Philip Gordon

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Phil Gordon

Philip H. "Phil" Gordon (born 1962) is an American diplomat and foreign policy expert. From 2013-15, Gordon served in the White House as Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Persian Gulf Region.[1][2] From 2009-13 he served as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

Gordon is currently a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he focuses on U.S. foreign policy.


Dr. Gordon received his Ph.D. in international relations and international economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in 1991; he also has an M.A. from SAIS (1987) and a B.A. from Ohio University (1984).[3]


Prior to joining the Obama Administration Gordon held a number of research and teaching positions, including ones at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, INSEAD, the global graduate business school in Fontainebleau, France; and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik in Bonn, Germany.[4]

From 1998–99 Dr. Gordon served as the Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton.[4]

Obama Administration[edit]

Dr. Gordon was Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region from 2013–15. As the most senior White House official focused on the greater Middle East, he worked closely with the president, secretary of state, and national security advisor on issues including the Iranian nuclear program, Middle East peace negotiations, the conflict in Syria, security in Iraq, U.S. relations with the Gulf states, the democratic transitions North Africa, and bilateral relations with Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon. He chaired numerous interagency processes, regularly engaged foreign leaders, and directed a staff of some twenty directors and other national security specialists.[4]

Prior to joining the National Security Council staff, Dr. Gordon served as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs under Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton from May 2009 through March 2013. As the head of the department’s largest bureau, he managed a Washington, DC-based staff of nearly 400, an overseas staff of more than 7,000, and oversaw a budget of over $1 billion. Dr. Gordon was responsible for 50 countries in Europe and Eurasia as well as for NATO, the EU and the OSCE. Working closely with Secretary of State Clinton, his priorities for the region included cooperating with Europe on global issues; promoting U.S. commercial and business interests; extending stability, prosperity and democracy to eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Caucasus; and developing bilateral cooperation with Russia and with Turkey.[4]


Dr. Gordon joined the Council on Foreign Relations in April 2015 as a senior fellow focused on U.S. foreign and national security policy; U.S. policy in the Middle East; Israeli-Palestinian issues; Middle East regional issues; Europe and the EU; Russia; Turkey; nuclear weapons; intelligence; terrorism; and international economics.[5]


Gordon has published articles in The New York Times, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, and Le Monde.

He has also authored several books, including:

  • Winning the Right War: The Path to Security for America and the World, 2008
  • Winning Turkey: How America, Europe, And Turkey Can Revive A Fading Partnership (with Omer Taspinar), 2008
  • History Strikes Back: How States, Nations, And Conflicts Are Shaping The Twenty-first Century, ed., (with Hubert Vedrine and Madeleine Albright), 2008
  • Crescent Crisis: US-European Strategy for the Middle East, ed.,, (with Ivo Daalder and Nicole Gnesotto), 2006
  • Allies at War: The United States, Europe, and the Crisis Over Iraq (with Jeremy Shapiro),, 2004
  • The French Challenge: Adapting to Globalization (with Sophie Meunier), 2001
  • France, Germany and the Western Alliance, 1995

He has also translated two books: Nicolas Sarkozy's Testimony: France, Europe, and the World in the Twenty-First Century, 2007, and Hubert Vedrine's France in the Age of Globalization, 2001.


Government offices
Preceded by
Daniel Fried
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
May 15, 2009 – March 10, 2013
Succeeded by
Victoria Nuland