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Hal Brands

Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor

About

Hal Brands is the Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor of Global Affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). He is also a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion. He is the author or editor of several books, including American Grand Strategy in the Age of Trump (2018), Making the Unipolar Moment: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Rise of the Post-Cold War Order (2016), What Good is Grand Strategy? Power and Purpose in American Statecraft from Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush (2014), Latin America’s Cold War (2010), From Berlin to Baghdad: America’s Search for Purpose in the Post-Cold War World (2008), and The Power of the Past: History and Statecraft (co-edited with Jeremi Suri, 2015). His newest book is The Lessons of Tragedy: Statecraft and World Order, co-authored with Charles Edel.

Hal served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Strategic Planning from 2015 to 2016, and has been a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow. He has also consulted with a range of government offices and agencies in the intelligence and national security communities and served as lead writer for the Commission on the National Defense Strategy for the United States.

Hal received his BA from Stanford University (2005) and his PhD from Yale University (2009). He previously worked at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and the Institute for Defense Analyses. He lives in Maryland with his wife and two children.

Expertise

Topics

  • American Defense Policy
  • American Foreign Policy
  • Domestic Influences On Foreign Policy
  • Grand Strategy
  • History
  • International Relations
  • Latin American Security and Diplomacy
  • Nuclear Policy and Proliferation
  • Strategic and Security Issues
  • U.S. Congress and Foreign Policy
  • U.S. Presidency and Foreign Policy

In the News

How Russia could force a nuclear war in the Baltics.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 11/7

Does America still have security interests in the Middle East?

Hal Brands cited in Jerusalem Post, 10/31

Putin conquered the Middle East, but the U.S. can get it back.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 10/22

Trump’s Syria blunder could bring order to chaos.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 10/13

Trump's dangerous war on the National Security Council.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 10/8

Singapore has some tough advice for the U.S. and China.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 10/1

Reckless choices, bad deals, and dangerous provocations.

Hal Brands wrote in Foreign Affairs, 9/26

A Filipino battleground of the China-U.S. cool war.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 9/19

The ‘China Hands’ got China wrong, but listen to them now.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 9/15

Lesson for Democrats: ‘Soft power’ relies on U.S. military.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 9/3

The real risks of allowing terrorist safe havens.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 8/27

Trump’s true foreign policy: Chaos.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 8/20

Can a Koch-Soros team change U.S. foreign policy? Not easily.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 8/6

America is losing the battle of the Arctic.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 7/30

Every president since Reagan was wrong about China's destiny.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 7/23

Trump has been (partly) good for U.S. foreign policy.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 7/16

The too-good-to-be-true way to fight the Chinese military.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 7/9

Trump shows how powerful America is by weakening it.

Hal Brands interviewed on Bloomberg Opinion’s Weekend Edition podcast, 7/5

Progressives don't know how to end the ‘Forever War’.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 7/2

Lessons from the Iraq War.

Hal Brands wrote in National Review, 6/20

New U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy isn’t going to scare China.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 6/18

What if the U.S. could fight only one war at a time?

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 6/11

China is winning the battle of brains with the U.S.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 6/4

The real origins of the U.S.-China cold war.

Hal Brands wrote in Foreign Policy, 6/2

Today’s U.S.-China clash began at Tiananmen Square.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 5/30

On Huawei, all Trump has to lose is America’s credibility.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 5/22

Trump’s foreign policy has finally run out of road.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 5/21

If NATO expansion was a mistake, why hasn’t Putin invaded?

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 5/14

Are Americans turning isolationist? Depends on who you ask.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 5/12

Hungary’s prime minister does not belong in the Oval Office.

Hal Brands wrote in The Washington Post, 5/9

‘Clash of Civilizations’ has no place in U.S. foreign policy.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 5/4

America can’t be great without a grand strategy.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 5/2

American grand strategy is mostly dead.

Hal Brands cited in The Washington Post, 4/23

America’s foreign policy isn’t dead. Yet.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 4/22

Liberalism is under siege. Conservatives can save it.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 4/14

Trump gets Trumpier. Allies get more scared.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 4/12

New voices in grand strategy.

Hal Brands wrote for Center for a New American Security, 4/11

NATO’s next war is against global tyranny.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 4/3

Google needs a lesson in patriotism.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 3/26

Statement before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on The Origins and Enduring Value of the Transatlantic Alliance.

Hal Brands’ statement before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on The Origins and Enduring Value of the Transatlantic Alliance posted on Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments website, 3/26

America’s big advantage over China and Russia: Demographics.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 3/25

Why America can't quit the Middle East.

Hal Brands wrote in Hoover Institution The Caravan, 3/21

Progressives should learn to love the Pentagon budget.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 3/17

Making allies pay more for troops will cost the U.S. dearly.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 3/12

The end of great power peace.

Hal Brands wrote in The National Interest, 3/6

Trump is right on Venezuela, but it may end badly.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 3/5

How the U.S. can avert an India-Pakistan war.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 2/26

Doing evil to do good in Latin America.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 2/20

After the responsible stakeholder, what? Debating America’s China strategy.

Hal Brands wrote for Texas National Security Review, 2/19

Are Russia and China getting closer? U.S. spy chiefs think so.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 2/14

The blob and the hell of good intentions.

Hal Brands quoted in The American Conservative, 2/12

South America is a battlefield in the new Cold War.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 2/10

Don’t let China take the world hostage.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 2/6

The lessons of tragedy.

Hal Brands interviewed on The American Interest podcast, 2/6

How Woodrow Wilson lost the peace.

Hal Brands wrote in The American Interest, 1/30

Trump’s venom for U.S. allies could take a toll this year.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 1/29