Michael Brenes is co-director of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy and lecturer in history. His research interests include 20th-century United States foreign policy, political history, and political economy. He is the author of For Might and Right: Cold War Defense Spending and the Remaking of American Democracy (University of Massachusetts Press, 2020). In addition to his academic articles and book chapters, his work has been published in The New York Times, The New Republic, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Politico, Dissent, The Baffler, Boston Review, The Nation, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

He is at work on several projects. He is writing a history of the War and Terror from the presidency of Bill Clinton to the present. In addition to his project on the War on Terror, he is co-writing a book with Van Jackson titled The Rivalry Peril: How Great-Power Competition Threatens Peace and Weakens Democracy, to be published by Yale University Press. He is also co-editing two volumes with Daniel Bessner, one on the relationship between domestic politics and U.S. foreign policy (to be published by Palgrave MacMillan), and the other on the history of Cold War liberalism.