James B. Cunningham
Nonresident Senior Fellow, South Asia Center
TopicsEuropean Energy Security, NATO and its Partners, US-Afghanistan Relations
RegionsAfghanistan, Europe, Israel, Middle East
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March 13, 2018Newly former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his replacement, former Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo, do not necessarily see eye to eye on every major foreign policy issue. Their divergent views raise serious questions as to how…
January 25, 2018At a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 25, US President Donald J. Trump suggested that he would withhold more aid from the Palestinians and that…
January 22, 2018Mike Pence Just Said that the United States Will Open an Embassy in Jerusalem in 2019. Can That Happen?US Vice President Mike Pence made news in his address to the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem on January 22 when he declared that the Trump administration would open the US Embassy in Jerusalem before the end of 2019.
December 06, 2017Recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital does not advance the interests of the United States or the region, said James Cunningham, a former US ambassador to Israel US President Donald J. Trump’s decision to reverse almost seven decades of US…
September 19, 2017In his first address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 19, US President Donald J. Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea, called Iran a “rogue nation” and the nuclear deal with that country “an…
After early tours in Stockholm, Washington, Rome, and the US Mission to NATO, NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner selected Ambassador Cunningham as his chief of staff (1988 – 1990). He advised the Secretary General on all NATO issues in the context of nuclear disarmament in Europe, the collapse of the Berlin wall and the reunification of Germany, and the impending dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union.
Just after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Ambassador Cunningham became deputy political counselor at the US Mission to the United Nations. In 1992, he became the deputy director of the State Department Office of European Security and Political Affairs (1992 – 1993) and then director (1993 – 1995). He served as deputy chief of mission at the Embassy in Rome (1996 – 1999).
Ambassador Cunningham was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania and graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University with degrees in political science and psychology. He is married to Leslie Genier of Mineville, New York. They have two daughters. Ambassador Cunningham is the recipient of multiple awards from the State Department, the National Performance Review's Hammer Award for Innovation in Management, the US President's Meritorious Service Award (twice), and has received awards from the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the Secretary of Defense, and the Afghan government. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and The Asia Society.Ambassador Cunningham retired from government service in December 2014 with the rank of career minister.