News + Media

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.  

person typing on laptop with a globe on the desk in the foreground


January 21, 2022

Call for applications for summer study fellowship and Guillemin prize

Doctoral students in international affairs may apply for summer support for dissertation research. Research on a broad range of international issues will be considered. Support may be requested either for fieldwork and/or archival research, or for home-based research and write-up. The CIS Summer Study Fellowship competition is open to advanced doctoral students in international affairs, regardless of home department. 

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.

The US flag against a stormy skycape

Analysis + Opinion

January 13, 2022

We need to think the unthinkable about our country

Jonathan Stevenson and Steven SimonNew York Times

Scholars of American politics need to pick up the torch from experts on the democratic decline in Europe, who first raised the alarm about growing dangers to American politics. The very process of intellectual interaction and collaboration among influential analysts of different political stripes could reconcile many of them to the undesirability of political upheaval, and thus decrease its likelihood. 

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.”

US troops in Afghanistan

Analysis + Opinion

January 2, 2022

Letting go of Afghanistan: Presidents Biden and Trump were right

Barry PosenThe National Interest

The carnival of recrimination that erupted since the collapse of the Afghan government serves mainly to cover the tracks of years of US mistakes and set the stage for future misguided interventions.