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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

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."

 
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.