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U.S.-Turkish Relations, Airports, Opioids: RAND Weekly Recap

January 17, 2020

This week, we discuss how Turkey's nationalist course affects U.S.-Turkish relations; helping America's airports prepare for increasing demand; redesigning the U.S. education and employment system; how to deter attacks on the power grid; why the opioid crisis should be considered an “ecosystem;” and China's footprint in Europe.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during a ceremony marking the second anniversary of the attempted coup at the presidential palace in Ankara, July 15, 2018, photo by Umit Bektas/Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during a ceremony marking the second anniversary of the attempted coup at the presidential palace in Ankara, July 15, 2018

Photo by Umit Bektas/Reuters

How Turkey's Nationalist Course Affects U.S.-Turkish Relations

For more than six decades, the United States has maintained a strategic partnership with Turkey. But in recent years, the relationship has become strained. A new RAND report examines why—from U.S. concerns about Turkey's creeping authoritarianism, to shifting dynamics between Turkey and its neighbors. The authors conclude that relations with Ankara will remain volatile. But Washington could avoid a major breach by developing a long-term strategy to protect the partnership from future disruption.

Airport trading cards, photos by Airports Council International-North America; design by Katherine Wu/RAND Corporation

Photos by Airports Council International – North America; design by Katherine Wu/RAND Corporation

Helping Airports Meet Growing Demand

Air travel in the United States is at an all-time high and is expected to keep growing. Can airports meet the demand? To find out, RAND researchers examined the infrastructure needs and financial resources of the nation's commercial airports. They addressed 21 questions about airport funding and financing—and identified potential sources of new revenue. One option is to raise the cap on a fee that passengers pay when they purchase a ticket from $4.50, where it has been since 2000, to $7.50—and index it to inflation moving forward.

A woman wearing a graduation cap and gown entering a maze, photo by YinYang/Getty Images

Photo by YinYang/Getty Images

Education and Employment Should Be One System, Not Two

The U.S. education and workforce development system is preparing people for a labor market that no longer exists. That's the key takeaway from a recent RAND report. It describes a system designed for workers who go to school, get a job, and then retire. But most careers don't look like that anymore. So how can the system be revamped to ensure that people have access to opportunities and learning throughout their working lives?

Electric power lines behind a network illustration, photo by kosssmosss/Adobe Stock

Photo by kosssmosss/Adobe Stock

Two Ways to Deter Attacks on the Power Grid

America's commercial power grid supplies most of the electricity that the U.S. military uses for its missions. This system is largely outside of the Pentagon's control, and it's increasingly vulnerable to both physical attacks and cyberattacks. A new RAND report explores two strategies to deter such incursions. The first approach is to remove the perceived benefits of an attack. The second is to impose punitive measures to convince an adversary that the benefits might not be worth the costs.

The Opioid Ecosystem

Opioid overdoses claim the lives of 130 Americans each day. And the devastating effects of the U.S. opioid crisis don't stop there. People with opioid-use disorders struggle to take part in the workforce. Babies are born with withdrawal symptoms. Children end up in foster care. That's why it's important to view the opioid crisis as an ecosystem, says RAND's Bradley Stein. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, he explained this approach and outlined responses for Congress to consider.

Security personnel stand guard near a "Golden Bridge on Silk Road" decoration for the Belt and Road Forum outside the China National Convention Center in Beijing, China, April 25, 2019, photo by Jason Lee/Reuters

Security personnel stand guard in front of a sculpture for the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, April 25, 2019

Photo by Jason Lee/Reuters

China's Footprint in Europe

China has been taking steps to strengthen its economic and technological position in Europe. What are the implications? According to RAND experts, the more of a foothold that China gains across the continent, the more it will be able to challenge political sovereignty and intellectual freedom there. The United States and Europe may need to forge a more united approach to address Beijing's global resurgence. But tensions between Washington and the European Union could be an obstacle.

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