In the News | 2022

In the News

December 24, 2022

Defense firms accelerate anti-UAV tech as cheap but effective combat drones wreak havoc in Ukraine

Prakash NandaThe Eurasian Times

Quoted: "As Prof. Erik Lin-Greenberg of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology points out, it is virtually a sellers’ market for drones today. So much so that Iran has established drone production lines in Tajikistan and Venezuela, and Turkey plans to build a TB2 factory in Ukraine."

Chinese flag

In the News

December 14, 2022

Beyond China’s COVID unrest, 3 important economic takeaways

Betsy VereckeyMIT Sloan

China’s strict “zero-COVID” strategy has complicated the country’s economic recovery. A panel of experts explores three social and economic costs of President Xi’s policies.

Russian, EU, and Ukrainian flags

In the News

December 13, 2022

Energy, war, and the crisis in Ukraine

Peter DizikesMIT News

An expert panel examines the implications of energy use and energy policy during Russia’s invasion. 

War game map

In the News

December 10, 2022

As many as 10,000 Yanks could perish in battle of Taiwan, war game suggests

C.M. VikThe Sun

Quoted: "It is difficult to overstate “how much of a shock this would be to the United States,” an MIT researcher and participant in the war game, Eric Heginbotham, says. “We have not fought a war like this since 1945 and the scale of the losses would be beyond anything we’ve experienced for generations. The military has been quite accustomed to operating in sanctuary, particularly the Air Force and the Navy.”

Pouya Alimagham in front of a bookcase

In the News

December 6, 2022

Q&A: Pouya Alimagham on the protest movement in Iran

Michelle EnglishMIT News

Women and girls are at the forefront of the uprising, which is rooted in Iranians’ long struggle for freedom, notes Pouya Alimagham, MIT History lecturer and historian of the modern Middle East. 

Map of Pangong Tso bridge

In the News

November 29, 2022

China built new military post near disputed Indian border, satellite images show

Alexander Ward and Matt BergPolitico

Quoted: "This appears consistent with China’s efforts to improve infrastructure near the LAC in the eastern section. There are many other similar weapons emplacements in other locations, where China is clearly digging in for long-term, all-season presence and to have the means to react to any contingency,” said M. TAYLOR FRAVEL, an expert on China’s military and director of the security studies program at MIT.

Mai Hassan

In the News

November 21, 2022

Machinery of the state

Leda ZimmermanMIT News

Associate Professor Mai Hassan documents bureaucratic systems in Eastern Africa set up for coercion, as well as roadblocks to democratic government.

Six people wearing traditional South Asian clothing in front of the exhibition sign

In the News

November 18, 2022

Uncovering the rich connections between South Asia and MIT

Zach WinnMIT News

Showcased in a new exhibit, student research explores the long history of South Asians at the Institute.

In the News

November 9, 2022

Advancing the energy transition amidst global crises

Leda ZimmermanMIT News

Quoted: “Although the United States and China working together would have huge effects for both countries, it is politically unpalatable in the short term,” said Taylor Fravel, the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science and director of the MIT Security Studies Program. 

Ukraine flag

In the News

October 11, 2022

Where Russia’s invasion of Ukraine stands

Peter DizikesMIT News

While the early months of the war saw significant Russian advances in multiple areas of Ukraine, the tide has turned since then. A recent Ukrainian counteroffensive in the country’s north has pushed Russian troops back across the border and has extended to provinces in the Donbas region, the site of much industrial activity. Over the last week, Ukraine has also taken back 150 square miles of land in the Kherson province in the country’s south.

Jim Walsh on CBS News

In the News

October 4, 2022

North Korea launches nuclear-capable missile over Japan

John DickersonCBS News

For the first time in five years, North Korea launched a missile over Japan Tuesday, rattling nerves and sending a message to the US and its allies. Jim Walsh, senior research associate with the MIT Security Studies Program, spoke with John Dickerson explored the implications of this launch.

Protests in Iran

In the News

September 26, 2022

Protests, political unrest and violent clashes plague Iran

Robin YoungWBUR

Here & Now's security analyst Jim Walsh was at the UNGA and speaks to Robin Young about the latest news on Iran.

Taylor Fravel speaks with Wenchi Yu

In the News

September 21, 2022

Taylor Fravel shares insights into China, Taiwan, and US upcoming moves with Wenchi Yu

Wenchi YuTVBS English News

Taylor Fravel speaks on TVBS News with Wenchi Yu on the upcoming moves of China, the US, and Taiwan. 

Republics of Myth cover

In the News

September 20, 2022

The US-Iran conflict: Review of “Republics of Myth”

Marc Martorell JunyentInformed Comment

Marc Martorell Junyent reviews Republics of Myth: National Narratives and the US-Iran Conflict by Hussein Banai, Malcolm Byrne, and John Tirman. 

In memory of John Tirman, who passed away suddenly on Friday, August 19, 2022. Read the obituary and tributes.

Sue O’Connell talks to Carol Saivetz

In the News

September 14, 2022

Ukraine gaining ground over Russian troops

Sue O'ConnellNECN

Sue O’Connell talks to Carol Saivetz about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reaction to the news that his troops are losing ground.

Carol Saivetz, Tom Nichols, and Jim Braude

In the News

September 12, 2022

‘This war isn’t even close to over’: Ukrainian advances spring hope, but not victory

Jim BraudeGBH News

A massive counteroffensive by Ukrainian forces has forced Russian troops to retreat in several key cities in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region. Tom Nichols, international affairs expert and staff writer with The Atlantic, and Carol Saivetz, senior advisor for MIT’s Security Studies program, joined Jim Braude to discuss why this victory doesn’t signal an end to the war and the only person who can decide when this war is over is President Vladmir Putin.

Shinzo Abe

In the News

September 10, 2022

The Abe legacy: a Japan empowered by far-reaching reforms

Peter TaskerJapan Forward

Quoted: "In his fascinating book Special Duty: A History of the Japanese Intelligence Community, Professor Richard Samuels of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology puts it like this: 'For decades after the war, Japan had no centralized intelligence capacity…. It was not until Prime Minister Abe’s reengineering project — including creation of a centralized NSC (National Security Council) in 2013 and its intelligence coordinating unit, the National Security Secretariat — that the government acted on its oft-stated determination to upgrade Japan’s intelligence capacity.'"

Jung Jae Kwon

In the News

September 9, 2022

Jung Jae Kwon: Questioning the nuclear umbrella

Leda ZimmermanDepartment of Political Science

Dissatisfied with security guarantees from the US, America’s junior allies want greater control over their own defenses. A profile of PhD student Jung Jae Kwon

Gabriela Sa Pessoa

In the News

September 7, 2022

Journalism for change drives Brazilian reporter Pessoa

Esther SunVoice of America

2023 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow Gabriela Sa Pessoa was interviewed in Voice of America about her work and the critical issues of our time. 


In the News

September 2, 2022

Deep inside busy Mar-a-Lago, a storage room where secrets were stashed

Rosalind S Helderman and Josh DawseyThe Washington Post

Quoted: "I think Mar-a-Lago is a counterintelligence nightmare," said Joel Brenner, former head of U.S. counterintelligence under the director of National Intelligence and former inspector general for the National Security Agency, citing the flow of hundreds of people, the presence of foreign nationals and Trump's long-established carelessness with national secrets.

James Walsh

In the News

August 30, 2022

North Korea will conduct another nuclear test. It's only a matter of when.

Robert ElderOutrider

Although delayed by the Covid pandemic, North Korea is poised to start testing its nuclear weapons program, says Jim Walsh, a senior research associate at MIT’s Security Studies Program. “Most analysts who work on North Korea's nuclear program expect a test, as a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if,” Walsh says. Read the full interview.

John David Minnich

In the News

August 29, 2022

Tipping the balance between global rivals

Leda ZimmermanMIT News

John David Minnich seeks to understand how trade policies fueled China’s rise and continue to determine geopolitical winners and losers.

Evan Lieberman

In the News

August 29, 2022

South Africa since apartheid: Has democracy worked?

Ray SuarezWorld Affairs

It’s been nearly thirty years since the fall of apartheid in South Africa. But what happens when the celebrations cease, the news cameras turn away, and the real work of democracy begins? Evan Lieberman joins Voice of America’s “Straight Africa Talk” host, Haydé Adams, to discuss the lingering “ghost of apartheid,” and why South Africa’s electoral future gives him hope.

Covers of two books: "Until We Have Won our Liberty" and "The Inheritors"

In the News

August 26, 2022

Two new books take different roads to understand South Africa

Carolyn E HolmesThe Washington Post

Carolyn Holmes reviews Until We Have Won Our Liberty: South Africa after Apartheid by Evan Lieberman and The Inheritors: An Intimate Portrait of South Africa's Racial Awakening by Eve Fairbanks.

MISTI Students on Zoom

In the News

August 25, 2022

Promoting systemic change in the Middle East, the 'MIT way'


In a recent MISTI course, students engaged on collaborative solutions to climate, health care, and economic development in the Middle East.

Chinese sailor underway

In the News

August 22, 2022

Panel: ‘Protracted’ Taiwan Crisis Will ‘Percolate for Months'

John GradyUSNI News

M Taylor Fravel and Christopher Twomey, alumnus of MIT Political Science, participate in a panel on the military dimensions of the Fourth Taiwan Strait Crisis, hosted by CSIS. 

Justin Steil

In the News

August 14, 2022

Power, laws, and planning

Peter DizikesMIT News Office

MIT urbanist Justin Steil studies how law and policy are used to replicate social divisions in the use of land.

Jim Walsh on Fox News

In the News

August 14, 2022

International security expert on the threat of Iran plotting to kill Americans on US soil

Fox News LiveFox News

MIT security studies program's Jim Walsh reacts to officials of the National Council of Resistance of Iran being targeted by Tehran for their anti-regime activism on Fox News Live.

John Tirman with Kelley Vlahos and Daniel Larison

In the News

August 12, 2022

"Why do they hate us?": John Tirman on the dueling myths keeping Iran and the US from getting together

Kelley Vlahos and Daniel LarisonCrashing the War Party

John Tirman joins the Crashing the War Party podcast to dicuss US-Iran relations.

Taylor Fravel

In the News

August 8, 2022

China ends series of live fire military drills around the island of Taiwan

Emily FengNPR

China says some of the live-fire military exercises in the waters around the island of Taiwan, which were supposed to end last Sunday, will now continue on a regular basis. So far, the drills have disrupted traffic in what's normally a busy international transit point, highlighting how important geopolitically Taiwan is. Taylor Fravel joins NPR to discuss the consequences.

PLA airforce marching

In the News

August 8, 2022

What-if DC war game maps huge toll of a future US-China war over Taiwan

Tony CapaccioBloomberg

Quoted: As China waged extensive military exercises off of Taiwan last week, a group of American defense experts (including CIS principal research scientist Eric Heginbotham and recent MIT PhD graduate Mark Cancian) in Washington was focused on their own simulation of an eventual — but for now entirely hypothetical — US-China war over the island. “The results are showing that under most—though not all—scenarios, Taiwan can repel an invasion,” said Cancian, now a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where the war games are being held. “However, the cost will be very high to the Taiwanese infrastructure and economy and to US forces in the Pacific,” he said. “Taiwan is a large island, and its army is not small,” said Heginbotham. “But from a qualitative standpoint, Taiwan’s army is not at all what it should be, and we have built that into the game. The transition to an all-volunteer military has been botched, and although conscripts remain an important component, the conscripts serve only four months.”

A Chinese military vessel near Pingtan Island off Fujian province on Friday.

In the News

August 7, 2022

China’s military exercises showcase modern fighting force preparing for possible war in the Taiwan Strait

Alastair Gale and Nancy A YoussefThe Wall Street Journal

Quoted: “The ability to conduct joint operations around Taiwan has been a driver of China’s military strategy and force modernization for more than two decades,” [M Taylor] Fravel said. “We should not be surprised by what the PLA is doing, how it is doing it or what it has accomplished.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping reviews an honor guard

In the News

August 4, 2022

What China wants from these war-games

Omar DuwajiThe World

Chinese officials warned that there would be a response if Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. But what does Beijing want from these military maneuvers near the island of Taiwan? Host Marco Werman speaks with Taylor Fravel from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program.

Taylor Fravel

In the News

August 4, 2022

China's show of force & fury: Military drills encircling Taiwan, explained

Lizzi LeeSupChina

Taylor Fravel analyzes the significance of the ongoing military drills surrounding Taiwan launched by PLA. Fravel explains the transformation the PLA has undergone since the 1990s, and how that change could potentially change Xi Jinping's strategic calculus on Taiwan. 


In the News

August 2, 2022

Forceful China response to Pelosi could backfire

Chou Shih-wei and Ken ChaoFocus Taiwan

Quoted: "US-based China researcher M Taylor Fravel said Monday that a forceful show by Beijing in response to a reported visit to Taiwan by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi could backfire. Fravel, a political science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said on Twitter that with the People's Liberation Army approaching the peak of its annual training, China will likely convey its discontent with live-fire exercises in a larger scale, and even with incursions across the median line of Taiwan Strait for days if not weeks."

Carol Saivetz on NECN

In the News

July 25, 2022

War in Ukraine entering sixth month

Sue O'ConnellNECN

Sue O’Connell spoke with Carol Saivetz from the MIT Security Studies Program about a new deal struck to resume grain exports and worries over Russian gas supplies as the war enters its sixth month.

In the News

July 11, 2022

Ukraine war: Is Russian defeat nothing but a 'fantasy'?

Barry R PosenDW News

Barry R Posen, Ford International Professor of Political Science at MIT, speaks on DW News about the Ukraine war and his analysis of possible outcomes. 

In the News

July 10, 2022

What the world can learn from South Africa

David GoodmanVTDigger

“At this time when the idea of democracy is under assault, South Africa shows us that (democracy) is still a really promising and probably our best political solution, particularly in diverse societies,” says Evan Lieberman in a recent interview. Lieberman offers a fresh take on South Africa’s journey to democracy in his new book, "Until we have won liberty: South Africa after apartheid."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

In the News

July 8, 2022

Shinzo Abe’s influence was still evident long after he left office

David E SangerThe New York Times

Quoted: “We didn’t know what we were going to get when Abe came to office with this hard nationalist reputation,” said Richard Samuels, the director of the Center for International Studies at MIT and the author of books on Japan’s military and intelligence capabilities. “What we got was a pragmatic realist who understood the limits of Japan’s power, and who knew it wasn’t going to be able to balance China’s rise on its own. So he designed a new system.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

In the News

July 8, 2022

Why Shinzo Abe was such a towering figure in Japan

Tobias BurnsThe Hill

Quoted: Abe “sought to shift the center of gravity in Japanese political culture away from the pacifism that characterized most of the early to mid post-war period to a place that was, in his view, more normal,” Richard Samuels, a political scientist and Japanologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in an interview, speaking from Berlin.

Firefighters extinguish a fire following a Russian bombardment at a park in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, May 3, 2022. (Felipe Dana/AP)

In the News

June 21, 2022

As war drags on in Ukraine, is it time to talk compromise?

WBUR On Point

"What is the US interest commensurate with the possibility of nuclear escalation?" Steven Simon, a Robert E Wilhelm Fellow at CIS, asks. "There really isn't one." As war drags on, is it time to talk compromise? Tune in to this edition of On Point featuring Simon, Anne Applebaum (The Atlantic), and Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze (Ukrainian Parliament from the opposition European Solidarity Party).

Jim Braude, Carol Saivetz, Gautam Mukunda on the set of Greater Boston

In the News

June 13, 2022

Could Trump’s hostility toward NATO allies be a winning strategy at home?

Jim BraudeWGBH Greater Boston

Even as it seems Trump's claims are untrue, could they be a winning strategy here at home? And what lies ahead for his London trip and meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin? Jim Braude was joined by Carol Saivetz, senior adviser at MIT's Security Studies Program and Gautam Mukunda, a Harvard Kennedy School fellow, member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and author of “Indispensable: When Leaders Really Matter.”

Officials meeting in Singapore

In the News

June 11, 2022

Shangri-La Dialogue opens in Singapore

Anand NaidooThe Heat

Described as Asia’s premier security summit, military officials and diplomats from more than 40 countries met in Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue. On Friday, a highly anticipated meeting took place between the Defense Ministers of China and the United States. Jim Walsh weighs in.

US and Iran flags with defeated person walking between them

In the News

June 9, 2022

America’s Iran follies

Michael HirshForeign Policy

After more than two decades of failed policies—fluctuating wildly between confrontation and cooperation—Washington and the West still find themselves facing down a hostile Iran. And today, though it is in dire shape economically, Tehran may be close to delivering the final rebuff, with experts saying it is just weeks away from achieving nuclear bomb capability.

Evan Lieberman

In the News

June 7, 2022

Evan Lieberman on South Africa. Democracy in hard places

Justin KempfDemocracy Paradox

When you hear people talk in such disparaging tones, that everything is broken, that nothing is possible, you need to ask yourself, is that right? When you look around, the answer is no, explains Evan Lieberman.

Mark Jarzombek (right) poses with MIT students in Jerusalem at a MISTI Workshop in June 2019.

In the News

June 6, 2022

Mobilizing across borders to address global challenges


For the most creative minds to work together to solve the world’s greatest challenges, it is essential for global collaboration to be unencumbered by distance. The MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) Global Seed Funds (GSF) program enables participating faculty teams to collaborate across borders with international partners to develop and launch joint research projects.

Pictured are people walking to Karbala during the annual pilgrimage in 2015.

In the News

June 3, 2022

When politics is local in the Middle East

Peter DizikesMIT News

A recent study led by Fotini Christia suggests sectarian identity in the region is tied to domestic matters, not a larger, transnational religious split.

A confident Vladimir Putin

In the News

June 3, 2022

Sanctioned behavior

War on the Rocks

CIS research affiliate Erik Sand is featured on War on the Rocks' podcast Horns of Dilemma to discuss the impact of economic sanctions on Russia and whether they will lead to an end of the war in Ukraine. Listen to the podcast here

Ukrainian servicemen taking part in the armed conflict with Russia-backed separatists in Donetsk region of the country attend the handover ceremony of military heavy weapons and equipment in Kiev on November 15, 2018. Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

In the News

June 2, 2022

Biden's move to send advanced weapons to Ukraine raises questions about US involvement in the war

Peter O'DowdWBUR

President Biden's announcement that the US would send advanced rocket launchers to Ukraine was welcome news for soldiers fighting off the Russian invasion. But it raises new questions about American involvement in a brutal war with no diplomatic end in sight. Jim Walsh provides his analysis.

Silhouette of soldier in Ukraine

In the News

June 1, 2022

Will the transfer of advanced weapons to Ukraine lead to a widening war?

PBS NewsHour

The US and Germany on Tuesday moved to send advanced weapons to Ukraine to blunt a Russian offensive in the east. Steven Simon, who worked on the National Security Council staff during the Clinton and Obama administrations and a Wilhelm Fellow at CIS joined Nick Schifrin to discuss the transfer of arms and the importance of diplomacy.

A U.S. soldier firing a Javelin.

In the News

May 27, 2022

Javelin missiles are in short supply and restocking them won't be easy

NPR Morning Edition

Ukrainian fighters have destroyed Russian fighting vehicles with US supplied Javelins. But replacing the thousands of missiles could take years, largely because of a crimp in the supply chain, argues CIS research affiliate Eugene Gholz.

SSP Director M. Taylor Fravel (center, with red tie) poses with SSP staff and participants in the 2022 Executive Branch and Congressional Staff Seminar.

In the News

May 26, 2022

Congressional seminar introduces MIT faculty to 30 Washington staffers


More than 30 congressional and executive branch staffers were hosted by MIT’s Security Studies Program (SSP) for a series of panels and a keynote address focused on contemporary national security issues. 

President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference on Monday, May 23, 2022, in Tokyo. | Evan Vucci/AP Photo

In the News

May 23, 2022

Biden’s Taiwan defense pledge inflames US-China relations

Phelim KinePolitico

Quoted: “A question that must be on everyone’s mind in Beijing is whether the US has already changed its [Taiwan] policy. After all, no one speaks with more authority on questions of foreign policy than the president,” said M Taylor Fravel, director of the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “[Biden’s] repeated gaffes may be given more weight in Beijing than subsequent clarifications of denials of [policy] change.”

Evan Lieberman and his new book on South Africa's democracy

In the News

May 19, 2022

From South Africa, a success story for democracy

Peter DizikesMIT News

In a new book, MIT political scientist Evan Lieberman examines a quarter-century of post-Apartheid government and finds meaningful progress.

News images of Kim Jong-Un wearing covid mask

In the News

May 19, 2022

North Korea prepares nuclear test as COVID-19 rips through country

North Korea is in the throes of what it calls its first-ever outbreak of COVID-19—even if officially it's avoiding that term. State media said Wednesday that more than 1.7 million people had experienced fevers and 62 people had died since late April, but those numbers are impossible to confirm. And amid the outbreak, North Korea is also gearing up for a possible nuclear test.

Eleanor Freund

In the News

May 17, 2022

Eleanor Freund receives Jeanne Guillemin Prize

Michelle EnglishMIT News Office

Eleanor Freund, a PhD candidate in the MIT Department of Political Science, is the recipient of this year’s Jeanne Guillemin Prize at the MIT Center for International Studies (CIS). The annual prize supports women pursuing doctorate degrees in international relations—a field that has long been dominated by men.

From left to right: Hussein Banai, Malcolm Byrne, and John Tirman.

In the News

May 16, 2022

When dueling narratives deepen a divide

Peter DizikesMIT News Office

The book, “Republics of Myth: National Narratives and the US-Iran Conflict,” just published by Johns Hopkins University Press, explores the joint history of identities at odds with each other. The authors identify key moments when US-Iran tensions became further heightened and opportunities for détente dwindled.

John Tirman on Iran Podcast

In the News

May 7, 2022

US-Iran tensions and misperceptions

Negar MortazaviIran Podcast

John Tirman joins Iran Podcast host Negar Mortazavi for a conversation about US-Iran tensions and misperception.

Russian service members drive a tank along a street during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, May 4, 2022 [Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters]

In the News

May 6, 2022

Russia: What is Victory Day, and why is it important this May 9?

Niko VorobyovAl Jazeera

Quoted:  “It’s hard to do a general conscription: I think that that’s when Russians would come out and protest,” said Elizabeth Wood, professor of history at MIT.  “You can conscript all those people in Buryatia (a mountainous region in Siberia), but if you conscript Muscovites, they’ll protest. I don’t think he can declare victory, either. I think they’re planning a long slogging war.”

An Iranian woman walking past a wall that says Down with USA

In the News

May 2, 2022

Why the US and Iran hate each other

Daniel LarisonResponsible Statecraft

Devising a better and more constructive Iran policy is important to making much-needed changes to the US role in the Middle East and to preventing another unnecessary war in the future, but there is little appetite in Washington to make the effort or to take the political risks that it would require. A first step in crafting a smarter Iran policy is to understand why US-Iranian relations have been so strained for such a long time and what obstacles stand in the way of changing that. 

Troops in Ukraine

In the News

April 25, 2022

Is Russia failing in its fight In Ukraine?

Sue O'ConnellNECN

Carol Saivetz, a senior advisor in the MIT Security Studies Program, provides an update on the state of the war as the US promises more aid for war-torn Ukraine.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto (unseen) review an honor guard at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. With Russia’s military failings in Ukraine mounting, no country is paying closer attention than China to how a smaller, outgunned force has badly bloodied what was thought to be one of the world’s strongest armies. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

In the News

April 20, 2022

China looks to learn from Russian failures in Ukraine

David RisingAssociated Press (AP)

Quoted: “The big question Xi and the PLA leadership must be asking in light of Russian operations in Ukraine is whether a military that has undergone extensive reform and modernization will be able to execute operations that are far more complex than those Russia has undertaken during its invasion of Ukraine,” said M Taylor Fravel, director of the security studies program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Starr Forum: The Wider Implications of the War in Ukraine” was held Monday, April 4. Top row, left to right: Jacqueline Bhabha, Joel Brenner, and M. Taylor Fravel. Bottom row: Roger Petersen and Jim Walsh.

In the News

April 5, 2022

What Russia’s invasion of Ukraine means for the world

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has global implications. A panel of MIT foreign policy experts convened on Monday to examine those reverberations—on European domestic politics, the refugee crisis, great-power relations, and nuclear security.

In the first test of its kind, the Pentagon on March 25, 2019, carried out the “salvo” intercept of an unarmed missile soaring over the Pacific, using two interceptor missiles launched from underground silos in California. (AP)

In the News

April 5, 2022

US, UK and Australia announce expanded cooperation on hypersonics

Ellen Nakashima and Cate Cadell The Washington Post

Quoted: “It demonstrates in no uncertain terms that AUKUS is as much about advanced capabilities, as it is about submarines,” said M Taylor Fravel, director of the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “In fact, cooperation in these advanced capabilities are going to be more important in the short to medium term.”

soldier with gun in a shattered doorway with debris and glass everywhere, Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

In the News

April 4, 2022

Street-fighting insurgency gives Ukrainians a slight edge

James A WarrenDaily Beast

Quoted: Barry Posen, a renowned strategic studies scholar at MIT, gives this granular picture of the grim tactical realities of fighting in cities today: “Buildings provide high levels of protection and concealment for infantry soldiers. Multi-storied buildings, with basements, permit defenders to maneuver in a third dimension. Modern cities also have elaborate sewer systems, and often underground tunnels for transit systems. Thus, defenders may maneuver laterally, entirely out of sight of the attacker...”

The new showdown between Russia and the West won't be an old-fashioned battle of spy vs. spy. But it will upend the current balance of power — and amp up the threat of nuclear war. Getty; Savanna Durr/Insider

In the News

April 3, 2022

Cold War 2.0 has already begun — and it's going to be even scarier than the first one

Mattathias SchwartzBusiness Insider

Quoted: Richard Samuels says the nuclear logic in a multipolar world means that more countries may feel they need nukes of their own. Abe Shinzo, the former prime minister of Japan, recently suggested that Tokyo consider nuclear sharing with the US, modeled on NATO arrangements. "Cold War 2.0 is likely to become a more-proliferated world," Samuels told me. "Some countries, referred to as 'latent nuclear powers,' are close to getting their own nuclear capability. But the view that having nuclear weapons makes for a stable world assumes rationality. Right now, we're watching a person some call crazy threaten the use of nuclear weapons. No wonder insecurity is soaring."

A Ukrainian solider unloads a delivery of Javelin missiles from the United States, at the Boryspil Airport in Kyiv on February 11, 2022 Sergei SUPINSKY AFP/File

In the News

April 3, 2022

US defense contractors see longer term benefits from war in Ukraine


Quoted: Eric Heginbotham, a researcher at the MIT Center for International Studies, said that for Western governments -- as has been the case for years in Asia -- “there will be much less appetite for decreases” in military spending...“Countries are going to be looking to increase interoperability with the United States, which is really sort of the central pillar in NATO,” said Heginbotham.

President Biden addressing the EU and NATO re Ukraine War

In the News

March 25, 2022

After Biden's warning, how might Russian cyberattacks play out in the US?

Hiawatha BrayBoston Globe

Joel Brenner, senior research fellow at CIS and former head of counterintelligence for the US director of national intelligence, said that US cyber spies have penetrated Russian hacker networks, and often have a fair idea of what they're up to.

North Korea launched a new missile on Wednesday (Image: GETTY)

In the News

March 25, 2022

Biden's plan to 'secure N Korea nukes' as Kim's new missile puts US mainland 'in reach’

Callum HoareExpress

Quoted: Vipin Narang, a North Korea nuclear specialist at MIT, sent a warning about the possibility of provoking World War 3 if the plan is rolled out. He said: “The million-dollar question is: When do you invoke the OPLAN and what indicators do you rely on to do so?  Because one country's`securing the country´operation can look to the other nation like an invasion plan.  And then, all hell can break loose.”

Left to right: James Lin, Yuka Machino, and Holden Mui wear customized kente stole during their time in Ghana for IAP 2022.

In the News

March 25, 2022

Traveling the world to make a global impact

Anna-Rose StemberMISTI

For decades, MIT students have traveled abroad over Independent Activities Period (IAP) or in the summer for enriching global experiences through MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI). This year, dozens of students became MISTI’s first IAP travelers abroad since the start of the pandemic. 

News coverage in Seoul on Thursday, after North Korea carried out its latest missile launch. Credit...Ahn Young-Joon/Associated Press

In the News

March 24, 2022

With US focus on Ukraine, North Korea launches a powerful new ICBM

Choe Sang-HunThe New York Times

Quoted: North Korea is the first United States adversary since the Cold War to test both an ICBM and a claimed hydrogen bomb, according to Vipin Narang, an expert on nuclear proliferation at MIT.

Chinese troops march in Moscow's 2020 Victory Day parade marking the 75th anniversary of the Nazi defeat in World War II. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

In the News

March 21, 2022

China and Russia’s military relationship likely to deepen with Ukraine war

Christian ShepherdThe Washington Post

Quoted: These constraints suggest that “supplies are mostly likely in the short term — if Beijing makes the strategic decision to move even closer to Moscow,” said M Taylor Fravel, director of the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Territorial Defence Forces train in Odessa, Ukraine, March 202

In the News

March 18, 2022

The false promise of arming insurgents

Lindsey O'RourkeForeign Affairs

Quoted: As the political scientist Barry Posen has pointed out, “The flat and open terrain in Ukraine is largely unfavorable to guerrilla warfare. This is particularly true in southeastern Ukraine, where Russian aggression seems most likely, given the lack of mountains, forests, or swamps for insurgents to use as base camps.”

The Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning, purchased from Ukraine, participates in a 2019 naval parade near Qingdao. (Mark Schiefelbein/Pool/AP)

In the News

March 9, 2022

Ukraine helped build China’s modern military, but when war came, Beijing chose Russia

Eva Dou and Pei Lin Wu The Washington Post

Quoted: “Russia is far and away the most important arms supplier to China,” said M Taylor Fravel, the director of the security studies program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Where Ukraine has really helped China has been in the area of jet engines, as well as some ship engines and air-to-air missiles.”

Vladimir Putin

In the News

March 8, 2022

You should be scared

Andrian KreyeFeuilleton

How do we respond to dystopian images and messages in the news? Roger Petersen contributes his analysis on the war in Ukraine and the weapon of fear. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow on February 21, 2022. Speculation mounts over what his end game is in Ukraine and whether the conflict could spark a move against his rule.

In the News

March 6, 2022

Nuclear fears intensify as Ukraine war builds. What is Putin's threshold?

Fred GuterlNewsweek

Quoted: “If the Russian campaign starts to feel like it's a military catastrophe, that's where escalation to nuclear weapons comes into play,” says Barry Posen, Ford International Professor of Political Science at MIT....“I don't like the discussions I'm hearing from the fringes of the establishment,” says Posen. “I don't like the emotions running hot. I don't like the weird appearance on our side, way too early, of a kind of victory disease: ‘Let's win this thing. Maybe Putin will fall’.”

Faculty from teams in the “Building equity and fairness into climate solutions” category share their thoughts on the need for inclusive solutions that prioritize disadvantaged, minority, and indigenous populations.

In the News

March 4, 2022

Q&A: Climate Grand Challenges finalists on building equity and fairness into climate solutions

MIT News Office

A team led by Evan Lieberman, professor of political science and director of the MIT Global Diversity Lab and MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives, Danielle Wood, assistant professor in the Program in Media Arts and Sciences and the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Siqi Zheng, professor of urban and real estate sustainability in the Center for Real Estate and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, is seeking to  reduce ethnic and racial group-based disparities in the capacity of urban communities to adapt to the changing climate.

Protestors holding up a sign that reads: End Systemic Racism

In the News

March 3, 2022

3 Questions: Fotini Christia on racial equity and data science

Institute for Data, Systems, and SocietyMIT News

A new MIT-wide effort launched by the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society uses social science and computation to address systemic racism.

In the News

March 2, 2022

Q&A: Elizabeth Wood on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

MIT News asked Elizabeth Wood, professor of history at MIT and author of the 2016 book “Roots of Russia’s War in Ukraine” (published by the Woodrow Wilson Center and Columbia University Press), to evaluate the situation, as of the beginning of March, slightly less than a week after the invasion began.

Carol Saivetz on Ch 10 news speaking on the Russia Ukraine war

In the News

February 24, 2022

What are the implications of the Russian attack on Ukraine?

10 Boston

Carol Saivetz discusses the Russian attacks in Ukraine and the international community’s response.


Ukraine poster image from event

In the News

February 4, 2022

Is an armed conflict imminent?

Peter DizikesMIT News

As Russia masses military equipment near Ukraine borders, experts in an MIT Starr Forum express concern about possible action and its consequences.

Ada Petriczko (center) stands with MIT professors Sally Haslanger (left) and Libby McDonald. Petriczko participated in their Gender and Development course at the MIT D-Lab.

In the News

February 2, 2022

3Q: Women’s rights and rising threats to press freedom worldwide

Michelle EnglishMIT News

Polish journalist Ada Petriczko, an Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow at CIS, discusses ethical and cross-border journalism, freedom of speech, and the rise of autocracy.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in the Kremlin in Moscow in 2019. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool/AP)

In the News

February 1, 2022

As Putin heads to Beijing, Russia and China’s stronger ties are a headache for the US

Eva Dou and Mary Ilyushina The Washington Post

Quoted: But M Taylor Fravel, director of the security studies program at MIT, said there are also risks for China in a Ukraine war, so Russia shouldn’t count too much on Beijing’s support. China buys a significant amount of military equipment from Ukraine and would be caught in the middle, he said.  “China has been willing to a point to try to provide diplomatic support for Russia,” Fravel said. “But China doesn’t want to see armed conflict erupt.”

photo of NATO flag

In the News

January 27, 2022

There is no NATO open-door policy

Michael O'Hanlon and Stephen Van EveraThe Hill

In the current crisis involving Russia, Ukraine and Western countries, it is often asserted that because the NATO alliance has an “open-door” policy, Ukraine must retain its right to join the alliance someday. That is incorrect.

Ukrainian soldiers take part in annual joint military exercises with the US and other NATO countries near Lviv, Ukraine, on September 24, 2021, as tensions with Russia remained high over the Kremlin-backed insurgency in the country’s east. Yuriy Dyachyshyn/AFP via Getty Images

In the News

January 27, 2022

How America’s NATO expansion obsession plays into the Ukraine crisis

Jonathan GuyerVox

Quoted: In the early ’90s, that generation of national security operatives weren’t prepared to forfeit leverage in Europe. “NATO had to find something to do or go out of business, and these people who grew up all their lives alongside it would not let it go out of business,” said Barry Posen, a political scientist at MIT.

Carol Saivetz speaking on the news from her home office

In the News

January 24, 2022

Ukrainian family in Boston hoping for de-escalation of conflict with Russia

Bianca BeltranNBC 10 Boston

Quoted: “Putin has upped the ante,” said Carol Saivetz, senior advisor in the MIT Security Studies Program. “We are signaling to the Russians that we are very serious about this by talking about deploying troops in the Baltic states.” Saivetz thinks despite the show of force, none of the countries involved want to engage in a land war. “The question is, ‘How can you use diplomacy?’ Can you turn the screws enough so that he will say, ‘OK, I've got what I needed, where is the off ramp here?’” she said.  

Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the BRICS summit in Brasilia, Brazil, Nov. 14, 2019 (AP photo by Pavel Golovkin).

In the News

January 19, 2022

China plays the waiting game on the Russia-Ukraine crisis

China Note-TakerWorld Politics Review

Quoted: China is hoping to “strike a balance in its relationship with Russia and the United States by not taking a clear public position that might antagonize one or the other,” Fravel, who is the director of the Security Studies Program at MIT, told World Politics Review. Beijing’s reticence to make bold pronouncements also reflects its lack of a clear policy framework to deal with the crisis, given its conflicting interests, Fravel added.

Map of China and Bhutan showing the disputed area and where the construction is occurring

In the News

January 12, 2022

China steps up construction along disputed Bhutan border

Devjyot Ghoshal, Anand Katakam and Aditi BhandariReuters

Quoted:  The settlements appear part of a plan Beijing made public in 2017 to build more than 600 villages in border areas in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), which lies on the Chinese side of the disputed border, said Barnett and M Taylor Fravel, director of the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Fravel said the construction indicated China likely wanted to consolidate its control and improve infrastructure in border areas.

Chinese soldiers in formation with rifles marching

In the News

January 11, 2022

Chinese army begins 2022 training program


Quoted: M Taylor Fravel, Director of the Security Studies Program at MIT, noted several interesting points about the 2022 order.  One noteworthy thing is that the text was quite personalized, with Xi saying, “I command...”  The personal pronoun “I” was used in 2018, but not in subsequent ones... Fravel noted, “Unlike previous orders, this year's order lacked no details about the goals for PLA training.  These goals often identify what the PLA views to be obstacles/shortcomings to be sumounted and to ‘unify thought’ around these goals to improve capabilities.  Instead this yar's order only contained a general exhortation to train elite troops and uphold a spirit of not fearing hardship or death.”

Vipin Narang and his new book Seeking the Bomb

In the News

January 11, 2022

A look at how countries go nuclear—and why some do not

Peter DizikesMIT News

In his new book, “Seeking the Bomb,” Vipin Narang looks at the variety of tactics countries use as they attempt to acquire nuclear weapons.

Moscow skyline

In the News

January 10, 2022

Where things stand between the US and Russia


Monday the US and Russia kicked off security talks, in an effort to defuse soaring tensions over Russia’s military buildup on its border with Ukraine. Sue O’Connell spoke with Carol Saivetz, a senior advisor for the Security Studies Program at MIT.

Inspection parade of Japan Ground Self Defense Force in Asaka base, Tokyo (Shutterstock)

In the News

January 3, 2022

Does Japan aspire to be a superpower?

Alec DubroForeign Policy in Focus (FPIF)

Quoted: But a huge defense budget alone is not a reliable measure of power, according to Richard Samuels, director of MIT’s Japan Program and of its Center for International Studies. Said Samuels, “Japan is unlikely to be ever be able to deter China on its own (short of nuclear breakout), and is therefore being diligent in hugging the US and cultivating relations with other countries in the region—and, you will have noticed, in Europe as well.”