Belfer Center Home > People > Stephen M. Walt

« Back to list of experts

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

 

2015

June 26, 2015

"Why Realists Should Celebrate Gay Marriage"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"As the court made clear, if consenting adults are not free to fall in love with whomever they are drawn to and to express that love openly in the institution of marriage, then they are being denied the full rights that other citizens enjoy and they are not in fact truly free. Today's decision eliminated this obvious contradiction between our ideals and our practices, and it should be celebrated for that reason alone."

 

 

June 10, 2015

"What Should We Do if the Islamic State Wins?"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"So what do we do if the Islamic State succeeds in holding on to its territory and becoming a real state? Posen says that the United States (as well as others) should deal with the Islamic State the same way it has dealt with other revolutionary state-building movements: with a policy of containment."

 

 

May 29, 2015

"Chill Out, America"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"If you want to something to worry about, you should ponder our inability or unwillingness to learn from past mistakes, the ability of special interests to warp key elements of U.S. foreign policy, the bipartisan tendency to recycle failed policies and the people who devised them, and our habitual surprise when we meddle in places we don't understand and discover that some of the people we’ve been pushing around don't like it, want us out, and are willing to do nasty things to achieve that goal. Unless and until these features of U.S. foreign policy are altered, even those of us who are lucky to be living here in the relative security of the United States have something to worry about."

 

 

May 20, 2015

"The Five-Minute Commencement Speech"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"I promised to be brief and I know you are eager to get on with the rest of this celebration, and then with the rest of your lives. But I will close with one request: please do a better job of managing global affairs than my generation did. We did a few things right for sure, but we screwed a lot of things up too, especially in the years after 9/11. Perhaps worst of all, we didn't hold those responsible to account for their mistakes."

 

 

Julo Photo

May 12, 2015

"What Will 2050 Look Like?"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"...[T]he alliances forged during the long Cold War have been around a long time and have proven to be remarkably durable, but can we really be confident NATO or America's Asian alliances will still be around and still be meaningful thirty-five years down the road? If Russian power continues to decline and the United States focuses more and more attention on Asia, NATO will be increasingly irrelevant."

 

 

May 5, 2015

Podcast: "Can the United States 'Manage' the Middle East? Should it Try?" with Stephen M. Walt

News

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

An audio recording from Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School.

On April 29, 2015 at MEI, Prof. Stephen Walt assessed U.S. policy and interests in the Middle East, arguing that scaled back involvement might yield better results for the U.S. and the region.

 

 

April 27, 2015

"Where Do We Draw the Line on Balancing China?"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"Compared with the need to maintain global economic growth or prevent irreversible and potentially catastrophic damage to the Earth's atmosphere, going to the brink over some piles of sand around Mischief Reef doesn't seem all that significant. It's a classic use of 'salami tactics,' where a revisionist power seeks to alter the status quo through a series of small steps, each of them seemingly innocuous but whose cumulative impact could be enormous."

 

 

April 12, 2015

"Deal or No Deal? Actually, That's Not the Right Question"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"Iran has more latent power potential than any other state in its region, and it might prefer a regional environment in which nuclear weapons did not constrain its ability to throw its weight around. As long as Tehran doesn't have to worry about U.S.-backed regime change, its strategic position might be better off without the bomb. If top leaders in Iran see things this way, then they won't weaponize no matter what the final agreement does or does not permit them to do."

 

 

April 7, 2015

"The U.N. Security Council. What's Up With That?"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"We all know why the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China are permanent members with veto rights on the Security Council: The first four won World War II (well, France helped) and China has nearly a quarter of the world's population. But the present structure is one of the world's great anachronisms: Germany is now more important than either Britain or France and states such as India, Brazil, Japan, or South Africa (and some others) would be plausible contenders for 'permanent' status too."

 

 

March 31, 2015

"Just Say No"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"...[T]he central challenge in the greater Middle East is the lack of effective and legitimate political institutions — especially in places like Libya, Syria, Yemen, and post-invasion Iraq. Military force is useful for certain purposes, but the ability to blow things up and kill people does not translate into a workable set of governing institutions. In fact, the more the United States relies on military force to 'manage' these problems, the more it encourages others to take up arms against us or against our clients, which in turn allows those with a taste and talent for violence to dominate the political landscape."

 

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 Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.