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Stephen M. Walt

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

 

 

By Date

 

2015

August 28, 2015

"The Soft Logic of Soft Targets"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"If foreign and domestic terrorists are moving away from large-scale, dramatic attacks (such as 9/11), and toward smaller attacks on soft targets, then how should we respond? Mostly by refining basic counterterrorist activities (e.g., creating better watch-lists, sharing information with foreign intelligence services, monitoring terrorist publications, etc.), and guarding high-value targets whose destruction would have more far-reaching effects. But trying to harden every conceivable target is a fool's errand."

 

 

U.S. Army Photo

August 21, 2015

"So Wrong for So Long"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"...[T]he real problem is that the neoconservative worldview — one that still informs the thinking of many of the groups and individuals who are most vocal in opposing the Iran deal — is fundamentally flawed. Getting Iraq wrong wasn't just an unfortunate miscalculation, it happened because their theories of world politics were dubious and their understanding of how the world works was goofy."

 

 

August 10, 2015

"The Myth of the Better Deal"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"The most obvious example of magical thinking in contemporary policy discourse, of course, is the myth of a 'better deal' with Iran. Despite abundant evidence to the contrary, opponents of the JCPOA keep insisting additional sanctions, more threats to use force, another round of Stuxnet, or if necessary, dropping a few bombs, would have convinced Iran to run up the white flag and give the United States everything it ever demanded for the past 15 years."

 

 

August 3, 2015

"Why America Will Never Hit Reset With Iran"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"Instead of using this agreement as a first step toward a more cordial and business-like relationship, these groups will try to poison U.S.-Iranian relations in other ways and keep the cold war between Washington and Iran going into perpetuity."

 

 

July 27, 2015

"The Secret to America's Foreign-Policy Success (and Failure)"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"In Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, and several other places, U.S. leaders failed to realize that there were limits to what U.S. power could accomplish and that military force is a crude instrument that inevitably produces unintended consequences. Defeating third-rate armies and toppling foreign leaders was easy, but conventional military superiority did not enable Washington to govern foreign societies wisely or defeat stubborn local insurgencies."

 

 

July 16, 2015

"Does Europe Have a Future?"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"Despite its past achievements, the EU now suffers from growing tensions and several self-inflicted wounds. The EU is likely to experience repeated crises and internal divisions, and one cannot rule out a gradual and irreversible decline in its cohesion and influence. Because a prosperous and tranquil Europe is in America's interest, this is not good news for the United States."

 

 

July 8, 2015

"Back to the Future: World Politics Edition"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"...[A] country's worldview will also affect the capabilities it acquires and thus its ability to influence the behavior of others. When countries with different worldviews interact, one or both may find themselves unable to speak or act in a language that the other understands."

 

 

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."

 
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.