commentary

(Atlantic Monthly)

August 1, 2003

Atlantic Monthly and RAND View the Future

by James A. Thomson

The July/August 2003 issue of The Atlantic Monthly Magazine features a compilation of ten short essays written by experts at RAND, collectively titled “Headlines Over the Horizon.” The RAND authors examined developments in international and military affairs drawing little attention today that are expected to be major issues in the next three to five years.

The Atlantic Monthly has turned to RAND for insight and analysis of several key international issues. For example, in June 2003, the magazine featured a cover story written by RAND's Bruce Hoffman taking an in-depth look at suicide bombers.

The Atlantic Monthly is a journal of literature, politics, science, and the arts, and today maintains a circulation of 465,000. Recognized for reporting and general excellence, the magazine has, over the years, featured work by Mark Twain, Henry James, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Einstein, Theodore Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King.

The following are short summaries of the essays and authors that appear in the “Headlines Over the Horizon” editorial feature:

The Wall

This essay discusses a 225-mile wall, now under construction, to separate Israel from the West Bank and, thus, temper the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
By Bruce Hoffman, director of the Washington, D.C. office

A Shrinking Russia

The population of Russia is shrinking, which may give rise to political instability and security threats that extend well beyond its borders.
By Julie DaVanzo, director of the Population Matters project; Clifford Grammich; member of the Research Communications Group; and Olga Oliker, associate political scientist

The Hindu-Muslim Divide

Political secularism in India is facing a challenge by radical Hindu nationalists, further straining the Hindu-Muslim rift within the nuclear-armed nation of a billion people.
By Rollie Lal, associate political scientist

AIDS and African Armies

AIDS is draining the military manpower of several African countries, weakening national infrastructures, and political stability in the region.
By Kevin A. O'Brien, senior policy analyst with RAND Europe

The Tehran-New Delhi Axis

Iran and India have been overcoming past antagonisms and have been forging closer ties with each other, an alliance that may not suit U.S. interests.
By C. Christine Fair, associate political scientist

Anti-Satellite Attack

A high-altitude nuclear detonation—strategically and technologically easier to carry out than a nuclear attack on U.S. soil—could disable most satellites orbiting Earth.
By Elwyn D. Harris, senior policy researcher; and Karl Mueller, associate political scientist

Defense Industry Goliaths

The merging and consolidation of U.S. defense contractors threatens to undermine the superiority of U.S. military technology.
By John Birkler, senior policy analyst; Mark Lorell, senior political scientist; and Michael Rich, executive vice president

The Carrier Shortage

Aircraft carriers can move large air forces to distant locations rapidly, but the U.S. fleet of 12 carriers may be insufficient and no plans exist to expand this fleet.
By John Birkler, senior policy analyst; John Schank, senior operations research analyst

The Indus Water Fight

A 1960 treaty between India and Pakistan stipulated control of the region's Indus River water, but shrinking water levels threaten to escalate ongoing disputes between the two nuclear nations.
By C. Christine Fair, associate political scientist

Urban Warfare

Fighting a determined enemy in urban environments is challenging and costly, and the U.S. military is developing tiny new unmanned air surveillance vehicles to give it a better look at the urban battlefield.
By Philip Antón, senior information scientist; Eugene Gritton, director of the Acquisition and Technology Policy Center at RAND's National Defense Research Institute

This commentary originally appeared in Atlantic Monthly on August 1, 2003. Commentary gives RAND researchers a platform to convey insights based on their professional expertise and often on their peer-reviewed research and analysis.