BiographyThere are two ideas that have guided my academic work thus far: First, I have found that the really interesting questions are found at the intersection of fields and second, that research needs to be able to inform policy. In short, research needs to answer the question; “so what?”
To be sure, this is not the only approach one could (or indeed should) take to research, but it is one that has both inspired and worked for me. This has led me to be enthralled with big questions like why are things the way are and books like Ferguson’s War of the World and Civilization or Morris’ Why the West Rules (For Now) have proven to be foundational in my own work in terms of ambition and depth. My first work, The Idea of Failed States, graciously published by this press in the late Summer of 2017, tries to attain some of the objectives laid out by Ferguson, Morris, and Fukuyama in that it proposes and tests some arguments to explain big questions. Although smaller in scope to be sure, The Idea of Failed States represents the first of what I hope will several explorations into some of the dynamics of cohesion and strength within countries.
Prior to pursuing a PhD in War Studies at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC), I served in an Infantry Battalion for eight years, deploying once each to Haiti (in 2004) and Afghanistan (2008-09). The deployments, between which I obtained a Master’s in Political Studies from the University of New Brunswick (in 2007), shaped my outlook upon research and no doubt are why I seek to blend fields and seek answers (and new questions) that can inform policy.
Since 2013, after obtaining the PhD from RMCC, I have had the honour and privilege of both continuing to serve in Uniform and pursue my academic career. As military faculty at RMCC, we are in two worlds, one military and pragmatic, the other devoted to the pursuit and transmission of knowledge. At times the balance is challenging, but more often than not – especially in the field of political science at RMCC – the balance is incredibly powerful. They inform each other and make each other stronger and more compelling. That RMCC has dedicated and skilled academics is fantastic; that RMCC has dedicated and skilled academics who are also serving officers in the Canadian Armed Forces is a real treasure.
RMCC’s proximity to Queen’s University, one of Canada’s leading institutions of post-secondary education is another fantastic opportunity for collaboration that is starting to put Kingston – as opposed to RMCC or Queen’s alone – on the proverbial map as a centre of excellence for defence and security policy thought. Indeed, the Centre for International and Defence Policy (CIDP) at Queen’s now hosts many RMCC faculty and students (both civilian and military) as undergraduate, graduate, and senior fellows, as well as visiting defence fellows, and most recently, as deputy director of the centre itself, the post which I am privileged to now hold.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
I teach international relations, comparative politics, and research methods at both RMCC and Queen's. I am currently engaged in projects relating to the intersection of science and technology with social cohesion, specifically the impact of soldier enhancement technology on social cohesion. A related, but parallel, research project relates to a critical examination of how special operations forces (SOF) are employed by Western governments.
I have a love of science fiction - one that manifests itself through me not only gleefully watching most of the DC and Marvel superhero movies with my wife Michelle and our three children Michael, Anna, and Jack, but also in devouring on my own the works of Alistair Reynolds or James S.A. Corey.
As a family, we enjoy playing Carcassone or Settlers of Catan - both of which I am horrible at, but love to play.
When not engaged in those activities, I am on the court, feeding another beast that I call Basketball.
Published: Dec 09, 2014 by American Review of Canadian Studies
Authors: H. Christian Breede
Subjects: Military & Security Studies
This article hypothesizes that based on this comprehensive understanding of success in war, Canada’s mission to Afghanistan was a failure. Although at times coherent, Canada’s stated policies in Afghanistan were ultimately unsuccessful, lending weight to recent analysis arguing that Canada’s war in Afghanistan was about issue other than securing a better life for Afghans.