This week, we discuss trends in terrorism recruitment; the emerging era of international competition; strategies for better policing; who should investigate cyberattacks; teen vaping; and whether we're entering a new Cold War with China.
ISIL has been more successful than al Qaeda in recruiting Americans to support its cause. That's according to a new RAND report. Findings show the average ISIL terrorist recruit is more likely to be younger, less educated, and a U.S.-born citizen. And the historic stereotype of a Muslim, Arab, immigrant male as the most vulnerable to extremism is not representative of many terrorist recruits today. Understanding these shifting demographics is important to counterterrorism efforts.
What does the emerging era of international competition look like? A new RAND report finds it is likely to be most intense between a handful of specific states with status grievances and countervailing regional and global coalitions. And the hinge point of the competition will be the relationship between China and the United States. What's the best approach for this new era? Employ a mindset of “management,” rather than aiming for “victory.”
Which police interventions work best in certain situations, and which don't? RAND recently developed the Better Policing Toolkit to help police choose the best strategies—and put them to work. Project lead John Hollywood says the toolkit builds effective strategies around the idea of mutual trust and respect between police and the public. “This notion is important not only for improving relationships within our communities, but also for making them safer places to live.”
Cyberattackers are rarely held accountable for their actions. And the current cyber attribution landscape is fragmented and confusing. RAND experts believe it may be time to create a global body that is narrowly focused on investigating and assigning responsibility for cyberattacks. This could help prevent further descent into the digital “wild west,” where computer users must fend for themselves.
Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced new regulations that would ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes in retail stores. What might happen if these changes fail to help reverse the teen vaping trend? According to RAND experts, e-cigarette use among young people could end up leading to more nicotine use in the long run.
It's becoming more common for observers of global affairs to call the U.S.-China relationship a new Cold War. But RAND's Ali Wyne says this analogy is problematic. There are many ways the Cold War differs from today's tensions between Beijing and Washington. Because of these differences, Wyne says the United States will need to manage the China challenge differently than it did the Soviet threat.
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