Wisdom without tears: Statecraft and the uses of history | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin
Article, Refereed Journal

Wisdom without tears: Statecraft and the uses of history

Journal of Strategic Studies, volume 41, Issue 7, 2018
Brands, Hal

The world is mired in history again, as historical modes of competition return and historical grievances fuel the policies of multiple revisionist actors. If the end of history has ended, then it follows that the time is ripe for an engagement with history's wisdom. We argue that the making of American statecraft — the deliberate, coordinated use of national power to achieve important objectives — can be significantly enhanced by a better understanding of the past. This essay, which draws on the extensive literature on history and statecraft, U.S. foreign policy, and the author's own research and experiences, offers a defense of the use of history to improve statecraft, as well as a typology of 10 distinct ways in which an understanding of history can improve government policy.

Research Topic: 
Security Studies