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In the News

January 31, 2014

Russian weapons removal & the cold war backpack bomb

Thomas Neff and Adam RawnsleyWNYC

When the Cold War ended, Russia was unsure what it should do with its thousands of weapons, from missiles to bombers. MIT Physicist, Dr. Thomas Neff, suggested that Moscow be allowed to sell the uranium from its retired weapons and dilute it into fuel for electric utilities in the United States, giving Russians desperately needed cash and Americans a cheap source of power. The program converted more than 20,000 Russian warheads into fodder for nuclear power plants that have since turned on one in 10 American light bulbs over the course of the past 20 years. And now, more than two decades later, the last uranium shipment arrived in the United States last month. Dr. Neff explains how he initially conceived of this program.

In the News

January 27, 2014

From warheads to cheap energy

William J. BroadThe New York Times

As the Cold War ended in the late 1980s and early ’90s, a new fear arose amid the rejoicing and relief: that atomic security might fail in the disintegrating Soviet Union, allowing its huge stockpile of nuclear warheads to fall into unfriendly hands. Many officials and scientists worried. Few knew what to do. That is when MIT physicist, Thomas L. Neff, hit on his improbable idea: turning Russian warheads Into American electricity.

In the News

December 13, 2013

How should we use our intelligence?

Peter DizikesMIT NewsMIT event exposes fault lines among high-ranking former government officials on NSA’s data-gathering programs.

In the News

August 15, 2013

For a new approach to Iran

William Luers, Thomas R. Pickering, and Jim WalshThe New York Review of Books

Could this be the year for an engagement with Iran that “is honest and grounded in mutual respect,” as President Obama proposed over four years ago? That goal seems unlikely without a shift in Iranian thinking and without a change in American diplomatic and political strategy. But two developments, one in Iran and one in the region, provide reason to think that diplomatic progress might be possible.

In the News

August 2, 2013

Empowering women in Afghanistan

Peter DizikesMIT News

By placing some women in local leadership positions, an innovative development aid program integrates women into civic life, and may have economic benefits.

In the News

July 6, 2013

Letting opportunity slip away

Jeff KingstonThe Japan Times

So why hasn’t March 11, 2011, been the game-changer that many anticipated? Richard Samuels’ masterful account of Japan’s policy responses to its greatest crisis since World War II explains why continuity has trumped change. But maybe, just maybe, it hasn’t, as he also reminds us that the consequences are still unfolding.

In the News

May 3, 2013

Why China and India probably won't clash over border dispute

Max FisherWashington Post

Both China and India have claimed the Maryland-sized territory of Aksai Chin near India's northeast border for decades, and even fought a brief war over it in 1962. But the issue was mostly calm until about three weeks ago. 

In the News

April 17, 2013

China and Japan in the East China Sea

Peter DizikesMIT News

At MIT event, diplomats and scholars reinforce high stakes, lack of progress on Asian territorial dispute.

In the News

April 13, 2013

When the world changed

The Economist

Later this month Christian Caryl, a veteran foreign correspondent now based in Washington, will publish a timely new book, “Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century”. In it he argues that 1979 belongs to the select club of real turning-points: years in which one era ended and another was born.

In the News

April 2, 2013

Amateur hour

Stephen M. WaltForeign Policy

United States has lofty global ambitions, and its leaders still like to describe the country as the "leader of the free world," the "indispensable nation," and various other self-congratulatory labels. Yet it doesn’t always marry these ambitions to a set of policies and practices that would help it achieve them. Case in point: the well-sourced rumor that the Obama administration is about to appoint Caroline Kennedy to serve as our next ambassador to Japan. The obvious question: Is this an appointment that demonstrates a serious engagement with the complex problems the United States is now facing in Asia?

In the News

March 6, 2013

The democracy boondoggle in Iraq

Christian CarylForeign Policy

The U.S. spent billions promoting democracy in Iraq. Now the official verdict is in: It was all for nothing.

In the News

February 7, 2013

Lifting of sanctions will take a few years


An interview of with Dr. Abbas Maleki, a former Iranian deputy foreign minister.

In the News

November 2, 2012

How civil wars evolve

Fotini ChristiaMIT News

MIT political scientist’s book shows how even the bloodiest conflicts feature pragmatic alliances — not just ancient sectarian divisions.

In the News

October 17, 2012

Where the Arab spring has not yet sprung

Christian CarylForeign Policy

The spirit of rebellion continues to simmer in the Middle East and North Africa. But you won’t see much about it in the headlines.

In the News

October 3, 2012

An idealist on death row

Christian CarylForeign Policy

Why the desperate fate of a little-known Sudanese human rights activists poses some fundamental questions about what it means to be human.

In the News

September 14, 2012

Violence and protests in the Muslim world

Fotini ChristiaMIT News

The world has been roiled by violence in North Africa and the Middle East in recent days. The U.S. ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, was killed in an attack this week, while violent protests were launched in many countries following the release of a video insulting the Prophet Muhammad on the Internet. MIT political scientist Fotini Christia, who studies multiethnic conflict in rebuilding nations, talked to MIT News about this complex and fluid situation.

In the News

September 12, 2012

The Salafi moment

Christian CarylForeign PolicyAs the death of a U.S. ambassador in Libya demonstrates, the ultraconservative Salafi movement is pushing to the forefront in the politics of the Middle East. The West should be careful how it reacts.

In the News

June 5, 2012

GOP whining on military spending cuts

Benjamin FriedmanCato Institute

Cato daily podcast featuring Benjamin Friedman.

In the News

May 1, 2012

What might an India-Pakistan war look like?

By Christopher Clary

Toward the end of his presidency, Bill Clinton argued that Kashmir, the territory disputed by India and Pakistan, was 'the most dangerous place in the world.'1 Clinton's second term saw India and Pakistan undergo reciprocal tests of nuclear weapons in 1998, followed in 1999 by the Kargil war, the first conflict between nuclear weapons states since the Ussuri River clashes between the Soviet Union and China in 1969.

In the News

March 30, 2012

The lady's leap of faith

Christian CarylForeign Policy

Why Aung San Suu Kyi's decision to participate in a flawed election could be the biggest gamble of her career.