John E. Herbst
Director, 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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February 21, 2019An oppressive political climate marked by a lack of rights and freedoms is now a key factor driving emigration from Russia, according to a new report from the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. This is in stark comparison to emigration before…
January 22, 2019Wess Mitchell, the United States’ top diplomat for European affairs, will resign from the State Department next month, sixteen months since he took the job. His last day as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs is February…
January 06, 2019It’s Christmas Eve in Kyiv, and Ukraine just won a major victory in its long struggle for independence from Moscow.
January 04, 2019Six weeks ago, Russia attacked Ukraine in the Straits of Kerch and it made international news. US President Donald Trump canceled a high-level meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in response. Other governments denounced the Kremlin’s actions. Then the news…
December 01, 2018George H.W. Bush, the forty-first president of the United States, died on November 30. He was ninety-four. In addition to serving as president, Bush was a vice president, director of Central Intelligence, US ambassador to the United Nations, and representative…
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.