U.S. Foreign Policy

Question: How should America use its power?

Stephen Walt: I think that, you know, the United States should use the power it has at its disposal to first of all protect itself and its interests. But then to the extent that we can, try to create a more stable and more orderly world. The problem is there’s not very much we can do on that front. I think what separates me from, you know, many other people who work in the field of American foreign policy is I think there are real limits to our capacity to shape other societies; that it’s not our business or within our capacity to dictate how other societies are gonna run. I think that’s their job. And we’re . . . If we try to do it, we’re gonna screw it up far more often than we’re gonna succeed.

Recorded on: 10/8/07


American military power, says Stephen Walt, should be first and foremost defensive.

Afghanistan is the most depressed country on earth

No, depression is not just a type of 'affluenza' – poor people in conflict zones are more likely candidates

Image: Our World in Data / CC BY
Strange Maps
  • Often seen as typical of rich societies, depression is actually more prevalent in poor, conflict-ridden countries
  • More than one in five Afghans is clinically depressed – a sad world record
  • But are North Koreans really the world's 'fourth least depressed' people?
Keep reading Show less

Banned books: 10 of the most-challenged books in America

America isn't immune to attempts to remove books from libraries and schools, here are ten frequent targets and why you ought to go check them out.

Nazis burn books on a huge bonfire of 'anti-German' literature in the Opernplatz, Berlin. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Culture & Religion
  • Even in America, books are frequently challenged and removed from schools and public libraries.
  • Every year, the American Library Association puts on Banned Books Week to draw attention to this fact.
  • Some of the books they include on their list of most frequently challenged are some of the greatest, most beloved, and entertaining books there are.
Keep reading Show less
  • Oumuamua, a quarter-mile long asteroid tumbling through space, is Hawaiian for "scout", or "the first of many".
  • It was given this name because it came from another solar system.
  • Some claimed 'Oumuamua was an alien technology, but there's no actual evidence for that.