Cover Image: The Twilight Struggle

The Twilight Struggle

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Member Reviews

The Twilight Struggle By Hal Brands
Hal Brands is the Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor of Global Affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. This book is written by someone who has thought about the topic of strategy and The Cold War very deeply. I was extremely glad I read this book. Mr. Brand stays on topics from Truman through the Trump era and describes the US changing policy to confront the Soviet Union through these 75 years. 
I have read many books on The Cold War and in my opinion, this is one of the best. Mr. Brand highlights the importance of the leadership of the presidents: Truman/Stalin, Eisenhower/Khrushchev and Reagan/Gorbachev and their respective State Departments in preventing policy and boundary conflicts from going from a Cold War to a Hot War. 
Of most importance to meet was the section of Truman who was able to keep the US citizenship engaged in the world after WW II. This engagement including money- The Marshall Plan, manpower-Nato and the economy with Bretton Woods all done to strengthen Europe and Japan to insure none fell into the Soviet sphere. 
Before reading this book, I had not given enough thought to fluidity of the strengths and weaknesses of the US vs. the Soviets and how this dictated what the policy was and what it needed to be. I came away from this book appreciating far more the importance of Intelligence and Foreign Policy compared to military might. 
The book offers 10 policy points to consider as we move forward into what seems to be Cold War II. In reading this last part, I am concerned we will not renew our Intelligence and State Department to handle the near-term clashes that may come with Mr. Putin.  In my opinion Russian policy is the most important in the short term. 
After reading this book I shall spend some time doing a deep dive on some of the papers and talks Mr. Brand has made available on his website. In other words, this book has caused me to read more of this thinking on this important topic.
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Professor Brands makes a compelling argument for a more involved Foreign Policy to counteract the Global Rise of Chinese influence.  Not the large destabilizing impact of invasion but rather a combination of smart foreign policy, military advisors as well as intelligent use of American Money.  All of these things must be carried out not in the ad hoc manner that has been happening since the end of the "Cold War" but by taking lessons from the past and applying the principles of those lessons to the present.
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