In the News | 2019

North Korea test-fires a new weapon, seen here in a picture released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency this month. (KCNA via KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

In the News

August 15, 2019

Fast, low and hard to stop: North Korea’s missile tests crank up the threat level

Simon Denyer The Washington Post

Vipin Narang quoted: “The three missiles have several things in common: They are solid fuel, they are mobile, they are fast, they fly low, and at least the KN-23 can maneuver in-flight, which is very impressive.  Any one of the missiles would pose a challenge to regional and [South Korean] missile defenses given these characteristics. Together, they pose a nightmare.”

Russia missile

In the News

August 14, 2019

Russian scientist in city near nuclear explosion warns locals not to fish, says agency 'committed a crime'

Brendan ColeNewsweek

Vipin Narang quoted: "It's an air-breathing cruise missile and they put an unshielded mini nuclear reactor on it...We [the US] tried this in the 1960s and gave up for a reason, and this is why. It's very risky."

Fiona Cunningham

In the News

August 13, 2019

The intersection of technology and war

Michelle EnglishMIT News

Fiona Cunningham completed her PhD at the Department of Political Science, where she was also a member of the Security Studies Program. Her work explores how technology affects warfare in the post-Cold War era. She studies how nations—China specifically—plan to use technology in conflict to achieve their aims. 

 

Putin missile

In the News

August 13, 2019

Failed Russian nuclear test hints at Putin's dangerous plans to beat US defenses

Alexander SmithNBC News

Vipin Narang quoted: "There's really no other possible scenario for this. All the pieces fit together." 

Jim Walsh

In the News

August 13, 2019

Missile test site explosion raises questions about US-Russia nuclear competition

Jeremy HobsonWBUR Here & Now

Five Russian nuclear engineers were killed in an explosion at a test site last week, testing a new missile, which raises important questions about the future of nuclear competition between the US and Russia. Host Jeremy Hobson speaks with with Here & Now security analyst Jim Walsh.

 People watch a TV showing a file image of a North Korean missile launch at the Seoul Railway Station on August 6, 2019, in Seoul. Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

In the News

August 12, 2019

North Korea’s new weapons, and how they affect Trump’s nuclear deal hopes, explained

Alex WardVox

Quoted: “This is a nightmare for regional missile defenses,” Vipin Narang, a nuclear expert at MIT, told me. What makes the missile even deadlier is that it can be shot from a mobile launcher, which makes predicting when and where it might come from nearly impossible.

North Korea Missile

In the News

August 11, 2019

Kim Jong Un guided test-fire of new “superior tactical” weapon on Saturday: KCNA

Dagyum Ji NK News

Vipin Narang quoted: “The whole combination of them: MLRS, KN-23, and this together are a nightmare for missile defenses.”

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

In the News

August 10, 2019

Trump says he looks forward to seeing Kim Jong Un 'in the not too distant future'

Nicole Gaouette, Kylie Atwood and Jeremy DiamondCNN

Vipin Narang quoted: Trump's assessment of the alliance "a stark break from 70 years" of US presidential custom. "2019 is weird," Narang said. "The President has more respect for Kim Jong Un than he does for South Korea ... our formal ally."

Vipin Narang

In the News

August 9, 2019

The difficulty of basing US missiles in Asia

Anthony KuhnNPR News

Washington says the weapons would be non-nuclear and defensive in nature, but Vipin Narang says that China will not see it that way.

In the News

August 1, 2019

AI meets bureaucratic politics

Andrew ImbrieWar on the Rocks

Taylor Fravel argues that the degree of party unity is central to whether and how change occurs in response to shifts in the conduct of warfare. Additional commentary on Fravel's work is cited. 

 

 North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a photo released last week by the Korean Central News Agency. Photo: kcna/kns/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

In the News

July 31, 2019

North Korea conducts second weapons test in under a week

Timothy W Martin and Andrew JeongThe Wall Street Journal

Quoted: Vipin Narang said the test sends a message of frustration over the US-South Korea drill without derailing diplomacy with Mr Trump. “It’s a reminder that during this whole process, North Korea continues to improve and expand its missile and nuclear-weapons arsenal.”

People watch a TV broadcast of a news report on North Korea firing short-range ballistic missiles, in Seoul, South Korea, July 31, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

In the News

July 31, 2019

US still hopes for talks after latest North Korean missile tests

Josh SmithReuters

Quoted: Vipin Narang said the missile tests were part of the North Korean leader’s approach to diplomacy: “He’s saying it will take more than a photo-op to get things moving.”

NK Missile

In the News

July 25, 2019

North Korean missile launch a 'new type of threat,' South Korea says

Zachary Cohen, Nicole Gaouette, Sophie Jeong, Barbara StarrCNN

Quoted: "Trump's trip to Panmunjom didn't have its desired effect," Vipin Narang. "There's no date for working level talks. Instead, they're still testing—Kim is touring potentially nuclear capable submarines and firing" missiles. Narang said that based on initial descriptions early Thursday, at least one of the projectiles was likely a solid-fuel ballistic missile that's been jokingly dubbed the Kimskander, a portmanteau of Kim and the Iskander missile which experts say the North Korean weapon was likely based on.

 

Truump and Xi

In the News

July 25, 2019

China says the US is undermining global stability

Dandan LiBloomberg

Quoted: This year’s white paper “was the first to be much more explicit about Chinese concerns regarding the United States,” said Taylor Fravel. “The references to the US reflect the deepening tensions and rivalry between the two countries.”

U.S. President Donald Trump and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan speak to the media in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington on July 22. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In the News

July 24, 2019

How Pakistan is playing Washington—again

Michael Hirsh, Lara SeligmanForeign Policy

Quoted: “They are so good at this game—literally rope a dope,” Vipin Narang. “Their incentive is to bait and bleed the United States and extract as many goodies (at one point a nuclear arsenal) out of us as they can. And we have been baited and bled for 40 years. This is the most profitable franchise in Pakistani history.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects a newly built submarine at an undisclosed location in this undated picture released Tuesday. | REUTERS

In the News

July 23, 2019

Kim Jong Un inspects submarine that experts fear could carry far-reaching missiles

Nick VisserHuffington Post

Vipin Narang, quoted in this article, said “For now these are just pics. But the fact that the KCNA release is littered with the word ‘strategic’ suggests Kim wants us to believe that is a possible SLBM.”

India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar gestures as he speaks in New Delhi, India June 6, 2019. India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar gestures as he speaks in New Delhi, India June 6, 2019.

In the News

July 23, 2019

Delhi denies asking Trump to mediate Kashmir dispute

Steve HermanVOA News

Quoted: Trump not only blew past that red line, he threw masala on the wound by suggesting that Modi asked him to mediate, which is likely 1,000 percent a lie, argues Vipin Narang. With US-India relations already struggling and India’s S-400 missile purchase (from Russia), this just added fuel to the fire, he added.

John Tirman

In the News

July 22, 2019

3Q: John Tirman on a new US human rights commission

Michelle EnglishMIT News

John Tirman, executive director and principal research scientist at MIT CIS, provides context behind the newly created commission by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and describes its potential impact on the human rights movement.

Jim Walsh

In the News

July 19, 2019

Iran denies US claims about drone attack

Eric WesterveltWBUR Here & Now

Iran denied President Trump's statement that a US warship destroyed an Iranian drone near the Persian Gulf after it threatened the ship.  SSP's Jim Walsh weighs in on the new escalation of tensions between the US and Iran.

Richard Samuels

In the News

July 16, 2019

Special duty: A history of the Japanese intelligence community

In Special Duty, Richard J Samuels dissects the fascinating history of the intelligence community in Japan. It has been cited as "a masterpiece" that offers "much needed insight to academics and policymakers."

Suzanne Berger

In the News

July 10, 2019

Suzanne Berger named inaugural John M Deutch Institute Professor

Peter DizikesMIT News

Political scientist Suzanne Berger has been named MIT’s inaugural John M Deutch Institute Professor, joining the select group of people holding MIT’s highest faculty honor.

Jim Walsh

In the News

July 9, 2019

World powers react to Iran exceeding limits in nuclear deal

Robin YoungWBUR Here & Now

Jim Walsh, MIT Securities Studies Program senior research associate, discusses Iran enriching uranium beyond the accord's 3.67% limit as tensions with Iran escalate. He speaks with Robin Young on Here & Now.

container ship drawing

In the News

July 6, 2019

Chaguan | A chained dragon

The Economist

Quoted: America’s geography is even luckier below the waves, argues Owen Cote, in a new study in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Since the cold war, he writes, America has successfully tracked foreign submarines with acoustic arrays placed where continental shelves end and deep oceans begin. Link to full text article

Images of book covers - Literature at the end of the tunnel: Though the Japanese summer will soon be at its peak, there’s nothing like a good book to distract from the heat.

In the News

July 6, 2019

Hot new Japan book releases for the sweltering summer

Iain MaloneyThe Japan Times

Rumors and secrets are at the heart of Richard J Samuels’ “Special Duty: A History of the Japanese Intelligence Community” (Cornell University Press, October).

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

In the News

July 4, 2019

Even for a limited nuclear deal, North Korea may settle for nothing less than sanctions relief

Reporting by Josh Smith; Editing by Lincoln FeastReuters

Vipin Narang, quoted in this article, said “A freeze on fissile material, nuclear weapons, and missile production at Yongbyon and beyond—when North Korea does not even acknowledge enrichment facilities outside Yongbyon—without some sanctions relief, seems unlikely,”

In the News

July 3, 2019

Trump-Kim handshake may be meaningless without bridging denuclearization differences

Christy LeeVOA

Vipin Narang, quoted in this article, said for the working-level talks to succeed both sides need to revise their positions going forward and agree on the definition of denuclearization and what approach to take in achieving it.

Photo of computer/robot head -  We need capacity to engage with respect to policy and regulatory mechanisms. FILE PHOTO | NMG

In the News

July 3, 2019

The IT and biological technology link

Bitange NdemoBusiness Daily Africa

Ken Oye spoke at The Gordon Institute of Business Science and the Georgia Institute of Technology on The Emerging to Converging Technologies Conference in Johannesburg and had many solutions that could bring great benefit to the southern hemisphere.

M Taylor Fravel

In the News

July 3, 2019

Military strategy and politics in the PRC

SupChina

The SupChina podcast featured Taylor Fravel. His new book Active Defense: China’s Military Strategy Since 1949, examines the changes to the PLA’s strategy, why they happen, and why, just as importantly, in some moments when we’d expect major changes in strategy, they don’t happen. 

Jim Walsh

In the News

July 1, 2019

Trump steps over North Korean border and into controversial nuclear negotiations

Lisa MullinsWBUR Here & Now

President Trump traveled to the demilitarized zone between the Koreas and shook hands with Kim Jong Un in North Korean territory. Jim Walsh weighs in.

President Donald Trump steps into the northern side of the Military Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea, as North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un looks on, in the Demilitarized zone (DMZ), June 30, 2019.

In the News

July 1, 2019

After Trump and Kim's handshake, what comes next in US-North Korean talks?: Analysis

Conor FinneganABC News

I have no problem with a stunt that jolts a comatose working level process, tweeted Vipin Narang, assistant professor at MIT, about the DMZ meeting. But this was picking up the fifteen yards we lost at Hanoi because of Trump's own hardened maximalist position. If that doesn't change, this is just theatrics.

Vipin Narang

In the News

July 1, 2019

Iran says it has exceeded uranium limits set in 2015 nuclear deal

Geoff BrumfielNPR

Vipin Narang says it appears almost inevitable that Iran will follow through and ramp up its nuclear program again, even as Washington warns it not to.  

Carol Saivetz and Jim Walsh on WGBH

In the News

July 1, 2019

Trump’s whirlwind weekend in Asia

Greater Boston StaffWGBH Greater Boston

Carol Saivetz and Jim Walsh, senior advisor and senior research associate, respectively, at MIT's Security Studies program, discuss President Trump’s weekend in Asia.

M Taylor Fravel

In the News

July 1, 2019

Taylor Fravel named director of the MIT Security Studies Program

Center for International StudiesMIT News

Taylor Fravel takes over as director of the MIT Security Studies Program (SSP). Barry Posen will continue his research and teaching responsibilities at MIT and continue leading SSP's Grand Strategy, Security, and Statecraft Fellows Program.

President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone.

In the News

June 30, 2019

The media hands Trump a hollow victory on North Korea

Peter WadeRolling Stone

As MIT security studies professor Vipin Narang pointed out on Twitter, Trump and Kim’s talks stand exactly where they were 15 months ago. The only difference is this new photo op.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, left, and US President Donald Trump shake hands during a meeting on the southern side of the DMZ [Brendan Smialowski/AFP]

In the News

June 30, 2019

‘Amazing event’: North Korea lauds Trump-Kim meeting at border

Aljazeera

Vipin Narang of MIT said the North was portraying Kim as being courted by Trump. Note very carefully the sequence of issues here, he said on Twitter. Easing tensions, ending inglorious relations, and then working on denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula (again, not just North Korea). Kim is still not offering to unilaterally disarm.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump talk in the garden of the Metropole hotel during the second North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi, Vietnam Feb. 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

In the News

June 28, 2019

Trump offers North Korea's Kim weekend meeting in demilitarized zone

Roberta Rampton, Joyce LeeReuters

“The fundamental problem - no working-level meetings and no basic change in at least the US negotiating position - means that any meeting right now is just pointless theater,” tweeted Vipin Narang, an MIT professor of political science.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and United States President Donald Trump

In the News

June 27, 2019

North Korea denies reports of behind-the-scenes talks with US in sharp rebuttal to South Korea's Moon

Joshua BerlingerCNN

Vipin Narang said it appears unlikely a summit is forthcoming. My expectations are low, and I think going forward it's best to keep them there he said, adding that it's more likely that developments will come from meetings between senior officials.

In this undated photo, an employee of Google diagnoses an overheated computer processor at the company's data center in The Dalles, Ore. Google uses these data centers to store email, photos, video, calendar entries and other information shared by its users. These centers also process the hundreds of millions of searches that Internet users make on Google each day. (Connie Zhou/AP/Google)

In the News

June 25, 2019

Is Boston a cloud security hub?

Tiziana Dearing and Jamie BolognaWBUR

Boston was chosen by Amazin to host the first conference on cloud security. But what is cloud security and why is Boston a leader in it? Joel Brenner weighs in.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

In the News

June 25, 2019

Trump and Kim exchange letters, but will they meet at DMZ?

William GalloVOA News

“This is like the buildup to The Apprentice finale,” tweeted Vipin Narang. “A lot of intrigue and drama, but that was ultimately an extreme letdown. We actually play right into Trump’s hand by tuning in and hanging on to every word. Someone let us know how this ends.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reads a letter from U.S. President Donald Trump in Pyongyang in this picture released Sunday. | REUTERS

In the News

June 23, 2019

Kim Jong Un receives letter from Trump, saying he will 'seriously contemplate' its 'interesting content'

Jesse JohnsonThe Japan Times

“Did Trump indicate a willingness to moderate the US negotiating position (good)? Or did Trump unknowingly assent to something Kim said about doing so in his own letter and now Kim thinks Trump is on board (bad)?” Vipin Narang, a North Korea expert and professor of international relations at MIT, wrote on Twitter.

US-Iran flags

In the News

June 21, 2019

What's next after Iran strike called off?

Jeremy HobsonWBUR Here & Now

President Trump confirmed Friday he rescinded a military operation to strike Iran that was underway. Host Jeremy Hobson talks with Here & Now security analyst Jim Walsh, with MIT's Security Studies Program.

Jim Walsh

In the News

June 19, 2019

Is the US inching closer to war with Iran?

Fox News Radio

Tensions between the US and Iran continue to escalate. Is it nothing more than saber-rattling, or is the threat of war real? Former CIA station chief Daniel Hoffman and MIT Securities Studies Program Senior Research Associate Dr Jim Walsh explain the increase in pressure.

Barry Posen

In the News

June 19, 2019

What would a US grand strategy of restraint look like?

Elliot WaldmanWorld Politics Review: Trend Lines

Barry Posen is featured on World Politics Review’s podcast to discuss his idea of a US grand strategy based on restraint and how it would look when put into practice. 

Tankers at the Iraqi Al Basra Oil Terminal in the Northern Arabian Gulf .

In the News

June 14, 2019

Trump blames Iran for attack on oil tankers in Gulf of Oman

Lisa MullinsWBUR Here & Now

President Trump said on Friday that Iran carried out the attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Host Lisa Mullins talks with Here & Now security analyst Jim Walsh, with MIT's Security Studies Program.

Jim Walsh interview on Bloomberg

In the News

June 14, 2019

We should assume Iran is responsible for attacks on oil tankers, says Jim Walsh

David Westin Bloomberg Daybreak: Americas

Jim Walsh, MIT Securities Studies Program senior research associate, discusses who is responsible for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Straits of Hormuz, on Thursday. He speaks with Bloomberg’s David Westin on “Bloomberg Daybreak: Americas.”

Kim Jong Un shakes hands with President Donald Trump at the start of their historic U.S.-North Korea summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018.

In the News

June 12, 2019

‘The clock is ticking’: A year on from the Singapore summit Kim Jong Un is losing patience with Donald Trump’s strategy

David BrennanNewsweek

Vipin Narang says that the collapse of talks in Hanoi has left talks "on life support." …Kim has suggested that the moratorium will only remain in place until the end of this year if the US does not soften its negotiating stance.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un shake hands following a meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27, 2019. Since then, North Korea has undertaken missile tests and Trump has voiced confidence that Kim will not “break his promise”. Photo: AFPUS President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un shake hands following a meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27, 2019. Since then, North Korea has undertaken missile tests and Trump has voiced confidence that Kim will not “brea

In the News

June 11, 2019

As North Korea doubles down on its nuclear weapons, Trump and the US are stuck with ‘strategic patience’

Rob YorkSouth China Morning Post

Vipin Narang, a nuclear proliferation expert at MIT, said North Korea could be convinced to freeze fissile material production and that its Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Centre is reaching the end of its life, meaning it is possible to “slow the growth of [the] programme”. But the fate of the non-nuclear-armed Gaddafi and former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein has taught North Koreans “don’t give up your nuclear weapons because … the United States may one day decide to get rid of you”, Narang said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, front left, and his wife Suzan, front center, listen to a tourist guide during a sightseeing walk as part of Pompeo’s visit in Bern, Switzerland, Saturday, June 1, 2019.(Peter Klaunzer/Keystone via AP) (Associated Press)

In the News

June 1, 2019

Pompeo visits elite event as Trump policies raise questions

Matthew Lee and Jamey Keaten | APThe Washington Post

“What we have is an administration that is behaving like a unilateralist wrecking ball,” said Ken Oye, an MIT political science professor on sabbatical in Switzerland, who came to protest.  He predicted those are the meeting “are likely to be telling him ‘that you’re not serving American interests or international interests more broadly defined. You’re making a mistake, and here are the reasons why we believe so.’”

Vipin Narang

In the News

May 31, 2019

The BradCast

Brad Friedman

Independent investigative journalism, broadcasting, trouble-making and muckraking with Brad Friedman of BradBlog.com, with special guest MIT nuclear proliferation expert Vipin Narang.

A commercial satellite image from May 4 shows what analysts at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in California think is the launch point and exhaust trail of a new short-range ballistic missile test in North Korea. (Reuters/Planet Labs)

In the News

May 27, 2019

North Korea has been testing ballistic missiles. So why won’t Trump use the B word?

Simon DenyerThe Washington Post

Vipin Narang said the South Korean government may be playing “fast and loose” with semantics. “The trajectory of the KN-23 is low, so sometimes referred to as a quasi-ballistic missile, which may give them just enough semantic wiggle room to say, ‘It’s not an SRBM,’ ” he said, referring to a short-range ballistic missile. “But it is.”

National security adviser John Bolton is surrounded by reporters at the Japanese prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo on Friday. (Yohei Kanasashi/AP)

In the News

May 25, 2019

Trump appears to contradict Bolton on North Korea, expresses ‘confidence’ in Kim

Simon Denyer and Ashley ParkerThe Washington Post

“There is a lot that is really disturbing here, but the most important bit is ‘Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me,’” Vipin Narang wrote. “Kim never promised to unilaterally disarm, and the problem is Trump continues to believe he did. THAT is why this is so dangerous.”

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi

In the News

May 24, 2019

Modi’s definitive win may mean a more assertive India

Seema ModyCNBC

“Modi’s muscular national security approach just received overwhelming approval. We should expect to see more of it in the next five years,” said Vipin Narang. Narang noted that the Indian leader could use the present opportunity to “improve the defense forces and acquisition process” for his country — or he could aim to settle scores with Pakistan.

Vipin Narang

In the News

May 21, 2019

Iran stance is straight from Trump's North Korea playbook

Joshua BerlingerCNN

It seems very clear that at least the President's strategy is to ramp up the temperature with, and pressure on Iran, to get them to renegotiate the JCPOA, which he believes was flawed because it allowed Iran to have a (clearly regionally aggressive) foreign policy and some remnants of a defense capability (i.e. missiles) and sunset clauses on enrichment caps, said Vipin Narang.

Soldiers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army 1st Amphibious Mechanized Infantry Division prepare to provide Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen with a demonstration of their capablities during a visit to the unit in China on July 12, 2011. Mullen is on a three-day trip to the country meeting with counterparts and Chinese leaders. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley/Released)

In the News

May 19, 2019

“Active Defense: China’s Military Strategy Since 1949” by M Taylor Fravel

Francis P SempaAsian Review of Books

In his new and informative book Active Defense: China’s Military Strategy Since 1949, Taylor Fravel, using Communist Party history sources that have only recently become available to outside scholars, reviews the evolution of China’s military strategy since the Communist Party seized power after defeating the Nationalists in the civil war, attempts to identify, explain and categorize the changes in military doctrine, and proposes a general theory of Chinese strategic change.

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, watching the National Army Day parade in Tehran last month.

In the News

May 17, 2019

To contain Iran, Trump’s newest line in the sand looks a lot like Obama’s

David E. SangerThe New York Times

“They were so committed to leaving the deal, because it had been negotiated by the Obama administration, that they did it without thinking through the predictable consequences,” said Vipin Narang. “The old agreement had flaws — many of them,” Mr. Narang said. “But by ripping it up, they opened up a Pandora’s box,” because so many in Iran also had chafed at the deal because of the nuclear production it gave away.

Footage of a North Korean missile launch shows on a TV screen Saturday at the Seoul Railway Station. (Ahn Young-Joon/AP)

In the News

May 9, 2019

North Korea launches two short-range missiles, at same time as US ICBM test

Simon DenyerThe Washington Post

Vipin Narang, a professor of international security studies at MIT, said the risks mount with each test by the North.  “Kim risks overshooting and provoking a furious Trump backlash if the latter feels betrayed,” he wrote in an email. “And if this is an attempt to pressure the U.S. to moderate its negotiating position, it may backfire: The U.S. may only harden it to avoid looking like it’s caving to North Korean tests and pressure. So, if this push-the-line strategy continues or intensifies, hold on to your hats.”

Taylor Fravel and his new book, “Active Defense: China's Military Strategy Since 1949.”  Image: Taylor Fravel and Dominick Reuter

In the News

May 8, 2019

The (evolving) art of war

Peter DizikesMIT News

In his new book, “Active Defense: China's Military Strategy Since 1949,” political scientist Taylor Fravel uncovers the modern history of Chinese military strategy.

Jim Walsh

In the News

May 8, 2019

Iran will stop complying with some parts of US nuclear deal

Robin YoungWBUR Here & Now

Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, said Wednesday that Tehran will stop complying with some commitments it made in the Iranian nuclear deal. Host Robin Young speaks with Here & Now security analyst Jim Walsh, with MIT's Security Studies Program.

Kim Jong Un with Vladimir Putin on April 25. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

In the News

May 6, 2019

US risks emboldening Kim with muted response to missile test

Jon Herskovitz and Jihye Lee Bloomberg

“Even if we internally concur with Kim that the testing moratorium only applies to ICBMs, we shouldn’t publicly say it, because it essentially says we will tolerate him testing anything short of that,” said Vipin Narang. “Tests of even those systems going forward can generate a real crisis and pose a significant threat to our allies, and our forces in the region.”

 South Koreans walk past replicas of North Korean and South Korean missiles on February 28, 2019 in Seoul. North Korea tested a short-range missile on May 3, 2019. Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

In the News

May 6, 2019

North Korea tested a missile over the weekend. The Trump admin flubbed the response.

Alex WardVox

“Even if internally the US administration accepted that the missile-testing moratorium applied only narrowly to ICBMs, as Kim has publicly stated, don’t say it,” Narang told me. “At least stick with the vague language of ‘long-range missiles’ to cover the weapons that threaten our forces and allies in the region.”  “The question will be whether this test was a one-off or whether it becomes a concerted effort to gradually escalate the range of missile tests through the end of the year to see how much Trump actually loves Kim,” he continued.

Kim observes tests of different weapons systems in North Korea on May 4 in this photo released by KCNA. Source: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

In the News

May 5, 2019

North Korea weapons test may have included ballistic missile

Jihye LeeBloomberg

“Kim Jong Un may be starting his ‘push-the-line’ strategy, gradually seeing how much Trump will turn a blind eye to,” said Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT and a member of its security studies program. “Not good.”

 FILE - A screen shows a news program reporting in Tokyo about North Korea's missile firing from Wonsan, center, June 8, 2017.

In the News

May 3, 2019

Seoul: North Korea tests short-range projectiles

William GalloVOA News

Testing a short-range ballistic missile “might skirt the line” on that moratorium, says Vipin Narang, a nuclear expert and professor at MIT. “Kim has stated (the moratorium) only applies to ICBMs, while the U.S. believes it applies more broadly,” Narang says. “It’s enough to signal slightly greater concern but giving the U.S. an out if it wants to, to dismiss it as not a violation of the moratorium.”

 The Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard warned that if the Mueller report had found that the president had colluded with Russia, it could have led to civil war. Photograph: Loren Elliott/Reuters

In the News

May 2, 2019

Robots, war, climate: is apocalyptic rhetoric dangerous for Democratic candidates?

Josh WoodThe Guardian

Vipin Narang, a professor of political science and a nuclear proliferation expert at MIT, says that in contrast with Gabbard’s statements, the US and the world faced a much greater threat of nuclear catastrophe during the cold war. “We probably have more flash points [today], but we traded a smaller risk of a world-ending event for maybe a larger chance of nuclear use,” he said.

 Modi addresses the nation on March 27 about destroying a low-orbiting satellite. Photographer: Narinder Nanu/AFP via Getty Images

In the News

April 27, 2019

India slips further behind China during first five years of Modi

Iain MarlowBloomberg

Even Modi’s announcement of the anti-satellite missile test will be mostly useless against China, according to Vipin Narang, an MIT associate political science professor. “Not only does China have more satellites that India would likely have to kill, but China may have an advantage in killing Indian satellites,” Narang said.

Active Defense book by Taylor Fravel

In the News

April 24, 2019

“Active Defense” by Taylor Fravel

Princeton University Press

Taylor Fravel's newly released book illuminates the nation’s past and present military goals and how China sought to achieve them, and offers a rich set of cases for deepening the study of change in military organizations.

Left to right: Joshua "Shiki" Shani, CEO of Lockheed Martin Israel; Deanna Rockefeller, Lockheed Martin Global Science and Technology Portfolio manager; and David Dolev, assistant director of MISTI and managing director of MISTI’s programs in Israel.  Image: Sivan Farag

In the News

April 18, 2019

MIT-Lockheed Martin Seed Fund launches

MISTI MIT News

Collaboration between Lockheed Martin and MISTI will enable MIT faculty and students to collaborate, research, and intern in Israel, Germany, and beyond.

Clara Park ’14 SM ’17, a graduate research assistant at MIT’s Therapeutic Technology Design and Development Lab, is working with Assistant Professor Ellen Roche on a heart model to test and validate different implantable cardiac devices. Park presented her work at a recent workshop organized by Roche and Claire Conway from the National University of Ireland Galway. With support from the MISTI Global Seed Fund, Roche and Conway are giving students new opportunities to help tackle the world’s leading cause of

In the News

April 17, 2019

MIT faculty launch collaborations around the world

MISTI MIT News

MISTI Global Seed Funds program awards another $2 million to researchers across the Institute.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un observes a flight drill by combat pilots at an undisclosed site in a photo released on April 16, 2019. (Korean Central News Agency)

In the News

April 17, 2019

North Korea test-fires new ‘tactical guided weapon,’ with Kim Jong Un there to observe

Victoria KimLos Angeles Times

“This seems to be a very calibrated and rational signaling attempt,” said Vipin Narang, a nuclear proliferation expert and political science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Kim Jong Un is trying to remind both the U.S. and South Korea what the cost of walking away from diplomacy might be…. He’s loaded his gun, but he hasn’t fired.”

Vipin Narang

In the News

April 16, 2019

The North Korean nuclear crisis

Dan LindleyNotre Dame International Security Center

Vipin Narang is interviewed by the Notre Dame International Security Center in this podcast on North Korea's nuclear crisis.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House on Thursday. | BLOOMBERG

In the News

April 12, 2019

Trump says no to eased sanctions, but South Korea's Moon keeps nuclear talks with Kim alive

Jesse JohnsonThe Japan Times

Vipin Narang, a North Korea expert and professor of international relations at MIT, said this interpretation is possible, but noted that Trump’s “intuition is that a small deal cannot by definition be a ‘good deal’ ” for Trump the businessman. “My interpretation was more pessimistic than others perhaps — that he meant, ‘I’ve heard this suggestion about small step-by-step deals, but nah, I’m going to go big or go home and try to get all the nukes.’ At least for now,” Narang said.

Photo: Stew Milne

In the News

April 10, 2019

Cultivating collaboration and innovation between MIT and Denmark

MIT News

New MIT-Denmark program is poised to send its first students overseas for internships and research.

Joel Brenner

In the News

April 8, 2019

Increasing threats against mobile devices force HHS, others to rethink protections

Jason MillerFederal News Network

Joel Brenner said taking your phone, laptop or other device to China was dangerous and would end up with lost data and the real possibility of having your home network compromised. “We suggested they take stripped down devices, if you are taking a device at all,” Brenner said in a recent interview with Federal News Network. “That advice was widely adopted by many companies as well as the government. I think it’s good, but tough advice to follow.”

 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves at the public rally in Kolkata, India, on April 3. (Atul Loke/Getty Images)

In the News

April 4, 2019

Did India shoot down a Pakistani jet? US count says no.

Lara Seligman Foreign Policy

Although the news likely won’t sway Indian voters, Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT, said the way the events have unfolded may affect India’s efforts to deter Pakistan in the future. “As details come out, it looks worse and worse for the Indians,” Narang said. “It looks increasingly like India failed to impose significant costs on Pakistan, but lost a plane and a helicopter of its own in the process.”

Active Defense: China’s Military Strategy since 1949 by M. Taylor Fravel

In the News

April 3, 2019

What we are reading today: Active Defense: China’s Military Strategy since 1949 by M. Taylor Fravel

Arab News

Active Defense offers the first systematic look at China’s military strategy from the mid-20th century to today.

Mission Shakti: Students celebrate DRDO's ASAT anti-satellite missile test.

In the News

April 2, 2019

To NASA's mission Shakti rebuke, ex-defence research chief's rebuttal

Pallava Bagla NDTV

Speaking to NDTV, Vipin Narang, a professor of political science and a specialist on strategic studies at MIT in Boston, US added, Let's be clear there is only a 1 per cent risk of debris hitting the International Space Station, as as the NASA chief says there has been a 44 per cent increase in the risk of the ISS being hit by space junk created by the Indian A-SAT test, even then the risk goes up to a mere 1.44 per cent.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, waits for the start of the North Atlantic Council at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Friday, April 27, 2018. (Virginia Mayo/AP)

In the News

April 1, 2019

NATO at 70: Is it time to overhaul one of America's oldest alliances?

Meghna ChakrabartiWBUR

Barry Posen says President Trump might be right — and that it’s time to rethink one of America’s oldest international alliances.

 Doan Thi Huong is escorted by Malaysian police out of the high court in Shah Alam on 1 April. Photograph: AFP Contributor#AFP/AFP/Getty Images

In the News

April 1, 2019

How North Korea got away with the assassination of Kim Jong-nam

Hannah Ellis-Petersen and Benjamin HaasThe Guardian

“The reason to do it publicly is to leave a calling card, to show the world that Kim Jong-un is not afraid to use a weapon of mass destruction at a crowded international airport,” said Vipin Narang, a politics professor at MIT.

Illustra­tion by Terry Tidwell

In the News

March 28, 2019

Scholar as detective

Andrew EricksonAmerican University Magazine

A gambler pulling the lever of a slot machine is not that different from a researcher elbow-deep in archival material, says Joseph Torigian (MIT ’16).

  Experts believe the target of Wednesday's anti-satellite test was India's Microsat-R, which is shown here launching in January. Arun Sankar/AFP/Getty Images

In the News

March 27, 2019

India claims successful test of anti-satellite weapon

Geoff BrumfielNPR

Testing a missile capable of hitting a satellite is a hop, skip and a jump away from a ballistic missile defense test, Narang says.

“India has no intention to threaten anyone,” said Narendra Modi, the country's prime minister, during a successful anti-satellite demonstration Wednesday. Emmanuele Contini/NurPhoto/Getty Images

In the News

March 27, 2019

India’s anti-satellite test wasn’t really about satellites

Daniel OberhausWired

Narang says, India’s anti-satellite test is difficult to make sense of because it is “both more dependent on satellites than Pakistan and it’s also less capable in a relative sense than China.”“If Pakistan starts hitting Indian satellites, India can knock out Pakistan’s very few satellites,” notes Narang.

@RepMalinowski asks SecPompeo about NorthKorea, Kim Jong Un and Otto Warmbier.

In the News

March 27, 2019

Mike Pompeo again refuses to blame Kim Jong Un for Otto Warmbier’s death

Nick VisserHuffington Post

“The administration is trying to square the circle between holding the regime responsible for its treatment of Otto Warmbier, but not criticize Kim directly — who they are trying to keep from testing a satellite launch vehicle, or worse, and to keep the diplomatic process from completely imploding,” Vipin Narang, an associate professor at MIT, told HuffPost.

Reid Pauly

In the News

March 26, 2019

Wargames and the sources of nuclear restraint

Reid B.C. PaulyHarvard Belfer Center

Reid Pauly explains how declassified records of wargames played by US policymakers can reveal why nuclear weapons have not been used since 1945.

Thirteen students participate in the inaugural run of MIT-India 3.008 Humanistic Co-Design in the Developing World.

In the News

March 25, 2019

Co-designing assistive technologies in India

Madeline SmithMIT News

MIT students connect with premier Indian institutes, hospitals, and students to collaborate on “humanistic” assistive design.

South Korean Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung leaves after a news conference at the Unification Ministry in Seoul on March 22. (Ahn Young-Joon/AP)

In the News

March 22, 2019

North Korea pulls out of liaison office with the South in blow to warming ties

Min Joo Kim and Simon DenyerThe Washington Post

Vipin Narang described the latest development as “ominous” but agreed it was more likely a pressure tactic than a sign of an irrevocable rift. “The optimistic view is it is very calibrated signaling designed to get the U.S. to move away from insisting on complete surrender up front,” he said. “The pessimistic reading, which I don’t yet share,” he added, “is that Kim has decided after Hanoi that it’s over and that he’s lost the will to negotiate further, and is now just prepping the battlefield, quite literally, for a return to hostile relations.”

FILE - Protesters march toward the U.S. Embassy during a rally supporting the U.S. policy to put steady pressure on North Korea, in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 3, 2018.

In the News

March 21, 2019

US imposes first N. Korea-linked sanctions since failed summit

Steve HermanVoice of America

Insisting on unilateral North Korean disarmament upfront is pushing on the wrong door. We should be pushing to first slow the program, then cap it, and ultimately keep rollback and disarmament the long-term goal,said Vipin Narang. But every month that passes without a grand deal is one in which North Korea's nuclear program continues to grow larger — increasing the risk of its own use and proliferation to other countries — and the chances of a deal grow smaller.

Sarah Williams

In the News

March 19, 2019

Mapping urban transport

Michelle EnglishMIT News

Sarah Williams is combining her skills as a geographer, architect, data scientist, and city planner to create data for civic change. Her latest project is funded in part by the Center’s International Policy Lab.

Vipin Narang

In the News

March 19, 2019

Trump officials privately bracing for North Korea's next move

Kylie Atwood and Zachary CohenCNN

We may not know until it's on the stand, according to Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT, focusing on nuclear proliferation and strategy, who told CNN that it entirely depends on the type of engine and the payload it is carrying.

Michael McFaul, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, discusses U.S.-Russia relations at MIT’s Starr Forum, Thursday, March 14, 2019.  Image: Laura Kerwin/MIT Center for International Studies

In the News

March 18, 2019

After the Cold War, an uncertain peace

Peter DizikesMIT News

In a recent MIT Starr Forum, Michael McFaul, former US ambassador to Russia, explores tensions between the two countries.

  The 9.18 Historical Museum in Shenyang memorializes the 1931 "Mukden Incident," an explosion that the Japanese army staged and then used as a pretext to invade Northeast China.  Kacie Miura

In the News

March 14, 2019

Commerce and coercion

Leda ZimmermanMIT Political Science

Responding to disputes with foreign powers, China does not speak with one voice, finds political science doctoral candidate Kacie Miura.

Barry Posen

In the News

March 12, 2019

A trilogy of decency: Posen, Mearsheimer, Walt and the US grand strategy

Jose A Zorrilla Political Insights

Ambassador Jose A Zorrilla offers a review of Barry Posen's Restraint, as the first of three books offering comprehensive grand strategy to US foreign policy.

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shake hands at their summit in Hanoi last month. (Evan Vucci/AP)

In the News

March 11, 2019

Trump’s diplomacy with Kim dims as both sides return to hard-line positions

John Hudson The Washington Post

“If we’re going to stay firm on the maximalist position, it’s hard to see where we go from here because there’s no way Kim is going to accept this,” said Vipin Narang, a North Korea expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun listens with South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha during their meeting on February 9, 2019. Ed Jones-Pool via Getty Images

In the News

March 11, 2019

A top US diplomat just laid out the new approach to North Korea. It’s doomed.

Alex WardVox

“If we don’t move off this position, we have nowhere to go,” MIT nuclear expert Vipin Narang told me. “There’s no zone of agreement if we insist on everything — I mean everything, complete surrender — up front.”

 A handout photo of President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their second summit on February 27, 2019, in Hanoi, Vietnam.  Vietnam News Agency/Handout/Getty Images

In the News

March 8, 2019

A top Trump official may have just doomed US-North Korea talks

Alex WardVox

“Insisting on disarmament as a condition for peace will lead to exactly the opposite of disarmament and peace,” tweeted MIT nuclear expert Vipin Narang.

Lerna Ekmekçioğlu

In the News

March 7, 2019

Learning to study a painful past

Peter Dizikes MIT News

Lerna Ekmekçioğlu studies pioneering Armenian women of the 19th and 20th centuries — and helps other scholars enter her field. Her best-known book is “Recovering Armenia: The Limits of Belonging in Post-Genocide Turkey.” She is an associate professor of history at MIT and a research affiliate of CIS.

 Commercial satellite imagery from March 2, 2019, shows renewed activity at Sohae, a space launch facility in North Korea. DigitalGlobe/38 North via Getty Images

In the News

March 7, 2019

Why North Korea’s restored rocket site isn’t cause for worry — yet

Alex WardVox

“A satellite launch is in a gray zone but would definitely create problems for the Trump administration,” MIT nuclear expert Vipin Narang told me. “It could put us in a pickle,” especially if North Korea hardliners like National Security Adviser John Bolton use the launch to push Trump toward ending nuclear negotiations.

Israeli and Palestinian fellows from Our Generation Speaks work with MIT student interns at MITdesignX, a venture accelerator in the School of Architecture and Planning, to develop startups that tackle urban and design issues.  Photo: Gilad Rosenzweig

In the News

March 7, 2019

Israeli and Palestinian architects and planners seek common ground on innovation, entrepreneurship

MIT News

“This program and others, like our MISTI-MEET program, are opportunities for our students to learn about entrepreneurship, science, and technology and its capacity to create positive change in the Middle East,” said MISTI assistant director David Dolev.

Vipin Narang

In the News

March 6, 2019

Podcast: Indo-Pak tensions; and when foreign policy matters for domestic politics

Milan VaishnavHindustan Times

Milan Vaishnav (Director of the South Asia programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) speaks with Vipin Narang, associate professor of political science at MIT and a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Narang is one of the few scholars to have thought deeply about when foreign policy actually matters for domestic politics in India.

 Pakistani students take part in an anti-India protest rally in Lahore last week. Photograph: Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images

In the News

March 5, 2019

Kashmir's fog of war: how conflicting accounts benefit both sides

Michael Safi and Mehreen Zahra-Malik The Guardian

“The advantage of the fog of war, especially in the immediate aftermath of something like this, is that … you can actually sustain contradictory narratives,” said Vipin Narang. And that gives both countries room to claim victory and refrain from further strikes. “This kind of ambiguity can be de-escalatory for the moment.  We can litigate the facts once things settle down.”

Pakistani soldiers carry a coffin of Pakistani soldier Khuram Ali who reportedly lost his life during heavy shelling from Indian troops at the Line of Control in Pakistani Kashmir, during his funeral in Dera Ghazi Khan in Pakistan, Monday, March 4, 2019. (Asim Tanveer)

In the News

March 5, 2019

Are nuclear weapons keeping the India-Pakistan crisis from escalating — or making it more dangerous?

Caitlin TalmadgeThe Washington Post

This is the stuff of nuclear nightmares, especially with the U.S. government sitting on the sidelines. Worse, unlike the U.S. and U.S.S.R., India and Pakistan share a border – and their citizens may be pushing harder for escalation.

Pakistani soldiers stand by what Pakistan says is wreckage from a downed Indian jet

In the News

March 1, 2019

Narendra Modi v Imran Khan: Who won the war of perception?

Soutik BiswasBBC

According to Vipin Narang, professor of political science at MIT, neither side seems to want a war. He believes that they "have had their Cuban Missile Crisis moment and recognise how a couple of wrong turns could set off uncontrollable escalation".  So both sides could get back to business. "Pakistan could finally crack down on terrorism and avoid getting the music started. India could continue strategic restraint," he says.

North Koreans parade in Pyongyang in 2017 alongside a float with model missiles and rockets and the message, "For Peace and Stability in the World." (Wong Maye-E / Associated Press)

In the News

March 1, 2019

Trump-Kim talks or not, North Korea’s nuclear arsenal apparently continues to grow

Victoria KimLos Angeles Times

The shutdown of Yongbyon, which includes North Korea’s only plutonium reactor as well as a uranium plant, would at least have limited the growth of North Korea’s arsenal, said Vipin Narang, a nuclear proliferation expert and political science professor at MIT. “The nuclear program continues to grow; the talks have fallen apart,” he said. “Now we’ve got nothing. This is the risk of trying to get it all in one bite.”

 Trump-Kim nuclear talks in Hanoi break down

In the News

February 28, 2019

The art of no deal: how Trump and Kim misread each other

Julian Borger The Guardian

Vipin Narang, an expert on nuclear proliferation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said it was “better that Kim Jong-un didn’t commit to shutting down Yongbyon if he was going to slow-roll it, because committing to it in writing and then leaving himself vulnerable to being accused of violating it sets us on a collision course”.

Photo of Trump and Kim in Hanoi

In the News

February 28, 2019

1 big thing: No deal in Hanoi

Dave LawlerAxios World

Jim Walsh, an international security expert at MIT who has negotiated with North Korea, says the two sides “squandered their time since Singapore,” adding: “It took 2 years of intense, regular negotiation to get the Iran deal. And Iran is easier. … So no, 30 days and winging it isn’t going to get it done.”

President Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission

In the News

February 28, 2019

Trump, Kim fail to reach agreement in Hanoi after talks abruptly collapse

Dominique Mosbergen and Nick VisserHuffington Post

Reacting to the “no deal” on Thursday, Vipin Narang, a professor of international relations at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the Hanoi summit’s outcome was “better than a bad deal or a deal that one side may violate.”

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on a large screen, February 28, in Hanoi, Vietnam. Carl Court/Getty Images

In the News

February 28, 2019

Was Donald Trump’s North Korea summit a failure?

David Brennan Newsweek

Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT, argued that a nonagreement was somewhat inevitable, given the gulf between U.S. and North Korean demands. “We’ve been papering over the differences for so long, at some point the bill was going to come due,” he told Newsweek. “You could get to Hanoi by papering over the differences.”

President Trump gestures as he speaks during a news conference after the Hanoi Summit in Hanoi on Feb. 28. (Seongjoon Cho/Bloomberg)

In the News

February 28, 2019

Who left the island? Who got the rose? The Trump-Kim summit played out like a reality show.

Emily TamkinThe Washington Post

“Trump knows how to set up cliffhangers,” said Vipin Narang, a professor at MIT focused on nonproliferation (and, incidentally, a fan of reality programs like “Real Housewives” and “The Shahs of Sunset”). He pointed to a tweet sent out by the U.S. president in which Trump dangled the prospect of denuclearization.  “They did a good job building expectations,” Narang said.

Joel Brenner

In the News

February 27, 2019

The Cybersecurity 202: CyberCom sent a message by taking down a troll farm on Election Day. Was Russia listening?

Joseph MarksThe Hour

I think it was worth doing, said Joel Brenner, a former senior counsel at the National Security Agency. But it's likely to have a very slight deterrent effect because I don't see any penalty that's being imposed. Brenner compared the IRA operation to police making criminals stay home and stop committing crimes for a few days rather than actually locking them up in jail. Is that going to stop them from trying again? he asked.

President Donald J. Trump is greeted by Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the State

In the News

February 27, 2019

Trump and Kim open 2nd nuclear summit

Peter O'DowdWBUR Here & Now

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un opened their second nuclear summit Wednesday in Hanoi. The two leaders had a social dinner together with the formal meetings set for Thursday. Host Peter O'Dowd talks with Here & Now security analyst Jim Walsh, senior research associate at MIT's Security Studies Program.

Vipin Narang

In the News

February 27, 2019

India, Pakistan exchange fire

Ben WatsonDefense One

Cautions Vipin Narang of MIT: “Modi overshot the upper limit of what Pakistan would take by hitting in KPK and forced Pakistan’s hand. Neither side wants a war but with this spiraling neither side wants to back down. This is getting ugly quickly. Need off-ramps and now.”

President Donald Trump walks to board Air Force One for a trip to Vietnam to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Feb. 25, 2019, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

In the News

February 25, 2019

Trump heads to Hanoi for second summit with Kim

Steve HermanVoice of America

All it takes is Kim pretending to disarm and Trump pretending to believe him, says Vipin Narang. So long as Kim doesn't embarrass Trump publicly by testing a nuclear weapon or a ballistic missile, domestically Trump can keep rinsing and repeating. The advantage for Trump is that Kim's continued expansion of his nuclear weapons program is largely silent, and, at best, shows up on page 10.

Indian security forces inspect the remains of a vehicle following an attack in Kashmir on Feb. 14. Photographer: AFP via Getty Images

In the News

February 25, 2019

Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan face off in renewed escalation

Iain Marlow and Kamran Haider Bloomberg

“The last time the Indian Air Force crossed the line of control intentionally and publicly to conduct air strikes was 1971,” said Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT, referring to the Indo-Pakistan war over Bangladesh.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un pose for the cameras at their first summit on June 12, 2018 in Singapore. (Photo: AFP/SAUL LOEB) Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/trump-s--great-chemistry--with-kim-jong-un-put-to-test-at-summit-11281222

In the News

February 23, 2019

Trump's 'great chemistry' with Kim Jong Un put to test at summit

AFP/nhChannel News Asia

I think Trump is calculating that he can run out the clock at least until the end of his first term with this strategy, said Vipin Narang, a lot may depend on what Hanoi yields. The risk is if Kim decides this unilateral testing moratorium - because it's not in writing - no longer works for him. Then there is no diplomatic exit ramp.

Vipin Narang

In the News

February 22, 2019

Best/worst cases for Trump-Kim II

Ben WatsonDefense One

Previewing next week’s big event in Hanoi, MIT’s Vipin Narang tweeted “My reading of the last couple days’ news on the Hanoi summit is that we should expect, at best, modest progress on what are still exceedingly maximalist goals. The reverse approach—max progress on modest goals—would have been more realistic.”

 North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump. KOREA SUMMIT PRESS POOL,MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

In the News

February 21, 2019

It’s clearer than ever that the US’s North Korea policy is in total chaos

Alex WardVox

“We are nowhere,” says MIT nuclear expert Vipin Narang. “Which is probably exactly where the North Koreans want us to be.”

A camp near the Syrian border at Suruç, Turkey.

In the News

February 20, 2019

Civilians evacuated from last ISIS-held village in Syria

Jeremy HobsonWBUR Here & Now

A convoy of trucks carrying hundreds of civilians left the last enclave held by Islamic State militants in eastern Syria Wednesday.  Jim Walsh discusses whether this signals the defeat of ISIS.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a press briefing in New Delhi on Feb. 18, 2019. (Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images)

In the News

February 19, 2019

Tensions are rising between India and Pakistan. But Washington doesn’t seem that bothered.

Emily TamkinThe Washington Post

“The response — calling on Pakistan to crack down on military organizations, the Bolton call released by both sides, the joint statement calling to crack down on terrorism — that’s all good, but we’ve done that before,” Narang said. “It’s the standard response, but, to me, it’s boilerplate.”

Geoffrey Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, discussing the charges last year against nine Iranians accused of hacking into the systems of hundreds of companies and academic institutions.CreditCreditZach Gibson/Bloomberg

In the News

February 18, 2019

Chinese and Iranian hackers renew their attacks on US companies

Nicole PerlrothThe New York Times

“If you tell the Iranians you’re going to walk out on the agreement and do everything you can to undermine their government,” said Joel Brenner, a former counterintelligence official, “you can’t be surprised if they attack our government networks.”

Indian mourners take part in a candle-lit vigil following the car bombing © AFP

In the News

February 17, 2019

India weighs military options against Pakistan as Kashmir tensions rise

Amy Kazmin Financial Times

“He is basically promising a pretty significant retaliatory strike,” said Vipin Narang, professor of political science at the MIT. “All the signs are that they are considering some sort of stand-off strike from across the LOC into Pakistani targets. The risk is that Modi miscalculates how far he can go without provoking a significant Pakistani response.”

In the News

February 15, 2019

Billions dead: That's what could happen if India and Pakistan wage a nuclear war

Zachary KeckThe National Interest

The reason why India didn’t respond to force, according to Narang, is that—despite its alleged Cold Start doctrine—Indian leaders were unsure exactly where Pakistan’s nuclear threshold stood. That is, even if Indian leaders believed they were launching a limited attack, they couldn’t be sure that Pakistani leaders wouldn’t view it as expansive enough to justify using nuclear weapons.

SenseVideo pedestrian and vehicle recognition system at the company's showroom in Beijing on June 15, 2018.Gilles Sabrie / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

In the News

February 12, 2019

Trump's artificial intelligence order lacks funding but not a target — China

David IngramNBC News

“Money talks when it comes to government priorities, and new money actually drives priorities.” said R. David Edelman, a former special assistant to President Barack Obama for technology policy.

 The first H-bomb explosion at Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific Three Lions/Getty Images

In the News

February 11, 2019

Elizabeth Warren wants to ban the US from using nuclear weapons first

Kelsey PiperVox

But some worry that passing the bill won’t lead to the real changes — and, as a result, could actually cause harm. “A declaration, without any attendant changes to the US’s ability to actually use nuclear weapons promptly, absent changes to the actual posture, alert levels, etc. — your adversaries won’t believe it,” Vipin Narang argued.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Participates in the Counter-ISIL Ministerial Plenary Session

In the News

February 8, 2019

NYT: Saudi Crown Prince said he'd use 'bullet' on Khashoggi

Jeremy HobsonWBUR Here & Now

In 2017, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman told a top aide he'd use a "bullet" on Khashoggi if he didn't return to the kingdom and stop criticizing its government, according to a New York Times report. Host Jeremy Hobson talks with Here & Now security analyst Jim Walsh.

US National Security Advisor John Bolton

In the News

February 5, 2019

Neocon-led US Venezuela policy

Michael KniggeDeutsche Welle

There is a solid case to be made for regime change in Venezuela as advocated by the US and many of its allies. Still, scholars say, the US's record and some key Trump administration players are cause for concern. Barry Posen weighs in.

President Donald Trump announces a second summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. (Photo: AP)

In the News

February 5, 2019

Trump to meet North Korea's Kim Jong Un in Vietnam in two weeks for the pair's second summit

John Fritze and Deirdre ShesgreenUSA Today

"Ok let’s be clear that North Korea’s successful acquisition of a nuclear ICBM is why there was no war with North Korea," tweeted Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT who studies North Korea and nuclear proliferation, in response to President's Trumps claim during the SOTU Tuesday.

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019.

In the News

February 1, 2019

Trump administration downplays fears of post-treaty arms race

Katie Bo WilliamsDefense One

“I’m not worked up one way or another,” said Vipin Narang. “Russia has been out of compliance since 2014 and the question is how to deal with it. If you punch out, you let Russia paint you as the arms control destroyer [but] if you stay in, Russia is still going to violate it. I’m not really sure what options were left [other than withdrawal].”

Image Credit: AP Photo/Kin Cheung

In the News

January 30, 2019

M. Taylor Fravel on how the People's Liberation Army does military strategy

Ankit PandaThe Diplomat

The Diplomat speaks with M. Taylor Fravel about how China’s People’s Liberation Army thinks about war.

Carol Saivetz

In the News

January 25, 2019

Trump's bizarre claims about Russian invasion of Afghanistan

NECN

Carol Saivetz discusses on NECN pro-Russia propaganda by President Donald Trump including claims the Soviets invaded Afghanistan to thwart terrorism.

In the News

January 20, 2019

Revolution in military affairs and India’s defense preparedness

Happymon JacobThe Wire

Vipin Narang on the new revolution in the military affairs (RMA) and its implications on global and regional strategic stability. He discusses China’s growing military capabilities and their impact on India’s defense preparedness. 

Kim Yong Chol, left, with Mike Pompeo in Washington, DC. on Jan. 18. Photographer: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

In the News

January 18, 2019

Trump agrees to second Kim summit as nuke deal remains elusive

Nick Wadhams, Margaret Talev, and Youkyung Lee Bloomberg News

Working-level talks between the two envoys “would be real progress,” said Vipin Narang. “We give up swinging for the fences and just get on base. The question is whether there’s enough time between now and February to hammer out the details.”

In the News

January 17, 2019

Is the US about to lower the bar for North Korea denuclearisation?

John PowerSouth China Morning Post

“You could have something that talks about slowing the programme down in exchange for sanctions relief or reorientation of the American footprint, or maybe long-term suspension of large exercises with South Korea,” said Vipin Narang, referring to US troops in South Korea. “Both sides can save face then.”

  President Trump called for a beefing up of existing defenses, such as the Aegis ashore system pictured. In addition, he called for research into new advanced concepts. Mark Wright/Missile Defense Agency

In the News

January 17, 2019

Trump unveils ambitious missile defense plans

Geoff BrumfielNPR

That adjustment could lead to an arms race, warns Vipin Narang, an arms control expert at MIT. The explicit calling out of Russian and Chinese weapons might provide a political opportunity for those nations to accelerate their programs, he argues. This will be a gift for Putin.

Illustration by João Fazenda

In the News

January 7, 2019

What 2018 looked like fifty years ago

Jill LeporeThe New Yorker

A book of technology predictions looked positively thrilling. This New Yorker piece credits the Center’s progenitor,  Ithiel de Sola Pool, with particularly sharp insights into the future.

Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg/Getty Images

In the News

January 4, 2019

We need to not freak out about the robot revolution

Matt SimonWired

Matt Simon, Wired, sat down with David Edelman to discuss the rise of robots, America's labor woes, and the subtleties of rotten strawberries.