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Dr. Hal Brands

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Dr. Hal Brands is on the faculty at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. During 2015-16, he is also serving as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow in Washington, DC. Professor Brands is the author of three books, including What Good is Grand Strategy? Power and Purpose in American Statecraft from Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush (2014), and Latin America’s Cold War (2010). He has also written numerous articles on grand strategy, U.S. foreign policy, and other international security issues. Professor Brands holds a Ph.D. in history from Yale University.

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SSI books and monographs by Dr. Hal Brands

  • The Limits of Offshore Balancing

    September 24, 2015

    Authored by Dr. Hal Brands.
    View the Executive Summary

    This monograph assesses whether “offshore balancing” represents an appropriate and desirable grand strategy for the United States. It argues that the answer is no—that the purported advantages of offshore balancing are frequently overstated, while the likely disadvantages and dangers are significant indeed.

  • The Promise and Pitfalls of Grand Strategy

    August 30, 2012

    Authored by Dr. Hal Brands.
    This monograph offers a critical analysis of the idea of “grand strategy.” It explains why grand strategy is simultaneously so important and so difficult to do, and offers suggestions for how U.S. officials might approach the challenges of grand strategy in the 21st century.

  • Dilemmas of Brazilian Grand Strategy

    August 31, 2010

    Authored by Dr. Hal Brands.
    The author discusses the grand strategy Brazil has pursued under President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. He argues that Lula’s policies have raised Brazil’s profile and enhanced its diplomatic flexibility, but have also exposed Brazil to several potent strategic dilemmas that could compromise, or at the very least complicate, its geopolitical ascent.

  • Crime, Violence, and the Crisis in Guatemala: A Case Study in the Erosion of the State

    May 11, 2010

    Authored by Dr. Hal Brands.
    In this monograph, the author argues that rampant crime and violence have led to a full-blown crisis of the democratic state in Guatemala. He discusses the various criminal groups active in that country, and outlines a strategy for improving public order, strengthening government institutions, and combating the root causes that inform criminal activity.

  • Dealing with Political Ferment in Latin America: The Populist Revival, the Emergence of the Center, and Implications for U.S. Policy

    September 25, 2009

    Authored by Dr. Hal Brands.
    Frustration with poverty, corruption, and citizen insecurity within the political scene in Latin America is widespread as is political and ideological ferment. Given Latin America’s strategic importance to the United States, these changes and their diplomatic ramifications are of considerable interest to American policymakers.

  • Mexico's Narco-Insurgency and U.S. Counterdrug Policy

    May 07, 2009

    Authored by Dr. Hal Brands.
    The alarming rise in drug-related violence in Mexico is discussed and the prospects of U.S. counterdrug policies in that country is assessed. The author argues that current U.S. policies are ill-suited for confronting the Mexican drug trade, and advocates a more holistic, better integrated approach to counternarcotics.