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Jonathan Cristol


Expertise: U.S. foreign policy; Middle East; Taliban history and foreign relations; Arab-Israeli conflict; new state emergence and state recognition; civil-military relations; non-state actors; IR theory; United Nations system; popular culture and world politics.

Biography: Jonathan Cristol is a fellow at the World Policy Institute (WPI) in New York City and a senior fellow at Bard College’s Center for Civic Engagement in Annandale, New York. Dr. Cristol is a noted expert in Middle Eastern politics and international security.

At World Policy Institute he researches, writes about, and speaks on issues pertaining to international security, Middle East politics, and United States foreign policy. His writing appears regularly in publications including: World Policy Journal; CNN; The Indian Economist; and MUN: Planet; among others. Dr. Cristol appears frequently in television, radio, print, and podcast media in countries including: Canada; China; France; Hungary; Indonesia; Iran; New Zealand; Portugal; Qatar; Serbia; Singapore; Slovakia; South Africa; South Korea; and the United States. He meets regularly with government officials from all over the world, and organizes and hosts a wide variety of public, semi-public, and private events focusing on all aspects of international security. Dr. Cristol is the host of the World Policy Security Series and co-host of “[jargon redacted]: Seriously Irreverent Conversations on Policy.”

Before joining World Policy Institute, for more than ten years, Dr. Cristol was an assistant professor of international affairs and director of the Globalization and International Affairs Program at Bard College.  At Bard, his courses included: “The United States and the Modern Middle East”; “The History of International Institutions”; “Advanced International Relations Theory”; “Non-State Actors in World Politics”; and “The Nature of Power,” an innovative course that met in regular joint sessions with cadets from the United States Military Academy at West Point. 

Dr. Cristol maintains a wide network of contacts within the New York City based nonprofit, diplomatic, and policy communities, and is a regular participant in discussions at: the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, where for many years he was a “New Leader”; Council on Foreign Relations, as part of the Council’s educational outreach program; and many other foreign affairs organizations and groups.  He is on the “Young Patron’s Council” of “Off-the-Record,” the longest running women’s foreign policy lecture series in the United States. 

Dr. Cristol serves as a subject-matter expert on Middle East affairs, and teaches advanced courses, for a Maryland-based defense contractor.  Additionally, he is a former academic director of the State Department’s “Study of the United States Institute- United States Foreign Policy” program, run jointly by Bard College and the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Dr. Cristol is an independent expert/consultant at Duco, a global security, technology, and policy consultancy.


Ph.D. in International Relations, University of Bristol (UK)

M.A. in International Relations, Yale University

B.A. in Political Studies, Bard College


Twitter: @jonathancristol


Affiliations: World Policy Institute; Bard College; Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs; Young Patron’s Councilmember, Off-the-Record Lecture Series; Mellon Foundation Project on Civilian-Military Educational Collaboration; and the International Studies Association.


Recent Media Appearances:

4/16 - CNN - Newsroom with Ana Cabrera (segment on North Korea)

4/15 - CNN - Newsroom with Ana Cabrera (multiple segments on North Korea)  

4/4 - CGTN - "US withdraws monetary support from United Nations Population Fund"  

4/3 - i24  - “Crossroads” (segment on new Hamas charter)  

3/30 - Middle East Eye, “Tillerson in Turkey: Five big issues to watch” 

3/27 - i24 English, “Crossroads” (segment on tension between Israel and Hamas)  

3/22 - Middle East Eye, “Anti-IS talks may boost beleaguered Trump team”   

3/22 - i24 English, “Crossroads” (segment on London terror attack)  

2/20 - i24 English - “Stateside” (segment on Iraq, ISIS, and the Mosul Offensive) 

2/16 - i24 English - “Crossroads” (segment on Iran, and the US national security advisor)   

2/15 - CGTN - “AsiaToday” (segment on Iran, "Arab Spring," and Proxy Wars) 

2/8 - Orient TV - “The Axis” (talk show featuring discussion of Iran, Trump, and Russia) 

1/19 - Al Jazeera - “The seven biggest threats to Donald Trump’s presidency

1/9 - Al Jazeera - “Barack Obama - So long, and thanks for all the speeches” 

1/9 -  Middle East Eye -  “Obama’s legacy, between caution achievement and failure

1/5 - Middle East Eye - “Trump’s first 100 days: ‘Most uncertain transition since World War II

1/1/2017 - CCTV - “New Leadership at the UN"

12/15 - The Spare Minute - discussion about Rex Tillerson

12/15 -  Diario de Noticias (Portugal) - “Fragile cease-fire leaves civilians waiting to leave Aleppo” 

12/12 - Middle East Eye - “New UN chief says Syria peace is top concern

11/20 - Tell Me Something I Don’t Know (Podcast)  

11/19 - Antara News (Indonesia) - “Indonesia not affected by US’ inward-looking policy

11/11 - CNN Indonesia -  "Trump Terpilih, Banyak Negara Diduga akan Buat Senjata Nuklir

11/11 - CNN Indonesia - "Donald Trump Berpotensi Ratakan Suriah dengan Tanah

11/11 - World Policy On Air, Ep. 93 - The "Unthinkable"

10/7 - CCTV - UN Security Council approves Portugal’s Guterres for secretary-general

10/7 - Channel News Asia - Security Council back’s Portugal’s Guterres as UN chief

10/6 - multiple appearances on Radio New Zealand (Checkpoint, Morning Report, WorldWatch) discussing selection of Antonio Guterres for UN Secretary General

10/5 - Dennik N (Slovakia) - Lajcak lost in the fight for the post of head of the UN, which chose Guterres of Portugal 

10/3 - Middle East Eye - Obama pulls the plug on 'phony diplomatic process' in Syria

9/29 - Off the Record, On the Record - Interview with Steven Cook

9/28 - The Spare Minute (interview about presidential debate)

9/25 - Dennik N (Slovakia) - Lajčák má šancu uspieť v OSN, najviac mu to môže prekaziť Fico

9/21 - VOA Persian - Evening News (segment on Saudi Arabia in UNGA) 

9/21 - Off-the-Record, On-the-Record - Interview with Gideon Rose

9/20 - Al Jazeera - Newshour (segment on UN Reform)

9/20 - Channel News Asia - UN chief Ban addresses his last General Assembly

9/6 - Al Jazeera, Trump vs. Clinton race heats up with two months to go

8/10 - Middle East Eye, Netanyahu cost Israel billions in US arms deal, rival Lapid says

8/6 - NÉPSZABADSÁG (Hungarian Newspaper) - Compared to Donald Trump, She’s Winston Churchill

8/4 - The Spare Minute - Interview about foreign policy and the U.S. election

7/12 - The Spare Minute - Interview about Afghanistan

7/11 - CCTV - US Presidential Nominees Search for Winning VP Choice

7/8 - Channel News Asia - Trump, Clinton set to announce their running mates

7/5 - Tasnim News (Iran), A Discussion of Brexit and the European Union

7/5 - Middle East Eye - Syria’s war, post-Obama: America unrestrained?

6/28 - The Spare Minute - Interview about Brexit

5/28 - Middle East Eye - Mideast cash-for-coverage media wars in Washington

5/20 - World Policy On Air, Ep. 68: The Sky is Falling!

5/5 - Middle East Eye - Trump or Clinton: The Middle East’s rock and hard place

5/4 - Off-the-Record, On-the-Record - Interview with James Rickards

4/30  - Middle East Eye - Osama bin Laden casts long shadow, 5 years on

4/20 - Off-the-Record, On-the-Record - Interview with John Micklethwait

4/18 - The National Memo - Here’s How Trump’s Wall Would Create a Diplomatic Crisis

4/14 - NIN, Serbia’s Oldest Weekly - Profiting on Violence

4/11 - China Daily - Envoy Looks to Objective Middle East Role

3/23 - WOSU/National Public Radio - All Sides with Ann Fisher - National Security and the Presidential Election (48 min. segment)

3/22 - Middle East Eye - Donald Trump shifts towards Israel at annual AIPAC meeting

3/19 - Al Jazeera English - Trump and Clinton headline pro-Israel lobby conference

3/18 - Middle East Eye - Pro-Israel lobby in uproar over 'neutral’ Trump

2/29 - Channel NewsAsia (Singapore) - Trump, Clinton heavy favourites going in to Super Tuesday

1/16 - CBCTV - The National - Iran honours nuclear promises, sanctions lifted

1/15/16 - World Policy On Air, Ep. 50: The Death of Nimr al-Nimr

11/26 - Middle East Eye: ANALYSIS: Obama and Hollande's flowery  language masks weak strategy

11/20 - CBC-Radio - The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti (guest host Kelly Crowe)— 20 minute segment on France, Russia, Syria, and ISIS

11/9 - Middle East Eye: Netanyahu reaffirms Palestinian statehood but does he mean it?

11/9 - Al Jazeera English: Analysis: Bridges to build at Netanyahu-Obama summit

10/16 -World Policy On Air, Ep.37: Don't Reform Security Council

10/6- France24: France plots next move as Russia extends hold in Syria

10/5 - Al-Monitor: Russia Gets Back in the Game

10/2 - 90.5 fm. Busan, South Korea, “Morning Wave w host Katherine Bang” South Korea-- 12 min segment on UNSC reform.

9/30 - Al Jazeera English:  Syria’s war and veto-wielding power plays.

9/29 - CBCTV - The National- Segment on Russia/Syria— brief appearance in studio at UN.

9/28 - CBC-Radio - The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti— 15 min segment on UNSC reform.

9/16 - Middle East Eye: Questions over US forces in Syria highlight fears of Russia-US showdown

9/13 - Al Jazeera English: US: Opening the door to thousands of Syrians

9/10 - Middle East Eye: Will UK policy shift on Assad’s future solve Syria crisis?


Recent Publications:

The North Korea thorn in Trump’s side,” CNN. 5 April 2017.

The US might have a new North Korea policy," CNN. 17 March 2017. 

Trump’s actions as president are remarkably consistent with his infamous campaign kickoff speech," Mic. 8 March 2017.    

South China Sea dispute: How China is testing the waters of a Trump presidency," Mic. February 22, 2017.   

New Iran sanctions: Will they actually make a difference in US-Iran relations?Mic. February 7 2017.   

Embassy move would be bad for the US,” South Coast Today. 30 January 2017

‘America First’ makes America last,” CNN. 22 December 2016

"The Sky Fell," World Policy Journal (Blog). 10 November 2016.

"Why Was a Western European Man Selected for Secretary-General?World Policy Journal (Blog). 12 October 2016.

There’s No Escaping the U.S. Election,” MUN: Planet. 26 August 2016.

Why Clinton foreign policy won’t be Obama 2.0” CNN. 27 July 2016.

The JCPOA Matters Less Than You Think,” World Policy Journal (Blog). 14 July 2016.

"Summer 2016 in World Politics - What to Look For?MUN: Planet. 8 July 2016.

"Brexit: Should They Stay or Should They Go?CNN. 21 June 2016.

Nuclear Proliferation: Fantasy and Reality,” MUN: Planet. 20 May 2016.

The Sky is Falling!” World Policy Journal (Blog). 11 May 2016.

"Russia Withdraws from Syria and Surprises Everyone Again," MUN: Planet. 18 March 2016.

It’s Time to Make Sense of the U.S. Election,” MUN: Planet. 29 January 2016.

"Rethinking the Iran Deal," World Policy Journal (Blog). 8 January 2016.

"Escalation in the Persian Gulf," World Policy Journal (Blog). 6 January 2016.

Selecting the Next Secretary-General: From Custom to Law," World Policy Journal (Blog). 20 November 2015.

The Squandering of American Credibility,” MUN: Planet. 20 November 2015.

How (Not) to Approach UNSC Veto Reform,” World Policy Journal (Blog). 4 November 2015.

What If Not Every International Problem Has a Solution?,” MUN: Planet. 16 October 2015.

Four Levels of International Law - Great Powers, Middle Powers, No-Powers (and the United States),” MUN: Planet. 25 September 2015.

Don't Reform the United Nations Security Council!” World Policy Journal (Blog). 21 September 2015.

Shattered Norms, Russian Actions in Ukraine, and the Persistence of Realism,” MUN:Planet. 14 August 2015.

The Taliban after Mullah Omar,” World Policy Journal (Blog). 4 August 2015.

Iran Deal: The Best of Bad Options,” World Policy Journal (Blog). 16 July 2015.

Iran and the United States will Violate an Agreement.  And that’s not a bad thing,” MUN: Planet. 10 July 2015.


Selected Lectures and Panel Discussions:

“Iranian Foreign Policy after ‘The Deal,’” World Affairs Forum, Stamford Yacht Club, Stamford, CT, 2 November 2016.

“U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East: What Should It Be?” Fordham University, 21 April 2016

“The Media and Perceptions of Foreign Policy Differences in the 2016 US Presidential Election,” via Skype, University of Macedonia (Greece), 5 December 2015

“Tension between the Executive and Legislative Branches in US Foreign Policy,” Study of the United States Institute-US Foreign Policy, US State Department, 29-30 June 2015

“Coups, Cadavers, and Catastrophes: The Persian Gulf in the New Year,” Preston Theatre, Bard College, 3 March 2015

“Conflict in the Age of ISIS,” Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program, 11 November 2014

“After Ahmadinejad: US-Iran Relations under the New Regime,” Ursinus College (community event), Collegeville, PA, June 19, 2013

“Ahmadinejad’s Legacy and the Future of US-Iranian Relations,” University of Western Kentucky, Bowling Green, KY, April 16, 2013

“Iran, Public Diplomacy, and the United States,” Connecticut College, New London, CT, November 28, 2012

“The ‘War on Terror’ and the Post-Westphalian International Order,” United States Military Academy, West Point, March 7, 2012

“REVOLUTION! Democracy vs. Stability in the Middle East,” Morehouse College, Atlanta, February 28, 2011

“The Prospects for Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, NY, November 8, 2010


Selected Panel Discussions:

“Global Security Challenges for the New Administration,” U.S. State Department Conference on “Combating International Crime through Global Cooperation," May 4, 2016

“Challenges in the Middle East,” International Security Studies Section Annual Conference, Springfield, MA, October 10, 2015

“The Space Between: Closing the Gap Between Civilian and Military Educational Communities,”  International Studies Association Annual Convention, Toronto, Canada, March 29, 2014

“Christian Realism in the White House? An Assessment of Reinhold Niebuhr's Influence on Barack Obama's Foreign Policy,” International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Francisco, April 4, 2013

“Seeking the Sources of Turkish Foreign Policy,” International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Francisco, April 3, 2013

“Pop Culture Narratives in World Politics,” International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Diego, April 3, 2012

“Evolving Conceptions of Statehood, Sovereignty, and Recognition,” International Studies Association Annual Convention, Montreal, February 18, 2011

“’They’re Just Like Us!’: Civilian/Military Collaboration in the IR Classroom,” International Studies Association Annual Conference, New York City, February 15, 2009 

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