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.

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  • Iraqis watch as a truck burns on a roadside after an attack by suspected insurgents on a highway west of Baghdad February 15, 2006, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Realities of Civil War

    Civil war is not a pretty thing to see or be a part of. Those understandably engaged with the intense debate over whether or not the president should be impeached should not suggest that impeachment would result in civil war in our country. There are peaceful means available for us as Americans to follow in order to solve the problems at hand.

    Oct 9, 2019

  • Detail of the english word "democracy" highlighted and its definition from the dictionary, photo by Lobro78/Getty Images

    Commentary

    How Can the United States Support Democracies in the Former USSR?

    The West has only modest capacity to influence circumstances in most post-Soviet countries. In Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Moldova, however, the West has the potential to make a real difference by supporting civil society and improved governance.

    Sep 16, 2019

  • People carry banners and Algerian national flags during a protest calling on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to quit, in Algiers, Algeria, March 22, 2019, photo by Zohra Bensemra/Reuters

    Commentary

    African Dictators Have Been Losing Power—Some to Democratic Governments. Militaries Can Tip the Scales Toward Democracy

    Africa's security forces most often make headlines when they commit atrocities, crack down on protesters, or seize power in coups. But Africa's troops can also contribute to democracy and peace when they lay down their arms or refuse orders to turn their guns against the people.

    Sep 16, 2019

  • China and Taiwan flags on a chess board, photo by Kagenmi/Getty Images

    Commentary

    A Tale of Two Cities China Ignores at Its Peril

    Beijing may believe that, eventually, Taiwanese politics will turn in its favor. But it should consider experiences from the other two territories currently living under the formula—Hong Kong and Macau—to better understand why “one country, two systems” will never work in Taiwan, regardless of politics.

    Sep 12, 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

  • Kashmiri women walk past an Indian security personnel during restrictions after the scrapping of the special constitutional status for Kashmir by the government, in Srinagar, August 11, 2019, photo by Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

    Commentary

    India and Kashmir, Now One

    In a legally risky move that's already having consequences on the ground, the Modi government scrapped the part of the Indian constitution that gave Jammu and Kashmir special autonomous status. How consequential is this? And how should the international community react?

    Aug 13, 2019

  • Indian security personnel stand guard along a deserted street during restrictions in Jammu, August 5, 2019, photo by Mukesh Gupta/Reuters

    Commentary

    Kashmir's Democracy—and the World's

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi just changed the status of the restive Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. This may be the most important event in an enormously volatile part of the world since the end of the last century, with repercussions that will extend far beyond Kashmir itself.

    Aug 8, 2019

  • Boris Johnson arrives at the Conservative Party headquarters after being announced as Britain's next prime minister, London, July 23, 2019, photo by Toby Melville/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Challenging Moment for Boris Johnson

    As Britain's next prime minister, Boris Johnson will bring advantages, and disadvantages, in seeking to lead the United Kingdom through a period as challenging as the Suez Crisis or (perhaps) the darkest days of World War II.

    Jul 23, 2019

  • Arthur Brooks, author and Pardee RAND alumnus, discussing his new book at RAND's headquarters in Santa Monica, California, May 17, 2019, photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

    Blog

    New Book by Arthur Brooks Tells Americans to Answer Hate with Love

    Arthur Brooks spoke at a RAND event to discuss his new book, Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt. He stressed that we don't have to disagree less but that we have to disagree better.

    Jul 8, 2019

  • Protesters break the windows of the Legislative Council building on the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China in Hong Kong, July 1, 2019, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    Beijing Won't Allow Its Hong Kong Integration Experiment to Fail

    Recent events in Hong Kong have posed the stiffest challenge yet to Beijing's sovereignty. If sustained, they could push China to react to protect its national interests.

    Jul 3, 2019

  • The purported wreckage of an American drone is seen displayed by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in Tehran, Iran, June 21, 2019, photo by Meghdad Madadi/Tasnim News Agency via Reuters

    Commentary

    The Flawed Logic of Proportionality

    President Trump halted a retaliatory strike against Iran on the basis that it would have claimed many Iranian lives and was not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. There are many good reasons to avoid attacking Iran, but if Washington must resort to force in the future, it should avoid the flawed logic of proportionality.

    Jul 1, 2019

  • A protester poses for a portrait during a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, February 2, 2019, photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Should the United States Do About Venezuela?

    If it becomes evident that Maduro isn't about to fall, then the Trump administration should revisit its sanctions and rescind those that weigh most heavily on the Venezuelan people, while targeting and isolating the regime.

    Jun 24, 2019

  • Protesters outside police headquarters demand Hong Kong's leaders to step down and withdraw the extradition bill, in Hong Kong, June 21, 2019, photo by Tyrone Siu/Reuters

    Commentary

    One Country, Two Systems, Lots of Problems

    The enormous protests in Hong Kong since spring have led to fresh fears about the viability of China's "one country, two systems" policy. It's an idea that Macau and Hong Kong officially subscribe to and Taiwan fiercely resists—but one increasingly questioned from all sides.

    Jun 21, 2019

  • The Iranian flag flutters in front the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria, March 4, 2019, photo by Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Post-2020 U.S. Return to the Iran Nuclear Deal?

    Now that the United States is out of the Iran nuclear deal, signing back on will not be as simple or as practical as some may hope. Too much has happened since it was first inked in 2015. With the political landscape in Tehran and Washington still taking shape, those who want to return to some kind of deal should start planning.

    Jun 20, 2019

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and Russia's President Vladimir Putin attend a meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, June 14, 2019, photo by Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via Reuters

    Commentary

    The Costs of Confrontation with Iran Are Mounting

    Even if the United States and Iran avoid a direct military clash, recent escalation and the U.S. maximum pressure campaign are exacting long-term costs for U.S. interests and regional stability in ways that may be difficult if not impossible to reverse.

    Jun 17, 2019

  • Members of Russia's National Guard block participants of a rally in support of detained Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov in Moscow, Russia, June 12, 2019, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Democratic Spring Could Be Stirring in Eurasia. The West's Quiet Support Can Help

    An incipient Eurasian “democratic spring” may not yet be on the horizon, but political awareness and civil society are gaining ground. The West could contribute by continuing to help to fill information vacuums, and by offering training and support for nurturing civil society, conducting free and fair elections, and developing competitive politics.

    Jun 13, 2019

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses supporters after election results are announced in New Delhi, May 23, 2019, photo by Adnan Abidi/Reuters

    Commentary

    Modi Fans Nationalist Flames, Cruises to Victory in Indian Elections

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 2019 victory was a much greater achievement than his equally unexpected victory five years ago. Recognizing his weak position on economic and social issues, Modi shifted his campaign to a nationalist plank, and his party won overwhelmingly even in states where it lost elections just six months prior.

    Jun 3, 2019

  • Game pieces on stacks of varying height, photo by Tero Vesalainen/Getty Images

    Commentary

    This Is Not a Great-Power Competition

    The emerging conventional wisdom among foreign policy analysts in Washington is that a new era of great-power competition is upon us. But does that phrase really capture today's reality?

    May 29, 2019