William & Mary

Harvard Professor and Foreign Policy Blogger Stephen Walt to Present at William & Mary Sadler Center

Stephen M. Walt

A self-described realist, Stephen Walt is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. 

On his Foreign Policy blog Walt quotes William Arthur Ward: “The pessimist complains about the wind: the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” In his most recent FP post Walt ruminates: “… I can't help but wonder whether the United States would do just about as well if it had fewer cooks in the kitchen, but representing a wider range of views.”

Walt will present "Follies and #@!%-Ups: Why US Foreign Policy Keeps Failing." When the Cold War ended, the United States was in a remarkable position of primacy and on good terms with most of the world's major powers. Yet its foreign policy record since then is mostly one of disappointments and sometimes costly failures. These difficulties are partly due to America's structural position in the international system, but they also reflect a number of deeper problems in America's entire foreign policy establishment.

The event will be held at William & Mary Thursday, October 17, at 6 p.m. in the Commonwealth auditorium located in the Sadler Center at 200 Stadium Drive. Free and open to the public.

Earlier in the day, Walt will engage students at a Government Department Seminar and an afternoon international relations class on the IR theory-practice divide.

Walt, the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international affairs at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, served as academic dean there from 2002-2006. He previously taught at Princeton University and the University of Chicago, where he served as master of the social science collegiate division and deputy dean of social sciences.

He has been a resident associate of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace and a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, and he has also been a consultant for the Institute of Defense Analyses, the Center for Naval Analyses, and Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

Professor Walt is the author of Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy (W. W. Norton, 2005), and, with coauthor J.J. Mearsheimer, The Israel Lobby (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007).

He presently serves as faculty chair of the international security program at the Belfer Center for Science and international affairs and as co-chair of the editorial board of the journal International Security. He is also a member of the editorial boards of Foreign Policy, Security Studies, International Relations, and Journal of Cold War Studies, and coeditor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs, published by Cornell University Press. He was elected as a fellow in the American academy of arts and sciences in May 2005.