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Ellen Laipson

Ellen Laipson is the director of the International Security program at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. She joined GMU from the Stimson Center, where she was president and CEO (2002-2015) and continues as president emeritus and distinguished fellow. Her tenure at Stimson followed a quarter century of government service. She serves on a number of academic and other non-governmental boards related to international security and diplomacy, and is a weekly columnist for worldpoliticsreview.com. Her last post in government was vice chair of the National Intelligence Council (1997-2002). She also worked on the State Department’s policy planning staff, the National Security Council staff and the Congressional Research Service. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, she currently serves on the advisory councils of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy and the Notre Dame International Security Center, and on the board of the Diplomacy Center Foundation. From 2003 to 2015, she was a member of the board of the Asia Foundation. She was a member of the CIA External Advisory Panel from 2006-2009, President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board from 2009-2013, and on the Secretary of State’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board 2011-2014. Laipson has an MA from the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University and an AB from Cornell University.

Articles By Ellen Laipson

North Africa Needs More American Attention, But Will It Get It? By Ellen Laipson - Jul 6, 2021

For decades, North Africa has been a second tier of US policy interests in the Middle East, neither vital for the Israel-Palestine peace process, nor big players in the security challenges of the Gulf. From Morocco to Libya, the countries of North Africa (Egypt excepted) usually are an afterthought in American strategy. But with Russia … Continue reading “North Africa Needs More American Attention, But Will It Get It?”

A New Israeli Politics?  By Ellen Laipson - Jun 17, 2021

The long tenure of Benjamin Netanyahu as Israeli prime minister has led to some well entrenched conventional truths about the country’s politics and the quality of its democracy. Despite the highly fragmented condition of Israeli political culture, with more than three dozen parties, Bibi was a wily and effective political leader who consolidated power in … Continue reading “A New Israeli Politics? “

Diplomacy Is Back in the Middle East, With or Without the US By Ellen Laipson - Jun 9, 2021

One of the tenets of the Biden administration is the return to diplomacy, as part of how the US positions itself after the “forever wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan. Returning to the Paris agreement on climate, reopening negotiations on US participation in the Iran nuclear agreement and visiting allies to show respect for them and … Continue reading “Diplomacy Is Back in the Middle East, With or Without the US”

Israel-Palestine: The Test Case of America’s Declining Influence? By Ellen Laipson - May 28, 2021

The latest explosion of violence between Israel and the Palestinians has exposed a weariness and resignation among politicians and foreign-policy experts. Expectations are low that the United States, or the international community more broadly, can really affect the underlying issues, even if the current ceasefire holds. The moral and mental fatigue evident in reactions to … Continue reading “Israel-Palestine: The Test Case of America’s Declining Influence?”

Is Iran and China’s New Strategic Partnership a Game Changer for the Middle East? By Ellen Laipson - Apr 11, 2021

Late in March, the strategic partnership between Iran and China moved to a new phase. It was  first launched in 2016 during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Iran but on March 27, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi signed an expanded version of the 2016 statement in Tehran, pledging bilateral cooperation on political, cultural, security … Continue reading “Is Iran and China’s New Strategic Partnership a Game Changer for the Middle East?”