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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.  He previously taught at Princeton University and the University of Chicago, where he served as Master of the Social Science Collegiate Division and Deputy Dean of Social Sciences.  He has been a Resident Associate of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace and a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution, and a consultant for the Institute of Defense Analyses, the Center for Naval Analyses, and the National Defense University.  He serves on the editorial boards of Foreign Policy, Security Studies, International Relations, and Journal of Cold War Studies, and as Co-Editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs, published by Cornell University Press.  He was elected a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in May 2005.

Professor Walt is the author of The Origins of Alliances (1987), which received the 1988 Edgar S. Furniss National Security Book Award, and Revolution and War (1996).  His recent publications include “An Unnecessary War,” Foreign Policy, (Winter 2002–03), “American Hegemony: Its Prospects and Pitfalls,” Naval War College Review, (Spring 2002); “Beyond bin Laden: Reshaping U.S. Foreign Policy” (International Security, Winter 2001/02); and Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy (W.W. Norton, 2005).

Professor Walt blogs at walt.foreignpolicy.com.

 

 

By Date

 

2016

February 2, 2016

"The Big 5 and the Sad State of Foreign Policy in 2016"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"The United States is still the strongest country in the world, and whoever sits in the Oval Office can still make a huge difference, both in the people he or she appoints and the decisions he or she makes. And that's what saddens me most as I contemplate this election: Instead of being excited by a smart new leader with a promising vision for addressing our current challenges, I've been reduced to hoping that the foreign-policy establishment will rein in the various candidates' worst instincts."

 

 

January 8, 2016

"What Would a Realist World Have Looked Like?"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"Realists believe nationalism and other local identities are powerful and enduring; states are mostly selfish; altruism is rare; trust is hard to come by; and norms and institutions have a limited impact on what powerful states do. In short, realists have a generally pessimistic view of international affairs and are wary of efforts to remake the world according to some ideological blueprint, no matter how appealing it might be in the abstract."

 

2015

December 11, 2015

"The Unbearable Lightness of America's War Against the Islamic State"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"If the United States were truly serious about terrorism, you'd see a more hardnosed approach to the various American 'allies' who are part of the problem rather than being part of the solution."

 

 

December 7, 2015

"The Top 5 Things the Next President Needs to Know About Foreign Policy"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"You can't run a successful foreign policy if you don't have a basic grasp of geopolitics. Conducting foreign policy with unsound ideas about the key forces in international politics is like designing an airplane without taking gravity into account: Frequent crashes are to be expected."

 

 

November 25, 2015

"The Top Ten Things Americans Should (Still) Be Grateful for in 2015"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"Even as we grapple with today's crises, we should acknowledge with gratitude the disasters that might have occurred but didn't. Another year has gone by with no nuclear weapons being detonated, no great power war breaking out, and no major economic meltdown...."

 

 

Creative Commons

November 16, 2015

"Don't Give ISIS What It Wants"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"...[S]tep one is not to fall into the obvious trap the Islamic State has set. If we buy into its vision of relentless cultural, religious, and civilizational conflict, we could easily act in ways that make its vision a reality. Given how weak the Islamic State is today, the last thing we should do is encourage anyone to see it as heroic or farsighted."

 

 

Creative Commons

November 6, 2015

"Turkey's Democratic Tipping Point"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"For any democracy to function well over the long term, different groups have to be willing to relinquish power when defeated, confident that they will be able to win at some point down the road."

 

 

Creative Commons

November 2, 2015

"Whose Lives Matter?"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"For all our bold rhetoric about the 'responsibility to protect,' the collective response to even large-scale tragedies will usually reflect a complex set of calculations rather than a simple urge to help those in trouble."

 

 

Creative Commons

November/December 2015

"ISIS as Revolutionary State"

Op-Ed, Foreign Affairs

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

"Regional actors will no doubt try to pass the buck and get Americans to do their fighting for them. U.S. leaders should reject such ploys politely but firmly and pass the buck right back. ISIS is not an existential threat to the United States, to Middle Eastern energy supplies, to Israel, or to any other vital U.S. interest, so U.S. military forces have no business being sent into harm's way to fight it."

 

 

October 23, 2015

"Lax Americana"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"Had the United States abandoned former Afghan president Hamid Karzai back in 2009, for example, it would have sent a clear message to other U.S. clients that the United States was not going to prop up corrupt, incompetent, and ungrateful foreign leaders forever. It would have reminded other states that Washington was not running a charity operation, that its support was neither unconditional nor open-ended, and that above all it prefers to back winners"

 
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.