Robert Blackwill

Robert Blackwill

Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Council on Foreign Relations

Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill is the Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and a senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. His current work focuses on U.S. foreign policy writ large as well as on China, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, South Asia, and geoeconomics. The Ambassador’s latest book coauthored with Richard Fontaine, Lost Decade: The US Pivot to Asia and the Rise of Chinese Power, was published by Oxford University Press in June 2024. It examines the formulation of the U.S. Pivot to Asia and the policy’s failed implementation across Europe, the Middle East, and the Indo-Pacific. The text documents China’s astonishing rise and argues that the strategic reorientation to Asia remains the right trajectory for American grand strategy.

As deputy national security advisor for strategic planning under President George W. Bush, Blackwill was responsible for government-wide policy planning to develop and coordinate the mid- and long-term direction of U.S. foreign policy. He also served as presidential envoy to Iraq and U.S. ambassador to India, and is the first U.S. ambassador to India since John Kenneth Galbraith to receive the Padma Bhushan Award for his role in the transformation of U.S.-India relations.

Earlier in his career, 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; 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’s best-selling book, Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World (MIT Press), coauthored with Graham Allison of Harvard’s Kennedy School, has sold over 300,000 copies. His book, War by Other Means: Geoeconomics and Statecraft (Harvard University Press), coauthored with Jennifer M. Harris, was named one of the best foreign policy books of 2016 by Foreign Affairs. His CFR reports include The End of World Order and American Foreign Policy; Containing Russia: How to Respond to Moscow’s Intervention in U.S. Democracy and Growing Geopolitical Challenge; Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China; and Repairing the U.S.-Israel Relationship. His next, coauthored with Richard Fontaine, published in the fall of 2024 addresses the China-Russia relationship and its threat to World Order.

Blackwill is a member of CFR, the Aspen Strategy Group, the Trilateral Commission, and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.