Jonathan Cristol


Expertise: U.S. foreign policy; Middle East politics; Arab-Israeli conflict; new state emergence and state recognition; civil-military relations; non-state actors; international Relations theory; United Nations system; popular culture and world politics; Taliban history and foreign relations.

Biography: Jonathan Cristol is a fellow at the World Policy Institute (WPI) in New York City and a senior fellow at Bard College’s Center for Civic Engagement in Annandale, New York. Dr. Cristol is a noted expert in Middle Eastern politics and international security.

At World Policy Institute he researches, writes about, and speaks on issues pertaining to international security, Middle East politics, and United States foreign policy in the Middle East and East Asia. His writing appears regularly in publications including CNN Opinion and World Policy Journal. Dr. Cristol appears frequently in television, radio, print, and podcast media including: Channel News Asia; CNN; i24 News; al Jazeera English; and Reuters; among many others.

He meets regularly with government officials from all over the world, and organizes and hosts a wide variety of public, semi-public, and private events focusing on all aspects of international security. Dr. Cristol is the host of the World Policy Security Series and co-host of “[jargon redacted]: Seriously Irreverent Conversations on Policy.”

Before joining World Policy Institute Dr. Cristol was an assistant professor of international affairs and director of the Globalization and International Affairs Program at Bard College.  At Bard, his courses included: “The United States and the Modern Middle East”; “The History of International Institutions”; “Advanced International Relations Theory”; “Non-State Actors in World Politics”; and “The Nature of Power,” an innovative course that met in regular joint sessions with cadets from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is a former academic director of the State Department’s “Study of the United States Institute- United States Foreign Policy” program, run jointly by Bard College and the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Dr. Cristol maintains a wide network of contacts within the New York City based nonprofit, diplomatic, and policy communities, and is a regular participant in discussions at: the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, where for many years he was a “New Leader”; Council on Foreign Relations, as part of the Council’s educational outreach program; and many other foreign affairs organizations and groups.  He is on the “Young Patron’s Council” of “Off-the-Record,” the longest running women’s foreign policy lecture series in the United States.

Dr. Cristol serves as an instructor and subject-matter expert on Middle East affairs for a Maryland-based defense contractor; and is available for consulting and special projects through Dūcō, a global security, technology, and policy consultancy.


Ph.D. in International Relations, University of Bristol (UK)

M.A. in International Relations, Yale University

B.A. in Political Studies, Bard College


Twitter: @jonathancristol

Affiliations: World Policy Institute; Bard College; Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs; Young Patron’s Council member, Off-the-Record Lecture Series; Mellon Foundation Project on Civilian-Military Educational Collaboration; and the International Studies Association.

Recent Media Appearances

11/27 – i24 News – “The Rundown, with Nurit Ben and Calev Ben-David,” Saudi Prince vows to end Islamist terror

11/27 – i24 News – “Crossroads, with David Shuster and Shayna Estulin,” Yemen eases, aid filtering in

11/21 – Al Jazeera English – “Syrian opposition leader resigns ahead of UN peace talks

11/16 – Arab News – “US lawmaker bashes Qatar as anti-Hamas bill advances

11/13 – i24 News – “Crossroads, with David Shuster and Michelle Makori,” Trump winding down Asia trip in Philippines

11/9 – i24 News – “The Rundown, with Calev Ben-David,” 208 Saudis detained in anti-corruption sweep

11/6 – Al Jazeera English – segment on shake-up in Saudi Arabia

11/3 – World Policy On Air, “Security Cooperation in East Asia” 

11/2 – i24 News – “Crossroads, with David Shuster and Michelle Makori,” 100 years since Balfour Declaration  

10/27 – i24 News – “Crossroads, with David Shuster and Michelle Makori,” Catalonia officially declares independence 

10/22 – Al Jazeera English – segment on Rex Tillerson’s trip to the Gulf

10/12 – i24 News – “Crossroads, with David Shuster and Michelle Makori,” Hamas-Fatah reach reconciliation deal.

10/12 – CGTN –“The World Today,”  US to withdraw from UNESCO over “anti-Israel bias”

10/5 – CNN – “Newsroom, with Ana Cabrera” – segment on Trump’s latest tweets about North Korea

10/5 – i24 News – “Crossroads, with David Shuster and Michelle Makori,” Catalonia to Declare Independence on Monday

9/25 – Reuters TV – segment on Trump stoking division in America

9/24 – Al Jazeera English – “US air strikes kill 17 ISIL fighters in Libya,” 

9/24 – Al Jazeera English – segment on U.S. drone strike against ISIS in Libya

9/18 – Al Jazeera English – “All eyes on Donald Trump: What to look for in UN debut” 

9/19 – KNX 1070 Newsradio (Los Angeles) – interview about Donald Trump’s UNGA Speech

9/19 – Channel News Asia – “World leaders anxious to hear Trump as UN assembly kicks off” 

9/19 – Men in the Middle – podcast interview about North Korea, Russia, Iran, and UNGA 

9/19 – Dennik N (Slovakia) – “Šéf Valného zhromaždenia? Myslíte toho Portugalčana? Lajčákovi sa začal veľký deň v OSN

9/5 – i24 News – “Crossroads, with David Shuster and Michele Makori,” segment on North Korean nuclear test

9/2 – CNN – “Newsroom, with Ana Cabrera” – segment on North Korean nuclear test

8/30 – i24 News – “Crossroads, with David Shuster and Michele Makori,” segment on Antonio Guterres’ visit to Israel

8/22 – “On the Issues, with Alon Ben Meir” discussion of the GCC, Iran, Israel, and Kurdish independence 

8/15 – i24 News – “Debrief, with Nurit Ben” discussion of Saudi Arabia and Iran

8/1- i24 News – “Clearcut with Michelle Makori” – segment on Chinese proposal for Middle East peace

7/30- CNN – Newsroom with Ana Cabrera – segment on North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile test 

7/24- i24 News  “Crossroads” – segment on Temple Mount’s metal detectors 

7/17- i24 News – “Crossroads with Michelle Makori and David Shuster” – segment on the protests against new Temple Mount security rules

7/12- i24 News – “Clearcut with Michelle Makori” – segment on Tillerson’s trip to Kuwait, seeking breakthrough in Gulf blockade

7/12 – i24 News – “Debrief with Nurit Ben” – segment on boycott bloc accusing Qatar of funding terror

7/10 – Al Jazeera English –”Newshour” – segment on Rex Tillerson’s trip to Persian Gulf

7/6 – Reuters Business TV – segment on the G20 meeting

7/3 – i24 News – “Crossroads” – segment on Qatar and the Gulf rift

6/23 – i24 News – “Clearcut with Michelle Makori” – interview on the relationship between KSA and Qatar

6/23 – i24 News – “The Rundown with Calev Ben-David” – interview on Hezbollah and Kushner/Greenblatt peace process attempts

6/23 – Middle East Eye – “Trump’s moves in Syria are tactical, not strategic

6/19 – Reuters Biz – segment on Cuba and Trump’s foreign policy

6/13 – i24 News – “Clearcut with Michelle Makori” – interview on Hamas and GCC Crisis 

6/12 – Al Jazeera English – interview on GCC Crisis

6/10 – Al Jazeera English – “Newshour” – interview on GCC Crisis

6/9 – i24 English – “The Rundown” – interview on GCC Crisis 

6/8 – i24 English – “Crossroads” – segment on Middle East Peace Process 

6/6 – Al Jazeera English – “Newshour” –  interview on GCC Crisis

6/2 – Channel News Asia – “Trump announces US withdrawal from Paris climate deal

5/23 – i24 News – segment on Trump and prospects for peace in the Middle East 

5/22 – i24 News – “Crossroads” – segment on Trump’s trip to Israel 

5/19 – i24 News – “The Rundown with Calev Ben David” – segment about Trump’s upcoming trip to the Middle East

5/15 – i24 News – “Clearcut with Michelle Makori” – segment about Trump’s trip to the Middle East, and trouble in the Oval Office 

5/13 – CNN – Newsroom with Ana Cabrera – segment on North Korean missile test)

5/5 – i24 News – “Crossroads” – segment about Donald Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel

5/3 – Off-the-Record, On-the-Record, Interview with Evans J.R. Revere

4/16 – CNN – Newsroom with Ana Cabrera – segment on North Korea

4/15 – CNN – Newsroom with Ana Cabrera – multiple segments on North Korea  

4/4 – CGTN – “US withdraws monetary support from United Nations Population Fund”  

4/3 – i24 News – “Crossroads” – segment on new Hamas charter 

3/30 – Middle East Eye, “Tillerson in Turkey: Five big issues to watch” 

3/27 – i24 News, “Crossroads” – segment on tension between Israel and Hamas

3/22 – Middle East Eye, “Anti-IS talks may boost beleaguered Trump team”   

3/22 – i24 News, “Crossroads” – segment on London terror attack  

2/20 – i24 News – “Stateside” – segment on Iraq, ISIS, and the Mosul Offensive 

2/16 – i24 News – “Crossroads” – segment on Iran, and the US national security advisor   

2/15 – CGTN – “AsiaToday” – segment on Iran, “Arab Spring,” and Proxy Wars 

2/8 – Orient TV – “The Axis” – talk show featuring discussion of Iran, Trump, and Russia 

1/19 – Al Jazeera – “The seven biggest threats to Donald Trump’s presidency

1/9 – Al Jazeera – “Barack Obama – So long, and thanks for all the speeches” 

1/9 –  Middle East Eye –  “Obama’s legacy, between caution achievement and failure

1/5 – Middle East Eye – “Trump’s first 100 days: ‘Most uncertain transition since World War II

1/1/2017 – CCTV – “New Leadership at the UN”

12/15 – The Spare Minute – discussion about Rex Tillerson

12/15 –  Diario de Noticias (Portugal) – “Fragile cease-fire leaves civilians waiting to leave Aleppo” 

12/12 – Middle East Eye – “New UN chief says Syria peace is top concern

11/20 – Tell Me Something I Don’t Know (Podcast)  

11/19 – Antara News (Indonesia) – “Indonesia not affected by US’ inward-looking policy

11/11 – CNN Indonesia –  “Trump Terpilih, Banyak Negara Diduga akan Buat Senjata Nuklir

11/11 – CNN Indonesia – “Donald Trump Berpotensi Ratakan Suriah dengan Tanah

11/11 – World Policy On Air, Ep. 93 – The “Unthinkable”

10/7 – CCTV – UN Security Council approves Portugal’s Guterres for secretary-general

10/7 – Channel News Asia – Security Council back’s Portugal’s Guterres as UN chief

10/6 – multiple appearances on Radio New Zealand (Checkpoint, Morning Report, WorldWatch) discussing selection of Antonio Guterres for UN Secretary General

10/5 – Dennik N (Slovakia) – Lajcak lost in the fight for the post of head of the UN, which chose Guterres of Portugal 

10/3 – Middle East Eye – Obama pulls the plug on ‘phony diplomatic process’ in Syria


Recent Publications:

Trump’s speech was a little like the Wikipedia page on South Korea,” CNN, 8 November 2017.

“North Korea crisis needs a grown-up, Mr. Trump,” CNN, 31 August 2017.

The New Trump Era,” World Policy Journal (Blog), 3 August 2017.

Trump’s reaction to North Korea cannot be nuclear,” CNN, 31 July 2017.

Summer 2017 in World Politics – Things Fall Apart?MUN:Planet, 23 June 2017 

Why Kim agreed to release Otto Warmbier,” CNN, 13 June 2017. 

Qatar’s isolation only makes sense in Trump’s world,” CNN, 6 June 2017. 

Halting Palestinian Authority Payments to Families of Terrorists Won’t Bring Peace,” World Policy Journal (Blog), 2 June 2017.  

Dealing with North Korea is not an option,” CNN, 9 May 2017 

‘Smart Cookie’ or ‘Crazy Fat Kid’: Trump’s Erratic View of Kim Jong Un,” World Policy Journal (Blog), 9 May 2017

Don’t be fooled by Hamas’ rebranding,” CNN, 5 May 2017

Trump vs. Kim: A fight the US President can’t win,” CNN, 13 April 2017.

The North Korea thorn in Trump’s side,” CNN, 5 April 2017.

The US might have a new North Korea policy,” CNN, 17 March 2017. 

Trump’s actions as president are remarkably consistent with his infamous campaign kickoff speech,” Mic, 8 March 2017.    

South China Sea dispute: How China is testing the waters of a Trump presidency,” Mic, February 22, 2017.   

New Iran sanctions: Will they actually make a difference in US-Iran relations?Mic, February 7 2017.   

Embassy move would be bad for the US,” South Coast Today, 30 January 2017

‘America First’ makes America last,” CNN, 22 December 2016

The Sky Fell,” World Policy Journal (Blog), 10 November 2016.

Why Was a Western European Man Selected for Secretary-General?” World Policy Journal (Blog), 12 October 2016.

There’s No Escaping the U.S. Election,” MUN: Planet, 26 August 2016.

Why Clinton foreign policy won’t be Obama 2.0” CNN, 27 July 2016.

The JCPOA Matters Less Than You Think,” World Policy Journal (Blog), 14 July 2016.

Summer 2016 in World Politics – What to Look For?” MUN, Planet. 8 July 2016.

Brexit: Should They Stay or Should They Go?” CNN, 21 June 2016.

Nuclear Proliferation: Fantasy and Reality,” MUN: Planet, 20 May 2016.

The Sky is Falling!” World Policy Journal (Blog), 11 May 2016.

Russia Withdraws from Syria and Surprises Everyone Again,” MUN: Planet, 18 March 2016.

It’s Time to Make Sense of the U.S. Election,” MUN: Planet, 29 January 2016.

Rethinking the Iran Deal,” World Policy Journal (Blog), 8 January 2016.

Escalation in the Persian Gulf,” World Policy Journal (Blog), 6 January 2016.

Selecting the Next Secretary-General: From Custom to Law,” World Policy Journal (Blog), 20 November 2015.

The Squandering of American Credibility,” MUN: Planet, 20 November 2015.

How (Not) to Approach UNSC Veto Reform,” World Policy Journal (Blog), 4 November 2015.

What If Not Every International Problem Has a Solution?,” MUN: Planet,16 October 2015.

Four Levels of International Law – Great Powers, Middle Powers, No-Powers (and the United States),” MUN: Planet, 25 September 2015.

Don’t Reform the United Nations Security Council!” World Policy Journal (Blog), 21 September 2015.

Shattered Norms, Russian Actions in Ukraine, and the Persistence of Realism,” MUN:Planet, 14 August 2015.

The Taliban after Mullah Omar,” World Policy Journal (Blog), 4 August 2015.

Iran Deal: The Best of Bad Options,” World Policy Journal (Blog), 16 July 2015.

Iran and the United States will Violate an Agreement.  And that’s not a bad thing,” MUN: Planet, 10 July 2015.


Selected Lectures 

“Iranian Foreign Policy after ‘The Deal,’” World Affairs Forum, Stamford Yacht Club, Stamford, CT, 2 November 2016.

“U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East: What Should It Be?” Fordham University, 21 April 2016

“The Media and Perceptions of Foreign Policy Differences in the 2016 US Presidential Election,” via Skype, University of Macedonia (Greece), 5 December 2015

“Tension between the Executive and Legislative Branches in US Foreign Policy,” Study of the United States Institute-US Foreign Policy, US State Department, 29-30 June 2015

“Coups, Cadavers, and Catastrophes: The Persian Gulf in the New Year,” Preston Theatre, Bard College, 3 March 2015

“Conflict in the Age of ISIS,” Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program, 11 November 2014

“After Ahmadinejad: US-Iran Relations under the New Regime,” Ursinus College (community event), Collegeville, PA, June 19, 2013

“Ahmadinejad’s Legacy and the Future of US-Iranian Relations,” University of Western Kentucky, Bowling Green, KY, April 16, 2013

“Iran, Public Diplomacy, and the United States,” Connecticut College, New London, CT, November 28, 2012

“The ‘War on Terror’ and the Post-Westphalian International Order,” United States Military Academy, West Point, March 7, 2012

“REVOLUTION! Democracy vs. Stability in the Middle East,” Morehouse College, Atlanta, February 28, 2011

“The Prospects for Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, NY, November 8, 2010


Selected Panel Discussions:

Small States, Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights,” Estonian Institute of Human Rights Annual Conference, Tallinn, Estonia, December 8, 2017

“Arms and Allies: Security Cooperation in East Asia,” World Policy Institute Event, October 10, 2017  

“Global Security Challenges for the New Administration,” U.S. State Department Conference on “Combating International Crime through Global Cooperation,” May 4, 2016

“Challenges in the Middle East,” International Security Studies Section Annual Conference, Springfield, MA, October 10, 2015

“The Space Between: Closing the Gap Between Civilian and Military Educational Communities,”  International Studies Association Annual Convention, Toronto, Canada, March 29, 2014

“Christian Realism in the White House? An Assessment of Reinhold Niebuhr’s Influence on Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy,” International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Francisco, April 4, 2013

“Seeking the Sources of Turkish Foreign Policy,” International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Francisco, April 3, 2013

“Pop Culture Narratives in World Politics,” International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Diego, April 3, 2012

“Evolving Conceptions of Statehood, Sovereignty, and Recognition,” International Studies Association Annual Convention, Montreal, February 18, 2011

“’They’re Just Like Us!’: Civilian/Military Collaboration in the IR Classroom,” International Studies Association Annual Conference, New York City, February 15, 2009