In the News | 2019

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 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 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 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.”

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.

 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.”

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.