Keeping Russians Informed, No-Fly Zone Policy, Telehealth: RAND Weekly Recap

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March 18, 2022

This week, we discuss how the West can help give Russians access to accurate information about the war in Ukraine; why it could be a strategic mistake to rule out a no-fly zone policy; assessing pain care in the Military Health System; questions about the quality of audio-only telehealth; what’s ahead for South Korea's new president, and one RAND expert's insights into government acquisition programs.

An application that helps Lithuanians to call Russians to discuss the war in Ukraine in an effort to help end the war, in Vilnius, Lithuania, March 9, 2022, photo by Janis Laizans/Reuters

Photo by Janis Laizans/Reuters

Keeping Russians Informed About Ukraine Could Help End the War

Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken aggressive actions to prevent his people from knowing the truth about his war in Ukraine. According to RAND experts, increasing Russian citizens' access to accurate information may be key to ending the war sooner rather than later. And there are steps that the West could take to help.

For example, there may be opportunities to support online personalities who have access to the Russian social media market. The United States, the European Union, and NATO could also explore creative ways to promote Russian access to independent Russian-language media, Ukraine-based sites, or Western-funded media. And the West could help Russians gain access to the free internet, possibly through sharing access to virtual private network technologies.

Such efforts could help neutralize the Kremlin's information operations, helping the Russian population stay focused on the true cause of sanctions and the true cost of war.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine delivers a virtual address to Congress in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., March 16, 2022, photo  by Sarahbeth Maney/Pool/Sipa USA via Reuters

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine delivers a virtual address to Congress in the U.S. Capitol, March 16, 2022

Photo by Sarahbeth Maney/Pool/Sipa USA via Reuters

Why It Could Be a Strategic Mistake to Rule Out a No-Fly Zone Policy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky continues to ask the United States to declare a no-fly zone over his country. U.S. leaders have resisted, fearing that doing so would set off a larger conflict. While this hesitance is warranted, it could be a strategic mistake to take a no-fly zone off the table, says RAND's Raphael Cohen. Keeping it as an option “retains American leverage and avoids dangerous global precedents.” The only thing worse than implementing a no-fly zone may be ruling it out entirely, he says.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Lucky Lusterio performs a thoracic spine mobility test on Staff Sgt. Shaniqua Anderson at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, September 21, 2017, photo by Michelle Gigante/U.S. Air Force

U.S. Air Force Maj. Lucky Lusterio performs a thoracic spine mobility test on Staff Sgt. Shaniqua Anderson at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, September 21, 2017

Photo by Michelle Gigante/U.S. Air Force

Assessing Pain Care in the Military Health System

Pain conditions are the leading cause of disability among active-duty U.S. service members. This has serious implications for both service member well-being and U.S. force readiness. A new RAND study examines how the Military Health System treats acute and chronic pain, including the use of opioid prescribing, and identifies potential areas to improve patient care.

Woman at home on the phone holding a prescription bottle, photo by blackCAT/Getty Images

Photo by blackCAT/Getty Images

Audio-Only Telehealth Still Common at Safety Net Clinics

A new RAND study finds that, among safety net health clinics in California, the use of audio-only visits persisted long after the pandemic hit. Because little is known about the quality of audio-only telehealth, the higher rates of these visits in safety net clinics raise questions about the quality of care for low-income patients. “If too many visits are occurring via telehealth,” says lead author Lori Uscher-Pines, “it's likely that patients will miss out on needed preventive care.”

File photo of Yoon Suk-yeol, who was elected president of South Korea on March 9, 2022, photo by EyePress News/Reuters

Yoon Suk-yeol was elected president of South Korea on March 9, 2022, in the country's tightest race since it began holding free elections in 1987.

Photo by EyePress News/Reuters

What's Ahead for South Korea's New President

Earlier this month, Yoon Suk-yeol was elected president of South Korea. How might a new leader reshape regional dynamics? According to RAND's Soo Kim, Yoon’s position on one issue, North Korea, provides some insights. He intends to emphasize North Korean denuclearization, stand up to Kim Jong-un, and put the Seoul-Pyongyang dynamic on a more equal footing. The world will be watching with keen interest.

Fully armed aircraft from the 18th Wing conduct an elephant walk during an exercise at Kadena Air Base, Japan, April 12, 2017, photo by SrA John Linzmeier/U.S. Air Force

Fully armed aircraft from the 18th Wing conduct an elephant walk during an exercise at Kadena Air Base, Japan, April 12, 2017

Photo by SrA John Linzmeier/U.S. Air Force

Building Better Government Acquisition Programs: Q&A with William Shelton

RAND's William Shelton specializes in the process—or, as he would say, the art—of government acquisition, from purchasing to program management to quality assurance. In a new Q&A, Shelton discusses what led him to RAND, his career in the U.S. Air Force, and how he's applying his knowledge and expertise to helping build America's capabilities in space.

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