Politics and Government

  • Supporters of Nigerian presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari gesture in front of his election posters in Kano March 27, 2015

    Commentary

    What's at Stake in Nigeria's Elections

    Next to ethnic and religious predilections, security is by far the biggest issue for Nigerians in Saturday's election. For more than 50 years, since Nigeria's independence from British rule, its military has played an important role in peacekeeping across the continent. Paradoxically, the country has struggled with an insurgency within its own borders.

    Mar 27, 2015

  • France's far-right Front National leader Marine Le Pen at a news conference in Nanterre, near Paris, March 22, 2015

    Commentary

    The Front National and the Future of French Foreign Policy

    France's far-right party Front National is ascendant. Its leader could be a strong contender in 2017's presidential elections. Do the Front National's current and, possibly, future successes have implications for France's partners and allies in Europe and beyond?

    Mar 25, 2015

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

    Commentary

    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

  • Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter at their news conference following diplomatic meetings at Camp David, Maryland, March 23, 2015

    Commentary

    What Afghanistan Wants from Washington

    Afghan President Ghani's main mission in coming to Washington is to change the American view of Afghanistan, not so much inside the Obama administration as on Capitol Hill. This view remains a mostly negative one, formed by a seemingly endless war, high levels of government corruption, and repeated expressions of rank ingratitude on the part of Ghani's predecessor.

    Mar 23, 2015

  • Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani inspects the honour guard during a graduation ceremony at the National Military Academy in Kabul, March 18, 2015

    Commentary

    Q&A: What to Expect from Ghani's U.S. Visit

    With Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's first official visit to the United States set to begin Sunday, a trio of RAND researchers discuss what to expect after the president and his chief executive officer, Abdullah Abdullah, arrive in Washington.

    Mar 20, 2015

  • Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Isaac Herzog of the Zionist Union, as campaign billboards rotate in Tel Aviv, March 9, 2015

    Commentary

    New Israeli Government, New Position on Iran?

    With elections taking place in Israel today, would a change of leadership lead to a fundamentally different Israeli stance on a nuclear deal? You'd think the answer was easy. But it's not.

    Mar 17, 2015

  • After a year of political upheaval and a war in the East, Ukrainians are facing poverty, with prices rising sharply, the currency crumbling, and a nearly bankrupt state

    Commentary

    For Ukraine, the Battle to Bolster a Crashing Economy Is as Dire as Combat in the East

    Ukraine's struggle to keep afloat economically has been daunting, as its parliament has fallen into disarray and failed to enact major economic reforms. Ukrainian lawmakers could help by dealing better with the national budget but their recent deliberations inspired little public confidence.

    Mar 9, 2015

  • U.S. President Barack Obama receives a standing ovation at a joint session of Congress in the chamber of the House of Representatives in Washington, DC, September 8, 2011

    Commentary

    Is Geographic Clustering Driving Political Polarization?

    The ideological gap separating the Republican and Democratic parties in Congress has grown dramatically wider in recent decades. An analysis of the presidential vote in congressional districts over the last 60 years finds that the degree to which most districts are different from the “average” district has grown, supporting the theory that polarization stems from geographic clustering.

    Mar 3, 2015

  • The U.S. Capitol Building

    Report

    Is Geographic Clustering of Voters Driving Rising Polarization in Congress?

    Over the last 40 years, the geographic distribution of the American electorate has become more clustered with respect to party voting, college attainment, median family income, and the marriage rate. This is responsible for an estimated 30 percent of the increase in polarization in the House of Representatives over time.

    Feb 17, 2015

  • Masked protesters

    Report

    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

  • Group of young students studying in the classroom with a laptop

    Report

    Education, Technology and Connectedness: Global Societal Trends to 2030

    The spread of technology and its relationship to education will transform the education and power of citizens, forming a significant societal challenge for the European Union in the coming decades.

    Feb 12, 2015

  • Army and police officers loyal to the Iran-backed Houthi movement shout slogans as they take part in a demonstration to show support in Sanaa, January 23, 2015

    Commentary

    Relax, Iran Is Not Taking Over the Middle East

    Nuclear negotiations should not be held hostage to all of the things Iran may be doing right or wrong. The conflicts in the Middle East are much more complex than “Iran on the march” theories would have us believe.

    Feb 11, 2015

  • U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington, January 20, 2015

    Commentary

    The Pros and Cons of Obama's Restraint

    The signal achievement of the Obama foreign policy — fully on display in the new National Security Strategy — has been to avoid further missteps and lay the groundwork for progress by husbanding U.S. power, restoring the economic foundations of influence, and repairing the U.S. global image.

    Feb 6, 2015

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi wave before their meeting at Hyderabad House, New Delhi, January 25, 2015

    Commentary

    U.S.-India Relations: Will the Obama-Modi Personal Chemistry Suffice?

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India has generated generally positive reactions from analysts. These judgments will be reinforced if the leaders' current chemistry changes Indo-U.S. policy for the better.

    Feb 3, 2015

  • U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell welcomes newly elected Republican senators, November 12, 2014

    Report

    The Days After a Deal with Iran: Congress's Role in Implementing a Nuclear Agreement

    The president has extensive authority under the law to provide sanctions relief to Iran as part of a comprehensive nuclear agreement. Nevertheless, Congress can take a range of steps to facilitate, hinder, or even block the executive branch's efforts.

    Feb 2, 2015

  • A man at an Occupy Wall Street protest in New York City, October 2011

    Commentary

    Growth Versus Equality: Striking the Right Balance

    There's a difficult trade-off between income equality and the growth that comes from successful innovation. But one doesn't have to overwhelm the other.

    Jan 30, 2015

  • U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson speaks at Los Angeles International Airport in California, February 20, 2014

    Commentary

    Go Back to Basics to Reform Homeland Security

    The Goldwater-Nichols Act in 1986 made the broadest and most sweeping changes to the Pentagon since its establishment in 1947. With the Department of Homeland Security in a similar state just over a decade after its hurried creation, it's time for DHS to have a Goldwater-Nichols of its own.

    Jan 28, 2015

  • Sri Lanka's newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena arrives for his swearing-in ceremony in Colombo, January 9, 2015

    Commentary

    In Sri Lanka, Elections Could Signal New Opportunities

    With the inauguration of President Maithripala Sirisena in Sri Lanka, both the United States and India have an opportunity to influence reconciliation between the country's Tamils and Sinhalese. But if that influence is used unwisely, the result may be the same sort of aggressive Sinhalese nationalism that propelled Mahinda Rajapaksa to power a decade ago.

    Jan 27, 2015

  • Bashar al-Assad meeting with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran August 19, 2009

    Commentary

    Iran's Goals in Syria

    Iran is playing a crucial role in buttressing President Bashar Assad, through military advice, provision of weapons, and funding of the cash-strapped Syrian government. The Assad regime might not survive without support of Iran and its allies such as Hezbollah.

    Jan 26, 2015

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani during a news conference at the 69th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, September 26, 2014

    Commentary

    Congress Should Delay New Iran Sanctions

    The new Congress is racing to pass legislation that would institute new sanctions on Iran during ongoing nuclear negotiations. This undermines U.S. efforts to peacefully eliminate the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon.

    Jan 23, 2015