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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

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."

 

International Security

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."

 

 

May 20, 2015

"The Five-Minute Commencement Speech"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

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

"I promised to be brief and I know you are eager to get on with the rest of this celebration, and then with the rest of your lives. But I will close with one request: please do a better job of managing global affairs than my generation did. We did a few things right for sure, but we screwed a lot of things up too, especially in the years after 9/11. Perhaps worst of all, we didn't hold those responsible to account for their mistakes."

 

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