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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

 

Harvard–Belfer on Syria

December 11, 2015

"The Unbearable Lightness of America's War Against the Islamic State"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"If the United States were truly serious about terrorism, you'd see a more hardnosed approach to the various American 'allies' who are part of the problem rather than being part of the solution."

 

 

Creative Commons

November 16, 2015

"Don't Give ISIS What It Wants"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"...[S]tep one is not to fall into the obvious trap the Islamic State has set. If we buy into its vision of relentless cultural, religious, and civilizational conflict, we could easily act in ways that make its vision a reality. Given how weak the Islamic State is today, the last thing we should do is encourage anyone to see it as heroic or farsighted."

 

 

Creative Commons

November/December 2015

"ISIS as Revolutionary State"

Op-Ed, Foreign Affairs

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

"Regional actors will no doubt try to pass the buck and get Americans to do their fighting for them. U.S. leaders should reject such ploys politely but firmly and pass the buck right back. ISIS is not an existential threat to the United States, to Middle Eastern energy supplies, to Israel, or to any other vital U.S. interest, so U.S. military forces have no business being sent into harm's way to fight it."

 

 

Mil.ru

October 13, 2015

"A Road to Damascus, via Moscow"

Op-Ed, The New York Times

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

"The United States should have two goals in Syria. First, bring order to those parts of the country that the Islamic State does not control. Second, strive to build a coalition of forces that can contain the Islamic State and eventually replace it. Russia's 'intrusion' could offer a chance to achieve both. This means setting aside American prejudices and heated political rhetoric. Russia isn't an intruder in Syria; it has been involved there for decades, just as America has been involved throughout the Middle East for more than 60 years. Mr. Assad is Russia's protégé, and Syria is an operations base for the Russian military."

 

 

May 5, 2015

Podcast: "Can the United States 'Manage' the Middle East? Should it Try?" with Stephen M. Walt

News

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

An audio recording from Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School.

On April 29, 2015 at MEI, Prof. Stephen Walt assessed U.S. policy and interests in the Middle East, arguing that scaled back involvement might yield better results for the U.S. and the region.

 

 

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 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."

 

 

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?..."

 

 

Wikimedia CC

October 16, 2014

"Uncle Sucker to the Rescue"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"Instead of pouring good money (and possibly U.S. lives) down that particular rat hole, I'd like to see the people who are most directly affected start fighting this one for themselves. Unless the Turks, Jordanians, Kurds, and other Iraqis are willing to get their acts together to contain these vicious extremists, even a protracted and costly U.S. effort will amount to little."

 

 

DoD

October 13, 2014

"Much Ado About the Islamic State"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"Absent effective political institutions, efforts to move from authoritarian to more participatory forms of government tend to provoke bitter quarrels between previously advantaged groups and those who have been excluded from wealth or power. In a world where most states are in fact multiethnic or multinational, democratization was bound to provoke greater internal conflicts, at least in the short term."

 
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.