2017-2018 Visiting Scholar

Award-Winning Political Scientist to Visit Swarthmore Campus as Phi Beta Kappa Scholar

Join the campus community on Thursday, October 26th at 7:30pm in Science Center 101 to hear Professor Stephan Walt, 2017-2018 Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, give a public lecture entitled:  Where is U.S. Foreign Policy Headed?”

Stephen Walt is Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a former Academic Dean. He also taught at Princeton and the University of Chicago and has been a resident associate of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace and a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution. He is a contributing editor at Foreign Policy, co-chair of the editorial board of International Security, and co-editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs book series. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he received the International Studies Association’s Distinguished Senior Scholar award in 2014. His books include The Origins of Alliances; Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy; and The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. He is currently writing a book about why U.S. foreign policy keeps failing. 

This lecture explores the future of U.S. foreign policy under President Trump. I argue that Trump was elected in part because there was growing public dissatisfaction with U.S. foreign policy. This dissatisfaction is not surprising because U.S. foreign policy has had many failures and few successes since the end of the Cold War. When Trump described U.S. foreign policy as “a complete and total disaster” (and when Bernie Sanders made similar complaints from the left), many Americans nodded their heads in agreement. During the campaign, Trump promised to “shake the rust off” and chart a new course, but his policies as president soon reverted to the familiar status quo. His bellicose tweets notwithstanding, Trump is gradually being captured, coopted, and constrained by the foreign policy establishment. Under Trump, therefore, U.S. foreign policy is likely to be an even more inept version of our recent follies.

Since 1956, the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s Visiting Scholar Program has been offering undergraduates the opportunity to spend time with some of America’s most distinguished scholars. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the institution by making possible an exchange of ideas between the Visiting Scholars and the resident faculty and students. Now in its 61st year, the Visiting Scholar Program has sent 648 Scholars on 5,288 two-day visits.