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Matt Waldman

Mailing address

One Brattle Square 513
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Mailbox 134
Cambridge, MA, 02138

Matt Waldman

Research Fellow, International Security Program

Contact:
Telephone: 857-756-5378
Fax: 617-496-0606
Email: matthew_waldman@hks.harvard.edu

 

Experience

Matt Waldman practiced as an international lawyer based in London, after which he served as a foreign affairs and defense advisor in the UK and European Parliaments. He has worked on Afghanistan and the region since 2005, as Oxfam's head of policy for Afghanistan, a Carr Center for Human Rights fellow, independent analyst, and, most recently, as a senior UN official in Kabul covering conflict resolution and reconciliation with the Taliban.

Matt is currently conducting research on U.S. foreign policymaking, conflict resolution, and Afghanistan. He is an Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs "Chatham House" and a consultant on mediation initiatives in the Middle East and Africa for the NGO Inter Mediate.

 

 

By Date

 

2014

U.S. Army Photo

April 2014

Strategic Empathy: The Afghanistan Intervention Shows Why the U.S. Must Empathize with its Adversaries

Report

By Matt Waldman, Research Fellow, International Security Program

"...[H]ow did such vast and sustained investments not deliver a more favorable outcome? Conditions were undoubtedly challenging, but most observers — and indeed U.S. officials — agree that major mistakes were made....But the most egregious error of the United States was to pursue a strategy founded on a misreading of its enemy."

 

 

Spring 2014

"Matt Waldman: Seeing Through the Fog of War in Afghanistan"

Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter

By Ramiro Gonzalez Lorca and Matt Waldman, Research Fellow, International Security Program

“We need to understand not just how mistakes were made, but why," International Security fellow Matthew Waldman says about his research on a conflict that has beleaguered U.S. foreign policymakers for over twelve years: the war in Afghanistan. Waldman offers his insights into underlying factors that have clouded policymaking judgment through the course of America’s longest war.

 

 

February 21, 2014

"Keeping Calm and Carrying On in Afghanistan"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

By Michael Keating and Matt Waldman, Research Fellow, International Security Program

"The future of international engagement in Afghanistan — centered around a U.S.-Afghanistan axis — is disturbingly uncertain. Dwindling U.S. interest in Afghanistan is now overlaid by exasperation, and the temptation is to walk away. But the right response to the crisis is to stay calm, carry on, and take concrete steps to bring the situation back from the brink."

 

2013

December 2013

"Dangerous Liaisons with the Afghan Taliban: The Feasibility and Risks of Negotiations"

Book Chapter

By Matt Waldman, Research Fellow, International Security Program

Based on field research, this chapter explores the motivations and objectives of the Afghan Taliban, and in light of this, it assesses the feasibility, risks, and implications of negotiations to resolve the conflict.

 

 

November 2013

Obstacles to a Resolution of the Syrian Conflict

Report

By David W. Lesch, Frida Nome, George Saghir, William Ury, Former Associate Director, Avoiding Nuclear War Project and Matt Waldman, Research Fellow, International Security Program

The Harvard-NUPI-Trinity report Obstacles to a Resolution of the Syrian Conflict explores the Syria crisis from the broad range of actors involved in it. Through interviewing representatives of the internal and external opposition, the Syrian regime, the regional states as well as the wider international community, the authors hope to generate a more comprehensive understanding of the Syrian conflict, and to begin to identify areas of potential common ground. Obstacles to a Resolution of the Syrian Conflict compares the actors' varying interpretations of the origins of the conflict, their biggest concerns for the future are, as well as their thoughts on the possibilities for a solution.

 

 

Julian G. Albert Photo

August 1, 2013

"Fear and Loathing in Afghanistan"

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

By Michael Keating and Matt Waldman, Research Fellow, International Security Program

"...[T]he United States rejected talks with the Taliban in the belief that it could defeat them. Unable to outfight or outlast the insurgents, it now favors a political solution. The problem with that, however, is that at this stage of the conflict, enmity and mistrust between the parties is engrained, U.S. influence is diminishing, and the Taliban are gaining ground."

 

 

U.S. Army Photo

July 2013

"System Failure: The Underlying Causes of US Policy-making Errors in Afghanistan"

Journal Article, International Affairs

By Matt Waldman, Research Fellow, International Security Program

This article finds that there were severe shortcomings in the acquisition and processing of information and a lack of institutional self-evaluation; civilian and military leaders made major strategic misjudgements in mistaking the strategy for the goal, overestimating the efficacy of military force or resources, and drawing false lessons from history or analogous cases such as Iraq; leaders were predisposed to overconfidence and oversimplification; and, at the highest level, policies were distorted by domestic politics. The article contends that the cumulative impact of these shortcomings was sufficient to seriously disrupt the functioning of the foreign policy-making system.

 

 

AP Photo

June 20, 2013

"Taliban Qatar Office: A Small Step Forward"

Op-Ed

By Matt Waldman, Research Fellow, International Security Program

"Most successful peace processes, such as in Northern Ireland, have required years of confidential discussions. Without secrecy, parties constantly feel they need to project an image of strength to their respective constituencies, which hardens positions and hinders progress. The events of the past few days signify a small step forward — but a great deal of difficult work lies ahead."

 

 

March 13, 2013

"Is Peaceful Political Transition in Afghanistan Possible?"

Media Feature

By Robert Johnson, Jawed Nader, Matt Waldman, Research Fellow, International Security Program and Michael Keating

As the 2014 deadline for the withdrawal of international troops in Afghanistan looms, the speakers explored what is required to ensure a smooth transition and avoid a descent into chaos.

 

 

Matt Waldman Photo

January 25, 2013

"An Afghanistan Write-Off Isn't an Option"

Op-Ed, New York Times

By Michael Keating and Matt Waldman, Research Fellow, International Security Program

"Only Afghans can reconcile their differences. But the international community can play a critical role in creating the conditions in which this can happen. It should be rooted in ground realities and Afghan interests. It must ensure that international policies do not unwittingly intensify local or national power struggles or undermine stability."

 

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