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Libert Lecture Series

Libert Lecture Series

2016 Lecture: Stephen Walt


Stephen Walt

Lecture Summary:


Speaker:  Stephen Walt

The Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs
(John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University)

What We Learned:

  • Why have relations with Russia deteriorated so badly?
  • Why have repeated US efforts—by both Republicans and Democrats—to mediate peace in the Middle East failed?
  • Why did Republicans and Democrats embrace President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, despite clear warnings that the war was unnecessary and that the US had no “exit strategy?"
  • Why has President Obama followed many of the same national security policies as his predecessor, even though he was elected in part to change them?
  • How are we to understand the failures in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere, along with the deterioration of relations with Russia and China and the crises that have buffeted Europe?

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View the Speaker's Bio: Stephen M. Walt

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Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he served as Academic Dean from 2002 to 2006.  He is a contributing editor at Foreign Policy magazine, co-chair of the editorial board of International Security, and co-editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs book series.  He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in May 2005 and received the International Studies Association’s Distinguished Senior Scholar award in 2014.  His books include The Origins of Alliances, which received the 1988 Edgar S. Furniss National Security Book Award, and Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy, which was a finalist for the Lionel Gelber International Affairs Book Award and the Arthur Ross Book Prize.  His most recent book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (co-authored with John J. Mearsheimer) was a New York Times best-seller and has been translated into more than twenty foreign languages.  His weekly FP column is at