Political Reform Movements

  • Blog

    Hong Kong, Reducing Crime, Medical Marijuana: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on what the U.S. can do about Hong Kong, reducing crime in Chicago, medical marijuana, and more.

    Dec 6, 2019

  • Iranians protest against increased gas prices, on a highway in Tehran, November 16, 2019, photo by Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Reuters

    Commentary

    With Chaos in the Streets of Iran, Here’s How the United States Could Help the Iranian People

    The Iranian people deserve American support. But current U.S. policies are hurting the cause that Iranians are fighting for while failing to achieve any strategic objectives.

    Dec 3, 2019

  • rotesters raise their hands outside the Polytechnic University (PolyU) in Hong Kong, China, November 25, 2019, photo by Marko Djurica/Reuters

    Commentary

    U.S. Policy Options for Hong Kong

    After six months of escalating police violence and protester resistance, matters in Hong Kong have come to a head. What steps could the United States consider to reduce the prospect of a resurgence in violence?

    Dec 2, 2019

  • Blog

    Artificial Intelligence Bias, Russia, Fentanyl: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on bias in algorithms, Russia's limits in the Middle East, understanding the fentanyl crisis, and more.

    Nov 29, 2019

  • Pro-democratic winning candidates gather outside the campus of the Polytechnic University (PolyU) in Hong Kong, China, November 25, 2019, photo by Adnan Abidi/Reuters

    Commentary

    Hong Kong's Historic Election Probably Won't Reverse Current Trends

    Whatever fate awaits Hong Kong, recent trends leave little reason for optimism. It is becoming an increasingly violent and polarized place that might prompt Chinese military action, and the crisis has opened a new wound in U.S.–China relations. The best hope is that the recent election reminds all sides why Hong Kong is worth saving.

    Nov 27, 2019

  • An Iraqi demonstrator gestures during the ongoing anti-government protests in Najaf, Iraq, November 18, 2019, photo by Alaa Al-MarjaniReuters

    Commentary

    The Arab Spring in the Upside-Down

    Where the original Arab Spring protests removed authoritarian leaders, the current demonstrators in Iraq and Lebanon are trying to topple popularly elected governments. This could have dramatic implications for the future of representative democracy in the Middle East.

    Nov 21, 2019

  • A demonstrator reacts as he walks in front of Iraqi security forces during ongoing anti-government protests in Baghdad, November 14, 2019, photo by Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters

    Commentary

    Don't Overestimate the Power of Iraqi Protests

    As protests in Iraq grow, a “good news” narrative seems to be developing that they are a significant blow to Iranian influence. But the bigger story is not who is up and who is down between Washington and Tehran; it is that yet another Arab public has taken to the streets demanding change.

    Nov 14, 2019

  • Mei-Ling Zhou, a character in the Blizzard-Activision game Overwatch, photo courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment. ®2016 Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved. Overwatch is a trademark or registered trademark of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries

    Commentary

    Hong Kong's Digital Protests: Blizzard Case Could Be a Warning for Companies

    Activision Blizzard recently found itself drawn into the political controversy surrounding the Hong Kong protests. The experience could serve as a warning for other companies that could find themselves plunged into crisis-management mode by world events.

    Oct 29, 2019

  • Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam attends a news conference after her policy address for 2019, in Hong Kong, China, October 16, 2019, photo by Umit Bektas/Reuters

    Commentary

    How to Resolve the Hong Kong Crisis

    Rebuilding trust between the residents of Hong Kong and their government will be an extremely difficult task. But with some reasonable compromises on both sides, Hong Kong has the opportunity to step back from the brink of disaster.

    Oct 23, 2019

  • Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa is welcomed at Robert Mugabe International Airport, to return home after hearing the news of the death of former President Robert Mugabe, in the capital Harare, Zimbabwe, September 6, 2019, photo by Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why Ethiopia Sailed While Zimbabwe Sank

    At a time when outside powers are calibrating how they respond to political transitions around the world, the divergent paths of Ethiopia and Zimbabwe illustrate their precariousness and offer lessons for how the international community can support democratization processes in Africa and beyond.

    Sep 9, 2019

  • Blog

    Hong Kong, Education Reform, Baghdad: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on lessons for state education reform, retaining women in the U.S. Coast Guard, recounting the Battle for Baghdad, and more.

    Jun 14, 2019

  • Iranian youths sit under a large picture of Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (L), and Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at a park in Tehran, Iran, January 17, 2016

    Commentary

    The Islamic Republic's Foreign Policy at Forty

    Forty years have passed since the Islamic Revolution. While Iran hasn't departed from its revolutionary roots, its foreign policy today is largely shaped by threat perceptions and interests, not ideology.

    Feb 8, 2019

  • Iranian flag

    Commentary

    Regime Appears Fragile as Iranians Turn Much of Their Ire Inward

    Economic hardship is fueling unrest in Iran. New sanctions stemming from the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal may exacerbate already difficult conditions. Now might be the time to exert maximum pressure on the regime in an effort to bring Tehran back to the negotiating table.

    May 21, 2018

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Zhang Dejiang after a vote on a constitutional amendment lifting presidential term limits, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 11, 2018

    Commentary

    China's Strengthening of Communist Party Rule Is Not Just a Power Grab

    Strengthening the leadership role of the Communist Party and removing term limits for President Xi Jinping have raised fears about increasingly authoritarian Chinese politics. While repression may well increase, boosting the party’s influence also increases the chance of badly needed reforms concerning governance and the economy.

    Apr 2, 2018

  • North Korean defectors living in South Korea hold balloons containing leaflets and CDs denouncing Kim Jong-un near the demilitarized zone north of Seoul, February 16, 2013

    Report

    Options for Flying Contraband into North Korea

    Activist groups in South Korea are seeking improvements in the balloons they use to carry political, religious, and humanitarian materials across the border into North Korea. Balloon delivery techniques have evolved and some have started using hexacopter drones. How effective are these methods?

    Apr 2, 2018

  • An Iranian scratched flag with a grunge texture

    Commentary

    Unrest in Iran: An Opportunity for Democratic Change

    As the unrest that began in Iran on Dec. 28 begins to wane following a crackdown, it is difficult to assess what may come next. But this is not the first time Iranians have come out on the streets to protest and challenge authoritarian rule, nor will it be the last; the Iranian people have a long history of seeking a democratic political order.

    Jan 14, 2018

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran, Iran, November 1, 2017

    Commentary

    Iran's Efforts to Create Instability Abroad Have Led to Protests at Home

    Iran has spent billions of dollars in its quest to be a regional leader, but its main achievement has been to spark instability across a wide swath of the Middle East. Ordinary Iranians are struggling and protesters are urging a retreat from costly foreign fights and more aid at home.

    Jan 12, 2018

  • A view of the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, where nearly 80,000 Syrian refugees were living in March 2017

    Q&A

    The Post-Arab Spring Experience: Q&A with Shelly Culbertson

    It's too early to say whether the Arab Spring will turn out to be a success or not. The Arab Spring was about people deciding what they did not want and rising up against it, but they hadn't worked out what they did want. Many of them still have hope.

    Aug 23, 2017

  • The Hong Kong skyline at night

    Report

    Where Is Hong Kong Headed?

    Large-scale protests have shined a spotlight on Hong Kong and prompted several important questions. What is the territory's significance to China? And what is its future trajectory?

    Dec 2, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Brexit: What Have We Learned So Far?

    On 23 June 2016, the British electorate defied the expectations of political leaders, financial markets and foreign allies by voting to withdraw from the European Union.

    Sep 26, 2016