Stephen Walt is the Robert and Rene Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He was previously on the faculties of Princeton University and the University of Chicago, where he served as Deputy Dean of Social Sciences. He is the author of books including The Origins of Alliances, Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy. He is a frequent contributor to journals including Foreign Policy and International Security. He was educated at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.
He presently serves on the editorial boards of Foreign Policy, Security Studies, International Relations, and Journal of Cold War Studies, and he also serves as Co-Editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs, published by Cornell University Press. Additionally, he was elected as a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in May 2005.
Question: Are global institutions up to the challenges of globalization?
Stephen Walt: Well the set of global institutions that we have now are all sort of leftover from World War II. And they were created for particular contexts. I’m thinking here of the World Bank, the United Nations, particularly the structure of the Security Council. And everybody understands that these are kind of outmoded in terms of either their membership or their powers. What no one has done yet is been able to devise sort of, “Here’s the blueprint for how we should fix all of them.” I think the biggest issue there, of course, is you have to devise a set of institutions that are sufficiently inclusive of the new power centers, right? A Security Council in which India is excluded in 2030 doesn’t make a whole lots of sense to me. A Security Council in which Brazil is not a player, again, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. So one part of it is just reforming the overall global architecture.
Recorded on: 10/8/07