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Stephen M. Walt

Mailing address

Littauer 367
Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs
79 John F. Kennedy Street, Mailbox 53
Cambridge, MA, 02138

Stephen M. Walt

Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program

Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Contact:
Telephone: (617) 495-5712
Fax: (617)-495-8963
Email: stephen_walt@harvard.edu

 

Experience

Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he served as Academic Dean from 2002 to 2006.  He previously taught at Princeton and at the University of Chicago, where he was Master of the Social Sciences Collegiate Division and Deputy Dean of Social Sciences.  He is a contributing editor at Foreign Policy magazine, co-chair of the editorial board of International Security, and co-editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs book series. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in May 2005 and received the International Studies Association’s Distinguished Senior Scholar award in 2014.  His books include The Origins of Alliances, which received the 1988 Edgar S. Furniss National Security Book Award, and Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy, which was a finalist for the Lionel Gelber International Affairs Book Award and the Arthur Ross Book Prize.  His most recent book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (co-authored with John J. Mearsheimer) was a New York Times best-seller and has been translated into more than twenty foreign languages.  His weekly FP column is http://www.foreignpolicy.com/voices/walt

 

 

By Date

 

2016

AP

November 23, 2016

"Ten Ways to Tell if Your President Is a Dictator"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

By Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program

"Public accountability is inherent to America's constitutional system, but that doesn't mean Trump won't try to escape it. It's not as if he doesn't have role models for this sort of operation. In Russia, Putin has won a series of elections and retains high approval ratings, largely because he has eliminated, intimidated, or marginalized anyone who might challenge his control while feeding the Russian people a steady diet of pro-Kremlin propaganda."

 

 

November 14, 2016

"Could There Be a Peace of Trumphalia?"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

By Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program

"...[T]here are constraints imposed by the present international system. Even if you believe the United States needs to rethink its grand strategy, moving to a different grand strategy needs to be done with skill, nuance, time, and attention to detail. Shifting to a new strategy without triggering unnecessary and dangerous instability is not a task for amateurs. And given that most of the Republican foreign-policy establishment said openly that Trump was unfit for office, he may not have a lot of experienced and talented people to draw from."

 

 

November 4, 2016

"Will America's Good Name Survive the 2016 Election?"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

By Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program

"It can't be encouraging for the citizens of other countries to discover that a non-trivial chunk of the American body politic is xenophobic, racist, protectionist, and ill-informed. That may always have been true, but it took the Trump campaign to put it up in bright lights."

 

 

AP

October 24, 2016

"The Great Myth About U.S. Intervention in Syria"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

By Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program

"...[B]y far the worst argument for intervening in Syria is the suggestion that greater U.S. involvement is necessary to preserve U.S. credibility, to maintain its reputation as a distinctly moral great power, or to preserve the respect of allies and adversaries alike. The historical record shows that not intervening in humanitarian tragedies has had little impact on America's standing in the past, and the same is true today."

 

 

AP

October 16, 2016

"The 2016 Epidemic of Afghan War Amnesia"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

By Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program

"...[T]he well-intentioned Western effort to create a new Afghan state from scratch was equally misguided, as the new constitution envisioned a centralized, Western-style government in Kabul that was at odds with Afghan history and traditions. It also presumed a level of administrative competence and a revenue base that far exceeded Afghan capacities. Yet none of the international participants who embraced this outcome seemed to realize they had taken on an unrealistic and open-ended burden and that the new Afghan state would be dependent on lavish outside support more or less indefinitely."

 

 

Gary Skidmore/CC

September 25, 2016

"Why Are We So Sure Hillary Will Be a Hawk?"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

By Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program

"...[I]f she can win over some of the people during her first term, her popularity will soar and re-election would be easy. The lesson? Clinton should focus on domestic reforms and not on international crusades. And as former State Department officials Jeremy Shapiro and Richard Sokolsky suggest, that's been her basic inclination all along."

 

 

September 18, 2016

"The Broken Policy Promises of W. Bush, Clinton, and Obama"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

By Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program

"...[I]n American politics, when a well-positioned minority believes strongly in a particular approach and the public at large is indifferent or only intermittently engaged by the issue, the minority usually wins."

 

 

Creative Commons

August 26, 2016

"The Countries With the Worst Bad Habits"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

By Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program

"All of which reminds us that we must be — yes, my favorite word — realistic about the ability of complex societies to change their spots overnight. That fact can be reassuring in some circumstances, insofar as it helps insulate successful policies from opponents who mistakenly want to overturn them. But it also means that policies that have simply outlived their usefulness can be as hard to eradicate as kudzu. The next time you find yourself thinking some charismatic new leader is going to sweep into office and fix everything: think again."

 

 

August 21, 2016

"Choose Your Own Adventure: The Future of the World"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

By Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program

"...[P]olitical choices do matter and can easily shift societies off one path and onto another. One obvious implication: What U.S. voters decide to do in November is really, really important."

 

 

August 8, 2016

"Donald Trump: Keep Your Hands Off the Foreign-Policy Ideas I Believe In"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

By Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program

"...[T]he strategy of offshore balancing that I favor puts a premium on flexibility and on keeping one's options open. To do that successfully requires a cool head and a certain amount of discipline, because you never know when today's adversary becomes tomorrow's ally and you don't want to burn bridges with potential partners unless you absolutely have to. Needless to say, coolness and discipline are qualities in which Trump is conspicuously lacking."

 
Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.