John E. Herbst
Director, Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center
TopicsInternational Security, Middle East Security, NATO and its Partners, US Foreign Policy, US-Afghanistan Relations
RegionsCentral Asia, Eurasia, Israel, Middle East, Palestine, Russia, Ukraine
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January 18, 2018This article is part of a series that reflects on the first year of the Trump administration. As a candidate and president-elect, Donald Trump spoke constantly about the need to improve relations with Russia. He also spoke positively about Russian…
December 21, 20172017 has been the most violent year of the conflict in eastern Ukraine since it began, according to Kurt Volker, US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations."A lot of people think that this has somehow turned into a sleepy, frozen conflict…
December 05, 2017Former Georgian President and Odesa oblast governor Mikheil Saakashvili was taken into custody in Kyiv on December 5. His supporters eventually freed him and he addressed a large crowd outside of the parliament. Later in the day, Prosecutor General Yuriy…
November 21, 2017
October 30, 2017Long before Paul Manafort served as Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign chairman he worked for Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian former president of Ukraine. It was in this role that Anders Åslund, a resident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Dinu…
Ambassador Herbst served for thirty-one years as a foreign service officer in the US Department of State, retiring at the rank of career-minister. He was US ambassador to Ukraine from 2003 to 2006, when he worked to enhance US-Ukrainian relations, help ensure the conduct of a fair Ukrainian presidential election, and prevent violence during the Orange Revolution. Prior to that, he was ambassador to Uzbekistan (2000-03), where he played a critical role in the establishment of an American base to help conduct Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He also promoted improved US-Uzbek relations, in part by encouraging the government in Tashkent to improve its human rights record.
In his last four years at the State Department, he served as the coordinator for reconstruction and stabilization, leading the US government's civilian capacity in societies in transition from conflict or civil strife, and to provide support to countries at risk of instability. He oversaw the establishment of the Civilian Response Corps of the United States, the US civilian rapid response force for reconstruction and stabilization operations overseas.
Ambassador Herbst previously served as US consul general in Jerusalem; principal deputy to the Ambassador-at-Large for the Newly Independent States; thedDirector of the office of independent states and commonwealth affairs; director of regional affairs in the Near East Bureau; and at the embassies in Tel Aviv, Moscow, and Saudi Arabia.
He most recently served as director of the center for complex operations at National Defense University. He has received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Secretary of State’s Career Achievement Award, and the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award. Ambassador Herbst has written book chapters, articles, and op-eds on stability operations in Central Asia, Ukraine, and Russia. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, the National Interest, and Foreign Policy. He has been a frequent guest discussing the Ukraine crisis on television and radio.
Ambassador Herbst earned a bachelor of science in foreign service from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Phi Beta Kappa, and a master of law and diplomacy, with distinction, from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. He also attended the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies Bologna Center.