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

  • 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

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to announce her resignation in London, May 24, 2019, photo by Simon Dawson/Reuters

    Commentary

    The End of May: Another Brexit Victim

    What brought down British Prime Minister Theresa May? The essential contradictions of Brexit and a British public that cannot muster a majority for any Brexit outcome.

    May 27, 2019

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani listens during a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 26, 2018, photo by Brendan McDermid

    Commentary

    The U.S. and Iran: Beyond the Rhetoric

    Since the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal with Iran, tensions between the two countries have increased. Washington has stepped up pressure on Tehran in the hopes of reopening negotiations or ushering in the regime's collapse, while inside Iran, President Rouhani is facing pressure to retaliate.

    May 17, 2019

  • Journal Article

    External Threat, Internal Rivalry, and Alliance Formation

    Coalitions of rivals, while formidable against common threats, may find it difficult or impossible to avoid struggles among themselves even if they share an enemy.

    May 15, 2019

  • Close-up of a person reading/texting on their smartphone, photo by sam thomas/Getty Images

    Blog

    RAND's Analysis of News in the Digital Age: Three Takeaways

    How has the rise of digital technology shaped the way that news is presented? RAND researchers conducted an empirical study to find out. Here's what you need to know from their findings.

    May 14, 2019

  • Members of Japan's Self-Defence Forces' airborne troops stand at attention during the annual SDF ceremony at Asaka Base, Japan, October 23, 2016, photo by Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters

    Commentary

    With Little Fanfare, Japan Just Changed the Way It Uses Its Military

    In early April, Japan deployed its Self-Defense Forces (SDF) abroad to join a multinational force not connected to the United Nations. This is the first time that SDF personnel will participate in overseas peacekeeping operations not under UN control. The difference may not seem important, but it is.

    May 3, 2019

  • Dice with UK and EU flags, and no deal and deal on sides, Photo by Rawf8/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Finding the Real Will of the People

    It's not surprising that the British Parliament is struggling to find a solution to the Brexit impasse. That's because the 2016 vote revealed nothing about the sort of Brexit people actually wanted. When researchers asked Brits to choose between four options in 2017, there was no obvious winner.

    Apr 30, 2019

  • Indonesian president Joko Widodo greets his supporters during a campaign rally at Gelora Bung Karno stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia, April 13, 2019, photo by Willy Kurniawan/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Jokowi’s Reelection Means for Indonesia

    On April 17, Indonesia conducted the largest single-day vote in any nation's history. President Joko Widodo has likely netted a second term. What does that mean for his nation and its place in the world?

    Apr 25, 2019

  • Chess pieces on a board, photo by phaisarn2517/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Yes, the U.S. Could Be Drawn Into Yet Another Big War

    The outcome of the Iraq invasion has done little to alter the factors that have led American leaders and the public into unwise military adventures. Today's big idea of America's mission is not so different from what it was in 2003. Any number of events could spark a new moral imperative to act.

    Apr 19, 2019

  • Children walk as they hold stacks of bread at al-Hol displacement camp in Hasaka governorate, Syria, April 2, 2019, photo by Ali Hashisho/Reuters

    Commentary

    When Are Economic Sanctions Worthwhile?

    For American policymakers, economic sanctions are too often the soft choice between doing nothing and taking effective but risky or expensive action. Yet, before they inflict years, perhaps decades of impoverishment and worse on entire populations, they should ask if their efforts are likely to succeed and are worth punishing an entire people to do so.

    Apr 15, 2019

  • Testimony

    The Consolidation of Political Power in China Under Xi Jinping: Implications for the PLA and Domestic Security Forces: Addendum

    Document submitted April 11, 2019, as an addendum to testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on February 7, 2019.

    Apr 11, 2019

  • The Iron Throne on the set of the television series Game of Thrones in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 24, 2014, photo by Phil Noble/Reuters

    Commentary

    'Game of Thrones' Reflections on International Relations

    As two RAND researchers join millions of others in eagerly awaiting the final season of Game of Thrones, they reflect on one of the show's central themes: rival views of the nature of power and justice.

    Apr 11, 2019

  • Journal Article

    From Ballot-Boxes to Barracks: Votes, Institutions, and Post-Election Coups

    If war is too important to be left to the generals, politics may be too contentious to be left to the civilians. At least this is what frequent military forays into the political arena suggest. But when and why does the military actively intervene in politics?

    Mar 26, 2019

  • Participants wave flags during Taiwan's National Day celebrations outside the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan, October 10, 2010, photo by Nicky Loh/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Taiwan Diplomatic Victory Over China Could Be Inevitable

    It is likely that Taipei will lose diplomatic allies unless a cross-Strait agreement is reached on the 1992 Consensus. But it is perhaps equally inevitable that Taiwan will convince at least one or more states to recognize Taiwan over China. Such a development would help counter the narrative that Taiwan sovereignty is doomed.

    Mar 21, 2019

  • Imam Ibrahim Abdul Halim of the Linwood Mosque is embraced by Father Felimoun El-Baramoussy from the Coptic Church, in Christchurch, New Zealand March 18, 2019, photo by Edgar Su/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Christchurch Massacre Was Another Internet-Enabled Atrocity

    Terrorism has become an internet-enabled abuse—incited, propagated, and sometimes organized and concealed by online activity. Who should be held accountable for abusive content, the author or the publisher? And what role should the government play in regulating it?

    Mar 20, 2019