blog

Tree of Life, Social Media, Korea: RAND Weekly Recap

November 2, 2018

This week, we discuss countering Russian social media influence in the United States; the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and what research tells us about gun policy; myths about “Medicare for All” and other single-payer plans; paths toward Korean unification; what Angela Merkel's exit means; and what might happen if Palestinians started voting in Jerusalem city elections.

Cyber map

Countering Russian Social Media Influence

As Americans prepare to head to the polls on Tuesday, experts are still examining Russian efforts to disrupt the 2016 election via social media. A new RAND report examines Moscow's complex strategy to spread disinformation on these platforms—and how to stop it. The authors note that there is no silver bullet. Instead, they recommend several approaches that target different links in the Kremlin's “disinformation chain.”

RAND Gun Policy in America logo

Image by Chara Williams/RAND Corporation

What Do We Know About Gun Policy?

A gunman killed 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last Saturday. The shooting is believed to be the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in American history. In the wake of this tragedy, what can scientific research tell us about the effects of gun laws? RAND recently released findings from one of the largest studies ever conducted on U.S. gun policy. Our goal is to establish a shared set of facts that will improve public discussions and support the development of fair and effective gun policies.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during an event to introduce the Medicare for All Act of 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, September 13, 2017

Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during an event to introduce the Medicare for All Act of 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, September 13, 2017

Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

Busting Myths About 'Medicare for All'

Would health care be free under “Medicare for All” or another single-payer system? Would spending increase or decrease dramatically? Would people lose access to their doctors? These are some of the key questions RAND experts have answered to help clear up the many misconceptions about single-payer proposals and their likely effects.

People attend a march for peace, prosperity, and reunification of Korea near the Arch of Reunification in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this undated photo released September 12, 2018 by the Korean Central News Agency

People attend a march for peace, prosperity, and reunification in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this undated photo released September 12, 2018

Photo by the Korean Central News Agency

Possible Paths to Korean Unification

Both North Korea and South Korea are interested in unification. But according to a new RAND report that explores nine potential paths toward a unified Korea, neither country is ready to be successful. The best path is likely associated with regime collapse in the North and would involve negotiating with the government that replaces Kim Jong-un. Such a process would take many years.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a session at the lower house of parliament in Berlin, October 17, 2018

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a session at the lower house of parliament in Berlin, October 17, 2018

Photo by Fabrizio Bensch/Getty Images

Merkel's Exit and the Future of Europe

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Monday that she will not seek re-election. RAND's James Dobbins calls Merkel “one of the brightest post-Cold War stars in the Western firmament.” Her exit will leave a void that neither her successor nor French President Emmanuel Macron will be able to fill, says Dobbins. But European unity depends more on the EU's more fragile democracies than on German policy. And the future of NATO depends more on what happens in the United States.

Jerusalem skyline

Photo by Ya'ara Issar/Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research

What if Palestinians Start Voting in Jerusalem City Elections?

This week extended the decades-old boycott of Jerusalem municipal elections by most of the city's Palestinians. But what might happen if they started voting? According to a new RAND report, the Israeli government would be pleased with Palestinian participation, as long as turnout remained limited. And Palestinian city councilors could only affect policy at a low level.

Listen to the Recap

Get Weekly Updates from RAND

If you enjoyed this weekly recap, consider subscribing to Policy Currents, our newsletter and podcast.