Belfer Center Home > Experts > Stephen M. Walt

« Back to publication

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

DoD

October 13, 2014

"Much Ado About the Islamic State"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"Absent effective political institutions, efforts to move from authoritarian to more participatory forms of government tend to provoke bitter quarrels between previously advantaged groups and those who have been excluded from wealth or power. In a world where most states are in fact multiethnic or multinational, democratization was bound to provoke greater internal conflicts, at least in the short term."

 

 

September 4, 2014

"NATO Owes Putin a Big Thank-You"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"But as George Kennan, Michael Mandelbaum, and other experts warned in the 1990s, NATO expansion turned out to be a fundamental strategic misstep. It alienated Russia without making NATO stronger; on the contrary, expansion involved extending security guarantees to mostly weak countries that would be the hardest to defend should Russian power ever recover"

 

 

White House Photo

August 13, 2014

"Double Diss"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"...[I]t's clear Clinton understands George W. Bush blew it big-time, and that repeating his mistakes will doom the next president as well. What's less clear is why she didn't openly embrace the more prudent policies that both her husband and her former boss championed. My guess: she was just reacting to the president's favorability ratings and pandering to the usual suspects, which is what anyone running for office is likely to do these days."

 

 

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.

 

SUBSCRIBE

Receive email updates on the most pressing topics in science and int'l affairs.

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 Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev.