In the News | 2022

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.

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.”