Politics and Government

  • 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

  • Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan sign the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in the White House on December 8, 1987

    Commentary

    The Difference Between Negotiation and Appeasement

    Sound diplomacy weighs costs and benefits, based on a hard-nosed evaluation of American interests and values. It makes concessions only in exchange for concrete gains, but it still requires flexibility and willingness to trade, bargain, and make deals, including with adversaries. This is not the same thing as appeasement.

    Jan 22, 2015

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin exchanges documents with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, December 22, 2014

    Commentary

    Can Eurasian Energy Compete?

    Cheaper oil, government interference and market dynamics jeopardize the future of Russian and Caspian energy. To be globally competitive, the big four Eurasian producers — Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan — should let the private sector play a greater role and make more decisions on commercial, rather than political grounds.

    Jan 16, 2015

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, December 18, 2014

    Commentary

    How Russia Can Recover from Its Economic and Strategic Decline

    Few expect that Moscow will cede Crimea or end its opposition to NATO expansion anytime soon. But Russia can still begin to reverse its strategic decline. Expanding opportunities for Russia's people, reforming the economy, and improving relations with neighbors are the way forward.

    Dec 24, 2014

  • Illustrated photo of a person typing on a computer keyboard

    Commentary

    Preventing Cyber Attacks: Sharing Information About Tor

    While Tor has many benefits, it is also used to hide criminal activity online such as the recent cyber attacks against JPMorgan Chase and Sony Pictures. The U.S. government should share the IP addresses of Tor network nodes with U.S. critical infrastructure and financial firms so that future cyber attacks could be prevented.

    Dec 17, 2014

  • Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (L) discusses a report on the CIA's anti-terrorism tactics on the floor of the U.S. Senate as Senators Debbie Stabenow (rear) and Patty Murray look on, Washington, December 9, 2014

    Commentary

    Why the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA May Both Be Right

    Given that many questions of fact regarding the CIA's program of enhanced interrogation techniques can probably never be conclusively answered, the real issue comes down to a value judgment: whether inflicting physical pain on prisoners is an acceptable means of reducing the risk of terrorist attacks.

    Dec 12, 2014

  • Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif addresses a news conference after a meeting in Vienna, November 24, 2014

    Commentary

    A Nuclear Extension Can Still Work, but Iran Must Show Flexibility

    The extension of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 is disappointing, but it's better than the alternatives. Now it's time for the Iranian government to show greater flexibility. It may have gained a few months, but in the long run, time is not on its side.

    Nov 26, 2014

  • 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

    Commentary

    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

  • Report

    Looking Backward and Forward: Policy Issues in the Twenty-first Century

    This collection features twenty-five essays written between 2002 and 2007, covering a wide range of worldwide economic, political, security, and diplomatic issues.

    Nov 20, 2014

  • Michael Rich, Francis Fukuyama, Sheila Bair, Nicolas Berggruen, and Simon Sinek at RAND's Politics Aside 2014

    Blog

    What Makes a Good Leader? Ask Pope Francis, or Lady Gaga

    What makes an effective state? What makes a good leader? Panelists at RAND's Politics Aside event discussed leadership, governance, and how the service part of democracies has become too politicized.

    Nov 18, 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

    Commentary

    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

  • Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves to the crowd in the holy city of Qom, October 2010

    Commentary

    Ignore Flap Over Obama Letter

    While it is not surprising that the alleged letter from President Obama to Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei has upset domestic critics of the nuclear negotiations, the alleged correspondence has also unsettled Israel and Saudi Arabia, which fear a “bad” deal with Iran and even secret collusion between Washington and Tehran. But such concerns seem unfounded.

    Nov 14, 2014

  • Afghan men attend an election campaign by Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai in Kabul, June 8, 2014

    Commentary

    Are Ethnic Politics Afghanistan's Great Hope?

    Afghanistan's ethnic politics have tended to absorb inter-communal struggle more than exacerbate it. Afghan politicians have consistently opted for an ethnic balance of power once the votes are counted. The unity government deal brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry aims to restore the ethnic balance that persisted under Hamid Karzai for more than a decade.

    Nov 11, 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

    Commentary

    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

    Commentary

    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

  • A destroyed T-72 tank, which presumably came from Russia, is seen on a battlefield near separatist-controlled Starobesheve in eastern Ukraine October 2014

    Commentary

    Hitting the Pause Button: The 'Frozen Conflict' Dilemma in Ukraine

    “Frozen conflicts” describe places where fighting took place and has come to an end, yet no overall political solution, such as a peace treaty, has been reached. Ukraine is likely to host such conflicts for some time. Georgia's experience offers lessons for Ukraine.

    Nov 7, 2014

  • Gail Lopez-Henriquez wears an 'I Voted Today' sticker on Election Day morning in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 4, 2014

    Commentary

    Republicans May Make Gains in Midterm Election, but Democrats Remain Strong Nationally

    The Republican Party has a strong chance of maintaining control of the House and possibly even gaining control of the Senate. But survey results suggest that, while individual races may vary, support for Republican candidates nationwide may be less than support for Democratic candidates.

    Nov 4, 2014