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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  • London skyline with overlay of the UK and EU flags

    Commentary

    'Zero-sum' Approach to Defence and Security During Brexit Negotiations Risks a Less Secure UK and EU

    It is in the interest of neither the UK nor the EU to have a 'zero sum' approach to defense and security during Brexit negotiations. Both sides have plenty to lose if it turns into a 'messy divorce.'

    Apr 4, 2018

  • The U.S. embassy in Moscow, Russia, March 27, 2018

    Commentary

    Moscow Is Going Too Far

    Russia has become more daring with the West with its retaliatory expulsions and may face a high price. An angered West could turn from expulsions to economic countermeasures.

    Apr 3, 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

  • 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

  • A witness in a courtroom swearing to tell the truth

    Commentary

    Truth Decay and the Spirit of the Law

    The widening gap between how the law is expected to be (and generally is) practiced, and certain events transpiring in America's political and policymaking realms, is of increasing concern.

    Mar 23, 2018

  • A man tests Estonia's internet voting system in Tallinn, February 19, 2007

    Commentary

    Online Voting: The Solution to Declining Political Engagement?

    The potential benefits of online voting merit a conversation across Europe about its increased use in elections. But the evidence is mixed on whether online voting actually helps increase voter turnout.

    Mar 23, 2018

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reviews the honor guard before a meeting with Japan Self-Defense Force's senior members at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo, Japan, September 11, 2017

    Commentary

    Revising Japan's Peace Constitution: Much Ado About Nothing

    Despite Abe’s legislative majority, it is unclear whether he has enough political capital to convince the public of the need for a constitutional revision on the Self-Defense Force. Japan’s security policies are heavily constrained by legal and normative constraints and Abe’s plan would likely do little more than codify the status quo.

    Mar 21, 2018

  • Black compass with needle pointing the word truth

    Commentary

    The Danger of Truth Decay Across Europe

    “Truth Decay” poses a threat to the health and future of democracy across Europe. With partial facts, disinformation, and incompatible versions of “the truth” competing for attention, it's more and more important for Europeans to recognize this phenomenon.

    Mar 19, 2018

  • People walk next to an election campaign poster of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Stavropol, Russia, March 14, 2018

    Commentary

    Putin's Boasting About Nuclear Weapons Won't Help Him in the Russian Election

    In a March 1 address to the nation, Russian President Vladimir Putin evoked Soviet-era exaggeration, proclaiming barely feasible economic and social goals and boasting of nuclear arms that are unlikely to change the strategic balance. Continued exaggeration could sap public confidence in the legitimacy of Russia's ruling system and leaders.

    Mar 15, 2018

  • Wang Qishan walks past Zhang Dejiang, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing, China, March 5, 2018

    Commentary

    One Belt, One Road, One Ruler: China Term Limits Ban Imperils Progress

    The abolition of presidential term limits in China represents a sea change in Communist Party politics and signals the consolidation of personalist rule by President Xi Jinping. Deviations from term limits are deleterious for good governance, political rights, and accountability.

    Mar 6, 2018

  • Soledad O'Brien (RAND trustee and Pardee RAND board member), Michael D. Rich (RAND president and CEO), and Francis Fukuyama (Pardee RAND board member)

    Q&A

    The Perils of Truth Decay: Q&A with Three RAND Leaders

    Truth Decay is defined by disagreement about facts, the blurred line between opinion and fact, increased volume of opinion and personal experience over fact, and declining trust in formerly respected sources of facts. RAND president and CEO Michael D. Rich, journalist Soledad O'Brien, and political scientist Francis Fukuyama discuss the phenomenon and the search for solutions to it.

    Feb 27, 2018

  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security Logo

    Report

    Neither Deportation nor Amnesty: An Alternative for the Immigration Debate

    About 11 million people live in the United States without lawful immigration status. Proposed solutions typically focus on deportation versus amnesty, but a minor change to the current immigration law could offer a compromise.

    Feb 26, 2018

  • U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in attend short track speed skating events in Pyeongchang, February 10, 2018

    Commentary

    At Olympics, U.S. and Korean Leaders Revive Familiar Roles

    The current spate of North-South Korean diplomacy could be short-lived, giving way to resumed tensions and mounting fears of war. It seems possible, however, that South Korean President Moon Jae-in will succeed in brokering direct talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

    Feb 22, 2018

  • Flowers and pictures of victims of the Islamic State's assault on Istanbul's Reina nightclub are placed near its entrance in Istanbul, Turkey, January 17, 2017

    Commentary

    Erdogan's Fatal Blind Spot

    Erdogan's tolerance of ISIS fighters in Turkey amounts to tacit approval. The danger posed by ISIS using Turkey as a staging ground could become more formidable than the threat currently posed by Kurdish terrorism. Tolerating ISIS to fight the Kurds is therefore a dangerous and myopic policy.

    Feb 16, 2018

  • A briefer holds a briefing book prior to the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Outer Oval Office, March 10, 2009

    Commentary

    Presidential Intelligence Briefings: The Process Is Working. But Is Trump Listening?

    President Trump receives intelligence briefings on a fairly regular basis and he appears engaged in discussions with senior staff and the intelligence community about content. Ideally, this process is informing his national security decisionmaking.

    Feb 15, 2018

  • Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, February 9, 2018

    Commentary

    Why the 2018 Winter Olympics Are the Perfect Storm for Cyberattacks

    The Olympic Games could invite the most severe cyber threats to a major sporting event in recent years. The location of the Games and increased connectivity, both among the public and infrastructure, make them a prime target for cyberattacks.

    Feb 12, 2018

  • U.S. President Donald Trump applauds in front of Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker Paul Ryan during his first State of the Union address in Washington, January 30, 2018

    Blog

    Trump's First State of the Union: Insights from RAND

    RAND research, analysis, and expertise provide context for the issues discussed in the president's first State of the Union address, including infrastructure, North Korea, and opioids.

    Jan 31, 2018

  • Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen arrives at the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan, April 27, 2017

    Commentary

    Why China Should (Still) Feel Good About Taiwan… but Maybe Not for Long

    Chinese leaders have ample reason to feel good about Taiwan, namely because Taiwanese President Tsai had been focusing her energy on stabilizing cross-Strait relations based on the status quo rather than moving toward independence. But because of its pressure tactics, Beijing may inadvertently push Taiwan in a more extreme direction.

    Jan 24, 2018

  • Multimedia

    Exploring "Truth Decay"

    In this Call with the Experts, RAND president and CEO Michael Rich and political scientist Jennifer Kavanagh discuss the causes and consequences of Truth Decay, and how they compare with previous eras in U.S. history.

    Jan 17, 2018

  • Torn American flag waving in the wind on a cloudy day

    Commentary

    The Diminishing Role of Facts in American Public Life

    Without agreement about objective facts and a common understanding of and respect for data and analytical interpretations of those data, it becomes nearly impossible to have the types of meaningful policy debates that form the foundation of democracy.

    Jan 17, 2018