Experts

Philip Zelikow

White Burkett Miller Professor of History and J. Wilson Newman Professor of Governance

Fast Facts

  • Former Miller Center director
  • Executive Director of 9/11 Commission
  • Elected member, American Academy of Diplomacy
  • Expertise in American foreign policy, military history, European military history, Cuban missile crisis

Areas Of Expertise

  • Foreign Affairs
  • American Defense and Security
  • War and Terrorism
  • Domestic Affairs
  • Governance
  • Congress
  • Leadership
  • Politics
  • The Presidency

Philip Zelikow is the White Burkett Miller Professor of History and J. Wilson Newman Professor of Governance at the University of Virginia, where he has also served as dean of the Graduate School and director of the Miller Center. His scholarly work has focused on critical episodes in American and world history. 

He was a trial and appellate lawyer and then a career diplomat before taking academic positions at Harvard, then Virginia. Before and during his academic career, he has served at all levels of American government. His federal service during five administrations has included positions in the White House, State Department, and the Pentagon. His last full-time government position was as the counselor of the Department of State, a deputy to Secretary Condoleezza Rice. 

He directed a small and short-lived federal agency, the 9/11 Commission. He also directed an earlier bipartisan commission on election reform, chaired by former Presidents Carter and Ford, that led to successful passage of the Help America Vote Act of 2002. More recently he was managing director of “Rework America,” a landmark project on American economic opportunity in the digital age, organized by the Markle Foundation. 

He is one of the few individuals ever to serve on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Boards for presidents of both parties, in the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He has also been a member of the Defense Policy Board for Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and a member of the board of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2020, he was elected a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy.

Philip Zelikow News Feed

Time has come for Congress to contemplate how to hold Donald Trump accountable for his efforts to overthrow the election and incite an insurrection. After all, the last time American citizens made such a concerted, violent effort to overthrow U.S. leaders was in April 1865, when a group of conspirators murdered President Abraham Lincoln and attacked other members of his Cabinet.
Lawfare
Created for another age, Washington's foreign-policy institutions have atrophied. The next administration should rebuild them.
Foreign Policy
Fusionism brought these views together into what seemed for a long time, at least from the outside, to be a relatively workable political coalition. Philip Zelikow, a veteran Republican foreign-policy official and one of hundreds of prominent members of the Party who vigorously opposed Trump in 2016, said, “World War II, followed by nearly World War III, brought the United States into an unprecedented world role. And a vocal minority didn’t accept it. They don’t like foreigners. They think they’re playing us for suckers. There were a lot of Pearl Harbor and Yalta conspiracy theories that we’ve forgotten about. This group concentrates overwhelmingly in the Republican Party.” For a long time, it was kept in check. Now, in Zelikow’s view, it has grown in prominence and become less deferential to the business wing of the Republican establishment, and is “close to being the most influential element in the Party.”
Philip Zelikow The New Yorker
Since 1776, the United States has been at war 93 percent of the time—227 out of 244 years, according to Global Research. Why is that? And what does it mean for the future of our nation, at home and abroad? This half-day public conference will focus on the roots, management, and direction of so-called “endless wars.” During the five sessions, speakers will consider the political, legal, military, cultural, and governance implications of remaining engaged in these indefinite conflicts, and the future prospects of fighting a “forever war."
Philip Zelikow Miller Center Presents
The passing of Brent Scowcroft is an opportunity for a bit of reflection about the U.S. foreign policy elite and its attitude toward American military intervention in world affairs.
War on the Rocks
Four years after 50 of the nation’s most senior Republican national security officials warned that Donald J. Trump “would be the most reckless president in American history,” they are back with a new letter, declaring his presidency worse than they had imagined and urging voters to support former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Philip Zelikow The New York Times