In the News | 2016

 U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks to members of the news media at Trump Tower in New York City. Dec. 6.

In the News

December 13, 2016

The End of the Commonwealth

John TirmanThe Huffington Post

Amid the many controversies attending the election of Donald Trump is one easy to overlook: the mounting assault on “public goods” — public education, public lands, public information and public health, among them.


In the News

December 12, 2016

Reports of saving the Pentagon billions are just fake news

Harvey M. SapolskyThe National Interest

The Balkan teenagers are at it again, this time in the guise of members of the Defense Business Board and consultants from McKinsey, with the claim that their report offering $125 billion in savings was being suppressed by the Department of Defense.

Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in May.

In the News

December 9, 2016

Japan’s pivot from Obama to Trump

Joshua HuntThe New Yorker

Abe’s visit to Trump Tower in November went against the wishes of Obama’s White House, according to a Japanese media report, which cited an unnamed diplomatic source. But Richard Samuels, Ford International Professor of Political Science and director of CIS, says that Abe’s team “did what they had to do, quickly and well.”

Detail of the Sultanahmet Mosque (the "Blue Mosque"), in Istanbul

In the News

December 7, 2016

How political science helps combat terrorism

Emily Hiestand, Kathryn O'NeillSHASS News

“As humans, we have all sorts of cognitive biases that come into play when we try to evaluate the risks posed by terrorism as well as the trade-offs of various counterterrorism policies,” says Richard Nielsen, assistant professor of political science.

Moscow - St. Basil's Cathedral at Sunset Zoom/Josh Simerman

In the News

November 29, 2016

How to think about Russia

Barry R. PosenThe National Interest

Because the West is strong, and relative to Russia likely to get stronger, it is in a position to accommodate some Russian concerns, says Barry Posen, Ford International Professor of Political Science and director of the MIT Security Studies Program. Posen is among several experts featured in The National Interest on the future of US-Russia relations.

There are no plausible scenarios for which the first use of nuclear weapons might be useful. India’s nuclear forces are strictly to deter a WMD attack, and can, therefore, be oriented entirely for retaliation. (Illustration by C R Sasikumar)

In the News

November 18, 2016

Confusion is risky

Vipin Narang, Christopher Clary The Indian Express

After Manohar Parrikar’s comments on no-first-use policy, a prime ministerial clarification is called for. Since 1998, a key pillar of India’s nuclear policy has been a pledge not to use nuclear weapons first. After considering the utility of individually negotiated bilateral or multilateral agreements committing to no-first-use (NFU) of nuclear weapons, by August 1998, the then prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, opted to unilaterally announce that India would “not be the first to use nuclear weapons”.

The Wall And The Ban: Can Trump Really Accomplish Either?

In the News

November 16, 2016

The Wall and the Ban: Can Trump really accomplish either?

John TirmanWBUR

Anti-immigrant fervor fueled Donald Trump’s White House bid from the beginning, so a Trump presidency naturally worries undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Businessman Trump or bureaucrat Hillary - Whom does Asia prefer?

In the News

November 8, 2016

Businessman Trump or bureaucrat Hillary—Whom does Asia prefer?

Wesley RahnDeutsche Welle

“The longing for closer association with the West is real,” Richard Samuels, director of CIS and Ford International Professor of Political Science, told Deutsche Welle. “However, it is constrained by the economic forces and opportunities that have only expanded since Clinton made that statement five years ago.”

Shirtless Vladimir Putin On A Horse

In the News

October 15, 2016

On the Putinization of politics

Elizabeth Wood

Concern about the possible role of Russian president Vladimir Putin in the American political process has emerged as an issue in the 2016 presidential election. Elizabeth Wood, professor of history, shares insight into this perspective in an effort to help inform the American voter.

Fotini Christia (left), associate professor of political science; and Ali Jadbabaie, the JR East Professor of Engineering.

In the News

October 14, 2016

Collaborating with peers across disciplines

Story prepared by MIT SHASS Communications; Editorial and Design Director: Emily Hiestand; Writer: Leda Zimmerman MIT News

Fotini Christia, associate professor of political science, and Ali Jadbabaie, JR East Professor of Engineering, discuss their research on the dynamics of sociopolitical change. They also share about the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society and how it brought them together.

US fighter planes

In the News

October 13, 2016

The US defense budget: Too big, too small or just right?

Michelle NewbyThe National Interest

“Everything starts with strategy in this business,” answers Barry Posen, Ford International Professor of Political Science and director of the MIT Security Studies Program, as to whether the US defense budget is the appropriate size. “If you accept the present grand strategy it might be true that the defense budget is actually too small.”

Statue Of Liberty

In the News

October 12, 2016

Immigration and terrorism

John Tirman

Negative attitudes toward immigrants have many roots. But several studies demonstrate that immigrants of all kinds boost the US economy overall and hurt few if any native-born Americans. So, what really mobilizes anti-immigrant attitudes? John Tirman, CIS executive director and principal research scientist, explains.

In the News

September 18, 2016

How to get China to use its leverage against North Korea

Eric Heginbotham and Richard J. Samuels The National Interest

It is time for a bargain between Washington and Beijing on a new and tougher approach—one that will require China to use its leverage to change North Korean behavior. Barring that, those most directly threatened—South Korea, Japan, and the United States—will rightly adopt new defensive measures that will, ultimately, impinge on Beijing’s security interests.

 Standing guard at a monument in Harare, March 2011.

In the News

September 12, 2016

Why Zimbabwe's military sticks with Mugabe

Philip MartinForeign Affairs

Zimbabwe is headed for turbulent waters. Over the last few months, a protest movement has highlighted popular dissatisfaction with what many Zimbabweans see as the economic mismanagement and heavy-handed tactics of the government of President Robert Mugabe. Opposition groups are joining forces in an effort to defeat the ruling party in the 2018 elections.

NATO-Ukraine Commission working session, 2014 / Photograph: Paul Shaw

In the News

August 22, 2016

NATO has problems, but Trump won’t fix them

Simon WaxmanBoston Review

For Barry Posen, NATO and other permanent alliances are not just a financial drain; they also arguably make Americans less safe, writes Simon Waxman in the Boston Review. Posen refers to such security subsidies as “welfare for the rich.”

A municipal worker dances as voters line up in a township near Durban to cast their votes in South Africa’s Aug. 3 elections.

In the News

August 12, 2016

Here are 4 reasons that South Africa’s ANC lost ground in this month’s elections

Nina McMurry, Philip Martin, Evan Lieberman and Daniel de KadtThe Washington Post

On Aug. 3, South African municipal elections delivered a startling result. The African National Congress won the majority of votes nationwide, as it has in every election since it brought apartheid to an end in 1994. But this year, for the first time, the ANC looked vulnerable, and secured only 53.9% of votes cast throughout the country, its first result below 60%.

Clothes and weapons belonging to soldiers involved in the coup attempt that have now surrendered lie on the ground abandoned on Bosphorus Bridge on July 16, 2016, Istanbul, Turkey. (Gokhan Tan/Getty Images)

In the News

July 18, 2016

From Turkey to Nice, looking at safety and stability around the globe

Here & Now

Here & Now's Meghna Chakrabarti speaks with security analyst Jim Walsh about what instability in that country could mean for the rest of the world, as well as what we’re learning about the recent terrorist attack in Nice, France.

Panoramic view of Tiananmen Square, from Wikipedia

In the News

June 6, 2016

Mass atrocity Monday, 6/6/2016: Tiananmen Square

Kate Cronin-FurmanJustice in Conflict

Saturday was the anniversary of the suppression by the Chinese military of mass protests at Tiananmen Square in 1989. Twenty-seven years later, the death toll is still unknown. Beijing’s official estimate puts the figure at 241, but credible reports suggest that over 1,000 people may have been killed.

Children hold up flags from the G7 countries in the wind as the foreign ministers visit the Peace Memorial Park, on the sidelines of the G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Hiroshima on April 11, 2016. Kerry and other G7 foreign ministers made the landmark visit on April 11 to the memorial site for the world's first nuclear attack in Hiroshima. (Jonathan Ernst/AFP/Getty Images)

In the News

May 13, 2016

Obama's visit To Hiroshima is 'about memory, more than it's about apology'

Meghna ChakrabartiHere & Now

Here & Now's Meghna Chakrabarti talks to Richard Samuels, director of the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founding director of the MIT Japan Program, about the significance of Obama's visit, and Japan's evolving attitudes toward militarization.

“New Order and Progress: Development and Democracy in Brazil,” (Oxford University Press) edited by Ben Ross Schneider.

In the News

March 22, 2016

Brazil's crisis moment

MIT News

Brazil has been much touted in the 21st century as a fast-rising “BRIC” country (Brazil, Russia, India, China) spurring global growth. But a sprawling political corruption scandal and economic turmoil have cast shadows on this once-sunny landscape. President Dilma Rousseff faces impeachment hearings over potentially misappropriating bank funds for the state, and former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is implicated in a corruption case. Ben Ross Schneider, the Ford International Professor of Political Science and director of the MIT-Brazil Program, has been studying Brazil for decades and is the editor of a new volume on the country: “New Order and Progress: Development and Democracy in Brazil,” published this month by Oxford University Press. (The book stems in part from connections forged through the MIT-Brazil Program.) Schneider talked with MIT News about the progress and setbacks Brazil is experiencing.

In the News

February 23, 2016

It's all in our heads

MIT News

Political science PhD student Marika Landau-Wells is using psychology and neuroscience to better understand political behavior.  A typical political scientist is not likely to develop a research plan that employs data from national archives, survey experiments, public health data, and an fMRI study in a single dissertation. But then, Marika Landau-Wells is not your typical political scientist.