Early 2013 Afghanistan ranks among the historical counterinsurgency winners, but its score is equal to those of the lowest-scoring historical wins. This tenuous position points to several areas in need of improvement.
Drones are just one of three principal U.S. counterterrorism tools. Special Operations forces are now relying on a more balanced mix of tactics: Launching raids and developing partner forces offer more versatility than drone strikes and will probably become the wave of the future as America's big wars wind down.
Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is both contentious and complicated. RAND mathematician Carter Price has been using the COMPARE model to help those making decisions understand what their choices mean for their budgets and population health.
Colorado and Washington will remove the prohibition on commercial marijuana production and distribution for nonmedical purposes and start regulating and taxing it. Not even the Netherlands goes that far, writes Beau Kilmer.
Could armed autonomous robots embark on a campaign of indiscriminate killing? John Matsumura says that there is a convincing base of evidence that robots are more likely to prevent slaughter than engage in it.
Linda Robinson's One Hundred Victories shows how special operations forces are evolving to become the go-to force for military operations worldwide. The author, a senior international policy analyst at RAND, draws from her own on-the-ground reporting and interviews with key players inside the national defense community.
The American Medical Association officially designated obesity as a disease, hoping to help change the way doctors approach the issue with their patients, increase funding for research on effective treatments, spur insurers to cover prescription weight loss medications, and maybe even help de-stigmatize the condition.
Other than as a geographic expression, Syria has ceased to exist, writes Brian Michael Jenkins. With Russian, Iranian, and Hezbollah support, Bashar Assad's forces, at the moment, appear to have gained the initiative over a fragmented rebel movement.
Friends have gone home or on to other wars. Reports of crime are on the rise in a city once safe, save for the occasional bombing. Afghans still call their government a “mafia” but have stopped asking me what the United States is going to do to fix it, writes Rebecca Zimmerman.
Sanctions have taken a heavy toll on the Iranian economy, and the Islamic Republic may finally be motivated to take steps to rein in its nuclear program, including accepting limits on uranium enrichment, in exchange for lessening the pressure.
The average Somali lives on less than $2 a day. Even fishermen, who are comparatively well off by national standards, face difficulties making a living due to the chronic depletion of sea stocks from years of poaching and illegal dumping of toxic waste. Under such circumstances, the allure of piracy is clear.
If steps are not taken to get control of security, there is little hope for Libya's future. Qaddafi's fateful warning that Libya would become a “Somalia on the Mediterranean” without him could come true. The investment that NATO and its partners made in toppling Qaddafi would then be almost entirely wasted.
The raids that the United States conducted over the weekend in Libya and Somalia could signal a new focus in Washington on capturing terrorist suspects and gathering intelligence rather than relying on drone strikes. RAND experts Linda Robinson, Angel Rabasa, and Seth Jones comment.
Between 2001 and 2011, China's pledged foreign aid was $671 billion. In all regions and countries, China's assistance focuses on the development of natural resources, principally energy-related (coal, oil, and gas). Both parties presumably benefit from China's aid but both are also exposed to added risks and hidden costs.