Charles A. Kupchan

Senior Fellow


Transatlantic relations; European politics and the European Union; NATO; Ukraine and Russia; Turkey; U.S. national security policy; U.S. grand strategy; the domestic sources of U.S. foreign policy; international security.


Pieter A. Fisher European Studies Roundtable


Dr. Kupchan is senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is also professor of international affairs in the Walsh School of Foreign Service and Department of Government at Georgetown University.

From 2014 to 2017 Kupchan served as special assistant to the president and senior director for European Affairs on the staff of the National Security Council (NSC) in the Obama administration. He was also director for European Affairs on the NSC during the first Clinton administration.  Before joining the Clinton NSC, he worked in the U.S. Department of State on the Policy Planning Staff.  Previously, he was assistant professor of politics at Princeton University.

He is the author of No One's World: The West, the Rising Rest, and the Coming Global Turn (2012), How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace (2010), The End of the American Era: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Geopolitics of the Twenty-first Century (2002), Power in Transition: The Peaceful Change of International Order (2001), Civic Engagement in the Atlantic Community (1999), Atlantic Security: Contending Visions (1998), Nationalism and Nationalities in the New Europe (1995), The Vulnerability of Empire (1994), The Persian Gulf and the West (1987), and numerous articles on international and strategic affairs.

Kupchan received a BA from Harvard University and MPhil and DPhil degrees from Oxford University. He has served as a visiting scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs, Columbia University's Institute for War and Peace Studies, the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, the Centre d'Étude et de Recherches Internationales in Paris, and the Institute for International Policy Studies in Tokyo. During 2006–2007, he was the Henry A. Kissinger scholar at the Library of Congress and was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. During 2013–2014, he was a senior fellow at the Transatlantic Academy. 


Featured Publications


The End of the American Era

Author: Charles A. Kupchan

At a time when American primacy appears to be stronger than ever, Council Fellow and Georgetown Professor Charles Kupchan argues that the end of Pax Americana is near. What will replace American supremacy, and how American leaders should prepare for this new era, are the central questions of this provocative new book.

See more in United States; Politics and Strategy

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Centrifugal Europe

Author: Charles A. Kupchan
Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

Charles A. Kupchan argues that unless the growing gap between governance and governed is resolved, the EU may be headed for fragmentation, if not outright dissolution.

See more in EU


The EU's 'Make or Break Moment'

Charles A. Kupchan interviewed by Bernard Gwertzman

The fate of the EU is in doubt as a crucial summit prepares to address the economic crisis. CFR's Charles Kupchan says the union will likely survive and could even grow stronger by creating more capable institutions to oversee the euro.

See more in Financial Crises


The Persian Gulf and the West: The Dilemma of Security

Author: Charles A. Kupchan

This volume provides a broadly comparative and historical re-examination of the fundamental strategic dilemmas that confront the Western world in the Persian Gulf region. This systematic study of how the West has defined and dealt with its security interests in this region reveals three central strategic dilemmas: strategy versus capability, globalism versus regionalism, and unilateralism versus collectivism. The first part of the book focuses  on US policy with particular emphasis on the Iranian Revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The author explains why there has been a persistent gap between American perceptions of the Middle East and the political and strategic realities of the region. The second part of the book examines the frustrated efforts of NATO members to form a cooperative response to their collective interests in the region.

See more in Middle East and North Africa; Politics and Strategy


Libya's Strains on NATO

Charles A. Kupchan interviewed by Bernard Gwertzman

France, Britain, and other NATO nations are now heading the Libya mission, but strains among members could be amplified if NATO tries to increase support for the rebels and the coalition still hasn't clarified its objectives, says CFR's Charles Kupchan.


See more in Libya; NATO


CFR Events

Meeting ⁄ Washington

A Conversation with Fabian Picardo, Chief Minister, Gibraltar

Speaker Fabian PicardoChief Minister, Gibraltar
Presider Charles A. KupchanWhitney Shepardson Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
October 7, 2013 12:00–12:30 p.m. - Lunch Reception
12:30–1:30 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

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Meeting ⁄ Washington, DC

Britain's Place in Europe

Speakers Charles A. KupchanWhitney Shepardson Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, Adam S. PosenPresident, Peterson Institute for International Economics; Member, Monetary Policy Committee, Bank of England (2009-2012)
Presider Michael MosettigWriter, PBS Online NewsHour
June 6, 2013 6:00–6:30 p.m. - Reception
6:30–7:30 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

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Building Lasting Peace Among Nations

Speaker Charles A. KupchanSenior Fellow for Europe Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace
Presider Irina A. FaskianosVice President, National Program & Outreach, Council on Foreign Relations
March 4, 2010

This meeting is on the record.



CFR Symposium on NATO at 60, Panel One: NATO in the International System

Speakers Charles A. KupchanCouncil on Foreign Relations, Stephen M. WaltHarvard University, Ole WaeverUniversity of Copenhagen
Moderator James M. GoldgeierCouncil on Foreign Relations
February 25, 2009 5:30–8:00 p.m.

This meeting is on the record.

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Meeting ⁄ Washington

Negotiating Iran from the European and Russian Perspectives

Speakers Charles A. KupchanSenior Fellow and Director for Europe Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Stephen SestanovichGeorge F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
Presider Ray TakeyhSenior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
May 25, 2006

This meeting is on the record.

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Video Interview

Charles Kupchan on PBS NewsHour

Charles Kupchan appears on PBS's NewsHour to discuss Russian activity in the Crimea and the U.S. and European responses.


Radio Interview

Charles Kupchan on Voice of America

Charles Kupchan joins Voice of America's Encounter to examine the significance and implications of French President Francois Hollande's state visit to Washington.