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It took 38 minutes for officials to correct a false alert that said a missile was heading for Hawaii.Instagram/@sighpoutshrug/via REUTERS

In the News

January 15, 2018

Hawaii and the horror of human error

Paul McLearyThe Atlantic

Vipin Narang tweeted one scenario on Saturday. “POTUS sees alert on his phone about an incoming toward Hawaii, pulls out the biscuit, turns to his military aide with the football and issues a valid and authentic order to launch nuclear weapons at North Korea. Think it can’t happen?”

Members of the People's Security Council take part an anti-U.S. rally, in this September 23, 2017 photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency.

In the News

January 7, 2018

North Korea’s sudden interest in talks

Nyshka Chandran | Nancy Hungerford CNBC

North Korea's willingness to talk may be due to the strength of its nuclear capability, said Taylor Fravel, associate political science professor at MIT and acting director of the MIT Center for International Studies.

There aren't many checks and balances in place to prevent President Donald Trump from initiating a nuclear missile strike, experts say.

In the News

January 3, 2018

Few checks can keep Trump’s hands off his ‘nuclear button’

Joseph P. WilliamsU.S. News & World Report

The bottom line is if the president orders a valid and authentic order to release nuclear weapons, neither the chief of staff, nor the secretary of defense, nor the chair of the Joint Chiefs could legally stop him, says Vipin Narang.

Calestous Juma -- Photo Credit: Harvard Kennedy School

In the News

December 15, 2017

CIS mourns death of Harvard professor

Calestous Juma was a DUSP MLK Visiting Professor (2014-15). “Calestous was that rarest of intellectuals—one who put his ideas into practice, and did so with a big, generous heart, filled with warmth and laughter. We enjoyed working with him immensely. His work and ideals will be a strong legacy for Africa and the developing world,” said CIS executive director and principal research scientist John Tirman.

People watch a television showing pictures of President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a railway station in Seoul in November. (AFP/Getty Images)

In the News

December 14, 2017

Tell me how Trump’s North Korea gambit ends

Daniel W. DreznerThe Washingon Post

Even if an American first strike knocked out North Korea’s nuclear capacity, millions of South Korean civilians, and American and South Korean soldiers, would be vulnerable to retaliation with conventional or chemical weapons” says Barry Posen.

In the News

December 13, 2017

Tillerson says US won't set preconditions for North Korea talks

Nicole Gaouette and Joshua BerlingerCNN

You need both sides to be credible in the good cop-bad cop routine for it to work. There are too many doubts about the weight and credibility of Tillerson. said Vipin Narang. McMaster has the ear of the President and is much more credible.

Kim Jong Un

In the News

November 29, 2017

North Korea's recent, and possibly most powerful missile test

Vipin Narang, associate professor of political science and nuclear strategy expert, spoke with the BBCForeign Policy, and the New York Times, to discuss implications of Pyongyang's missile test last night.

In the News

November 29, 2017

Trump promises new sanctions after North Korea's latest missile test

WBUR Here and Now

President Trump tweeted that major new sanctions will be imposed after North Korea's latest missile test. Jim Walsh puts the launch into context.

Building 7

In the News

November 17, 2017

New initiative supported by $3.7 million in grants

Resource DevelopmentMIT News Office

The MIT Security Studies Program launched today a collaborative program with the Harvard Belfer Center to mentor the next generation of foreign policy scholars with support from the Charles Koch Foundation.

 Charles Koch is investing in foreign policy programs at elite American universities. (Patrick T. Fallon/For The Washington Post)

In the News

November 11, 2017

Libertarian billionaire Charles Koch is making a big bet on foreign policy

Greg JaffeWashington Post

Stephen Walt, a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Barry Posen, the director of MIT’s Security Studies program, will oversee the Koch-funded program at the two schools.

Richard Nielsen and his book, Deadly Cleris

In the News

November 9, 2017

Why some Muslim clerics become jihadists

Peter DizikesMIT News Office

What turns people into radical jihadist clerics? A new book by MIT political scientist Richard Nielsen offers a new answer: thwarted career ambitions.


President Trump addresses the National Assembly in Seoul on Nov. 8, 2017. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

In the News

November 8, 2017

In speech to South Korean assembly, Trump tells the North 'Do not try us'

Robin YoungHere & Now

Here & Now's Robin Young discusses Trump's South Korea trip with Here & Now security analyst Jim Walsh (@DrJimWalshMIT).

Richard Clarke and Joel Brenner

In the News

November 3, 2017

Why we should welcome warnings

Peter DizikesMIT News Office

Richard Clarke, the former chief counter-terrorism advisor on the National Security Council, expanded on ideas in his new book, “Warnings,” asserting that specialists…can “see the thing buried in the data that other people don’t see.”

Japanese abductees

In the News

November 3, 2017

For families of Japanese abducted by North Korea, Trump visit brings spotlight

Motoko RichNew York TImes

“The abductee issue pulls at the heartstrings of the general public in a way that no other issue can,” said Richard Samuels, a Japan specialist and the director of the MIT Center for International Studies.

Iran nuclear deal

In the News

October 13, 2017

Trump will decertify the Iran nuclear deal. What does that mean?

WBUR Here and Now

Jim Walsh, senior research associate at the MIT Security Studies Program, tells Here & Now's Robin Young that President Trump's move is largely symbolic.

MIT Starr Forum: North Korea

In the News

October 5, 2017

Nuclear and present danger

Peter DizikesMIT News

“The bad news is that denuclearization is a fantasy,” said Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT, who has written extensively about North Korea’s nuclear program. ... “The good news is, deterrence can work.”

WhatsApp Image

In the News

October 2, 2017

Mark Zuckerberg’s China dilemma: To kowtow or not?

Audrey Jiajia LiThe Boston Globe

Can we really blame Zuckerberg for trying a bit too hard to prove that in facing the wealth of the world’s second largest economy, even a billionaire can be silenced?

Garry Kasparov

In the News

September 19, 2017

Trump is a wake-up call for the free world

Audrey Jiajia LiBoston Globe

On September 14, at the invitation of the Center for International Studies, Kasparov gave a talk on the “Trump-Putin Phenomenon” at a MIT Starr Forum and took questions from the Globe.

Vipin Narang

In the News

September 11, 2017

Making sense of nuclear threats

“Today it’s very clear North Korea has an asymmetric escalation strategy,” says Vipin Narang, a political scientist at MIT. “We’re in a very unstable phase right now.” 

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with Republic of Korea Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono

In the News

August 29, 2017

US leadership as a Pacific power: Trump and beyond

Mercy A. KuoThe Diplomat

Over the past few years most countries in the region—including and especially US allies and partners—have become increasingly skeptical about the future of US leadership in the western Pacific...