Eric Edelman

Practitioner Senior Fellow

Fast Facts

  • Career minister in the U.S. Foreign Service
  • Undersecretary of defense for policy in the George W. Bush Administration
  • Ambassador to Finland and Turkey
  • Recipient of Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service
  • Expertise on defense policy, nuclear policy and proliferation, diplomacy

Areas Of Expertise

  • Foreign Affairs
  • American Defense and Security
  • War and Terrorism

Eric Edelman, an Anne C. Strickler Practitioner Senior Fellow, retired as a career minister from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2009, after having served in senior positions at the Departments of State and Defense as well as the White House. As the undersecretary of defense for policy (2005-2009), he oversaw strategy development as the Defense Department’s senior policy official with global responsibility for bilateral defense relations, war plans, special operations forces, homeland defense, missile defense, nuclear weapons and arms control policies, counter-proliferation, counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism, arms sales, and defense trade controls. Edelman served as U.S. ambassador to the Republics of Finland and Turkey in the Clinton and George W. Bush Administrations and was principal deputy assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney for national security affairs. Edelman has been awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, and several Department of State Superior Honor Awards. In January of 2011 he was awarded the Legion d’Honneur by the French government. In 2016, he served as the James R. Schlesinger Distinguished Professor at the Miller Center.

Eric Edelman News Feed

Senior Fellow Eric Edelman is interviewed by Bill Kristol about great power competition.
Eric Edelman Conversations with Bill Kristol
American policymakers might be forgiven for losing focus on one of the world’s vital strategic crossroads. For much of the past three decades, the Eastern Mediterranean has effectively been a backwater for U.S. national security. But profound geopolitical transformations once again demand U.S. leadership to capitalize on new opportunities and prevent the region from becoming a cauldron of conflict like the South China Sea.
Eric Edelman The National Interest
Curiously, Reagan’s address to the students of Moscow State University during the 1988 Summit with Mikhail Gorbachev draws considerably less attention today despite the fact that even normally harsh Reagan critics hailed the speech at the time and have continued to cite it subsequently. The New York Times, for instance, described the speech as “Reagan’s finest oratorical hour” and Princeton’s liberal historian Sean Wilentz has called it “the symbolic high point of Reagan’s visit….. the capstone of Reagan’s presidency, his greatest, if least predictable achievement” that “began a rise in public approval that peaked during his last days in office.”
Eric Edelman Ronald Reagan Institute
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be playing dumb, but he’s not stupid. The strongman plunked down a deposit for Russia’s advanced S-400 air-defense system in December 2017—months after Congress passed a law that triggers painful U.S. sanctions on governments that purchase Russian armaments. Now Mr. Erdogan wants an exemption, and he apparently believes President Trump is inclined to give him one. Mr. Trump likely cannot do so without congressional approval. But even if he could, he shouldn’t.
Eric Edelman The Wall Street Journal
The question of extending New START, however, is far more complex and must be assessed in light of fundamental changes in the geostrategic environment since the treaty was negotiated a decade ago.
Eric Edelman National Review
What role should the United States play in the Middle East as its attention shifts to the objectives outlined in the National Security Strategy and the National Defense Strategy of competing with near peers like Russia and China? Today pundits and observers are posing this question against a backdrop of more than a decade and a half of costly, inconclusive and seemingly “endless” wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the more recent deployment of roughly two thousand Special Forces troops to Syria as part of the counter ISIS campaign.
Eric Edelman Hoover Institution