Political Reform Movements

  • A money changer displays U.S. and Iranian banknotes at the Grand Bazaar in central Tehran October 7, 2015


    Unlocking Iran's Economy

    While Rouhani and his team want Iran's gradual opening, reactionary forces aligned with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, much of the security establishment, and the clergy are likely to stand guard against “anti-revolutionary” tendencies and policies.

    Nov 2, 2015

  • Employees count ballots after the first phase of parliamentary elections in Dokki, Giza governorate, Egypt, October 19, 2015


    Partisans Without Parties

    It is tempting to describe Egypt's parliamentary elections as history repeating itself. Yet today's Egypt is not Mubarak's Egypt. Rather, it is a state transitioning from single-party rule to a new system whose pecking order is still being hashed out.

    Oct 29, 2015

  • Russian nesting dolls bearing the faces of Russian leaders are displayed in a souvenir shop near Sochi, February 21, 2014


    What Explains Russia's Annexation of Crimea?

    Russia's attitude toward Ukraine is consistent with historical Russian (and Soviet) thinking about security interests and foreign policy. But these patterns are only a starting point for understanding recent events.

    Sep 22, 2015

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the Asian African Conference in Jakarta, April 22, 2015


    Post Deal, Can Rouhani Deliver on Promises of Reform?

    Rouhani was elected president because he offered hope; he claimed that the nuclear agreement would be the key to unlock or solve Iran's problems. But it will take more than that to make Iran a better place to live. Can he achieve his people's dreams? Is he even willing?

    Jul 24, 2015

  • A Tunisian holds up a flag during celebrations marking the fourth anniversary of Tunisia's revolution, Tunis, January 14, 2015


    Tunisia in the Crosshairs

    The open-ended nature of the Islamic State group's threat against Tunisair suggests that it intends to target Tunisia for the long haul. The United States should counter the threats with steadfast and sustained cooperation and assistance.

    Jun 22, 2015

  • A balloonist fires the burners of his hot air balloon during the Tunisian Balloon Festival in Hammamet March 22, 2015


    Tunisia Could Be a Model for What Works in the Mideast

    Tunisia has a shot at showing that a different model in the region can succeed, a model of inclusion, tolerance, and economic prosperity. It has a lot of work ahead of it, but the vision is there.

    Mar 24, 2015

  • Masked protesters


    Individual Empowerment: Global Societal Trends to 2030

    Human development, grassroots movements, and access to the internet and social media are likely to empower citizens in Europe and beyond, forming a significant societal challenge for the EU in the coming decades.

    Feb 12, 2015

  • Georgia's President Georgy Margvelashvili waves while flanked by Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili (2nd L), Parliament speaker David Usupashvili (R) and Patriarch Ilia II during celebrations for the signing of an association agreement with the EU in June 2014


    Rough and Tumble of Building Democracy in Georgia

    Leadership squabbles and instincts for retribution are testing Georgia's democracy. If leaders do not come together to strengthen the political system and governance, Georgia's future could hang in the balance.

    Nov 26, 2014

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and opposition politician Aung San Suu Kyi hold a press conference after their meeting in Yangon, Myanmar, November 14, 2014


    Myanmar's Slow Path to Democracy

    The U.S. and its allies must act decisively and provide a strong foundation for Myanmar's long-term transformation. A failure to carefully guide the country's transition to a civilian rule would be a missed opportunity for the Obama administration and, more important, for Myanmar's 51 million citizens.

    Nov 17, 2014

  • The flags of China and Hong Kong are seen above tents outside Legislative Council Complex at an occupied area in Hong Kong November 11,2014


    The Mountains Are High and the Emperor Is Far Away

    Since September 22, tens of thousands of protesters have flooded the streets of Hong Kong, calling for universal suffrage in the 2017 chief executive election and the resignation of current Chief Executive Chun-ying Leung. When they took to Twitter to share their ideas and mobilize support, they revealed the profound disconnect that separates elements of Hong Kong society from their mainland counterparts.

    Nov 11, 2014

  • Afghanistan's CEO Abdullah Abdullah and President Ashraf Ghani walk with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, October 3, 2014


    What's the Plan? The Afghan Government

    With the election dispute settled, one can sense a feeling of hope and opportunity among the Afghan political spectrum. Members of each camp are voicing optimism and saying the right things, but before the unity government can address the country's issues, it must first clear the hurdle of appointing new leadership.

    Nov 10, 2014

  • Pro-democracy lawmakers protest as Li Fei (on screen), deputy general secretary of the National People's Congress standing committee, speaks during a briefing session in Hong Kong Sept. 1, 2014


    Big Trouble in Little China

    As China's central government and Hong Kong residents consider next steps after last week's decision on the 2017 chief executive election, they will do so against a background of deteriorating trust, declining social acceptance of integration, and a worsening of relations between Hong Kong and mainland Chinese society.

    Sep 9, 2014

  • Report

    Portfolio Assessment of the Department of State Internet Freedom Program

    Employing portfolio analysis techniques, the authors assessed the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL)'s Internet freedom program for FY 2012-2013 to determine its project portfolio's effectiveness in performance, balance, and synergy.

    Sep 4, 2014

  • A Free Syrian Army fighter throws a Molotov cocktail in West Aleppo December 2013


    Getting to Negotiations in Syria

    It appears that there is almost no prospect for a negotiated solution to the civil war in Syria in the near term. This is because the Syrian factions believe — perhaps rightly — that they have more to gain by carrying on the fight than by negotiating toward peace.

    Jul 14, 2014

  • A woman walks past European Parliament election campaign posters in Vilnius


    How 'Wired' Are the 2014 European Elections?

    The 2014 elections will prove a critical test of whether the modernisation of the EU's media strategies and increasing number of members of the European Parliament active on social networking sites will have an impact on citizens' political participation at the European level.

    May 21, 2014

  • Protests in Malaga, Spain against the government's spending cuts and failure to revive the moribund economy


    The European Democracy Paradox

    While social media and other tools have enhanced opportunities to participate in the political process, these new drivers do not seem to translate easily into offline political participation.

    May 21, 2014

  • Research Brief

    A New Approach to Security and Justice Sector Assistance: An Enhanced Partnership Planning Model

    RAND researchers examined ways to reshape security and justice sector assistance programs, and designed a new approach -- an Enhanced Partnership Planning Model that can be tailored to partner-nation needs and particular U.S. strategic interests.

    May 14, 2014

  • Man being searched at checkpoint


    Ways to Build Partnerships in the Arab World

    U.S. security assistance has largely been perceived in transactional terms, provided with the expectation that the partner nation will take some action in return that furthers U.S. interests in the region. Instead, security assistance should be seen in terms of building and sustaining relationships.

    May 14, 2014

  • A woman shouts slogans during a protest against separatism in Odessa held outside the Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev April 15, 2014


    The Partition of Ukraine

    The argument for splitting Ukraine has little to do with either real divisions in the country or popular preferences. Until the Russian invasion of Crimea, the issue of separatism was simply absent from public debate.

    Apr 17, 2014

  • Supporters of Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah attend an election campaign in Panjshir province March 31, 2014


    The Importance of the Election in Afghanistan

    It is easy to assume the outcome of the race doesn't really matter for U.S. policy. But an ossifying government excludes and disenfranchises youth with new ideas. Without popular participation, Afghanistan's future becomes more prone to partisan cleavages and extremism.

    Apr 7, 2014