Robert D. Blackwill

Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy

About the Expert

Expert Bio

Robert Blackwill is Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). His current work focuses on U.S. foreign policy writ large as well as on China, Russia, the Middle East, South Asia, and geoeconomics. Blackwill served as counselor to CFR in 2005. Most recently, he was senior fellow at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, from 2008 to 2010, after serving from 2004 to 2008 as president of BGR International. As deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for strategic planning under President George W. Bush, Blackwill was responsible for government-wide policy planning to help develop and coordinate the mid- and long-term direction of U.S. foreign policy. He also served as presidential envoy to Iraq and was the administration’s coordinator for U.S. policies regarding Afghanistan and Iran. Blackwill went to the National Security Council (NSC) after serving as the U.S. ambassador to India from 2001 to 2003. He is the recipient of the 2007 Bridge-Builder Award for his role in transforming U.S.-India relations, and the 2016 Padma Bhushan Award from the government of India for distinguished service of a high order.

Prior to reentering government in 2001, Blackwill was the Belfer lecturer in international security at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. During his fourteen years as a Harvard faculty member, he was associate dean of the Kennedy School, where he taught foreign and defense policy and public policy analysis. He was faculty chair for executive training programs for business and government leaders from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Palestinian Authority, Israel, and Kazakhstan, as well as military general officers from Russia and the People's Republic of China. From 1989 to 1990, he was special assistant to President George H.W. Bush for European and Soviet affairs, during which he was awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit by the Federal Republic of Germany for his contribution to German unification. Earlier in his career, he was the U.S. ambassador to conventional arms negotiations with the Warsaw Pact, director for European affairs at the NSC, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, and principal deputy assistant secretary of state for European affairs.

Blackwill is author and editor of many articles and books on transatlantic relations, Russia and the West, the Greater Middle East, and Asian security. He edited the CFR book Iran: The Nuclear Challenge (June 2012). His best-selling book coauthored with Graham Allison of the Harvard Kennedy School, titled Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World (MIT Press, February 2013), has sold 180,000 copies. He coauthored two Council Special Reports, Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China (April 2015) with Ashley J. Tellis of the Carnegie Endowment, and Xi Jinping on the Global Stage: Chinese Foreign Policy Under a Powerful but Exposed Leader (February 2016) with Kurt M. Campbell of the Asia Group. His newest book, War by Other Means: Geoeconomics and Statecraft, coauthored with Jennifer M. Harris, was published in April 2016 by Harvard University Press, and was named one of the best foreign policy books of 2016 by Foreign Affairs.

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the Aspen Strategy Group; and a non-resident senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.