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Dr. Hal Brands

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Dr. Hal Brands is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and History at Duke University. He previously worked at the Institute for Defense Analyses outside of Washington, DC. In 2012, he was named a member of the RAND Corporation’s Grand Strategy Advisory Board. He is the author of Latin America’s Cold War (2010) and From Berlin to Baghdad: America’s Search for Purpose in the Post-Cold War World (2008), as well as numerous articles on grand strategy, U.S. foreign policy, Latin American politics and diplomacy, and other international security issues. Dr. Brands holds a Ph.D. in history from Yale University.

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SSI books and monographs by Dr. Hal Brands

  • 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.