Stephen Walt

Most Influential Person

American political scientist

Why Is Stephen Walt Influential?

Stephen Walt is professor of international affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He earned a B.A. from Stanford University and an M.A. and Ph.D from the University of California, Berkeley. A scholar of the realist school, he is the author of balance of threat theory (as opposed to conventional balance of power theory).

Among the books he has written are, The Origins of Alliances, Taming American Power, and, in 2018, The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy. Walt is known to be critical of America’s propensity for military intervention, and has wondered why it is that American citizens find it so difficult to approve funding for improvements to public infrastructure, schools and health care, but don’t question how much is spent to prop up world governments.

He also points out what he sees as the flaw of American foreign policy—that it is too prone to overestimate threats (perhaps a reflection of the trauma of September 11, 2001), and that it is far too biased towards activism. Walt has been a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2005.

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Featured in Top Influential Political Scientists Today

According to Wikipedia, Stephen Martin Walt is an American political scientist. He is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. A member of the realist school of international relations, Walt has made important contributions to the theory of defensive neorealism and has authored the balance of threat theory. Books that he has authored or coauthored include Origins of Alliances, Revolution and War, and The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.

Stephen Walt's Published Works

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