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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 Program/Project

 

International Security (continued)

AP Photo

March 4, 2012

"Mr Obama Must Take a Stand against Israel over Iran"

Op-Ed, Financial Times

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

"...[F]orce cannot produce a meaningful victory. Israel's air force cannot destroy all Iran's nuclear facilities; even a successful US attack could not eliminate the knowledge on which the programme is based. Iran would simply rebuild its facilities in less vulnerable locations, as Iraq did after Israel bombed the Osirak reactor in 1981."

 

 

AP Photo

November-December 2011

"The End of the American Era"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

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

"...[T]he biggest challenge the United States faces today is not a looming great-power rival; it is the triple whammy of accumulated debt, eroding infrastructure and a sluggish economy. The only way to have the world's most capable military forces both now and into the future is to have the world's most advanced economy, and that means having better schools, the best universities, a scientific establishment that is second to none, and a national infrastructure that enhances productivity and dazzles those who visit from abroad. These things all cost money, of course, but they would do far more to safeguard our long-term security than spending a lot of blood and treasure determining who should run Afghanistan, Kosovo, South Sudan, Libya, Yemen or any number of other strategic backwaters."

 

 

AP Photo

November 2011

"The Myth of American Exceptionalism"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"Although the United States possesses certain unique qualities — from high levels of religiosity to a political culture that privileges individual freedom — the conduct of U.S. foreign policy has been determined primarily by its relative power and by the inherently competitive nature of international politics. By focusing on their supposedly exceptional qualities, Americans blind themselves to the ways that they are a lot like everyone else."

 

 

AP Photo

July 21, 2011

"International Affairs and the Public Sphere"

Magazine or Newspaper Article, Transformations of the Public Sphere

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

"...[T]he academic study of international affairs will be impoverished if the relevant academic disciplines continue to turn inward, to focus on narrow issues that are primarily of interest only to other scholars, and to become even less interested in communicating to policymakers, the broader public, or the bulk of our students (the vast majority of whom do not want to be social scientists themselves). Accordingly, our goal should be to encourage a diverse, engaged community of scholars that is still committed to a free exchange of ideas and to high standards of both rigor and relevance."

 

 

AP Photo

July 15, 2011

"Nationalism Rules"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"Because American national identity tends to emphasize the civic dimension (based on supposedly universal principles such as individual liberty) and tends to downplay the historic and cultural elements (though they clearly exist) U.S. leaders routinely underestimate the power of local affinities and the strength of cultural, tribal, or territorial loyalties. During the Cold War, we persistently exaggerated the strength of transnational ideologies like Communism, and underestimated the degree to which national identities and interests would eventually generate intense conflicts within the Marxist world. Osama bin Laden made the same mistake when he thought that terrorist attacks and video-taped fulminations would ignite a mass movement to re-establish a transnational Islamic caliphate."

 

 

AP Photo

April 29, 2011

"Wishful Thinking"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"A central tenet of both neo-conservatism and liberal internationalism/interventionism is the idea that democracy is both the ideal form of government but also one that is relatively easy to export to other societies. Never mind that democratization tends to shift the distribution of power within different societies, thereby provoking potentially violent struggles for power between different ethnic or social groups within society. Pay no attention to the fact that it took several centuries for stable democracies to emerge in the Western world, and that process was frequently bloody and difficult."

 

 

AP Photo

April 4, 2011

"Is America Addicted to War?"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"Since the mid-1960s, American conservatism has waged a relentless and successful campaign to convince U.S. voters that it is wasteful, foolish, and stupid to pay taxes to support domestic programs here at home, but it is our patriotic duty to pay taxes to support a military establishment that costs more than all other militaries put together and that is used not to defend American soil but to fight wars mostly on behalf of other people. In other words, Americans became convinced that it was wrong to spend tax revenues on things that would help their fellow citizens (like good schools, health care, roads, and bridges, high-speed rail, etc.), but it was perfectly OK to tax Americans (though of course not the richest Americans) and spend the money on foreign wars."

 

 

AP Photo

February 10, 2011

"10 Reasons Americans Should Care About the Egyptian Revolution"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"No one can say for certain how the upheaval in Cairo will affect regional events — including the peace treaty with Israel — but the possibility that it will have a big impact is enough reason to care about what is happening there. I'm more sanguine about this than some people are because I don't think Egypt wants to get back into the war business. But I recognize the possibility that it could have destabilizing repercussions. But that doesn't mean the United States should be propping up Mubarak at this point, because if he's doomed, America will want to have earned some goodwill with his successors (and with the Egyptian people)."

 

 

AP Photo

December 20, 2010

"The Zombie War in Afghanistan"

Op-Ed, NPR.org

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

"...[I]t is hard not to see echoes of Nixon's decision to invade Cambodia in 1970, in a failed attempt to eradicate Viet Cong bases there. The two situations are hardly identical, but both illustrate the tendency for wars to expand in both the scope and extent of violence, especially when they aren't going well. You send more troops, but that doesn't turn things around. So you send a few more, and you widen the war to new areas. But that doesn't work either, so you decide you have to alter the rules of engagement, use more missiles, bombs, or drones, or whatever."

 

 

AP Photo

November 8, 2010

"Delusion Points"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"George W. Bush's presidency really was that bad — and the fact that Obama has largely followed the same course is less a measure of Bush's wisdom than a reminder of the depth of the hole he dug his country into, as well as the institutionalized groupthink that dominates the U.S. foreign-policy establishment."

 

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