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US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un shake hands following a meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27, 2019. Since then, North Korea has undertaken missile tests and Trump has voiced confidence that Kim will not “break his promise”. Photo: AFPUS President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un shake hands following a meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27, 2019. Since then, North Korea has undertaken missile tests and Trump has voiced confidence that Kim will not “brea

In the News

June 11, 2019

As North Korea doubles down on its nuclear weapons, Trump and the US are stuck with ‘strategic patience’

Rob YorkSouth China Morning Post

Vipin Narang, a nuclear proliferation expert at MIT, said North Korea could be convinced to freeze fissile material production and that its Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Centre is reaching the end of its life, meaning it is possible to “slow the growth of [the] programme”. But the fate of the non-nuclear-armed Gaddafi and former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein has taught North Koreans “don’t give up your nuclear weapons because … the United States may one day decide to get rid of you”, Narang said.

2018-19 J-WAFS Fellow Andrea Beck sits by the Charles River.


June 10, 2019

Untangling the social dynamics of water

Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems LabMIT News

Andrea Beck, a PhD candidate in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and a J-WAFS Fellow for Water Solutions, is studying the dynamics of water operator partnerships. Her work is supported in part by MISTI-Netherlands, MISTI-Africa, and through a Summer Study Grant at CIS. “They’ve been great resources,” she says.

US flag and Japan flag - If the U.S.-Japan military alliance is to be effective in a new era of geopolitics, both sides need to be realistic about the “grand bargain” that underpins it.

Analysis + Opinion

June 7, 2019

Learning to embrace an unequal alliance

Mina Pollmann Tokyo Review

To keep the military alliance between the US and Japan sustainable and effective during the tumult of a global power transition, both sides need to update how they think about the “grand bargain” that underlies it.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, front left, and his wife Suzan, front center, listen to a tourist guide during a sightseeing walk as part of Pompeo’s visit in Bern, Switzerland, Saturday, June 1, 2019.(Peter Klaunzer/Keystone via AP) (Associated Press)

In the News

June 1, 2019

Pompeo visits elite event as Trump policies raise questions

Matthew Lee and Jamey Keaten | APThe Washington Post

“What we have is an administration that is behaving like a unilateralist wrecking ball,” said Ken Oye, an MIT political science professor on sabbatical in Switzerland, who came to protest.  He predicted those are the meeting “are likely to be telling him ‘that you’re not serving American interests or international interests more broadly defined. You’re making a mistake, and here are the reasons why we believe so.’”

Vipin Narang

In the News

May 31, 2019

The BradCast

Brad Friedman

Independent investigative journalism, broadcasting, trouble-making and muckraking with Brad Friedman of, with special guest MIT nuclear proliferation expert Vipin Narang.

A commercial satellite image from May 4 shows what analysts at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in California think is the launch point and exhaust trail of a new short-range ballistic missile test in North Korea. (Reuters/Planet Labs)

In the News

May 27, 2019

North Korea has been testing ballistic missiles. So why won’t Trump use the B word?

Simon DenyerThe Washington Post

Vipin Narang said the South Korean government may be playing “fast and loose” with semantics. “The trajectory of the KN-23 is low, so sometimes referred to as a quasi-ballistic missile, which may give them just enough semantic wiggle room to say, ‘It’s not an SRBM,’ ” he said, referring to a short-range ballistic missile. “But it is.”

National security adviser John Bolton is surrounded by reporters at the Japanese prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo on Friday. (Yohei Kanasashi/AP)

In the News

May 25, 2019

Trump appears to contradict Bolton on North Korea, expresses ‘confidence’ in Kim

Simon Denyer and Ashley ParkerThe Washington Post

“There is a lot that is really disturbing here, but the most important bit is ‘Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me,’” Vipin Narang wrote. “Kim never promised to unilaterally disarm, and the problem is Trump continues to believe he did. THAT is why this is so dangerous.”

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi

In the News

May 24, 2019

Modi’s definitive win may mean a more assertive India

Seema ModyCNBC

“Modi’s muscular national security approach just received overwhelming approval. We should expect to see more of it in the next five years,” said Vipin Narang. Narang noted that the Indian leader could use the present opportunity to “improve the defense forces and acquisition process” for his country — or he could aim to settle scores with Pakistan.

An Iranian woman and child walk past a mural in downtown Tehran on April 27, 2016. Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

Analysis + Opinion

May 23, 2019

Even conservative Iranians want closer ties to the United States

Fotini Christia, Elizabeth Dekeyser, Dean KnoxForeign Policy

For most in the country, Washington isn’t the archenemy—at least for now.

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.