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, 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

Eric welcomes back Robert W. Kagan, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and editor at large at the Washington Post, to the show to discuss Kagan's new book, Rebellion: How Antiliberalism is Tearing America Apart - Again. They discuss the origins of America's liberal tradition in the radicalism of the American Revolution. How the American Revolution differed from the French, the persistence of an anti-liberal tradition that from its inception was wrapped up with the defense of slavery and white supremacy. The persistence of that anti-liberal tradition in the 19th Century, today's Catholic integralism and Christian nationalism and the tensions between those schools of thought. The connections between anti-liberalism and America First and the connection to anti-semitism, left-wing anti-liberalism and the from whence the threat to American democracy is greatest, the stakes in the 2024 election and the global struggle against liberal democracy by Russian and Chinese autocrats.
Eric Edelman The Bulwark
Eliot and Eric welcome Jacob Heilbrunn, editor of The National Interest, non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center, and author of America Last: The Right's Century Long Romance with Foreign Dictators. They discuss the origin story of "America First" during the First World War when critic and satirist H.L. Mencken and German-American propagandist (and paid agent) George Sylvester Viereck led the charge against American intervention in the Great War and how both played roles in the 30s and early 40s America First movement to prevent FDR from aiding the Allies.
Eric Edelman The Bulwark
Eric Edelman and Eliot Cohen discuss Eliot's recent visit to Ukraine.
Eric Edelman The Bulwark
For decades, Israel and Iran have fought one another in the shadows and through proxies. That all changed this past weekend with Iran's direct attack on Israel. Israeli officials said they will retaliate but world leaders are urging restraint. Nick Schifrin has two views on the options for Israel and Iran and the risks with Eric Edelman and Vali Nasr.
Eric Edelman PBS NewsHour
The policy of prohibiting Ukraine from doing what it needs to win for fear of Russian escalation is tactically unsound, strategically bankrupt, legally dubious, and morally squalid.
Eric Edelman The Bulwark
Eric welcomes friend of Shield of the Republic Hal Brands back to the show. Hal is the Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor of Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the editor of a new book, War in Ukraine: Conflict, Strategy and the Return of A Fractured World (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2024), a weekly columnist at and also has a recent article on the Foreign Affairs website. They discuss the origins of the new book and 6 overarching themes that emerged from the essays by the distinguished contributors to the volume. They also discuss why America's unique system of alliances may obscure for Americans the potential for disruption that tightening relations among authoritarian regimes presents to the global order and the rise and future of isolationism in the Republican party.
Eric Edelman The Bulwark