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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

September 20, 2009

"Settling for Failure in the Middle East"

Op-Ed, Washington Post

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

"This situation is a tragedy in the making between peoples who have known more than their share. Unless Obama summons the will and skill to break the logjam, a two-state solution will become impossible and those who yearn for peace will be even worse off than before."

 

 

AP Photo

July 7, 2009

"Obama's Style Trumps Substance, Again"

Op-Ed, The Daily Beast

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

"The tone of U.S.-Russian diplomacy was much improved, and Obama is returning to Washington with several concrete agreements, but the summit did not yield a significant breakthrough on any major issue. In fact, like much of Obama's foreign policy to date, the Moscow summit was as much a triumph of style and attitude as an achievement in terms of substance. Russian-American relations may now be headed in the right direction, but both sides have a long way to go."

 

 

AP Photo

January-March 2009

"Is It Love or The Lobby? Explaining America's Special Relationship with Israel"

Journal Article, Security Studies, issue 1, volume 18

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

"In The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, we argued that the "special relationship" between the United States and Israel is due largely to the influence of a domestic interest group—comprised of Jews as well as non-Jews—and that this unusual situation is harmful to both the United States and Israel....[P]ublic opinion in the United States does not explain why the United States gives Israel such extensive and nearly unconditional backing. Although most Americans have a favorable image of Israel, surveys show that they also favor a more even-handed Middle East policy and a more normal relationship with Israel. Thus, the special relationship is due primarily to the lobby's influence, and not to the American people's enduring identification with the Jewish state."

 

 

AP Photo

January 2009

"Alliances in a Unipolar World"

Journal Article, World Politics, International Relations Theory and the Consequences of Unipolarity, issue 1, volume 61

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

Unipolarity is a novel condition in world politics, and its effects on international alliances have yet to receive sustained theoretical attention.  Tracing its impact requires a careful distinction between the purely structural features common to any unipolar system and the unique characteristics of the current unipole (the United States) or the policies undertaken by particular U.S. leaders (such as George W. Bush).  In general, the unipole will enjoy greater freedom of action and be less dependent on allied support, enabling it to rely more readily on ad hoc "coalitions of the willing."

 

 

Photo by Jon Chase

January 2009

"Samuel Huntington's Legacy: Day 2"

Magazine or Newspaper Article, Foreign Policy

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

"Samuel P. Huntington was a major figure in modern political science because he always asked big questions, and because he made controversial arguments that forced his readers to think. His relentless curiosity, commitment to tackling important real-world issues, and intellectual fearlessness were both inspiring and daunting. That rare combination of traits may explain why he is the only foreign-policy intellectual whose fan club includes realists, liberals, and neoconservatives."

 

 

AP Photo

September 2, 2008

"The Neocons vs. The Realists"

Magazine or Newspaper Article, The National Interest

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

"A must-read debate about our foreign-policy future. Does realism offer the best solutions to today’s threats? Or will neoconservatism be responsible for our policy triumphs? The choice is clear after eight years of failed Bush policies, says Walt, but Muravchik thinks the House of Kristol may well be vindicated." — National Interest

 

 

August 5, 2008

"Stephen M. Walt on the U.S., Iran, and the New Balance of Power in the Persian Gulf"

Q&A

By Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program and Kayhan Barzegar, Former Associate, Project on Managing the Atom/International Security Program, 2010–2011; Former Research Fellow, Project on Managing the Atom/international Security Program, 2007–2010

Walt: “…..by maintaining a (new) balance you don’t get conflict breaking out and you tilt in favour whichever side seems to be falling behind. At the same time, you do try to discourage conflict whenever possible. You certainly don’t try to control the region yourselves and if the balance breaks down as it did in 1991 and you have to intervene you go in, you get out as quickly as possible. But you don’t try to organize these societies. You don’t try to tell them how to live. You don’t try to tell them how their governments should be organized and you don’t try to transform them at the point of a rifle barrel. This is not disengagement, but it is also not trying to control the region or dictate its political evolution.”

“…we are not going to have a stable long-term situation in the Persian Gulf until the United States and other countries in the region—including Iran—do come to some understanding about the various issues that concern them.  Achieving that goal will require genuine diplomacy…The United States will also have to recognize that Iran’s size, potential power, large population, and its geo-strategic location inevitably make it a major player in the security environment in the Persian Gulf, and ignoring that fact is unrealistic…”

 

 

May 20, 2008

"Israel's Friends and the Path to Peace"

Op-Ed, New York 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

This letter was written in response to Jeffrey Goldberg's op-ed, "Israel's 'American Problem' " which was published on May 18, 2008.

 

 

AP Photo

March 18, 2008

Five Years and Counting: Ten Unpleasant Truths about the War in Iraq

Media Feature

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

I opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003, because I was convinced that war was unnecessary and would result in a costly and open-ended occupation. Along with several others, I made the case for containment in a number of published articles, speeches, and media appearances. I also helped organize an advertisement opposing the war that appeared in the New York Times in September 2002. I wish we had been wrong; sadly, we turned out to be right. On the 5th anniversary of the invasion, I offer ten unpleasant truths about our past errors, present circumstances, and future choices.

 

 

January 18, 2008

"America Needs Realists, not William Kristol"

Op-Ed, Salon.com

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

"...a realist would be a valuable antidote to the self-righteous hubris that pervades contemporary U.S. commentary on foreign affairs, an attitude that has encouraged many of the policies that have undermined America's image around the globe. A realist would also cast a skeptical eye on virtually all of the current presidential candidates, whose views on foreign policy do not stray far from the current neoconservative/liberal consensus. Realists aren't infallible and some readers will undoubtedly object to their views, but that's hardly the issue. The point is that Americans would be better informed if they regularly heard what realists had to say, and media institutions that are genuinely interested in presenting a diverse array of views should be signing up a few of them."

 

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