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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

 

2014

July 22, 2014

"AIPAC Is the Only Explanation for America's Morally Bankrupt Israel Policy"

Op-Ed, The Huffington Post

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

"...AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and assorted Christian Zionist groups continue to exhibit a severe case of tunnel vision. Because defending Israel no matter what it does is their main raison d'etre (and central to their fundraising), they are unable to see that they are helping Israel drive itself off a cliff. Similarly, those pliant members of Congress who cravenly sign AIPAC-drafted resolutions are not true friends of Israel. They are false friends who pretend to care but are really only interested in getting reelected."

 

 

DoD Photo

June 20, 2014

"Being a Neocon Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"How can a group of people be so wrong so often and at such high cost, yet still retain considerable respect and influence in high circles?"

 

 

June 9, 2014

"Take 2 Ambien and Call Me When It's Over"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"One of the strengths of U.S. democracy is supposed to be its openness to fresh ideas, and to arguments that challenge deeply embedded beliefs....Since the end of the Cold War, however, establishment thinking about foreign policy has been defined by an alliance of liberal hawks and even more hawkish neoconservatives, with disappointing results for sure. There's no time like the present for a more wide-open discussion."

 

 

www.kremlin.ru.

June 4, 2014

"No-Bluff Putin"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"...Putin's tacit acceptance of the recent Ukrainian election and his other moves to de-escalate the crisis aren't an example of his backing down in the face of coordinated Western pressure. Instead, he is lowering the temperature because he got the most important things he wanted and just about everything he could reasonably expect."

 

 

April 23, 2014

"Pay No Attention to that Panda Behind the Curtain"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"...America's Asian partners shouldn't question the U.S. commitment to maintain its military presence in Asia and its security commitments to its various Asian partners. This policy is rooted in geopolitics and America's own strategic interests. Obama could do everyone a favor if he explained this to his hosts in simple, clear, and forceful terms, and reminded them that the U.S. security presence has been a powerful bulwark of regional stability for decades."

 

 

March 3, 2014

"No Contest"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"...[R]ealism tells you major powers care a lot about security and are often ruthless in defending vital interests, especially close to home. It recognizes that great powers ignore international law when it gets in their way (as the United States has done repeatedly), and it sees relations between major powers as a ceaseless struggle for position, even when that struggle is waged for essentially defensive reasons."

 

2013

September 2013

"Leaving Theory Behind: Why Simplistic Hypothesis Testing is Bad for International Relations"

Journal Article, European Journal of International Relations, Special Issue: The End of International Relations Theory?, issue 3, volume 19

By John J. Mearsheimer, Editorial Board Member, Quarterly Journal: International Security and Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program

Theory creating and hypothesis testing are both critical components of social science, but the former is ultimately more important. Yet, in recent years, International Relations scholars have devoted less effort to creating and refining theories or using theory to guide empirical research. Instead, they increasingly focus on 'simplistic hypothesis testing,' which emphasizes discovering well-verified empirical regularities. Privileging simplistic hypothesis testing is a mistake, however, because insufficient attention to theory leads to misspecified empirical models or misleading measures of key concepts.

 

 

October 17, 2013

"Applying Theory: A Scholar's Lessons for Policymakers and the Academy"

Journal Article, Monitor, International Interviews, issue 1/1, volume 6

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

"In our view, the field has moved away from a careful reliance on theory, and is just mindlessly going out and testing hypotheses without thinking very hard about what's really causing what."

 

 

August 26, 2013

"Weapons Assad Uses Shouldn't Affect U.S. Policy"

Op-Ed, New York Times

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

"...[I]t is not good that Assad's forces may have used chemical weapons, but it is not obvious why the choice of weaponry changes the calculus of U.S. interests in this case.  The brutal nature of the Assad regime has been apparent for decades, and its forces have already killed thousands with conventional means.  Does it really matter whether Assad is killing his opponents using 500-pound bombs, mortar shells, cluster munitions, machine guns, icepicks or sarin gas?"

 

 

Laura Poitras / Praxis Films

July 8, 2013

"Snowden Deserves an Immediate Presidential Pardon"

Op-Ed, Financial Times

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

"Mr Snowden stands accused of stealing government property and unauthorised dissemination of classified information. But he did not pass valuable secrets to a foreign government or sell them for personal gain — as convicted spies such as Aldrich Ames or Jonathan Pollard did. On the contrary, he gave up a well-paid job and put his own freedom in jeopardy for a principle."

 

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