades. Finally, the imperialistic Helms-Burton Law alienates allies worldwide and will poison relations between the United States and Cuba for decades to come. Castro will benefit no matter what we do, but on balance he gains more if we maintain the sanctions because they provide a scapegoat for his own repression and economic failures even as they enable him to maintain his cherished global image as the ‘‘scourge of U.S. imperialism.’’ Castro can wage a worldwide campaign against the embargo to bolster his image knowing Washington is too inflexible to change it. Indeed, whenever Washington has lightened up, Castro has tightened up and effectively prevented further improvement. Lifting sanctions need not mean establishing friendly relations with Castro—which he would reject in any event—or supporting his efforts to get international aid without meeting standard requirements. The ultimate responsibility for maintaining this antiquated and potentially dangerous policy falls on politicians who either do not understand the need for, or for political reasons are afraid to support, a new policy to benefit both Americans and Cubans in the post–cold war world.