News + Media

 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.”

Soldiers holding US flag and NATO flag

Analysis + Opinion

March 1, 2019

It is long past time to stop expanding NATO

Matthew Cancian and Mark CancianWar on the Rocks

NATO should have learned from its 2004 inclusion of the Baltic states, militarily weak and exposed countries whose defense now constitutes a major, expensive, and perhaps unachievable military requirement. Instead, the expansion of membership has continued. Albania and Croatia joined in 2009, Montenegro in 2017. It’s time to stop NATO expansion.

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.

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.”

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.