Steven Levine


Adjunct Professor - Center for Security Studies (CSS)


School of Foreign Service (SFS)
General profile


+1 202-687-5679


Mortara Center

Office hours

By appointment


I watch how changes in energy affect geopolitics. To do so, I have established a set of indicators (now at 11) that help to identify the potential for geopolitical shift out of the massive stream of daily data. The next step is to figure out precisely what geopolitical shift may lie ahead. To get there, I observe 14 general rules of geopolitics. You may follow the result at Quartz, the global financial website (

Another current obsession (and the subject of my next book) is the geopolitics of technology--how shifts in technology make some nations strong, and render others comparatively weak.

This specialty flows from more than 30 years of professional work in more than a dozen countries.

I was resident correspondent for The New York Times and then the Wall Street Journal in the Caucasus and Central Asia for 11 years, starting three weeks after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This period coincided with numerous small wars--in Chechnya, Tajikistan, Nagorno-Karabakh and Georgia--and the oil boom on the Caspian Sea.

Before that, I was Newsweek's resident correspondent for Pakistan and Afghanistan for three years. This started with the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan and Benazir Bhutto's first run for public office, and ran through the birth of al Qaeda in 1990 and the dispersal of the Afghan Arabs around the world, and the launch of modern jihadism.

Previously, I was Manila correspondent for Newsday, starting with Ferdinand Marcos's fall from power in the People Power revolution, and running through five coup attempts against Corazon Aquino.

In 2007, my book on the Caspian Sea boom, The Oil and the Glory, was published by Random House. It was named a Top 10 Book of 2007 by Business Week, and is widely regarded as the standard work on that place and period. In 2008, Random House published my next book, Putin's Labyrinth, which follows the lives and deaths of six Russians.

I currently am a Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation, and Washington Correspondent for Quartz.


  • MS (1981) Columbia University, Journalism
  • BA (1980) Fresno State University, Journalism