In the News | 2019

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.