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Hal Brands

Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor


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.



  • 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

George Shultz understood that money was power.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 02/08

Biden stakes America’s claim in the Pacific against China.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 02/02

U.S. needs to deny, not dominate, China in the Indo-Pacific.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 01/31

Obama playbook won't help Biden fix Trump’s blunders abroad.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 01/27

China's foreign policy weapons: Technology, coercion, corruption.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 01/24

U.S. can fight domestic insurgents with lessons learned abroad.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 01/20

Dollar beware.

Hal Brands wrote in American Purpose, 01/13

China’s Power: Up for debate 2020.

Hal Brands interviewed on ChinaPower podcast, 01/11

Turning its back on the world won’t help America heal.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 01/09

China's Biden plan can be seen in EU trade deal.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 01/05

Up next, an era of global harmony — or a new Dark Age?

Hal Brands interviewed on Bloomberg Opinion Radio, 01/04

U.S. foreign policy hits a crossroads in the Sahara.

Hal Brands wrote in Bloomberg Opinion, 12/29