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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

 

2015

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."

 

 

Wikimedia CC 2.5

March 18, 2015

"Netanyahu, in the Driver's Seat"

Magazine or Newspaper Article, Harvard Gazette

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

Israeli election results promise more settlements and warnings on Iran, with scant chance of a Palestinian state, Walt says

 

 

Wikimedia CC 3.0

March 13, 2015

"I Changed My Mind..."

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"...[O]ver time I’ve changed my mind about a fair number of academic, historical, and contemporary issues. I used to believe a number of things that turned out not to be correct, and there are others where at a minimum I know have considerable doubts. And guess what? Changing my mind isn't all that painful a process; in fact, it can be both liberating and enjoyable to realize that earlier beliefs were mistaken."

 

 

March 2, 2015

"Bibi Blows Up the Special Relationship"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"...[A]nyone who questions the special relationship or the role the lobby plays in preserving it is still likely to be accused of anti-Semitism (if a gentile) or self-hatred (if Jewish). The special relationship has rested to some degree on intimidation, and as noted most people don't like being bullied. The question, therefore, is whether this flap will turn out to be an isolated incident or whether more people will begin to say what they really think."

 

 

Wikimedia CC

February 17, 2015

"What Putin Learned from Reagan"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"If the president of the mighty United States — which had the world's largest economy and powerful military forces stationed all over the world — was sufficiently frightened by the ragtag Sandinistas that he was willing to organize and back an illegal civil war against them, is it just barely conceivable that Putin and Medvedev and many other Russians might be just a mite concerned that a country of some 45 million people right on their border might be getting ready to realign, and bring the world's most powerful military alliance right up to their doorstep?"

 

 

February 9, 2015

"Why Arming Kiev Is a Really, Really Bad Idea"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"The solution to this crisis is for the United States and its allies to abandon the dangerous and unnecessary goal of endless NATO expansion and do whatever it takes to convince Russia that we want Ukraine to be a neutral buffer state in perpetuity. We should then work with Russia, the EU, and the IMF to develop an economic program that puts that unfortunate country back on its feet."

 

 

U.S. State Dept.

January 30, 2015

"What Would Ash Carter Do?"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"As a public service, therefore, I offer the following Top 10 Questions to ask Ash Carter at his confirmation hearing....Under what conditions would you recommend the use of force against Iran's nuclear facilities? Given that a military attack could delay an Iranian bomb for only a year or two, and would probably increase Iran's desire to obtain an actual deterrent, does keeping 'all options on the table' make sense?..."

 

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