Happy Birthday, Dad!

  “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.”–Mark Twain Today is my father’s 83rd birthday, and what’s the point of having a ...

Walt-Steve-foreign-policy-columnist20
Stephen M. Walt
By , a columnist at Foreign Policy and the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.
585432_090601_bday2.jpg
585432_090601_bday2.jpg
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 27: Parade participants grasp their balloons before the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade commences on November 27, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

 "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he'd learned in seven years."
--Mark Twain

Today is my father’s 83rd birthday, and what's the point of having a blog if you can't use it to send your dad birthday greetings? My father is a distinguished and still-active geophysicist, a killer tennis player, accomplished sailor and avid military history buff. Also a nice guy. I got my interest in war, history, and foreign policy from him, even though he still thinks "political science" is an oxymoron. When I was growing up, he told me that the most important thing in life was to find something you loved doing. It was terrific advice, and I lucked out. So thanks Dad, and happy birthday! (I'll call you later).

Yana Paskova/Getty Images

 
“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.”
–Mark Twain

Today is my father’s 83rd birthday, and what’s the point of having a blog if you can’t use it to send your dad birthday greetings? My father is a distinguished and still-active geophysicist, a killer tennis player, accomplished sailor and avid military history buff. Also a nice guy. I got my interest in war, history, and foreign policy from him, even though he still thinks “political science” is an oxymoron. When I was growing up, he told me that the most important thing in life was to find something you loved doing. It was terrific advice, and I lucked out. So thanks Dad, and happy birthday! (I’ll call you later).

Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Stephen M. Walt is a columnist at Foreign Policy and the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.

More from Foreign Policy

A worker cuts the nose off the last Ukraine's Tupolev-22M3, the Soviet-made strategic aircraft able to carry nuclear weapons at a military base in Poltava, Ukraine on Jan. 27, 2006. A total of 60 aircraft were destroyed  according to the USA-Ukrainian disarmament agreement.
A worker cuts the nose off the last Ukraine's Tupolev-22M3, the Soviet-made strategic aircraft able to carry nuclear weapons at a military base in Poltava, Ukraine on Jan. 27, 2006. A total of 60 aircraft were destroyed according to the USA-Ukrainian disarmament agreement.

Why Do People Hate Realism So Much?

The school of thought doesn’t explain everything—but its proponents foresaw the potential for conflict over Ukraine long before it erupted.

Employees watch a cargo ship at a port in China, which is experiencing an economic downturn.
Employees watch a cargo ship at a port in China, which is experiencing an economic downturn.

China’s Crisis of Confidence

What if, instead of being a competitor, China can no longer afford to compete at all?

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies in the U.S. Senate in Washington on Sept. 24, 2020.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies in the U.S. Senate in Washington on Sept. 24, 2020.

Why This Global Economic Crisis Is Different

This is the first time since World War II that there may be no cooperative way out.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang applaud at the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 11.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang applaud at the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 11.

China Is Hardening Itself for Economic War

Beijing is trying to close economic vulnerabilities out of fear of U.S. containment.