Dr. Josef Braml

Head of Program, USA/Transatlantic Relations Program

Areas of Expertise

  • Transatlantic relations and American views on world order
  • US security, energy, and trade policy
  • Economic and domestic factors for American foreign policy
  • Comparative governance studies, e.g. German and US political systems
  • Religion and politics in the United States


English, French


Phone: +49 (0)30 25 42 31-12
Mobile: +49 (0)179 15 43 04 3
Email: braml@dgap.org

Josef Braml joined the DGAP in October 2006 as a resident fellow of the Transatlantic Relations program.

He was previously research fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin (2002-06), a project leader at the Aspen Institute Berlin (2001), visiting scholar at the German-American Center (2000), consultant at the World Bank (1999), guest scholar at the Brookings Institution (1998-99), congressional fellow of the American Political Science Association (1997-98), and a member of the legislative staff in the US House of Representatives (1997-98).

He earned a PhD in political science, sociology, and French cultural studies from the University of Passau. He also studied international business, languages, and cultural studies at the University of Passau and the University of Nice – Sophia Antipolis.


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Selected Publications

Trump’s Non-Governmental Organization
by Josef Braml
DGAPstandpunkt 9 (September 2017), 3 pages.
Trump’s Non-Governmental Organization
Trump’s actions may appear impulsive and erratic, but there is method in the madness.
Category: Transatlantic Relations, United States of America
Foreign Policy and the Next German Government
Experts from the German Council on Foreign Relations offer case studies
by Josef Braml, Claire Demesmay, Dina Fakoussa, Ali Fathollah-Nejad, Wilfried Jilge, Laura Lale Kabis-Kechrid, Stefan Meister, Christian Mölling, Jana Puglierin, Henning Riecke, Claudia Schmucker, Daniela Schwarzer, Svenja Sinjen, Sebastian Sons, Sarah Wohlfeld
DGAPkompakt 7, Summer 2017, 42 pp.
Foreign Policy and the Next German Government
A new German government will take office after the elections on September 24, 2017. DGAP experts outline in 12 separate areas the foreign policy goals Germany should pursue (and with which partners).
Category: International Policy/Relations, Germany
Diplomacy by other Means
Soft power and the policy "Divide and Conquer"
by Josef Braml
Handelsblatt Global Edition, May 17, 2016, reprinted with permission
Diplomacy by other Means
The DGAP's Josef Braml outlines the United States’ practice of wielding trade agreements as diplomacy by other means
Category: Transatlantic Relations, Trade, Western Europe
Incentives Instead of Sanctions
New DGAP study on “Foreign Policy Towards Autocracies”
by Josef Braml
Diplomatisches Magazin, July 2015, pp. 48-49.
The Russian and Ukrainian crisis clearly shows that Europe’s democratic governments are required to deal with autocratic states in their immediate proximity. What is the best way of doing this: through dialogue, economic measures, or sanctions? How do other democracies deal with authoritarian states? These questions are answered by a new study on “Foreign Policy Towards Autocracies,” published by the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP).
Conducting International Relations with Autocracies
DGAP Yearbook, vol. 30 (2014): Außenpolitik mit Autokratien (Conducting International Relations with Autocracies)
by Josef Braml, Wolfgang Merkel, Eberhard Sandschneider
DGAP Yearbook, Volume 30, Published by DeGruyter Oldenbourg, December 2014, 480 pages (in German)
Conducting International Relations with Autocracies
How stable are authoritarian states? Should Germany cultivate relations with autocracies – be it to promote business interests, address security concerns, or protect human rights? And, if so, with which ones? Which of the available means – dialogue, business support, development aid, or sanctions – are best suited to reaching what ends? How do other democratic regimes deal with authoritarian regimes?
Category: Political System
Refocusing US Foreign Policy in the Middle East
Should the US retreat from its high profile role in the Middle East? Not according to Josef Braml.
by Josef Braml
ISN, the International Relations and Security Network, ETH Zurich, August 1, 2014.
Refocusing US Foreign Policy in the Middle East
Staying engaged will 1) aid the US quest for energy independence, 2) facilitate its relations with a troubled Saudi Arabia, and 3) possibly improve its ties with Iran, at the expense of China. The global footprint of the US is continuing to undergo a period of profound change. Domestic problems and a lack of appetite for repeating the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns are ushering in a more pragmatic and targeted foreign policy, with the Asia-Pacific region at its heart.
Transatlantic Relations in Dire Financial Straits
The United States in President Obama’s second term will remain focused on itself
by Josef Braml
Atlantisch Perspectief, 37 (2013) 4, pp. 4-9.
Transatlantic Relations in Dire Financial Straits
The economic imbalance as well as the domestic conflict between White House and Congress has brought the world power to the edge of its political ability. In foreign policy, too, the global hegemon can no longer deliver such global public goods as security, free trade, and a stable lead currency but, rather, needs to try harder to shift the burden of global responsibility over to its competitors and allies.
Category: Transatlantic Relations, Bilateral Relations, United States of America, Europe, Germany
President Obama’s Berlin Visit
Security policy is seeing some convergence, but there are still major differences of opinion in economic policy
by Josef Braml
Five Questions, June 19, 2013
President Obama’s Berlin Visit
“While we continue to fixate on the leader of the West, the US has shifted it’s attention toward Asia,” stated Josef Braml, resident fellow of the Transatlantic Relations Program at the German Council on Foreign Affairs (DGAP). The DGAP expert answers questions about the latest approaches to security policy, contentious issues in economic and trade politics, and the meaning of Obama’s visit to Germany.
Category: Transatlantic Relations, Free Trade, United States of America, Federal Republic of Germany
Strengthening International Governance
In the 2013 DGAP Yearbook, 80 experts describe ways for the state to regain its ability to take action
by Josef Braml, Stefan Mair, Eberhard Sandschneider
Diplomatisches Magazin 3, March 2013, p. 38-39
Strengthening International Governance
Not only have the financial and debt crises led to massive economic problems. They have also dramatically restricted the state’s ability to act. Up until now the response has been half-hearted, the efforts of nations to go it alone have been enormous, and the reach of WTO regulations has been minimal. Expectations are therefore high for politically and economically stable Germany. The latest DGAP Yearbook gives valuable insight into how Berlin should handle its new leadership role.
The Inner Weakness of US Foreign Policy
by Josef Braml
Diplomatisches Magazin, February 2013, pp. 52-53
The Inner Weakness of US Foreign Policy
Weak economic growth, high unemployment, ailing infrastructure, enormous national debt and intense political dispute on how to resolve these issues: even after the elections, the US is still very much preoccupied with its own affairs. The fragile social situation, adverse economic situation as well as internal political conflicts between the White House and Congress have pushed the world power to the limits of its capacity to act, both domestically and internationally.
Category: United States of America