Journal Article - Monitor

Applying Theory: A Scholar's Lessons for Policymakers and the Academy

  • Phoebe Benich
  • Michael Campbell
| October 17, 2013

Interview with Stephen Walt

Monitor Journal: Do you believe defense and foreign policy budget cuts will derail offshore balancing?

Stephen Walt: No, in fact, it would be easier to pursue an offshore balancing strategy if the American military budget is constrained in the future. The forces that are needed to implement that are going to be smaller and they're not going to be as manpower intensive — manpower tends to be pretty expensive. Also, offshore balancing gets other countries to do a lot more of the heavy lifting for providing security to key parts of the world while the U.S. plays a back-up role. That keeps us out of big expensive wars like the ones we fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. If the American economy forces continued budget cuts on the defense side, it's going to push the United States even more strongly towards an offshore balancing approach.

MJ: Do you think the United States pivot towards Asia represents this type of offshore balancing that you advocate?

SW: I think so, although we don't really know yet what form it's going to take. Right now the Pivot to Asia is mostly rhetorical....

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For Academic Citation: Benich, Phoebe and Michael Campbell. Applying Theory: A Scholar's Lessons for Policymakers and the Academy.” Monitor, vol. 6. no. 1/1. (October 17, 2013) .

The Authors


Stephen Walt