Politics and Government

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  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech during the ceremony of the National Army Day parade in Tehran, Iran, September 22, 2019, photo by West Asia News Agency via Reuters

    Report

    Why Iran's Domestic Debates Should Matter to the United States

    Oct 9, 2019

    Iran's internal debates play a critical role in framing, molding, and selling foreign and security policies. Understanding areas of both consensus and division among Iranian elites is key to developing a realistic policy on Iran and ensuring successful engagement in any future negotiations.

  • Bomb blasts and artillery fire thundered across Baghdad as U.S. forces tightened their grip on the capital's fringes and brought up more troops, April 6, 2003, photo by Faleh Kheiber/Reuters

    Commentary

    Changing the Way America Goes to War

    Jun 25, 2019

    America's vast power, and the weakness of most of its enemies, has allowed it to get away with a striking absence of deliberative judgment when deciding on war, as the Iraq case makes clear. But that free pass is coming to an end. It's time for the United States to rethink the way it decides on wars of choice.

Explore Politics and Government

  • A demonstrator holds a picture of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a protest in Tehran, Iran, January 3, 2020, photo by Nazanin Tabatabaee/West Asia News Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    Iran Claws Back Its Regional Influence

    Last year, Iran faced protests at home as well as in Iraq and Lebanon, where thousands rallied against Tehran's regional hegemony. But with its recent machinations and the fallout over the killing of Soleimani, Iran has succeeded in changing the regional conversation.

    Jan 17, 2020

  • Iraqi demonstrators carry pictures of people who were killed during ongoing anti-government protests in Nassiriya, Iraq, December 4, 2019, photo by Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters

    Commentary

    Iraq at the Crossroads

    The protests gripping Iraq pose an extraordinary challenge to Baghdad's political leadership, which must move the country ahead or step aside. Unless it finds the will to compromise for the common good, the governing class could risk thrusting the country into civil war.

    Dec 18, 2019

  • U.S. soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division secure an area during Operation Mountain Sweep near Narizah, southeast of Kabul, Afghanistan, August 22, 2002, photo by Scott Schonauer/Stars & Stripes/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Post's Afghanistan Series

    The Washington Post series “The Afghanistan Papers” charges that “senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign.” As someone who was both an occasional participant in and frequent critic of the Bush and Obama administrations' Afghan policy deliberations, James Dobbins finds this charge considerably exaggerated.

    Dec 17, 2019

  • Journal Article

    The Cultural Foundations of Modern Democracies

    This article identifies which cultural values are closely coupled with changes in democracy across nations in the twentieth century, and tests whether changes in democracy precede or follow changes in cultural values.

    Dec 12, 2019

  • People walk near a burned bank, after protests against increased fuel prices, in Tehran, Iran, November 20, 2019, photo by Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Reuters

    Commentary

    Don't Expect a Thaw in Iran

    Iran's recent protests could mark the beginning of a new chapter in Iran's domestic politics. Whatever happens inside the country, though, it will not likely change Iran's foreign policy.

    Dec 11, 2019

  • Riot police move to disperse demonstrators during a protest demanding an early parliamentary election in Tbilisi, Georgia, November 18, 2019, photo by Irakli Gedenidze/Reuters

    Commentary

    Whither Georgia?

    Georgia's status as a post-Soviet democratic leader is under challenge. A flawed presidential election, use of force against protesters, and political manipulations have strained public confidence and brought mounting public protests. Domestic calm may hinge on improving political dialogue and conducting free and fair parliamentary elections next year.

    Dec 9, 2019

  • 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

  • Protesters 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 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

  • People shaking hands over an image of a city with a globe superimposed over the top, photo by chombosan/Getty Images

    Commentary

    City Diplomacy Has Been on the Rise. Policies Are Finally Catching Up

    Cities are not signing international treaties, nor do they have embassies around the world. But they can engage in all kinds of negotiations, reach agreements, and influence world politics. The State Department could tap into this power to enhance U.S. diplomacy, global image, and influence.

    Nov 22, 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

  • Wooden path with dry and lush landscape on either side, photo by leolintang/Getty Images

    Commentary

    How Voters Can Assess New Climate Plans

    While the U.S. government has announced its intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, most presidential candidates and many states have proposed climate plans of their own. How might voters determine if any of these plans can seriously address climate change?

    Nov 14, 2019

  • Woman using smartphone

    Tool

    What's Being Done to Fight Disinformation Online

    With the rise of the internet and social media, false or intentionally misleading information can spread further and faster than ever before. What tools exist to fight disinformation online?

    Nov 12, 2019

  • Woman reading the newspaper on a tablet

    Tool

    Fighting Disinformation Online: A Database of Web Tools

    RAND researchers created a database of web tools that aim to fight the spread of disinformation. These include fact-checking tools, bot detectors, media literacy applications, and more.

    Nov 12, 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

  • Blog

    The Syria Withdrawal, Climate Policy, Drones: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the effects of the U.S. withdrawal from Syria, one expert's take on climate policy, how drones could help get blood to soldiers who need it, and more.

    Oct 25, 2019

  • Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa attends a rally against Western sanctions in Harare, Zimbabwe, October 25, 2019, photo by Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

    Commentary

    Zimbabwe’s Neighbors Express Solidarity Against a False Enemy

    The notion that sanctions are primarily responsible for the economic collapse in Zimbabwe is a useful fiction promoted by that country's authoritarian elite. In reality, the ruling party, in power for 39 years, has no one to blame but itself.

    Oct 25, 2019