Stephen Walt

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Stephen Walt

Stephen Martin Walt (born July 2, 1955) is an author and professor of international affairs at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Quotes[edit]

  • ...stop subsidizing the security of wealthy allies that have the wherewithal to defend themselves; and stop pursuing hyperglobalization without regard for its damaging consequences at home and its impact on the balance of power abroad. We believe these adjustments would allow the country to concentrate its resources on the challenge that a rising China presents and help address the accumulating problems it faces domestically.
  • This argument carries some obvious implications for the next U.S. administration. First, as Sino-American rivalry heats up, winning (or at least not losing) will require more than tariffs, restrictions on Chinese students and high-tech firms, and bombastic speeches. It will also require preserving or regaining the lead in critical areas like artificial intelligence and 5G technology, which in turn means leveraging and incentivizing the impressive innovative capacity of U.S. firms and research institutions.

2020s[edit]

The Known Knowns of Election Day 2020[edit]

  • Finally, this election will not end the deep polarization and reflexive partisanship that have roiled U.S. domestic politics for more than two decades, and this condition will continue to exert baleful effects on America’s international position.
  • Polarization will continue to hamper efforts to address the pandemic. It will encourage and facilitate foreign interference in U.S. domestic politics (or even the mere suspicion of the same)....and it makes other states warier of making long-term agreements with the United States because they cannot be sure that any promises that U.S. officials make will survive the next election cycle.

Washington’s reputation[edit]

Is the Blob Really Blameless?[edit]

  • I present a different set of counterfactuals in the book (and a few other places), suggesting that adopting offshore balancing in the 1990s would have 1) led to better (though not perfect) relations with Russia; 2) made the 9/11 attacks much less likely to happen;
  • ...stop subsidizing the security of wealthy allies that have the wherewithal to defend themselves; and stop pursuing hyperglobalization without regard for its damaging consequences at home and its impact on the balance of power abroad. We believe these adjustments would allow the country to concentrate its resources on the challenge that a rising China presents and help address the accumulating problems it faces domestically.
  • It is obvious that this approach failed, which is why U.S. leaders now worry about unfavorable power trends in Asia and are actively trying to build a balancing coalition to contain Chinese power. I share their concerns and agree with this prescription (and said so in the book), yet Gavin apparently regards the policies that led to this worrisome situation as a great success. They surely were for China—but not for the United States.
  • If U.S. policies were so successful, why did the Obama administration have to send more troops to Europe to reassure America’s prosperous but poorly equipped allies, and why did Trump ultimately do the same, despite his all-too-obvious skepticism about NATO’s value?
  • Deng Xiaopeng's “Four Modernizations” began the process of unleashing China's enormous potential, but the United States consciously aided its ascent, based on the hope that doing so would hasten its transition to democracy, turn Beijing into a “responsible stakeholder,” and bind it so tightly within U.S.-led institutions that future conflicts would be easy to manage. One is hard-pressed to think of another case where an overwhelmingly dominant great power deliberately facilitated the rise of the only country that could possibly pose a serious challenge to its privileged position.

2010s[edit]

  • So here’s the puzzle: Realist advice has performed better than its main rivals over the past two-and-a-half decades, yet realists are largely absent from prominent mainstream publications.
    • "What Would a Realist World Have Looked Like?", Foreign Policy (January 8, 2016)
  • So here’s my challenge to Rupert Murdoch, Jeff Bezos, the Sulzberger family, and anyone else who runs a major media operation: Why not hire a realist? If you’re looking for some suggestions, how about Paul Pillar, Chas Freeman Jr., Robert Blackwill, Steve Clemons, Michael Desch, Steve Chapman, John Mearsheimer, Barry Posen, Andrew Bacevich, or Daniel Larison? Give one of them a weekly column, and then you could genuinely claim to be offering your readers a reasonably comprehensive and balanced range of opinion on international affairs. I mean: What are you folks so afraid of?
    • "What Would a Realist World Have Looked Like?", Foreign Policy (January 8, 2016)

External links[edit]

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