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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

VOA

June 17, 2016

"The Case Against Peace"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"Reducing external dangers turns out to have a downside: The less threatened we are by the outside world, the more prone we are to ugly quarrels at home. Even worse, peace may even contain the seeds of its own destruction. As we are now seeing in the Middle East, the collapse of unity and state authority can easily trigger violent internal conflicts that eventually drag outside powers back in."

 

 

White House

July/August 2016

"The Case for Offshore Balancing: A Superior U.S. Grand Strategy"

Magazine or Newspaper Article, Foreign Affairs

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

"For nearly a century, in short, offshore balancing prevented the emergence of dangerous regional hegemons and pre­served a global balance of power that enhanced American security. Tellingly, when U.S. policymakers deviated from that strategy—as they did in Vietnam, where the United States had no vital interests—the result was a costly failure."

 

 

June 9, 2016

"Why Is America's Foreign Policy Still Punching Above Its Weight?"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"Instead of seeing the United States as all-powerful and either uniquely good or evil, therefore, it makes more sense to see it as pretty much like most past great powers. It has done some good things, mostly out of self-interest but occasionally for the benefit of others as well. It has made some pretty horrific blunders, and these actions had significant repercussions."

 

 

May 26, 2016

"A New-Old Plan to Save the World … That Has No Hope of Saving the World"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"In short, this report calls on the United States to maintain every one of its current international commitments, double down on policies that have repeatedly failed, and take on expensive, risky, and uncertain projects in several regions at once."

 

 

Creative Commons

May 16, 2016

"The Donald vs. the Blob"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"...[M]ost Americans don't care that much about foreign policy, and they rarely choose presidents on that basis. Economic conditions drive presidential elections more than international events do, so even if voters believe Clinton is the sounder choice on foreign-policy grounds, it may not matter that much."

 

 

May 4, 2016

"The (Con)Fusion of Civilizations"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"...[C]ivilizations are not actors and they do not make decisions for war or peace. Even now, the main actors in world politics are states and the most powerful political ideology in the world is nationalism. Nationalism explains why the number of countries continues to rise, why supranational institutions like the European Union are in trouble, and why China and its neighbors are increasingly at odds over seemingly minor chunks of territory in the open seas."

 

 

April 25, 2016

"Why Is America So Bad at Promoting Democracy in Other Countries?"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"What doesn't work is military intervention (aka "foreign-imposed regime change"). The idea that the United States could march in, depose the despot-in-chief and his henchmen, write a new constitution, hold a few elections, and produce a stable democracy — presto! — was always delusional, but an awful lot of smart people bought this idea despite the abundant evidence against it."

 

 

April 18, 2016

"Trump's Rear-View Politics"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"Gazing solely in the rearview mirror also discourages us from thinking about the actual problems we face today and devising constructive and creative solutions to them. Case in point: The United States is not going to go back to being a society with a comfortable Anglo-Protestant majority, no matter how much some people might want it to be. It's not going to be a country where gay people are back in the closet. It is not going to have a nuclear monopoly; it's not likely to turn its back on global trade (and if it does, it will be poorer), and it's not going to be able to dictate terms to anybody who gets in our way."

 

 

April 7, 2016

"Obama Was Not a Realist President"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"...[A]fter seven-plus years in office, this most articulate of presidents never articulated a clear and coherent framework identifying what those vital interests are and why and spelling out how the United States could advance broader political ideals at acceptable cost and risk."

 

 

(Gage Skidmore CC)

April 1, 2016

"No, @realDonaldTrump Is Not a Realist"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"...[R]ealists in academia and in the policy world support the basic principles of free trade and oppose the protectionist ideas Trump routinely invokes. Realists favor free trade not because they believe economic interdependence guarantees peace, but because they regard economic power as the foundation of national strength and international influence, and they believe protectionism and autarky are strategies that weaken a state's economy over time. Trump is correct that one needs a strong economy to be a great power — let alone a global superpower — but his ideas on how to preserve that status are so … well, 17th century."

 
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.