In the News | 2021

A man watches a television screen showing news footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attending the 8th Congress of the ruling Workers' Party, held in Pyongyang, at a railway station in Seoul on Jan. 6. Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

In the News

January 21, 2021

North Korea’s new sub missile is first step toward a new ICBM

Morten Soendergaard LarsenForeign Policy

Vipin Narang quoted: “It’s just not survivable against the United States. In any crisis or conflict, I can only imagine that the US Navy or the [South Korean navy] would be there just blanketing the entire coast. I can’t imagine anything is going to survive,” said Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

US President Joe Biden on his first full day in office has proposed a five-year extension of the New START nuclear treaty with Russia MANDEL NGAN AFP

In the News

January 21, 2021

Biden seeks five more years for last Russia nuclear pact but no 'reset'

AFP News

Vipin Narang quoted: “The only opponents are those who seek an unlimited arms race. Glad to see the Biden administration dispensing with reckless games of chicken with global security on Day One,” tweeted Vipin Narang. He said the Biden administration can still find other ways to pressure Russia over its concerns on so-called tactical nuclear weapons — which Moscow could deploy in hot conflicts close to home, as opposed to strategic weapons that mostly target the United States. “This buys the sundae without precluding future sprinkles,” Narang said.

Screenshot of CNN video with person carrying the bags containing the US Nuclear Football

In the News

January 19, 2021

How Trump will hand off the 'nuclear football' to Biden

Zachary CohenCNN

Vipin Narang quoted: “The easiest way to think about it is there is a seamless cutover as to which ‘biscuit’ is valid at noon Wednesday,” according to Vipin Narang, a nuclear policy expert and professor at MIT. “Biden's biscuit would not be valid at 11:59 am, and Trump's would not be valid at 12:01 pm.”

This photo taken on Jan. 14 and released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency shows the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, center, gesturing during a military parade. (KCNA/KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

In the News

January 18, 2021

North Korea’s Kim could be planning missile launch to welcome Biden administration

Simon Denyer and Joby WarrickThe Washington Post

Vipin Narang quoted: Narang would not rule out a provocative test but said it is equally possible that Kim, already struggling to keep the coronavirus at bay, maintain food production and prop up the economy, could bide his time. “Time is on Kim’s side, so why rock the boat, especially given potentially serious domestic problems?” he asked. “Kim doesn’t need to be the new kid screaming for attention, especially if he can quietly improve and expand his force, as he’s doing.”

Taylor Fravel

In the News

January 18, 2021

Taylor Fravel on China Power Project Podcast

This special episode of the ChinaPower podcast is the fourth of five featuring the audio from the China Power Project's fifth annual conference, which comprises five live online debates. The fourth debate took place on December 9, 2020 and featured two experts debating the following proposition: Within the next five years, China will use significant military force against a country on its periphery.

Military equipment is seen during a military parade to commemorate the 8th Congress of the Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea, Jan. 14, 2021 in this photo supplied by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA).

In the News

January 15, 2021

North Korea shows off new submarine-launched missile at military parade

William GalloVOA

Vipin Narang quoted: “The only thing that makes sense to me is that these developments are setting the stage for a solid fuel ICBM. To me that has to be the end game here,” tweeted Vipin Narang, a nuclear specialist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves from a stage during a military parade celebrating a ruling Workers' Party of Korea congress in Pyongyang on Thursday. | KCNA / KNS / VIA AFP-JIJI

In the News

January 15, 2021

North Korea unveils new submarine-launched missile at parade

Jesse JohnsonThe Japan Times

Vipin Narang quoted: “I’m struggling to understand the logic of this rapid SLBM development and evolution with no real survivable submarine and the only thing that makes sense to me is that these developments are setting the stage for a solid fuel ICBM,” Vipin Narang, a North Korea expert and professor of international relations at MIT, wrote on Twitter. “To me that has to be the end game here.”

Cape Gun Works co-owner Toby Leary helped a customer in May. The demand for guns skyrocketed in 2020, with background checks jumping nearly 24 percent in Massachusetts.BARRY CHIN/GLOBE STAFF

In the News

January 14, 2021

‘A more general anxiety’: Gun sales soared nationwide in 2020

Anissa GardizyThe Boston Globe

John Tirman quoted: John Tirman, executive director of MIT’s Center for International Studies, said he believes US gun sales were up in 2020 due to a “general instability of society.” “It does relate to the election, and Trump, and the possibility that Biden could try to enact gun control, but I think it is a more general anxiety,” he said.

Jim Walsh

In the News

January 12, 2021

Questions of national security arise amid uncertainty in DC

WBUR Here and Now

There are questions about national security in the aftermath of what happened at the US Capitol last Wednesday when President Trump's supporters stormed the building. Jim Walsh weighs in.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

In the News

January 8, 2021

Trump has the authority to launch nuclear weapons — whether Pelosi likes it or not

Jennifer Williams and Alex WardVox

Vipin Narang quoted: “So long as Trump remains in office, he retains the legal authority to solely launch some or all of America’s nuclear weapons until 12:01 pm on January 20, or until he is removed from office,” Vipin Narang, a nuclear security expert at MIT, told Vox. “Any ‘safeguards’ that could effectively prevent POTUS from exercising sole authority to launch nuclear weapons are either illegal or illusory.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaking at podium

In the News

January 5, 2021

Chinese President Xi Jinping wrests greater control over China's military; revises National Defense Law

ANIThe Free Press Journal

M Taylor Fravel heavily quoted: “This marks only the fifth time that the PLA has changed its operational doctrine since 1949.”... Fravel added: “The promulgation of a high-level doctrinal document suggests that the PLA is consolidating the changes to improve joint operations that were part of the unprecedented reforms that began in late 2015. In fact, it likely signals confidence that the reforms have been successful.”

Iraqi demonstrators rally to mourn Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and an Iraqi paramilitary leader a year after they were killed in a US drone strike AHMAD AL-RUBAYE

In the News

January 4, 2021

Iran eyes Biden but could conflict still erupt with Trump?

Shaun TandonAFP News

Vipin Narang quoted: “We have a new form of deterrence now -- schizophrenic deterrence. We don't know what we're doing,” said Vipin Narang. Instead of looking tough by reversing the Nimitz's return, “it may send the wrong signal – which is that it's total chaos in Washington right now and if you're going to take a shot, maybe this is the time you want to do it.”