Hal Brands

Este archivo solo abarca los artículos del autor incorporados a este sitio a partir del 1 de noviembre de 2006. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

The Age of Amorality

“How much evil we must do in order to do good”, the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote in 1946. “This, I think, is a very succinct statement of the human situation”. Niebuhr was writing after one global war had forced the victors to do great evil to prevent the incalculably greater evil of a world ruled by its most aggressive regimes. He was witnessing the onset of another global conflict in which the United States would periodically transgress its own values in order to defend them. But the fundamental question Niebuhr raised—how liberal states can reconcile worthy ends with the unsavory means needed to attain them—is timeless.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ukrainian military cadets at a swearing-in ceremony in Kyiv, September 2023. Viacheslav Ratynskyi / Reuters

The post-Cold War era began, in the early 1990s, with soaring visions of global peace. It is ending, three decades later, with surging risks of global war. Today, Europe is experiencing its most devastating military conflict in generations. A brutal fight between Israel and Hamas is sowing violence and instability across the Middle East. East Asia, fortunately, is not at war. But it isn’t exactly peaceful, either, as China coerces its neighbors and amasses military power at a historic rate. If many Americans don’t realize how close the world is to being ravaged by fierce, interlocking conflicts, perhaps that’s because they’ve forgotten how the last global war came about.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Ukrainian serviceman holding a mortar shell, Donetsk region, Ukraine, February 2023. Marko Djurica / Reuters

The moral arc of the universe is long, the saying goes, but it bends toward justice. That is a pleasing way to see the first year of Russia’s war in Ukraine. True, Ukraine hasn’t seen much justice in a conflict that has ravaged its territory, economy, and people. But the war has at least smashed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military and confounded his imperial aspirations. It has seen Ukraine wildly outperform nearly all initial expectations. It has unified and invigorated the West. The good guys are winning, it seems. The bad guys are getting the cosmic comeuppance reserved for those on the wrong side of history.…  Seguir leyendo »

China fails the leadership test for COVID-19

Global health crises are geopolitical events, and the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus is no exception. That incipient pandemic is not simply testing the global health system. It is also an acid test for a Chinese regime that intends, in the words of President Xi Jinping, to “take center stage in the world.”

Much has been made — appropriately — of how China’s authoritarian system has been the taproot of its worst failures in responding to COVID-19. Yet the episode also shows why an authoritarian China will struggle to create a constructive, consensual international order, no matter how much power it wields.…  Seguir leyendo »