Clarke, Jonathan 1947–

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Clarke, Jonathan 1947–

(Jonathan G. Clarke)


Born 1947. Education: Oxford University, graduate.


Writer, diplomat, American foreign policy expert, journalist, and commentator. British Diplomatic Service, counselor and diplomat. Cato Institute, research fellow in foreign policy studies; Carnegie Council, senior fellow. Frequent guest on television and radio networks, including the BBC, CBS, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News, CBC, C-SPAN, and National Public Radio. Former fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Affairs.


The United States and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation: Background for the Visit of President Bill Clinton to Indonesia for the Second Annual Meeting of APEC Leaders, Asia Society (New York, NY), 1994.

(With James Clad)After the Crusade: American Foreign Policy for the Post-superpower Age, foreword by James R. Schlesinger, Madison Books (Lanham, MD), 1995.

(With Stefan Halper)America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2004.

(With Stefan Halper)The Silence of the Rational Center: Why American Foreign Policy Is Failing, Basic Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor to periodicals and newspapers, including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Orbis, National Interest, Daily Telegraph, and the Paris Monde Diplomatique.


Author Jonathan Clarke is a foreign policy expert, journalist, and commentator. A former career diplomat in the British Diplomatic Service, Clarke has served on assignment in Zimbabwe, Germany, and the United States. From his domestic position in London, he worked with representatives from South Africa, China, and Central America to address issues in those areas. Clarke's "particular areas of expertise are political, economic, and development issues" in Europe, the Middle East, the United States, sub-Sahara Africa, Central America, and East Asia, noted a biographer on the Carnegie Council Web site. A widely published journalist and writer on foreign policy, Clarke has also been a frequent guest commentator and analyst on television and radio.

With Stefan Halper, Clarke has written two major books on American foreign policy and its relationship with domestic politics. The first,America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order, is a critical work in which the authors "document the neoconservative capture of American (and British) foreign policy, under the guise of a War on Terror, to reorder Middle East politics and initiate a newly proclaimed doctrine of preemptive war," commented Stanley I. Kutler in the Washington Post. Clarke and Halper center their criticisms on the costly and protracted occupation of Iraq and the seemingly endless War on Terror as characterized by the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush. The authors trace the history of neoconservatism, and discover deep differences in the older generation of neocons and the younger group that now drives much of America's current foreign policy. They see the September 11, 2001, ter-rorist attacks as the signal event that allowed current neoconservatism to rise to prominence in American politics, particularly in national security policy. Throughout, Clarke and Halper "seek to show how neo-conservatives fundamentally misunderstand the world in which we live and how their influence has hurt the United States, not only at home but also in terms of its image abroad, its effort to fight terrorism, and its strained war in Iraq," remarked Steve A. Yetiv, writing in the Presidential Studies Quarterly.

Clarke and Halper are not kind to the administration of George W. Bush, but their criticisms are based in solid research and facts, and in their own conservative viewpoints on American and British foreign policy. They "write as critics, but sympathetic ones, and as not only former diplomats, but conservative ones," observed Robert Jervis in the Political Science Quarterly. The book "levels a broad indictment against the Bush administration, which in the name of the war on terror has launched the Iraq war, mounted an assault on personal liberties at home, engaged in a purposeful deceit of the media and the public (both of which suspended any critical judgment) and, above all, has inflicted terrible damage on U.S. moral authority and international legitimacy. The chief culprits for the authors are the neocons, who are depicted as conspirators who hijacked American foreign policy," Kutler stated. "This is not exactly news, but the argument never has been put together so persuasively, so conclusively and so effectively," Kutler further observed.

Jervis concluded that "at a time when so much that passes for analysis is one-sided and polemical,America Alone is insightful and welcome. It is a timely contribution that I think will have a longer half-life than most books of this type." The book "performs a useful and provocative service in sketching neoconservative origins, views, influence, and impact. It raises critical questions and offers numerous points of departure on a clearly important movement," Yetiv noted.

Clarke and Halper are also the authors of The Silence of the Rational Center: Why American Foreign Policy Is Failing. In this work, they express concern and dismay over what they perceive as the failure of otherwise rational and intelligent foreign policy experts to exert a reasoned and calming influence over unique and ever-changing foreign policy problems throughout the world. For Clarke and Halper, the "rational center" "has given way to a coterie of people who, in politics and the media, serve as talking heads on any point," commented a Kirkus Reviews critic. Instead of conducting in-depth analysis and presenting well-reasoned, scholarly arguments, these experts are concerned with uncovering what Clarke and Halper call the Big Idea, the single, easily digested, media-friendly term that will encompass and explain a political concept or set of foreign policy woes. One of these ideas, according to the authors, is the Bush administration assertion that America is now a "nation at war," by pursuing an ambiguous and amorphous War on Terror. Such concepts, once saturated into American consciousness, make it easier for powermongers to subvert basic rights and ram through odious policies and changes in the law. Further, the experts of the rational center, who have long been relied on to offer sound guidance to policymakers and elected officials, have abandoned deep discussion and facilitated the rise of governance by the Big Idea because they have been "seduced by the lure of cable television fame and popular book sales," remarked a Publishers Weekly reviewer, and are more interested in how they appear on their next appearance on a news program or in how many books their simplified ideas can sell to a misguided public. In other cases, experts on one particular subject, such as economics, have been lured into serving as pundits and commentators on a wide range of topics, many of which are outside their area of professional expertise. In total, this confluence of media needs, seduction of experts, and public misperception creates an atmosphere in which the "uninformed attract more attention than they deserve and rational experts are either seduced into jingoism or drowned out," observed Brendan Driscoll in Booklist.



American Spectator, June, 2007, Angelo M. Codevilla, "Presumption of Authority," review of The Silence of the Rational Center: Why American Foreign Policy Is Failing, p. 66.

Booklist, February 1, 2007, Brendan Driscoll, review of The Silence of the Rational Center, p. 9.

Bookseller, May 28, 2004, "Now White House Man Attacks Bush," review of America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order, p. 27.

California Bookwatch, April, 2007, review of The Silence of the Rational Center.

Choice, March, 2005, E.A. Turpen, review of America Alone, p. 1305; July, 2007, M. Amstutz, review of The Silence of the Rational Center, p. 1982.

Foreign Affairs, September-October, 1995, David C. Hendrickson, review of After the Crusade: American Foreign Policy for the Post-superpower Age, p. 168.

International Affairs, January, 1996, Gerard Evans, review of After the Crusade, p. 214; October, 2004, Victor Bulmer-Thomas, review of America Alone, p. 1023.

Journal of American Studies, April, 2006, David Milne, review of America Alone, p. 175.

Journal of Peace Research, March, 2005, Henrik Syse, review of America Alone, p. 242.

Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2006, review of The Silence of the Rational Center, p. 1255.

London Review of Books, October 20, 2005, review of America Alone, p. 5.

National Interest, winter, 2004, Gerard Baker, "Neoconspiracy Theories," review of America Alone, p. 130.

Orbis, summer, 1998, Bruce D. Berkowitz, review of After the Crusade, p. 465.

Political Quarterly, April-June, 2005, "The Peculiarities of Neo-Cons," p. 302.

Political Science Quarterly, spring, 2005, Robert Jervis, review of America Alone, p. 131.

Presidential Studies Quarterly, December, 2005, Steve A. Yetiv, review of America Alone, p. 801.

Publishers Weekly, December 18, 2006, review of The Silence of the Rational Center, p. 60.

Reference & Research Book News, May, 2005, review of America Alone, p. 179.

Times Higher Education Supplement, May 18, 2007, Brendan Simms, "Mistaking Bad Deeds for Good Intentions," review of The Silence of the Rational Center, p. 22.

Washington Post Book World, August 15, 2004, Stanley I. Kutler, "The Vision Thing," review of America Alone, p. 05; April 8, 2007, Josef Joffe, review of The Silence of the Rational Center, p. 05.


Carnegie Council Web site, (October 28, 2007), biography of Jonathan Clarke.

Cato Institute Web site, (October 28, 2007), biography of Jonathan Clarke.

History News Network, (August 9, 2004), Jim Sleeper, review of America Alone.

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Clarke, Jonathan 1947–

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